Thoughts on Open Theism and The Theology of Idolatry

Certain beliefs are emerging at a quickening pace in the modern church.

The main theme that seems to bind all of the “latest” thoughts on God and His Word together is……the ascendancy of man.

Man’s opinion. Man’s power. Man’s gifts. Man’s intellectualism. Man’s philosophy. Man’s reasoning. Man’s pattern.

It’s the same old lie of idolatry. Creating a god in OUR image and likeness that we can handle and touch and control. Disseminating our beliefs of this god to others in language that doesn’t allow anyone to feel confronted or confrontational. Or presenting a god that soothes the itch of the many who just want to bask in mans glory. Or presenting a “crossless” salvation call. Or a “crossless” walk with Him. Or redefining the nature of God so as to eliminate wrath or anger or jealousy.

Preterism -Universalism -Annihilationism -Antinomianism -Inclusivism -Open Theism….all of these “isms” are tools that are creating an atmosphere of idolatry. It doesn’t matter how “spiritual” the language is that is used to teach these doctrines. It doesn’t matter if they are taught in “supernatural” Bible schools. The quantity of the rhetoric is irrelevant. The delivery system doesn’t matter. Sometimes the presentation and rhetoric are actually quite powerful. Sometimes it sounds so good that it must be true. Unfortunately, many in the church have been “sharpening” their senses by reading endless books written by the latest “fad” teacher. Oh we can defend… fire tunnels -streams -prophetic words – the takeover of Hollywood by the church- the worship of gold dust clouds – even the belief that our number one job is to bring heaven to earth but we can’t sense false doctrines or false teachers or damnable heresies. We have become so weak and intoxicated with the present belief system that we label everything that upsets us as phariseeism or legalism or divisive. We believe that because a teacher is a brother in Christ that we should just look the other way when their teaching is suspect. We use love to cover spots on garments and grace to ignore blights on the nature of God. Foolish. Clueless.

Open Theism is basically the belief that….

*God’s will is not the ultimate goal for… or explanation of… everything.

*Life…History…events in time…are the combined result of what God and man decide to do.

*God does not know everything.

*God learns from events as they take place.

*God is dependent on man and man’s actions.

*Man’s choices are undetermined and uncaused. They are not foreordained by God, circumstances, or even character or desires.

Sounds like a key component to the theology of idolatry. In response to these tenants of open theism…let’s look at the most magesterial account of the will of God in the whole Bible ——

Ephesians 1

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God,

To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, 5 having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 8 which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, 9 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who[b] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

15 Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding[c] being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

WOW. His Word is living and active…divides soul and spirit…and judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
HE does not need rhetoric.
HE speaks plainly.

Oh that we would recognize the need for purity and true revelation. That we would abhor mixture. That we would hunger for Him and Him alone. That we would be wise and not clueless. That we would hunger for the ascension of THE MAN in our lives. That the spell of intoxication would be broken. That we would see the times we are in and the spirit that is truly behind certain systems of belief.

May the eyes of our understanding be enlightened!

Preterism and Church History

Is it true that the church has always taught that ….
~Matthew 24
~The prophecies of Daniel
~The Book of Revelation
were all fulfilled in 70AD?

Is the belief in a future antichrist and tribulation a product of the Reformation ?

Was the Abomination of Desolation spoken of by Daniel and our Lord considered a past event by the church fathers ?

Is the understanding that many prophecies of the Bible are unfulfilled a modern viewpoint?

Is the belief in an apostasy or a “falling away” a modern invention ?

Did the early church believe that we are in the “millennium” and there was no future physical reign of Christ on earth ?

NO…..and again NO! Documentation follows but first some points.

The Chiliast view was the prominent view of the 1st. through the 4th. century church leaders. Chiliasm was the belief in a future 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth.

Justin Martyr, Iranaeus, Clement of Alexander, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Cyprian, Nepos, Papias, Victorinus, Methodius, Ephraem the Syrian, Lactantius…. all believed in a future earthly reign of Christ. They did not teach that the events of 70AD ended all prophecies and was the fulfillment of Matthew 24, the prophecies of Daniel, and the book of Revelation.

