Satan chained in prison in the Abyss

390AD "The Apostles' Creed" in communion with the 70-1070AD Millennium

The earliest known formulation of anything like what eventually came to be known around 390AD as the "Apostles' Creed" is the following:

Historic Christianity says Millennium began in 1st Century

I.   The consensus of global, historic Christianity from earliest times until today maintains that the Millennium, (Latin, "thousand years"), began somewhere in the first century AD, whether that was at:

70AD Fall of Jericho | Fall of Jerusalem

70AD: Comparing the Destruction of Jericho with the Destruction of Jerusalem
70AD: Destruction of Jericho | Destruction of Jerusalem

70-1070AD 2 Peter 3's "Day of the Lord" = "Thousand Years" of Revelation 20

It should be noted that, at the time of writing of both 2 Peter and Revelation around 62AD, the "Day of the Lord" and the "Thousand Years" were each regarded as events about to begin.  This rules against any theories of a Millennium that begins prior to 62AD. 





Revelation 20 and 2 Peter 3 are the Same Event.

1 Peter 1:1 church in asia
Rev 1:4 church in asia

1 Peter 2:9 made a preisthood
Rev 1:6, Rev 20:6 kingdom of priests

1 Peter 4:5 ready to judge living and the dead
Rev 11, and 20 judge the living and the dead

1 Peter 1:20 foundation of the world
Rev 13:8 foundation of the world

1 Peter 4:17 judge family of God
Rev 4 warnings against churches

1 Peter 5:13 Babylon
Rev 14, 16, 17, and 18 Babylon

1 Peter 5:8-10 resist Devil, suffer a little while
Rev 20:3 released for a short time

2 Peter 2:4 angels chains
Rev 20:1-3 chains

2 Peter 3:13 new heaven and new earth
Rev 20:11, Rev 21 heaven and earth flee, New heaven and earth

2 Peter 3:8 day a thousand years thousand years a day
Rev 20:2 thousand years

373-493AD Saint Patrick


Saint Patrick

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Saint Patrick

DiedMarch 17, AD 461 or AD 493
Venerated inRoman Catholicism, the Anglican Church of Ireland, the Lutheran Church and the Orthodox Church
Feast17 March (Saint Patrick's Day)
PatronageIreland, Nigeria, Montserrat,Engineers[1]
Saints Portal
For information about the holiday, see: Saint Patrick's Day
"St Patrick" redirects here, for other uses, see St. Patrick's.

Saint Patrick (Latin: Patricius[2], Irish: Naomh Pádraig) was a Christian missionary and is the patron saint of Ireland along with Brigid of Kildare and Columba. Patrick was born in Roman Britain. When he was about sixteen he was captured by Irish raiders and taken as a slave to Ireland, where he lived for six years before escaping and returning to his family. He entered the church, as his father and grandfather had before him, becoming a deacon and a bishop. He later returned to Ireland as a missionary, working in the north and west of the island, but little is known about the places where he actually worked and no link can be made with Patrick and any church. By the eighth century he had become the patron saint of Ireland. The Irish monastery system evolved after the time of Patrick and the Irish church did not develop the diocesan model that Patrick and the other early missionaries had tried to establish.

The available body of evidence does not allow the dates of Patrick's life to be fixed with certainty, but it appears that he was active as a missionary in Ireland during the second half of the fifth century. Two letters from him survive, along with later hagiographies from the seventh century onwards. Many of these works cannot be taken as authentic traditions. Uncritical acceptance of the Annals of Ulster (see below) would imply that he lived from 373 to 493, and ministered in northern Ireland from 433 onwards.



