“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 NKJV
This verse uses an interesting phrase, “The Day of the Lord”. What is Peter referring to? Is this a date on the ancient Jewish calendar?
This phrase is found in several of the Old Testament prophecies looking forward to a time of God’s judgment on evil. Malachi 4:1-3, Isaiah 13:6-9, and Zechariah 14:1-21 are some of the references that talk about a time when God would pronounce judgement on evil and restore justice and peace. It is rightly referred to as a “great and terrible day”.
This day is not only one event, throughout history we see several times where God judged the earth with a flood or a city such as Jerusalem with destruction. Not all the events happened in one day, but rather were spread over weeks or even years.
New Testament writers add a phrase that Jesus gave in speaking of a coming “day”: “as a thief in the night”. When did you hear of a thief scheduling his visit? Never. Their visits are a surprise, thieves will go to your house when you least expect it.
What does one do with the knowledge that there is a day coming where wrongs will be repaid in full? First, you prepare. Peter goes on to ask, “What manner of persons ought you to be?” We are to be steadfast, and to keep growing. Each day that goes by should leave us a bit more prepared for Christ’s return.