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2 Peter 3:13

ESV But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
NIV But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
NASB But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
CSB But based on his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
NLT But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.
KJV Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

What does 2 Peter 3:13 mean?

In contrast to the message of the false teachers, Peter has both assured and warned his readers that Christ will return in God's perfect time. God will judge the sins of humanity with fire which consumes the heavens—or "sky"—and the elements—or "heavenly bodies." Verses 11 and 12 gave a more detailed description of these events.

As it turns out, destruction in judgment is not the only prophecy to be fulfilled. God has also promised a new heaven and a new earth for His children, a place we already look forward to and long for. In contrast to this present world, that new one will be a place where righteousness lives forever in the form of God Himself (Revelation 21:1–4).

Does Peter mean that our current heavens and earth will be completely destroyed and replaced with a brand new planet or perhaps a whole new universe? Or is he saying that God will purify our current heavens and earth with fire, creating a new world on the same planet after all the unrighteousness has been burned away from this one? Theologians and scholars have differed on that point for hundreds of years.

In truth, it's difficult for us to know exactly what God's fiery judgment or the new heavens and earth will be like. What does seem clear is that the judgment will be terrible and final and that the new earth and heavens will be a real, physical place where God Himself lives with us.

The apostle John confirms Peter's prophecy in Revelation 21:1–5, including these hopeful words: "God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."
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