Updated: Dec 22, 2021
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ, Philippians 1:10.
In a previous post we looked at the phrase day of the Lord. By examining it in each context wherein it appears we saw that there is not just one single day on a prophetic calendar that is called the day of the Lord, but instead there are a few different upcoming events which the Holy Ghost has labeled the day of the Lord.
The day in which God burns up the heavens, the earth, and the elements is called the day of the Lord. The return of Jesus Christ with vengeance in his heart is called the day of the Lord, and the millennium is called the day of the Lord. None of these is on the same day on any calendar. Instead, the day of the Lord signifies a prophetic day in which Jesus Christ as Jehovah God destroys the wicked and succors Israel. There is more than one such time coming. Each is called the day of the Lord.
What about the day of Christ? Is it synonymous with the day of the Lord? We shall see that it is not. Is it one fixed day on a calendar, and does it always point to the exact same event? We shall see that it is not and that it does not. Pastor Matt Furse who pastors the Mountain View Baptist Church of Custer, South Dakota has published a well reasoned book arguing for a pre-wrath rapture as opposed to a pre-tribulation rapture.
His book Which One is Right?, is well written and squarely places him in a minority among fundamental preachers. He has myriad quotes from major pre-tribulation advocates in which they blatantly correct 2nd Thessalonians 2:2 from day of Christ to day of the Lord. From that and some other verses he asks, "which one is right?", our King James Bible or your theology? He has learned that the average fundamentalist will never let a few bible verses get in the way of his theology.
I disagree with his main premise which is that a pre-wrath rapture occurs after the tribulation starts, but that it occurs before the wrathful phase of the tribulation. Nevertheless, he has exposed the light and trivial basis upon which so many preachers base their theologies. I am far more comfortable fellowshipping with a man with whom I suspect of a prophetic error but who attempts to honor the exact words of a King James Bible without wrestling context, than with a man who smugly considers himself doctrinally pure while he willy nilly corrects the word of God.
If Matt Furse's contention is correct that the day of Christ is the rapture, then his argument is settled. He doesn't need the rest of his book. The Apostle Paul clearly states; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, 2nd Thessalonians 2:2. Standard pre-tribulation theology has often wiggled out of that conclusion by correcting the term day of Christ in 2nd Thessalonians 2:1 to the day of the Lord. Matt Furse is to be commended for calling them out on it.
In our opening verse, Philippians 1:10, the day of Christ appears to be the rapture and I would argue that it is. There is a case to be made that the same can be said for Philippians 2:16; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. However, there is a more plausible alternative view.
2nd Thessalonians And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
2nd Thessalonians 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2nd Thessalonians 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
2nd Thessalonians 1:10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
2nd Thessalonians 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
According to 2nd Thessalonians 1:11, a saint needs to be counted worthy of the great honor of riding with Jesus Christ as he takes vengeance. I strongly suspect that whether or not a saint is included in Enoch's prophecy is contingent upon whether or not he loses his inheritance (not his salvation) in the Kingdom of God. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, Jude 1:14.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Galatians 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Galatians 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Certainly, no one who practices such a life will be counted worthy of that calling. But, if the day in which Jesus Christ visits vengeance upon them that know not God can be called the day of Christ, (and we have already shown that that day is labeled the day of the Lord elsewhere), are we not just as guilty as the bible corrector who merely takes out his correcting pen and makes them one and the same? No, it all depends whose eye we look through when we label that day. Consider Matthew 24:23-27:
Matthew 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Matthew 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.
Matthew 24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
Matthew 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
In these verses we are looking at that day from the eager eyes of those who want him to return and who are cautioned to not believe it. We are looking at the day of his return from the eyes of those caught up in the great tribulation and who would sore love to see Christ revealed. That is quite different from the expectation of the wicked. To the wicked it is a day of comeuppance. 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, Amos 5:18.
Just as the term day of the Lord refers to a day in which the Lord's wrath to sinners and comfort to Israel is revealed regardless of when that day occurs on a timeline, the day of Christ signifies a day in which Jesus Christ is revealed to those who await him. It can be the rapture or it can be the day of which Jesus speaks in Matthew 24:27 when Christ is revealed in his glory and in which the saints who are found worthy participate.
Peter speaks of this when he talks about the day Jesus is revealed to his readers. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 1st Peter 1:13.
Remember, the Apostle Paul is the apostle to the Gentiles. Regardless of any other importance you may put on that, one of the things he does is to explain the rest of scripture to the Gentiles. Jesus Christ clearly warned that men would try to deceive the saints of God by telling them that he would be revealed. That is exactly what the Apostle Paul was warning the Thessalonians. As usual, he went into further detail. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand, 2nd Thessalonians 2:2.
If the Lord should be so gracious as to allow it, the next post will attempt to put 2nd Thessalonians in order exactly as the King James Bible says it.