Does God have a 7,000 year plan of salvation for mankind?
Does the fulfillment of that plan through God’s Holy Days occur within a 7,000 year timeframe?
Does the Bible teach a 7,000 year plan of salvation for mankind?
The Church of God holds to an understanding that God’s plan of salvation is a 7,000 year plan.
God’s late apostle, Herbert W. Armstrong, taught the length of this plan consisted of 6,000 years for mankind to live on the earth cut off from God, followed by the millennial reign of Jesus Christ.
Mr. Armstrong explained the details of God’s plan in his book “The Incredible Human Potential.”
“God had marked out a 7,000-year period—the first 6,000 for mankind, cut off from God (with a few exceptions), to go his own way—to write the lesson in human suffering and anguish of living contrary to GOD’S WAY OF LIFE, commanded by THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD—which Adam rejected.”
This 6,000 years, with Satan still here, would be followed by a single 1,000 years, during which CHRIST would rule, having qualified to restore THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD on earth. Satan would be totally restrained during the seventh millennium.”
“During that seventh millennium, the KINGDOM OF GOD—would be established on earth.” (pg. 75)
In “Mystery of the Ages,” he wrote: “Upon Adam’s making this fateful and fatal decision, God CLOSED OFF THE TREE OF LIFE (Gen. 3:22-24) from the world sired by Adam, for 6,000 years.”
“God thereupon, at the very foundation of this world, laid out a 7,000-year master plan for accomplishing his purpose.”
“God’s 7,000 year plan will accomplish God’s purpose in overwhelming and magnificent glory.”
“When God closed off the tree of life, he closed off the redemption and salvation of mankind for 6,000 years, until the second Adam, Jesus Christ, after 6,000 years should return to earth in supreme power and glory to unseat Satan from his throne and to rule all nations of mankind.” (pgs. 122-123)
A 7,100 year plan at best
The reality of a 7,000 year plan was never biblically established by Mr. Armstrong. The closest he came in using God’s annual holy days to explain God’s plan of salvation was 7,100 years. His explanation only fit 6 of God’s 7 annual holy days into a 7,000 year timeframe.
In his booklet, “Pagan Holidays—God’s Holy Days—Which?” Mr. Armstrong identified God’s 6th holy day as representing the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, stating;
“The Feast of Tabernacles is, strictly speaking, seven days long—to picture the entire millennium.” (pg. 54, 1974 ed.)
Mr. Armstrong understood the fulfillment of God’s 7th and final holy day, called the Last Great Day, would occur after 7,000 years were complete. Notice again from his booklet, “Pagan Holidays—God’s Holy Days—Which?”
“Those in this (2nd) resurrection must be those who died in ignorance in past ages! They are not brought to life until after the millennium (Rev. 20:5).” (pg. 55)
Clearly, by Mr. Armstrong’s own words, God’s plan of salvation did not fit into a 7,000 year timeframe.
A diagram from Lesson 39 of the Ambassador College Correspondence Course, illustrates a 7,100 year plan based on God’s holy days.
Events to follow after 7,000 years
The Bible is very clear that after the millennium, 5 significant events remain before God’s plan of salvation is complete.
1) Satan is released after a 1,000 years to deceive the nations again.
“Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, . . .” The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and false prophet (were cast). And (he) will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Rev. 20:7-8a, 10).
2) The Great White Throne Judgment (2nd resurrection).
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it . . .” “And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books (the Bible) were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life (or the Tree of Life). And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books” (Rev. 20:11a, 12).
3) The 3rd resurrection will follow the great fall harvest of the Great White Throne Judgment period. Those in this resurrection have been sentenced to eternal death. In this resurrection sin will be destroyed forever.
“The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:13-15).
4) Jesus Christ will deliver the Kingdom to God the Father.
“Then comes the end, when He (Christ) delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He (Christ) puts an end to all rule and all authority and power” (I Cor. 15:24).
5) The establishment of a new heavens and new earth.
This physical universe will be burned up and replaced with a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell (II Pet. 3:10-13). This will mark the time when God the Father will dwell with the entirety of His family.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first earth had passed away. And also there was no sea.” And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev. 21:1, 3).
These dynamic events complete God’s plan of salvation. It should be evident the timing of these events extend well beyond a 7,000 year timeframe.
The Bible does not teach a 7,000 year plan of salvation. God’s holy day plan is more expansive than Mr. Armstrong originally thought. This should prove the need for God’s Church to continue its growth in biblical knowledge and understanding (II Pet. 3:17-18).