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The Rapture of the Church

Part One    Part Two    Part Three    Part Four    Part Five    Part Six    Part Seven    Part Eight


Introduction

In Part One we looked at the definitions of the following terms: the Rapture, the Second Coming, the Antichrist, the Tribulation, the Great Tribulation, the Millennium, and the Church. We saw that prophecy is very important to God, and therefore we should not dishonor Him by considering Bible prophecy to be a waste of time or impossible to understand.

In Part Two we examined Daniel's "70 Weeks" prophecy, and we learned that 69 of those "weeks" (483 years) have already been accomplished. The 70th "week" is still in the future, and it will be the seven years of the Tribulation. When God put His 70 Weeks plan for Israel on hold after the Triumphal Entry, almost immediately He began a new and separate plan which we call "the Church." There is only one view of the Rapture which preserves this separation between God's 70 Weeks plan for Israel and His plan for the Church, and that is the pre-trib view. All of the evidence indicates that God has intended for those two plans to be kept separate and distinct from each other, with no mixing whatsoever. Therefore, it is unScriptural to claim that the Church will go through any part of the seven-year Tribulation period.

In Part Three we saw that there will be several blackouts during the seven-year Tribulation. We also looked at the Seal Judgments, the Trumpet Judgments, and the Bowl Judgments, and we saw that God's wrath will start to be poured out onto the earth with the very first judgment at the beginning of the Tribulation period. God is not pouring out His wrath during the present Church Age (e.g. through hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.). Since the Church was not appointed for God's wrath, and since the entire seven years of the Tribulation will be the time of God's wrath, this means that the Church will not go through any part of the Tribulation period. The pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which has the Church being raptured before God's wrath starts to be poured out at the beginning of the Tribulation, which fits all of the Scriptural facts.

In Part Four we examined several different reasons why the Rapture will not happen at the seventh Trumpet Judgment, which disproves a common post-trib argument. We also saw why Matthew 24:29-31 does not refer to the Rapture, which disproves another common post-trib argument. We looked at some possible interpretations of what Paul meant when he said that the Rapture will happen "at the last trumpet," and we saw that the Rapture is the likely fulfillment of the Feast of Trumpets. In addition, we saw that the seven-year Tribulation period (ending with the Second Coming) is the likely fulfillment of the Day of Atonement. The Feast of Trumpets takes place before the Day of Atonement on the Jewish calendar, which strongly indicates that the Rapture will take place before the seven-year Tribulation begins. There is only one view of the Rapture which fits this scenario, and that is the pre-trib view.


In Part Five we'll examine what the Bible says about "the Day of the Lord," and we'll see how this only fits with the pre-trib view.


What is "the Day of the Lord"?

Here are some things that Scripture says about the Day of the Lord:
"Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty. Because of this, all hands will go limp, every man's heart will melt. Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame. See, the day of the LORD is coming --a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger-- to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless. I will make man scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger." (Isaiah 13:6-13)

"The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "Wail and say, "Alas for that day!" For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near-- a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations. A sword will come against Egypt, and anguish will come upon Cush. When the slain fall in Egypt, her wealth will be carried away and her foundations torn down."'"" (Ezekiel 30:1-4)

"Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty." (Joel 1:15)

"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand-- a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness. Like dawn spreading across the mountains a large and mighty army comes, such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come." (Joel 2:1-2)

"Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light-- pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?" (Amos 5:18-20)

"You should not march through the gates of my people in the day of their disaster, nor look down on them in their calamity in the day of their disaster, nor seize their wealth in the day of their disaster. You should not wait at the crossroads to cut down their fugitives, nor hand over their survivors in the day of their trouble. The day of the LORD is near for all nations. As you have done, it will be done to you; your deeds will return upon your own head." (Obadiah 1:13-15)

"The great day of the LORD is near--near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the LORD will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness" (Zephaniah 1:14-15)

"See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse." (Malachi 4:5-6)

"I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord." (Acts 2:19-20)
The above passages tell us that the Day of the Lord will be a time of darkness and wrath. Joel 2:1-2 (above) says that the Day of the Lord will be "such as never was of old nor ever will be in ages to come," which indicates that it will be a unique time of wrath. It has not yet happened, and later we will determine when it will take place.

