Sermon Illustrations

“Kenneth Wuest gives an accurate and graphic translation of these words: “In which the heavens with a rushing noise will be dissolved, and the elements being scorched will be dissolved, and the earth also and the works in it will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10).

Many Bible students believe that Peter here described the action of atomic energy being released by God. The word translated a great noise in the King James Version means “with a hissing and a crackling sound.” When the atomic bomb was tested in the Nevada desert, more than one reporter said that the explosion gave forth “a whirring sound,” or a “crackling sound.” The Greek word Peter used was commonly used by the people for the whirring of a bird’s wings or the hissing of a snake.

“The word melt in 2 Peter 3:10 means “to disintegrate, to be dissolved.” It carries the idea of something being broken down into its basic elements, and that is what happens when atomic energy is released. “Heaven and earth shall pass away,” said our Lord (Matt. 24:35), and it appears that this may happen by the release of the atomic power stored in the elements that make up the world. The heavens and earth are “stored with fire” (2 Peter 3:7, WUEST), and only God can release it.

“For this reason, I do not personally believe that God will permit sinful men to engage in an earth-destroying atomic war. He will, I believe, overrule the ignorance and foolishness of men including well-meaning but unbelieving diplomats and politicians, so that He alone will have the privilege of “pushing the button” and dissolving the elements to make way for a new heaven and a new earth. Peter no doubt had in mind Old Testament passages such as Isaiah 13:10–11; 24:19; 34:4; and 64:1–4 when he wrote these words. The first passage is especially emphatic that God will bring judgment and not sinful man. “And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity,” says the Lord. It does not sound as though He will give this task to some nervous military leader or some angry politician.”

Wiersbe, W. W. 1996, c1989. The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire ’BE’ series"--Jkt. Victor Books: Wheaton, Ill.