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Zephaniah 1:7 CSB
Be silent in the presence of the Lord God, for the day of the Lord is near. Indeed, the Lord has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated his guests.
Zephaniah 1:12–18 CSB
And at that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who settle down comfortably, who say to themselves: The Lord will not do good or evil. Their wealth will become plunder and their houses a ruin. They will build houses but never live in them, plant vineyards but never drink their wine. The great day of the Lord is near, near and rapidly approaching. Listen, the day of the Lord then the warrior’s cry is bitter. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and total darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities, and against the high corner towers. I will bring distress on mankind, and they will walk like the blind because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung. Their silver and their gold will be unable to rescue them on the day of the Lord’s wrath. The whole earth will be consumed by the fire of his jealousy, for he will make a complete, yes, a horrifying end of all the inhabitants of the earth.
I believe in .... the Resurrection of the Dead and the life of the world to come.
In the Name of Jesus, dearly beloved.
As the Church year draws to a close, She turns her eyes to the end of all things. In the Apostles’ Creed this includes the last two sentences of the Creed: “I believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” This ultimately takes place on the Last Day, Judgment Day.
The Prophets called this day the “Day of the Lord”. This phrase is also echoed in the New Testament.
We will examine this Day of the Lord, using the word DAY as our outline. First, we will speak about the Day of the Lord, what has been prophesied and what will take place; All will be present at the day of the Lord, with every eye seeing Him, every knee bowing and every tongue confessing that He is Lord, and that we are called to yearn for the appearing of the Day of the Lord and for His welcoming us into heaven.

The Day of the Lord

When one begins to speak about the end times in church, curiosity is piqued.
Indeed, it is probably the most popular topic that one can bring up from the pulpit or in Bible classes, as we all want to be in the know. Just look at all of the date setting that occurred just this year. Of course it is always wrong, because even Jesus, Himself, according to His state of humiliation did not know the day or the hour. Yet it continues to be done. The point of the Prophets declaring the Day of the Lord, and Jesus telling us that He is returning, is simply to make us ready at all times to meet the Lord when He comes, through faith alone in Him. One internet meme I spotted a few weeks ago when all of this was supposed to happen said, “How to accurately predict the exact date of Christ’s Second Coming: Step 1: Don’t.
As we know there are all sorts of various views in Christianity on the events leading up to the Day of the Lord. Some believe that the world will soon get better and better, and then Jesus will appear.
Some believe that history is divided into different sections and that God works differently with His people in those different time segments.
Some believe in a literal thousand year reign of Jesus on the earth. Others, like us, believe that this reign is now— that Jesus does reign on earth in His Church through Word and Sacrament.
Some believe that all of the Jews will be saved by race and not by grace.
Some people believe in a rapture- that is, when all of the Christians will disappear from the earth, and history will continue to go on until Jesus returns with all of the raptured Christians at a later date.
By the way, and interesting point.
Modern dispensationalism teaches that
Matthew 24:36–44 CSB
“Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels of heaven nor the Son—except the Father alone. As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. This is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding grain with a hand mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore be alert, since you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. But know this: If the homeowner had known what time the thief was coming, he would have stayed alert and not let his house be broken into. This is why you are also to be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
teaches about the rapture.
They miss a huge point here. “As in the days of Noah, so, the coming of the Son of Man will be… two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left...”
Growing up, I learned a song in one of the High School Bible classes attended written by Larry Norman, a 1970s Christian Pop artist, entitled, “You’ve been left behind.”
“Life was filled with guns and war and every one got trampled on the floor, I wish we’d all been ready, children died, the days grew cold, a piece of bread could buy a bag of gold, I wish we’d all been ready. There’s no time to change your mind, the Son has come, and you’ve been left behind.”
Here’s the problem. Who is taken, who is left? What do these terms really mean. Well, in context, just the opposite of Larry Norman’s song and the teaching of dispensational theology. Those who were taken are not those “taken on the ark”, but rather taken by death. Those who were “left” were the ones who escaped being taken by being on the ark. The grammar of the text shows us that evangelicalism has read this backwards. You want to be left behind, that is, saved by the Lord Jesus!
People begin to interpret the Scriptures in light of the headlines in the papers and in the subject section in news emails.
But what the Bible teaches is that all Scripture, including end-times prophecies, all find their fulfillment not in current events, but in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible’s teaching on the Day of the Lord is pretty simple:
The world will grow increasingly evil
Satan will be loosed for a short time toward the end, where his powers of deception will be re-allowed by God
Hearts will grow cold
Jesus will appear in the sky with all of His angels
The judgment will take place- which we will address next week
The sheep will be welcomed into heaven
The goats will be cast into hell with the devil
The world and everything in and on it will be destroyed by fire
We will live forever in the presence of the Lamb in eternal joy.
The main point of the Day of the Lord is that we are prepared by Jesus Himself, through faith, by the forgiveness of our sins on His cross.
The question begged of each of us pertaining to this day of the Lord is, “are you ready?” Do you believe in Jesus. Do you live in Him. Does He live through you?

