It is commonly believed among Christians that the “heavens and earth” will be completely annihilated by God in the end, and that He will make “new heavens and a new earth”. It is understandable why Christians might believe this, since a cursory reading of 2 Peter seems to indicate this. However, a careful reading of 2 Peter confirms that God will do exactly the opposite. God is going to redeem the earth—NOT ANNIHILATE IT.
The death of Jesus Christ on the Cross effected the redemption of many things. The redemption of the earth is one of them. The Scripture passage that is misinterpreted to conclude the annihilation of the earth is as follows:
(2 Pet 3:10-13 KJV) 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. (11) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, (12) Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? (13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
The “day of the Lord” in verse 1 occurs in the last half of the seven-year tribulation period. It is the time of God’s judgments upon the earth. It is the time when the trumpet and vial judgments occur upon the earth to cleanse and purge the earth from Satan’s reign. It will be a time when nuclear weapons will be exploding as the weapons of God’s wrath. The actual elements in the heavens and upon the earth will be melting. The elements are the basic units of matter and will literally “melt” during this time.
The earth and the works in the earth will be burned up. The earth will be totally changed and the works of evil will be destroyed. The curse upon the earth will be removed, and the earth will be completely and totally redeemed. Satan’s rule over the earth from the first and second heavens will be completely overthrown. This is the meaning of the statement “these things shall be dissolved” in verse 11. It is the world system that will perish, and not this sphere upon which we live.
The Christian can glean a better understanding of this if he understands that the earth has already perished once in Noah’s flood. This is confirmed in the following passage of Scripture:
(2 Pet 3:6-7 KJV) 6) Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7) But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
The fire will purge and cleanse the earth—NOT ANNIHILATE IT. The great theme of the Bible is God and his redemptive dealings with mankind, so the idea that the earth will be totally annihilated goes against the whole tenor of Scripture. Also, if the earth is to be totally annihilated, then God’s unconditional promise to Abraham that Israel would have perpetual title to Israel—Land of Promise—becomes null and void, and God is made to be a liar.
Clearly, the Abrahamic Covenant guarantees the redemption of the earth, and specifically the land of Israel. God even provided the boundaries of the Land of Promise, which includes the land currently occupied by Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and part of Iraq. The land promised to Israel extends all the way from the Nile River to the Euphrates River. All of this land will become a fertile paradise and will belong to Israel forever.
There are numerous Scriptures that confirm the redemption of the earth and the removal of the curse from the earth. Even the Dead Sea will be made into a fisherman’s paradise, and currently the water is too salty to sustain life. God’s promises to Israel through Abraham are true, and they will be realized in the very near future.
As the Scriptures state, the world has already perished once in the great flood of Noah, but this round sphere that we call earth will remain forever in a cleansed and purified state. Jesus will reign for a thousand years with those in the Church who qualify, and then the kingdom will be turned back over to the Father after all rebellion has been completely and totally overthrown. Israel will possess the Promised Land forever and ever, and the Church will dwell in its home, the New Jerusalem, forever and ever.
The mistranslation of the phrase “end of the age” has helped foster the idea that the earth will be annihilated. There are thirteen verses in the King James Version of the Bible that refer to the “end of the world”, rather than the “end of the age.”
The following are proof texts that confirm the earth will be here forever:
(Eccl 1:4 KJV) One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
(Deu 4:40 KJV) Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.
(Psa 78:69 KJV) And he built his sanctuary like high palaces, like the earth which he hath established for ever.
(Psa 104:5 KJV) Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
The book of Revelation describes in detail the redemption of the earth from the reign and rule of Satan. The seven-sealed scroll is the title deed to the earth, and Jesus Christ spends the first half of the seven-year tribulation period opening the seven seals in preparation for redeeming the earth from Satan’s reign and rule. It is during the last half of the tribulation period that the earth is purged and cleansed from Satan’s influence.
Please note in the following verses that it is the “former things” that pass away. The heaven and earth will be new creations in the same sense as all Christians are new creations. God is not one who throws away the clay, but he molds it and shapes it into a new creation. God will redeem the heaven and earth—NOT ANNIHILATE THEM.
(Rev 21:1 KJV) (1) And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
(Rev 21:4-5 KJV) (4) And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (5) And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.