Lots of folks today want to preach fantasy eschatology, saying the sky is falling, namely, the universe is falling apart, or soon will in the not too distant future. Some try to support their worldview by pointing to 2Peter 3:7-12, saying that the heavens and the earth are destined to be destroyed by fire, wherein the elements will melt with fervent heat. I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but they seem to be trying to get me to believe that Peter was a scientist who knew of and used a scientific table of elements of sorts way back in the first century AD. I’m not certain how much science was understood back then, but I do know that Peter was a fisherman, and something seems fishy with the fantasy modern teachers want to pass off as the Biblical truth.
Peter mentions this was his second epistle that he had written to his readers (2Peter 3:1), and in both he wanted to stir up their minds by way of remembrance. Therefore, it seems to me, if both epistles speak of common matters, it would behoove the Bible student to go back into 1Peter to get a context of 2Peter’s eschatology. In doing so, one would find a theme of imminence or nearness of Jesus coming (1Peter 1:5-13; 2:12; 4:7, 17 and 5:1). Moreover, one would also discover the reason for Peter’s two epistles, which was to address the persecution occurring in Asia Minor. Peter claimed this persecution would take place for only “a little while” (1Peter 1:6) before they would be relieved and be vindicated by the coming of Christ (cf. 1Peter 2:12). I wish to consider this “little while” that Peter mentions.
The prophet, Haggai, makes mention of rebuilding the Temple that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed. In Haggai 2:3 the Temple was nearly finished, but it paled in comparison with Solomon’s Temple. However, Haggai said in verse-6 that “once more “in a little while” the Lord will shake heaven and earth, and the nations would bring their gold and silver in order to glorify his House (Haggai 2:7-8), and this did occur and the Temple was finished in a little while, or just a few years later.
John began his Gospel by saying the Word (the Logos) existed with God and as God in the beginning, presumably of creation (John 1:1). However, this same Word had become man during John’s lifetime and tabernacled with men. That is, the Tabernacle of God had been with men (John 1:14), a kind of precursor of Revelation 21:3. In the theme of being the Tabernacle and in the next chapter of John, Jesus cast out the money changers, who bought and sold in the Temple, and told his accusers, if they destroyed this Temple, he would build it again in three days. Nevertheless, he didn’t refer to the temple made with hands, but the Temple of his body (John 2:16-21).
Continuing in this theme, Jesus spoke to the woman of Samaria, who questioned him about the place (or temple) of worship, telling her that God is Spirit and seeks men willing to worship him in spirit and in truth (John 4:19-24). In other words, the Temple (i.e. the place of worship) is spiritual, not geocentric. This is also what we are told in Revelation 21:22. In other words, there would be no physical Temple in the New Jerusalem (the Kingdom of God), and its glory would be far greater than the glory of the former temple (cf. Haggai 2:9).
Later, Jesus told his disciples that he was going to the Father to prepare a place for them, and he would return and receive them (John 14 2-3), so they could be with him where he is (in glory). He continued in this theme of going away and returning in John 16:16-19, saying “in a little while” they wouldn’t see him, but in another “little while” they would see him, because he would go to be with the Father. Seven times in four verses he mentions this little while, not 2000 years, but a little while. In the interim Jesus’ disciples would be sad (John 16:20; 1Peter 1:6), but in a little while he would return, and they would rejoice (John 16:20; 1Peter 1:7).
After the little while Jesus and his Father would come to them and dwell with them (John 14:23). That is, the Tabernacle of God would be with men in greater glory than John 1:14, thus opening the way into the Most Holy Place (cf. Revelation 21:1-3, 22). However, before this would be possible (Hebrews 9:8), the writer of Hebrews warned believers against refusing or drawing back from Jesus who speaks (Hebrews 12:25-29; cf. 10:37-39; cf. Deuteronomy 18:15-19), because he, who shook the earth in the beginning (Exodus 19:18), has promised not only to shake the earth but heaven, as well (Hebrews 12:26; Haggai 2:6). Not only so, but the Greek verb in Hebrews 12:26 is in the present indicative, thus indicating the process of shaking was already taking place at the time of the author’s writing.
In other words, Jesus, the Messiah, was at that time shaking the heavens and the earth in order that what could be shaken would be removed (the Temple at Jerusalem) and what couldn’t be shaken would remain (the Kingdom of God; cf. Hebrews 12:27). This implies persecution, but it would take only a little while (1Peter 1:6), and in a very little while he would come (Hebrews 10:37) to receive the faithful, and punish the disobedient. At that time Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Temple would be burned, thus, removing what prevented entry into the Most Holy Place (cf. Hebrews 9:8).
Therefore, if the “shaking of the heavens and the earth” occurred in the first century AD (cf. Hebrews 9:8), by what authority must there be a third shaking? Thus, the “heavens and earth” that passed away was Jerusalem and the Temple, not the space time continuum preached by the modern prognosticators, who thus render 2Peter 3:10-13, and the “new heavens and the new earth” that cannot be moved is the Father and Jesus in the New Jerusalem (the Kingdom of God) who are the Temple therein. This occurred in 70 AD.