But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.2 Peter 3:10(NASB)
The Day-of-the-Lord is a topic that is widely discussed in both the Old and New Testaments. Unlike certain Church-age doctrines like the Rapture, the dispensation of the grace of God, or the new-man-in-Christ, which were hidden from past ages and generations, the Day-of-the-Lord is openly taught throughout the Word of God.
The Day-of-the-Lord covers a time that starts with a seven-year period of great trouble and tribulation for both Israel and the unbelieving Gentile nations, and it continues through the 1000-year reign of Christ - concluding when God creates a new heaven and a new earth. The Day-of-the-Lord, therefore, covers a period of about 1007 years, during which time God takes back the reins of authority over the earth from Satan... and establishes Christ as His anointed King on His eternal throne of David.
The first part of this verse explains what will happen at the beginning of the Day-of-the-Lord. We read: "The day of the Lord will come like a thief." Just as a burglar comes unexpectedly and causes great catastrophe and distress, similarly the Day-of-the-Lord will arrive suddenly and without warning. It will cause catastrophic calamity and great distress of nations.
However, the second part of this particular verse, does not continue to describe what happens during that 7-year Tribulation Period - which is sometimes referred to as "The time of Jacob's Trouble," but immediately jumps to the very end of Christ's millennial rule on earth over 1000 years later: "In which the heavens will pass away with a roar. The elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will all be burned up."
Peter explains, in this verse, that the Day-of-the-Lord will begin quietly, like a thief in the night, but will end in the furious, fiery destruction of the earth and heaven. However, we are not told that there is a gap of over 1000 years following this thief in the night! But out of this terrible destruction, we read elsewhere that the eternal ages to come will follow this Day-of-the-Lord - when God will make a new heaven and a new earth which will be untainted with sin.
The ending of the Day-of-the-Lord is not the end of the earth, for God has promised to make a new heaven and a new earth that is not cursed. This fallen world system in which we live was cursed by God when Adam sinned. The Lord's beautiful creation was polluted with evil when man fell. And as a result of man's rebellion, the heaven were tainted, the ground was cursed, and death entered the terrestrial realm. And so God must destroy all that is evil in this world and burn up every wicked work in His purifying flames - for God is a consuming fire and He is a purifying fire.
God knew that man would sin and ruin His perfect creation, but He also purposed to redeem mankind and to remove the curse from His beautiful world: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life."
The amazing story of man's redemption commenced when Adam sinned, was confirmed at the Cross of Calvary, and will finally be completed at the close of the Day-of-the-Lord. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe in the only begotten Son of God has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of God's unique Son.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You planned and purposed to redeem mankind and to restore the earth to its former glory. Thank You for telling us the end before the beginning so that we may not fear all that is coming on the earth but understand that Christ won the victory on the Cross and will finally and fully reclaim all that belongs to Him, for Your greater glory. May I be ready for the any day return of Jesus in the clouds for His Bride so that the day does not overtake me like a thief in the night. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus! AMEN.
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