Passing Away 1
Matthew 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33– “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
2 Peter 3:6 – “The world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”
2 Peter 3:10 – “The heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.”
Revelation 6:14 and 16:20 – And every island and mountain was removed and disappeared; and was not found.
Revelation 20:11 – “Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. Earth and sky ran away from him and disappeared.”
When many hear these words: “The heavens and the earth shall pass away,” the image that comes to mind is the Star Wars image of the Death Star blowing up the planet Alderaan, or the Star Trek images of Romulus being destroyed by a pulsar star or of Vulcan blowing up by a black hole initiated by the red matter. Others believe that the planet will be burned to a crisp, leaving nothing left. But are any of these proper images to behold? Scripture says differently – planet Earth is not going to be blown up or disappear!
Lets Examine First The Elements
2 Peter 3:10 – “The elements will be dissolved with fire, and everything will be disclosed.”
Elements is the Greek word: stoicheion [στοιχεῖον G4747]. It comes from the root word: stoichos [στοῖχος] and means: something orderly in arrangement, one of a row, hence a letter (of the alphabet), by extension the elements of knowledge. In other words, the elemental things, or elementary principles, the rudimentary teachings – not the elements of the Periodic Tables or the planet itself!
The Earth is Established Forever and Forever
According to the Bible, the cosmos, the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, and the seas are established forever:
Genesis 9:16 – “When the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and I will remember the agreement that continues forever between me and every living thing on the earth.”
Exodus 31:17 – “The Sabbath day will be a sign between me and the Israelites forever.”
Psalm 78:69 – “Yahweh built His sanctuary like the mountain heights, like the earth which is built to last forever.”
Psalm 104:5 – “Yahweh laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever and forever.”
Psalm 148:3-6 – The sun, moon, and stars will not pass away. They are established forever.
Isaiah 60:21 – “All of your people will do what is right. They will receive the earth forever.”
Isaiah 65:17 – “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.”
Isaiah 66:22 – “I will make new heavens and the new earth, which will last forever.”
Ecclesiastes 1:4 – “A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.”
Revelation 5:13 – “Then I heard all creatures in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea saying: ‘To the One who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever’.”
Jack Van Impe has studied this very thoroughly and has noted over 100 scriptures that state this fact.
The Glory And Reign Of Yahweh Is Forever:
Psalm 72:19 – The glory of Yahweh fills the earth forever.
Psalm 136:6 – Yahweh spreads out the earth and his steadfast love endures forever.
Psalm 146:6-10 – Heaven, earth, and seas will not pass away. They are established for Yahweh to reign over forever.
Israel And The Righteous Reign Forever:
Psalm 37:29 – “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.”
Jeremiah 31:27-37 – Eternal Israel is also predicated upon the sun, moon, and stars being eternally solid.
Revelation 5:10-13 and 10:6-7 – Kings, priests, angels, all creation shouts with a loud voice to honor Yeshua who reigns from his throne in Jerusalem and has dominion forever and ever over the heaven, the earth, and the sea.
Heavens and Earth – Hebrew Idioms for Nations and Peoples:
If the heavens and earth are not going to be blown up Star Wars style, then what do these words stand for. In Bible language, the first usages of “heavens” refers to governments and rulers, and “earth” refers to the nation or people. This is a Hebrew idiom that we must be aware of when we interpret scripture. Strong’s, Thayer’s, Webster’s won’t help us – they only define words, not idioms.
• Isaiah 1:2 – Yahweh proclaims: “Hear me you heavens, listen you earth: for I have spoken, and I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.”
To whom is He speaking when He addresses, “you heavens” and “you earth”? Yahweh is talking to Israel. This clearly shows that “heavens and earth” are symbolical language for Israel.
• In Isaiah 51:13 Yahweh said that He had “stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth.”
Once again, is Yahweh speaking here of the literal heavens and earth?
• Isaiah 51:16: “And I have put my words in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.”
Again, heavens and earth are symbolical language for Israel!
• In Isaiah 24 Yahweh promises judgment on Israel through the Assyrians. But Israel is spoken of as the “earth” Read in particular verses 1 and 19-20: “Behold, Yahweh makes the earth empty, and makes it waste, and turns it upside down, and scatters abroad the inhabitants thereof.” “The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly.” Again, referring to Israel.
• And in Isaiah 34:4-5 Yahweh said that “all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falls off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.” Again, referring to Israel.
• In Jeremiah 22:29 Yahweh says, “0 earth, hear the word of the Lord.” And in verses 1, 11, 18 and 24 we had read that the words were for the people of Judah, about the time when they would be taken “into the land of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon” (vs. 25). And in Jeremiah 51:48 the heavens and earth rejoice upon Babylon’s destruction by a nation from the north. It was not the whole physical Earth Yahweh was talking to, but the people.
