God is a God of order, not chaos. He reveals patterns and sequences, templates and types. God is outside of time, but He has a plan involving time from before the foundation of the world.
…for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Isaiah 46:9-10)
Not only does God have a plan, but He does not keep it completely secret:
For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
God and His Sevens
The Creation Week
One of the ways in which God has revealed His pattern is through groupings of 7’s. We first find this pattern in the Creation Week:
And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. (Genesis 2:2-3)
God created the world in 6 days, and on the 7th day He “rested”. Now could God have created the world in 4 days? 12 days? 10 years? Yes. But He specifically chose a pattern of 6+1 days. 6 is the “number of man”, and 7 is the “number of completion”. This 7 day week has persisted throughout human history and was set up by God as a template for the Sabbath cycle.
The Sabbath Cycle
God further reveals His pattern in the Sabbath Cycle:
Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places. (Leviticus 23:3)
God affirms His pattern of 6+1 days in a weekly work/rest cycle. This is to be the pattern Israel follows for their Work Week, forever. The Sabbath is grouped with the other Feasts of God, for it serves as a sign just as the feasts do:
“You are to speak to the people of Israel and say, ‘Above all you shall keep my Sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I, the LORD, sanctify you. Therefore the people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations, as a covenant forever. It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.’” (Exodus 31:13,16-17)
The Sabbath is one of God’s “appointed times”. The reason God places such high importance on the Sabbath is because of its’ significance. Gotquestions describes it like this:
The various elements of the Sabbath symbolized the coming of the Messiah, who would provide a permanent rest for His people. Once again the example of resting from our labors comes into play. With the establishment of the Old Testament Law, the Jews were constantly “laboring” to make themselves acceptable to God. Their labors included trying to obey a myriad of do’s and don’ts of the ceremonial law, the Temple law, the civil law, etc. Of course they couldn’t possibly keep all those laws, so God provided an array of sin offerings and sacrifices so they could come to Him for forgiveness and restore fellowship with Him, but only temporarily. Just as they began their physical labors after a one-day rest, so, too, did they have to continue to offer sacrifices. Hebrews 10:1 tells us that the law “can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” But these sacrifices were offered in anticipation of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on the cross, who “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right of God” (Hebrews 10:12). Just as He rested after performing the ultimate sacrifice, He sat down and rested—ceased from His labor of atonement because there was nothing more to be done, ever. Because of what He did, we no longer have to “labor” in law-keeping in order to be justified in the sight of God. Jesus was sent so that we might rest in God and in what He has provided. (source)
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:9-10)
The Shemitah Cycle
God establishes a “week of years” Sabbath cycle, called the Shemitah Cycle:
Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. (Leviticus 25:3-4)
Again, a pattern of 6+1, this time in years. The 7th year was to be a time of rest for the land, where it would lay fallow. It was also the year of “release” for Hebrew slaves.
The Jubilee Cycle
The next pattern involves 7×7, or “seven sevens”. After each period of “seven sevens”, there was to be a year set apart as a Jubilee. In the Jubilee (50th) year, it was an extra year where the land got to rest, debts were canceled, and Hebrew slaves were released:
You shall count seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the time of the seven weeks of years shall give you forty-nine years. Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land. And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, when each of you shall return to his property and each of you shall return to his clan. That fiftieth year shall be a jubilee for you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of itself nor gather the grapes from the undressed vines. For it is a jubilee. It shall be holy to you. (Leviticus 25:8-12)
Now that we know God’s pattern of 6+1 and groupings of 7’s, what is He trying to tell us?
Time as a Prophetic Marker
As Douglas Berner points out in his book “God’s Challenge”, the Bible references time using different concepts – both in a scientific sense and an undefined prophetic sense. Some times given are exact (1260 days, 42 months, “time, times, and half a time” – where “time”=1 year, 7 weeks, 49 days), and some times are more ambiguous (“as a thousand years”, “about half an hour”, “a season”). Scripture uses words like: appointed times, set times, fullness of time, time to come, time of trouble, former times, judgment time, and time of the end. What we can know, is that everything has an “appointed time“:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
We can also know that everything will come about in the “fullness of time“, or at just the right time on God’s schedule:
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. (Galatians 4:4-5)
Days as 1000 Years
For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:4)
Peter relates this passage in Psalm 90 to the Day of the Lord:
“…knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:3-10)
God warns Adam regarding the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that he will die in the day he eats of it:
but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)
Douglas Berner notes that although spiritual death entered Adam on that day of sin, his physical death occurred 930 years later – still included in the first thousand-year-day. This is specifically discussed in the apocryphal book of Jubilees.
