The Bible Says…
By Bro. C. Eldon McNabb
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." Matt. 24:35,36
As Jesus was answering a question which his Apostles had asked him concerning the end of the world, he included the statement which I quoted above. Somehow this statement has become mixed into the general preaching of the second coming of our Lord. As a result, when we Christians tell someone that Jesus is coming, soon they are sure that we mean to imply the great destruction of which Jesus spoke.
There is a connection between the second coming of Jesus and the ultimate destruction of our Earth. It is just that those two events are more than one thousand years apart in the "Day of the Lord." This is easily seen when considering Zech. 14:1-9 and 2 Pet. 3:10-13. Jesus will come, and with a great company of his followers he shall establish a new government which shall gradually gain control of the whole world. "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet." 1 Cor. 15:24,25. Satan will be loosed for a short period of time, after which we shall all stand before the Judgement seat of Christ.
"Behold, the day of the Lord cometh,…And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one." Zech. 14:1-9.
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness." 2 Pet. 3:10-13
That day shall come as a great surprise to most of the people of the world as well as many, if not most, of those who profess to be "Christians." It will surprise the Christians, because almost all ministers are teaching their followers that Matt. 24:35,36, tells us that no one knows when Jesus is coming. However a close and honest look at that passage will convince honest men that it was a mistake to think that Jesus was referring to his second coming.
Space will not permit us to consider all that is said about the Day of the Lord. However, we will consider some critical points in Joel 2, Amos 5, and 1 Thessalonians 5.
The prophet Joel told us what the Day of the Lord will be like. "The day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness,…the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?" Joel 2:1-2,11. Other Prophets were even more vivid.
Amos, went further and told us what it would be like for Christians. "Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?" Amos 5:18-20
The Apostle Paul told us how Christians can escape the worst of it: if they will. He said, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.… Therefore let us not sleep, as do others (Christians, Matt. 25); but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 5:1-9)
So let us remember, and believe, the words of Amos. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7) Israel did not know the signs of their time. (Matt. 16:1-4, Luke 19:44) Let us not make the same mistake that they made.