Now, consider that God is light (1 John 1:5), so it would seem odd for "His Day" to be characterized only by darkness, with no light at all. As it turns out, the Bible says that the Day of the Lord will initially consist of darkness and wrath, but afterwards it will be characterized by light and blessings and the Lord's reign over all the earth:
"The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled) ... The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day and the idols will totally disappear." (Isaiah 2:12, 17-18)

"Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel. 'Then you will know that I, the LORD your God, dwell in Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her. In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the Lord's house and will water the valley of acacias. But Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood. Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations. Their bloodguilt, which I have not pardoned, I will pardon.' The LORD dwells in Zion!" (Joel 3:14-21)

"A day of the LORD is coming when your plunder will be divided among you. I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there will be no light [e.g. Isaiah 13:9-10, above], no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime--a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light. On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half to the eastern sea and half to the western sea, in summer and in winter. The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name." (Zechariah 14:1-9)
In the above passages, the Day of the Lord is described in terms of darkness, judgment, and wrath, followed by light and blessings and the Lord's reign over all the earth. Some of the Old Testament prophets were only shown the "darkness" portion of the Day of the Lord, but other prophets were shown both the "darkness" portion and the "light" portion of the Day of the Lord.

In Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, and 31, each day of Creation is described as being a period of darkness followed by a period of light ("and there was evening [darkness], and there was morning [light] --the first day," etc.). The Day of the Lord will follow that same pattern, according to the above passages.


Does "the Day of the Lord" Refer to One Specific Day?

Notice that some of the above passages give the impression that the Day of the Lord will last far longer than a single day. In fact, it's not unusual in Scripture for the word "day" to be used for different lengths of time, depending on the context. For example, the Creation account uses the word "day" in different ways:
"And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights--the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning-- the fourth day." (Genesis 1:14-19)
In the above passage, the sun and moon are described as signs which mark the seasons and days and years. Since the "seasons" and "years" are treated as normal seasons and years here, the "days" are therefore normal 24-hour days (in "seasons and days and years"). However, this passage also distinguishes between "day" (the daylight period) and "night" (the darkness period), which means that the word "day" in this case is not referring to a 24-hour period of time. In addition, the above passage tells us that these things occurred on the fourth "day" of Creation. Notice that if each "day" of Creation lasted for 24 hours (as some people believe), or if each "day" of Creation lasted for billions of years (as other people believe), either way this "day" is a different length of time than the daylight period which is called "day" in the same passage. The same Hebrew word is used for all five occurrences of the word "day" in the above passage, yet those "days" are not all referring to the same period of time.

Here's another example:
"For he says, "In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you." I tell you, now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2)
The above verse says that "now is the day of salvation." Notice that if the day when the apostle Paul wrote the above verse was the day of salvation, then no-one would be able to receive salvation after that day. Fortunately for us, we are still in "the day of salvation," which means that the word "day" in this passage is not a 24-hour day. The "day of salvation" has lasted for almost 2,000 years.

What the above passages demonstrate is that the word "day" in the Bible does not always refer to a 24-hour day, which means that we can't simply assume that the Day of the Lord refers to a 24-hour day. As always, the context is important.


When Will the Day of the Lord Begin?

In the first century, the Day of the Lord was still in the future:
"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." (1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:3)
In the above passage, Paul said that he didn't want the Thessalonian Christians to be ignorant about what will happen to Christians who die, so he explained to them about the Rapture. In contrast, however, Paul said that they knew "very well" that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. This means that Paul had earlier taught the Thessalonian Christians very well (literally, "accurately") about the Day of the Lord, but not about the Rapture, which tells us that the Rapture was not a part of Paul's teaching about the Day of the Lord (because the Thessalonian Christians were still "ignorant" about aspects of the Rapture in the above passage). They were "ignorant" about the Rapture, but they knew "very well" about the Day of the Lord.

When Paul wrote, "Now, brothers, about times and dates," in the above passage, he began this sentence with the Greek words peri de (literally, "But concerning"). When Paul used this specific combination of Greek words at the beginning of a sentence, his normal usage of these Greek words was to signal a change in thought (see 1 Corinthians 7:1, 25, 8:1, 12:1, 16:1, 12, and 1 Thessalonians 4:9). So in the above passage Paul taught the Thessalonian Christians some information concerning the Rapture (which they were ignorant about), and then he began talking about the Day of the Lord (which they knew "very well" or "accurately").

These factors indicate that the Rapture is separate from the Day of Lord, and in the above passage Paul told us when the Day of the Lord will start. Paul said that the Day of the Lord will begin suddenly and unexpectedly when people are talking about "peace and safety" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, above). Later we'll learn more about this "peace and safety," but how does this help us determine when the Day of the Lord will begin?

