New American Standard Bible
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.
King James Bible
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Darby Bible Translation
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, and the elements, burning with heat, shall be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it shall be burnt up.
World English Bible
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 be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Young's Literal Translation
and it will come -- the day of the Lord -- as a thief in the night, in which the heavens with a rushing noise will pass away, and the elements with burning heat be dissolved, and earth and the works in it shall be burnt up.
2 Peter 3:10 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
But the day of the Lord - The day of the Lord Jesus. That is, the day in which he will be manifested. It is called his day, because he will then be the grand and prominent object as the Judge of all. Compare Luke 17:27.
Will come as a thief in the night - Unexpectedly; suddenly. See the notes at 1 Thessalonians 5:2.
In the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise - That is, what seems to us to be the heavens. It cannot mean that the holy home where God dwells will pass away; nor do we need to suppose that this declaration extends to the starry worlds and systems as disclosed by modern astronomy. The word is doubtless used in a popular sense - that is, as things appear to us; and the fair interpretation of the passage would demand only such a change as would occur by the destruction of this world by fire. If a conflagration should take place, embracing the earth and its surrounding atmosphere, all the phenomena would occur which are here described; and, if this would be so, then this is all that can be proved to be meant by the passage. Such a destruction of the elements could not occur without "a great noise."
And the elements shall melt with fervent heat - Greek: "the elements being burned, or burning, (καυσούμενα kausoumena,) shall be dissolved." The idea is, that the cause of their being "dissolved" shall be fire; or that there will be a conflagration extending to what are here called the "elements," that shall produce the effects here described by the word "dissolved." There has been much difference of opinion in regard to the meaning of the word here rendered "elements," (στοιχεῖα stoicheia.) The word occurs in the New Testament only in the following places: Galatians 4:3, Galatians 4:9; 2 Peter 3:10, 2 Peter 3:12, in which it is rendered "elements;" Colossians 2:8, Colossians 2:20, in which it is rendered "rudiments;" and in Hebrews 5:12, where it is rendered "principles." For the general meaning of the word, see the notes at Galatians 4:3. The word denotes the "rudiments" of anything; the minute parts or portions of which anything is composed, or which constitutes the simple portions out of which anything grows, or of which it is compounded.
Here it would properly denote the component parts of the material world; or those which enter into its composition, and of which it is made up. It is not to be supposed that the apostle used the term with the same exact signification with which a chemist would use it now, but in accordance with the popular use of the term in his day. In all ages, and in all languages, some such word, with more or less scientific accuracy, has been employed to denote the primary materials out of which others were formed, just as, in most languages, there have been characters or letters to denote the elementary sounds of which language is composed. In general, the ancients supposed that the elements out of which all things were formed were four in number - air, earth, fire, and water. Modern science has overturned this theory completely, and has shown that these, so far from being simple elements, are themselves compounds; but the tendency of modern science is still to show that the elements of all things are in fact few in number.
The word, as used here by Peter, would refer to the elements of things as then understood in a popular sense; it would now not be an improper word to be applied to the few elements of which all things are composed, as disclosed by modern chemistry. In either case, the use of the word would be correct. Whether applied to the one or the other, science has shown that all are capable of combustion. Water, in its component parts, is inflammable in a high degree; and even the diamond has been shown to be combustible. The idea contained in the word "dissolved," is, properly, only the change which heat produces. Heat changes the forms of things; dissolves them into their elements; dissipates those which were solid by driving them off into gases, and produces new compounds, but it annihilates nothing. It could not be demonstrated from this phrase that the world would be annihilated by fire; it could be proved only that it will undergo important changes. So far as the action of fire is concerned, the form of the earth may pass away, and its aspect be changed; but unless the direct power which created it interposes to annihilate it, the matter which now composes it will still be in existence.
The earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up - That is, whether they are the works of God or man - the whole vegetable and animal creation, and all the towers, the towns, the palaces, the productions of genius, the paintings, the statuary, the books, which man has made:
"The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
And all that it inherits, shall dissolve,
And, like the baseless fabric of a vision,
Leave not one wreck behind."
The word rendered "burned up," like the word just before used and rendered "fervent heat" - a word of the same origin, but here intensive - means that they will undergo such a change as fire will produce; not, necessarily, that the matter composing them will be annihilated. If the matter composing the earth is ever to be destroyed entirely, it must be by the immediate power of God, because only He who created can destroy. There is not the least evidence that a particle of matter originally made has been annihilated since the world began; and there are no fires so intense, no chemical powers so mighty, as to cause a particle of matter to cease wholly to exist. So far as the power of man is concerned, and so far as one portion of matter can prey on another, matter is as imperishable as mind, and neither can be destroyed unless God destroys it. Whether it is His purpose to annihilate any portion of the matter which He has made, does not appear from His Word; but it is clear that He intends that the universe shall undergo important changes. As to the possibility or probability of such a destruction by fire as is predicted here, no one can have any doubt who is acquainted with the disclosures of modern science in regard to the internal structure of the earth.
Even the ancient philosophers, from some cause, supposed that the earth would still be destroyed by fire (see my notes at 2 Peter 3:7), and modern science has made it probable that the interior of the earth is a melted and intensely-heated mass of burning materials; that the habitable world is only a comparatively thin crust (shell) over those internal fires; that earthquakes are caused by the vapors engendered by that heated mass when water comes in contact with it; and that volcanoes are only openings and vent-holes through which those internal flames make their way to the surface. Whether these fires will everywhere make their way to the surface, and produce an universal conflagration, perhaps could not be determined by science, but no one can doubt that the simple command of God would be all that is necessary to pour those burning floods over the earth, just as He once caused the waters to roll over every mountain and through every valley.
'But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ....'--2 Peter iii. 18. These are the last words of an old man, written down as his legacy to us. He was himself a striking example of his own precept. It would be an interesting study to examine these two letters of the Apostle Peter, in order to construct from them a picture of what he became, and to contrast it with his own earlier self when full of self-confidence, rashness, and instability. It took a lifetime for Simon, …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture Ephesians, Peter,John
How Christ is to be Made Use Of, in Reference to Growing in Grace.
God Rejoicing in the New Creation
Fourth Sunday after Trinity Consolation in Suffering, and Patience.
"Even they will perish, but You endure; And all of them will wear out like a garment; Like clothing You will change them and they will be changed.
The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently.
And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree.
"Lift up your eyes to the sky, Then look to the earth beneath; For the sky will vanish like smoke, And the earth will wear out like a garment And its inhabitants will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not wane.
The mountains will melt under Him And the valleys will be split, Like wax before the fire, Like water poured down a steep place.
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
"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.
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