Does 1,000 Years Equal One Day?

by Bryant Evans on December 29, 2009

From time to time we hear people suggest that a 1,000 years is the same with God as 1 day. Is that really true?

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)

So yes, in a sense 1,000 years equals one day. However, as with most Biblical passages, we must look at the context to gain the proper understanding of what is said.

In 2 Peter 3:1-13 the writer is rebuking people who reject the idea of a coming final judgment. The scoffers argument is that nothing has changed and the world continues on as before. Since judgment has not yet happened, they reason, it never will. But Peter is arguing that God is not bound by any arbitrary time lines. He will do things in his own way and in his own time.  Judgment will come when God is ready for it.

Now, is Peter making a statement that every single day for God is 1,000 years in length? No.

When the Son of God said that he would rise from the grave in three days (Matthew 12:40; John 2:19) he did not mean three thousand years. If that were the case what did Mary see in John 20? In Genesis 7:4 we have God speaking to Noah about the coming flood. God said, “For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights and every living thing I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.” If 1,000 years always equals one day then we should be looking for rain in about 2,000 years! And when the rains come they will be here a terribly long period of time!

So who would believe this kind of silliness? Probably no one. But I offer this as an illustration to show that we must use caution in interpreting the Bible. Often people who strive to determine the time the Lord will return use the 1,000 year equation as part of their date setting. For example, we have written before on the 1,000 year reign of Christ which sometimes is brought into this discussion. Some try to make the Creation week more palatable for our scientific enlightened minds and the equation is used to stretch creation into a 6,000 time table.

God, who created time, is himself not subject to time. But when he speaks to man he uses things we know and understand. Hence God speaks about hours, days, weeks and years. Let’s not take Peter’s single restricted use of this phrase out of context.

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What thoughts do you have about this article? Please feel welcomed to comment below. I am really interested in your thoughts.

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{ 5 comments }

robert brooks July 18, 2010 at 6:51 pm

We don’t take the statements we make about work literal, i.e., “I have been working like a dog.” “I worked hard all day.’ If we took ‘all day’ literally it would mean we worked 24 hours without sleep, rest, food, etc. The point of not taking the Bible out of it’s contexual setting is enough to see the truth of the reference. However, when folks are seeking an answer beyond Gods’ wisdom they will never comprehend the truth. If a person can see through a ladder he can see the truth in your article.
rb

Bryant Evans July 21, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Thanks Robert for you visit and your comment. I agree that verbal tools we use all the time in daily conversation are often misunderstood or misused when studying the Bible.

Please come back and be a regular commenter!

Lee December 13, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Hence your an idiot. Just another false preacher. I could slam you on this subject, but I dont want to enlighten your small brain.

Bryant Evans December 14, 2012 at 6:47 am

Lee, I am always open to enlightenment and if you can do so without this kind of invective I invite you to enter into a discussion of the topic. If you cannot do so in a way that avoids name calling then please do not return to this site.

Bryant

Al December 30, 2012 at 12:32 am

2 Peter 3:8
thousand years as one day[–No delay which occurs is long to God: as to a man of countless riches, a thousand guineas are as a single penny. God’s œonologe (] eternal-ages[ measurer) differs wholly from man’s horologe (] hour[-glass). His gnomon (dial-pointer) shows all the hours at once in the greatest activity and in perfect repose. To Him the hours pass away, neither more slowly, nor more quickly, than befits His economy. There is nothing to make Him need either to hasten or delay the end. The words, “with the Lord” (] Ps 90:4[, “In Thy sight”), silence all man’s objections on the ground of his incapability of understanding this [B] ENGEL[].]

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