THE THREE WORLDS
2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
In an attempt to “stir up our pure minds by way of remembrance,” the Apostle Peter brings forth the awareness to believers of the different worlds that have been in existence. Thus he wards off the willful ignorance that blankets the hearts and minds of scoffers and mockers of this last day, who deny the presence and existence of God. Therefore he first lists the created world of Adam as the heavens of old and the earth standing out of the water. Secondly he states that the flood of Noah caused “the heavens and earth which are now” to exist and to be “kept in store” by the same sovereign word of God.
And then he brings a third world to our attention. For in verse thirteen he speaks of “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” And it is that world wherein there is little understanding. For we are prone to place that world exclusively to begin in the coming of the eternal ages. For although it shall endure throughout eternity, as Daniel informs us, it has its beginning when “righteousness,” and not glory, has its beginning! Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.
And righteousness began to be provided with the imputation of our sin upon the Lord Jesus, and therefore God’s righteousness imputed unto us! 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
The religious ruler, Nicodemus, was rebuked by the Lord Jesus Christ for not being able to “see” this kingdom of righteousness. John 3:9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? The issue with Nicodemus was his inability to perceive the new birth, which alone provides sight and entrance into this third world. John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
The Lord Jesus was fully expecting such a studied, religious ruler to know of this kingdom and the new birth in the same way the Apostle Peter requires us here to be mindful. 2 Peter 3:2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: As our Lord expected Nicodemus to know of this third world with nothing but the Old Testament for his instruction, so Peter refers us to the same!
For he states that the holy prophets did leave us their spoken words concerning these matters. Isaiah 65:17 For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
Isaiah 66:20 And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the LORD out of all nations upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the LORD, as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the LORD. 21 And I will also take of them for priests and for Levites, saith the LORD. 22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.
For out of every kindred and nation and language shall come to this new, heavenly kingdom those bringing spiritual sacrifices in newly cleansed, blood-washed vessels to worship God in spirit and truth. For the Father seeketh such to worship him! Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Revelation 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
John 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
This third world is a gospel kingdom under the spiritual and sovereign authority of King Jesus! Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
And just how did the true Israelite view this world? Is there any record of any reference to this world in their thought? In answering that question let us first be reminded that the Old Economy of the law was greatly attended by the angelic forces. Galatians 3:19 ¶ Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. Acts 7:52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. And let us then be reminded that the Hebrew Writer spends the first two chapters addressing the difference in the New Covenant now governed by the very Son of God, and not the angels. Carefully consider but these few verses:
Hebrews 1:1 ¶ God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; 4 ¶ Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. 5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him. 7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. 8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Now let us see how the Hebrew Writer does address this matter. Hebrews 2:5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him? 7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
He clearly states that, contrary to the governing of the era of the law by the hands of angels, he has not done so in “the world to come!” For it is brought forth and governed by the Holy Spirit! That is the third world of which Peter calls the world wherein dwelleth righteousness! For no angel has ever entered into the realm of righteousness! No righteousness is provided either TO or BY them! This realm of righteousness is provided and controlled by the Sun of Righteousness – the Lord Jesus Christ! Malachi 4:2 But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness (Christ) arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. Hebrews 1:8: But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
And yet there is another verse to which this third world is referenced by the Hebrew Writer. Hebrews 6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, In this passage of Hebrews 6:4-6 we find that those Jews who were but emotionally excited by the events of Christ’s many miracles (see John 2:23 – 3:2), and the amazing events of the day of Pentecost, but did not spiritually embrace Jesus of Nazareth as very God – failing of fully believe on Him as their Messiah – are said to only have “tasted” of the powers of this third world of the kingdom of grace. And not having come to continuously eat his flesh and drink his blood for their continued spiritual nourishment, (John 6:54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.), are then impossible to be renewed to a genuine repentance again! For in order to do so would require the Son of God to be crucified “afresh!”
And that is never going to happen! For this he did only once! Hebrews 7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
For the true spiritual church is not to be identified by location, but by their spiritual appetite and sustenance! Matthew 24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Therefore those who are satisfied with but a “taste” of “the powers of world to come” can never be brought back to a true, genuine repentance!
Peter and the other disciples were taught to pray, “Thy kingdom come.” Therefore he states, “we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” But we read in Luke 17:20 and 21: And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you. It was near at hand!
This world wherein dwelleth righteousness is entered by faith! Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. 4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 4:20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
John 3:3 Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Hebrews 11:1 ¶ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Pastor Gene Breed
June 25, 2022