Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Day of the Lord Pt. 3

The New Testament references to the Day of the Lord and the Day of Christ are as follows.

Acts 2:17-20. The Spirit is poured out (vs. 17, 18); there will be visions, dreams, and prophecies (vs. 17); there will be wonders in heaven (vs. 19); There will be signs on the earth (vs. 19); there will be blood, fire, and smoke (vs. 19); the sun will turn dark (vs. 20); the moon will turn to blood (vs. 20).

1 Cor. 1:8. This speaks about the Christian’s state on the Day of Jesus Christ. We will be kept to the end, and we will be blameless on that day.

1 Cor. 5:5. This speaks to the state of a sinning Christian on the Day of the Lord. He is turned over to Satan (or in the case of the tribulation - antichrist) to the point of death, so that his spirit may be saved on that day. [Notice that this is speaking of a Christian who is not walking with the Lord will be turned over to Satan to be killed, so that he can be saved at the time of the end. Clearly if people were saved after a pre-tribulation rapture, they would not be carnal Christians as if they weren't willing to die, they wouldn't bother accepting the Lord to begin with. Therefore this indicates that careless Christians will unsuspectingly find themselves in the tribulation where they will be refined and purged, so that their spirits may be saved.]

Phil. 1:6, 10. God will not have completed His good work in the Christian until the Day of Christ. We will not be completed until then. (vs. 6); It is hoped we may be sincere and not guilty of offenses until that day arrives (vs. 10).

Phil. 2:16. We will not be able to boast of our success in having run the course and finished the race until that day.

1 Thess. 5:2-4, 9 . That day comes unexpectedly like a thief in the night to the unbelieving world when they think they are safe and secure. (vs. 2-3); believers are not to be surprised by that day’s arrival (vs. 4); it is a time of sudden destruction (vs. 3). God has not appointed us to wrath. (vs. 9). [This says God has not appointed us to His wrath (on the nations), not that He hasn't told us that we will suffer tribulation. In fact we have been told to expect exactly that. 1 Pet. 1:6-7, 4:12-13, Acts 14:22, Rom. 8:17, Rom. 8:35 - this says we will suffer tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and the sword. These are all things associated with the end times. 2 Tim. 2:12, 2 Tim. 3:12.

2 Thess. 2:1-12. The Day of the Lord is associated with “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ AND our being gathered to him.” (vs. 1-2)[notice the order given - the 2nd coming and then the rapture]; The Day of the Lord cannot come until a falling away occurs (vs. 3); the Day of the Lord cannot come until antichrist is revealed (vs. 3); antichrist cannot be revealed until the person who restrains Satan and or his minions is removed from fighting them - or told to stop fighting them (vs. 6, 7); antichrist is revealed when he sets himself up in the temple as God (vs. 4); antichrist comes with signs and wonders (vs. 9); God sends a delusion to those who have refused to believe the truth, so they believe the lie and are condemned (vs. 11-12)

This particular passage is one that some end times theories tend to completely disregard in order to maintain their position. The theory that the entire 70th week of Daniel is the Day of the Lord is clearly refuted in this passage. It say that the Day of the Lord cannot begin until the following events occur:

1) a falling away (apostasia - the Greek definition here means defecting from or forsaking religion, or, as this refers to departing from what Paul taught, defecting from the truth). Some people, to align this scripture with the belief they espouse, erroneously think or say that the phrase falling away or apostasia means to depart from the earth. That allows them to put the rapture here. That is not what the Greek means at all in this instance. Here it means a deliberate departure, forsaking, defecting, or turning from religion or as I said in this case, Paul's teachings which were truth. Not a departure from a location. Think of how we use the word apostate. It doesn't mean someone who has left the building. It means someone who has left the teachings of the church. Any use of the word in the sense of departing a location is not found until five centuries later in classical literature, which is the furthest source from the Bible as sources for this word go. Christendom and Christians will deliberately turn their itching ears to false doctrines, as the truth is a very hard thing to take. We have other scriptures that tell us that this is the way to interpret this, even without the Greek definition. Check 2 Tim. 4:3-4. The rule is, scripture interprets scripture. So before the Day of the Lord begins, Christians will be turning away from God's word and the truth to accept false beliefs and doctrines.

