Is There Support That a “Day” Could Be a Long Time Period?

The seventh and the symbolic eighth day have covered thousands of years. That is possible because a “day” can represent long time periods of unspecified length. As the apostle Peter pointed out:

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day (2 Peter 3:8.)1

 That verse was never meant to be taken literally. Rather, it means that when God refers to a “day,” He may be referring to a time period that is longer than twenty-four hours and could expand over eons. Many of the early teachers of the church supported that position. Those included Irenaeus (second century), Origen (third century), Basil (fourth century), Augustine (fifth century), and Aquinas (thirteenth century).2 Therefore, using the word day as a description for a long time period is consistent with both Scripture and the historic teachings of the church.

 

Conclusion

Throughout the eight days and their corresponding time periods of the First Creation, Fallen Creation, and the New Creation, God’s Eternal Plan and Purpose is gloriously revealed in a way that humanity could have never imagined. Since the Bible is the only source for that revelation, it becomes crucial to understand more about the Bible and its trustworthiness.

  1. The apostle Peter is quoting from Psalms 90:4, a book of poetry where the writer compares our days to God’s days.
  2. Hugh Ross, The Fingerprint of God (Orange: Promise Publishing Co, 1991) 141.

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation
Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs
All rights reserved.
Reprinted 2017

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Chapter 1: Is There Support for the Eighth Day?

Three church leaders during the first and second centuries AD called the day of Jesus’s resurrection the eighth day. Those included Ignatius (AD 30–107), Justin Martyr (AD 110–165) and Barnabas (AD 100).6Although their writings are not a part of the inspired Scriptures, what they taught does reflect the thinking of the early church and confirms that the idea of the eighth day has a historic place in Christian tradition.

The Epistle of Barnabas, states,

“I shall make a beginning of the eighth day, that is, a beginning of another world.”7

 

Historically the eighth day symbolizes the resurrection of Jesus, and by implication, it also marks the beginning of another world that Jesus made possible through His death and resurrection. That new world is called the New Creation. While the eighth day is not specifically mentioned in the Bible, what it represents as the New Creation is taught throughout the New Testament, and its benefits are far reaching, impacting every person and the entire cosmos.8

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13).

 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:5a).

 

Therefore, the eighth day represents the resurrection of Jesus and metaphorically the entire New Creation that has unfolded since. It has existed as the New Creation for two thousand years, and one day, after the return of Jesus, it will fully dawn into a glorious eternal day.

Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea (Revelation 21:1).

 

6The Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, Chapter 9; Epistle of Barnabas 15; Justus Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 138.

7Epistle of Barnabas 15.

81 Corinthians 11:25, 2 Corinthians 3:6, Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 10:20, Hebrews 12:24, Matthew 9:17, and Mark 2:21.

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

 

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Chapter 1: What Does It Mean That God Rested on the Seventh Day?

When God rested on the seventh day, He rested from further creating. That means, He is no longer creating new species. Although diversification within each species continues to produce wonderful variations, He has finished with creating new ones.

However, that does not mean that He is not working at all. He continues to work in fulfilling His Eternal Plan and Purpose for humanity. Jesus confirms this by saying, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” (John 5:17b) Neither has God abandoned His creation. He is still at work sustaining, protecting, healing, and holding it together. The Bible says, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17).

In addition, God is at work through the Holy Spirit who:

  • Convicts humanity about their need for God: As Jesus said, “When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment, about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned (John 16:8-11).
  • He reveals the truth about Jesus: Jesus also said, “When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me” (John 15:26).
  • And, He grants the new birth: The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).

 Furthermore, the Holy Spirit continues to work in humanity by filling and sanctifying them with Himself, giving them gifts of ministry, praying for them, and helping them to spiritually grow.5

5Acts 2:1–4, 1 Corinthians 12:1–11, Romans 8:26, and Galatians 5:22–23.

How has God been at work in your life?

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

 

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Chapter 1: What Evidence Is There That the Seventh Day Continues?

Each of the six creation days closed with this repeating text, “And there was evening, and there was morning.”2 By describing the days in that way, God pictures the human workday, and sets the example of work and rest as patterns for humans to follow. After one works, it is evening, and then comes morning again, and the cycle continues. Not only does the statement, “And there was evening, and there was morning,” create a model for the human workday, it also officially signals the completion of each of the first six days.3

Then, suddenly, something new happens,

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done (Genesis 2:2–3).

Note that the phrase “And there was evening and there was morning” is not repeated for the seventh day, because the seventh day never ended. Its closing is still a future event.4

The writer of the New Testament book of Hebrews understood that the seventh day continues on when he wrote:

And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: On the seventh day God rested from all his works. And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest” (Hebrews 4:3b-5).

In the context of affirming that God’s day of rest continues, he told the story of the ancient Israelites who were led out of Egyptian slavery by Moses in about 1300 BC. They traveled through the desert and came to the border of the land that God wanted to give to them. They sent out twelve spies, and ten returned with a fearful report that the land was occupied by a fierce people whom they felt were undefeatable. Only two of the spies had faith, Joshua and Caleb, who said that God would help the Israelites to take the land.

However, the people sided with the bad report. Due to their lack of faith, God told them that their generation would never enter the land. Instead, they were forced to wander in the wilderness for forty more years. When those years were completed and that generation died, Joshua and Caleb led the next generation into their promised land.

