Shelby G. Floyd
Good morning to all of you. We have had a great song service, prayer, and Bible reading. It is good to stand before you and present the word of God. Today we hear a lot about global warming! Whether it is true or false I do not know. But I know looking back when I was a child when we did not have air conditioning, there were many summers when it was so hot that my mom would make a pallet on the floor, and we would sleep there, and it would be like midnight before we could go to sleep since it was so hot. But we survived so maybe there was global warming back then. But there is one thing for sure that I do know, God has promised that there will be global warming and it is called the day of judgment and the destruction of the heavens and the earth by fire!
LONG AGO THE WORLD PERISHED BY FLOODED WATER
In the first place, I speak to you about the heavens and earth that existed long ago, when the earth was destroyed by water. There is so much evidence today that backs up the fact that there was a universal flood that interrupted time and history in the long ago. Peter wrote,
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue just as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed by being flooded with water” (2 Peter 3:3-6 NASB).
Peter says the world at that time was destroyed (Greek apollumi). Everything was destroyed not annihilated—the evils of the age were removed, and the writer of Genesis described what happened that brought about the great flood. The waters above the earth joined forces with the waters on the earth to destroy everything on the earth:
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. 12 The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights” (Genesis 7:11, 12).
The argument that Peter is making is at one point God interrupted history and brought about a great flood upon the earth that cleansed the earth by destroying all people who lived and everything that they had made. And if God did that once he can do it again!
THE PRESENT HEAVENS AND EARTH ARE PRESERVED AND RESERVED FOR FIRE!
Now in the next place, Peter argues that the present heavens and earth are preserved and reserved for judgment by fire. If you look at the text closely you will find that the heavens and earth are preserved and reserved, and there is a different meaning to those two words. I remember my mom would preserve certain things out of the garden and some people still do that today. Therefore the word says that the heavens and the earth now are preserved, but they are also reserved!
For what are the heavens and the earth preserved and reserved? Peter answers that question: “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly people” (2 Peter 3:7).
The heavens and the earth are therefore reserved and stored up for destruction at the last day. Let us look at some other scriptures in both the Old and New Testament that tells us that this is the case—the heavens and the earth now are preserved and reserved for fire and destruction at the last day! Global Warming then my friends will be brought about by God Almighty, and not by mankind.
Isaiah the prophet wrote about six hundred years before Christ came into the world:
For behold, the Lord will come in fire,
And His chariots like the whirlwind,
To render His anger with fury,
And His rebuke with flames of fire.
16 For the Lord will execute judgment by fire
And by His sword on humanity,
And those put to death by the Lord will be many (Isaiah 66:15,16).
There was another great prophet by the name of Daniel—the Daniel that was thrown into the lion’s den and his life was preserved. Daniel wrote,
“I kept looking
Until thrones were set up,
And the Ancient of Days took His seat;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head like pure wool.
His throne was ablaze with flames,
Its wheels were a burning fire.
10 A river of fire was flowing
And coming out from before Him;
Thousands upon thousands were serving Him,
And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him;
The court convened,
And the books were opened” (Daniel 7:9,10).
God almighty is going to open up his books and bring an end to the drama of human redemption!
And then we have a great passage from the apostle Paul to the church at Thessalonica: “since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 NKJV).
Then in Hebrews 12:29 the author says, “For our God is a consuming fire.” And in Matthew 10:15 Jesus said, “Assuredly, I say unto you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city” (Matthew 10:15). Can you imagine that even Sodom and Gomorrah that were burned up with fire, it will be more tolerable for them than it will be in that day when the Lord comes back to burn up the heavens and earth with fire!
To the church at Corinth, Paul wrote two letters to correct some conditions in the congregation that were not good:
“For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:11-15 NASB).
So the question concerning fire is, what kind of material are you building with in the work of the church? Are you building with gold, silver, and precious stones, or with some combustible material like wood, hay, straw? The fire will test our work!
And in the little book of Jude we read, “as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 7 NKJV).
Therefore, what do the recitation of all these scriptures prove? They prove abundantly that the heavens and the earth are preserved and reserved for judgment by fire! How long will it before this will take place? We do not know, but we do know that God is not governed by time, for he is longsuffering and not willing that even one person should be lost!
