THE VISION OF THE DAY OF THE LORD
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
There exists a false, dangerous vision of the Day of the Lord. This vision proceeds from doctrines that overemphasize grace and minimize God’s call to righteousness. The believers have been lulled into a spiritually lazy, ignorant state in which Satan easily can achieve victory. The Day of the Lord will be characterized by the sudden appearing of a strong, righteous people clothed in immortal bodies who will go through the earth, burning up the works of the flesh with eternal fire.
The vision of the Day of the Lord is one of the most important concepts of both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Day of the Lord will begin when the Lord Jesus Christ descends from Heaven with His saints and holy angels for the purpose of judging sin. He will establish His Kingdom in the earth at that time.
THE VISION OF THE DAY OF THE LORD
Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light—pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness? (Amos 5:18-20—NIV)
There exists a false and dangerous vision of the Day of the Lord. Its falsity is easily exposed by a careful review of the Scriptures. This vision comes from doctrines that overemphasize grace, minimize God’s call to righteousness, and lull the believers into a spiritually lazy, ignorant state in which Satan easily can achieve victory.
One such doctrine is the present-day teaching of the “rapture”—a disappearance and ascension of all who make a profession of Christ as Savior.
The “rapture” error appears to go back only to the middle of the last century but it has influenced the thinking of Christians. The “rapture,” as it currently is taught, is a false vision of the Day of the Lord, being found neither in the Old Testament nor the New Testament.
The vision of the “rapture,” along with the erroneous doctrine that New Testament “grace” is a Divine covering of the disobedience of professing Christians, has produced a generation of “believers” who know little or nothing of what it means to be a saint of God. This false vision has destroyed the Lord’s churches.
The true vision of the Day of the Lord can be found in many passages of the writings of the Prophets of Israel. One such description appears in the Book of Joel:
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; (Joel 2:1)
The subject of the first eleven verses of the second chapter of Joel is the Day of the Lord.
The trumpet must be blown among God’s people today. They must learn to fear the Lord, for the coming of Christ is not as we have imagined. The Day of the Lord will be a dreadful hour. Even the righteous are saved with difficulty from destruction in that Day (I Peter 4:18).
No passage of the Old or New Testament suggests that the coming of Christ will be a period of lightness and gaiety for the lukewarm “believers” of today.
The Day of the Lord always is at hand for the Lord’s people. Time is not the consideration. Even after we die physically we still are awaiting the Day of the Lord. We always are to live in the consciousness of the imminent coming of the great and terrible Day of the Lord.
A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. (Joel 2:2)
The Day of Christ will be one of darkness and gloominess, and this is why the Lord’s people are to tremble. The anger of God is exceedingly great, and Christ is coming to execute judgment on the nations of the earth and on those believers who did not remain faithful to Him.
The Day of the Lord will be a frightful time for the hypocrites in the Christian churches; for those who are wasting their God-given gifts and ministries; for those who have not renounced the world, who have not taken up their cross and followed Christ.
The teaching of the “rapture” is that there will be a sudden removal of those who profess Christ so they will not experience suffering. This is not true. There is no scriptural basis for such a concept.
The teaching of “unconditional grace” is that once we make a verbal pronouncement concerning the Lord Jesus we can never be lost to the purposes of God. This is not true. The result of this error is multitudes of Christians who are leading worldly lives. They are under the impression they never will be punished severely for their lack of dedication. Such is not the case.
No believer will participate in the first resurrection nor go to meet Christ in the air to be with Him until he first has undergone the most exacting judgment and cleansing of his personality. The first resurrection must be attained. (Philippians 3:11.) It is for the “blessed and holy” to come forth (Revelation 20:6). A lukewarm, worldly “Christian,” who has given his mental and verbal assent to the doctrine of the atonement but who is not walking in the fear of the Lord, is neither blessed nor holy.
The Christian believers are under a misconception of what is facing them in the near future. Those who are teaching them error (and it appears this includes the majority of evangelical and charismatic preachers and teachers of the present hour) will experience a double torment. They will be judged for their own sins and they will be forced to watch as those whom they deluded with their false words are dealt with by an angry Christ.