In Part Three we saw that when the book of Revelation describes the future judgments of God's wrath on the earth, it begins by listing seven Seal Judgments. Notice that the "darkness and wrath" portion of the Day of the Lord cannot begin after the sixth Seal Judgment:
"I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth, as late figs drop from a fig tree when shaken by a strong wind. The sky receded like a scroll, rolling up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and every free man hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?"" (Revelation 6:12-17)
The above passage says that when the sixth Seal Judgment takes place during the Tribulation, people will try to hide from God because they will believe that the day of God's wrath has come. Remember, in the above passage the apostle John was simply recording what he saw and heard. Notice that John did not say that the day of God's wrath had now come (in the above passage), but instead John was simply recording what the people in his vision were saying.

In the above passage, those people include the kings of the earth and princes and generals and so on. In Revelation 16:13-16, the kings of the world are allied with the Antichrist and are gathered together at the place called Armageddon in order to make war against the Lord, so the kings of the earth are not Christians. In Revelation 17:1-2, the kings of the earth are shown committing "spiritual adultery" with a false religious system during the first half of the seven-year Tribulation (this religious system is called "Mystery Babylon," as we saw in Part One), so again, the kings of the earth are not Christians. In Revelation 19:17-19, we see an invitation for birds to come and feast on the dead bodies of "kings, generals, and mighty men, of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great" at the time of the Second Coming.

Again, all of these people are allied with the Antichrist, which is why they are killed at the time of the Second Coming. They are not Christians, and therefore they do not have a revelation of God's Truth. In the above passage, they are trying to hide from God and escape His wrath.

Since they don't have salvation and the indwelling Holy Spirit, it would be a mistake to assume that they know what they are talking about when they say that the day of God's wrath has come. In other words, if we claim that the sixth Seal Judgment (in the above passage) is the point when God's wrath will start to be poured out onto the earth (which is one of the mid-trib views of the Rapture), then we would be basing our assumption on the words of unsaved people who don't have a revelation of God's Truth. Remember, we have seen that God's wrath will start to be poured out onto the earth with the first Seal Judgment at the very beginning of the seven-year Tribulation (see Part Three), and therefore this mid-trib view of the Rapture is in error.

Now, notice in the above passage that since those people are saying that they are experiencing God's wrath, this means that God's wrath cannot come upon them unexpectedly. Yet Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (above) that the Day of the Lord, the time of judgment and wrath, will come suddenly and unexpectedly when people think that "peace and safety" has come. Therefore, the Day of the Lord will not begin after the sixth Seal Judgment (above) because there will be no more "peace and safety" for the remainder of the seven-year Tribulation, as we saw in Part Three.

Similarly, the Day of the Lord will not begin after the second Seal Judgment:
"When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword." (Revelation 6:3-4)
Notice that when Jesus opens the second seal (above), then peace will be taken away from the earth. Since the Day of the Lord will begin when people are experiencing peace, or about to experience peace (1 Thessalonians 5:3, above), this means that the Day of the Lord will begin before the second Seal Judgment in Revelation 6:3-4 (above).

Now, what is the "peace and safety" that Paul was talking about in 1 Thessalonians 5:3 (above)? Notice in the Old Testament that God had promised the Jews that someday in the future they will live in peace and safety forever:
"I will surely gather them [the Jews] from all the lands where I banish them in my furious anger and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place [Israel] and let them live in safety." (Jeremiah 32:37)

"'The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will fulfill the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah. In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David's line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteousness.'" (Jeremiah 33:14-16)

"and say to them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God. My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children's children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever. My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people. Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.'" (Ezekiel 37:21-28)

"I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the LORD have spoken. 'I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety. I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations." (Ezekiel 34:23-29)
If we look closely at the above passages (and any similar passages) in which God promised a future time of peace and safety forever for the Jews, we can see that there are several consistent themes:

  1. There will be a worldwide regathering of the Jews back to Israel.
  2. There will be a great leader in the world ("David," or someone from David's line as in Jeremiah 33:14-16, above).
  3. There will be a new Jewish temple ("my sanctuary").
  4. God will make a covenant of peace with Israel.
For the following reasons, at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation it will appear that the above promises have been fulfilled:

  1. A worldwide regathering of Jews back to Israel is currently in progress (see my article called Signs of the Times in End-Times Bible Prophecy).
  2. The Antichrist will be a great leader in the world.
  3. The plans for a new Jewish temple are already underway (see my article called Signs of the Times in End-Times Bible Prophecy).
  4. Israel will make a seven-year covenant of peace with the Antichrist (as we have seen throughout this series).
So at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation there will appear to be reasons for Israel to believe that the promised time of "peace and safety forever" has finally arrived. Israel will have a treaty of peace, and the Jews will be talking about how safe and secure Israel has become. According to Paul, this is exactly when the "darkness and wrath" period of the Day of the Lord will suddenly come upon them:
"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." (1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:3)
The above passage deals with end-times prophecy. The Rapture in the above passage has not yet happened, and the Day of the Lord in the above passage has not yet happened, and the time of "peace and safety" in the above passage has not yet happened.

