2Pe 3:5-8 “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 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. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
As discussed in the previous verses, Peter is dealing with the ideas that the scoffers teach. The scoffers (false teachers) say that nothing has changed since the beginning. In other words, they teach that God’s judgment is not real and the promises of Jesus are vain and empty. They will tell you that He is not the only way, if they admit that He is a way at all. As we have already seen, the scripture assures us that the judgment of those who teach such things in not delayed.
As astounding as it might seem to us, these scoffers are not completely without understanding. Those Jews that instigated the cover-up of Jesus’ resurrection were not completely ignorant of what took place: they were just more concerned with the threat to their supposed authority. In like manner, these scoffers that Peter is talking about are “willingly ignorant” of the power and working of Almighty God. Peter deals with this on several levels.
Peter points out that they are willingly ignorant (choose to ignore) that the heavens and earth were spoken into existence by God in the beginning. The word translated as “heavens” carries with it the idea of “the sky; by extension heaven (as the abode of God); by implication happiness, power, eternity; specifically the Gospel (Christianity).” The word translated as “earth” is defined as “soil; by extension a region, or the solid part or the whole of the terrene globe (including the occupants in each application).” Scoffers choose to ignore the power of God in His original creation of the natural world. They also choose to ignore that He destroyed the original world with water. While it is not a completely new globe, the features were changed and the occupants were changed, being reduced to those that are of the direct lineage of Noah.
On the spiritual side of this, the world of our service to God was also changed by the blood and water that flowed forth from Jesus’ side as were the occupants of this world. In the old service world, there were continual sacrifices of animals that could not make the comers thereunto perfect. The sacrifices had to be made year after year. The people could not sacrifice for themselves nor approach unto the mercy seat that was within the veil. And only the nation of Israel could have full participation in the things of the temple. Then came the flood from the cross.
I refer to the blood and water from the cross as a flood from this standpoint. It flowed from the beginning of time to the end of time. It covers every child of God who will be housed in immortal glory. It changed the characteristics of the true worship of God forever. No more would there be any need for animal sacrifice. We can all approach unto God and offer ourselves a living sacrifice directly to Him. We have full access to Him through our Lord, Jesus Christ. The occupants of the world of service were changed. No longer was this service reserved only for the Jews. In this new earth, the Gentiles could serve with the same joy, the same fervency, and the same access to the Holy Spirit. Surely there has never been (nor will there ever be) a greater flood in the experience of God’s children than that which washed away our sin and allows us to approach Him as kings and priests!
And the heavens (as the Gospel) and the earth (where both Jew and Gentile serve the living God) are now are kept by the same word that spoke the world into existence in the beginning. This is kept (laid up as a treasure) and reserved (guarded) by God. No man can tear it down; the scoffers cannot undo it. This kingdom is upheld by the word of God and protected against (unto) such time as it pleases God to visit with fire the works of ungodly men. As I have stated before, I don’t believe that the writers of God’s word change topic in the middle of a discourse. Peter has been telling us about things that impact us in God’s service here. I believe that this fire of destruction that he is speaking of is still a “timely” judgment, if you will.
Sometimes we may wonder if there really is a day when scoffers are judged for their scoffing. Remember that the Lord does not delay His judgment. That does not mean that we will necessarily see the “sentencing” phase. Peter cautions us against slipping into an attitude of wondering about the Lord’s judgments. A day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day with Him. In other words, we cannot think to confine God to a timetable of our choosing. He is God, and we must hold to our like precious faith in all things that pertain to Him.
May God bless us to rejoice in His keeping of the heavens and the earth, and His assurance that men cannot destroy what He has established!