Kenneth Greatorex

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A Forty Thousand Year Covenant -
What is Time to God?
Kenneth Greatorex

In an article written in 1998 the question was asked, “Where in the Bible do we find a covenant that appears to be a (40,000) forty-thousand year covenant? Do we take it literally or figuratively?” Yes! it can be found in several places, as shown below!

Psalm105:8-10 He has remembered His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, {The} {covenant} which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, (NAU)

1 Chronicles 16:15-17 Remember His covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations, {The covenant} which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac. He also confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His loving-kindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

It is hard to image such a duration for anything on this earth! Some spend time trying to define various thousand year (millennium) periods. Books are written about a “future” millennial period, with descriptions based upon Revelation 20:1-5 and Isaiah 11:6-9. Millennialism in its simple form originated in the Jewish Apocalyptic writings. The idea of a millennial reign on earth proceeded from Judaism, and such products of Jewish imagination passed over into Christianity.” (George B Fletcher - The Millennium What it is NOT and What it IS!)

When we read of God commanding a covenant for a (1000) thousand generations, it becomes logical to multiply this number by the generally accepted length of a Biblical generation as being FORTY YEARS, based on Numbers14: 33, 34.

Concerning the word GENERATION, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Jr. say about; “dor, #1755, “generation.” This noun - which signifies duration - A DOR is roughly the period of time from one’s birth to one’s maturity, which in the Old Testament corresponds to a period of about 40 years.”

Does this mean what it seems to imply? What happens to all the many calculations of those who give the present earth a maximum of (7000) seven thousand years? Six thousand until the “millennium,” and then after that, “bang,” it all burns up, and that is it for the existing creation. What about Psalm 24:1, “The earth IS THE LORD’S and all it contains, the world, and all those who dwell in it?” (See also 1 Corinthians 10:26 and Psalm 89:11)

There are three passages of Scripture supporting possible literal 40,000 year times. Even if our calculations were based upon a generation of thirty to thirty-five years, we still have a lot of time to account for, assuming this is literal time. IF this IS NOT literal time, then a millennial based upon a literal 1000 years, is open to question, and of course there ae several millennial theories, including amillenianism (none).

Just what is time to God? Since He is the One who told Moses, “I am He who exists,” or, I AM WHO I AM,” (Exodus 3:14) we know that He has always been the eternally existing One. Some think we have a time formula in 2 Peter 3:8. “That with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.” Therefore, if “one” of God’s days is a “thousand of our years,” and so forth. We presume to think we can figure out God’s concept of time, and then speculation on the idea. BUT, Psalm 90:4 reads, “For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it passes by.”

Consider Psalm 50:10, “For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.” A literal interpretation means that God gets all the beasts I the forest - the lins and bears and so on forth, but only the CATTLE from a THOUSAND HILLS. It would seem that God has shorted himself. But, all literalists must agree that this is correct. Imagine the Creator is limited to cattle from only 1000 of millions of hills on earth. Really?

The number ONE THOUSAND (1000) is the product of 10 to the third power. TEN is considered to be one of the perfect numbers, and signifies the perfection of Divine order, Completeness of order, marking the entire round of anything, is, therefore, the ever-present signification of the number (100 ten. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and the order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.” (E.W. Bullinger. Number in Scripture)

There are specific time periods that God has on specified concern some matters, such as Daniel’s 70 years. This He has been faithful to fulfill. However, there are numbers that are figurative, and this confuses us. In part, our problem comes from lack of knowledge of Middle Eastern culture. We also fail to accept the use of hyperbole in the Bible, but we use it quite often. Consider, “I have told you a million times!” Truth, yes when meaning many times, and that is the point of saying “a million.” Literal, of course not!

Do we accept the (40,000) forty thousand year covenant of Psalm 105:6-10 as literal or figurative? In view of what has been said, we would be wise to consider it, and the millennial passage in Revelation Twenty as figurative. We know that God is faithful to us far beyond our understanding. He is the covenant keeping God! Rather than getting boxed in by Adamic thinking, we need to rejoice in the faithfulness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! To God alone be the Glory!

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