So when Israel is preparing to sign a seven-year treaty with the Antichrist, they will have at least four reasons (above) for thinking that they are bringing in the time of "peace and safety forever" which God had promised in the above Old Testament prophecies. However, by signing this treaty with the Antichrist they will actually be ushering in the seven-year Tribulation period, which is why Paul said that the destruction of the Day of the Lord will come on them (1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:3, above).

This means that the beginning of the Tribulation period is also the beginning of the Day of the Lord. The seven-year Tribulation period is the same as the "darkness and wrath" portion of the Day of the Lord. Remember, the Day of the Lord will begin with a period of darkness and wrath (the seven-year Tribulation), and then it will become a time of light and blessings and the Lord's reign over all the earth (Christ's thousand-year government on the earth, which is often referred to as "the Millennium").

Ezekiel 34:23-29 (above) says that in the time of peace and safety which God had promised, there will be no more war, no more famine, and no dangerous wild beasts. Notice that at the beginning of the Day of the Lord, God will use those specific things as judgments in order to demonstrate that the Antichrist's covenant of peace is not God's covenant of peace:
"I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider [the Antichrist, or "false Christ," as we saw in Part Three] held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword. When the Lamb opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand. Then I heard what sounded like a voice among the four living creatures, saying, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages [famine], and do not damage the oil and the wine!" When the Lamb opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature say, "Come!" I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:1-8)
This passage describes "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," which are the first judgments of God's wrath at the beginning of the Day of the Lord (as we saw in Part Three). Notice that God will specifically use the very things as judgments (war, famine, and wild beasts) which He had promised will one day be eliminated. This will demonstrate Israel's devastating error in making a covenant with the Antichrist instead of the true Christ.

Since Paul said that the Day of the Lord will begin when people believe that the time of "peace and safety" has arrived (1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:3 above), and since God will use the very first judgments of wrath during the Tribulation to show that Israel is wrong in thinking that the time of "peace and safety" has arrived, this further demonstrates that the Day of the Lord will begin when the seven-year Tribulation begins.


The Day of Judgment

My article called Beyond the Second Coming explains that after the Millennium (the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth), all of the unrighteous people throughout history will stand before the throne of God for judgment. Bible scholars sometimes refer to this as "the Great White Throne Judgment" (based on Revelation 20:11-15), but it is more commonly known as "Judgment Day." Christians will not take part in Judgment Day, nor will the righteous people from Old Testament times.

However, Christians will be judged. In Part Seven we'll see that when Jesus comes and "snatches" the Church off of the earth at the pre-trib Rapture, He will then take us back into heaven. While the Tribulation (the Day of the Lord) is raging on earth, all of the raptured Christians will give an account of ourselves to Christ and receive rewards based on what we did on earth. Bible scholars refer to this as "the judgment seat of Christ" (from 2 Corinthians 5:10). This judgment is not for salvation because everyone who takes part in this judgment will already be saved, and no-one but the raptured Church will go through this judgment.

With that in mind, here are the New Testament passages which refer to Judgment Day as "the day of judgment":
"I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." (Matthew 10:15)

"Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you." (Matthew 11:21-24)

"The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:35-37)

"But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." (Romans 2:5-8)

"if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment." (2 Peter 2:9)

"By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." (2 Peter 3:7)
The above passages are referring to Judgment Day, although it seems possible that Matthew 12:35-37 (above) might be referring to Judgment Day for the unrighteous as well as the judgment seat of Christ for the Church.

In the following passages, the expressions, "the day of judgment," "the day of the Lord," "the day of Christ," "the Day," etc., are referring to the judgment seat of Christ:

