Fight for Joy! Blog
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The Day of the Lord
"For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’ then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3). Both of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonian believers are highly eschatological in their content. Eschatology, of course, is that branch of theology that deals primarily with prophecy related to the end-times. Every chapter of 1 Thessalonians ends with a reference to the second coming of Jesus. According to Acts 17:2, Paul was with the Thessalonians for only a few weeks. In that time he taught them more about the end-times and the return of Jesus Christ than most churches cover over a period of years. In fact, Paul would be amazed and disappointed that some people today consider the study of end-times prophecy to be unimportant. It is no wonder that most people in the church today have absolutely no idea about the nearness of the Day of the Lord.
What is the Day of the Lord? It is a phrase that identifies events that take place at the end of history and is often closely associated with the phrase “that day.” It always identifies the span of time during which God will personally intervene in human affairs, both directly and indirectly, to accomplish His plan. It will begin with the Rapture of the Church and will continue through the tribulation period. The Rapture is that event when Jesus comes in the air for His Church. Paul clearly taught this in 1 Thess. 4:13-18. The tribulation period, known by its technical name as Daniel’s 70th Week is a period of seven years when God will pour out His wrath on unbelieving Israel and on the unbelieving world. It will also be a time of salvation as God will deliver the remnant of Israel, fulfilling His promise that “all Israel will be saved” (Rom. 11:26). Scripture always presents it as an imminent event that will come quickly, like a thief in the night: “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2). It will come upon the world silently and unannounced. Jesus said, “Be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” (Matt. 24:42). Therefore, we as Christians must be watchful and ready for the coming of Christ at any moment: “For you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief” (1 Thess. 5:4).
Paul tells us when we can expect the Day of the Lord: “While they are saying, ‘Peace and safety!’” (1 Thess. 5:3). In other words, although the unbelieving world will not expect it, Christians should see it coming and be ready. One thing that has really stood out to me lately is the intensifying push for peace in the Middle East. A recent news article reports that, “Israel, Syria, Lebanon and other Arab nations should sit down together to try to resolve the Middle East conflict under a new ‘combined approach’ currently under discussion with the U.S. What we are discussing today is a combined approach of bringing together Arabs, Europeans and the United States as a team to create the circumstances over the next several months that allow Israelis and Palestinians to sit at the table, but also with Lebanese, Syrians and Arab nations.” Another article reports, “There is not an alternative to a two-state peace settlement between Israel and Palestinians.” All of this is right in line with what the Bible says will occur in the last days, right before the return of Christ for His Church and the ensuing Day of the Lord. Daniel 9:27 tells us one is coming on the scene who will finally bring peace to the Middle East, albeit a false peace: “And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week.” One week, of course, means seven years. In Daniel 11:39, we learn that this peace agreement will be based upon the concept of “Land for Peace”: “He will…parcel out land for a price.” Jeremiah 6:14 tells us this process will be totally one-sided in nature and leave Israel completely vulnerable: “They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ but there is no peace.” It will center on the city of Jerusalem—who will own it—and will be imposed by a global coalition: “It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it” (Zech. 12:3). We are seeing this today—all nations, including America, are turning on God’s land and people. The world is in turmoil. The global financial upheaval of late has many blaming the Jews! If only we could work out the Middle East problem then all would be well—or so the world thinks. But remember this: “He who watches Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Ps. 122:3). Very soon, perhaps today, millions of people worldwide will disappear, suddenly and without warning. The Day of the Lord will quickly follow. Are you ready to meet the Lord in the air? If not, your time is quickly running out.
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