Is One Day in Heaven Literally 1,000 Years on Earth?
- Barbara Latta Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2022 18 Feb
Our lives depend upon planners, calendars, and alarms. Activity is governed by minutes, hours, and days. Electronic devices and printed pages tell us when we should attend a specific event or complete a certain task.
Earth is controlled by the phases of day and night as God directed at creation.
Because of the passage in 2 Peter 3:8, opinions differ as to whether this means each day of creation took one thousand earth years:
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. (NIV)
The scriptures in Genesis state that after each event of creation evening and morning was a day. God didn’t change the definition of evening and morning after He created the solar system.
Genesis 1:5 states that He called the light day and the darkness night. According to Strong’s #3117, one of the definitions of the word that was translated as day is a twenty-four-hour period as defined by evening and morning in Genesis 1.
The globe we live on turns on its axis with the same revolution now as when the Creator formed it. Light and darkness divide the 24-hour period we use to determine calendars.
Earth Time Is Not the Same as a Heavenly Dimension
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
This scripture speaks of planetary moments. The cycles the Lord created for men to live by. Seasons indicate phases for the production of crops.
As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease. (Genesis 8:22)
But the Almighty lives outside our physical limitations. He lives in a spiritual dimension where clocks don’t exist.
Eternity Cannot Be Measured
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. (Revelation 21:1)
When the Almighty recreates the cosmos, the ticking of the physical clock as we know it will stop.
Since the sun and the moon regulate moments that pass on this planet, we have no need of them in paradise.
The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. (Revelation 21:23)
Since there will be no night, we will live in perpetual light. No sunrise or sunset to indicate another day is gone. So, one day in heaven cannot be measured. It is always day.
There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)
God’s View Is Not Our View
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8)
Because of our limited brains, we think in human perspectives. Our Father’s ways are higher than ours and when we try to figure out how He does things, we can be perplexed. Only through approaching the Almighty in spirit and truth can we see our world and our lives through His eyes. (John 3:12)
Joshua called for the sun to stand still, and for one point in history, terra firma’s revolving stopped (Joshua 10:13). This shows us that the measurements we live by don’t mean anything in God’s purpose. He stopped the solar power’s movement to establish His plan. (Psalm 104:19)
The Millennial Reign Is Literal
If what happens in heaven could take place on our big blue marble, those events may take literally an abundance of years. Or because of the infinite properties of eternity, the opposite could be true. What takes 1,000 years here could only be moments in heaven if a celestial clock existed.
We do know that Jesus will return physically to sit on His throne in Jerusalem for 1,000 years of righteous rule (Revelation 20:4). After the millennial reign, we enter the spiritual dimension of the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21:3).
John, the Apostle, wrote the book of Revelation based on His vision of Jesus. He was given insight into future events. Revelation 8:1 states that there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. Since John was still on the earth when he received these visions, we can assume this period was what John could measure based on his current location. There could have been a half-hour interval between the visions John received.
The Lord uses metaphors all through scripture to paint mental images for us. Pharoah in Egypt dreamed about cows and ears of corn that Joseph interpreted to show the nation the future famine (Genesis 41).
Daniel interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar to reveal future events of history, some of which are yet to come to pass (Daniel 2).
This verse in Psalms can be an example of a metaphor to reflect to us that counting days and years are not an issue with the Creator.
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:4)
Scriptures referring to measured cycles can be to show us the limitless character of Jehovah. We are controlled by minutes, days, and hours. We have appointments to keep, meetings to attend, employment expectations, and school days for children.
We won’t live this way in the Lord’s presence. We will exist in eternal worship to the King of kings. We will have no stress or schedules to rush us into doing something.
Our Life Span Compared to Eternity
We make our plans, but we also need to put those plans into the hands of our Creator.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:13-14)
We shouldn’t take our life span for granted (Psalm 31:15). We have assignments to complete while in our physical bodies. But we still need to commit ourselves to the Lord and follow His direction for the proper use of our days here.
Near-death experiences have been shared by many people. Testimonies from their out-of-body-travel have revealed they felt as if they had been in the presence of God for long intervals, but upon returning to their bodies, the clock showed only minutes.
We Will Know as We Are Fully Known
We can debate the 1,000-year issue and all have different thoughts about what this scripture in 2 Peter means. But we do know that once we are translated out of this present universe, we will be able to have all our questions answered.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
We can rejoice that once we enter the pearly gates, we will not age and years will not matter.
We won’t need alarms because we won’t need to sleep. We won’t tire so we won’t need to rest.
Food will not cause weight gain and exercise will be non-existent. Aren’t we glad?
Clocks will be a thing of the past and all that matters will be the never-ending presence of the Lord.
Photo Credit: © Getty Images/buradaki
Barbara Latta is a true southerner and is transplanted from Arkansas to Georgia. She writes a monthly column in her local newspaper and contributes to devotional websites, online magazines, and has stories in several anthologies. She is the author of God’s Maps, Stories of Inspiration, and Direction for Motorcycle Riders. She enjoys traveling with her Harley-riding prince on his motorcycle taking in the creativity of nature. Drinking coffee on the patio while the sun comes up is her favorite time of day. Barbara shares about walking in grace and thriving in hope on her blog, Navigating Life’s Curves, at www.barbaralatta.blogspot.com. She cherishes her role in life as a wife, a mom to two grown sons, and Mimi to one granddaughter.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.
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