Waiting for the Year 38000

A little bit of tongue-in-cheek explanation of this Psalm in parts after the opening paragraph, but I decided to pass it on to you anyway. There is a real point being made though and I hope you get it.

Psalm 105:6-11 (ESV)

[6] O offspring of Abraham, his servant,

children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

[7] He is the Lord our God;

his judgments are in all the earth.

[8] He remembers his covenant forever,

the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,

[9] the covenant that he made with Abraham,

his sworn promise to Isaac,

[10] which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,

to Israel as an everlasting covenant,

[11] saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan

as your portion for an inheritance.”

The Psalmist in Psalm 105 has been calling the chosen people to worship God, give thanks to God, broadcast the Name of God, seek the LORD, remember His works (Verses 1-5). Verses 6-11 comprise some reasons why the covenant children of Abraham (which is what all true believers In Jesus Christ are), should be so filled with praise and worship. God keeps His promises. His covenant is an everlasting covenant and the covenant He made with Abraham, which was far more than land in the Middle East, shall not be broken. God shall keep His covenant for a thousand generations (verse 8). This is one way of saying forever.

But let’s take things literally for a minute. A thousand generations is a very long time. If we take a generation as forty years then we have had only 100 generations since the covenant was made with Abraham. Some say a generation is 25 years. OK. In that case there have been 160 generations since the covenant was made with Abraham. This may not be the best method of interpretation, but if we are in the one hundredth generation since Abraham and God has said that the covenant shall be kept for a thousand generations, then that means there are nine hundred more generations to go until all the children of Abraham are gathered in. That’s 36000 years. That would be around the year 38000.

Well, the Scriptures are clear that we do not know when the Lord is returning, so we shall not speculate about the year 38000. But if it is the case that God is going to be winning people to the Gospel for another 36000 years, the Word of God will still be around and it will still be being believed and no amount of technology and progress will prove it wrong.

There is nothing in the Bible which demands that the second coming cannot be 36000 years away. There is nothing that says that the world cannot last until then. Every generation insists that it is the last. Even secular scientists maintain that at the present level of consumption of resources the world cannot continue to sustain the current population, not to mention the fact that the population of the world is growing at an astronomical rate. It is hard to see how the planet could last for another 36000 years. But there is absolutely nothing in the Bible that maintains that it cannot. We do not know what God’s plans are. And we do not know what might happen to allow it to last that long.

We do know that the predictions about Jesus having to come very soon have been made in every generation since the first one after He ascended to heaven. These predictions are based on misunderstandings of the Scriptures and incorrect ways of interpreting them.

It may be that taking 1000 generations literally is a silly way to interpret the Psalm. But its no worse than seeing the end of the world in every earthquake that occurs.

If I had to choose inane interpretations, I like the one I just put forward to you. It may be that someone as stupid as I am has already come up with it. I like it simply because it makes all the postulating about Christ’s return look rather lame. I like it because it gives a picture of God laughing at all our prognostications about the environment and world politics and how much water is left to drink. I like it because at the present rate of Bible translation and obedience to the Great Commission, it just might take that long to get the Gospel to all the people groups of the world, which will happen before Jesus comes.

We are infinitesimally small and God is unimaginably great and He can cause the world to last another 36000 years and save a truly innumerable host of people, all sons of Abraham and all the product of a flawless plan that will prove itself to be perfect and prove man’s predictions about things to be a silly as they really are.

It is going to be very great to find out just how glorious God’s plan for the world really was, is and will ever be. And I will be there to learn about it and so will all who have come to Christ by faith.

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