EARTH
All Bible quotes are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.

 

From the beginning God intended for the Earth to be filled with people (Isaiah 45:18, Genesis 1:27-28, 9:1,7). Mankind is intended to be the custodians of the Earth and it's inhabitants (Genesis 1:26, Genesis 9:2). Scripture tells us that God's plans never fail (Isaiah 55:8-11, 1 Peter 1:25) There is no mention of death and an eventual life in a separate heavenly realm as the original plan for our existence. Death was only installed as a consequence for sin (Genesis 2:17, Genesis 3:3, Romans 5:12, 6:23).

EARTH'S PERMANENCE

In order for mankind to reside forever on the Earth this would require the Earth to exist forever, and the Bible does say that the Earth will exist forever (Ecclesiastes 1:4, Psalms 37:29, Psalms 104:5). However, many interpret the Bible as saying the Earth will be incinerated by God, quoting from 2 Peter 3:10, which says:

2 Peter 3:10

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.

What are we to make of this?

EARTH BURNED UP?

If you compare various translations of this Scripture, some translations will say the Earth will be “burnt up” (American Standard Version, New American Standard Version, Amplified Bible, Young's Literal Translation, Darby Translation), others say it will be “laid bare”, (New International Version) and yet others say it will be “exposed” or “discovered” (The Message, Holman Christian Standard Bible, New Living Translation, English Standard Version, Contemporary English Version). Since this verse is translated in a variety of ways we need to investigate the original wording of the Scripture by using an Interlinear Bible.

The interlinear text of this Scripture shows the original Greek wording used was "The land... shall be found." The Greek word for "found" is "heurisko". According to Strong's Greek Lexicon the word "heurisko", is defined as follows:

Word #2147 heurisko hyoo-ris'-ko, a prolonged form of a primary heuro hyoo'-ro, which (together with another cognate form) heureo hyoo-reh'-o is used for it in all the tenses except the present and imperfect to find (literally or figuratively):--find, get, obtain, perceive, see.

Clearly, the idea of the Earth being “laid bare” or “exposed” is the correct translation instead of the "burned up" doctrine, according to this original Greek word. However, some readers continue to hold to the "burned up" doctrine because the verse also states "and the elements shall melt with fervent heat...."

Again, if you look to the interlinear, you will see that the Greek word translated as "elements" was the word "stoicheia", derived from the word "stoicheion". Looking to the Strong's Greek Lexicon, we see these definitions:

Word #4747. stoicheion stoy-khi'-on neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of 4748; something orderly in arrangement, i.e. (by implication) a serial (basal, fundamental, initial) constituent (literally), proposition (figuratively):--element, principle, rudiment.

Word #4748. stoicheo stoy-kheh'-o from a derivative of steicho (to range in regular line); to march in (military) rank (keep step), i.e. (figuratively) to conform to virtue and piety:--walk (orderly).

As you know, it is impossible to physically burn away mental concepts such as “conformity” and “piety”. It seems, instead, this passage is telling us that all pretense and conformity will be done away with, exposing the true worshipers from the counterfeit worshipers. Putting these definitions together, we see the passage is originally telling us:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the [conformity/piety] shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the Earth and the works that are therein shall be [seen].

Many continue to point to the part that says "shall pass away..." believing this still supports a doctrine of global destruction. Again, consulting the interlinear, the Greek word for "shall pass away" is "parerchomai". According to the Strong's lexicon, this word is defined as:

Word #3928 parerchomai par-er'-khom-ahee from 3844 and 2064; to come near or aside, i.e. to approach (arrive), go by (or away), (figuratively) perish or neglect, (causative) avert:--come (forth), go, pass (away, by, over), past, transgress.

Therefore, we see that the phrase "pass away" isn't in reference to destruction; it is in reference to passing by, coming near or approaching. This is the same exact Greek word used at Matthew 24:35 ("Heaven and Earth shall pass away...") and thus the same applies there as well.

REVELATION'S PASSAGES

Lastly, some will point to the Scriptures at Revelation Chapter 8, which speaks of a disaster of fire and of a burning mountain falling to Earth. Let's take a look at what is said:

1 -- Revelation 8:7 tells us that only 1/3 of the Earth will be plagued with fire. That leaves a majority of 2/3 left. Note, this also specifies only 1/3 of the dirt, plants and vegetation are burned up; although this is tragic, this is not total annihilation; 2/3 of the dirt and plants remain, and no destruction is caused upon the animals or humans.

2 -- Although other verses in Revelation 8 speak of a fiery mountain being thrown to Earth (vs. 8), and a burning star falling to Earth (vs. 10), these are not spoken of as burning anything on the Earth; instead they cause other plagues (the sea turning into blood, and fresh water becoming poisonous). Going back to vs. 5 it says a censer with fire is hurled to Earth, from which the online interlinear Bible says the fiery censer became thunders and sounds and lightnings and quakes. Again, no mention of this incinerating the Earth.

CLOSING COMMENTS

As we can see, original Scripture meaning does not say the Earth is going to be destroyed by global fire. To teach the Earth will be globally incinerated goes against all the other Scriptures which say the Earth will stand forever (Psalms 104:5, 119:90, Ecclesiastes 1:4), and that God never had the idea of burning people alive come into His heart (Jeremiah 7:31, 19:5, 32:35). It also goes against the Scripture in which God Himself states He would never destroy the surface of the Earth again on account of humanity and that the Earth will continue forever (Genesis 8:21-22). Since God cannot lie (Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18), and His word always come true (Isaiah 55:8-11), we can be assured that global incineration is not in God's plan for the Earth.


 


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