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The Day of the Lord (New Testament)

According to my understanding of Scripture, the Day of the Lord is both a period of time, as well as a singular day. The first mention of it (by this specific phrasing) is by Peter in Acts 2:20 when he is preaching to the massive crowds at that first Pentecost after the Resurrection by quoting from the Old Testament by saying, the sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord (Acts 2:20). Here, the Apostle Peter hearkens back to the Old Testament prophet Joel (Joel 2:31) by reiterating, or perhaps trying to make sense of the supernatural outcroppings associated with the giving of the Holy Spirit (as cloven tongues of fire) on that day of Pentecost.


The next offering of this particular phrase comes from the Apostle Paul in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica. Being one of the first, if not the first letter by Paul (as some contend it's Galatians). It's also one of his most eschatological as each chapter has a reference to the return of Jesus Christ. In the context of the letter, Paul had spent chapter four by introducing the 'blessed hope' in the form of a clarification on what it is and why we (believers) should not mourn like those who have no hope. Transitioning into chapter five, Paul then uses the phrase "day of the Lord" as a contrast to the vast difference between the Rapture of the Church and all that follows it. One is hope, the ultimate hope of any Christian generation (including his). The day of the Lord, while covering a vast period (at least 1,007 years), and begins in absolute horror.


But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 (my emphasis)


Here is the admonishment by Paul that he felt it even unnecessary to write them concerning this as he had already taught them all about the mystery known as the Rapture of the Church. Church history has it that he did not stay long with this group of believers due to rising persecution by unbelieving Jews, perhaps only a matter of weeks. But when their members began to die off due to natural causes, they were worried that those who had died beforehand would miss out on the Rapture itself, hence the need to write this letter. The Apostle Paul would go on to write a second epistle, as someone would come along later writing a letter as if from Paul claiming the resurrection had already happened.


Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 2 Thess. 2:1-5 (my emphasis)


Some attribute the false teachings that the resurrection was already past (an early form of preterism?) to that of Hymaneaus and Philetus who in 2 Timothy 2:15-18, called their cancerous teaching's "idle babblings" and had "strayed from the faith" by stating the resurrection had already happened. Regarding the wording, day of Christ versus day of the Lord, it should be noted the distinction that is made in Scripture between the two. The day of Christ is used three times in the New Testament (Phil. 1:3-6, 2:14-16, and 1 Cor. 1:4-8), and is viewed as a positive event associated with the conclusion of the sanctification process by way of the Rapture itself, thus the beginning of the glorification process of the Church. The day of the Lord, on the other hand, is almost always associated with the negative aspects regarding the return of the Lord.


So if the day of the Lord is negative, and the day of Christ is positive, what is the correlation between the two? If the day of the Lord is the manifestation of God's judgment upon a Christ-rejecting world and is the most chronicled time in Scripture, how does that come "like a thief in the night"? Since the day of Christ refers to the Rapture of the Church, and no one can know when that will happen, it remains in a state of imminence, in other words, meaning it could happen at any time and nothing need precede it. The day of the Lord on the other hand, could not begin (see 2 Thess 2) until after the Rapture had occurred because in so doing, the removal of the Church would entail the removal of the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit whose ministry prevents the Antichrist from being revealed. This is why Paul contrasts the two in 1 Thessalonians 4-5. The Rapture (Greek-harpazo, Latin-rapturro, English-caught up) would be the divine mechanism that removes the righteous before God's wrath is poured out upon the earth and concludes the ministry of restraint by the Holy Spirit.


Later, the Apostle Peter would conclude in his final letter a mention of the day of the Lord as a capstone (as it were) to his first preaching in Acts 2:20. Here, Peter writes a sobering chapter regarding the last days and what would be one of the key markers surrounding it- those who mock the return of the Lord.


