Most Christians are familiar with the idea that God has a 7,000 year plan that corresponds to the original creation week of seven days. This belief claims that human history will continue for 6,000 years and then will enjoy Sabbath for 1,000 years (the millennial kingdom). The seventh millennium is actually called the Sabbath Millennium, in which Jesus will rest the earth and His children (Hebrews 4). Just as God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day and commanded man to work six days and rest on the seventh day (Exodus 20:8-11), likewise, our planet will labor six thousand years and rest on the seventh millennium.
This view takes the stance that each millennium is actually a day according to God (as found in Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8). God’s number is the perfect number seven, a number that occurs well over four hundred times in the Bible and is found fifty-four times in the book of Revelation alone, mainly because Revelation is the book that ushers in God’s seventh day Sabbath rest for the earth and its inhabitants. From creation to Christ there are 4000 years and from Christ to this day there are around 2000 years. So, there have been approximately 6,000 years since creation.
The Hebrew under the law would till his land and grow his crops for six years, but then allow the land to rest during the seventh year. So, just as the Jews would work their land for 6 years and let it rest the 7th year (Leviticus 26:34), there is an indication that Christ’s coming will come after about 6,000 years. Obviously, this foreshadows the coming millennial Sabbath of Isaiah 14:7: “The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.” After the thousand years Jesus will offer up the kingdom to the Father and Satan will be released out of his prison to deceive the world one last time. Satan will then be cast into the Lake of Fire and a new heaven and earth without sin, death or the curse will be created for man to dwell in for eternity.
The idea that God has a 7,000 year plan is not new. In the first century AD, the Epistle of Barnabas taught that “in six days, that is, in six thousand years, all things will be finished . . . This meaneth: when His Son, coming [again], shall destroy the time of the wicked man, and judge the ungodly, and change the-sun, and the moon, and the stars, then shall He truly rest on the seventh day.” (Epistle of Barnabas, XV verses 4-6). Irenaeus taught it in the second century, Commodianus in the third century, and in the fourth century Lactantius wrote that “the world must continue in its present state through six ages, that is, six thousand years . . . at the end of the six thousandth year all wickedness must be abolished from the earth, and righteousness reign for a thousand years…” (The Epitome of the Divine Institutes, Chapter 70)
Although the six thousand years of man’s self-rule appears to be a biblically sound teaching and gives a useful insight into the plan of God for getting ready for the second coming of Christ, it should not be used to set an exact date for the second coming because no one knows the exact year for “The Fall of Man,” and hence, “no man knows the day or hour” to the Second coming (Matthew 24:36). Those who are tempted to estimate exactly how many years remain to the coming of the Lord should heed the counsel in Matthew 24:36, and also that of Acts 1:7. And it should be noted that the duty of all believers to be alert at all times while watching for the signs of His coming (Matthew 24:33).
Having about six thousand years behind us, this indicates that we are standing at the threshold of the seventh millennial day, which will be Christ’s Sabbath kingdom rest for earth. With the new world order being set up and the signs of times taking place around the world (earthquakes, famines, pestilences, etc.), this makes the 7,000 year plan to be more believable than ever. Therefore, we need to pay attention to the Lord’s warning: “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not” (Luke 12:40).