  • "(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares." (Romans 2:14-16)
    If these Gentiles are saved (e.g. God's laws are written on their hearts), then "the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ" is a reference to the judgment seat of Christ.
  • "And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." (Romans 13:11-12)
    In Part Seven we'll see that while the Tribulation (the Day of the Lord) is raging on earth, the raptured Christians will be in heaven standing before the judgment seat of Christ. Since the Rapture (followed by the Day of the Lord) might happen at any moment, then in Paul's words (above), "the day is almost here." When the Day finally arrives and we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, we will receive rewards or suffer loss based on our deeds. Therefore, it would be wise for us to make sure that we are being faithful and obedient to the Lord in all that we say and do. In Paul's words (above), "let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light."
  • "Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 1:7-8)
    In order to be found "blameless," this implies that some type of judging has taken place. Again, all Christians will give an account of themselves at the judgment seat of Christ after the pre-trib Rapture, while the seven-year Tribulation is raging on earth.
  • "By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames." (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
    When the Day finally arrives and we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, we will receive rewards or suffer loss based on our deeds. Therefore, it would be wise for us to make sure that we are being faithful and obedient to the Lord in all that we say and do.
  • "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)
    Here we see a man who had committed a kind of sexual immorality "that does not occur even among pagans." Paul told the Corinthian Christians to hand that man over to the devil so that his "sinful nature" (or "flesh") may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the Day of the Lord. It would seem that this man was a Christian, and Paul was saying to expel him from the Corinthian church. Later, it appears that Paul urged them to forgive this man:
    "The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him." (2 Corinthians 2:6-8)
    If this man was a Christian, as Paul seems to be assuming, then his spirit will be saved on the Day of the Lord no matter what happened to his body out in the world. For example, Paul had earlier said that if a person's earthly works are burned up at the judgment seat of Christ (on the Day of the Lord) then he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames (1 Corinthians 3:10-15, above).
  • "as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus." (2 Corinthians 1:14)
    Paul anticipated being proud of the Corinthian Christians when they go through the judgment seat of Christ on the Day of the Lord.
  • "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30)
    Bible commentaries tend to say that "the day of redemption" is the day of judgment, the day of our final redemption (the completion of our redemption). For Christians, the day of judgment will take place when we go through the judgment seat of Christ during the Day of the Lord.
  • "In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:4-6)
    Once again we see that the completion of our redemption will take place on the Day of the Lord.
  • "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God." (Philippians 1:9-11)
    In this passage, the Greek words for "until the day of Christ" are the same as the Greek words for "on the day of Christ" in Philippians 2:14-16 (below). Being found blameless on the Day of the Lord implies that some type of judging has taken place. Again, all Christians will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive rewards, which will take place in heaven after Jesus comes and raptures the Church.
  • "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life--in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing." (Philippians 2:14-16)
    In 2 Corinthians 1:14 (above), Paul anticipated being proud of the Corinthian Christians when they go through the judgment seat of Christ on the Day of the Lord. In the above passage, Paul anticipated being proud of the Philippian Christians when they go through the judgment seat of Christ on the Day of the Lord.
  • "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?" (1 Thessalonians 2:19)
    When Jesus comes to rapture the Church, He will take us into heaven where we will stand before Him at the judgment seat of Christ. In the above verse, Paul anticipated being proud of the Thessalonian Christians when they go through the judgment seat of Christ on the Day of the Lord.
  • "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him." (1 John 4:16-17)
    The apostle John said that we (himself included) will have confidence on the day of judgment, which will take place when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ on the Day of the Lord.
We have seen that the Day of Lord will begin when the seven-year Tribulation begins, and in the above passages we see indications of Christians being judged on the Day of the Lord. Now, consider the following scenario. After Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven, He sat down at the right hand of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3, 8:1, 10:12, 12:2, Revelation 3:21). Decades later, the apostle John was given a vision, and while John was "in the Spirit" he saw things which will take place during the Day of the Lord (the seven-year Tribulation period) (Revelation 4:2, 17:3, 21:9-10). So John was "in the Spirit" while he witnessed the Day of the Lord, which might be what he meant when he said, "on the Lord's Day [the Day of the Lord] I was in the Spirit" (Revelation 1:10). In his vision he saw God the Father holding a sealed scroll, and a mighty angel asked in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" Revelation 5:1-4 says that no-one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was worthy enough to be able to open the scroll. We saw in Part Three that Jesus is the only one who is able to open the scroll, but if Jesus is in heaven at the right hand of God then how can the Bible say that no-one in heaven was found who was worthy to open the scroll? This appears to be an inconsistency or a contradiction in Scripture. How do we explain this?

Remember, after Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven, He sat down at the right hand of God, so why wasn't He in heaven to open the scroll? If He wasn't in heaven or on the earth or under the earth, then where was He?

At the Second Coming, Jesus will leave heaven and descend down to the earth. For a certain period of time, He will be in the air and in the clouds above the earth (Matthew 24:30, 26:64, Mark 13:24-26, 14:62, Revelation 1:7). Since the Bible never describes Jesus on any other planet or anywhere else in the physical universe, this means that the air above the earth is the only Scriptural place where Jesus could be if He's not in heaven or on the earth or under the earth. So the Second Coming would explain why Jesus was not in heaven to open the sealed scroll.

But when God the Father holds out the sealed scroll, at that point it's not yet time for the Second Coming. The Second Coming will take place at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, and we saw in Part Three that Jesus will open the sealed scroll at the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation. So the Second Coming is not the reason why Jesus was not in heaven to open the sealed scroll. According to Scripture, is there any other time when Jesus will be in the clouds above the earth? Yes, there is.