Beloved, I now write to you this second epistle (in both of which I stir up your pure minds by way of reminder), that you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

2 Peter 3:1-7 (my emphasis)


No doubt, Peter would have been referring to those like Hymaneaus and Philetus, who were teaching blasphemous things such as the resurrection being already past. After almost two millennia, many scoffers have come in every generation mocking the return of our Lord. However, from the 20th century onward, this mocking seems to have escalated to the point of becoming mainstream across Christendom with most mainline Protestant denominations as well as the Catholic church. Both skeptics and academics often dismiss the return of Christ. They frequently argue, "It hasn't happened before," or "People have been predicting it for ages, and He still hasn't come," implying that past non-occurrence is evidence against future fulfillment. This is a form of normalcy bias and is strongly advised against throughout Scripture on all manner of topics, but can be encapsulated in one small paragraph from our not-too-distant past.


Harry R. Truman, an 83-year-old owner of a resort on Spirit Lake, became a folk hero due to his refusal to evacuate during the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. Despite warnings, Truman, known for his colorful language and strong personality, remained adamant about staying. He was ultimately killed when the volcano erupted, burying him and his lodge. His story has since been immortalized through media coverage, memorials, and continued public interest, highlighting his defiant character and the dramatic circumstances of his death. (See more here).


Although Harry represents the very epitome of man's hubristic foolishness, he is not alone. Every day, thousands of people leave this life and move on to their eternal destinations only to realize that their defiance against God has resulted in their eternal separation from their loving Creator. Moreover, how many countless millions today refuse to believe that this world will eventually come to its prescribed ending? As Peter indicates, even those within Christendom will hearken back to history as evidence that Christ will not return. This is how the day of the Lord will come as a thief. Not that there weren't signs, but that man refused to heed them.


Lastly, we see that the day of the Lord, although not phrased specifically as such, is identified as "the Lord's day" when the elder Apostle John receives the Revelation (Greek- apocalypse) from our Lord while imprisoned on the isle of Patmos. Jesus tells John, what to write, and how to divide the writings up (Rev. 1:19) into what he saw, what is, and what is to come after these things (or after the Church age). From chapters four onward, is the "day of the Lord" reminiscent of all the Old Testament prophetic warnings. It is a time filled with divine wrath broken up into at least 21 divine judgments (7 Seals, Trumpets, Bowls, and perhaps Thunders) meant to shatter satan's grip on the world and drive mankind toward repentance...but like ol' Harry, most will not repent.


Conclusion


As I said at the outset, my understanding, given the abundance of descriptions about the day of the Lord in Scripture, is that it is both a period of time as well as a singular day. The time begins immediately after the Rapture of the Church (the day of Christ) and goes all the way forward until the end of the millennial kingdom. The singular day of the Lord is the actual day on which Christ returns with the armies of heaven (the glorified church and the angelic hosts) as described in Revelation 19:11-16 which is the culminating event of all human history.


Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:


KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.


Amen and amen! Maranatha!

Lord bless,

Pete


PS: Here is a sampling of the two different uses for the phrase

  • The Day of the Lord (specific usage or reference)

    • Joel 1:15, 2:1, Matt 26:64, 2 Peter 3:10, Rev. 1:7, 19:11-19

  • The Day of the Lord (general reference)

    • Isaiah 2:12, 13:9, Jer. 46:10, Ez 30:3, Amos 5:18, 20, Zeph 1:18, Mal 4:5, 1 Thess 5:1



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HeLeads iFollow
HeLeads iFollow
2 days ago
Mit 5 von 5 Sternen bewertet.

Maranatha♥️

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jean
jean
2 days ago

AMEN 🙏🏻

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Lana Scott
Lana Scott
3 days ago
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It seems as though people keep living their lives as though nothing is happening. We live in such a wicked world, God is not going to put up with evil for much longer ! Come quickly Lord Jesus! 🙏🙏🙏. Thanks Pete !

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Pete Garcia
Pete Garcia
2 days ago
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Normalcy bias is running strong today!

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Mit 5 von 5 Sternen bewertet.

Harry R Truman is a one great example of what’s coming, and so much more!

Things are not normal! Keep praying!

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Pete Garcia
Pete Garcia
2 days ago
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Thanks!

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Don Spilman
Don Spilman
3 days ago
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Well I wrote a lengthy comment and Google destroyed it or something. So I will just rewrite my opening comment which was: ‘This entire article needs to be read and understood, very important thank you Pete, and add my closing, God bless you and your family!

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Pete Garcia
Pete Garcia
2 days ago
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Amen!

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