looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!2 Peter 3:12(NASB)
Peter had an understanding of the future... not only the immediate future, the Rapture of the Church, and the future millennial rule of Christ, but also the far distant future, when this fallen world will be destroyed by intense fire, and replaced with a new heaven and a new earth. He knew that having an understanding of future events would help motivate believers to separate themselves from sin and worldly desires, and live godly lives.
In this passage, we are reminded that since everything will one day be destroyed, we need to consider our attitude, actions, and what sort of people we ought to be... in holy conduct and godliness. Peter encourages us to watch for the return of Christ and the Day of the Lord... "to keep looking for the coming of the day of God and desiring it earnestly when the heavens will be destroyed by fire and the elements will melt because of the intense heat."
The return of Christ in the clouds and the removal of His mystical Body, (the Church)... at the Rapture, must take place before the prophesied Day of the Lord, which begins with a 7-year Tribulation period (the 70th week of Daniel - the time of Jacob's Trouble). It continues with the millennial rule of Christ, when He returns to earth to rule and reign as King of kings. His kingdom is one of righteousness which will usher in the destruction of the old order, the old creation in Adam, when the heaven will be destroyed by fire and God will make a new heaven and a new earth - the new creation in Christ.
Our faith is not blind as some people like to believe. We have, in the Word of God, a detailed description of our future history, which culminates in various cataclysmic events. We are to look for that day and are reminded to live holy and righteous lives, because of these forthcoming events. And Peter instructs us on how to prepare for this future period, and why we should be ready.
Firstly, we are to look forward to the coming Day of the Lord. It is the point when the rule of Satan, through fallen man, will be replaced with God's righteous rule through His anointed Son. We are to watch for our blessed hope with expectancy, and conduct ourselves with all wisdom. And we are to redeem the time and occupy with all diligence, in godly pursuits and holy conduct.
Secondly, we are to hasten the coming of the day of the Lord. We are to eagerly expect it and vehemently desire its arrival. We know that in the theatre of life, this is the final scene in God's redemptive plan, when every enemy will be finally defeated, including the last enemy, which is death. OH! Jesus won the victory over sin, Satan, death, and hell, on the Cross, but only during the Day of the Lord will the final sentence be executed. Only then will the sting of death be fully removed and every enemy placed under Christ's feet.
Eagerly expecting the Day of the Lord is not a vain, fingers-crossed type of hope, but a secure knowledge that God's Word will most certainly come to pass in the future. For believers... faith is the assurance that things hoped for will happen and the conviction that things that can't be seen and the promises of God, will be fulfilled.
What God has planned and purposed can never fail. His Word is true and His promises stand fast forever. What a magnificent hope we have... and our hope in Christ is as certain today as it will be when it comes to pass in the not too distant future.
It is as we earnestly look for Christ's return and hasten its coming... through prayer, intercession, and preaching the truth, that the consummation of all things will be accelerated. OH! God knows the day and the hour of Christ's return in the clouds for His Church. He knows the exact day when He will return to earth with His Church to set up His millennial kingdom, and He knows the day, "the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!" But God, Who is omniscient, has graciously chosen to allow the prayers, praises, actions, and attitude of His people, to influence His heavenly time-clock.
It is at the very end of Christ's millennial reign on earth that Satan is released from His prison for one brief period, and the final, global rebellion of unsaved man will be defeated. God will judge the world in righteousness from His Great White Throne of judgement, and all the ungodly will be thrown into the terrible Lake of Fire.
Many are fearful about the coming time of Tribulation, when God's wrath is poured out on a Christ-rejecting sinful world, but for the Christian, this should not instil fear. This should encourage us to look for and hasten the coming day of the Lord with godly anticipation and thanksgiving... for this fallen, cursed world and everything that has been contaminated by sin, will one day be burned up.
God is a consuming fire and all the corruption, sin, and evil that has been perpetuated down through millennia of history will be destroyed by fire, and the very elements that make up this cursed universe will melt with the intensity of the heat - and God will create new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells, and the former things will not be remembered nor will they come to mind. Hallelujah!
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word which lays out Your perfect schedule for the fulfilment of Your perfect plan... when man's redemption will be fully and finally completed, and every enemy, including death, will be placed under Your feet. Thank You that the day is coming when Jesus will return in the clouds to take His Church to be with Himself, and I look forward to that blessed hope with grateful thanksgiving and great expectation. I praise You that during the Great Tribulation, Israel will be restored into fellowship with You and many believers will escape the jaws of hell by calling on the name of the Lord. Thank You, Father, that Satan will finally be imprisoned and that You have ordained that Your Church will rule and reign with Christ in His coming kingdom. I pray for His soon return, so that all things may be placed back under Your sovereign authority. This I pray in Jesus' name, AMEN.