No Reminders or Artifacts of Present Earth

However, the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements with intense heat will be dissolved, and the earth and its works will [not] be found. (2Pet. 3.10 my translation.)

The primary translation decision of 2Pet. 3.10 involved how to interpret the last clause: the earth and its works will be found. The verb “found” does not have the negation but it can be understood from the context of what the author is saying. He is clearly not saying that the earth is being founded but destroyed. Not all languages express negation in the same way and, I believe, the author is letting the adjacent context provide the negation.

Alternatively, some translate the word “exposed” probably with the idea of “being found out.” If this is the idea that Peter intended to convey, it would coincide with what Paul said in 1Cor. 4.5: Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God (ESV). On balance, however, Peter’s focus is on the material universe and is not speaking of secrets but physical matter of heaven and earth. Therefore, the negation seems the better choice.

If Simon Peter had said “the whole will be destroyed,” he is saying something different than what we have in the text. The impression left in the readers’ mind when focusing on the whole, is that a possibility of salvaged parts could result and thus what is being destroyed is not total. However, if the focus is on all the parts being destroyed, then it is more obvious that the whole is thoroughly annihilated. This is what Peter was speaking about and is explicit in Daniel 2.35a: Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found (ESV). What I am not saying is that the gold and other mentioned elements in Daniel are the same elements about which Peter speaks. Peter speaks of the material universe while Daniel speaks about kingdoms of men and their potency throughout history. When Christ sets up His kingdom not a trace of former human activity will remain. This seems to be the essence of what Simon Peter is saying. Nothing will remain of that former time to remind us of it.

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