Origen began the extreme allegorization of Scripture. He was followed by Tychonius and eventually Augustine and then the Roman Catholic Church took over.

The early church believed in an apostasy or an eventual “falling away.” See below.
The early church believed in a future Abomination of Desolation in a rebuilt Jerusalem and a rebuilt temple. See below.
The oldest known complete commentary that we have from the early church is Hippolytus’ Commentary on the Book of Daniel (210 A.D.) In that commentary, the future reign of Christ on earth is discussed. See below. Hippolytus also wrote of a future desolation by a coming antichrist and compared it to the desecration committed by Anitochus Epiphanes. He also referred to “the final week of the world”.
Amazingly, Iranaeus and Hippolytus both declared that Jerusalem and the temple would both be rebuilt in the future. They stated that over a hundred years after the destruction in 70AD !!
The “rapture” was even mentioned in the 4th. century.

A few quotes are listed below. Much more could be listed. In fact, supporting beliefs and quotes through the Reformation are available. For example in the Roman Catholic Church, Joachim of Floris(late 12th. century) put the events of the Book of Revelation into the future 400 years before the Reformation. To say that the Reformation produced such beliefs is wrong. To say that the beliefs listed above are of modern origin is wrong. The root of such statements is pride, unbelief, and a staunch refusal to look at church history. I beleive the root is the desire for human reasoning and philosophy to rule over the truth of our Coming King and Judge.

The Ascension of Isaiah (late 1st. to 2nd. century)

After it is consummated, Belial the great ruler, the king of this world, will descend, who hath ruled it since it came into being; yea, he will descend from his firmament in the likeness of a man, a lawless king, the slayer of his mother: who himself (even) this king. This ruler in the form of that king will come and there will come with him all the powers of this world, and they will hearken unto him in all that he desires. And at his word the sun will rise at night and he will make the moon to appear at the sixth hour. And all that he hath desired he will do in the world: he will do and speak like the Beloved and he will say: “I am God and before me there has been none.” And all the people in the world will believe in him. And they will sacrifice to him and they will serve him saying: “This is God and beside him there is no other.” And there will be the power of his miracles in every city and region. And he will set up his image before him in every city.

The Epistle of Barnabas (late 1st. to 2nd. century)

Let us fly, therefore, utterly from all the work of unrighteousness, and let us hate the error of the time that now is, that we may be loved in that which is to come. Let us not give liberty unto our soul that it should have leave to run with sinners and evil men, neither let us be made like unto them. The tribulation being made perfect is at hand, concerning which it is written, as Enoch saith, For to this purpose the Lord hath cut short the times and the days, that his beloved might make haste and come into his inheritance. The prophet also speaketh in this wise: Ten kingdoms shall reign upon the earth; and there shall rise up after them a little king who shall humble three of the kings under one. And in like manner Daniel speaketh concerning him: And I saw the fourth beast, evil and strong and harder than all the beasts of the earth; and I saw how
there grew up from him ten horns, and from among them a little horn, growing up beside, and how it humbled under one three of the great horns.

The Didache (late 1st. to 2nd. century)

For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet. And third, the resurrection of the dead — yet not of all, but as it is said: “The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him.” Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.

Justin Martyr (mid 2nd. century)

O unreasoning men! understanding not what has been proved by all these passages, that two advents of Christ have been announced: the one, in which He is set forth as suffering, inglorious, dishonoured, and crucified; but the other, in which He shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians, who, having learned the true worship of God from the law, and the word which went forth from Jerusalem by means of the apostles of Jesus.

Irenaeus of Lyons(mid to late 2nd. century)

In a still clearer light has John, in the Apocalypse, indicated to the Lord’s disciples what shall happen in the last times, and concerning the ten kings who shall then arise, among whom the empire which now rules [the earth] shall be partitioned. He teaches us what the ten horns shall be which were seen by Daniel, telling us that thus it had been said to him: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet, but shall receive power as if kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and give their strength and power to the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, because He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings.” It is manifest, therefore, that of these [potentates], he who is to come shall slay three, and subject the remainder to his power, and that he shall be himself the eighth among them. And they shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the Church to flight. After that they shall be destroyed by the coming of our Lord.

