Word Study: A Lifetime שׁנה





Psalm 90:4 “For a thousand years in thy sight [ are but]  as yesterday when it is past , and [as] a watch in the night”

2Peter 3:8 “But beloved be not ignorant of this one thing,that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”

I have always been baffled over what the phrase a thousand years is with the Lord as one day really means. As I read through commentaries I find even the church fathers were as baffled as I am about this statement. Of course as commentators they have to give some answer so they gave answers like the sins of a thousand years can be forgiven in one day (totally out of context) or that where man is distracted by mundane things God is not (a real stretch). The simple fact is that we can only speculate, so here I am with my personal speculation. I give only a theory, this is not a truth or dogma. Just speculation and ponderings.

Keep in mind that I am a real fan of Science Fiction with Jack Finney as one of my favorites writers. Jack Finney wrote stories based on time travel. I also devour all the material I can find on quantum physics and read all the articles I can about CERN the particle collider in Geneva where they hope to split a particle in two and prove it can exist both in the past and the present. Some even speculate that they may punch a hole into another dimension. Oh well, that last may be conspiracy theorist stuff. However, they actually do believe they can prove the concept of omnipresence if they split that particle and find it exist in both the past and present at the same time.

What they will be proving is a theory that I read about by the ancient Jewish sages thousands of years ago. The theory is that time is linear. In other words the past, present and future exist on the same plain but in a different dimension. Yet, the past still exist as does the future only on an alternative time frame. God gave the prophets the ability to peer through this vail and see the future. John was allowed to see the future as it was happening. The only problem is how does a first century man describe modern technology. How would he describe an Apache helicopter. To him it would appear like a metallic grasshopper or locust with the blades appearing like the hair of women, the windshield like the face of man and shooting stinger missiles like the stinger of a locust. Scientist believe that every radio broadcast still exist somewhere in the universe. Our entire existence is made up of energy, which form the particles which form the atoms of which we are made up of. I remember talking with a widow who said she saw her dead husband in the basement of her house. Was it the spirit of her dead husband? I don’t know, I don’t believe it was. Was it a demon? I don’t know but I personally don’t believe that was it either. Was it just her imagination? Perhaps. My theory and I stress it is only a theory, is that she caught a glimpse of the past. God may have allowed her to just peer beyond that portal into another time where her husband walked through that basement.

Jack Finney wrote a story and a Hallmark movie was made from that called “Love Letters.” The story was of a 21st century man who purchased a desk owned by a woman who live 150 years earlier. He found a letter written by the 19th century woman to an imaginary lover in the desk and on a whim the man wrote back. She got the letter and they corresponded and fell in love. It is a real neat story. But the scene that fascinated me was when he visited the woman’s house and walked up the staircase to her room. He suddenly felt her presence and he reached out and caressed her cheek and then you saw the woman 150 years in the past feeling that caress. Embodied in that scene I believe is what it means that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years. The word day in Hebrew is yom. This could mean a 24 hour day, a period of time, perhaps even a thousand years. It could also mean a moment. Just as this Finney’s story of this man and woman sharing a moment together over a 150 year period. 150 years was like one moment to them.

God does not live in time, He created time. He put us on a small plain in the universe where the past, present and future exist simultaneously. He did this so He could look down and he sees this world from the beginning to the end, he sees each one of use from the beginning and end. Thus, He is able to forgive, that is erase our sins in the past, present and future and remove it from out timeline. All that remains is our memory which will fade in eternity for it no longer exist on any time plain.

He comes into our personal time zone and dances with us throughout our lives, never taking his eyes off of us for He has created our own time zone that He shares personally with us. Once our lives end He just steps into another time zone, your time zone and dances with you for the duration of your life and then passes into another and another like that particle that exist in both the past and present simultaneously. That is how He is omnipresent.

But soft, look at the word for years, shanah, it can also be read as a lifetime. One moment yom with God is like a lifetime shanah and one lifetime shanah with God is as one moment yom. God shares a lifetime with us but it is as a moment with Him. To us it is a lifetime, but to God it is just a moment on that staircase where he can caress our cheek. Like that couple in Finney’s story where they could not see each other, there was a connection where they could feel each other. So too, we may not be able to see God but we have a connection with Him where we can feel Him throughout our entire life. It is not that He has plenty of time to spend with us, He doesn’t have any time, we are the ones bound by time, we are the ones trying to get a schedule and can only spend a few moments with Him, but He is always on that staircase, waiting for that yom moment, which may feel like our shanah our lifetime to Him but when we share that moment it is like a sharing a lifetime with Him.