Marvin L. Weir
The Bible clearly states that there is coming a “day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Rom. 2:5). The Lord reveals that “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Mat. 7:22)? All people need to realize that they will give an account for the life they have lived at the “day of judgment” (Mat. 10:15). Let us now study some truths about “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:8).
The certainty of the day of judgment is as certain as the resurrection of Christ. The Bible reminds all to consider that “inasmuch as he hath appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). The resurrection of the Lord Jesus from the dead is an indisputable fact.
The time of the day of judgment is unknown although many have arrogantly but falsely predicted the date. William Miller, founder of the Adventist movement, set the time of the Lord’s return between March 1843 and March 1844. Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church, predicted that the Lord would return to judge the world in 1891. People today are more likely to remember Hal Lindsey and his prophecy that the Lord would return in 1988. There were those who just knew that the year 2000 would be the time that the Lord would return to judge all nations.
There is one thing that all date setters for the Lord’s return have in common—they grievously err from the truth! Inspired revelation has long been complete (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:3) and it says not one word nor gives one hint as to the day that the Lord will return to judge the world. The Bible does tell us, however, “But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only” (Mat. 24:36)
The day of judgment connected with the return of Christ will bring an end to this world—not establish some earthly kingdom. Peter says, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet. 3:10). Christ is now King (Luke 1:32-33; Rev. 3:21) reigning over members of His kingdom (Col. 1:13). When the Lord returns to judge this world, He will then “deliver up the kingdom to God” (1 Cor. 15:24).
At the day of judgment all the dead will be raised—not just a select few! Jesus Himself says, “Marvel not at this: for the hour cometh, in which all that are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment” (John 5:28-29). There will be no more opportunities to prepare for eternity when the day of the Lord arrives.
The day of the Lord will not be a secret to anyone. Some have falsely taught that the Lord has already come a second time but only a few were aware of His coming. One who is familiar with the inspired Scriptures will quickly recognize the fallacy of such teaching. The apostle Paul proclaimed, “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 that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 The. 4:16-17). All those who are living and all those who have died will be acutely aware of the day of the Lord.
The day of judgment will be sudden and at a time not expected. The Bible warns all who will hear by saying, “Therefore be ye also ready; for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Mat. 24:44). Again, God’s Word declares, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 The. 5:2). The Lord reminds his disciples to be ready and watch, saying, “But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched, and not have left his house to be broken through. Be ye also ready: for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Luke 12:39-40).
The day of judgment and the Lord’s appearing will be looked forward to only by those who are His faithful children. One must be able to truthfully say as did the apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
May we watch and be prepared for the day of the Lord.