And for this reason the apostle says: “Because they received not the love of God, that they might be saved, therefore God shall also send them the operation of error, that they may believe a lie, that they all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but consented to unrighteousness.” For when he (Antichrist) is come, and of his own accord concentrates in his own person the apostasy, and accomplishes whatever he shall do according to his own will and choice, sitting also in the temple of God, so that his dupes may adore him as the Christ; wherefore also shall he deservedly “be cast into the lake of fire:” [this will happen according to divine appointment], God by His prescience foreseeing all this, and at the proper time sending such a man, “that they may believe a lie, that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but consented to unrighteousness;” whose coming John has thus described in the Apocalypse: “And the beast which I had seen was like unto a leopard, and his feet as of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion; and the dragon conferred his own power upon him, and his throne, and great might. And one of his heads was as it were slain unto death; and his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon because he gave power to the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto this beast, and who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemy and power was given to him during forty and two months. And he opened his mouth for blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. And power was given him over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation. And all who dwell upon the earth worshipped him, [every one] whose name was not written in the book of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any one have ears, let him hear. If any one shall lead into captivity, he shall go into captivity. If any shall slay with the sword, he must be slain with the sword. Here is the endurance and the faith of the saints.” After this he likewise describes his armour-bearer, whom he also terms a false prophet: “He spake as a dragon, and exercised all the power of the first beast in his sight, and caused the earth, and those that dwell therein, to adore the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he shall perform great wonders, so that he can even cause fire to descend from heaven upon the earth in the sight of men, and he shall lead the inhabitants of the earth astray.” Let no one imagine that he performs these wonders by divine power, but by the working of magic. And we must not be surprised if, since the demons and apostate spirits are at his service, he through their means performs wonders, by which he leads the inhabitants of the earth astray. John says further: “And he shall order an image of the beast to be made, and he shall give breath to the image, so that the image shall speak; and he shall cause those to be slain who will not adore it.” He says also: “And he will cause a mark [to be put] in the forehead and in the fight hand, that no one may be able to buy or sell, unless he who has the mark of the name of the beast or the number of his name; and the number is six hundred and sixty-six,” that is, six times a hundred, six times ten, and six units. [He gives this] as a summing up of the whole of that apostasy which has taken place during six thousand years.
Moreover, another danger, by no means trifling, shall overtake those who falsely presume that they know the name of Antichrist. For if these men assume one [number], when this [Antichrist] shall come having another, they will be easily led away by him, as supposing him not to be the expected one, who must be guarded against.

These men, therefore, ought to learn [what really is the state of the case], and go back to the true number of the name, that they be not reckoned among false prophets. But, knowing the sure number declared by Scripture, that is, six hundred sixty and six, let them await, in the first place, the division of the kingdom into ten; then, in the next place, when these kings are reigning, and beginning to set their affairs in order, and advance their kingdom, [let them learn] to acknowledge that he who shall come claiming the kingdom for himself, and shall terrify those men of whom we have been speaking, having a name containing the aforesaid number, is truly the abomination of desolation. This, too, the apostle affirms: “When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction shall come upon them.” And Jeremiah does not merely point out his sudden coming, but he even indicates the tribe from which he shall come, where he says, “We shall hear the voice of his swift horses from Dan; the whole earth shall be moved by the voice of the neighing of his galloping horses: he shall also come and devour the earth, and the fulness thereof, the city also, and they that dwell therein.” This, too, is the reason that this tribe is not reckoned in the Apocalypse along with those which are saved.
For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction of all nations under his rule; in [the times of] which [resurrection] the righteous shall reign in the earth, waxing stronger by the sight of the Lord

Cyprian (early to mid 3rd. century)

For you ought to know and to believe, and hold it for certain, that the day of affliction has begun to hang over our heads, and the end of the world and the time of Antichrist to draw near, so that we must all stand prepared for the battle; nor consider anything but the glory of life eternal, and the crown of the confession of the Lord; and not regard those things which are coming as being such as were those which have passed away. A severer and a fiercer fight is now threatening, for which the soldiers of Christ ought to prepare themselves with uncorrupted faith and robust courage, considering that they drink the cup of Christ’s blood daily, for the reason that they themselves also may be able to shed their blood for Christ.

