Church Education Trust

Christian Belief

ST010/6 Evets connected with Christ`s return.


Events connected with the Second Coming or the Day of the Lord.

The expression the "Day of the Lord" is quite common in both Old and New Testaments. In neither of the languages used does the word "days" necessarily mean a period of twenty four hours. The word was used, as we use it in our own language, to refer to a time of crisis which may last for any period. 

We speak still of a "day of judgment" or "day of crisis", as we would say "hour of crisis" without expecting our hearers to think of sixty minutes only. In the Old Testament the phrase was quite
common and probably a popular one when thinking of the last times. It meant the day when the Lord (Jehovah or Yahweh) would intervene to put Israel at the head of the nations. 

Agan and again, though; it is spoken of as a day of judgment (Cf. Amos 5:18-20; Ezek.13:5; Joel 1:15; 2:1,11). It is, therefore, the time when Jehovah intervenes to punish sin that has come to a climax. The judgment is on other nations too, as well as Israel (Cf.Jer.46:10; Joel 2:31 etc.). These ideas connected with the "day of the Lord" are carried over into the New Testament. Here the phrase is always used in connection with the second coming; of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We find it used by Our Lord Himself in this way in Luke 17:24; by Peter in his second epistle, the third chapter; and Paul speaks of both the "day of the Lord" and the "day of Christ" (1 Thoss.5:2,4,5, & 2 Thess,2:1-2). 

Keeping in mind what was said above about the time period envisaged by the phrase, it must be understood that the thought of the second coming and the day of the Lord in the New Testament is not limited to one act only, but covers a considerable extent of time and a number of events. It is not
intended to pronounce on the length of the time or to place events in any order considered to be the right one, but only to mention those events which seem from the Scriptures to be surely part of this great Day of the Lord.

(i) The Rapture of the Saints.

No unprejudiced reading of 1 Thess. 4:13-16 can avoid the conclusion that there is to be a rapture of the saints in connection with the Lord's return. Paul told the Thessalonians that they had no need to worry lest those that died before Christ's return should miss any of the triumph and joy. 

The living ones would not precede or get an advantage of the dead ones. The living would be raptured and the dead resurrected and together they would meet the Lord in the air. Whether this is a secret rapture and the public coming of the Lord will not be till later, is not clearly stated, but an ordinary reading of the passage does not seem to suggest this. It could well all happen at the public coming of the Lord and the setting up of His Kingdom.

(ii) The Fall of Antichrist and the binding and Destruction of Satan.

The second epistle to the Thessalonians has a passage in the second chapter about the return of the Lord. It is not easy to understand all of it but two points are quite clear. One, that there is going to arise a wicked one who shall set himself up against God and two, that God is going to "consume him with the spirit of His mouth". 

Then again in Revelation chapter twenty there is mention first of the binding of Satan for a thousand years and then of his being loosed at the end of that period and of being cast into the lake of fire with the beast and the false prophet. All this is in connection with the last times and the return of our Lord.

However we take the reference to the thousand years and the binding of Satan, the day of the Lord obviously ushers in the final and utter defeat of Satan and iniquity. This is confirmed by all that is said in the last two chapters of Revelation.

(iii) The Destruction of the wicked. 

With the defeat of Satan goes the final destruction of the wicked and the final state of punishment of the impenitent. This must be dealt with more fully in a later section; it is sufficient to mention here the words in 2 Thess.1:7-10 which refer to the fact that those who obey not the Gospel will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and that all this is connected with the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus the second coming of the Lord deals with God's final action against the ungodly and disobedient.

(iv) The Final Judgment. 

Revelation chapter twenty speaks of a final judgment day and there are a number of other references in the New Testament to a day of judgment that is yet to come. Most, if not all, of the references connect this judgment day with the Day of the Lord or the second coming of Christ. 

The latter part of Matt.25 refers to a judgment of the nations; the parable of the wheat and the tares also speaks of judgment. Again in 2 Cor.5:10 Paul speaks of appearing at the judgment seat of Christ. It is true that Hebrews 9:27 speaks of death and "after the judgment", but this does not necessarily imply that the final judgment comes immediately after death. There must, of course, be some sort of judgment at death. The sum of the matter is that the return of our Lord is the time of the final judgment on sin and the sinner. The details of this judgment will be dealt with later.

(v) The Establishment of the Kingdom and the Final Consummation.

The return of the Lord means that He will set up His Kingdom and be seated on the throne of His glory (Matt.25:31). Whether a thousand years intervenes between then and the final consummation of all things or not, all is connected with the second coming as a whole. 

There are passages in the Old Testament which speak of a renewed earth and which are connected with the last times. (Cf.Isa.55:13; 35:1,2,6,7; 11:6-9 etc.). These would seem to infer a literal reign of a thousand years and that these conditions would prevail actually on this earth before the final consummation. 

They may, however, be meant to be taken spiritually or to refer to conditions in the new heavens and the new earth. The final consummation is undoubtedly connected with the return of the Lord as is shown by 2 Pet,3:7,10,12. 

The thirteenth verse shows that out of the dissolving of the old earth will come new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. All these matters will be dealt with again.

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