Day vs One Thousand Years

Author: Joshua Turk

Clearview Baptist Church >> Our Faith


Literal vs Poetry

Many have tried to millions of years to the days of creation that is described in Genesis chapter 1 & 2.  However, a literal reading of Genesis (which is written as prose, NOT POETRY) will not in any way even hint that the days are millions of years old.  So, in an attempt to add millions of years to the Bible, the only two verses in the Bible that talk about one thousand years and a day are used to justify this position.  One of these verses is in Psalms (which IS a book of POETRY) and the other verse is in Peter.  Both books are using a simile to compare the shortness of the life of men compared to the infinite life of an eternal God.


A note of interest:  Those who try to add millions of years to the Bible generally claim that the book of Genesis is poetry and then use Psalms to add millions of years.  They have it backwards!  Genesis is not poetry, it is prose.  Psalms is poetry, not prose.

Psalms—A Book Of Poetry

This is the ‘thousand year’ phrase that is found in Psalms.

Psalms 90:4 (KJV) For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.


Now let’s analyze the verse. First of all, "is" means "equal to", "as" means "similar to".  The verse is not saying that one day "is" one thousand years, it is saying that it becomes "similar to" one thousand years.  The verse is using the idea of limits.  If you take a fraction and make the denominator increasingly large then the value that the fraction represents gets increasingly smaller.  As the denominator approaches infinity the value of the fraction approaches zero, no matter what the numerator.  One day in infinite time is nothing... one thousand years in infinite time is nothing as well.  We experience this as we grow older, as our denominator of age increases. 


Limit as time goes to infinity


Limit as time goes to infinity


When we were children waiting for a day or a week to pass seemed like an eternity but as we grow older we look back on our life and see how quickly it fly’s by... a day... a week... it's just not that much time in our 70 or 80 years of life... in eternity, what’s a thousand years?


This chapter in Psalms (written by Moses) also describes the life of men as grass that grows up in a day and is cut down in the evening.  We are being taught to number our days because our life is short.


Psalms 90:1 (KJV) <<A Prayer of Moses the man of God.>> Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations.

Psalms 90:2 (KJV) Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

Psalms 90:3 (KJV) Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

Psalms 90:4 (KJV) For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

Psalms 90:5 (KJV) Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.

Psalms 90:6 (KJV) In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.

Psalms 90:7 (KJV) For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.

Psalms 90:8 (KJV) Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

Psalms 90:9 (KJV) For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.

Psalms 90:10 (KJV) The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.

Psalms 90:11 (KJV) Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath.

Psalms 90:12 (KJV) So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Psalms 90:13 (KJV) Return, O LORD, how long? and let it repent thee concerning thy servants.

Psalms 90:14 (KJV) O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.

Psalms 90:15 (KJV) Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.

Psalms 90:16 (KJV) Let thy work appear unto thy servants, and thy glory unto their children.

Psalms 90:17 (KJV) And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.


This is the famous verse in the book of Peter that is quoted that uses the ‘thousand year’ phrase.

2 Peter 3:8 (KJV) 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.

On a superficial reading that doesn’t take the verse in context it appears that this verse is saying that 1 day = 1,000 years.  But, it is important to look at the surrounding verses as well.  So, lets look at 2 Peter 3:8 in the context of the chapter that it is in by starting with reading the beginning of the chapter.

First—This Chapter Is Discussing The Mindset Of Unbelievers That Doubt The 2nd Coming Of Christ

2 Peter 3:1 (KJV) This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

2 Peter 3:2 (KJV) That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

2 Peter 3:3 (KJV) Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

2 Peter 3:4 (KJV) And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Second—The Chapter Is Teaching A Genesis 6 Day Creation And The Global Flood In Noah’s Day

2 Peter 3:5 teaches that God spoke the universe into existence and also that when God created the world (the planet earth) it was covered in water and then He made dry land appear.  This is consistent with the teaching in Genesis chapter one.

2 Peter 3:5 (KJV) For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

2 Peter 3:6 (KJV) is teaching that the world was destroyed by a global flood.

2 Peter 3:6 (KJV) Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

Third—The Chapter Is Teaching That The World Will Be Destroyed Once Again

2 Peter 3:7 (KJV) is teaching that God will once again destroy the world as He did in Noah’s day but next time it will be with fire.

2 Peter 3:7 (KJV) But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Fourth—There Is Nothing AT ALL WHATSOEVER To Indicate That This Verse Is Talking About Evolutionary Creation

Now for the famous “1 day = 1,000 years verse”.  The idea of limits is used here once again as well.  The word ‘as’ does not mean ‘equal to’, it means ‘similar’.  This, once again, is a simile comparing the shortness of a human life to that of eternal life.

2 Peter 3:8 (KJV) 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.

Fifth—The Chapter Is Teaching That As The World Was Once Destroyed By A Flood It Will Once More Be Destroyed By Fire

Why is God waiting so long for His return?

2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

A prophecy not possible to be known by science of the day when this verse was written, “the elements shall melt with fervent heat”.

2 Peter 3:10 (KJV) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

2 Peter 3:11 (KJV) Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

2 Peter 3:12 (KJV) Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

2 Peter 3:13 (KJV) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Conclusion On 2 Peter Chapter 3

It is not possible, after reading this chapter in it’s entirety, to come to any conclusion but that the author believes in, and is teaching, the six day creation and global flood accounts as found in the book of Genesis and that as God destroyed the world once for it’s wickedness He will also destroy it again because of it’s wickedness.