On that day, He will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames. 2 Pet 3:12
During the snack break at the monthly Men’s Fellowship, one of the men called a few others to come see his new car in the parking lot. It was a mild summer evening with lots of light remaining. And there it was, a beautiful, silver Mercedes sedan, fresh from the showroom floor.
The men ooed and ahhed accordingly, looking over every detail, taking in the engineering marvel so sleek, shiny and magnificent. All of the men save one. Terrence seemed indifferent. He tried not to stand out. He didn’t want to ruin the moment. Too late!
The car’s owner asked, “Ok, Terrence, what’s the problem? Do I see a little jealousy or envy creeping in? I’m not bragging, you know. I’m just happy about the new car. I think you would be too if you were honest!”
Tension was filling the summer air now as the men waited for Terrence’s reply. And then it came. “I didn’t want to have this conversation right now, Todd but if you insist, and it seems you have, I’ll tell you what I was thinking.
“I’ve had a few new cars in my life and houses for that matter. I loved each of them…maybe a little too much considering what the Bible says about having idols instead of God and loving things instead of people. I always felt exactly as you do right now, Todd, I loved and admired my purchases. I wanted everyone to enjoy them with me. I felt special when I parked my car and people seemed to stare. I was taking it all in; Until one particular day.
“I was talking with a friend who never seemed to care about having new cars or houses. He was a solid Christian and I’d learned to really appreciate his solid Christ-like attitude. Just being around him caused me to examine my own walk with the Lord.
“We were talking about buying something when he said, ‘Since the Bible says it’s all going to burn one day, you could say we are just painting the firewood when we continue to focus on buying more things!’”
“That was a moment of truth for me. I visualized the earth and the heavens burning in a colossal fireball with all our “things” just adding to the fire. I finally had the right perspective about stuff, about owning more and better things…about painting the firewood, waiting for the great Biblical fireball to occur. I’ve seldom looked at owning newer and better or, for that matter, more things since then. I was set free!
“Of course I still get that glazed look from time to time when I see something amazing…like your new car. But I bring myself back to God’s reality and refuse to get all worked up about owning more stuff. I didn’t want to insult you, Todd but that is how I now live my life now—a little less firewood painting. By the way, another friend calls it, polishing the firewood. So, whichever mental picture works best for you, give it a try.”
2 Peter 3:10-13 The day of the Lord is surely coming, as unexpectedly as a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the heavenly bodies will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be burned up.
And so since everything around us is going to melt away, what holy, godly lives we should be living! You should look forward to that day and hurry it along—the day when God will set the heavens on fire, and the heavenly bodies will melt and disappear in flames. But we are looking forward to God’s promise of new heavens and a new earth afterwards, where there will be only goodness.
Isaiah 65:17 The Lord says, “I am making a new earth and new heavens. The events of the past will be completely forgotten.”
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished.
1 Thess. 4:15-18 I can tell you this directly from the Lord: that we who are still living when the Lord returns will not rise to meet him ahead of those who are in their graves. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a mighty shout and with the soul-stirring cry of the archangel and the great trumpet-call of God. And the believers who are dead will be the first to rise to meet the Lord. Then we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air and remain with him forever. So comfort and encourage each other with this news.
1 Thess. 5:1-2 When is all this going to happen? I really don’t need to say anything about that, dear brothers, for you know perfectly well that no one knows. That day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.