[edit] Background

Most modern studies of Saint Patrick follow a variant of T. F. O'Rahilly's "Two Patricks" theory. That is to say, many of the traditions later attached to Saint Patrick originally concerned Palladius, a deacon from Gaul who came to Ireland, perhaps sent by Pope Celestine I (died 431). Palladius was not the only early cleric in Ireland at this time. Saints Auxilius, Secundinus and Iserninus are associated with early churches in Munster and Leinster. By this reading, Palladius was active in Ireland until the 460s.[3]

Prosper of Aquitaine's contemporary chronicle states:

Palladius was ordained by Pope Celestine and sent to the Irish believers in Christ as their first bishop.[4]

Prosper associates this with the visits of Germanus of Auxerre to Britain to suppress the Pelagian heresy and it has been suggested that Palladius and his colleagues were sent to Ireland to ensure that exiled Pelagians did not establish themselves among the Irish Christians. The appointment of Palladius and his fellow-bishops was not obviously a mission to convert the Irish, but more probably intended to minister to existing Christian communities in Ireland.[5] The sites of churches associated with Palladius and his colleagues are close to royal centres of the period: Secundus is remembered by Dunshaughlin, County Meath, close to the Hill of Tara which is associated with the High King of Ireland; Kilashee, County Kildare, close to Naas with links with the Kings of Leinster, is probably named for Auxilius. This activity was limited to the southern half of Ireland, and there is no evidence for them in Ulster or Connacht.[6]

Although the evidence for contacts with Gaul is clear, the borrowings from Latin into the Old Irish language show that links with former Roman Britain were many.[7] Saint Iserninus, who appears to be of the generation of Palladius, is thought to have been a Briton, and is associated with the lands of the Uí Cheinnselaig in Leinster. The Palladian mission should not be contrasted with later "British" missions, but forms a part of them.[8]

[edit] Patrick in his own words

Slemish, County Antrim, where Patrick is said to have worked as a herdsman while a slave.
Slemish, County Antrim, where Patrick is said to have worked as a herdsman while a slave.

Two Latin letters survive which are generally accepted to have been written by Patrick. These are the Declaration (Latin: Confessio) and the Letter to the soldiers of Coroticus (Latin: Epistola). The Declaration is the more important of the two. In it Patrick gives a short account of his life and his mission.

Patrick was born at Banna Venta Berniae,[9] Calpornius his father was a deacon, his grandfather Potitus a priest. When he was about sixteen, he was captured and carried off as a slave to Ireland.[10] Patrick worked as a herdsman, remaining a captive for six years. He writes that his faith grew in captivity, and that he prayed daily. After six years he heard a voice telling him that he would soon go home, and then that his ship was ready. Fleeing his master, he travelled to a port, two hundred miles away he says, where he found a ship and, after various adventures, returned home to his family, now in his early twenties.[11]

Patrick recounts that he had a vision a few years after returning home:

I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: "The Voice of the Irish". As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: "We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.[12]

Much of the Declaration concerns charges made against Patrick by his fellow Christians at a trial. What these charges were, he does not say explicitly, but he writes that he returned the gifts which wealthy women gave him, did not accept payment for baptisms, nor for ordaining priests, and indeed paid for many gifts to kings and judges, and paid for the sons of chiefs to accompany him. It is concluded, therefore, that he was accused of some sort of financial impropriety, and perhaps of having obtained his bishopric in Ireland with personal gain in mind.[13]

From this same evidence, something can be seen of Patrick's mission. He writes that he "baptised thousands of people". He ordained priests to lead the new Christian communities. He converted wealthy women, some of whom became nuns in the face of family opposition. He also dealt with the sons of kings, converting them too.[14]

Patrick's position as a foreigner in Ireland was not an easy one. His refusal to accept gifts from kings placed him outside the normal ties of kinship, fosterage and affinity. Legally he was without protection, and he says that he was on one occasion beaten, robbed of all he had, and put in chains, perhaps awaiting execution.[15]

Murchiú's life of Saint Patrick contains a supposed prophecy by the druids which gives an impression of how Patrick and other Christian missionaries were seen by those hostile to them:

Across the sea will come Adze-head,[16] crazed in the head,
his cloak with hole for the head, his stick bent in the head.
He will chant impieties from a table in the front of his house;
all his people will answer: "so be it, so be it."[17]

