Is a 6000 year plan for earth true? Does that mean the end is near? Jesus and His apostles once told us to watch for signs of the end of the age and the coming of Christ. But people have been watching for centuries since the death and resurrection of Christ. Why should we be any closer now? What makes our generation so special?
Many Christians (myself included) believe that God does indeed have a 6000 year plan before bringing an end to normal human history by the second coming of Christ–plus a 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ on earth after that (Rev. 20:4-6). We come to that conclusion by interpreting scripture with scripture.
When we read Genesis chapter 1, we see that God created the sky, sun, moon, stars, sea, earth, grass, trees, vegetation, birds, sea creatures, land animals, and humans in 6 days. “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31, NKJV) Then what did God do?
Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. – Genesis 2:1-3, NKJV
God rested on the 7th day after six days of incredible creations. We will see as we continue to examine scripture why that is significant to a 7000 year plan for humanity.
First let’s see just how important it was to God to remember a time of rest in a couple of other situations.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. – Exodus 20:8-11, NKJV
1 And the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a sabbath to the Lord. 3 Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; 4 but in the seventh year there shall be a sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath to the Lord. – Leviticus 25:1-4a, NKJV
God set a standard for Israel, built into their theocratic commandments, to work for 6 days of the week and then keep the 7th day as a sabbath day of rest to the Lord. He permanently put the week of creation in remembrance for them. He also deliberately symbolized the week of creation by giving them instructions for a 6-year period of work and a 1-year period of rest after they acquire their promised land, which they would later name Israel–as it still is today.
Now stay with me. We are building up to something.
One of the psalmists revealed a significant time-principle of God from a song of Moses:
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
God has made it a point to include in His divinely inspired Word (II Tim. 3:16: II Peter 1:20,21) that He considers one day the same as 1000 years (a millennium). The apostle Peter also supported that truth as He speaks of the judgment of God that is coming on the day of the Lord.
But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 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. – II Peter 3:7,8, NKJV
Why did Peter tell us not to forget about God’s time-principle? Because it matters. What I believe Peter has just implied is this. I will paraphrase what I believe we can understand from his revelation. “God has a 6000 year plan, to equal the first 6 days of creation, before He will bring a final judgment upon the earth and unbelievers at the second coming of Christ (see Rev. 16; II Thes. 1:7-10).”
Then comes the 7th day of rest. Then comes the 7th millenium of rest. God prophesied of this final “day” of rest.
It shall come to pass in the day the Lord gives you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear and the hard bondage in which you were made to serve. – Isaiah 14:3, NKJV
8 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work. 10 For forty years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.’ 11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’” Psalm 95:8-11, NKJV
God warned that many people will not enter that period of rest because of unbelief and rebellion. The writer of Hebrews also touches on the future rest God has promised.
1 Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. 2 For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. 3 For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’” although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; 5 and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. 9 There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. 10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. 11 Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. – Hebrews 4:1-11, NKJV
That few verses really ties it together regarding God’s promise of a future day of rest comparable to His rest on the seventh day. When we look at the other scriptures previous to that, specifically God’s time-principle of “1000 years equals 1 day”, we come to the conclusion that there is a 6000 year plan for mankind to be accomplished before the final millennium of rest. We know for a biblical fact that there will be a one-thousand year period after God’s judgment comes on earth when Jesus Christ will reign on earth.
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. …Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. – Revelation 20:1-6a, NKJV
Of course there will be a time of rest if Satan is bound for 1000 years, no longer able to promote great evil upon earth. Of course there will be rest if Jesus Christ Himself is ruling supreme on earth for 1000 years. Dead saints who have been resurrected at Christ’s second coming on the last day (of the 6000 year period, John 6:39,40), will actually be given positions of authority in the millennium.
The bottom line is this. Admittedly, it is speculation that God is operating on a 6000 year plan. But we do have a good biblical reason. We know that there is going to be a 1000 year period of rest to compare to God’s 7th day of rest, so we believe there will also be a 6000 year period to equal the six days of creation.
That is why many Christians actually believe the end is near. Many of us believe that we are very near to the end of that 6000 year period. Why do we say that?
A Christian in the 16th century named Bishop James Ussher was able to estimate that there were 4004 years from the beginning of creation up to the time of Jesus’ birth. He did so by piecing together geneologies from Genesis chapters 5 and 11, along with other events scattered throughout the Old Testament. His conclusions are very realistic to anyone who takes the Bible literally.
Of course we are now in the year 2014. It is common sense that God’s timeline of 6000 years have not been kept perfectly aligned by the finite minds of mankind as we have organized calendars over time and in different nations since the life of Christ. We can’t know just how close we are to the true end of six thousand years. But that is why Jesus told us to watch for signs of His coming.
I will begin a series in the near future sharing scripture that shows just what will go on during the millennial reign of Christ.