The Day of The Lord
After the description of rapture in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18, then immediately the very next chapter talks about the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord will begin immediately after the rapture of the church and it continue through the great tribulation and the thousand year reign of Christ on this earth. In other words, the day of the Lord consists of God’s directly intervening this world by His supernatural power, in order to bring judgment on the sins and wickedness of this world. The day of the Lord also includes a time after this tribulation period when Christ will rule this world from the capital city of Jerusalem for one thousand years. We will learn more about the thousand year reign period in the next topic called Millennium.
After the rapture of Christ’s believers, the very next period is the time of great tribulation. Church will not be here on the earth to go through this severe time of God’s judgment on the earth. Bible calls church as the bride of Christ. Ephesians 5:25-27 says, “husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it. that He might sanctify her, having cleanser her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.” You see in these verses how much Christ loves the church. Another passage is Revelation 19:7 and it says, “for the marriage of the Lamb (Christ) has come and His bride (church) has made herself ready.” Christ bought the church with His own blood. Galatians 3:13-15 says, “Christ bought us with His blood and made us free from the Law. Acts 20:28 says, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit had made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He had purchased with his own blood.” Church is bought with Christ’s own blood and church being the bride of Christ, He will never allow her to go through this severe judgement time called the great tribulation. Church (all believers) will be safe in heaven before the wrath is poured out on this earth. Therefore, after describing the rapture of the church chapter 4, then 1st Thessalonians 5:2-3 says, “For you yourself know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While ‘they’ (notice he didn’t say ‘us’ to refer to believers) are saying, “peace” and safety!” then destruction will come upon them (notice not ‘us’) suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and ‘they’ shall not escape.” Paul continue to say in verse 9, “For God has not destined ‘us’ for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore encourage one another, just as you also are doing.” A believer in Christ’s destination is not the wrath to come. Apostle Paul said the same idea about the church in chapter 1:10. He said church will be delivered from the ‘wrath to come’. The phrase ‘wrath to come’ is referring to the great tribulation period in future. He said we are waiting for the His son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.” In other words, we the believer are waiting for the rapture by which we will be delivered from the wrath to come- the great tribulation.
Now the day of the Lord is a period of time God is directly going to deal with the sin and wickedness of the people of the world. A believer in christ is safe because his or her sin issue was already dealt with by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. When a person comes to Christ and accept Him as the savior, there is no more judgement or condemnation left for him at all. period! John 3:18 says, “He who believer in Christ is not judged; he who doesn’t believe in Christ has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God”. There is only one reason for the judgment of God and it says in John 3:19, “And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world (light is Christ per chapter 1) and men loved the darkness rather than the light (Christ); for their deeds are evil.
One day their evil deeds will be dealt with Bible says and this is the day of the wrath to come which is the period of the great tribulation. Bible says this is the most horrible day ever faced by the whole world. Listen what Bible says in Revelation 6:15-17, “And the kings of the earthy and the great mend the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne (God the Father), and from the wrath of the Lamb (Jesus Christ); for the great day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?” This is a question to be answered by each and every person who won’t come to Christ for salvation. The emphatic answer is this – No, No one can stand on the day of wrath to come – the great tribulation day.
Remember today is the church age and this period is also called the age of grace. God is calling every person in His grace to come to Him in and through the only savior, Lord Jesus Christ. Once the age of grace is completed and the rapture happens, there is no more grace available as it is freely available today.
The coming great tribulation is one of the most significant and dramatic themes of the Bible. There are more prophecies in the Bible regarding this eventful, most dangerous and horrible, heartbreaking time period than any other periods of the Bible prophecy. The point is God want us to know in advance, what is waiting for this Godless, sinful and evil filled world.
Deuteronomy 4:26-28 is apparently the first prophecy of this coming time of distress. This passage is talking about the nation Israel future. Listen what Bible says there, “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed by oath.” This is referring to the unconditional covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. God was saying although people of Israel will be scatted from their promised land due to their sin and rebelliousness to their Lord, when they repent and seek Him, God will bring them back to their land and to Him again. Moses and later prophets prophesied and warned the people of Israel that they would be driven out their land if they continue in their sin and rebelliousness. This literally happened at the time of Babylonian and Assyrian captivity. They were driven out of their land and the Lord brought them back from the Babylonian captivity when they cried out to the Lord. Later the nation Israel were driven out of their land to the entire world, for a long period of time due to their sin against the Messiah- because they crucified Jesus Christ. This time they were scattered all over the world, However, the Lord brought them back to their land after almost 2000 years later. One of the greatest miracle the world has ever seen was this – the restoration of the nation Israel in 1948. Israel is still in blindness and majority of them are not accepting Christ as their Messiah. However, a Godly remnant will repent and accept Christ as their Messiah and they will be protected and used nightly by God during the coming great tribulation period.
Bible also says the coming tribulation is a time of Jacob’s trouble. Jeremiah 30:5-7 says, “Cries of fear are heard-terror, not peace. And ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hand on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale? How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be save out of it.” Bible says this will be a time of Jacob’s trouble. Jacob is Israel because God named Jacob Israel (Genesis 32:28) and hence this period is a time of great distress for Israel. This time period called great tribulation is period of great distress greater than any other distress Israel had in the past. As we know, Israel suffered a lot in the previous times of their disobedience and apostasy. But again the promise is seen in the above verse, they will be saved out of this great distress as well. This prophecy points to a future greater tribulation and yet assures their deliverance. During this time of great distress, Israel will recognize Christ as their true Messiah and that is the reason why they will be delivered. Now they are in partial blindness of this truth. God uses this future great tribulation period for their restoration from apostasy. Prophet Zechariah says in Zechariah 12:11, there will be a great mourning in Jerusalem like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the plain of Megiddo. And the land will mourn, every family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by themselves; and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the Shimeites by itself, and their wives by themselves; all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves”. The verse 10 says, ” the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem… will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born”. What a vivid and dramatic picture is portrayed by the prophet regarding the time of Israel’s future trouble (great tribulation) and their repentance by weeping and mourning regarding the one whom they have pierced- Jesus Christ whom they have pierced and crucified.
Though Bible calls this period as time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble for a unique purpose of their restoration from apostasy, the proportion of this great tribulation will be world wide. Several passage in the Bible informs us this truth. Isaiah the prophet says in Isaiah 26:20, “Come, my people, enter into your rooms.And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while, Until indignation runs its course. For behold, the Lord is about to come our from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; and the earth will reveal her bloodshed, and will no longer cover her slain”. It clearly says this future wrath of God on this Godless, inequity filled world is on all the inhabitants of the earth. The Book of Revelation in the Bible has a lot to say about this future tribulation and it’s world wide scope of destruction and calamities. Beginning from chapter 6 of the Book of Revelation,it gives ample proof that this time of future wrath and punishment will be on all the earth and all the inhabitants of the earth will greatly suffer from God’s punishment over sin. Jesus talked about this period in Matthew 24:20. It says, “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” Jesus made a very a statement about this future time in verse 21. It says, “And unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days shall be cut short.” Jesus said “behold I told you in advance”. Jesus continued to say this in verse 29, “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of heavens will be shaken.”