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. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9
God has a plan for His people. His plan is to save them and allow them to have a place in heaven with Him. Beyond this, we know little about heaven. And itís a little murky about what will be expected of us during Christís thousand-year reign.
But we can be sure about what Godís desire is right now. He desires that no one, called by His name, should perish. He wants all, who are His, to come to repentance.
Many people see 2 Peter 3:8-9 as written to all people. In other words, itís Godís desire no one perishes. Well, we have to place Peterís words in context. He is, in fact, addressing believers. He is warning them to be ready. He is warning those who have not yet received Christ to be ready. And He is warning those who are His to stay ready.
You see, I donít believe Peter meant that God wishes that no one, in the world, should perish. If this were the case, then none would perish, because Godís will is Godís will. God does not wish people into the kingdom. He draws them to Himself. And those He draws, come. Weíre told, in Romans 9, salvation does not come by our will or our works, but by Godís mercy.
Thus, the Holy Spirit must lead us to Christ. The Father draws us to Jesus. Without this drawing, no person can come to the Lord (John 6). And in John 6, Jesus said all the Father gives Him comes to the Son and the Son does not lose any the Father gives Him. For God charges the Son to raise them on the Last Day. The Son does this, because itís the Fatherís will. So, Peter is not talking about universal salvation and the fact the Father wishes no one would perish. He is talking about His people. Peter is addressing those who are the Lords; those who have received Christ as their personal Savior and those who will receive the Lord. Godís will is that Christ lose none that are Fatherís, but to raise them on the last day.
Peter reminds us not to be slack about His coming. He wants us ready for Christís return. He also gives us a general time period, where we can expect to see the Lordís return take place. No, we do not know the time or day, but we know the season. Peter tells us a day is a thousand years to the Lord. Why did Peter choose a thousand years, since the Lord is outside time? The Lordís ďdayĒ could easily be ten thousand years. Time is of no concern to God, because it neither restrains Him, nor constricts Him. He does not have a few days to do something. He is like this grand chess player, who already knows the moves He needs to do, to make something happen. Why, because what He needs to do is already done, in Him. Thus, He is not wringing His hands or looking out for something that might delay His Sonís return. Time means nothing to God, but it means something to us. Thus, Peter gives us a hint, in a way we can understand. He says a thousand years is a day to the Lord.
While this may seem strange to us, the number 1,000 is significant. And the term ďdayĒ is significant. When we put the two together, we see why Peter chose one thousand years to be one day and not ten thousand or twenty thousand years, because one thousand gives us a hint when Jesus will return.
It took seven days for God to create this world. He worked six days and rested on the seventh day. Thus six days plus one equals seven days. When we see that one-day equals one thousand years, we can see Godís timetable for humankind. Peter wants us to know that God planned for His creation to live on this earth for six thousand years or six days. On the seventh day, Godís day of rest, we will rest with our Lord for one thousand years.
Thus, six days or six thousand years is our time on earth, as we know it. The seventh day or the seventh, one thousand years, is a time for resting. We see this in Revelation when weíre told Jesus will reign for one thousand years.
If I can sum up what Peter means in 2 Peter 3:8-9, I would say, we must be ready for Christís return. God does not want any of His people to perish or die and go to hell. Therefore, the Spirit draws His people and they will come to Him. God does not want any of His to perish or die. And He does not want to keep them in the dark about His return. While we cannot know the date, we know the season. The season is now. We have passed the six thousandth year mark. So be ready. The times they are ending. Donít be slack. Prepare yourself for His return. If Iím right about this, it could happen any day.
Author: Lynn E. Sheldon
Author writes and distributes discipleship material and articles to train believers in the Word.