The Lord will deal with preacher and listener alike concerning their sins and self-seeking. Christ will not come and by “grace” catch them up to Himself in glory in their present state of lukewarmness. There shall be weeping and great torment.
And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 8:11,12)
“The children of the kingdom.” This does not mean the Jews by race but the members of the Kingdom of God!
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:47-50)
“The kingdom of heaven is like a net.” The division in the Day of the Lord will not be between the churchgoers and the heathen but between the righteous and the wicked.
The most prominent feature of the Day of the Lord is the “great people and a strong” (Joel 2:2). Christ could have established His Kingdom at His first appearing, two thousand years ago. The establishing of the Kingdom of God has had to await the creation of the large and mighty army that is destined to appear with Christ and to work with Him in cleansing sin and rebellion from the face of the earth.
The Day of the Lord will be characterized by the sudden appearing of a strong people clothed in immortal bodies who will go through the earth, burning up the works of the flesh with Divine fire. This is the true vision of the Day of the Lord, the Day of Christ.
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. (Jude 1:14,15)
Notice that the Lord will come “with ten thousands of his saints,” not with all of His saints, implying that not all who will be saved are present as members of the avenging army. Rather, the members of the invading army are the Lord’s “mighty men,” just as King David was surrounded by his mighty men.
Notice also the people upon whom they will execute the Divine judgment are the sinners in the churches (see Book of Jude). This is why the trumpet is blown in Zion.
There never before has been such an army of people formed and it will not happen again in the future. Included in the army of the Lord will be saints from every period of God’s working from the time of Abel. These are God’s kings and priests, the participants in the first resurrection from the dead, the rulers of the ages to come.
A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. (Joel 2:3)
We have become so accustomed to thinking of the Lord God of Heaven as being Santa Claus, of the Holy Spirit as performing only works of salvation and healing, of Christ as being our servant who stands ready to perform our every desire, that Joel 2:3 (as well as the ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation, Chapter 11) means little or nothing to us. We cannot comprehend such, supposing that all Spirit-empowered works of destruction are in the past or will be performed by the Lord and the angels on the unbelievers in some far off Day of Judgment.
Not so! The whole earth is filled with the wood, hay, and straw of the accomplishments of the flesh. God has made man upright but man has invented many things that are leading him away from his Creator. Mankind has departed from God, thinking that God has placed people on the earth and then left them to their own devices. This especially is true in the so-called “civilized” nations. Therefore catastrophes are at hand and they will affect sinning Christians as well as the unsaved people.
God will return from the spirit realm to dwell in the earth He has created, among the nations that are His offspring. God will come with “ten thousands” of His saints. The saints will go through the earth destroying everything that has not been wrought in Christ, especially the works of flesh in the churches that bear His name.
On one occasion James and John desired to command fire to come down from the heaven upon a certain village of the Samaritans. Jesus rebuked them, saying, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of” (Luke 9:55).
Christ has given to His Church a Spirit of love, of concern for people, a willingness to help. We are not to avenge ourselves but to commit ourselves to the righteous judgment of God.
However, beginning with the ministry of the two witnesses (Revelation 11), who announce the coming of the Kingdom of God, the Divine judgment will be revealed in the earth. Those who have submitted themselves to God, enduring all the testings and tribulations that God has seen fit to give them, have been taught meekness, patience, and lowliness of mind. It is these “lambs” who will be responsible to see that all sin and rebellion are destroyed from the earth. Even Christ Himself will be as a Lamb; but woe to the sinners of the earth when the avenging Lamb appears for all to see!
And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 4:3)
To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalms 149:9)
Do ye not know the saints shall judge the world?… (I Corinthians 6:2)
The land, being ruled by Antichrist, will be a manmade garden of Eden (on the surface). After the sons of God pass through, the accomplishments of Antichrist will be left a desolate wilderness. Nothing will escape the divinely led army. Before the work of restoration can begin, all the works of the flesh must be destroyed.
The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. (Joel 2:4)
The Lord and His saints will return on horses in the Day of the Lord.
