John 14 records the words of Jesus as He comforts His disciples in view of His soon departure to return to the Father. He assures them that His leaving will really be advantageous to them. He informs them that He is going to prepare a place for them. Jesus then gives them the most wonderful news. He says, And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. [John 14:3] What a glorious promise! If I had no other reason to believe in the Return of Christ, this one promise from our Lord would be sufficient. Jesus will Return because He said He would. That is good enough for me.
To many however this presents a bit of a quandary. We are approximately two-thousand years into the Church Age. This Dispensation of Grace, to date, has been the longest of the Dispensations. And still, our Lord Jesus Christ has not Returned. Has He forgotten His promise? Not hardly. Is He just being slow in fulfilling His Word? Absolutely not. Yet, He waits. What is the Lord’s method in all of this? The Apostle Peter addressed himself to this very question in his second epistle.
He said, The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. [2 Pet. 3:9 NASB] I’m glad He is patient toward us, aren’t you? He delays His Coming, for one reason, because He wants more people to repent. He doesn’t want anyone to perish.
Many however don’t recognize the Lord’s patience. They just view any mention of the Return of the Lord with disdain. Peter referred to them as “mockers” or “scoffers.” Those who stand behind pulpits, or come on television, or write books denying or mocking the idea of the Second Coming of Christ are in reality themselves fulfilling Bible Prophecy. Peter said earlier in this same second epistle, Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” [2 Pet. 3:3, 4 NASB] While it is true the mockers will say this, is what they are saying true? Absolutely not. Peter’s explanation of the error of the mockers gives us additional insight into the Pre-Adamite world we have been talking about.
Peter continues, For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which 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. 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 Pet. 3:5 – 7 NASB] This passage gives us, as I mentioned earlier, additional insight into the original creation, and the original earth.
I submit to you that the, “world at that time”, and the “present heavens and earth” are two different entities. The first refers to the original earth. This is the earth referred to in Genesis 1:1. We don’t know how long ago it was created. It could have been millions, or even billions of years ago. We do know however, how it was destroyed. It was flooded with water. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter lets us in on that fact. On this point there is a difference of opinion among sincere brethren. One school of thought says Peter refers to Noah’s flood. The other, which I subscribe to, says this flood that destroyed the original earth was the result of a judgment that came on the pre-Adamite world, most likely associated with the rebellion and fall of Lucifer. So in essence, this would not be Noah’s flood, but rather Lucifer’s flood. This is what caused the original earth to be in the condition we find it in, in Genesis 1:2. Why do I and others come to the conclusion that this flood was not Noah’s flood?
There are several reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the world of Noah’s time was not “destroyed”, nor did it “perish.” The word translated, “destroyed” in the New American Standard Bible is the Greek word, apollumi. This word means, “To put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to ruin, render useless, to be lost, ruined, destroyed.” [Thayer] Strong defines it, “To destroy fully.” [Strong’s G622] The world of Noah’s day was flooded, but it was not destroyed. The original earth however was destroyed as a result of the flood that came upon it.
This flood must have been truly cataclysmic. In fact, the Prophet Jeremiah gives us a perfect description of the chaotic earth in Jeremiah 4:23 – 26, I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger. [Jer. 4:23 – 26 KJV] God’s purpose in showing Jeremiah this was to show him that even though Israel would be desolate due to rebellion, it would not be destroyed as was the earth in it’s chaotic state.
Notice please the phrase, without form and void here. It is the Hebrew, Tohu Va Bohu. This same phrase is used identically in Genesis 1:2. From the outset we can state unequivocally that both words, tohu and bohu, whether occurring together or separately, are used throughout the Bible to describe something under the judgment of God. Tohu is used of something that has been laid waste (Isa. 24:10, 34:11, Jer. 4:23) or has become a desert (Deut. 32:10) or is idolatrous and therefore displeasing to God (Isa. 41:29). With the Hebrew preposition lamedth it becomes an adverb (Isa. 49:4) and means “wastefully” or “in vain.” In Isaiah 45:18, which we have already considered, the Prophet stated specifically that God did not create the earth in a state of, tohu.
Whether we interpret the tohu of this passage to mean simply “a desolation”, or to mean “in vain” is of little importance, the suggestion is the same. The original earth was not created in a state of chaos, but a state of perfection, which passed into chaos or became chaotic. We have already discussed in some detail what caused this to occur. However, I want to point out Jeremiah’s description of the original earth. He said,
- There were mountains and hills (Vs. 24);
- There were fruitful places, gardens, etc. (Vs. 26);
- There were cities (Vs. 26);
- There were birds, animals, etc. (Vs. 25);
- There were men who lived in the cities; but these cities were broken down; all vegetation, men, and animals were totally destroyed by the Presence of the Lord and by His fierce anger (Vs. 25);
- The Earth had become tohu va bohu (Vs. 23); and,
- The heavens were withholding their light (Vs. 23).
This gives us a panoramic view of the Chaotic Earth described in Genesis 1:2 and explains why “darkness covered the face of the deep.” Jeremiah stated that the mountains and hills of the original earth were shaken with an earthquake, which no doubt caused the remains of animals, dinosaurs, pre-historic men, etc., to be deposited in the depths of the earth beneath many layers of solid rock, such as are now being found by scientists and archaeologists.
The Earth has passed through three phases. First, there was the original earth that was destroyed by water. Then there was the chaotic earth that we find in Genesis 1:2. Then there is the present earth, which was re-ordered and brought back to a habitable state beginning in Genesis 1:3. This was done in six, literal 24-hour days; about six-thousand years ago.
I want to take a look at the restoration (not creation) of the present earth next time.
Plan to join me.