This is a continuation of sorts of the posts Soon and So…What Happened? as well as sidebars of other post. These posts were written also to stand on their own in the case that God leads me in another direction with writing. Generally, the day before, I have no idea what I may write about on the following day. Likewise, yesterday was the same. While talking with God this morning, this seems to be the next step. In addition, I generally only have a discombobulated concept in my head that makes perfect sense to me but takes some correlation to put it in words.
As with, and correlating to, the soon terminology, there is a lot of language pointing towards a specific “day” throughout the New Testament. This language is also mentioned in the Old Testament writings and more adamantly presented in Malachi. Though the specific day and hour were unknown, the time frame is listed as that generation. As well, Jesus and the disciples also make reference to their respective audiences that some of those listeners would live to see that “day” (as referenced in the “Soon” post).
Here are some of the verses that all seem to be referencing that day, with my emphasis for easier reading. Please refer to the full context if interested and feel free to skip around as the concept may become quite repetitive:
Malachi 4:5—Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Yahweh comes. (Matt 11:13-14 John the Baptist was Elijah).
This is no doubt referring to the Second Coming of Jesus when he comes in judgment. If it were referencing Pentecost, it wouldn’t have been referenced as terrible. Likewise, it seems the rest of the scriptures were also referencing this same day.
Matt 7:22—Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’
This is referencing a soon-coming judgment as also repeated in Matt 25. The time frame starts in Matt 23:36-37, is reiterated at the beginning of chapter 24 (i.e. v1-3), and continues in Matt 25 as one continuous prophecy of the Second Coming of Jesus in judgment.
Luke 10:12—I tell you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.
A few interesting things are going on in this verse. First, as with the others, it’s referencing a specific day of judgment. Additionally, it is hinting that there will be varying degrees of judgment, some more tolerable that others! This throws quite the monkey wrench in the doctrine of all sinners burning in hell for all eternity.
Luke 17:30—It will be the same way in the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
Again, this seems to be referencing the Second coming of Jesus since this was at a point when he was already in the full swing of his ministry. Additionally, the next verse is again referencing the prophecy of the coming destruction (v31).
Luke 21:34—“So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly.
Here we see something very interesting—the why of the early church being told to be careful and aware. If these early Christians weren’t paying attention to the signs, they would likely get caught up in the judgment coming. Verses 35 and 36 go on to state that they could be snared and even that escape was possible (for those who watched the signs carefully). These are some directed concepts that only seem to make sense in regards to those of the 1st century. Like with Matt 24, this was again all in the context of the temple’s destruction (v5-6)
Romans 2:16—in the day when God will judge the secrets of men, according to my Good News, by Jesus Christ.
As all of these “day” references reiterate, there is to be a judgment. The context of timing is always soon.
1 Cor 3:13—each man’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man’s work is.
Hebrews 10:25—not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching.
This is one of those verses that is often taken out of it’s context and misappropriated to something that wasn’t its’ original intent. The author here is encouraging the congregation to continue to meet under extreme persecution based on the time period and the rest of this letter. This wasn’t about requiring people to meet or else they were doomed to hell. In addition, this verse makes reference to these people seeing the signs of the Second Coming as imminent! This is (in my opinion based on the rest of the N.T. passages) referencing Jesus’ prophetic warning signs from Matt 24 and the likes.
2 Thess 2:2—I wanted to point this passage out to mention that some Christians knew that the day was coming so soon that they thought it might have already passed. Paul reminds them that the “man of sin” must come first and there must be a falling away. Many Christians did fall away under the persecution. The “man of sin” is another topic, but again seems to have transpired, based on the timing suggested in the N.T. around the period leading up to the temple’s destruction.
I’ve only made it part of the way though the passages, but I believe the point is fairly clear. I’ll list some of the other verses if interested in further research, though there are many more. Emphasis below is mine for easier viewing.
1 Thess 5:2 – for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
1 Thess 5:4 – But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
2 Tim 1:12 – That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
2 Tim 1:18 – May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.
2 Tim 4:8 – Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
1 Cor 1:8 – He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 5:5 – hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
Phil 1:6 – 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.
Phil 1:10 – so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
2 Peter 2:9 – if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment
2 Peter 3:7 – By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
2 Peter 3:12 – 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.
Acts 2:20 – The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
Jude 1:6 – And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling–these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.
Rev 6:17 – For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
Rev 16:14 – They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
Rom 2:5 – But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and of the righteous judgment of God;
Matt 10:15 – Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
Matt 11:22 – But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
Matt 11:24 – But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Matt 12:36 – But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.
1 John 4:17 – This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
Ephes 4:30 – Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
John 6:39-40 – And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
John 6:54 – Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
John 11:24 – Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
All of these point to a day of the Lord, day of judgment/wrath, great day, last day, etc…They all reference the same time period and signs that were being made evident to the 1st century Christians. They were all looking forward to that day as it was rapidly approaching. If we deny the overwhelming evidence of scripture, we in turn make the Bible of little use other than a book of random philosophical teachings. Our religion then becomes the same as any other religion on earth. When placed into the context of the soon terminology, Jesus’ words—also reiterated in the apostles’ teachings, and the repeated association of the “day” terminology, we get a different view of when and to whom the scriptures were directed. Such evidence, when laid aside in favor of tradition, can violate the very passages we uphold so adamantly.
Now, I know I come across as quite direct here, but I think this is quite a glazed over concept that is stretched into a far-future fulfillment. Based on the contexts, this doesn’t seem very likely when comparing all of the varying books and authors. They all seem to be talking about that soon-coming Day. They all seemed to speak as though that Day would undoubtedly come within their generation. They seem to intimate that the signs Jesus spoke of were being seen by themselves and their fellow Christians in the 1st Century.
If, for all their divinely inspired writings, they were so inexorably wrong about this concept, then we have a Bible that we can never hope to understand and is subject to whatever whim we, or anyone else, wishes to apply to it.
As always, I would like to say this can all be set aside if it isn’t something that is helpful in your journey towards Father, with Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. I only wish to present my viewpoint so as to help clarify the awkwardness in which these passages are often viewed.