The thirty-ninth chapter of the Book of Job describes the war horses of God. It is interesting that the Spirit, in this chapter, describes the war horse, and then speaks of the young eagles sucking up blood and being where the slain carcasses are (Job 39:27-30). This is the passage quoted by the Lord Jesus when He spoke of His coming (Matthew 24:28, Luke 17:37).
Habakkuk “saw” the horses of Armageddon:
Thou didst walk through the sea with thine horses, through the heap of great waters. (Habakkuk 3:15)
The armies of Heaven will follow Christ at His coming, riding on the white war horses of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
This is the Wife of the Lamb, returning with Jesus in the “morning” of the Day of the Lord.
Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners? (Song of Solomon 6:10)
Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. (Joel 2:5)
The coming of the large and mighty army will terrify the inhabitants of the earth. It will be a furious invasion marked by the sounds and sights of war and destruction.
The saints will be “a strong people set in battle array.”
Today the believers in Christ neither are mighty nor are they in battle array. It is in these last days that such an army will be formed. Those of us who are alive now will be required to go through intensive training, and it appears reasonable that the same training is being administered to those who no longer are alive in the flesh but are living with God in the spirit realm.
If it were not for the unchanging Word of God we would not believe such an army could be formed. The Christian churches of our day are as the valley of dry bones of the thirty-seventh chapter of the Book of Ezekiel.
The contemporary Christian ministry in the wealthy nations is characterized by the love of money and self-glorification. The people are spiritually immature, spiritually lazy, and indifferent to the demands of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Paul’s teaching of grace—the transition from the Law of Moses to the law of the Spirit of life—has been corrupted until it is not recognizable as a true scriptural doctrine, a doctrine of godliness.
The teaching of the “rapture” error has forced an unscriptural division between the Jewish and Gentile believers. The Jews are perceived as an “earthly” kingdom while the Gentile believers, instead of being one “olive tree” with Israel as the Scripture teaches clearly, are regarded as a “heavenly” kingdom.
The “heavenly” kingdom taught today is not described by the Hebrew Prophets nor by the writers of the New Testament but has been created by teachers of the Bible who are attempting to provide support for the so-called “pre-tribulation rapture.”
The Lord’s people, therefore, are wandering in doctrinal confusion, having lost sight of the Kingdom of God, of the bodily resurrection from the dead, and of the fact that God’s promises always are to the Jew first. Christ came as the Redeemer of the people of Israel, not as a savior of the nations who will carry Gentiles off to “mansions in Heaven” while His own people, the Jews, are left to face an enraged Antichrist. The “Gentile rapture” truly is an anti-Semitic concept.
Today we do not have a disciplined people drawn up for battle. Rather, we have congregations of believers who are in delusion regarding the need for righteous living and who are following a false vision of the Day of the Lord. They are morally weak, lukewarm toward Christ, disobedient to God, full of sin and spiritual pride, involved in the things of the world, undisciplined, an abomination to the fundamental Jews who are striving to obey the Torah, and the prey of every money-loving, self-exalting teacher of the Bible.
Ezekiel, Chapter 37 informs us that God will breathe on the dead of true Israel. God’s elect yet will become the army of the Lord.
So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. (Ezekiel 37:10)
We can expect that tremendous demands will be placed on us in the last days. We are to lay down our lives in the world and devote our attention to the work of the Holy Spirit as He forms us into “a great people and a strong.” With our cooperation the Spirit will transform even the least among us into mighty men of God. He that is feeble will be as David. This truly is a staggering promise. Only God has the power to bring to pass such a statement.
In that day shall the Lord defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them. (Zechariah 12:8)
It can be seen, therefore, in view of the moral and spiritual confusion that prevails among the Christian churches of our day, that the Lord has some sifting to do.
And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. (Zechariah 13:9)
As in the case of Gideon’s army, the Christian believers are about to go through a refining process. A remnant of faithful disciples will emerge who will be tested and purified until they truly are the people of the Lord. This is the manner in which the great and strong people will come into being.
The trumpet is sounding in Zion today. The alarm is being given. The people of the Lord are to tremble lest they should be weighed in the balances and found wanting. We must be prepared to stand in a dark and gloomy hour, in the midst of the fury of spiritual judgment and warfare.