The second piece of evidence from Patrick's life is the Letter to Coroticus or Letter to the Soldiers of Coroticus. In this, Patrick writes an open letter announcing that he has excommunicated certain British soldiers of Coroticus who have raided in Ireland, along with Picts and Irishmen, taking some of Patrick's converts into slavery. Coroticus, based largely on an 8th century gloss , is taken to be King Ceretic of Alt Clut.[18] It has been suggested that it was the sending of this letter which provoked the trial which Patrick mentions in the Confession.[19]

[edit] Dating Patrick's life and mission

According to the latest reconstruction of the old Irish annals, Patrick died in AD 493, a date accepted by some modern historians.[20] Prior to the 1940s it was believed without doubt that he died in 461 and thus had lived in the first half of the 5th century.[21] A lecture entitled "The Two Patricks", published in 1942 by T. F. O'Rahilly, caused enormous controversy by proposing that there had been two "Patricks", Palladius and Patrick, and that what we now know of St. Patrick was in fact in part a conscious effort to meld the two into one hagiographic personality. Decades of contention eventually ended with most historians now asserting that Patrick was indeed most likely to have been active in the mid-to-late 5th century.

While Patrick's own writings contain no dates, they do contain information which can be used to date them. Patrick's quotations from the Acts of the Apostles follow the Vulgate, strongly suggesting that his ecclesiastical conversion did not take place before the early fifth century. Patrick also refers to the Franks as being pagan. Their conversion is dated to the period 496–508.[22]

The compiler of the Annals of Ulster stated that in the year 553:

I have found this in the Book of Cuanu: The relics of Patrick were placed sixty years after his death in a shrine by Colum Cille. Three splendid halidoms were found in the burial-place: his goblet, the Angel's Gospel, and the Bell of the Testament. This is how the angel distributed the halidoms: the goblet to Dún, the Bell of the Testament to Ard Macha, and the Angel's Gospel to Colum Cille himself. The reason it is called the Angel's Gospel is that Colum Cille received it from the hand of the angel.[23]

The reputed burial place of St. Patrick in Downpatrick
The reputed burial place of St. Patrick in Downpatrick

The placing of this event in the year 553 would certainly seem to place Patrick's death in 493, or at least in the early years of that decade, and indeed the Annals of Ulster report in 493:

Patrick, arch-apostle, or archbishop and apostle of the Irish, rested on the 16th of the Kalends of April in the 120th year of his age, in the 60th year after he had come to Ireland to baptize the Irish.

There is also the additional evidence of his disciple, Mochta, who died in 535.[24]

St. Patrick is said to be buried under Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down alongside St. Brigid and St. Columba, although this has never been proven. The Battle for the Body of St. Patrick demonstrates the importance of both him as a spiritual leader, and of his body as an object of veneration, in early Christian Ireland.

[edit] Early traditions

An early document which is silent concerning Patrick is the letter of Columbanus to Pope Boniface IV of about 613. Columbanus writes that Ireland's Christianity "was first handed to us by you, the successors of the holy apostles", apparently referring to Palladius only, and ignoring Patrick.[25] Writing on the Easter controversy in 632 or 633, Cummian—it is uncertain whether this is the Cummian associated with Clonfert or Cumméne of Iona— does refer to Patrick, calling him our papa, that is pope or primate.[26]

Two works by late seventh century hagiographers of Patrick have survived. These are the writings of Tírechán, and Vita sancti Patricii of Muirchu moccu Machtheni. Both writers relied upon an earlier work, now lost, the Book of Ultán.[27] This Ultán, probably the same person as Ultan of Ardbraccan, was Tírechán's foster-father. His obituary is given in the Annals of Ulster under the year 657.[28] These works thus date from a century and a half after Patrick's death.

