The day of the Lord
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” (2 Peter 3:10)
I have arrived. That is the definition of the Greek word translated as “will come” in 2 Peter 3:10. Greek: Ἥξει. Transliteration: ēxei. Root word: hékó. Defenition: I have come, am present, have arrived.
The day of the Lord arrives as a thief in the night. It does not end as a thief in the night. The “day” is more than just a 24 hour period of time. It is not the same amount of time as “the evening and the morning” during the creation chronicle in the book of Genesis. A lot takes place during the day of the Lord.
It is the day of the “Lord” because the “Lord” Jesus was sacrificed for our sins, and it is His “day” because the “day” represents the period of time of His judgment upon all mankind: His judgment on all those who choose to deny Him and deny His sacrifice for their sins and His rule over the earth during the millennial kingdom.
“But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8)
When Jesus taught His disciples on the Mount of Olives about events that would take place during the day of the Lord, He was focusing on Israel.
The salvation of all mankind came as a result of God’s blessing on Israel through Christ the Messiah and the judgment of all mankind will come as a result of God’s wrath on Israel for rejecting Christ the Messiah.
God redeemed all mankind from the curse of the Law through the sacrifice of the Lamb, and God will judge all mankind through the wrath of the Lamb: The Lion of the tribe of Judah – The Root of David – The Lamb of God.
God’s love for Israel is a very intense principle woven throughout the Bible. It is like the love a husband has for his wife. God’s love for Israel is described very beautifully in the book of Hosea.
When Israel rejected the Messiah, God was provoked to jealousy and anger. His anger will be unleashed through His judgment during the day of the Lord in which the great tribulation will take place.
Because Jesus Christ, the Messiah, has made such a great sacrifice for all of mankind, God has delayed His judgment on all the earth so that all nations can have a chance to respond to the gospel message of Christ’s salvation.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:15)
As Peter said, the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. For those who are not ready and watching, it will come suddenly, and without warning:
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:36-39)
“The lord(Jesus) of that servant(Israel) shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of.” (Matthew 24:50)
The following verses show us that the day of the Lord was in view even in the Torah.
‘Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them.’ “For the LORD will judge His people and have compassion on His servants.” (Deuteronomy 32:35-36a)
“And He said: ‘I will hide My face from them, I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, Children in whom is no faith.’” (Deuteronomy 32:20)
The day of the Lord is a time of the Lamb’s judgment of Israel and unbelieving gentiles, not the church.
“But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” (Romans 2:5)
Revelation chapters 5 and 6 are key to understanding the day of the Lord.
“Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” (Revelation 6:16b-17)
In this verse, the day of the Lord has begun because His wrath takes place during His day.
Revelation chapter 6 says the day of the Lord is already underway at the beginning of the tribulation, not at the end. It is not until Revelation chapter 19 that we see Christ’s triumphant return that marks the end of the tribulation. The return of Jesus that takes place in Revelation chapter 19 is referenced by Jesus in Matthew 24:27, 30-31.
“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.” (Revelation 19:11) “All of the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30)
When heaven is opened in Revelation 19:11, everyone on earth will see Jesus.
Christ’s return at the end of the tribulation will not come as a thief in the night. The “day of the Lord” will begin as a thief in the night but it will not end as a thief in the night.
The entire process of Christ’s coming at the end of the tribulation will be very obvious to the world, unlike the process of a thief who does not want to announce his presence to those he wants to steal from.
When Christ comes as thief, He will only trumpet His presence to the bride He is “stealing” from the world. While Christ’s bride is caught up, the rest of the world is caught off guard.
Why is the bride of Christ such a theft from the world? Because taken with the bride is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in each believer. The Holy Spirit has been holding back through the bride the great evil that will be unrestrained during the tribulation. Oh what great a theft the world shall suffer on the day of our escape!
“Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man. 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. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (Luke 21:36, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)
The true church has accepted the Lamb as their Messiah. The church age will come to a close when the Bridegroom returns to fetch His bride at the rapture.
The wrath of the Lamb is His judgment upon the nation that rejected Him as their Messiah along with the rest of mankind who have rejected Him. His wrath is not meant for those who trust in Him. The Lamb is worthy to judge those who have rejected Him as their Messiah because He took their place of punishment. He is worthy because He lived a perfect, sinless, holy life and was slain in their place.
All those who accept the Lamb as their Redeemer will not suffer His wrath, period. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
Again, why the delay in the arrival of the day of the Lord? Because: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
And again: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:15) He is waiting on His servants to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature”. (Mark 16:15)
“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (2 Thessalonians 5:2, 4, Matthew 24:44)