[Note: This author is a pre-Tribulation rapture and Young Earth Creationist (YEC) believer, and this article reflects these views.]
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
The above verse, from the Apostle Peter, is a most intriguing passage of Scripture. There have been a few interpretations of it, but there are only two views that I hold to.
- This passage seems to give us a glimpse into how eternity is perceived compared to God’s creation of time that the universe is subject to. A 24-hour period is no different, in light of eternity, than a thousand years; as a thousand years is perceived to be no different than a 24-hour period of time. I’ve heard it said that “Eternity seems to be one continuous moment.” How true this adage is will remain to be seen.
- It is my belief (and many others’) that this is a prophetic passage when compared to the creation week found in Gen. 1:1-31 and Gen. 2:1-3.
That is, the seven days of creation are a typification of the seven-thousand years assigned by God for mankind; six-thousand years of human history climaxed by the one-thousand-year reign of Christ.
Men much smarter than I am have calculated the approximate age of our planet and universe since God’s creation, using the genealogies and history of the Bible, and have determined that we are currently in an approximate transition from day six (or six-thousand years) into day seven (the last one thousand years of history). This “seventh day” – or the last thousand years of history – corresponds to God’s resting on the seventh day and is a picture of the Lord’s Millennial Kingdom found in Rev. 20:1-10. (Other details of His Kingdom are found in many of the Old Testament prophetic writings.) These facts seem to confirm the relationship to this verse of Peter’s, the seven days of creation, and the assigned seven-thousand years of human history.
Jesus claimed that He would die and be resurrected the third day on numerous occasions (Matthew 16:21, Matthew 17:23, Matthew 20:19, Luke 9:22, Luke 13:32, & Luke 24:46), and so He was.
We’ll start by using the gospel message given by Paul to the church at Corinth, concerning our Lord and Savior’s death and resurrection.
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
What is significant about this is that Christ has been gone for two-thousand years (two days), and by all accounts is at the door ready to come back and take His bride home to His Father’s house so we may be with Him forever. His death, burial, and resurrection are the picture and outline of what His bride would be going through. That is, the church age will be two days (two-thousand years), and we, too, will rise in the rapture of the church.
The prophetic signs are everywhere, and they can’t be ignored. Many great books and articles will attest to this fact but are not in the scope of this article. (Although, I would point you to one of my own articles, “10 Reasons We Are In The End Days,” as for why I say this.)
When it comes to “The Prophetic Third Day,” it is always in relation to the cross. Everything hinges on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins and the redemption of those who would put their trust in Him.
In respect to this “Third Day” prophecy, the time would seem to be soon due to the fact that Jesus has already been gone for approximately “two days” (two-thousand years), and the “Third Day” is swiftly coming upon us.
“And the third day there was a marriage…” (John 2:1a).
This verse is such a beautiful picture of the rapture of the church and our marriage to our Bridegroom (Rev. 19:7-9).
If this is to be a perfect picture of the rapture, the question we must ask is, “What was happening the first two days?” The answer is exactly what has been occurring the last two-thousand years: Jesus was (and is) calling His disciples.
I backtracked two days in the text and found this to be true.
From John 1:35-51 (two days) the Scriptures read:
“Again the next day [the first day] after John stood, and two of his disciples; And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? He saith unto them, Come and see.
“They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.
“The day following [the second day] Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see.
“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”
I wanted the reader to see that, in fact, Jesus, two days prior to the wedding in Cana, was only calling His disciples – the very thing He’s been doing for the last two-thousand years. When the Holy Spirit showed me this in my personal Bible study time, I was filled with joy. It was a perfect picture of the church in the age of grace, followed by our marriage to Him!
“And the third day there was a marriage…” Amazing!!
“Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king’s house, over against the king’s house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre” (Esther 5:1-2).
This passage seems to have both the rapture of the church and the Second Coming of Christ to save Israel at the end of the Tribulation in view.
Queen Esther (the church) coming to the king (Jesus) on the Third Day is a picture of the rapture.
The supplication of Queen Esther to the king will be that of protecting her people from wicked Haman’s (Satan/Antichrist) intent to kill all the Jews in the empire, and this is a picture of our Lord’s Second Coming.
“Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth” (Hosea 6:1-3).
An amazing Scripture that is pointing to the Lord’s Second Coming to save Israel from Antichrist and to resurrect all the Old Testament saints at His coming in “the morning” of the Third Day. This passage also has a perfect parallel found in Daniel 12:1b-3 regarding the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) and this resurrection:
“And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.”
Two Other Passages with Possible Prophetic Third-Day Implications
“… I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord” (2 Kings 20:5b).
God, through Isaiah, told king Hezekiah that he would be healed of his sickness – but note the words in this passage. One can’t help but to see the correlation to Israel being healed of her “sickness” of refusing their Messiah for two-thousand years and finally going to the “house of the Lord” in salvation and righteousness at Christ’s Second Coming, when they say, “Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:39).
“Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off” (Genesis 22:4).
This is the amazing story of Abraham willingly offering up his only son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to God. We all know the story: God stopped Abraham, as it would be God who would offer up His Son for the redemption of mankind.
This verse reminds one of the Hall of Faith section in Hebrews, where it states:
“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:8-10).
Abraham was looking for this city; Israel has been looking for this city; and the bride of Christ has been earnestly seeking this city.
And when Christ comes back again to rapture His bride (and seven-plus years later comes to save His people Israel from Antichrist), we will all, collectively, be enjoying this city together with the One Who loves us. The city of the great King and her throne will be occupied by the Creator and Redeemer of all who freely come unto Him, and it will be glorious!
Of course, the final fulfillment of the city will be the New Jerusalem that comes out of heaven to the new earth in the Eternal Kingdom.
It’s been my experience that trying to explain simple concepts can be most difficult.
I pray that the reader has not been confused and that what I have laid out here is crystal clear.
Bottom line: The creation week is an outline of human history. God could have created everything in a single moment but chose to create in six days and rest on the seventh, thereby giving us the pattern of six-thousand years of human history (which our blessed generation is able to look back on), followed by one thousand years of rest in Messiah Yeshua’s Millennial Kingdom, which is on the near horizon.
Following that will be the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11-15), a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1), and the glorious Eternal Kingdom in the New Jerusalem on the new earth (Rev. 20:2-27 & Rev. 22:1-5) living in perfect unity with our Creator and Savior, forever!
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!