Day of the Lord

Jesus will arrive to gather his people on the “Day of the Lord,” and in the New Testament, this event becomes the “Day of Christ.” 

Sun Rays - Photo by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash
Writing to the Thessalonians, Paul refutes claims that the “
Day of the Lord” is imminent, for that day will not arrive until after the “apostasy” and the “revelation of the man of lawlessness.” And Jesus will destroy this malevolent figure at his “arrival” or ‘parousia’ at the end of the age, an event that Paul here links directly to this final day - [Photo by Davide Cantelli on Unsplash].

The “day of the Lord” is a term used often in the Hebrew Bible for the time of visitation and judgment by God, the “day of Yahweh” when He intervenes to rescue His people and judge His enemies, a day characterized by celestial and terrestrial upheaval - (Isaiah 2:12, Joel 1:15, 2:1, 2:31, 3:14, Malachi 4:5).

HIS ARRIVAL

In 2 Thessalonians, Paul connects it to the “arrival” or ‘parousia’ of Jesus, the “gathering” of the elect to him, and the destruction of the “lawless one.”

In this same context, he describes the “revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven” when he will “render vengeance” on those who disobey the gospel but will also be glorified in the “saints” and “marveled at” by them. Both the righteous and the wicked receive their just desserts on that day - (2 Thessalonians 1:5-10, 2:1-12).

Paul also discusses the “day of the Lord” in his first letter to the Thessalonians. That day will mean “sudden destruction” for the unprepared, but the “sons of light” who walk faithfully will not be overtaken by it.

Instead, at that time, they will “acquire salvation.” That will be the same day on which Jesus descends from heaven and raises the dead, his “arrival” or ‘parousia’ when the saints “meet him” as he descends and gathers both living and resurrected believers - (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:1-8).

DAY OF CHRIST

Elsewhere in his epistles, Paul further identifies the “day of the Lord” as the “day of Jesus Christ,” the moment when he vindicates his righteous ones but also judges the wicked.

Thus, at least in his letters, the “day of the Lord” becomes intimately connected with Jesus and his “arrival” when he vindicates his followers and judges his enemies - (1 Corinthians 1:8, 5:5, 2 Corinthians 1:14, Philippian 1:6-10, 2:16, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11).

The connection between the “day of the Lord” and the return of Jesus did not originate with Paul. Jesus himself applied language from key Old Testament passages when describing the future “coming” of the “Son of Man” – (Matthew 24:29-31).

ACCORDING TO JESUS

Thus, on that day, the “sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven.” When he appears, “all the tribes of the earth will mourn,” and he will dispatch his angels with the “sound of a trumpet to gather” his elect.

This description echoes several passages from the Hebrew Bible, including:
  • (Isaiah 13:10) – “The day of Yahweh is coming… For the stars of heaven and the constellations, thereof shall not give their light; the sun shall be darkened in its going forth, and the moon shall not cause its light to shine.
  • (Joel 3:15) – “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision, for the day of Yahweh is nearThe sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining
  • (Zechariah 12:10) – “They shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for his only son… On that day shall there be a great mourning in Jerusalem.
  • (Isaiah 11:12) – “And it shall come to pass on that day… He will set up an ensign for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

PETER AND REVELATION

The Apostle Peter also links the “day of the Lord” to the ‘parousia’ at the end of the age.

Despite the challenges of “scoffers” who ask, “Where is the promise of his arrival” or ‘parousia,’ the “day of the Lord” will come when the “heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat.” In the meantime, believers must live righteously and “earnestly desire the coming of the day of God” - (2 Peter 3:7-12).

And the book of Revelation also uses the Old Testament language that originally described the “day of the Lord,” only now, that day is identified with the “Lamb.”

Lightning - Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash
[Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash]

For example, on that day, the “
sun became black as sackcloth, the moon became as blood, and the stars of the heaven fell unto the earth.” All men will attempt to hide in caves or under rocks to escape the “face of Him that sits on the throne and the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath is come” - (Revelation 6:12-17).

Likewise, all the “kings of the earth” will be gathered to the “war of the great day of God, the Almighty” at the place called “Armageddon.” That will be the moment when Jesus arrives “as a thief in the night” - (Revelation 16:14).

Thus, the New Testament consistently identifies the “day of the Lord” with the “arrival” of Jesus from heaven, the time when he gathers his saints but also renders judgment on his enemies. It will be a day characterized by celestial upheaval and tremendous events on the earth.

However, that day will not arrive before the final “falling away” and the unveiling of the “man of lawlessness, the son of destruction,” the one who will seat himself in the “sanctuary of God” and employ “all power and signs and lying wonders” to deceive all those who refuse the “love of the truth.”



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