Chapter 10

Return to Chapter list

The Day of the Lord

 

To what day was Jesus referring when He said, “Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord” (Matt. 7:22)?

 

Jesus was referring to the Day of the Lord when He will come to gather His Church and judge the world. Scripture commands us to look and to prepare for that day. Every New Testament writer and at least nineteen Old Testament prophets specifically mention the Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord is referred to as “a day” (Acts 17:31); “the day” (1 Cor. 3:13; Heb. 10:25); “that day” (Luke 21:34; 1 Thess. 5:4; 2 Tim. 4:8); “the day of destruction” (Job 21:30); “the day of the Lord’s vengeance” (Isa. 34:8; 61:2); “the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zeph. 2:3; Isa. 13:13); “the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Mal. 4:5); “the day of judgment” (2 Pet. 2:9; 1 John 4:17); “the last day” (John 12:48); “the great and notable day of the Lord” (Acts 2:20); “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:5); “the day of trouble” (Nah. 1:7; Zeph. 1:15); “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:8); “the day of the Lord Jesus” (2 Cor. 1:14); “the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30); “the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6); “the day of Christ” (2 Thess. 2:2); “the day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12); “the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Pet. 3:7); “the day of God” (2 Pet. 3:12); “the great day” (Jude 1:6); “the great day of his wrath” (Rev. 6:17); and the “great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14).

A proper understanding of the Day of the Lord gives abundant proof that the Church will go through the Great Tribulation and makes the truth of the Second Coming and the end of the world come into focus. It also gives a fresh awareness of the fear of the Lord and an urgency to warn others “to flee from the wrath to come” (Matt. 3:7).

 

What major events will unfold on the Day of the Lord?

 

The Scripture clearly tells us about several events that will happen on that momentous day:

1. Jesus will come as Savior for His Church. “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16,17). See also 2 Thess. 1:10; 2:1–3.

2. Jesus will come as Judge of the world. “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1 Thess. 5:2). The apostle Paul discussed Jesus’ coming as Savior and as Judge in the same context (1 Thess. 4:16–5:2); therefore, both occur on the Day of the Lord.

3. Babylon will be utterly burned with fire. In “that great day of God Almighty. . . . the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath” (Rev. 16:14,19). “And she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (Rev. 18:8). See Chapter Fifteen.

4. The battle of Armageddon will occur. “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. . . . And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Rev. 16:14,16).

5. The beast and the false prophet will be destroyed . In “the day of Christ. . . . the Lord shall consume [the man of sin] with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy [him] with the brightness of his coming” (2 Thess. 2:2,8).

6. The fallen angels will be judged. “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:6).

7. Jesus will reward those who love His appearing. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).

8. The earth will be destroyed with fire. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10). See also Isa. 13:10–13; 34:1–10.

9. The righteous look for new heavens and a new earth. “What manner of persons ought ye to be . . . looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Pet. 3:11–13). The new heavens and a new earth will come simultaneously with the destruction of the present heaven and earth. How do we know that? Scripture commands us to look not only for “the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved,” but also for “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

 

What is an unmistakable sign of the Day of the Lord?

 

Scripture mentions several signs that pinpoint the Day of the Lord. “The sun [shall] be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken” (Matt. 24:29). Whenever we see these cosmic signs in the Scripture, we know they concern the Day of the Lord. The Bible lists these signs at least six times in reference to that day.

“Behold, the day of the Lord. . . . the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine” (Isa. 13:9,10).

“The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. . . . for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible” (Joel 2:10,11).

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come” (Joel 2:31).

“The day of the Lord is near. . . . The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining” (Joel 3:14,15).

“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come” (Acts 2:20).

“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth. . . . For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:12,13,17).

 

Does the Day of the Lord include the Great Tribulation?

