I came across these verses in the Book of Zephaniah:
“I will completely sweep away
everything from the face of the earth,”
declares the LORD.
“I will sweep away man and beast;
I will sweep away the birds of the air,
and the fish of the sea,
and the idols with their wicked worshipers.
I will cut off mankind
from the face of the earth,”
declares the LORD.
Taken in isolation, these verses can lead to some misunderstandings about the fate of the physical world and universe. By themselves, they can leave you with the impression that they describe a tragic end to all things. Instead, if you dig a little deeper, these verses lead to something quite remarkable!
First, let's begin by confirming these verses with other verses that say the same thing.
the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire... 2 Pet 3:7a
The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire... 2 Pet 3:10
That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 2 Pet 3:11
until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Matt 5:18
In the beginning You laid the foundations of the earth,
and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
They will perish, but You remain;
they will all wear out like a garment.
Like clothing you will change them
and they will be discarded.
It's important to remember that there is a purpose behind this destruction. And it relates to judgement.
the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 2 Pet 3:7
And when does this judgement occur?
When the thousand years are over... I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from His presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne. And there were open books, and one of them was the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their deeds, as recorded in the books. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire.
But following this judgement comes renewal.
See, I will create
new heavens and a new earth.
The former things will not be remembered,
nor will they come to mind.
But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. 2 Pet 3:13
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying:
“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man,
and He will dwell with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them as their God.
‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes,’
and there will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain,
for the former things have passed away.”
And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are faithful and true.” And He told me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give freely from the spring of the water of life. The one who overcomes will inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son.