Does “1000 years is a day” mean Jesus will return 2000 years later?


2 Peter 3:8
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

Often time many quote this verse as reason to say that the coming of the Lord while to be soon did not happen within the generation of the day Jesus walked on earth.

They reason that it’s only 2 days since Jesus died to God since it’s only 2000 years.

So God will probably return much much later despite in Revelations these things must soon take place.

Revelation 1:3
3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

To such people the nearness of time is taken to mean 2000 years since a 1000 years are a day to the Lord. I find such a manner of interpreting the text as careless and done without respect for the text.

“Soon” means it’s around the corner. In Paul’s days the wrath of God was already coming and was already at its limit.

1 Thessalonians 1:10
10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead–Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

1 Thessalonians 2:16
16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.

“Coming wrath” “at last the wrath is coming”.

These things were already around the corner during Paul’s time.

As such it behooves me to study the text in it context.

Look at the next verse.

2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

He is NOT slow. He is patient with YOU. The YOU is not us. It’s them. The Thessalonians at that time.

2 Peter 3:10
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Many look at this verse and say “there it’s like a thief in the night.” Referring to a rapture in the future.

I want us to turn to this passage.

1 Thessalonians 5:2-4
2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.

If you read these verses carefully they actually tell you 3 things.

1. The thief in the night will not be a surprise to the Thessalonians.

2. They knew about the dates and times.

3. It will only suppose like a thief in the night for those who do not believe.

So it’s about what was imminent then. Not in the future. They had fully expected him to return before AD73 as a generation had meant 40 years.

2 Peter 3:12-13
12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

Hence when Peter tells the believers to live holy lives in anticipation of his coming, only a sadistic person would ask you to do so if the return is not with their life time.

What then is this “a thousand years is like a day”?

He was quoting this verse.

Psalms 90:4
4 A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.

Now let us read the whole Psalm 90.

No. 1. It’s a psalm of Moses.

2. It is written at a time when they were under the wrath of God.

Psalms 90:5
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death–
they are like the new grass of the morning:

Psalms 90:7
7 We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.

Psalms 90:9
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.

It also speaks about judgment that is coming.

Psalms 90:10-12
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Many of us who follow Joseph Prince knows this Psalm is talking about people under wrath as God limits the age of the humans to 80 and this is not the psalm for people under grace.

The following verse of Psalm 90 sums up the context “a thousand years is like a day to” him.

Psalms 90:12
12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Hence when Peter mentions those words “1000 years is a like a day to God” he was telling the Jews your days are “numbered” and that the time of his coming was around the corner.

With regards the burning of the heavens and earth Peter was referring to the temple and Jerusalem. The elements of the Old Covenant.

That happened in AD70.

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