All will be present at the Day of the Lord.

also warns of those coming and saying that they are the Christ. I’ve met a few of them, maybe you have, too. But Jesus coming will not be missed by anyone— dead or alive. His return will be anything but secret:
Matthew 24:23–28 CSB
“If anyone tells you then, ‘See, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Over here!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Take note: I have told you in advance. So if they tell you, ‘See, he’s in the wilderness!’ don’t go out; or, ‘See, he’s in the storerooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather.
Revelation 1:7 CSB
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. So it is to be. Amen.
Philippians 2:10–11 CSB
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow— in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:
1 Corinthians 51
1 Corinthians 15:51–52 CSB
Listen, I am telling you a mystery: We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.
Bottom line is this: Whether you are dead or alive at the time Jesus comes back for His Church, you will be there. You will see Him. You will be judged. You will be welcomed into the courts of heaven with the whole Church as His bride. Never worry about missing it. Never worry about a secret rapture. The Bible teaches none of that. Every eye. Every knee. Every tongue.

We Yearn for this Day

Strange, after hearing such a scary text as we did in our Old Testament Lesson, that the Bible tells us that we are to long for this Day of the Lord, and to speed its coming by sharing the Gospel with the four corners of the world:
2 Peter 3:1–12 CSB
Dear friends, this is now the second letter I have written to you; in both letters, I want to stir up your sincere understanding by way of reminder, so that you recall the words previously spoken by the holy prophets and the command of our Lord and Savior given through your apostles. Above all, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires, saying, “Where is his ‘coming’ that he promised? Ever since our ancestors fell asleep, all things continue as they have been since the beginning of creation.” They deliberately overlook this: By the word of God the heavens came into being long ago and the earth was brought about from water and through water. Through these the world of that time perished when it was flooded. By the same word, the present heavens and earth are stored up for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the elements will burn and be dissolved, and the earth and the works on it will be disclosed. Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, it is clear what sort of people you should be in holy conduct and godliness as you wait for the day of God and hasten its coming. Because of that day, the heavens will be dissolved with fire and the elements will melt with heat.
1 Peter 3:12 CSB
because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil.
2 Peter 3:12 CSB
as you wait for the day of God and hasten its coming. Because of that day, the heavens will be dissolved with fire and the elements will melt with heat.
How can we look forward to such a time? How can we embrace such a horrible text?
We don’t. Jesus did. Remember, all of the prophecies of the Day of the Lord are fulfilled in Jesus, not the headlines.
When it comes to buying a house, most need a mortgage. Several mortgage companies offer a “pre-approval” of a mortgage up to a certain amount. If you have that, and you want to purchase a house that is less than the pre-approval amount, it’s a home run. You don’t have to find a house and then figure out how you will pay for it. You’ve got the money in hand.
I say this, because Jesus has “pre-approved” you for heaven. Not with gold or silver, but with His holy, and precious blood, and innocent suffering and death for you.
On the Cross, YOUR judgment Day already occurred. Jesus went to the Cross as the sinless Lamb of God who became a goat for you. On that Cross, He endured the judgment of God the Father in your place, in your stead. God’s “depart from me” that was rightly aimed at you, was spoken to Jesus instead.
The earth groped in night. The ground shook. The dead were raised and walked through the streets of Jerusalem. Jesus endured the Day of the Lord for you,
Zephaniah 1:14–18 CSB
The great day of the Lord is near, near and rapidly approaching. Listen, the day of the Lord then the warrior’s cry is bitter. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and total darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities, and against the high corner towers. I will bring distress on mankind, and they will walk like the blind because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung. Their silver and their gold will be unable to rescue them on the day of the Lord’s wrath. The whole earth will be consumed by the fire of his jealousy, for he will make a complete, yes, a horrifying end of all the inhabitants of the earth.
Because He loves you, these words were fulfilled by Him, and will not be demanded of you:
Zephaniah 1:14–18 CSB
The great day of the Lord is near, near and rapidly approaching. Listen, the day of the Lord then the warrior’s cry is bitter. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and total darkness, a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities, and against the high corner towers. I will bring distress on mankind, and they will walk like the blind because they have sinned against the Lord. Their blood will be poured out like dust and their flesh like dung. Their silver and their gold will be unable to rescue them on the day of the Lord’s wrath. The whole earth will be consumed by the fire of his jealousy, for he will make a complete, yes, a horrifying end of all the inhabitants of the earth.
And because He did,
Rather, from the words of our Epistle,
1 Thessalonians 5:9–11 CSB
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:
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