Tírechán writes

"I found four names for Patrick written in the book of Ultán, bishop of the tribe of Conchobar: holy Magonus (that is, "famous"); Succetus (that is, the god of war); Patricius (that is, father of the citizens); Cothirtiacus (because he served four houses of druids)."[29]

Muirchu records much the same information, adding that "[h]is mother was named Concessa."[30]

The Patrick portrayed by Tírechán and Muirchu is a martial figure, who contests with druids, overthrows pagan idols, and curses kings and kingdoms.[31] On occasions their accounts contradict Patrick's own writings: Tírechán states that Patrick accepted gifts from female converts although Patrick himself flatly denies this. However, the emphasis Tírechán and Muirchu placed on female converts, and in particular royal and noble women who became nuns, is thought to be a genuine insight into Patrick's work of conversion. Patrick also worked with the unfree and the poor, encouraging them to vows of monastic chastity. Tírechán's account suggests that many early Patrician churches were combined with nunneries founded by Patrick's noble female converts.[32]

The martial Patrick found in Tírechán and Muirchu, and in later accounts, echoes similar figures found during the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity. It may be doubted whether such accounts are an accurate representation of Patrick's time, although such violent events may well have occurred as Christians gained in strength and numbers.[33]

Much of the detail supplied by Tírechán and Muirchu, in particular the churches established by Patrick, and the monasteries founded by his converts, may relate to the situation in the seventh century, when the churches which claimed ties to Patrick, and in particular Armagh, were expanding their influence throughout Ireland in competition with the church of Kildare. In the same period, Wilfred, Archbishop of York, claimed to speak, as metropolitan archbishop, "for all the northern part of Britain and of Ireland" at a council held in Rome in the time of Pope Agatho, thus claiming jurisdiction over the Irish church.[34]

Other presumed early materials include the Irish annals, which contain records from the Chronicle of Ireland. These sources have conflated Palladius and Patrick.[35] Another early document is the so-called First Synod of Saint Patrick. This is a seventh century document, once, but no longer, taken as to contain a fifth century original text. It apparently collects the results of several early synods, and represents an era when pagans were still a major force in Ireland. The introduction attributes it to Patrick, Auxilius, and Iserninus, a claim which "cannot be taken at face value".[36]

[edit] Patrick in legend

The Shamrock
The Shamrock

Pious legend credits Patrick with banishing snakes from the island, though post-glacial Ireland never actually had snakes;[37] one suggestion is that snakes referred to the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place, as shown for instance on coins minted in Gaul (see Carnutes), or that it could have referred to beliefs such as Pelagianism, symbolized as “serpents”. Legend also credits Patrick with teaching the Irish about the concept of the Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a 3-leaved clover, using it to highlight the Christian belief of 'three divine persons in the one God' (as opposed to the Arian belief that was popular in Patrick's time). Whether or not these legends are true, the very fact that there are so many legends about Patrick shows how important his ministry was to Ireland. Some Irish legends involve the Oilliphéist, the Caoránach, and the Copóg Phádraig. During his evangelising journey back to Ireland from his parent's home at Birdoswald, he is understood to have carried with him an ash wood walking stick or staff. He thrust this stick into the ground wherever he was evangelising and at the place now known as Aspatria (ash of Patrick) the message of the good news took so long to get through to the people there that the stick had taken root by the time he was ready to move on. The 12th century work Acallam na Senórach tells of Patrick being met by two ancient warriors, Caílte mac Rónáin and Oisín, during his evangelical travels. The two were once members of Fionn mac Cumhaill's warrior band the Fianna, and somehow survived to Patrick's time. They travel with the saint and tell him their stories.

[edit] Sainthood and remembrance

March 17, popularly known as St. Patrick's Day, is believed to be his death date and is the date celebrated as his feast day. The day became a feast day in the universal church due to the influence of the Waterford-born Franciscan scholar Luke Wadding, as a member of the commission for the reform of the Breviary [38] in the early part of the 17th century.