GOD IS NOT GOVERNED BY TIME
Now I want to point out to you that God is not governed by time like us. Time is precious to us
because we have so little of it. And in our text Peter says, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day” (2 Peter 3:8). In the matter in which the Lord regards the passing of time, it does not affect his promises or judgments at all. God’s perspective of time is different than ours. We are affected by time because we may forget our promises, we may violate our word, and conditions may occur making it impossible to complete our promises. Therefore God does not deal with time like us and the things that occur in our regard in respect to time does not hold true for God. Peter had previously written, “Beloved, this is now the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of a reminder” (2 Peter 3: 1). Therefore we need to remember God is not controlled by time—one thousand years is like a day and a day is like 1000 years.
David the psalmist who was inspired of God said the same thing:
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or like a watch in the night. (Psalms 90:4).
THE LORD IS NOT SLOW ABOUT HIS PROMISE, BUT LONGSUFFERING!
Since God then is not controlled by time like we are, the Lord is not slow about his promise, he is longsuffering with us. He has all the patience in the world. He does not want even one person living on this terrestrial globe to be lost. Peter continues his teaching: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing for any to perish, but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NASB).
We know from what is going on around us that there are many people today that need to repent of their ungodly attitudes and actions. Wickedness is rampant, it is everywhere around us, we see it and to some extent experience the effects of it. God wants that to stop and the only way it will ever stop is for a person to change their willpower from living that kind of life to the new life in Christ Jesus! My friends that is why God is so patient, which is why after two thousand years he has not come back yet. He does not want even one person to be lost, but what he does want is everybody to come to repentance and change their life to be Christlike. If that does not happen multitudes will be lost and not enter in the heavenly home!
Therefore the Lord is not slow about his promise. And it is interesting that the word slow is connected with the word snail. We all know how slow a snail moves. So what he is saying here is the Lord is not slow like a snail. He does not operate on “snail time.” Do not get it in your mind because two thousand years have gone by that the Lord is a snail! He is very patient and longsuffering. He does not give up on us quickly. He wants us all to be saved. He wants us all to come to repentance.
And know the prophet Habakkuk said about the same thing:
Then the Lord answered me and said,
“Write down the vision
And inscribe it clearly on tablets,
So that one who reads it may run.
3 For the vision is yet for the appointed time;
It hurries toward the goal and it will not fail.
Though it delays, wait for it;
For it will certainly come, it will not delay long. (Habakkuk 2:2,3 NASB).
The prophet is saying the same thing that Peter said. The Lord is patient, and you need to wait for it. The apostle Paul in the book of Romans also had something to say about the fact that the Lord’s longsuffering allows us the change our life by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ:
“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:11-14 NIV).
And also the writer of Hebrews continues the theme of God’s patience and longsuffering:
“For yet in a very little while,
He who is coming will come, and will not delay.
38 But My righteous one will live by faith;
And if he shrinks back, My soul has no pleasure in him” (Hebrews 10:37-38).
So the idea is to be patient and wait on the Lord. Do not fall back or draw back, for if you do, the Lord has no pleasure in that kind of attitude. God’s longsuffering, forbearance, and goodness is designed to lead to repentance (Romans 2:4). “This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to the [a]knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3, 4). Let us all reflect on how good God is to all of us. If we have things in our life that need to be changed, let us remember that God is waiting for us to make those changes because he do does not want anyone to be lost.
THE DAY OF THE LORD WILL COME AS A THIEF!
Next, Peter points out that even though the Lord is longsuffering, there will be a day that the Lord will come like a thief. You never know when the thief is going to come and break into your home. I had that happen to me and the same thing has happened to some of you. It is not something that you look back on with joy. And the people who will not be prepared when the Lord does come are not going to be so happy either. Peter says, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief” (2 Peter 3:10). We do not know whether the Lord is coming like a thief in the daytime when everybody is up and moving around, or if he will come when people are asleep. The idea is that Jesus will come when people least expect him to come. Jesus himself said that he would come as a thief:
“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. 43 But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44 For this reason you must be ready as well; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matthew 24:42-44 NASB; Cf Luke 12:39, 40).
