Question: What does the Bible mean when it says "a thousand years is like a day"? |

TBC Staff

Question: We are told that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter:3:8); and that “a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (Psalm:90:4). What does this mean? Is there any special prophetic significance that might tell us how close we are to the Lord’s return?

Response: There is no prophetic significance. The phrases “with the Lord” and “in thy sight” are the key to understanding this rather simple and straightforward declaration: God is outside of time, and therefore, in His sight, time is meaningless.

Thus Paul can say that we are already seated “together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians:2:6).

As we have previously noted, God, being independent of time, sees not only what to us is past, but also our present and future as already having happened. Thus His foreknowledge of what in our experience hasn’t yet occurred would have no effect upon its happening and would leave us free to make genuine choices.

Here is what John Wesley said in a sermon more than 200 years ago: “There is no such thing as either foreknowledge or after-knowledge in God. All time—or, rather, all eternity (for time is only that small fragment of eternity that is allotted to the children of men), being present to God at once, He does not know one thing before another, or one thing after another; but He sees all things in one point of view, from everlasting to everlasting. As all time, with everything that exists therein, is present with Him at once, so He sees at once whatever was, is, or will be, to the end of time!” (John Wesley, Sermons on Several Occasions, 1831, p. 39).