It is not true that the Gentile believers will be spared all suffering and that the Jews alone will experience tribulation. Both Mary and Zacharias were promised by the angel of the Lord that Christ and John the Baptist were given to bring redemption to the Jews, that Jesus is the Son of David and will sit on the Throne of David. The Christian salvation is distinctly Jewish in character and promise.
He [Jesus] shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:32,33)
And many of the children of Israel shall he [John] turn to the Lord their God. (Luke 1:16)
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; (Luke 1:68-71)
Careful attention to the above passages will make clear to the thoughtful reader that the Christian salvation is for the Jew first.
According to the confusing and destructive teaching of the “Gentile rapture,” Jesus came to carry off a “Gentile bride” to Heaven while the people of Israel are left to suffer the wrath of the ungodly. Quite a departure from the original vision!
Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. (Joel 2:6)
This is the pain and blackness of the conviction of sin which the inhabitants of the earth, especially the hypocritical believers, will experience in the Day of the Lord. Each member of the true Body of Christ, of the invading army, will be dwelling in Christ in God, and God in Christ in him. In addition, each will be bearing on himself a double portion of the Spirit of God.
The peoples of the earth (with reason) often picture the Christian minister as a weak, silly do-gooder who is to be stuffed with chicken and apple pie and then placed in a church building somewhere so he will not interfere with the daily business and pleasures of ordinary human beings.
In that Day the nations will be confronted by an army of immortal beings, each of whom is shining like the sun. Their faces will not be those of compromising human beings. They will be motivated by the Lord through the Spirit. They will move only as directed by the Lord. Their mission is one of destruction of the works of the flesh, of all the bondages and corruptions of Satan. They cannot be bribed, frightened, bluffed, deceived, or harmed in any manner. They have been crucified with Christ and Christ is living in them. They are dead-living creatures.
They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: (Joel 2:7)
Each of these saints is powerful in the Lord Jesus Christ. Each has been tested during His Christian experience. He has been taught by the Spirit how to run with God, how to climb “walls,” how to overcome obstacles. Each knows how to follow the Spirit of God. He does not move impulsively in soulish enthusiasm. He has died to his self-will and is moved by the Life of Christ in him. He has learned stern obedience to the Father.
When Satan attacks, the army holds steady. There is no weak member who will give way when subjected to temptations or pressures. All the weak will be removed before the army marches.
This terrifying invasion force is the Seed of Abraham, the Bride of the Lamb. It will control the gate of its enemies. Hell cannot prevail against it. Antichrist cannot prevail against it. The False Prophet, the spirit of religious deception, cannot prevail against it. Its members are a great people and a strong.
Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. (Joel 2:8)
One of the most distinguishing characteristics of the Christian believers of today is their willingness to criticize one another, to strive one against another, to be envious of each other. This attitude reflects the presence of Satan, who is the accuser of the brothers.
Before the Lord Jesus returns, the members of the Body of Christ will have been made one in Christ in God. This is not a coming together of believers to work out their theological differences. Rather, it will be a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit of God accomplished by the fires of tribulation and by the issuing of Divine Glory.
As the Spirit brings us into obedience to Christ we will discover we are one with each other. When our vertical relationship to the Lord Jesus has been established beyond question our horizontal relationships with one another will flow naturally and easily. It is people who are not submissive to Christ, who are seeking their own glory, who cause confusion and lack of harmony in the Body of Christ.
As we present our body a living sacrifice we are taught by the Lord to walk in our own path. We are not to imitate any other person (although the elders who are ahead of us in the Lord may serve as an inspiration and example to us). We are to walk in the path in which the Spirit leads us each day and we must carefully determine the will of God every moment.
Meanwhile, the sword of the Spirit is cutting through each aspect of our personality. Every motive, every word, every action, every imagination must be tested with the fire of Divine judgment. This process will continue until we become “fireproof.” Then, when the sword of the Spirit is applied to us we are not harmed. The Word of God no longer can convict us of worldliness, of sin, or of self-seeking.