For most of Christianity's first thousand years, canonisations were done on the diocesan or regional level. Relatively soon after the death of people considered to be very holy people, the local Church affirmed that they could be liturgically celebrated as saints. As a result, St. Patrick has never been formally canonised by a Pope; nevertheless, the Church declares that he is a Saint in Heaven (he is in the List of Saints). He is still widely venerated in Ireland and elsewhere today.[39]

St. Patrick is also venerated in the Orthodox Church, especially among English-speaking Orthodox Christians living in the United Kingdom and Ireland and in North America[40]. There are Orthodox icons dedicated to him.[41]

[edit] Saint Patrick in literature

Robert Southey wrote a ballad called Saint Patrick's Purgatory, based on popular legends surrounding the saint's name.

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Roman Catholic Patron Saints Index. Retrieved on 25 August 2006.
  2. ^ Brown, pp. 51
  3. ^ Byrne, pp. 78–79; De Paor, pp. 6–7 & 88–89; Duffy, pp. 16–17; Fletcher, pp. 80–83; MacQuarrie, p. 34; Ó Cróinín, pp. 22–23; Thomas, pp.300–306; Yorke, p. 112.
  4. ^ De Paor, p. 79.
  5. ^ There may well have been Christian "Irish" people in Britain at this time; Goidelic-speaking people were found on both sides of the Irish Sea, with Irish being spoken from Cornwall to Argyll. The influence of the Kingdom of Dyfed may have been of particular importance. See Charles-Edwards, pp. 161–172; Dark, pp.188–190; Ó Cróinín, pp. 17–18; Thomas, pp. 297–300.
  6. ^ Duffy, pp. 16–17; Thomas, p. 305.
  7. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp. 184–187; Thomas, pp. 297–300; Yorke, pp. 112–114.
  8. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp. 233–240.
  9. ^ This location is not certain, and a variety of interpretations have been made. De Paor glosses it as "[probably near Carlisle]" and Thomas argues at length for the area of Birdoswald, twenty miles east of Carlisle on Hadrians Wall. See De Paor, pp. 88 & 96; Thomas, pp. 310–314.
  10. ^ De Paor, p. 96.
  11. ^ De Paor, pp. 99–100; Charles-Edwards, p. 229.
  12. ^ De Paor, p. 100. De Paor glosses Foclut as "west of Killala Bay, in County Mayo", but it appears that the location of Fochoill (Foclut or Voclut) is still a matter of debate. See Charles-Edwards, p. 215.
  13. ^ Thomas, pp. 337–341; De Paor, pp. 104–107; Charles-Edwards, pp. 217–219.
  14. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp. 219–225; Thomas, pp. 337–341; De Paor, pp. 104–107.
  15. ^ De Paor, p. 107; Charles-Edwards, p. 221–222.
  16. ^ This is presumed to refer to Patrick's tonsure.
  17. ^ After Ó Cróinín, p.32; De Paor, p. 180. See also Ó Cróinín, pp. 30–33.
  18. ^ De Paor, pp. 109–113; Charles-Edwards, pp. 226–230.
  19. ^ Thomas, pp. 339–343.
  20. ^ See Dumville, pp. 116-12; Wood, p. 45 n. 5.
  21. ^ Byrne, pp. 78–82; the notes following Tírechán's hagiography in the Book of Armagh state that Palladius "was also called Patrick, while other sources have vague mentions of 'two Patricks'", Byrne, p.78. See De Paor, pp. 203–206, for the notes referred to.
  22. ^ Stancliffe.
  23. ^ De Paor, p. 122.
  24. ^ De Paor, p. 121.
  25. ^ De Paor, pp. 141–143; Charles-Edwards, p. 182–183. Bede writing a century later, refers to Palladius only.
  26. ^ De Paor, pp 151–153; Charles-Edwards, p. 182–183.
  27. ^ Aideen O'Leary, "An Irish Apocryphal Apostle: Muirchú's Portrayal of Saint Patrick" The Harvard Theological Review 89.3 (July 1996), pp. 287-301, traces Muichù's sources and his explicit parallels of Patrick with Moses, the bringer of rechte Litre, the "letter of the Law"; the adversary, King Lóegaire, takes the role of Pharaoh.
  28. ^ Annals of Ulster, AU 657.1: "Obitus ... Ultán moccu Conchobair."
  29. ^ De Paor, p. 154.
  30. ^ De Paor, pp. 175 & 177.
  31. ^ Their works are found in De Paor, pp. 154–174 & 175–197 respectively.
  32. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp. 224–226.
  33. ^ Ó Cróinín, pp. 30–33. Ramsay MacMullen's Christianizing the Roman Empire (Yale University Press, 1984) examines the better-recorded mechanics of conversion in the Empire, and forms the basis of Ó Cróinín's conclusions.
  34. ^ Charles-Edwards, pp. 416–417 & 429–440.
  35. ^ The relevant annals are reprinted in De Paor, pp. 117–130.
  36. ^ De Paor's conclusions at p. 135, the document itself is given at pp. 135–138.
  37. ^ Why Ireland Has No Snakes - National Zoo. Retrieved on 25 August 2006.
  38. ^ The Catholic Encyclopedia: Luke Wadding. Retrieved on 15 February 2007.
  39. ^ Ask a Franciscan: Saints Come From All Nations - March 2001 Issue of St. Anthony Messenger Magazine Online. Retrieved on 25 August 2006.
  40. ^ St Patrick the Bishop of Armagh and Enlightener of Ireland. Retrieved on 11 November 2007.
  41. ^ Orthodox Icon of St. Patrick of Ireland. Retrieved on 25 August 2006.