• In Deuteronomy 32:1, in the song of Moses, Yahweh is talking to Israel when He says: “Give ear, 0 ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, 0 earth, the words of my mouth” Verse 22, says: “For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” When Israel is finally destroyed, it is as though heaven and earth are burned up. Again, Yahweh is depicting the fate of Israel.
• In 1 Chronicles 16:31Yahweh is again talking to Israel when He says: “Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; and let them say among the nations, ‘Yahweh reigns’.”
• And in Isaiah 44:24-28 all the heavens and earth are to “shout joyfully” when Jacob (Israel) is redeemed. Not only are the Jews to rejoice, but all nations (the trees). This same theme is repeated in Isaiah 49:13.
• In Haggai 2:6-7 Yahweh again says that Israel will be shaken, and not just Israel, but all the nations: “For thus says Yahweh; ‘Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory’.” This theme of shaking is repeated in Haggai 2:21.
• In Psalm 57:9-11 David is giving praise amongst the peoples and the nations, saying “Yahweh, Be exalted above both!”
See also Ezra 5:11, Nehemiah 9:11, Psalm 8, Psalm 89, and Joel 3:16; Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22 (new heavens and earth); Jeremiah 4 speaks of a time when the heavens and earth (Israel) becoming a desolation.
• In Matthew 5:18 the destruction of heaven and earth refers not to the physical universe, but rather it relates to the final passing of the disobedient nation of Israel. All would be fulfilled, every jot and tittle, when heaven and earth passed away.
• In Matthew 24:35 Yeshua is talking about the passing away of Israel when He speaks of heaven and earth passing away. This is what the entire 24th chapter of Matthew is about – the passing away of old Israel. And then there will be a new Israel – a new heavens and earth.
• In Ephesians 6:12 Paul continues this theme, saying “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
• In Revelation 20:11-12 scripture speaks of all unbelieving rulers and nations fleeing from His presence, but it doesn’t work. The dead, the great and the small are all resurrected and brought before the Great White Throne for judgment – “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.”
Heavens and Earth – Hebrew Idioms for The Veil
2 Samuel 22:10 – “He bowed the heavens, and came down. . .”
Revelation 6:14 – “The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
2 Peter 3:10 – “But the day of Yahweh will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.”
Isaiah 34:4 – “And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree.”
Isaiah 51:6 – “Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look at the earth beneath; for the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment, and those who live on it will die like gnats; but my salvation will be forever, and my deliverance will never be ended.”
• Ezekiel and Daniel saw the heavens opened:
Ezekiel 1:1 – “Now it came about in the thirtieth year, on the fifth day of the fourth month, while I was by the river Chebar among the exiles, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of Yahweh.”
Daniel 7:13 – “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.”
• Yeshua after baptism – heaven opens and a voice is heard:
Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21 – “After being baptized, Yeshua came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of Yahweh descending as a dove and lighting on Him.”
• John sees the heavens opened:
Revelation 4:1 – “After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things’.”
• Stephen sees the heavens opened:
Acts 7:56 – “And Stephen said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of Yahweh’.”
• The heavens are rolled up like a scroll!
Isaiah 64:1 – “Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down, That the mountains might quake at Your presence.”
• Everybody sees Yeshua returning:
John 1:51 – “And Yeshua said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of Yahweh ascending and descending on the Son of Man’ .”
Revelation 11:19 – “And the temple of Yahweh which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.”
Revelation 15:5 – “After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened.”
Revelation 19:11 – “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.”
The Heavens Are The Veil That Separates The Home Of Yahweh From Our Home!
The veil in the Temple was a picture of things to come: i.e. the real veil being rolled (torn) up when Yeshua returns. The Bible tells us that the heavens and earth pass away when Yeshua returns – at the final moments of the Day of the Lord. But it isn’t the planet, it’s the veil that separates Heaven (Yahweh’s Home) from the Earth (the Planet).
Scripture tells us that planet Earth is established forever! The planet is not blown up like Alderaan by the Death Star! In the Older Covenant, heavens and earth were idioms for Israel, its rulers, and its people. Additional revelation in the Newer Covenant expanded the meaning of these words to include the veil that currently exists between Heaven (Yahweh’s home) and Earth (Our planet). The new heavens have no veil. We will look more closely at more of these idioms and images next week.
Prophecy continues to unfold as foretold by the Hebrew prophets. They do so using many Hebrew idioms. Yeshua Ha’Mashiach is coming soon – get busy reaching the lost.