THE MYSTERY OF ADAM’S DAY
Do you know what the Bible means by the word day? It is crucial that you do if you are to understand Bible prophecy.
The English word day can have several different meanings. It can mean 24 hours. Here is a sentence using the word day with that meaning. There are 24 hours in a day. The word day can also be used to mean daylight hours as in this example. Some animals sleep during the day and hunt at night. Day may also be used to mean a lifetime as in this example. In my Grandfather’s day life took place at a slower pace. Another very significant meaning for the word day is an age or an era. If we speak of the day of the dinosaur we mean the age during which dinosaurs existed. So how are we to know which meaning the word day has when we read it in the Bible? It depends on the context and sometimes on clues or definitions we find in other places it is used in the Bible.
Let’s look at some examples. In John 1:29 NKJV we read ‘The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”‘ So what meaning does the word day have in this verse? An age or a person’s lifetime would make no sense. That leaves daylight or a regular 24 hour day as the choice. Clearly one regular 24 hour is the meaning in this verse.
Now let’s look at an example where day means daylight.
“So Saul died, and his three sons, and his armourbearer, and all his men, that same day together.” 1 Samuel 31:6 KJV These men all died together in one battle that took place during a day. The battle certainly took place during daylight rather than at night.
Can we find an example in the Bible where day (or days) means during a person’s lifetime? In Genesis 35:28 NKJV we read “Now the days of Isaac were one hundred and eighty years.” So it is plain to see here that “the days of Isaac” refer to his lifetime. We could also refer to that time period as “the day of Isaac” or “in Isaac’s day.”
Those examples for the meaning of the word day are all straightforward. Now we come to the more interesting meaning for the word day. It can mean age or era.
There is a verse where I’m convinced that the meaning for the word day is an age but it is almost always interpreted to mean something else. In Genesis 2:17 NKJV God was speaking to Adam and said, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” We know that Adam did not die during daylight of the day in which he ate and he did not die within a 24 hour day because Genesis 5:5 NKJV says “So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.” Like me, you have probably heard preachers, teachers, authors and Bible scholars all say that God did not mean that Adam would die a physical death within 24 hours but that he would die spiritually. Adam and Eve lost their immortality. Had they not sinned they would never have died. They would have continued to live immortal lives. When Adam and Eve sinned guilt, shame, fear and separation from fellowship with the Lord was the result. They tried to fix their problems by their own efforts and made clothes from fig leaves. God restored Adam and Eve. That is clear because Adam and Eve traded in their fig leaves for “coats of skins” that God provided for them. They accepted God’s answer for their problem. In modern church talk we would say they repented and got saved.
Lets go back and focus on the physical death of Adam and what the Lord meant when He used the word day. Did he mean daylight or 24 hours? Lets substitute those meanings into the Lord’s words to Adam. “in the daylight that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Adam did not die before dark that day. So that meaning does not fit. “in the 24 hours that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Adam did not die within 24 hours. He lived to be 930 years old. Adam was immortal when the Lord gave the warning to him so the meaning of lifetime did not apply.
There is one meaning left to examine. “in the age that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Age means a long period of time. It can be an indefinite length of time or a definite long period of time. The age of the dinosaur was an indefinite long period of time. We don’t know exactly how long they were around just that they were here a long time. Adam lived a long time. It was a definite long period of time. It was 930 years.
At this point we see that it is possible that God was telling Adam that if he disobeyed then he would die after a long period of time. Is there anywhere in the Bible that God has a specific definition of the word day that is for an age? Yes! Peter said,
“…with the Lord one day is as a thousand years…” So it seems the meaning of what God said to Adam was this, “in the day (that is an age of 1,000 years) that you eat of it you shall surely die. Adam lived 930 years and in the sunset of the 1,000 year day he died just as the Lord had told him.
We can think of the first 1,000 years of history starting from Adam as a day, an age of 1,000 years. It was Adam’s day. It was the day in which he died. This definition for the word day is very important in the study of Bible prophecy and will be explained more in future articles.
One last comment. The story of Adam and Eve was originally written in Hebrew. The Hebrew word that is translated as day is yom. The Hebrew word yom can have the same various meanings that the English word day has.
This is original material copyrighted by the author in 2013.
Scriptures quoted from the King James Version are public domain and denoted by KJV.
Scriptures quoted from the New King James version are by permission from Thomas Nelson Inc and denoted as NKJV.