[edit] References

Wikisource has original works written by or about:
  • Brown, Peter, The Rise of Western Christianity. 2nd ed. Blackwell, Oxford, 2003. ISBN 0-631-22138-7
  • Byrne, Francis J., Irish Kings and High-Kings. Batsford, London, 1973. ISBN 0-7134-5882-8
  • Dark, Ken, Britain and the end of the Roman Empire. Tempus, Stroud, 2000. ISBN 0-7524-2532-3
  • De Paor, Liam, Saint Patrick's World: The Christian Culture of Ireland's Apostolic Age. Four Courts, Dublin, 1993. ISBN 1-85182-144-9
  • Duffy, Seán (ed.), Atlas of Irish History. Gill and Macmillan, Dublin, 1997. ISBN 0-7171-3093-2
  • Dumville, David, "The Death date of St. Patrick" in David Howlett (ed.), The Book of Letters of Saint Patrick the Bishop. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1994. ISBN 1-85182-136-8
  • Fletcher, Richard, The Conversion of Europe: From Paganism to Christianity 371–1386 AD. Harper Collins, London, 1997. ISBN 0-00-686302-7
  • Hughes, Kathleen, Early Christian Ireland: Introduction to the Sources. Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1972. ISBN 0-340-16145-0
  • Moran, Patrick Francis Cardinal (1913). "St. Patrick". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.
  • MacQuarrie, Alan, The Saints of Scotland: Essays in Scottish Church History AD 450–1093. John Donald, Edinburgh, 1997. ISBN 0-85976-446-X
  • Ó Cróinín, Dáibhí, Early Medieval Ireland: 400–1200. Longman, London, 1995. ISBN 0-582-01565-0
  • O'Loughlin, Thomas, "Saint Patrick: The Man and his Works" S.P.C.K., London, 1999.
  • O'Rahilly, Thomas F., The Two Patricks: A Lecture on the History of Christianity in Fifth-Century Ireland. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, Dublin, 1942.
  • Stancliffe, Claire (2004). "Patrick (fl. 5th cent.)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  • Thomas, Charles, Christianity in Roman Britain to AD 500. Batsford, London, 1981. ISBN 0-7134-1442-1
  • Wood, Ian, The Missionary Life: Saints and the Evangelisation of Europe 400-1050. Longman, London, 2001. ISBN 0-582-31213-2
  • Yorke, Barbara, The Conversion of Britain: Religion, Politics and Society in Britain c.600–800. Longman, London, 2006. ISBN 0-582-77292-3

[edit] External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:

