In this short article I will be citing just a few Scriptures, which I believe indicate that the length of time between Jesus’ first coming and His second coming would be “about” two thousand years.
A DAY IS AS A THOUSAND YEARS
In line with many other students of Bible prophecy it is my personal belief that Scripture reveals, hints at, could be interpreted to mean, that The Lord Jesus Christ would return to this world after “about” two thousand years. That He is coming a second time there is no doubt. That no man knows the precise “day or the hour” is also true but we must combine the latter statement, made by Jesus, when He walked the earth the first time, with that of the Apostle Paul, who had received direct revelation about many things. He said, “that Day will not overtake us (the believers) like a thief in the night” but rather, that would be the experience of the unbelievers and the unwatchful (1Thes 5).
In this short article I will be citing just a few Scriptures, which I believe indicate that the length of time between Jesus’ first coming and His second coming would be “about” two thousand years. Having recently written a short gospel tract (pitched primarily at the unconverted) wherein I mention this time period I feel it would be useful to clarify and give some reasoning for those with minds to enquire further about this. This is not a debate or defence of anything but rather just a few salient points to encourage and provide some food for thought. So here are two key texts, which lead us, at least me, into a certain thought pattern concerning the ‘days’ and ‘years’ of the Messiah.
SIX DAYS OF CREATION
In the Psalms Moses says,
“For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night.”
(Psalm 90:4 NKJV)
In the New Testament Peter takes up this thought and says,
“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..”
(2Pet 3:8 NKJV)
Scripture very clearly, at times, uses a ‘day for a year’ principle in many prophetic passages and on some occasions it is plainly stated so. In the above quoted Scriptures I cannot prove definitively that this means that we should also on occasions employ a ‘day for a thousand years’ in the same way but I am personally quite convinced that this is the case. Therefore the first and perhaps most outstanding example of this ‘timescale message’ is to be found in the first chapter of Genesis – in six days God fashioned the earth and then there followed a seventh, ‘special day’, a day of rest. Following the long-attested calculations of Ussher’s chronology (you can make your own research here if you are not familiar with this) the date of Adam’s creation (when using today’s dominant/Gregorian calendar) is calculated to be 4004BC. Being, as we are, in the early part of the 21st century (AD) now, that makes the total age of mankind just a fraction over 6000 years – but for the sake of non-dogmatism and acknowledging that such calculations are at times complex and with some difficulties let’s just call it “about” six thousand years to where we are now. And so, if we believe that the creation week itself was a kind of foundational prophecy in this matter (and I personally do) then we have: Two ‘days’ from Adam to Abraham, two ‘days’ from Abraham to Christ and we are currently “about” two ‘days’ from Christ’s first coming until now. If we calculate from His birth, we are a little over, if we count from his death, resurrection and ascension then we are, at this juncture (approaching the year 2020) just a little under. Put simply, we live at a time that is “about” two thousand years since Christ was on earth at His first coming.
And so, using the creation week as a pattern for God’s timetable for mankind on earth we are at the end of the sixth ‘day’ and poised any moment to commence the seventh ‘day’ – the seventh millennium – the ‘day’ of rest. This will be a time when swords are beaten into ploughshares and spears into pruning hooks and The Lord Jesus Christ, Himself, in person, will rule the nations in righteousness. I must absolutely stop myself here as this thought so enthrals me I will never be able to stay on track with this simple ‘timescale message’, but Oh what joy!
AFTER TWO DAYS HE WILL REVIVE US
Next we’ll take a long leap forward from Genesis and into a time, still before Christ’s first coming, when God is speaking through various prophets to His special chosen nation of Israel. In prophecy the nation is sometimes addressed as: Israel, Jacob, Judah, Ephraim and other titles besides. The choice of title is never arbitrary and reveals on each occasion some deeper meaning and fine-tuning in the prophetic message but for the sake of our simple timeline message we will just consider the following passage from Hosea in a general way as addressing the nation as a whole. The context here is that the nation has gone astray and God is speaking to them in both judgement and mercy. Yes, the prophet Hosea, is addressing some of the extant issues but he also speaks this word, which I interpret to have far future (at that time) implications…
For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, And like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offence. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, That we may live in His sight.
(Hos 5:14 – 6:2 NKJV)
What could it mean in their day and age and situation, “After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up”? I personally think that, as is the nature of prophecy, this little word has jumped a chasm of time and the prophet (whether he knows it or not) is speaking of the ‘two days’ – i.e. two thousand years, when God would reject that nation, just as they were then rejecting Him and were indeed going to reject His Son. God was going to allow them to become hunted and ravaged “until they acknowledge their offence.” Like Joseph in Egypt, the one they rejected and sold as a slave, His identity will be hidden from them until they are brought through all chastenings and calamities and God has readied them to have their eyes opened to see who their Messiah really is. The next time you read about Joseph in Egypt look for the prophecy in the story!