Nor let any one of you, beloved brethren, be so terrified by the fear of future persecution, or the coming of the threatening Antichrist, as not to be found armed for all things by the evangelical exhortations and precepts, and by the heavenly warnings. Antichrist is coming, but above him comes Christ also. The enemy goeth about and rageth, but immediately the Lord follows to avenge our sufferings and our wounds. The adversary is enraged and threatens, but there is One who can deliver us from his hands.

Hippolytus’ Commentary on the Book of Daniel (early 3rd. century)

The Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they “shall reign with Christ,” when He comes from heaven as John says in his Apocalypse: for “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled.

Ephraem the Syrian (4th century)

all saints and the elect of the Lord are gathered together before the Tribulation which is about to come and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins

Melting Elements and a Burning Earth…Thoughts on 2 Peter 3:10-13

 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 (stoicheion) will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.  Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements (stoicheion) will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.  (2 Pet 3:10-13)

Are these elements Judaism, Jewish law, or the Old Covenant ?

What about the earth that burns ? Is it the land of Israel or the city of Jerusalem or the temple grounds ?

Elements is from the Greek word stoicheion. 

Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words says that stoicheion is….

used in the plural, primarily signifies any first things from which others in a series, or a composite whole, take their rise ; the word denotes “an element first principle.”  In the New Testament it is used of…

1. the substance of the material world

2. the delusive speculations of gentile cults and of Jewish theories

3. the rudimentary principles of religion, Jewish or Gentile

4. the elementary principles of the Old Testament as a revelation from God

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon says that stoicheion denotes 4 things….

1.  the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters but the spoken sounds.

2. the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe.

3. the heavenly bodies

4. the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline.

Paul uses stoicheion in Galatians 4: 3, 9.

 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements (stoicheion) of the world.  (Gal 4:3)

 But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements (stoicheion), to which you desire again to be in bondage? (Gal 4:9)

Paul again uses stoicheion in Colossians 2: 8, 20.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles (stoicheion) of the world, and not according to Christ. (Col 2:8)

 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles (stoicheion) of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men?  (Col 2:20-22)

The writer of the book of Hebrews uses stoicheion in Hebrews 5:12.

 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles (stoicheion) of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. (Heb 5:12)

In Galatians, Paul was writing against false teaching that said you had to obey this law or rule to become or stay a Christian.  He was angry that they would be so foolish as to think that anything other than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was necessary for salvation.   Of course, he was referring to the law of Moses or Judaism when he mentions the elements of the world.  But is that all he meant ?  Possibly.  But you have to leave open the possibility, that the elements also referred to the stars (remember they worshipped the stars and let their lives be guided by them),  or even the whole messy combination of Jewish laws, astrological rules, and pagan practices.  To say emphatically that Paul was referring only to Judaism, when he used the Greek word stoicheion, would be a little stretch.  In verse 8, he mentions that before they knew God they served those by nature that are not gods.  Could he be combining pagan gods with the law of Moses to cover all possibilities ? Maybe.

In Colossians, Paul was attacking the false teaching, philosophies, and vain deceits that were the foundations of Gnosticism.   To say that stoicheion refers to Judaism only would be disingenuous at the least.  Taking the context of the whole book into consideration, along with the immediate verses where stoicheion is used, it is obvious that Paul is addressing a whole range of issues from ceremonialism, asceticism, pagan mysteries and rites, Judaeo-Gnostic teachings, and the roots of Kabbala.  It seems that the elements of the world are all foundational teachings that are not according to Christ.

In Hebrews, the author scolds the Hebrew Christians for their dull hearing and lack of ability to teach.  They are so dull and inept that someone needs to teach them the stoicheion of the oracles of God…..again!  Does that mean that they need to learn how to  circumcise themselves again ? Or the 613 commandments ? How about  keeping kosher ?  It would be foolish to believe that.  They were out from the bondage of the law of Moses.  They were no longer slaves to the law but sons of God.  There are two choices.

