The Day of the Lord

When will it be?


The advent of Christ's Kingdom, even from Bible days has been said to be near at hand.  There has been many date setters and all have failed in coming up with an exact date.  With so many centuries coming and going between Jesus Christ"s first appearance on this earth and His next advent to permanently establish the Kingdom here on earth many have turned to believing there will be no Kingdom, or that we have to establish the Kingdom on this old world first before He will come back.  The real point is, there has never been a definite time set in the Bible.  This was done purposely by God for various reasons.

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us–ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."  (II Peter 3:9)

In God's mercy, he has given us a very gracious amount of time to not only believe on Christ for salvation but to repent of any sins and live our life pleasing to Him and be worthy of receiving the prize of ruling and reigning with Christ for a thousand years.  

As far as a specific dates goes, there are certain things that The Day is dependent on before it will be literally revealed.

The Kingdom is dependent upon a certain number of elect ones that must be previously gathered out.  

"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel." (Exodus 19:5,6)

The Jewish race as a whole were to be God's chosen witness to the world of Himself, so that all the world would be filled with the knowledge of God.  When this was rejected by them, as they also refused to receive the Messiah, then God turned to the Gentiles to gather out an elect people for Himself.

"I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy."   (Romans 11:11)

If you read Romans 10 and 11 you will see that the calling of the Gentiles was not only to bring salvation to them but also to stir jealousy in the Jews so that they would turn back to God and serve Him.  After the rejection of the Jewish nation for a set time by God, a seed must be raised up unto Abraham to inherit the promises.  This seed is now in the process of adoption, and when a determinate number has been engrafted - a sufficient number to fill the Divine Theocratic purpose - then will the Kingdom come.  Only God knows the exact number needed for His purposes.  So, while this delay from God in fulfilling all the promises in the Bible, and God exercises long-suffering to us, men may be led to repentance and join the number of the elect, chosen ones.  But if you look to the past in the number already gathered out to God, a very large advancement has been made in gathering out such a seed for Abraham to be co-inheritors with Christ.  From this it should be considered reasonable to think that the Kingdom is not far distant, seeing that already so many have joined the chosen that will rule and reign with the Saviour.

The Kingdom is also dependent upon the Coming of the King, but the Advent of this King is nowhere positively connected to the ending of any chronological period, so it may be near - may occur at any time.  As far as any specific dates are concerned, they are given in connection with the history or events of either the Jewish nation, or of the Church, or of some hostile power during a certain, specified time.  The second Advent is mentioned, in connection with dates, as either happening at an unspecified time before or after such specified dates, where long or short intervals between may or may not occur.  This should teach us not to limit the Second Advent by dates.

This Second Advent, concealed to the world and known only by experience to the favored (chosen) ones, is preceded for a time - and not given by such dates - the visible world manifestation and destruction of the Antichrist.  Until this Antichrist appears and rules the world for a short period, Chirst will not appear.  This time of awful judgment must first take place in order to bring peace and righteousness to the world.  

"And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through." (Luke 12:39)

This is the attitude we should have of watching and waiting.  If we watch the times, watch what the Bible tells us and be a person of understanding these times won't catch us as a thief and we loose everything.  Now, if dates were more concise and specific with a chronological time, it would defeat the posture of constant watching and would, in a great measure, relieve it of a characteristic so purposely designed that it will come as "a snare."  If the exact time of the first secret coming were given, it would then invalidate the express declarations that no one shall be aware of it.  This Coming, embracing from its first stage to the last a distinctive interval of time is represented as one that we are to look for without placing anything yet to be fulfilled between it and the present, seeing that the stage or manifestation (to saints) at its beginning is never included in dates, but always enshrouded in mystery; always represented as coming unknown to all men and even to the angels.

So, not knowing the length of this interval, and not having definite events to guide us into a recognition of the time when the Advent really begins, that such a Coming and its end (the Kingdom) may be near, so near that we dare not positively assert that it shall be delayed a single day, week, year, etc.

"But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."  (Matthew 24:48-51)

The incredible diversity in fixing a date on this period, the introduction of those chasms in our eschatological views between events chronicled in the Bible, the obscurity of certain dates is intentional in order to place us in the commanded position of watching.