The conclusion is that we must always be ready for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect. Paul wrote to the church at Thessalonica and said the same thing:
“For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord is coming just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction will come upon them like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness, so that the day would overtake you like a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4).
Are any of us at Heartland living in darkness? If that is the case we need to change so that day will not overtake us as a thief. Either we live in the light, we walk in the light, and we love the light, or we walk in the darkness. In the Book of Revelation (Revelation 16:15), while John was on the Isle of Patmos in exile, he said the same thing in describing the coming of Jesus our Lord, (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked, and people will not see his shame.”) Therefore, we must be alert and watchful for the Lord is coming back to burn up the present heavens and earth and that will be Global Warming!
THE HEAVENS AND EARTH ARE PRESERVED AND RESERVED FOR FIRE!
The destruction of the present heavens and earth are described in detail by the apostle Peter in several verses of 2 Peter the third chapter. God is not going to rework the present heavens and earth and set up an earthly kingdom for a thousand years, contrary to what many false teachers are spouting out today! At the end, the kingdom of God—the church, which is already here, will be delivered up to the Father in heaven:
“then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to our God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:24-26).
The earth and its works will be burned up
Now Peter teaches us that the heavens and the earth are reserved for fire. And that is our main topic today—it will be global warming! But this Global Warming will not be manmade! The Lord of the Universe will bring about this Global Warming and it will not be by man. Peter writes plainly what will take place: “But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Peter 3:7 NKJV).
According to this statement the earth—this terrestrial ball that we walk upon and live on, and everything that we have built upon the earth and all its works ae reserved for fire! So why do we put so much stock in all these things since they are going to be burned up by fire? Notice that Peter teaches in the key verse seven, that the heavens and the earth are both preserved and reserved by the same word for fire until the day of judgment and the perdition of ungodly men.
Dear reader please notice that the heavens in the earth preserved until the day of judgment. We all know what preserved means. We may preserve green beans, or we may preserve grape jelly. I remember back in the days when we did not go to the store for everything. Our parents would raise a garden and then preserve a lot of food. I still remember how my grandmother in Kentucky would preserve all sorts of food and store up canned goods to last several years. I was fascinated with all the canned goods on the shelf. I noticed some of the glass containers were shiny and bright and some were dusty and looked old. And I wondered why they keep getting the old ones and bring them out instead of the shiny new ones! But grandma knew what she was doing. You use up the old stuff before you use up the new. So they preserved the food and did not go to the store for everything.
Perhaps that will help us to better understand that God has PRESERVED and also RESERVED the heavens and the earth for FIRE. But they are only preserved and reserved UNTIL THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT. So when you are walking around on the earth and admiring all of your things and everything that man has made, just remember all of this is preserved and reserved for FIRE until (terminus ad quem) the day of judgment. And that is the reason we should give more attention to spiritual things and not so much to material goods.
The Heavens Will Pass Away With A Great Noise, And The Elements Will Melt With Fervent Heat
Peter continues his description of what we might call Global Warming: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10 NKJV).
Peter says the heavens will pass away with a great noise and some translations have a great roar. The word noise carries with it the idea of whistling or a whirling sound, and we could illustrate by the sudden sound made by a flock of birds that suddenly fly away. Have you ever been sitting on your porch and a big flock of birds perched nearby suddenly fly away. It is a whistling sound that really scares you.
Therefore this sound may well indicate how the heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with intense heat and the earth and its works will be burned up! I was trying to think of some other ways we might illustrate what Peter is saying. Maybe when the heavens pass away with a loud noise it will be like a squadron of our jet airplanes that go overhead at one of our great sporting events; or maybe it will be like the whistling or whirling sound of a great hurricane or tornado. Maybe you can think of some other sounds that you might fix in your mind to have some idea of what it will be like when Christ comes back again, and everything is destroyed and passes away.
