2 Peter 3:10 – “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” (KJV)
Based on that verse in the KJV, it’d be easy to believe God’s coming to steal us all away like a thief. That everything we know is going to be burned up in actual fire. That “Left Behind” is solid theology.
Thankfully, we have an entire Bible, not one verse. Not only do we have a God who loves His creation, and actively seeks to bring His presence back into what is happening, and bring healing and New Life…with promises of bringing Heaven and Earth together in a New Creation…but we also have the ability to look at the actual words of these verses.
2 Peter 3:10 – “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.” (NRSV)
First, it’s not “The Lord” that comes like a thief, it’s the DAY of the Lord. It comes unexpectedly. We cannot know for sure when. It’s surprising, humbling, and we want to be ready. Both translations would agree there.
The elements will be dissolved. The Greek word here is “luo” (looo-oh). This word means “to loose”, it has to do with releasing what is bound, setting something free, overthrow, subvert, etc.
The elements will be (released, set free, etc.) with fire. We know the imagery of God being a consuming fire. That throughout the scriptures there are inferences to purifying by fire, all the way back to the presence of God in a bush that did not burn up.
But it seems the largest difference is in the final statement. That all of the earth and everything that is done in it will be “burnt up” vs. “disclosed”. The word here is “heurisko” (hyoor-eesko). A word that means “to come upon”, to discover, to find out, to see/understand, to know God, etc.
I look forward with hope-filled anticipation, the coming day of the Lord…and work toward that day believing that what is accomplished serves a purpose. Now…and in the coming Kingdom.