QUESTION: "In the article on 'The God Family' (June 1974 GN), the author mentions God's '7,000-year plan for earth.' Would you please explain what he means by this?"
ANSWER: Up until now God has allowed approximately 6,000 years for humanity to write the painful lesson of "doing its own thing" — going its own way without the revealed knowledge of His Creator.
A study of biblical chronology indicates that Adam and Eve (our first parents) were created about 4,000 years before Christ (Gen. 5, 10; I Chron. 1-9; Matt. 1; Luke 3). And almost another 2,000 years have elapsed since the time of Christ's birth — totaling nearly 6,000 years of human civilization to date.
And the Bible tells us that shortly after the appearance of Christ on this earth again, a peaceful, utopian, 1,000-year reign begins on this planet (Rev. 20:1-10; Isa. 11).
These two general spans of time (approximately 6,000 years of man's rule; approximately 1,000 years of God's rule) add up to a period of about 7,000 years.
Further, the 7,000-year concept comes from an analogy between the perfect weekly cycle (seven days) and the apparent 6,000 years allotted to mankind prior to the millennium.
We must realize that even though the saints will live and reign with Christ for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4), there is still an undetermined period of time allowed after the millennium during which Satan shall be loosed and the Great White Throne Judgment will take place (Rev. 20:11-12). This span of time is in addition to the 1,000-year period.
The main biblical indication of a 7000-year plan is the evidence provided by the millennium as a type of God's rest or Sabbath (compare Revelation 20 and Hebrews 4). If the millennium represents a "Sabbath," then it would be logically preceded by six similar 1,000-year "days."
II Peter 3:8 provides a basis for setting the length of each millennia 1 day: "... One day is with the Lord as [Greek: hos] a thousand years, and a thousand years as [hos] one day." But we need to realize that even if we understand this as a literal statement regarding a 7,000-year plan, it is not giving us a precise, measured duration.
Why not? Because, hos before numerals denotes "nearly," "about," "approximately." Compare its usage in Mark 5:13, "about two thousand"; Mark 8:9, "about four thousand"; John 6:19, "about five and twenty or thirty"; John 21:8, "as it were two hundred cubits"; Acts 13:18, 20, "about the time of forty years... about the space of four hundred and fifty years."
The biblical meaning behind man's 6,000-year period of human history, marked by costly trial and error plus ignorance and rejection of God's revealed Word, is carefully explained in our booklet titled Why Were You Born?
Q: "In your book you say God will force this country to do certain things. God never forces anyone to do anything. He tells us the rewards of obedience and punishment for disobedience. Throughout history, from Adam and Eve through the present day, He has given everyone freedom of choice."
Las Vegas, Nevada
A: In general, God will not now force this country (or individuals for that matter) to do His will. God is allowing mankind to write his own history over these six thousand years since Adam and Eve chose their own way. But man is coming to the point where someday he is going to have to admit that doing whatever seems right in his own eyes isn't as good as the way that God has prescribed (Prov. 14:12; 16:25).
Although God is taking a "hands-off stance" in most matters in the world today, there is soon coming a time when He will have to step in before man obliterates himself and all other forms of life from off the face of the earth. Notice Matthew 24:22: "And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved [alive — Moffatt]...."
Jesus Christ, as many biblical prophecies assert, is going to literally return to this earth (Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:27, 30-31). Armies of this world will actually try to repulse Christ and His army of angels when they return (Rev. 19:11-20). Notice verse 15 especially. He will not rule by popular mandate, but with a "rod of iron." People will be so deceived by Satan that He will have to enforce the ways of peace until they begin to see through their own human experiences how wonderful and joyous God's way of living is.
Christ will return to teach the nations how to worship and obey the true God. If a nation refuses to worship Christ, God will send plagues of drought and pestilence to bring that nation to submission (see Zech. 14:16-19). This is the kind of force your Bible says will be used to bring people to a willingness to learn of God and His ways.
Other prophecies show that God's way will eventually be practiced willingly. At last the nations of this earth will lay down their military hardware and will begin to employ farm implements instead. They will begin building instead of destroying (Isa. 2:1-4; 9:6-9; 11:1-9; Micah 4:1-4).
The nations will be forced to try God's way. But after God puts a new heart and spirit into them (Ezek. 11:19-20), they will cheerfully and willingly choose to continue in the only way to real health, happiness, peace and eternal life.