New Creation and His Return

The arrival of Jesus in glory will usher in the Day of the Lord, the final judgment, and the New Heavens and New Earth

The Apostle Peter addresses the growing weariness of some Christians due to the apparent “delay” in the “coming” of Jesus, an open door for false teachers and critics to exploit. Instead of predicted terrestrial and cosmic upheaval, daily life continues as it always has.

Clock - Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash
[Photo by Pierre Bamin on Unsplash]

But, as the Apostle reminds his readers, the Spirit of God warned of this kind of situation and the rise of deceivers in the church:

  • “Scoffers who will come with scoffing and declaring: Where is the promise of his coming, for since the fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!” - (2 Peter 3:3-4).

And Peter reassures the church that despite present circumstances, the “Day of the Lord” will come just as promised, and at the appointed time.

HIS SCHEDULE


Regardless of the charges of the “scoffers,” God is not slack concerning His promises. But He also does not operate according to humanity’s timetables and expectations.

  • (2 Peter 3:10-13) – “Howbeit, the day of the Lord will be here as a thief in which the heavens with a rushing noise will pass away, while elements becoming intensely hot will be dissolved, and earth and the works therein will be discovered. Seeing that all these things are thus to be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be, all the while in holy ways of behavior and acts of godliness, expecting and hastening the presence of the day of God by reason of which the heavens, being on fire, will be dissolved, and the elements, becoming intensely hot, will be melted. But new heavens and a new earth according to his promise are we expecting in which righteousness will dwell.”

In the passage, the Greek word rendered “coming” is ‘parousia’, and it means “advent, arrival, coming, presence.” It signifies the actual “arrival” of someone or something, and not the process of his “coming.”

In ancient Greek, ‘parousia’ often referred to the “arrival” of a royal person at a city, and in the New Testament, several times it is applied in this manner to the return or “arrival” of Jesus - (Matthews 24:27, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

Peter reminds us of the past acts of God. Not only did He create the earth, but He also destroyed much of it with the Great Flood. But in their disparagement of the promise of Christ’s return, the scoffers have chosen to ignore the past:

  • When the heavens and the earth that now are, by the same word have been stored with fire, being kept for the Day of Judgment and destruction of the ungodly men.”

The apparent “delay” of the ‘parousia’ is, in fact, no delay at all, but evidence of the mercy of God. “One day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

God is not bound by humanity’s presumptions, nor is He “slack concerning his promise.” Instead, the God and Father of Jesus Christ is “long-suffering, not wanting anyone to perish but that all should come to repentance.” His “delay” is so that the gospel has time and opportunity to reach all men and women to bring about their repentance and redemption.

DAY OF THE LORD


Nonetheless, the “Day of the Lord” must come, and its “arrival” will be like the home invasion of a thief - UNEXPECTED, SUDDEN, UNFORESEEABLE.

The homeowner certainly can anticipate attempts by criminals to rob him, but he cannot ascertain WHEN a thief will strike - (Matthew 24:42-43, Luke 12:39, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, Revelation 3:3, 16:1).

When the day does arrive, “the heavens with a rushing noise will pass away, while elements becoming intensely hot will be dissolved.”

This description parallels other passages that link terrestrial and celestial disruptions to the coming of Jesus and the “Day of the Lord.” And here, Peter describes nothing less than the dissolution of the old order - (Matthew 24:29, Revelation 6:12-17).

This does not mean its complete annihilation but its replacement by the “NEW HEAVENS AND THE NEW EARTH.” The disruption of the old prepares for the arrival of the new, a creation that is “according to promise.”

And Peter’s last clause echoes the promise found in the book of Isaiah - “For, behold, I CREATE NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH” - (Isaiah 65:17).

Cosmos - Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash
[Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash]

When Peter refers to the “
coming of the Day of God,” once again, “coming” represents the Greek term ‘parousia’. Thus, the “Day of God” is synonymous with the “Day of the Lord,” and in this way, the Apostle connects the “arrival” of Jesus, the “Day of the Lord,” and the “Day of God” to the same event. Effectively, all three phrases refer to the same thing - (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).

To summarize, Peter places the following events at the “coming” of Jesus at the end of the age:

  • The judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
  • The Day of the Lord.
  • The dissolution of the old creation.
  • The inauguration of the New Creation.

HIS PAROUSIA


And so, the ‘parousia’ of Jesus will usher in the “Day of the Lord,” the final judgment, and the New Creation.

This leaves no room for any subsequent interim periods after his “arrival.” There would be no point since sin will be no more and righteousness will reign throughout the Cosmos.

Peter concludes with an exhortation for right conduct and holy living, especially in consideration of all that the future hold. And the actions of his disciples may even “hasten” Christ’s arrival.

Moreover, actions that may “hasten” that day must include the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus. He himself has declared that the “end” will not come until “this gospel of the kingdom is proclaimed to all nations.” If anything, the apparent “delay” in the ‘parousia’ demonstrates that the church has yet to complete that task.



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