Dear Brother G.,
The July number of FOOD FOR THE FLOCK has just come to hand, and the Forum subject (The Day of Christ and the Day of the Lord) has interested me. Perhaps the following remarks may lead to a more complete investigation:
(1) When thinking to “distinguish” between the two expressions enquired about, it is well to bear in mind that, not only two, but a variety of expressions is employed with reference to the future time of judgment, both in relation to Christians and in relation to the world. That time is called:
(a) “The day of Christ” (2 Thess. 2:2. R.V. — “the day of the Lord”).
(b) “The day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:2, 4; 2 Pet. 3:10).
(c) “The day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6).
(d) “The day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14).
(e) “The day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:8).
(f) “The day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).
(g) “The day of judgment” (1 John 4:17).
(h) “The day of His wrath” (Rev. 6:17).
(i) “The day” (1 Cor. 3:13; Heb. 10:25; 2 Pet. 1:19).
(j) “That day” (1 Thess. 5:4; 2 Thess. 2:3; 2 Tim. 1:12, 18; 2 Tim. 4:8).
This variety in the terminology favours the thought that the day is one, though variously described in different connections. Generally speaking, “the day of Christ” is used with reference to the judgment of the saints, already caught up into the air to be with the Lord; whereas “the day of the Lord” is more used with reference to judgments poured out on the earth. But the period of time is the same: it begins at the coming of the Lord.
If the day of Christ and the day of the Lord were essentially different, what would be the meaning of “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”, where both are combined? And would not the Apostle be chargeable with ambiguity when he writes “the day”, if different days could be understood?
(2) The day of the Lord is said to come “as a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10), and the same is said about the coming of the Lord (Matt. 24:43; Luke 12:39, 40; Rev. 3:3). This definitely links the two together. The coming of the Lord is the event which introduces the day of the Lord.
(3) With regard to the words parousia (coming or presence), apokalupsis (revelation or unveiling), and epiphaneia (appearing or manifestation), it is to be observed that all three are used with reference to the same coming of the Lord for which we, His Church, are waiting — the coming which is “our blessed hope”. Compare, for example:
Parousia:1 Cor. 15:23, 1 Thess. 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1.
Apokalupsis 1 Cor. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:7, 13; 4:13.
Epiphaneia:1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 4:8; Titus 2:13.
(In Titus 2:13 it should be noted that the blessed hope is the glorious appearing, as indicated by the fact there is only one article for the two nouns.)
It does not therefore seem permissible to use these terms as though they distinguished between different events.