Many great and highly esteemed Christian men have tried to fix dates on Christ's Coming to a specific time and have all failed thus far.  But, instead of ridiculing these men and giving up watching as a waste of time and energy, this ought to teach us 4 things:

1) These failures show us the correctness of constant watching, seeing the uncertainty of chronology in determining the exact time.
2) They show how eminent men of all classes believe that we are nearing the end.
3) Past failure is no security of long postponement, and hence it would be unwise to reject a continuous testimony respecting our nearness to the end.
4) Such mistakes, while teaching us what the Spirit expressly has predicted, the inability of man to know the exact period, at the same time have a practical tendency to lead the wise to understand that the Millennarian system, in agreement with the Bible, demands, not the looking for the Advent at any definite fixed time, but a constant looking, praying, and watching for it at any time.

The indefiniteness as to the exact time is not only evidence of the inspiration of the Word, but a reason why the end should always be regarded as near.  Compare the chronological dates and see how they are presented purposely in a way very obscure or hidden, that the wisest of men will admit a degree of uncertainty in understanding the time of Christ's Coming.  Yet, all this is set in with the words of predictions given by various prophets that they all harmonize with obscurity and exactness, with each other, a magnificent combination of indefinite as to exact time, and also so definite as in the general course to point each age to a future that was imminent.

Such a framework, which has caused the early Church all the way through the centuries to modern Christians, to understand the nearness of the Advent and events following, is not accidental.  It is designed by the Holy Spirit in order to bring forth the commanded posture of believers, to be constantly looking (Phil. 3:20; Heb. 11:28; II Peter 3:12,14), for such a Coming in view of its practical influence (Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:4,5; I Tim. 6:14; II Tim. 4:1,2,8; I Peter 5:4), of its being the great hope of the Church (as Titus 2:12,13; I Peter 1:13; Col. 2:4).

Now, suppose that a precise, unmistakable date were given; then many commands (as Matt. 24:43-51; 25:13; Mark 13:33-37) could not be observed; then those exhortations to be in constant readiness for it (as Luke 12:35, 36, 40; 21:34) would lose their force because it would be impossible to watch as the Spirit directs until the time slated definitely had come.  And those who give exact dates violate Scripture, and do injury to others, because, instead of watching every day, they wait for a specific time.

"Though the signs may seem uncertain, yet no man can despise them without danger; seeing there can be not only no danger, but also great profit, if, reckoning them as true, thou shalt prepare thyself to meet thy Saviour; that is, if bidding farewell to present things, thou shalt be wholly taken up with the desire of the Kingdom of God that is Coming."

At the First Advent there was a widespread opinion that the Messiah should come (based chiefly on chronology, Dan. 9:24), so at the Second Advent it is reasonable to expect the same result to follow.  Also, yet think of all the people that did look for His Coming, but totally missed it because he didn't come in a way that they thought He should come.  This led to the national rejection of Christ, just as many will be deluded to believe the lie and not see the end as it really is.

The Apostles were taught by the Lord to expect His Coming; to wait and watch for it.  What He said to them, He also says to us: "What I say unto you I say unto all, Watch."  But it was not disclosed to them any more than it is to us when that Coming will be.  Christ Himself did not know, in that He was not at liberty so say (Mark 13:33).  Their uncertainty led them to watch, and hope, and expect, not with certainty but with yearning, and they were not inspired to know when it should be; therefore they lived in perpetual expectation (I Thess. 5:5,6; Titus 2:13; II Peter 3:12; Phil. 3:20).

Luke 21:25-36  Luther:
"the Lord admonishes us Christians not to place the date of our lives here upon the earth , but to know that our Lord and Redeemer shall come from heaven, and thus be prepared every hour to expect His Coming, likewise, that we should be but half, and with the left hand, in this world, while with the right hand, and with the whole heart, we are watching for that day when our Lord shall come in glorious majesty and power, which no man can describe."

The time is short; the Lord Cometh; watch and be sober.  Looking for Christ now is waiting for Him with "loins girt and lamps burning."  It is watching also, as not knowing at what hour the Master may come; but yet "knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep" (Rom. 13:11; Heb. 10:25, 37)

Therefore be ye also ready - Because it is the fundamental law of watchfulness to be always watching; and because the Son of Man will be generally unexpected when He comes - therein like a thief in the night, that is, at a time when the world will be buried in profound sleep.