 

There is no biblical evidence that the Day of the Lord includes the tribulational period. According to Scripture, the Day of the Lord cannot begin until at least six things occur:

1. Elijah must come (Mal. 4:5). This was fulfilled by John the Baptist’s ministry (Matt. 11:13,14; 17:11,12.)

2. The gospel must be preached in all the world (Matt. 24:14; 2 Pet. 3:9,10).

3. There must be a falling away (2 Thess. 2:2,3).

4. The man of sin must be revealed (2 Thess. 2:2,3).

5. The Great Tribulation must have occurred. (Compare Rev. 6:12–17 with 6:9–11; Matt. 24:21 with 24:29–31).

6. The end of the world must come (1 Cor. 1:8).

In Acts 2:20, Peter called the Day of the Lord, “that great and notable day.” According to Strong, notable means “manifestation,” “conspicuous,” “memorable.” It is the root word of “appearing” that Paul used when he described “the glorious appearing” in Titus 2:13. This truth suggests that the Day of the Lord is not stretched out over a long series of events, but is one great, conspicuous, memorable event. It will come suddenly as a thief in the night and be a catastrophic event in which “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat” (2 Pet. 3:10). Paul also linked the Day of the Lord with the end of the world: “Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:8).

Moreover, the Bible does not say that the Great Tribulation will come as a thief in the night (Matt. 24:21), but that the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10). In the light of these truths, it is impossible for the Day of the Lord to include the Great Tribulation. They are two distinct events. One follows the other; the Day of the Lord begins immediately after the Tribulation.

 

Can it be proven that Christ’s coming as described in Matthew 24 and 25 occurs on the Day of the Lord?

 

Yes, by numerous proofs. They show once again that the Day of the Lord comes immediately after the Tribulation. The following comparisons show that the events of Matthew 24 and 25 occur on the Day of the Lord.

Matthew 24:29—“The sun [shall] be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light.” Isaiah prophesied, “Behold, the day of the Lord. . . . The sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine” (Isa. 13:9,10).

Matthew 24:30—“All the tribes of the earth [shall] mourn.” The prophets depict this as occurring on the Day of the Lord: “Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand” (Isa. 13:6). “The great day of the Lord is near . . . the mighty man shall cry there bitterly” (Zeph. 1:14).

Matthew 24:31—The “great sound of a trumpet.” Joel declared, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh” (Joel 2:1).

Matthew 24:31—“And he shall send his angels . . . and they shall gather together his elect.” The apostle Paul indicated that the Church will be gathered on the Day of the Lord: “The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together. . . . The day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16,17; 5:2). See also 2 Thess. 2:1,2.

Matthew 24:35—“Heaven and earth shall pass away.” Peter wrote about heaven and earth passing away on the Day of the Lord. “The day of the Lord will come . . . the heavens shall pass away . . . the earth also” (2 Pet. 3:10).

Matthew 24:43—Christ’s reference to “the thief.” The apostles declared, “The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10).

Matthew 25:41—“Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.” Paul described the Day of the Lord as a day of flaming fire and everlasting destruction upon the ungodly: “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed . . . in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction . . . in that day” (2 Thess. 1:7–10). “The day of the Lord cometh. . . . Then sudden destruction cometh” (1 Thess. 5:2,3).

 

Do other scriptures liken the Day of the Lord to the Day of Judgment?

 

Yes, the Day of the Lord is seen as the Day of Judgment in each of the following verses:

Paul wrote about the Day of the Lord as “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:5); “the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” (Rom. 2:16); and a day appointed by God “in the which he will judge the world in righteousness” (Acts 17:31).

Peter referred to the Day of the Lord as “the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (Compare 2 Pet. 3:10 with 3:7.)

Jude wrote of “the judgment of the great day” and of the coming of “the Lord with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all” (Jude 1:6,14,15).

John declared, “The great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Rev. 6:17) and “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment” (1 John 4:17).

The prophet Isaiah warned, “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it” (Isa. 13:9). See also Joel 1:15; Jer. 46:10; Obad. 1:15.

Jesus Himself said, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned” (Matt. 12:36,37). He also warned the unrepentant cities, “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you” (Matt. 11:20–22). See also Matt. 10:15; Mark 6:11; John 12:48.

 

Will the true Church be protected on the Day of the Lord?

 

Yes. Paul wrote that on the Day of the Lord, Jesus will come to gather His Church before sending sudden destruction on the wicked. In the same context, He assured, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).

The following verses further promise the Lord’s protection to His people when He pours out His wrath and indignation upon the wicked on that day:

The saints will experience “glory and honour and immortality” on the “day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” ( Rom. 2:5,7).

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. . . . The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. . . . Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah” (Psa. 46:1–3,7,10,11).