At the Rapture:
"According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Notice the sequence of events. After Jesus was resurrected, He ascended into heaven. He's been in heaven for almost 2,000 years. At the appointed time, He will leave heaven and come down to the clouds above the earth, where He will rapture all Christians (living or dead) to meet Him in the clouds. While the Rapture is taking place, God will hold out the sealed scroll in heaven for Jesus to open, but Jesus is not in heaven or on the earth or under the earth. Jesus takes the raptured Christians up into heaven where He breaks the seals on the scroll, causing the Tribulation to begin (as we saw in Part Three). While the Tribulation (the Day of the Lord) is raging on earth, the raptured Christians will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to receive rewards or suffer loss, based on their deeds.

Once again, the pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which fits all of the Scriptural facts.


1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:5

Notice what Paul wrote concerning the Day of the Lord in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica:
1 Thessalonians 4:13: "Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope."
1 Thessalonians 4:14: "We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him."
1 Thessalonians 4:15: "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep."
1 Thessalonians 4:16: "For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first."
1 Thessalonians 4:17: "After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever."
1 Thessalonians 4:18: "Therefore encourage each other with these words."
1 Thessalonians 5:1: "Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you,"
1 Thessalonians 5:2: "for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night."
1 Thessalonians 5:3: "While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."
1 Thessalonians 5:4: "But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief."
1 Thessalonians 5:5: "You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." ...
1 Thessalonians 5:11: "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
In the above passage, Paul wanted to encourage the Christians in Thessalonica who were grieving over deceased loved ones. In verse 13, he began explaining to them about the Rapture because he didn't want them to be ignorant about what will happen to those who have died in Christ.

According to the mid-trib views and the post-trib view, the Church will experience some of the horrors of the Tribulation period (recall the Seal Judgments and the Trumpet Judgments and the Bowl Judgments, which we looked at in Part Three). In that case, it would certainly be comforting for the Thessalonian Christians to know that their deceased loved ones were spared from experiencing those horrors. Paul did comfort them by explaining about end-times prophecy, but notice that he specifically explained to them about the Rapture, and then he told them to encourage each other with that information (verse 18).

In other words, Paul did not comfort the Thessalonian Christians by saying that someday they will see their loved ones again in heaven. Paul did not comfort the Thessalonian Christians by saying that their loved ones had been spared the horrors of the Tribulation period. Instead, Paul specifically comforted them by saying that at the Rapture, "we who are still alive" will meet our deceased Christian loved ones in the clouds with Jesus. Think about that for a moment. Paul expected the Rapture to happen in their lifetime, and this was comforting to them because they would soon be with their deceased loved ones again at the Rapture. In Part Six we'll see almost two dozen passages which demonstrate that the apostles and most of the New Testament authors expected the Rapture to happen at any moment. There is only one view of the Rapture which is consistent with Paul's statements here, and that is the pre-trib view. In verse 4:18, Paul told them to encourage each other with this knowledge about the Rapture, and then Paul turned his attention to a different topic in chapter 5 (above).

In chapter 5, Paul pointed out that the Thessalonian Christians knew "very well" (or "accurately") that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night while people are saying "peace and safety" (as we saw earlier). Recall that the Day of the Lord will consist of a period of darkness and wrath (the seven-year Tribulation), followed by a period of light and blessings and the Lord's reign over all the earth (the Millennium, which will begin after the Second Coming).

In verses 4 and 5 (above), Paul specifically said that the Church does not belong to the darkness. The Church only belongs to the light. My article called Beyond the Second Coming shows that the Church will be on the earth during the Millennium (in our immortal bodies), which is consistent with Paul's statement in verse 4 that the Church only belongs to the light. As we have seen, the Millennium is described as being the "light" portion of the Day of the Lord. The seven-year Tribulation period is described as being the "darkness" portion of the Day of the Lord, and Paul said in verses 4 and 5 that the Church is not in darkness and does not belong to the darkness. There is only one view of the Rapture which allows for the Church to be in the Millennium ("light") but not in the Tribulation ("darkness"), and that is the pre-trib view.


2 Thessalonians 2:1-5

As we saw in the previous section, Paul taught the Thessalonian Christians about the Rapture and the Day of the Lord. But then someone went to Thessalonica and pretended that Paul said that the Day of the Lord had already come. This caused great alarm to the Christians in Thessalonica, so they sent a message to Paul for clarification. Here is Paul's response:
"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5)
The post-trib group uses the above passage as evidence for a post-trib Rapture, and the pre-trib group uses it as evidence for a pre-trib Rapture. Obviously these two groups cannot both be right, which means that one group is making some wrong assumptions in the above passage.

