A Response To Charles Meek's “2 Peter 3 And Planet Destruction”
The article mentioned in the title is one of false doctrine. It is an attempt to negate the plain language of 2 Peter, and to reduce the prophecy of the End of the World and Second Coming of Jesus to a past spiritual event, and simple allegory. Let’s take a closer look.
The author writes “However, there are many reasons why this is not literally about the physical cosmos, but rather is be about the coming events of AD 70 when God judged Old Covenant Israel. At that time, over a million Jews were slaughtered at the hands of the Romans, the temple was destroyed, and along with it the last vestiges of the Old Covenant order (Matthew 23:29-24:2; etc.).” He then focuses on verse 3:10.
“The Greek word for “heavenly bodies/elements” (which were to be “burned up” in verse 3:10) is STOICHEION. Everywhere else in the New Testament that this word is used it is about the “elements” of the OLD COVENANT, not physical universe things. Look up these passages: Galatians 4:3, 9; Colossians 2:8-9, 20-22; Hebrews 5:12-13.”
He is correct that the verses he cites refer to language of the Old Covenant. However, what he leaves out is that those verses are easily understood to mean those rudiments in the context of the language of the verses they are in. Conversely, the language in 2 Peter is that of a literal destruction of the world and heavens. The original language actually confirms this, as you will see.
The author conspicuously leaves out the word in these verses for “heavens.” That word is οὐρανός – ouranos Thayer Definition: 1) the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it; 1a) the universe, the world; 1b) the aerial heavens or sky, the region where the clouds and the tempests gather, and where thunder and lightning are produced; 1c) the sidereal or starry heavens; 2) the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings.
Notice that there is no other definition for this word meaning anything other than the physical heavens, sky, etc. This is important to understand as it does not allow the narrative presented by the author to be true. Moreover, it reveals that the author left out the meanings of the word stoicheion that mean: 1b) the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe; 1c) the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens or (as others think) because in them the elements of man, life and destiny were supposed to reside.
When seeing the word for heavens only having one meaning of the physical cosmos in conjunction with the meaning of elements that are similar, it is simply error to assign the meaning of rudiments of the law to elements in 2 Peter. Next, the author makes an even more obvious manipulative assertion. “The Bible elsewhere anticipates a never-ending earth (Ecclesiastes 1:4; Psalm 78:69; 104:5; 148:3-6; Ephesians 3:21), and that God would never again strike down every living creature (Genesis 8:21; 9:11).”
Not only does the author take these verses out of context, but he ignores Jesus’ words to the opposite. For example: “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:18) The earth will certainly be destroyed. This is why Jesus tells us to store up our treasures in heaven and not on earth (Matthew 6:19-20).
Now let’s turn to probably the worst manipulation of them all. I have no other option than to simply call this one blatantly deceitful. The author writes: “The Greek word for “burned up” is KATAKAIO, which is rendered in various translations as “exposed,” “found to deserve judgment,” or “laid bare.”
The problem is that the word κατακαίω – katakaiō doesn’t mean that at all. In fact, there is no version of the word that means anything other than “to burn up, consume by fire.” Even if the author is attempting to apply a figurative meaning to the meaning of the word, he made a blatantly and verifiably false statement of the definition. Admittedly, the author states that other "versions" translate it as “exposed,” “found to deserve judgment,” or “laid bare.” But, the issue is that the author is presenting himself as authoritative on the subject, and actually took the time to list the Greek definitions of the other words. Why did he not do the same here? I can only presume that it is because it would contradict his position.
We can continue on. The author states: “The “day as a thousand years” language (3:8) is often used to dismiss the numerous time-statements in the New Testament (“this generation,” “before some standing here taste death,” “soon,” “near,” “about to happen,” etc.). But “day as a thousand years” cannot be literal, otherwise it would be nonsense. Thus, it cannot mean that a short time means a long time. (Was Jesus in the tomb 3,000 years?) A “thousand” in the Bible is often used as a symbolic term of completeness.” However, once again, his assertion is in error.
The Old Testament refers to the Day of the Lord being near at hand in Isiah, Zephaniah, Joel. Other prophetic passages in Deuteronomy refer to removing Israel from the land “soon.” Daniel is given a prophecy of 70 weeks. Yet it is nearly universally understood that a week was actually 7 years, not days. So we can see from scripture that the language of time can be literal or not. I agree with the author that in 2 Peter 3 a thousand years is not literal. The passage doesn’t indicate that it is. The language actually suggests that God’s time is different than ours. A long time to us is but a flash in time to God. So, we cannot apply our understanding of time to God.
While we could continue, I believe enough error has been shown thus far to serve a s grave warning against the author and the false doctrine of preterism.