Another significant passage is found in the book of Hosea:
I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me. “Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. Hosea 5:15-6:2
After the Jews rejected Jesus as Messiah, He returned to the right hand of the Father in heaven. He will remain there until they call Him as foretold in Matthew 23:38-39:
“See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Hosea’s thousand-year-days would technically begin around the time of the Messiah’s birth, when Israel should have been watching for Him to appear. When they ultimately rejected Him, their desolation came into effect. Israel was desolated in 70 AD when the Temple was destroyed and in 135 AD when Jerusalem was overthrown. At that point, the Jews were dispersed throughout the nations as foretold in Scripture. And there they remained, until near the end of the second thousand-year-day – May 1948. This marked the beginning of their revival physically. This relates to the prophecies in Ezekiel chapters 36-39, where Ezekiel details the regathering of Israel after her dispersion among the nations. In his “Valley of Dry Bones” vision, Ezekiel sees Israel return in stages. She has come together as a nation, and will continue to do so as the “second thousand-year-day” continues until the end of Daniel’s 70th Week. Israel has yet to be raised up in complete spiritual revival. The raising up on the third thousand-year-day will take place at Jesus’ Second Coming and throughout the Millennial Kingdom, when Israel will be physically and spiritually elevated above all nations
We have seen that the creation week gave us a pattern of six days followed by a day of Sabbath rest. We have also seen that each day approximates 1000 years prophetically. We know from Revelation 20, that there is an upcoming Kingdom rule of Christ on earth for 1000 years – called the “Millennial Kingdom”. This “thousand years” time period is repeated six times for emphasis in verses 2-7. If this thousand-year Millennial Kingdom is the “Sabbath Rest”, then it should be preceded by six one-thousand-year-days of human history. 6 thousand-year-days + 1 thousand-year-day = 7 thousand-year-days, the completion of humanity.
6000 years of “work” + 1000 years of “rest” = 7000 years of humanity
Jews have always acknowledged that the seven day creation week symbolizes a seven thousand year plan for humanity. Each prophetic “day” represents 1000 years of the earth’s story.
Interestingly, the Jubilee Cycle may give insight into the “work week” of humanity:
Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide [contend] in [with] man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” (Genesis 6:3)
120 “Jubilees”, 50 year cycles, gives 6000 years. Just as God allotted 120 literal years before He poured out judgment on the entire earth in the form of a flood, it appears He has allotted 120 “Jubilees” (6000 years) before He pours out judgment on the entire earth in the form of fire:
For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:5-7)
At the end of 6000 years, global judgment from God will ensue before Jesus’ 1000 year Millennial Kingdom rule. In the 7th thousand-year-day, the earth (both land and inhabitants) will be “set free” from the curse just as the land was allowed rest and slaves set free in the Jubilee year.
What Time Is It?
Since Jesus is not currently here ruling in the midst of us, and we continue to live under the curse issued in Genesis 3, we must still be in our “work week”.
From archaeological evidence, it appears that we have around 6000 years of modern human history. Without getting into a creation debate, here are some articles if you are interested in the numbers:
- How Does the Bible Teach 6000 Years? (Creation Ministries International)
- Biblical Age of the Earth (Institute for Creation Research)
- Ussher and the Date of Creation (Answers in Genesis)
- What is the Age of the Earth? (GotQuestions)
- The Taylor Trail (human + dinosaur tracks)
One of the challenges to knowing exactly what year it is, is that the tracking of time has changed throughout human history. A number of calendars have existed, some based on the sun (solar), some on the moon (lunar), and some on a combination of the two (lunisolar). The Julian calendar was established in 45 BCE, and refined in 1582 CE to become the Gregorian calendar which is still in secular use today. This calendar is based on “anno Domini nostri Jesu Christi” – “in the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ”, the presumed year of the birth of Jesus (which was probably more like 3-4 BC not year “0”). Anno Domini was renamed to the “common era” about 350 years ago to remove Jesus from the picture. Although this gives us reference to the current age, the “Church Age”, it doesn’t give a picture of human history.
The Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar, using intercalary months instead of leap years to make up the time difference between the lunar and solar years. It is based on starting year counts at the creation of the world. It also has gone through a few revisions and there is a discrepancy between the Orthodox Rabbinic calendar and the Nazarene calendar. Currently, in 2017, the Orthodox Rabbinic year count is 5777. The Orthodox Rabbinic calendar is based on a book called the “Seder Olam Rabbah”, which was written in 240 CE (AD). There is some indication that there are up to 240 “missing years” in this calendar, which may or may not be deliberate. The Nazarene calendar, on the other hand, uses the accounts in the Old Testament, much as current creation science does. This is where God’s careful recording of genealogies comes into play! All Scripture is there for a purpose, to lay out God’s plans and purposes.
Here is the geneaological counting, which was done in 2007:
Adam to the Flood: 1656 years
Flood to the birth of Abraham 454 years
Abraham to the Exodus 430 years
Exodus to the First Temple 480 years
First Temple to the Exile 393 years
Exile to Second Temple 72 years
Total 3,485 years
Next, to count how many years there were between the building of the Second Temple until the year 2007 (i.e., now), we must switch to the Western (Roman) Gregorian calendar. The reason for this is that Scripture does not record these dates for us.
15 Now the Temple was finished on the third day of the month of Adar, which was in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius.
