What is the Day of Christ?
By: Scott Morton
(Author's note: This is a very sensitive topic for many individuals and I know that many people will not agree with what is said in this article. However, the verses line up to teach this topic. While I have held this view for a number of years, I have not written an article due to how conversations have gone. The unwillingness to consider things is truly sad. My hope is that individuals who read this article are truly able to study this out with an openness of mind to consider these things. We will return to less controversial topics in our next article.)
This is a term that many people are confused by in the Body of Christ. The term is only used by the Apostle Paul and he uses it to describe a particular event which is important to all members of the Body. In order to help clear up some of the confusion which is present, there are a couple of things which are important to note in this study:
There are a few different terms which are used for this day. All of these terms, even though the wording might be different, are describing the exact same event.
Modern translations of the Bible will use the term Day of the Lord instead. This is a completely different event (which was covered in our November 2009 article) that all members of the Body of Christ are protected from. The Day of the Lord is an event where God is pouring out His wrath, which we will not be here for (1 Thessalonians 1:10). It is also clear from the Bible that there are warning signs which are going to be preceding this event (Joel 2:28-32) which are all part of the prophetic program.
This is a very emotional topic for individuals. Many who profess to study the Word rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15) and state they are open to looking at things will not demonstrate this openness when addressing this topic. Instead, they will start yelling at individuals, calling them names, and make outright distortions of verses or what is being said in order to hold to a traditional viewpoint which they have held for a long period of time.
We will look at each of the verses where this term is being used in order to understand the information the Apostle Paul is communicating to us. Once we have figured out from each of the passages what he is trying to say, we will then put all of the information together in order to identify the event which is being spoken of by the Apostle Paul.
1 Corinthians 1:7-8
So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here the Apostle Paul is making a reference to something which he identifies as the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. The issues the Apostle Paul is looking at here are the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (which is an aspect of the timing of this event) and the fact that all members of the Body of Christ are confirmed to be blameless when this occurs. The reason we can be considered blameless is we are identified with the Lord Jesus Christ and have received His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Since this is what is seen when God the Father looks at us, we know the issue of sin has been taken care of. There is nothing a believer can do to have something put to their account once they believe the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) which would be a sin to have an impact on the position we have as a believer today.
1 Corinthians 5:3-5
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
This passage speaks about some things related to church discipline. In this case, the individual was doing something which was destructive to the functioning of the local assembly, as he was having a sexual relationship with his mother-in-law. It would have been known by individuals that this was going on and they were ignoring this behavior. The Apostle Paul describes what they have to do at this point, as they are to deliver this individual to Satan in order for the flesh to be destroyed. The key to this is they were being cast into the world which Satan has control over (Ephesians 2:2) because of the behavior. The Apostle Paul does make it clear of how the individual should be restored back into fellowship with the members of the Body of Christ once they have stopped doing the behavior which had caused this separation to occur. This is also seen in 1 Timothy 1:20, where the Apostle Paul indicates two individuals he had done this with in order for them to learn not to blaspheme.
Individuals struggle with this at times, stating that it is not something which is to be done in the Body of Christ today. The reason this occurs is the effect the behavior has on the ability of the local assembly to function as the light to the world (Philippians 2:15) and the ability to be an ambassador for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). If the behavior is being demonstrated by individuals and everyone knows what it is they are doing, then the ability to teach the gospel to someone has been impacted. Individuals will use this as an excuse to not put their trust in the gospel, as they will state they do not want to be functioning in that manner and will think this is how the Word of God is having an effect on people today.
From this passage, there is something which is clearly seen about the impact on the individual. There is a guarantee of the spirit of the individual being saved and kept until this day. This ties in with the sealing ministry of the Holy Ghost (Ephesians 1:13-14) which is the guarantee of our salvation until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ for the church.
2 Corinthians 1:13-14
For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end;  As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
In this passage, the Apostle Paul speaks of the day of the Lord Jesus, which is the exact same day as we had read in the previous passage. He is speaking of there being rejoicing in this day. It is clear this has nothing to do with wrath, as there will not be any rejoicing by individuals in the Day of the Lord. That day will be filled with fear (most of the world) and relief (Little Flock who are gathered and protected from facing the things of the Day of the Lord).
The members of the Body of Christ are going to be able to rejoice in what is going on. The rejoicing comes from everything the members of the Body of Christ know about this event, as well as the rejoicing in what they are actually experiencing at the moment it is occurring.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
In the context of the passage in Philippians, the Apostle Paul is speaking about the work which is done in us and is guaranteed until this event occurs. We know from what the Apostle Paul has written we have a guarantee of our salvation through this:
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
We have a guarantee of our salvation through the ministry of the holy Spirit of promise, one third of the Godhead. He keeps us as members of the Body of Christ, once we have believed the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). This means any good work which has been done in us (which only occurs through the Lord Jesus Christ) is going to be done until this moment.
