Saturday, 22 February 2020
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8
The words here take us back to verse 3:4 where the scoffers ask, “Where is the promise of His coming?” Peter gave an answer to the question in the next two verses. He now gives a second reply, directly from Scripture, where he cites the substance of Psalm 90:4. This is a Psalm written by Moses, and thus it is the oldest psalm in the Bible –
“For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.”
Following this general thought, Peter writes, “But, beloved, do not forget this one thing.” Peter is asking his audience to not “willfully forget” as the scoffers were said to do. Rather, he asks them to actively remember what he will say.
Whereas the scoffers willfully forgot the acts of creation that Peter spoke of; they then willfully forgot that if there is a creation, there is a Creator. If there is a Creator, He is before His creation. If this is so – and if time, space, and matter are all a part of the creation – then God is outside of time.
Therefore, time has no bearing on God’s plan, except as He has set that plan into motion within the stream of time. But to Him the amount of time something takes to occur is irrelevant.
The scoffers, like all people, are bound by time, and thus the reference to time is important. Everything that we do is set within a definite boundary – a span – which we cannot exceed. And further, that boundary is unknown to us. We live our lives not knowing what will occur, or when will it occur. This is especially true in regard to death.
As death is the final boundary of our reference to the world, and as we have an understanding that there is a generally set maximum span for each human to live, we naturally expect that a promise which has been made will be fulfilled in our lifetime.
For example, since the Bible was written (even within the Bible), people have expected the Lord to return. Writings throughout Christian history reveal that people expected that their generation would be the one to see Christ’s return. How much, then, would those who deny the Creator’s hand in His creation also want to deny the return of the Lord – simply because of the vast amount of time which has elapsed without it coming about.
But Peter next says, “that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Because God created time, He is outside of time. Therefore, the difference between a second and a million years is irrelevant. God sees all of time, and all that occurs within time, as one simultaneous event.
If a train leaves New York on the way to San Francisco, God sees the beginning, all of the journey, and the arrival without any hindrance to a time reference. The entire journey – and indeed the ages of ages – are laid out before Him.
Because of this, a promised return of Christ could happen at any time – be it one generation or a thousand – and it will be considered a promise kept. We cannot limit God, and what He is doing in the stream of history, to our own limited span of time and expect to find fault in Him. But this is what the scoffers are doing. They imply that because the Lord hasn’t yet returned, He is not trustworthy to return. It is small-minded, shallow thinking.
Life application: The biblical pattern is that God’s plan for man is laid out on a 7000-year timeframe. Jesus came right around the 4000th year, directly in the middle of the timeline. Based on this, and based on a literal 1000-year millennial reign of Christ (as is clearly indicated in the book of Revelation), we can estimate a return of Christ sometime around 2000 years from His ascension. Before the millennial reign, the book of Revelation first tells us of a 7-year period known at the Great Tribulation which focuses on the Jewish people.
Knowing this, we can look to the book of Hosea for a pattern based on Peter’s words –
“After two days He will revive us;
On the third day He will raise us up,
That we may live in His sight.” Hosea 6:2
If a thousand years is like a day to the Lord, then we could expect that Israel would be revived after 2000 years of dispersion – exactly what has happened.
Likewise, we can expect that at the dawning of the “third day,” the Jewish nation – with Christ as its Head – will be raised up to rule the nations, just as is promised in the Old Testament.
Likewise, they will “live in His sight” as He rules from a literal throne in Jerusalem. This isn’t idle speculation, but a sound analysis of what God is doing in human history. Jesus Christ really will return, and He really will rule the nations from Jerusalem. The time is coming, and may it be soon!
Lord, we long for the day of Your glorious return. There is nothing in heaven or on earth that we would rather see than the beauty of Your countenance. We look to You now in faith, but we long for that faith to be turned to sight! It is our great hope and our greatest desire. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.