“The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him” (Nah. 1:5–7). See also Isa. 25:9; 26:20,21; 2 Thess. 1:7–10; 2 Pet. 3:7–13.

 

What will happen to those who are not prepared for that day?

 

They will cry bitterly. “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung” (Zeph. 1:14–17).

They will flee to escape, but there will be no place of refuge. “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?” (Amos 5:18–20).

“Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake” (Isa. 24:17,18).

“Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:10,11). See also Isa. 2:19,21; Lam. 2:22; Rev. 6:12–17.

 

What must I do to prepare for the Day of the Lord?

 

The following scriptures instruct us how to prepare for that great day:

 

1. Repent. “God . . . now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:30,31). See Chapter Twenty–Four.

2. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. “For I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12).

3. Seek the Lord, seek righteousness, and seek meekness. “Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger” (Zeph. 2:3). “The day of the Lord will come. . . . What manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:10,11).

4. Don’t be enticed by the things of this life. “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your heart be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:34,35).

5. Awake! Be revived! “Knowing the time . . . that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Rom. 13:11,12). See also 1 Thess. 5:2,6.

6. Do all things without murmuring and quarreling. “Do all things without murmuring and disputings: that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world: Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Phil. 2:14–16). See also Jude 1:15,16.

7. Let love abound in knowledge and in all judgment. “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:9,10). “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).

8. Beware of the deceitfulness of riches. “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death” (Pro. 11:4). “Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord’s wrath” (Zeph. 1:18). See also Job 20:28; Ezek. 7:19; Mark 4:19; Luke 18:24,25; 1 Tim. 6:6–16.

9. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God by sin or loose talk. “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Eph. 4:30,31).

10. Fast and pray. “Sanctify ye a fast, call a solemn assembly, gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry unto the Lord. Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come” (Joel 1:14,15; 2:10–17). See also Luke 21:34–36.

11. Be diligent in the work of the Lord. “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well” (2 Tim. 1:16–18).

12. Abide in the grace of God. “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:4–8).

 

Since God gave the above admonitions about the Day of the Lord to the Church, she certainly will be on earth until then.

 

Objection Answered

 

Isn’t there a difference between the Day of the Lord and the Day of Christ?

 

In order to prove their point, some who teach a secret rapture claim that there is a difference. The Bible, however, makes no distinction. By comparing the events of the Day of the Lord with those of the Day of Christ, one can see that they are one and the same.

 

 

Events of the Day of the Lord (1 Thess. 4:15–18; 5:1–8)

Events of the Day of Christ (2 Thess. 1:7–12; 2:1–8)

 

 

The coming of the Lord ( 4:15).

The coming of our Lord (2:1).

 

 

The Lord descends from heaven (4:16).

The Lord is revealed from heaven (1:7).

 

 

With the voice of the arch–angel (4:16).

With His mighty angels (1:7).

 

 

Caught up together to meet the Lord (4:17).

Our gathering together unto Him (2:1).

 

 

Sudden destruction (5:3).

Everlasting destruction (1:9).

 

 

Exhortation to faith (5:8).

Exhortation to faith ( 1:11).

 

 

“That day” (5:4).

“That day” ( 1:10; 2:3).

 

 

In addition, the apostles speak of the Day of the Lord as follows:

The Day of Christ (Phil. 1:10; 2:16; 2 Thess. 2:2).

The Day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6).

The Day of the Lord (Acts 2:20; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10).

The Day of our Lord Jesus (1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14).

The Day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:8).

Obviously, each of these terms cannot refer to separate events any more than can the terms “the coming of the Son of man,” “the coming of the Lord,” or “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Finally, the Scripture uses interchangeably admonitions concerning the Day of Christ, the Day of Jesus Christ, the Day of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Day of the Lord Jesus.

Consider the following three comparisons:

1. “Rejoice in the day of Christ” (Phil. 2:16).

“Rejoicing . . . in the day of the Lord Jesus” (2 Cor. 1:14).

2. “Without offence till the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10).

“Blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:8).

3. “Until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).

“Till the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10).

Since Scripture teaches that the events of the Day of the Lord and the Day of Christ are the same and that these terms are used interchangeably in Scripture, there can be no difference between the Day of the Lord and the Day of Christ.

 
Return to Chapter list