The terminology for what is going on in the day of Christ is also linking up in passages such as Ephesians 1:13-14. Here the Apostle Paul calls the timing of it the redemption of the purchased possession. The purchased possession is the Body of Christ and the redemption of it occurs as an event which is referred to by individuals as the Rapture or the catching out of the saints. This is the time of the event which the Apostle Paul states the good work is performed in us until. We have a guarantee of being kept as members of the Body of Christ until He returns for us. It is glorious to realize this, as it shows how we have the guarantee of the salvation which has been promised to us.
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
The Apostle Paul continues in this chapter to point to what is true of the members of the Body of Christ. He states we will be sincere and without offense and gives a timeframe of how long this is true. It is true of us until the day of Christ, which has been something we have seen in these passages and appears to be a theme of his epistles.
The definition of sincere shows this is something specific being said of the members of the Body of Christ. The following comes from Webster�s 1828 Dictionary:
SINCE'RE, a. [L. sincerus, which is said to be composed of sine, without, and cera, wax; as if applied originally to pure honey.]
1. Pure; unmixed. As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word. 1 Pet 2. A joy which never was sincere till now. There is no sincere acid in any animal juice. I would have all gallicisms avoided, that our tongue may be sincere. [This sense is for the most part obsolete. We use the phrases, sincere joy, sincere pleasure; but we mean by them, unfeigned, real joy or pleasure.]
2. Unhurt; uninjured. The' inviolable body stood sincere.
3. Being in reality what it appears to be; not feigned; not simulated; not assumed or said for the sake of appearance; real; not hypocritical or pretended. This is the present use of the word. Let your intentions be pure and your declarations sincere. Let love and friendship be sincere. No prayer can avail with a heart-searching God, unless it is sincere.
The issue with this is the members of the Body of Christ are exactly what we appear to be, the genuine article. This allows us to be able to be looked at as approved, because we are in this condition. This can only be true of us because of what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us on the cross at Calvary and our identification in what He did. There is nothing we could have done which would have earned this condition.
The members of the Body of Christ are also identified as being without offense. We know we have received the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
The members of the Body of Christ are considered without offense because we are identified with the Lord Jesus Christ. We received His righteousness the moment we put our trust in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Since He was without sin, this is how we are now viewed by the Godhead. There is nothing we can do to undo this righteousness, which is why we are sealed into this position (Ephesians 1:13-14), being kept in this position until the redemption of the purchased possession.
The believers are kept in this position until the day of Christ. These are a couple more attributes describing the Body of Christ which are true of us until the event which we call the Rapture.
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;  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
The Apostle Paul talks here about the fact he was going to rejoice in the day of Christ. This is definitely not something which could be said of the day of the Lord, which is an event where the wrath of God is going to be poured out and all of those who are experiencing it will not be able to say they have any joy. This event is something the Apostle Paul is truly going to be able to see some joy in.
He is speaking about the labor he had among the Gentile nations holding forth the word of life. This is a reference to the gospel message which was committed to him (Romans 2:16, 16:25) which he saw as his responsibility to declare (Ephesians 3:8). The rejoicing occurs because he knows he is going to be with them for all of eternity and he is finally seeing this occur.
When this day happens, the first part of the verse is still going to be true of us as well. We are going to be considered blameless because of what the Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished for us. He did all of the work on the cross at Calvary and has taken care of the issue of sin. Because this has been taken care of at this point, the only thing which can actually be said of us is that we are blameless.
The members of the Body of Christ are also considered to be harmless as well. The meaning of this word does not have anything to do with us not being violent individuals. The word means we are considered to be innocent. This ties in with the sin problem having been taken care of for us at this point. We are considered innocent because we have the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ as a present possession and this is how we are viewed at this time. There can be no other word to describe the position, because if there was even one part of sin still on us, we would have to be considered guilty in the eyes of God.
This is something which is confusing to many people in the church today. The issue of sin has been dealt with for all believers. Once someone has put their trust in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4), the law is taken out of the way, which means it is impossible for individuals to commit a sin which would lead to them losing their salvation, as they would no longer be viewed as innocent.
Before we get into the last passage, a quick review of the things which have been said so far about the day of Christ is in order:
We will be considered blameless in this day
The spirit (inner man) is saved in this day
A work is performed in us until this day occurs
We are considered approved on this day
We are without offense until day occurs
We are blameless and harmless
There is rejoicing that this occurred
All of these things show the day of Christ as being what is referred to as the Rapture. While most would agree with the assessment so far, the problem they have is when we get to the final passage which discusses this day.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,  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.  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
The Apostle Paul identifies there were people who were trying to identify this had already occurred and that the individuals in Thessalonica had missed it. This would have shaken the faith of individuals, especially since they were writing letters and signing Paul's name to them to identify this had happened.
He is very clear this could not have happened, as he lays out two things which have to happen before the day of Christ could actually occur. The first of these things is the idea of a falling away. Individuals who do not want this to be describing the Rapture will state the falling away is the Rapture. However, there is no verse which would identify this event as a falling away.
