Genesis 1 opens with a seven-day account of creation: 6 days of work and 1 day of rest. Why 7 days? Why not 3 or 12—other significant numbers in Scripture? Or for that matter, since He is the Almighty One, why not in a nanosecond? And why did the all-powerful God need to rest? Psalm 121 tells us that God never slumbers.
The New Testament apostles understood this 7-day pattern was a prophetic shadow of the Days of mankind. They saw it as a great Week of seven prophetic 1,000-year great Days encompassing God’s plan of redemption.
Ancient writings from both the early Church leaders and Jewish commentators confirm this belief that God’s plan would cover 6 great Days, each lasting 1,000 years. Then Christ (the Messiah) would rule over the earth for the 7th great Day, which also will last 1,000 years. This is known as the Millennial Sabbath and the Day of the Lord.
What follows are a couple of these ancient quotes that prove that this was the common teaching of the Church during the first few centuries. That is, until false teachings crept in, compliments of the political forces of that day and the eroding impact of the so-called “enlightenment.” To see more of these vital ancient quotes, go to the Resources Tab on this website, and scroll down to the Quotes.
The Epistle of Barnabus (fellow apostle with Paul):
And God made in six days the works of His hands; and He finished them on the seventh day, and He rested on the seventh day and sanctified it. Consider, my children, what that signifies, He finished them in six days. The meaning of it is this: that in six thousand years the Lord God will bring all things to an end, for with Him, one day is as a thousand years; as Himself testifieth, saying behold this day shall be as a thousand years. Therefore children, in six days, that is, in six thousand years, shall all things be accomplished. And what is it that He saith, and He rested the seventh day? He meaneth this; That when His Son shall come and abolish the season of the wicked one, and judge the ungodly, and shall change the sun and the moon, and the stars, then he shall gloriously rest in that seventh day.
Lactantius, 300 AD:
Because all the works of God were finished in six days, it is necessary that the world should remain in this state six ages—that is six thousand years. Because having finished the works he rested on the seventh day and blessed it; it is necessary that at the end of the six thousandth year all wickedness should be abolished out of the earth and justice should reign for a thousand years.
Clearly, the Great Week is not a new revelation, but a restoration of truth once held by the foundational apostles of the Church. Why is this so important? It is because this great prophetic Week reveals the approximate time of Christ's return, enough to mark this present generation as the one that will witness the end of this present age.