Peter also stated that “…the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). It seems that the elements would describe the atoms that are found in the material universe. Some of us remember when the Atomic Bomb was invented and how it completely destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki! Since that is the case with mankind, can you imagine the destruction when God splits all those atoms, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
Isaiah the prophet said the same thing about seven hundred years earlier than the writings of Peter:
“All the host of heaven shall be dissolved,
And the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll;
All their host shall fall down
As the leaf falls from the vine,
And as fruit falling from a fig tree” Isaiah 34:4).
And to make sure we all understand that the heavens and the earth will be completely destroyed, we remind you of what Jesus said near the end of his life on earth: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
The Heavens Will Be Destroyed By Burning and The Elements Will Melt With Intense Heat
Peter concludes his description of the end of all material elements of the heavens by burning and melting with intense heat: “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat” (2 Peter 3:11, 12 NKJV).
The Global Warming at the end of the scheme of redemption is not a new doctrine. The Old Testament prophets of God said basically the same thing in a limited way. For instance Isaiah who is quoted so often prophesied:
“The earth is violently broken,
The earth is split open,
The earth is shaken exceedingly.
20 The earth shall reel[a] to and fro like a drunkard,
And shall totter like a hut;
Its transgression shall be heavy upon it,
And it will fall, and not rise again” (Isaiah 24:19, 20).
Also Micah the prophet prophesied the same thing to the people of his day,
For behold, the Lord is coming out of His place;
He will come down
And tread on the high places of the earth.
4 The mountains will melt under Him,
And the valleys will split
Like wax before the fire,
Like waters poured down a steep place” (Micah 1:3, 4).
My friends, the word of God has plainly described to us in language that we cannot misunderstand what will be the final outcome of the heavens and the earth with all of it elements and works. Let me summarize what will take place on the last day:
1. The heavens and the earth are now preserved and reserved for fire (3:7).
2. The heavens will pass away with a great noise (3:10).
3. The elements will melt with intense heat (3:10).
4. The earth and the works in it will be burned up (3:10).
5. All these things will be dissolved (3:11).
6. The heavens will be dissolved, being on fire (3:12).
7. The elements will melt with fervent heat (3:12).
We all should be glad that Peter did not stop when he had fully informed us of the Global Warming that will take place at the end of the age! If he had stopped at that point, we would be very discouraged and despondent.
WE LOOK FOR NEW HEAVENS AND NEW EARTH!
But Peter raised our hope and expectation of something far better that awaits the faithful people of God! We look for new heavens and a new earth:
“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13 NKJV).
In the original Greek language there are two different words for “new.” The word translated new here is kainos and is defined “recently made, fresh, recent, unused, unworn” (Thayer). The new heavens and the new earth will be recent and fresh when God creates his heavenly home for the redeemed. It will stand in stark contrast to that which was old, antiquated, and burned up with intense heat!
We have preachers running around today teaching that God will refurbish the present earth and heavens and then set up an earthly kingdom in which Christ will reign on the earth for a thousand years. This false doctrine is called premillennialism! One gospel preacher defined premillennialism like this: pre means before; millennial means 1,000 years; and ism means that it is not so!
Like Peter, we look for the new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness dwells. John the revelator while in exile on the lonely isle of Patmos stated, “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea” (Revelation 21:1).
Even from the days of the prophet Isaiah of the Old Testament, God has promised new heavens and new earth:
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind” (Isaiah 65:17).
“For as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord,
“So shall your descendants and your name remain” (Isaiah 66:22).
And the great apostle Paul in his profound letter to the Roman Christians promised that is some respect the whole creation will be delivered from bondage into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Romans 8:19-22).
And what is the most precious of all is the fact that righteousness will reign and dwell in the new heavens and new earth. Again Isaiah steps in and echoes the chorus of righteousness dwelling in the new heaven and earth:
Also your people shall all be righteous;
They shall inherit the land forever,
The branch of My planting,
The work of My hands,
That I may be glorified (Isaiah 60:21).
Again Isaiah reveals the righteous and peaceful nature of the new heavens and new earth:
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,”
Says the Lord (Isaiah 65:25).
We bring this lesson to the climax with the statement of the apostle John concerning who it is that will occupy this new heavens and new earth and live and worship God in the celestial city: “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 21:27). Claim your citizenship and obey the Lord today!
* Copyright © 2022 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon July 24, 2022 at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142