ON THE THIRD DAY ~ MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
Now let’s take another leap forward in Bible time to the days of Jesus Himself and something He said. The passage is in Luke 13 and the context is referring to a time when Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and many others from the four corners of the earth are gathered unto Him in the Kingdom of God (vs. 28,29). Next we read, in response to a warning given to Him about Herod seeking His life…
And He said to them, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’
Regarding the latter part of that verse, other translations say, “reach my goal” / “accomplish my work”. Although His answer moves on to talking about His journey to Jerusalem the timescale here does not fit any literal interpretation. Is this another ‘day for a thousand years’ timescale utterance? I think so. In fact the next portion of this speech moves on to His pronouncement upon Jerusalem and, figuratively, the soon coming outcast status of the whole nation.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!”
The word “house” here is in reference to the temple, which was afterwards destroyed in AD70. The mission of The Lord Jesus Christ has continued on these past two millennia and shortly He will reach His goal. He taught us to pray, “Thy Kingdom come,” and so we do, and so it will in its fuller sense – after ‘about’ 2000 years.
TWO THOUSAND CUBITS
For my last example I would like us to consider a slightly different time measurement metaphor. As with the former interpretations you are free to accept it, reject it, or just ponder it for now (always a good idea!). Previously we have seen how that a ‘day for a thousand years’ can be applied. How many more of these are there contained in the Bible? I wouldn’t like to venture a guess but the recurrent phrase of things happening, “on the third day” is a plenteous one (as is “after three days” which could be another coded message about other matters). Perhaps there are other instances of “on the third day”/”after two days” that could be alluding to a bigger timescale message but for now I’d like to turn our attention to a measurement in space as opposed to time.
This revolves around a crescendo moment in the story of the exodus and the entry into the Promised Land. The date is very approximately around 1500BC. The place is the east side of the River Jordon. The occasion is that of the pivotal moment when the nation of Israel, under the leadership of Joshua (a type of Christ), is being instructed in the manner in which they must cross over the river. Yes, you could quite aptly draw various types/imagery of spiritual things from this occasion but I am soundly convinced that much of the history of The Book of Joshua is also prophetic and reflective of an even greater pivotal moment in human history still yet to come – a time when Jesus, as Mighty Captain of His hosts, will commence a worldwide conquest of all territories of the kingdoms of men and will rule supreme for a thousand years – or should I say, ‘about’ a thousand years – but that topic is most definitely for another time! Anyhow, this is what we read,
“When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, the Levites, bearing it, then you shall set out from your place and go after it. Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.”
(Jos 3:3-4 NKJV)
Scripture is so often so very precise. Just look at all of the instructions, measurements and precise processes that Moses was given by God concerning the construction of the tabernacle, the ark and all other accompanying articles relating thereto. Yet here we read, you should stand “about” two thousand cubits away. Personally, I don’t think for one moment that this is just an inconsequential ‘rough’ figure that will suffice. Oh no, on the contrary, this, as with other ‘about’ statements in the Bible is absolutely precise in its imprecision! First the Ark (another type of Christ), then the rest of the people, that’s the order. And the distance in-between? “About two thousand cubits.” I do believe we have here an instance of the ‘year for a cubit’ principle!
Let the usual disclaimer be given… I do not know the day or the hour but as one who watches and eagerly awaits, I do see, as it were, a cloud as a man’s hand. As I heard someone recently say, “Jesus is not coming soon – He’s already on the way!” How soon is soon? When does the two thousand year count begin? When will we be too far past for it to no longer be “about” two thousand years? I do not know. I am not going to be dogmatic about anything, although there is much more flesh that could be put on the bones when considering this prophetic timeline but this is not the purpose or within the extent of this little article right now. There is, however, one lead-on from here. I recently wrote a little tract – entitled, ‘Joy To The World’ – it is eminently suitable to be handed to the unconverted. You can download and read it here: Joy To The World – Free Gospel Tract. You’ll clearly see the connection with this article.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and I hope you will enjoy reading the tract and, if you will, print it off and hand a few out. God bless us all in our Gospel ventures for His Kingdom and may we all be renewed in our anticipation of the soon coming time when the glory and the knowledge of The Lord will be known fully throughout the whole earth!
Related Reading ~ FREE Gospel Tract: Joy To The World!