2) After apostasy takes over the churches (which it already has) the next event is antichrist revealing himself. How does he do this? When he opposes God, and exalts himself above God demanding worship as God when he sits in the temple (again here is the abomination of desolation) pretending to be God. Paul seems a little frustrated, I think, by the fact that he had taught them this, but they hadn’t remembered it. Perhaps they weren’t paying attention like many today. So he goes over it again. Apparently because persecution was great, people thought they were in the Day of the Lord, but Paul needed to remind them that there were signs for which they should be looking. In other words, he had taught them that they should be looking for antichrist to proclaim himself God. They should be looking for a rebuilt temple in which antichrist would be able to proclaim himself God. That they should expect people to be falling away from the faith and running after doctrines of demons. That they didn't have to worry that they were in the Day of the Lord yet, which clearly they expected to have to experience, as they already thought they were in it. They were alarmed and panicked, (just as Christians will be when they find themselves undergoing antichrist's persecution) because it was (and will be) so horrific. No matter how great your faith, nobody, including Christ himself (remenber the garden scene?) looked or looks forward to being tortured and martyred. Of course they would be in a panic if they thought that day had arrived. And clearly they thought it had based on the persecution Christians were suffering, (plus it appears someone had told them that Paul and some of the other apostles were saying it had arrived). They had forgotten the signs. Just as the pharisees "forgot" the signs when Jesus came the first time. A big point is made of signs in the Old and New Testament for a reason. We are to watch for them so that we will know what is going on and what to expect. God wants us to understand. We are to study (to rightly divide the word of truth, 2 Tim. 2:15) and use our wisdom and understanding (get wisom, get understanding, Prov. 4:5, 7) to comprehend all that He has told us so that we will not be deceived. That is His biggest concern. We will see how many times we are warned to not be deceived. Already this group was being deceived by someone who was saying that Paul and the others were saying the Day of the Lord had come. God allowed them to be deceived for the purpose of letting Paul tell us a second time (after Christ first did in the gospels) that the Day of the Lord (God's wrath) does not come until after antichrist is revealed at the abomination of desolation. Apparently God thought (correctly) that people would choose to misinterpret what Christ had told them in the gospels, so he says it here in another place to reinforce what Christ said about the signs for which we are supposed to be looking.. (We will be studying the gospels next).

3) Paul reminds them of what he had told them, starting with why antichrist is able to be revealed. Before he can be revealed, something else has to happen. First the restrainer that battles him is removed. Paul says that they should know what is holding him back from doing this until the proper time has come. That the evil is already at work, but he that letteth will let until he is taken out of the way. This word let and letteth (actually the same Greek word) is an odd word in the English as it must have been used differently in King James day. It literally means to hold down, or hold back, or seize among other synonyms. So this is saying that antichrist won’t be revealed until the proper time when the one who is holding him back (restraining Satan from inhabiting or controlling this person) is taken out of the way. Remember how back in Daniel we saw that Michael fights Satan and that he was told to stand still at the time of Jacob’s trouble (abomination of desolation). Well, here we have a restrainer of Satan (and antichrist) being told to stand back and let Satan have full reign at the abomination of desolation. These two verses work hand in hand. I realize that most teachers say this is the Holy Spirit, but I have found no verses in the Bible that says it is the job of the Holy Spirit to do battle with Satan. The Holy Spirit’s job is to be our comforter, teacher, guide, etc. The only battles that the Holy Spirit fights with Satan are those that he fights through us when we fight against Satan’s influence and temptation in our lives. Also when this particular interpretation is used, (the Holy Spirit) part of this doctrine then says that multitudes of people will come to the Lord after this happens. Well, the problem then is that the Holy Spirit hasn’t been removed. Every believer is given the Holy Spirit. Nowhere in scripture is the Holy Spirit denied to a believer when he accepts Christ. You can’t have it both ways, that he is removed, and that he is still here. There is absolutely no scripture that would imply that this person who is holding back Satan is the Holy Spirit, but you do have scriptures that imply it is Michael. When the one who holds Satan back is told to stand aside, then the antichrist is revealed. He will be consumed by the Lord with the spirit of his mouth and the brightness of His 2nd coming.

4) Antichrist opposes God and exalts himself above God demanding worship as God when he sits in the temple, again a literal real temple ( here is the abomination of desolation spoken of in Daniel) pretending to be God. So the Day of the Lord can't come until after the abomination of desolation. We will later see that this is in agreement with Matt. 24 and the corresponding passages in Mark and Luke.

5) Antichrist, who is coming working for Satan, uses powers and signs and lying deceitful wonders to deceive the unrighteous, and they will perish because they would not love the truth that would save them. This all happens after the abomination of desolation.

6) Because of their refusal to accept the truth, God sends the world a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie that antichrist spins. Only those who know the truth (Christians who have studied this subject and are prepared. Christians who have not studied the truth or have itching ears are open to being deceived.) will not be deluded. We can speculate on what this delusion might be later on. In the meanwhile, those who believe the lie will be damned.

From this passage we see that it associates the coming of the Lord, the gathering to him, and the Day of the Lord as one event under the heading of the Day of the Lord. Many people with different theories will agree to part of that concept, (the Day of the Lord and gathering being at the same time) but they don't accept where that occurs according to this passage. If we accept this passage as truth, we are told that the Day of the Lord won't happen until after the abomination of desolation at the very earliest. So the order would seem to be the beginning of the 70th week, the abomination of desolation, the 2nd coming, the gathering unto him (rapture/resurrection) and then the Day of the Lord with the last three being closely on top of each other. What puzzles me is how people can take this verse, turn it around and say that the coming of the Lord is the last thing. That is clearly twisting scripture to fit your interpretation, not taking your interpretation from scripture.

2 Pet. 3:10-13. The Day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night (unexpectedly and suddenly) (vs. 10); the heavens pass away with a roar (vs. 10, 12); the elements are destroyed with intense heat (vs. 10, 12); the earth and its works are burned up (vs. 10); we are to look forward to a new heaven and new earth (vs. 13).

So we have a list of events that tell us what constitutes the Day of the Lord/Day of Christ so that we can pinpoint it in other scriptures when we see it. Next up will be a listing of those events, hopefully in a fairly chronological order.

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