First we'll examine the post-trib interpretation of the above passage, and then we'll look at the pre-trib interpretation.

Notice that we can summarize the above passage like this, based on what we have seen throughout this series:
"Concerning the coming of Christ and our being raptured to Him, don't be alarmed by reports which say that the day of the Lord has already come. That day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the Antichrist is revealed. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?"
This paraphrase fits with every view of the Rapture, and the various Rapture views differ in their interpretation of the highlighted sections. For example, if we replace the highlighted sections of this paraphrase based on the post-trib assumption that the Day of the Lord is the day of the Second Coming, then we get this:
"Concerning the Second Coming of Christ and our being raptured to Him, don't be alarmed by reports which say that the Second Coming has already happened. The Second Coming will not happen until the rebellion occurs and the Antichrist is revealed. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?"
According to the post-trib view, the Day of the Lord is the day of the Second Coming and the Rapture. Based on this view, notice that in order for the Thessalonian Christians to believe the report that the Day of the Lord had already come, they would need to assume that they didn't notice it when the Rapture took place, and they would need to assume that they didn't notice it when the Second Coming took place! Such a situation would be impossible, because the Rapture will be worldwide in scope (involving the entire Church, including the Thessalonian Christians), and because at the Second Coming everyone in the world will see Jesus returning to the earth (Matthew 24:27-30).

In addition, notice that if the Second Coming had already taken place then the Thessalonian Christians would soon be entering into Christ's thousand-year reign of righteousness, peace, and prosperity on the earth (the Millennium). This would be a cause for joy, not alarm! Yet when the Thessalonian Christians were told that the Day of the Lord had already come, they became alarmed. If the Day of the Lord is the day of the Second Coming and the Rapture (as the post-trib view says), notice that there was no evidence that the Rapture or the Second Coming had taken place. After all, no Christians had vanished in the Rapture, and Christ had not descended to the earth in full view of the world, so the Thessalonian Christians had no reason to believe the false reports that these things had happened.

Therefore, the post-trib interpretation of this passage results in an unrealistic situation because of the erroneous assumption that the Day of the Lord is equivalent to the day of the Second Coming in this passage. As I mentioned earlier, the pre-trib group and the post-trib group both use this passage to support their views, but they can't both be right. One of these groups is making some wrong assumptions. Throughout this series we have seen that we cannot assume that the Day of the Lord is equivalent to the day of the Second Coming, and this is a wrong assumption that the post-trib group is making.

Now let's look at the pre-trib paraphrase of the above passage:
"Concerning Jesus' coming for the Church at the pre-trib Rapture, don't be alarmed by reports which say that the seven-year Tribulation has already begun. The Tribulation will not begin until the rebellion occurs and the Antichrist is revealed. Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?"
Consider that if Paul had taught the Thessalonian Christians about a pre-trib Rapture, then it would be natural for them become alarmed when someone told them that the Tribulation had already begun. This information would have contradicted what Paul had taught them, so they would have urgently contacted Paul for a clarification. Since this false information was not what Paul had taught the Thessalonian Christians, Paul would have defended his teachings when he wrote back to the Thessalonian Christians. This scenario is exactly what we see in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 (above), which is why Paul said in that passage, "Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things?"

In addition, when the Thessalonian Christians were given a false report that the Day of the Lord (the seven-year Tribulation period) had begun, there was evidence which convinced them that this report might be true, which is why they became alarmed. For example, in the context of the end-times and the Tribulation period, Jesus said, "Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death" (Matthew 24:3-16). We saw in Part One that there will be a great persecution of the saints in the early stages of the Tribulation, and notice that the Thessalonian Christians were experiencing persecutions:
"Therefore, among God's churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. ... With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come." (2 Thessalonians 1:4-2:2)
Notice that when Paul began to comfort the Thessalonian Christians concerning the Day of the Lord, he specifically mentioned the persecutions which they were experiencing. Since a persecution of saints will take place during the beginning stages of the Tribulation, and since the Thessalonian Christians were being persecuted, this means that they had evidence which appeared to support the false claim that the Tribulation had begun. This is why they became so alarmed.

For these reasons, the pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which results in a consistent and reasonable interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 (above).

Another thing to notice in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 is that the Day of the Lord will not begin until the Antichrist is revealed. We have seen throughout this series that the Antichrist will be revealed at the beginning of the Tribulation when he signs a seven-year treaty with Israel. So again, the Day of the Lord will begin when the Tribulation begins because the seven-year Tribulation is the "darkness and wrath" portion of the Day of the Lord.


