(How Does God Keep Time?) Bible Question.
“When the Bible says that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, what does that mean?”
The text in question reads. . .
“Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:3 – 9, New American Standard Bible)
In order to understand any text of Scripture, we need to look at the context. The apostle Peter had been discussing the Lord’s return, and the fact that some were saying that Christ wasn’t coming back at all. Their idea was that the “long delay” proved that Jesus wasn’t coming back.
We need to understand that God is not limited, as we are, by time. God the Father is eternal, as are also Christ and the Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 33:27, Romans 16:26; Hebrews 9:14). That God is eternal simply means that He never had beginning nor will He ever have an end. Eternity never began and it will never end. God inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15). When we think that God is taking too long for something, we need to have faith that will always do what He says. But He may not do it on our timetable. That is what Peter is saying.
Time does not mean anything to God, for He is not bound by time. He does not exist in time. We sometimes say, “God is everywhere”. And there is ample evidence of that in Scripture (Psalm 139:7 – 12; etc.). But we need also to have the concept that “God is everywhen” – that is, He is eternal. God exists in every century of history, in every year, in every day. With Him there is no past, no future – all is PRESENT with God.
Jesus explained to the people of His day on earth something of the nature of God, “‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not the God of the dead but of the living” (Matthew 22:32). Jesus uses this to show that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were still living. But it also shows the eternal nature of God.
Because we live in “time” and God inhabits eternity, it is very difficult for us to grasp this concept. But that is what Peter is addressing. Time means nothing to God, because He does not inhabit time. He exists (present tense) in the time of Adam, and He exists (present tense) in the time when Jesus shall return. He is eternal.
We make a very bad mistake when we try to measure God’s activity by calendars or clocks. It won’t work, because those things have no application in eternity.