1. The recipients of the letter had forgotten the significance of the  foundational spiritual truths found in the Old Testament.  They had lost the understanding of why innocent blood must be shed to cover sins.  They failed to understand the necessity for a kinsman-redeemer.  Why was Jesus Christ the Lamb of God ?  What did Egypt represent ?  What was Canaan ?  What is the Throne of David ?  How were the offerings and feasts fulfilled in Christ ?


2.  Hebrews 6:1,2 might be a clue.

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,  of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. (Hebrews 6:1,2)

The author wants to move beyond the foundational issues of salvation.  He then lists some.  He wants to speak to them of Melchizedek….they are not moving beyond repenting from dead works.  He wants to speak to them as though they are sons….they are arguing over the proper baptismal practices.

We can safely say that stoicheion does not refer to Judaism or the laws of Moses exclusively.  It’s a big word, with a variety of uses Biblically and non-Biblically.  From the passages quoted, it would be safe to say that stoicheion refers to the elementary, first principles, or foundation blocks of all religious systems (Jewish, pagan, or extra-terrestrial) that are not based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ.

So….is this earth that burns Jerusalem, Israel, or the temple grounds ?

To answer that, we have to understand one more Greek word.  The word is ge.

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 (ge) and the works that are in it will be burned up.  (2 Peter 3:10)

In Thayer’s Greek Lexicon ge is…

  • arable land

  • the ground, the earth as a standing place

  • the main land as opposed to the sea or water

  • the earth as a whole
    1. the earth as opposed to the heavens

    2. the inhabited earth, the abode of men and animals

  • a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, region

In Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words ge denotes….

1.  the material of which the first man was made, suggestive of frailty

2.  the earth as a whole, the world

3.  the inhabited earth

4.  a country

5.  ground

6.  land

Ge is used over 250 times in the New Testament.  Here are a few other passages where ge is used.

Blessed are the meek,
    For they shall inherit the earth (ge). (Matthew 5:5)  Is Jesus saying that the meek will inherit the land of Israel ?

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth(ge), as it is in heaven.  (Matthew 6:10) Is His will only to be done in the land of Israel ?
that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, bothwhich are in heaven and which are on earth(ge)—in Him.  (Ephesians 1:10) Is this referring to only those in Jerusalem ?
The Greek word ge is a simple word that means earth, world, or land.  Can it refer to a specific country or tract of land ? Of course.  To say that it refers to the land of Israel exclusively or even in a majority of Biblical uses is false.
The Bible uses several words to denote the world.  Another one is….
kosmos  Usually this word is used to connote the world as evil or apart from God.
the Spirit of truth, whom the world (kosmos) cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.
(John 14:17)
And do not be conformed to this world (kosmos), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Romans 12:2)
But it can have other meanings such as the universe, or the inhabitants of the earth, or the
circle of the earth, or even the heavenly hosts.  It can also refer to a specific group of people like the Gentiles (Romans 11:12).
The fact that Peter used the word ge instead of kosmos does not mean anything specific to Israel, Jerusalem, or the temple grounds.
The melting elements (stoicheion) in 2 Peter 3:10-13 are not the laws of Moses, Judaism, or the Old Covenant.
The burning earth(ge) is not the land of Israel, Jerusalem, or the temple grounds.
Peter wrote earlier in chapter 3 about the flood.  The context of this chapter is obviously judgment.  In the end, even the very heavens which produced the original judgment of rain/flood upon the earth will be purged.  I believe that judgment will include everything elemental or stoicheion from the stars to the atmosphere and from the combination of earth, air, fire, and water to the elementary spirits .  The judgment is thorough and future.
The burning earth is included in this.  The very dust of the earth (which man was created from) must be cleansed or renewed.  God will undo, thoroughly, every curse.
Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:17-19)
I believe the burning earth is necessary. His judgment is so thorough and righteous that he cannot even allow the touch of death to exist in the dirt. The land must be cleansed.  Remember the final enemy is death.
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.  But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.  Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.  For “He has put all things under His feet.” But when He says “all things are put under Him,it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted.  Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (1 Corintians 15:20-28)
One day we will not bury the dead in the bowels of the earth.  Death will not touch us in any way, shape, or form.
I am looking for a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.