The Day of Christ
Please read the following verses in this order:
“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
“Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).
“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-4).
For those of you who believe that the church must endure the judgment and horrors of the Tribulation—have you read Philippians 1:6?
Notice that Paul says “until” the day of Christ—not “through” the day of Christ. The works that the Lord Jesus wills to accomplish through us while we are still here on earth will be finished when He returns for us at the Rapture—and takes us to be with Him in heaven:
“If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).
The “day of Jesus Christ” refers to His coming again to take His people home to heaven to be with Him (John 14:3). This will also include the Judgment Seat of Christ—when our service for Him will be examined and rewarded.
The day of the Lord Jesus—or the day of Christ—is much different for the church than it is for the rest of the world. The day of the Lord will be a time of judgment and dread for the unsaved world. The day of Christ will be a time of judgment as well as joy for those saved by His precious blood.
There very well may be a time of sorrow during the Judgment Seat of Christ—for those who lose rewards for service that was not acceptable—but the overall experience during the day of Christ for the church will be a time of joy when compared to the same day for those on earth.
Here are a few more references to the “Day of Christ” pointing forward to the Rapture and the Judgment Seat of Christ:
“That you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense until the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10). (Again, “until” the day of Christ—when our work here on earth will be finished—and ready to be judged in heaven.)
“So that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”(1 Corinthians 1:7-8). (We can be “blameless” in the day of the Lord Jesus Christ—at His judgment seat in heaven.)
“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:4-5).
How can the church member referenced above be “destroyed” now—and yet be “saved” in the day of the Lord Jesus? At the Judgment Seat of Christ in heaven:
“If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15).
“Now I trust you will understand, even to the end (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus” (2 Corinthians 1:13b-14). (More joy “in” or during the “day of the Lord Jesus”—at the Judgment Seat of Christ.)
“Holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain” (Philippians 2:16). (And yet even more joy “in” or during the “day of the Lord Jesus”—at the Judgment Seat of Christ.)
It is obvious from 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2—that the Thessalonians were upset because they thought that the day of the Lord had already begun—and that they were “in” the day of Christ. If there was to be joy for them during the day of the Lord Jesus—as evidenced by the numerous verses above—then why such distress about being in the day of Christ?
The answer is clear and simple: Indeed there will be joy during the day of the Lord Jesus for the members of His church—IN HEAVEN! There will not be much joy for anyone still on earth during the day of Christ—and the Thessalonians knew this.
Paul taught the Thessalonians to look forward to a time of judgment and joy (rewards for faithful service)—during the day of Christ—at the Judgment Seat of Christ in heaven.
Since the Thessalonians believed in a time of joy during the day of Christ—the fact that they were distressed that “the day” had already begun proves that they also believed that they should not have been left behind on earth.
They were suffering severe persecution at the time, and the false teachers used the pretense of their persecution as proof that the day of the Lord Jesus had already arrived for them. Yet they expected joy—not persecution.
The fact that the Thessalonians believed it was even possible to still be on earth after the day of Christ had already begun—after Christ had already come and left them behind—also seems to prove that they believed in a twofold coming of Christ.
They would not be sad or troubled like they did not expect to still be here if they believed that they would be on earth in the Tribulation all along. Alternatively—they would be looking forward to Christ’s coming regardless—instead of being troubled like they were caught by surprise (see 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4 above).
Paul already told them to comfort each other about the return of Christ:
“Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:17-18).
It’s so disheartening and detestable just how fast such a comforting truth was twisted into a false and destructive doctrine—designed to cause fear and doubt among God’s dear sheep. That’s what wolves do—they seek to destroy the sheep.
The Thessalonians also would have already known the very words of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself:
“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth” (Luke 21:36, 35).
If you are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, then you can take comfort that the Day of Christ will be a time of joy for you!