70-1070AD 2 Peter 3: Understanding the Language of the Prophets


by Kurt Simmons

2 Peter 3
Understanding the Language of the Prophets
In this article we discuss the elements of 2 Peter 3, and decide they are not reference to the Mosaic law or temple ritual.
Obstacles to Understanding
There are only two or three truly difficult passages that serve as obstacles to full preterism. These are the “eschatological change” of 1 Cor. 15:51-55, the “rapture” of 1 Thess. 4:16, 17, and the language of “cosmic conflagration” in 2 Pet. 3:7-12. The chief difficulty of the first two passages is the tendency to assume that the catching away of living saints to heaven is or was to be substantially simultaneous with the resurrection of the dead. However, once that assumption is dispelled, it becomes clear that Paul is in fact describing the process by which the living are translated one-by-one at the time of death.
The chief difficulty with 2 Peter 3 is the tendency to take the language literally. This can be overcome by comparing Peter’s language with established usage in the Old Testament and providing a suitable explanation for the symbolism.
Comparing 2 Peter 3 with Old Testament Usage
The Old Testament passage that bears the greatest overall similarity to 2 Peter 3:10-12 is probably Isaiah 34:1-10. This is a prophecy of God’s judgment and wrath upon the nations of the ancient world, first by the Babylonians, then the Medes and Persians. The time of wrath is world-wide (“all nations”). However, while it the prophecy opens by announcing wrath upon all nations, it narrows as it progresses, bringing its focus to bear upon Edom (Bozrah, Idumea) for that nation’s part in helping destroy Jerusalem (see Obadiah 10-16).

2 Peter 3:10-12
Isaiah 34:1-10
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of person ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come froth of it. For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heaven shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree...for the Lord hat a sacrifice in Bozrah, and great slaughter in the land of Idumea...For it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever.

A list will reveal the following points of contact between these two prophecies:

2 Peter 3:10-12
Isaiah 34:1-10
Day of the Lord
Heavens & Earth
Heavens pass away
Earth burned
Heavens dissolved
Day of Vengeance
Heavens & Earth
Constellations dissolved
Mountains melt
Land turned to brimstone
Streams turned to pitch
Heavens dissolved

The merest consideration will show that the language of Isaiah is figurative and describes a time of world-wrath through the agency of men and nations, whose armies exact the vengeance of God. The points of contact between Isaiah and Peter should suffice to show that the latter is also figurative, and that Peter in no way intends us to understand that the physical cosmos would be consumed at Christ’s coming. Indeed, Peter all but says this very thing when he states that judgment he wrote about was for the “perdition of ungodly men” (v. 7). In other words, it is men who oppose the gospel that would be destroyed; appeal to the heavens and earth is merely the stuff of poetic apparatus. Here are two more passages for comparison. This time, let’s use a passage from Matthew:

Matthew 24:29, 30
Isaiah 13:9-13
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity...Therefore I will shake the heaven, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts and in the day of his fierce anger.

The Lord’s statements recorded by Matthew are almost exact quotes from Isaiah’s prophecy about the judgment God would visit upon Babylon and the world through the Mede-Persian Empire, which swept like a great storm from the Elam and the Black Sea in the north-east, to Egypt and Red Sea in the south-west, encompassing the whole civilized world. The points of contact between the two passages include the following:

Matthew 24:29, 30
Isaiah 13:9-13
Day of the Lord
Heavens & Earth
Sun & moon darkened
World punished
Heavens shaken, constellations fall
Christ comes in clouds
Day of the Lord
Heavens & Earth
Sun & moon darkened
World punished
Heavens shaken, earth moved
Lord comes in wrath

Let’s make one more comparison and then conclude. This time we will look at language from Ezekiel regarding God’s judgment upon Egypt by Babylon:

Luke 21:25-27
Ezekiel 30:3-19
And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
The day is near, even the day of the Lord is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen. And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia...And I will make the rivers dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked: and I will make the land waste, and all that is therein...I will set fire in Egypt: Sin shall have great pain, and No shall be rent asunder...At Tehphnehes also the day shall be darkened, when I shall break there the yoke of Egypt: and the pomp of her strength shall cease in her: as for her, a cloud shall cover her, and her daughters shall go into captivity.