Secular historians inform us that the sixth year of the reign of Persian King Darius took place in approximately 515 BCE. When we add 515 years to the 2007 years that have elapsed since Yeshua’s birth, we find that the Second Temple was built approximately 2520 years ago:
Second Temple built 515 BCE
Years elapsed since Yeshua’s birth 2007
Total 2520 years
Now, to find the approximate age of the earth today (in the year 2007), we should add the number of years from the Creation to the building of the Second Temple (3,485) to the number of years from the building of the Second Temple until now (2,520). This will give us the approximate age of the earth in the year 2007 CE:
Creation to the Second Temple 3,485 years
Second Temple to 2007 CE 2,520 years
Years since the Creation (approximate) 6,005 years
According to this model, we should now be at around year 6015. This would technically put us into “prophetic overtime”. Or does it?
And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years (Genesis 1:14)
God provided the sun, moon, and stars to serve as signs and to mark days and years. The sun, moon, and stars were untouched by sin, the curse, and humanity. Is there any sign in the heavens that can give us a clue as to what “time” it is?
Interestingly, when prophecy watchers started scanning the thousands of years of human history and future for a specific sign in the sun, moon, and stars described in Revelation 12:1-2, they found only one match.
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. (Revelation 12:1-2)
While the sign in fulfillment of Revelation 12:1-2 only occurs once, they did find three other partial alignments. These partial alignments occurred on September 11, 3 BC (Jesus’ birth?), August 27, 70 AD (destruction of Second Temple), and August 5, 3915 BC. It is the 3915 BC alignment that is relevant to our current discussion:
There is a near perfect match on this date (though not as precise as the 2017 alignment). In fact it is such a close match that it has been speculated that this could have been the date of the Fall of Mankind when God spoke these eerily relevant words to the devil and to Eve in Genesis 3:15-16:
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
Interestingly, in this dialogue the same three entities mentioned in Revelation 12 are also present: the serpent (Revelation 12:9), the woman, and the male child. The planet Saturn, which some have speculated represents satan, happens to be near the heel of The Lion.
Adam and Eve were created to be eternal beings, and in their perfection were granted to eat freely from the Tree of Life. Thus, it was only when they FELL and became physically mortal that year counts would start to matter. It was when they FELL that humanity’s “work week” began:
…cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19)
Mankind was allotted 7000 years before this form of heaven and earth would be complete and we would return to our eternal state (either with God or apart from Him – the choice is up to each one of us).
Let’s examine what time it is based on the calendar in the sun, moon, and stars:
3915 BC – Fall of Humanity + 2017 (current year) – 1 (no year “0”) = 5932 years
This puts us under 6000 years, right? Or does it?
God’s Prophetic Calendar
The length of a year is currently 365.242190 days. The length of a year is decreasing by approximately 0.000006 every century. (wikipedia) The Bible, however, uses a year length of 360 days.
…they will trample the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days… (Revelation 11:2-3)
…and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. (Revelation 12:6)
…so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. (Revelation 12:14)
42 30-day months = 1260 days = “time, and times, and half a time” (“time”= 1 360-day year)
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. (Genesis 7:11)
At the end of 150 days the waters had abated, and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. (Genesis 8:3-4)
In Genesis chapters 7-8 we are told the Flood covered the land from the 17th day of the 2nd month to the 17th day of the 7th month. This time period totals 150 days. This would only be true if each month had 30 days in it.
I would assume God uses 360 day years for a reason, not just because the numbers round nice. Let’s assume that God created the world with 360-day years, as seen in the Flood account above.
Let’s also say that the global flood was in 1656 AM as calculated through the Torah here (AIG), and in the Nazarene calendar above.
At some point between the Flood and Today, the earth wobbled in its orbital path and gained a few days per year. I would think it is safe to assume that the “fountains of the deep bursting forth” and the “windows of heaven opened” of the Flood had something to do with it. The Bible doesn’t provide a lot of detail on this, but we know the post-Flood world was significantly different and many species died off at that time. Whatever happened (asteroid impacts? massive earthquakes?), we do know that the land was divided (the crust shifted) “in the days of Peleg” and that this occurred a little while after the Flood (Genesis 10:25). The result is that somehow we ended up with approximately 365.25 day-years.
For the purpose of our calculations, let’s use the year 1656 AM (anno mundi, after creation) and guess that things settled down to balance out to 365.25 days/year quite quickly after the global flood.
This means humanity has existed for an extra ~5.25 days per year since the global flood. But if our allotted days are only 6000 360-day-years, what happens if we take into account the “extra” days?
3915 (Fall) – 1656 (Flood) = 2259 years BC
+ 2017 years AD – 1 (no year 0)
= 4275 years lived with “extra days”
4275 x 365.25 (current days/year) / 360 (prophetic days/year) = 4337 360-day-year equivalent years since the Flood
4337 (post flood years) + 1656 (preflood years) = 5993.3 years
Alternately, some software programs give the year 3914 BC for the sign in question. Using this date:
4336 (post flood years) + 1656 (preflood years) = 5992.3 years
Either way, it appears that as of this fall we have 7 years remaining in our “work week”. Just enough time to add on a 7-year “Tribulation” (the 70th Week of Daniel).
Further Recommended Reading:
More Posts – MAIN MENU
The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures for yourself to see if these things are so!