This verse is the clearest prophecy in the Scripture of the final conflagration of the universe, but it is by no means the only one.
This sequence of destruction, first by water, then by fire, was indicated by Jesus himself in Luke 17:25ff, and reiterated by Peter in 2 Peter 2:5,6.
No blue-print of what will occur is given, merely the bare fact of ultimate destruction by fire.
But those who are the elect will receive these words by faith that not a jot or a tittle shall pass away until all be fulfilled.
PROPHECIES OF THE END
There are a number of prophecies of the end of the world which do not suggest that it is to be accomplished by fire.
- Hebrews 12:27 mentions the shaking of the earth and the heavens in a context that implies their removal.
- Matthew’s commission mentions “the end of the world” (Matthew 28:18-20).
- Psalms 102:25 is quoted by the author of Hebrews 1:11: “The earth … and the heavens … they shall perish.”
- Jesus declared flatly, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35).
- The entire 24th chapter of Matthew was in response to three questions, one of which was, “What shall be the sign of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).
There are other prophesies of the Final Destruction by FIRE
It must be admitted that none of the prophecies cited above is in any way incompatible with the thought of the great conflagration at the end of the world.
- Paul mentioned that Jesus would come from heaven “with FLAMING FIRE” to render judgment (2 Thessalonians 1:7f).
- Jesus mentioned in the general judgment scene of Matthew 25 that the wicked should be turned aside into “everlasting FIRE” (Matthew 25:41).
- Isaiah gave the word of the Lord saying, “Lo, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind” (Isaiah 65:17)
- “Behold the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger and fury, and his rebuke with FLAMES OF FIRE” (Isaiah 66:25)
- “And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, etc.” (Isaiah 34:4).
- Daniel connected fire with the final judgment thus: “A fiery stream issued and came forth from him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7:10).
These passages are enough to show that 1Peter fully harmonizes with other words of inspiration both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, which mention the world being stored up for fire.
Neither the scoffers of Peter’s own times, nor those of our own are willing to believe this; but it is nevertheless true, for the Lord has spoken it.
The very event of the flood itself is viewed as a myth by some; but the reason for their rejection of Biblical history on this point lies in their unwillingness to believe in the ultimate destruction of the earth by fire, the first event being the proof of the other.
It is easier to scoff at the truth than to conform one’s life to the pattern required by accepting the truth.
“The day of judgment” is always mentioned in the singular in the New Testament, indicating that it is the time when all of the happenings associated with it shall occur.
The rational thought sustaining the Biblical concept of a judgment day is extensive:
- (1) Without judgment day, there can never be any such thing as justice for every man.
- (2) Without a judgment day, the wicked would have the better of things in countless instances.
- (3) Without a judgment day and the accompanying assignment of the correct destiny for every man, the very justice of God himself could be questioned.
- (4) The question of whether or not the universe itself is absolutely controlled by the God of eternal and infinite righteousness is definitely related to the Biblical revelation of “the day of judgment.”
- (5) The conviction that man is accountable to his Creator and that God will reward the fidelity of his servants and overthrow the ungodly is the soul’s last shield of protection from frustration, despair and madness.
- (6) The revelation that there is to be a judgment day with the consequences outlined in the Bible is the divine regulator, or governor, of human conduct, the only ultimate restraint of the unbridled lust and savagery of the human race.
“Stored up for fire” is a very interesting expression. It may well be related to the rainbow promise God gave to Noah (Genesis 9:11)
As well as the declaration in Genesis 8:22, “That while the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, etc., shall not cease.” (So much for the religion of climate change)
Note the words while the earth remaineth with the inherent suggestion that the earth shall not always remain.
The apostle has his eye on God’s oath to Noah, etc. Wherefore, the earth is not always to remain; but it is not to be destroyed by a deluge. It is kept from floods to be destroyed by fire.
The writer means that both the rainbow promise and the delay are not to be regarded as implying that there will be no more great cosmic changes.
The Heaven and the Earth are reserved for destruction by fire.
Jesus himself, a number of times, appealed to the flood as a warning to the wicked.
The saddest teaching in the word of God relates to the subject introduced here.
The word Gehenna (which is translated as “hell” or “hell-fire”) refers to the Valley of Hinnon near Jerusalem, a place where the city’s garbage was burned, and a valley tarnished by many unsavory memories for the Jews.
Here a king made his son pass through the fire to Molech (2 Kings 23:10; see also 2 Chronicles 28:3).
It was a place of defilement and horror.
Perhaps it is in this place’s character as a garbage dump that the most appropriate likeness to HELL is found.
Here also is seen the necessity for it.
Peter also stressed it in his other epistle, as well as here (1 Peter 3:9).