Luke here repeats the prophecy recorded in Matthew’s account of the Olivet Discourse, but so expands the language as to make clear that much more than the fall of Jerusalem was involved in the wrath that would overtake the first-century world. In each of the passages compared, we find a day of the Lord, clouds, heavens and earth, stars moved out of their courses, fire, darkness and dread of doom. Yet, in each case the wrath was confined to men and nations, not the physical cosmos or its elements. Reading these together should make clear that 2 Pet. 3:10-12 is simply one more in the long line of hyperbolic speech used by the prophets to describe heaven’s rod upon a rebellious world.
What are the Heavens & Earth?
Having compared Peter with the prophets and seen that he continues a long established tradition of figurative speech in describing world events, let us next interpret his symbology.
Preterists have long held that the “heavens and earth” of 2 Pet. 3:10-12 are allusions to Judea and the Mosaic law. This is due to a tendency to interpret the eschaton solely in terms of the fall of Jerusalem (“locally and covenantally”). So many passages emphasize God’s wrath upon the Jews for the murder of Christ and persecution of the gospel that we tend to narrow our focus and overlook events in the rest of the Roman Empire. This is unfortunate. If there is anything that is clear it is that the second coming was a time of world-wrath, in no way confined to Palestine or the Jews. Daniel two and seven are second coming passages and do not mention the Jews at all. Many New Testament epistles speak of Christ’s coming and the saints’ need to be in readiness, which could have no meaning to churches in Europe and Asia if the second coming was limited to the fall of Jerusalem. Thessalonica was in the province of Macedonia, yet Paul told the church there that they would find relief from their persecutors at Christ’s coming (2 Thess 1:4-10). Paul told the Athenians, also in Europe, that God was “about to judge the world” through Jesus Christ (Acts 17:31). John wrote to the seven churches of Asia, exhorting them to abide faithful against Christ’s soon coming. These churches are a thousand miles from Jerusalem. Yet, Jesus told them that his coming would directly impact them. Finally, Peter’s epistle is written to churches in the vicinity of the Black Sea where Christians were suffering, or soon would suffer, persecution. How would the fall of Jerusalem help them? Wasn’t it rather the changes and alterations in the Roman government that would bring relief from their persecutions and not the fall of Jerusalem? These and other considerations argue forcibly against the notion that the second coming was somehow confined to Palestine.
What then do the “heavens and earth” symbolize? If we can think of the world like the canopy of heaven in which governments provide order to the world of men in the way that constellations are hung in the sky and regulate the cycles of nature and the revolution of seasons, we can see how the heavens and earth describe things social and political. The best explanation we have encountered for the symbolism of the heavens and earth is Sir Isaac Newton’s:
"The figurative language of the prophets is taken from the analogy between the world natural and an empire or kingdom considered as a world politic. Accordingly, the world natural, consisting of heaven and earth, signifies the whole world politic, consisting of thrones and people, or so much of it as is considered in prophecy; and the things in that world signify the analogous things in this. For the heavens and the things therein signify thrones and dignities, and those who enjoy them: and the earth, with the things thereon, the inferior people; and the lowest parts of the earth, called Hades or Hell, the lowest or most miserable part of them. Great earthquakes, and the shaking of heaven and earth, are put for the shaking of kingdoms, so as to distract and overthrow them; the creating of a new heaven and earth, and the passing of an old one; or the beginning and end of a world, for the rise and ruin of a body politic signified thereby. The sun, for the whole species and race of kings, in the kingdoms of the world politic; the moon, for the body of common people considered as the king's wife; the stars, for subordinate princes and great men; or for bishops and rulers of the people of God, when the sun is Christ. Setting of the sun, moon, and stars; darkening the sun, turning the moon into blood, and falling of the stars, for the ceasing of a kingdom." (Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel, Part i. chap. 2)