The falling away would be a reference to individuals falling away from the faith. The Greek word for this phrase is apostasia, which we get the word apostasy from. The definition of apostasy is An abandonment of what one has professed; a total desertion, or departure from one's faith or religion (Webster's 1828 Dictionary). The individual would be falling away from the truth of the Word of God rightly divided, meaning they are no longer following the information which has been given to the Apostle Paul.
Another way of looking at this would be to see the way the Greek individuals would have looked at this word. The word was used to signify a revolt from a military commander. This means the individuals were going away from the orders and plans they were supposed to be following (International Standard bible Encyclopedia).
The Apostle Paul does describe how this is going to look for the Body of Christ:
2 Timothy 3:1-9
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.  For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,  Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.  But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.
This passage is used by many people to describe society as a whole. They state it is going to get worse and worse as we approach the end of this dispensation. This would signify how we were in the last days of the dispensation of grace. By doing this, they are always able to point to society and show the world could be described in this manner, which means the last days are here.
There are a few problems with this line of thought. The first of these is could we ever describe the world system as good. Since they have not accepted salvation and the Word of God is not having an effect on their life, there is nothing which could be good. The Apostle Paul has described us a lights to this world (Philippians 2:15), which means this is how the Body of Christ is supposed to function. This means the world was never in a position to where it could have been described in any other way than what is listed above.
The second problem is the world as a whole has never accepted the truth of God's Word. Since this is the case, they already have never come to the knowledge of the truth, which is one of the things which is being described here. Truth can only come from the Word of God and man as a whole has rejected the things of God.
The real issue of what the Apostle Paul is describing here is the condition of the Body of Christ as the last days of this dispensation occur. The local assembly has to be on guard to prevent these things from happening to themselves through their understanding of the Word of God. He gives some instructions to the local assembly on how to prevent this from happening in the same epistle, right after he had given the warning on what to watch for:
2 Timothy 4:1-5
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
The very first thing he states is to preach the Word. This is to be the focus of the individual, as this is the only thing which can produce faith in the life of an individual (Romans 10:17). It is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6). The believer is responsible for the intake of the Word of God, which will then allow it to be able to function properly in their life.
This is the only way someone is going to be able to do the right thing and not go down the path the Apostle Paul had warned in 2 Timothy 3. The believer needs to have the Word working, as it will produce the following:
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;  Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
The Apostle Paul prays for the believer to increase in the wisdom of the things of God. The only way this happens is through the studying the Word of God rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15) in order to understand the instructions which have been given to the members of the Body of Christ. This understanding of the Word of God is going to directly impact the life of the believer, as they will understand the things they are not supposed to do and the things they are supposed to do, according to the doctrine which has been given to us (Titus 2:11-13). This is the only way the believer is going to have the understanding of the way God intends for us to live our life.
What would truly describe a falling away in this magnitude? If this is an apostasy of the local assembly, it would mean that every local assembly will have stopped teaching the gospel for today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and the Word of God rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15). The local assemblies will be ineffective, as they are functioning as any assembly which has a covenant theology thought process. While there will be a few individuals in these assemblies who are truly saved, they will not be functioning as ambassadors for Christ, as they will be functioning under the covenant programs and will not be teaching the things which they should. This is something we do see today, as there are individuals who have fallen away in this manner. However, the magnitude of this will be on a greater scale as there will not be any local assemblies teaching the gospel.
The Apostle Paul also identifies there is a second part to this process, as the man of sin will be revealed. This has caused just as much controversy for individuals, as they struggle to truly identify what it means for him to be revealed. Many would say this means he is on the scene, as this fits in with the preconceived thought process they have about these events. However, this could not be the case. He is not actually revealed to be the man of sin at the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel. He is viewed as being a peacemaker and is viewed as good by almost everyone. It is not until this point that he is seen as being the individual spoken of:
When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.
2 Thessalonians 2:4
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
These three passages all point to what is going on with the revealing of the man of sin. He is truly revealed to this world when he sits down in the temple, declares himself to be God, and ends the sacrificial system in the temple. This is truly what is identified as being the abomination of desolation, as the temple is being defiled by the Antichrist at that moment.
This is what actually leads the individuals of Israel's program to actually have to flee into the wilderness for the protection of God. The wrath of God has not been poured out yet and is coming once this happens. This is what all of God's people are actually protected from. The Bible declares the point the wrath of God is actually poured out:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
The wrath of God is poured out after the man is sin is revealed. The believing remnant of Israel is protected, when they are told to flee into the wilderness. This allows them to be placed in a position where God is going to protect them from His wrath and only pour out wrath on those who have rejected His plans.
The Day of the Lord is clearly a time which is filled with wrath and is a time when only God is going to be exalted. During the first half of the 70th week of Daniel, it is not God who is exalted. There is wrath being poured out on those who are the believing remnant, who are the Little Flock. God does not pour out wrath on those who are doing what he has commanded.
The timing spoken of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is controversial to many in the Body of Christ. They have rejected this thought process, some without truly studying it out, because it goes against everything which they have been taught and what others are teaching. It is my prayer that every individual who reads this article will actually study the issue out and will determine for them what it is the Bible is saying about the topic.