The author of Hebrews 3:7–4:13 wrote about this ancient story during a difficult time for the church. Under persecution, some of the Christians were becoming discouraged and were backing away from meeting with one another. The writer warned them to not be like the unbelieving Israelites who were poised on the edge of the Promised Land but who never entered it. He encouraged the church to believe in God’s promises and trust Him, because their reward would be the promised kingdom of God.

It would have been scary and difficult for the Israelites to go to war for their land against such a fierce people. Likewise, it was scary and difficult for the early church under persecution. In both cases, they could enter into God’s rest by faith and be assured that He would take care of them. They did not need to worry or try to handle these difficulties on their own. They could have peace knowing that God had things under control. The writer encouraged them,

For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his (Hebrews 4:10).

By not trusting God, one generation of the Israelites missed out. The writer of Hebrews was saying to the church, “Persevere! Stay faithful! Don’t miss out on what is ahead.”

It must have been common knowledge to the author that God is still resting.  Of course, that would mean that the seventh day has never ended. In fact, it would mean that the seventh day has lasted over the full expanse of human history.

2 Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31.

3 Personal communication with Martin Poenie, Ph. D. University of Texas at Austin, 2015.

4 Hugh Ross, The Genesis Question (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1998) 64.

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Chapter 1: What Is the Kingdom of Heaven?

Heaven is a literal place that was created for spirit beings. God resides there, and so do the angels. Sometimes the kingdom of heaven is called the kingdom of God. Either way, it is wherever God resides and wherever God’s will is done. As the king of God’s kingdom, Jesus preached during His earthly ministry, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near” (Matthew 4:17b).

The ancient Celtic Christians called the church colonies of heaven, because the church functions as earthly outposts for God’s kingdom during the Fallen Creation.1 As such, it becomes a window for the Fallen Creation to preview and join the kingdom of God where Jesus already reigns as Lord and King. One day with the return of Jesus, God’s kingdom will transform, spread, and fill the entire planet as the new heaven and the new earth.

 

1Ian Bradley, The Celtic Way, London, Darton, Longman and Todd Ltd, 2003, 74.

 

What are the challenges for Christians with the Fallen Creation and the New Creation overlapping?

 

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

Describe the Three Creations and the Days that are associated with each

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For the purpose of this study, (as illustrated in Figure 1–1), God’s Eternal Plan and Purpose is organized over three time periods described as the First Creation, the Fallen Creation, and the New Creation.

The time period between the creation of the universe and the next six days is referred to as the First Creation. Each of those days focused on either creating the favorable earthly conditions that would sustain life and/or the formation of life.

After creating, God rested on the seventh day. At first, the human pair lived in a wonderful relationship with each other and with God. Then they rebelled against Him. As a result of that rebellion, humanity’s relationships with God and with one another were broken. This is normally referred to as the fall. Thus, on the seventh day, the First Creation became stained with sin and distorted by evil, and became a Fallen Creation. Almost all of humanity’s history takes place in the seventh day, which continues today.

Throughout the Fallen Creation, God continued to reach out to humanity. Then at a predetermined time, God entered the physical realm through human birth as Jesus. He came to die and heal humanity’s brokenness, preparing the way for the fulfillment of His plan. Three days after His death, Jesus arose from the grave and ascended back to heaven.

With the resurrection of Jesus, the symbolic eighth day of the New Creation began while the Fallen Creation still existed all around it. This in-between portion of time when both the Fallen Creation and the New Creation coexists is called the Church Age and the Last Days of the Fallen Creation.

During the beginning of the New Creation, God works through the Holy Spirit and the Church to draw humanity to Himself as the end of the Fallen Creation draws near. Then, the Fallen Creation’s seventh day ends with the return of Jesus who will usher in the millennial kingdom that will fully remove the effects of sin. Afterward, God’s glorious kingdom of heaven will come to earth just as the Lord’s Prayer petitions: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” At that time, the metaphorical eighth day will fully dawn into a new heaven and a new earth.

What are the three time periods addressed in this study?

On what day did sin enter into the world?

When did the New Creation begin?

Where do you think most Christians expect to spend eternity: in heaven or in a heaven on earth? Which do you think is more appealing?

 

Excerpt from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation

Copyright© 2015 D. A. Combs

All rights reserved.

Reprinted 2017

Free Online Bible Study

This is a free online Bible Study taken from Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation. The first lesson has already posted under the category, Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation. Follow the blog and you will automatically be alerted to each weekly lesson as it is released usually on Mondays. Also, please feel free to join in the discussion by asking questions and commenting. I would love to hear from you.

I have been asked why the book is called Incredibly Human. Isn’t that a bit vain? Not when you consider that the reason that we are incredible is because of God who:

incredibly made us

incredibly loves us

and who has an incredible future for us.

So, what are you waiting for?

Join the study!

Incredibly Human: Book Update April 12-15, 2018

Jeff and I had a wonderful trip to Estes Park, Colorado to the WHWC Conference (Wesleyan Holiness Clergy Women’s Conference) at the YMCA.  The YMCA’s resort was beautiful. It is an ideal family vacation spot with horseback riding, miniature golf, roller skating, and hiking. However, since the weather was still a bit nippy and windy, we primarily just stayed inside and enjoyed the lodge’s beautiful outside views.

Our book table was placed at the backside entrance to the auditorium – where there was very little traffic – however, we were still able to make several wonderful connections. It was our first promotion at a conference and we learned a lot.

Incredibly Human: Community in the First Creation – Available on Amazon.com

Incredibly Human: Community Through the Fallen Creation will be released in 2019.