More "Day" Passages in the New Testament

Here are some more "Day" passages in the New Testament:

  • "Men will tell you, 'There he is!' or 'Here he is!' Do not go running off after them. For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other." (Luke 17:23-24)
    As we have seen, the Day of Lord will start at the beginning of the Tribulation period, and it will continue through the Millennium. The Second Coming will take place during this time (at the end of the Tribulation), so it will take place in the Day of the Lord. The above passage describes the Second Coming (compare it with Matthew 24:26-27 and Mark 13:21-26), which Luke said will take place "in his day" (i.e. in the Day of the Lord).
  • ""All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." At this the Jews began to grumble about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They said, "Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I came down from heaven'?" "Stop grumbling among yourselves," Jesus answered. "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day. ... Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."" (John 6:37-54)

    "Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again." Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."" (John 11:23-24)
    The Rapture is the event in which all dead Christians will be resurrected (as we have seen throughout this series), and therefore "the last day" in the above passages is referring to the Rapture.
  • "There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day." (John 12:48)
    The apostle John was the only New Testament writer who recorded the expression, "at the last day." Apart from the above verse, this expression always refers to the Rapture. Therefore, it's likely that the above verse is referring to the Rapture as well, saying that those who reject Jesus are condemned to be rejected at the Rapture.
  • "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness." (2 Peter 3:9-13)
    In this passage, Peter said that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief, which is exactly what Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 (above). If we believe that Peter was referring to a "different" Day of the Lord than Paul was, then we would be using an inconsistent method of interpretation. Throughout this article we have seen that the expression, "the Day of the Lord," encompasses the seven-year Tribulation and the thousand-year reign of Christ when He physically dwells on earth. Since Peter used that exact expression ("the day of the Lord"), and since Peter said exactly what Paul said about it ("the day of the Lord will come like a thief"), then a consistent method of interpretation would lead us to say that Peter was referring to the same Day of the Lord that we have seen throughout this article. A consistent method of interpretation also tells us that "the day of the Lord" and "the day of God" are the same thing in the above passage, because Peter described them using almost identical language.

    My article called Beyond the Second Coming shows that after Judgment Day, God will destroy the heavens and the earth, and then He will create a new heaven and a new earth (but without any sea). This is what Peter was referring to in the above passage. Since Peter said that the Day of the Lord will bring about the destruction of the heavens and the earth and all of the elements, it would appear that the Day of the Lord encompasses the seven-year Tribulation period, and the Second Coming, and the Millennium, and Judgment Day, and the destruction of the heavens and the earth. Possibly it also includes the creation of the new heaven and earth, but we're not specifically told that.


Conclusion

In this article we have seen that the Day of the Lord will begin when the seven-year Tribulation period begins, and it will continue through the thousand-year reign of Christ on earth, and Judgment Day, and the destruction of heaven and earth. The Bible doesn't specifically tell us if the Day of the Lord will include the creation of the new heaven and the new earth.

The Day of the Lord will last for more than 1,000 years, and we saw that there is Scriptural precedent for a "day" to last longer than 1,000 years because "the day of salvation" has lasted for almost 2,000 years (2 Corinthians 6:2).

In addition, we saw that the pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which explains why Jesus will not be in heaven to open the sealed scroll in Revelation 5:1-4.

When we examined 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:5, we saw that the pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which is consistent with Paul's encouragements concerning the deceased Christians in Thessalonica.

We also saw that the pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which allows for the Church to take part in the Millennium but not in the Tribulation (as Paul described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:5).

When we examined 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, we saw that the post-trib interpretation results in an unrealistic situation. The pre-trib view is the only view of the Rapture which results in a consistent and reasonable interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5.


All for Your glory, Lord Jesus!


Part One    Part Two    Part Three    Part Four    Part Five    Part Six    Part Seven    Part Eight
 
 
 
  Modification History  
 
 

  • 11/11/2009 - Reorganized some of the information. Added more passages in a new section called "The Day of Judgment." Modified my conclusion about the Day of the Lord being the day of the Second Coming in a couple of passages.
  • 10/28/2006 - There is no evidence that the Thessalonian Christians had ever heard of the Seal Judgments or the Trumpet Judgments or the Bowl Judgments, so I removed a reference to those judgments in the section called "2 Thessalonians 2:1-5."
  • 11/04/2005 - Slightly modified the section called "When Will the Day of the Lord Begin?," where Paul said that the Thessalonian Christians were "ignorant" about aspects of the Rapture.
  • 03/09/2004 - Added some more discussion about "the kings of the earth" in the section called "When Will the Day of the Lord Begin?"
  • 03/01/2004 - New article.