The Day of the Lord

May 22, 2011

Speculations abound as to when the Lord Jesus Christ will come back. Some even have the temerity to specify the exact day and hour of his return. Realizing that many will capitalize on this guesswork and deceive others, Jesus warned his disciples, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (Matt. 24:36). However, not much has changed since Jesus’ time. Until today, people are being set up for a doomsday scenario. They are warned to get ready for the rapture that will happen at a predetermined time and date. Meantime, they are encouraged to dispose of their goods and quit their jobs, for they are told that all of these will become meaningless when the rapture occurs. While many have fallen victim to these deceptions, these doomsday prophets continue to gain more followings.

To illustrate the manner by which the Lord Jesus Christ will come, the apostle Paul said, “Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labour pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape” (1 Thess. 5:1-3). The coming of the Lord will be sudden—without any warning. While Jesus talked about signs that will precede his coming, he did not mention a specific date or hour, since no one—absolutely no one—knows the day or hour. He will come at an hour when it is least expected. Jesus used the story of Noah to emphasize the suddenness and unpreparedness of people when he comes. He said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away” (Matt. 24:37-39).

While we do not know the day and the hour of the Lord’s coming, it does not mean that we should not prepare for it at all. Instead, we should be ready for the rapture anytime. No believer should be scared of the rapture. Instead, they should all look forward to it, because it is on that day that they will receive their reward. Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Rev. 22:12). On the other hand, that day will be a judgment day for the wicked, for “they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (Matt. 25:46). The best way to avoid the Lord’s judgment on the Day of the Lord is for us to judge ourselves daily. The apostle Paul said, “But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment” (1 Cor. 11:31). No one knows what is in our hearts and minds but us and the Lord. We might be able to project a righteous life before the eyes of men, but nothing can be hidden before the Lord. If we examine ourselves and repent of our sins, the Lord will forgive us and we will not come under his judgment. Indeed, “it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb. 10:31).

But how do we respond to doomsday prophecy, when dates and times had been set for the coming of the Lord? The best response is to pray that this will bring an awakening to the populace and that they will come to the saving grace of the Lord. If the Lord will indeed come on the day set, it will be good for them; if not, let them realize the patience of God. The apostle Peter said, “In the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation…The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance’” (2 Peter 3:3-9). Therefore, let us keep waiting on the promised return of the Lord. He might not come today or tomorrow, but he will surely come. Meantime, let us live a righteous life, so that the Lord will not find us unprepared when he comes. Yes, let us be prepared to meet the Lord in the air and so we will be with Him forever. Hallelujah!