We can see that we Christians must grow much more in the Lord before we will be ready to ride with Christ in the Day of the Lord. The vision of weak, immature believers being caught up to meet the Lord Jesus when He appears so they can escape Antichrist is false. It is not a scriptural vision. The true vision of the Day of the Lord is the coming of a large, powerful, fierce army.
They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. (Joel 2:9)
Most of the sin that is practiced in the earth takes place in the large cities. It is in the cities that Antichrist will persecute the saints and it is in the cities that the Divine judgment will take place.
The sons of God will invade the cities of the earth, casting out all that is of Satan and of the self-seeking of men. Wherever sinners hide they will be located and exposed to the light of the Spirit of God. It will not be possible to hide from the members of the Body of Christ.
The Day of Christ will fall on the sinners in the earth suddenly and ferociously. Antichrist and his armies will attempt to resist the invading saints but the rebels will be crushed and their bodies given for food to the birds of the air. Satan and Antichrist have had their allotted hour. Now God and His Christ are having Their Day.
But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. (Matthew 24:43)
By comparing Joel, Chapter Two and Matthew, Chapter Twenty-four we discover that both chapters are speaking of the same event—the coming of Christ in the Day of the Lord.
The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: (Joel 2:10)
These are the signs of the Day of Christ.
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: (Matthew 24:29)
Joel 2:10 and Matthew 24:29 are speaking of the same point in history. It is not likely that there will be two different times when the heavens will shake, the sun and the moon will be darkened, and the stars will withdraw their shining. These phenomena have not occurred as yet and they certainly will not take place after the Lord Jesus returns.
It is not reasonable to conclude that there will be two different times between now and the coming of the Lord when the heavens will be shaken, the sun and the moon will be darkened, and the stars will withdraw their shining. Therefore it is clear Joel 2:10 and Matthew 24:29 are referring to the same event.
Both of these passages are describing the Day of the Lord.
The proponents of the “rapture” often quote Matthew 24:40: “Then shall two be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
The word “then,” in Matthew 24:40, is speaking of “the coming of the Son of man” (Matthew 24:37). Matthew 24:37 refers back to Matthew 24:29, which is associated with the marching of Joel’s army. Matthew 24:29 takes place after “the tribulation of those days.”
The “one” who is “taken” from the field (Matthew 24:40) is the member of Joel’s army who is caught up to meet the Commander in Chief in the air in preparation for the onslaught of Armageddon, not a feeble believer who is unable to cope with the great tribulation or Antichrist.
As soon as the signs have been given in the heavens the trumpet of the Lord will sound.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)
The same coming is described in I Thessalonians 4:16:
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
To hold that Matthew 24:31 and I Thessalonians 4:16 are two different comings of the Lord, two different blowings of the trumpet of God, is not reasonable. Are there two days of the Lord? Do the Scriptures teach that there are two days of the Lord? Will there be two different blowings of the trumpet to summon the saints, the army of God?
Matthew 24:31, I Thessalonians 4:16, and Joel 2:11 are all speaking of the same event: the coming of Christ and the gathering to Him of His army of resurrected saints. It is the day of the first resurrection from the dead, the resurrection of God’s kings and priests.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31)
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: (I Thessalonians 4:16)
And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (Joel 2:11)
How could I Thessalonians 4:16 be a special secret disappearing of Gentile believers? Does the verse sound like a secret coming in which the believers become invisible?
“With a shout.” “With the voice of the archangel.” “With the trumpet of God.”
Does this sound to you like a description of a special secret coming before the Day of Christ?
What of the context of I Thessalonians 4:16, does it fit the context of Joel 2:11?
The context of Joel 2:11 is that of an army of immortal saints who suddenly will attack the sinners in the earth and destroy all the works of lawlessness.
What is the context of I Thessalonians 4:16? Is it referring to the events described in Joel?
Obviously speaking of the event he had just described, Paul says:
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. (I Thessalonians 5:2)
Notice that Paul refers to I Thessalonians 4:16 as “the coming of the Lord” (4:15) and “the day of the Lord” (5:2). The expression “the coming of the Lord” ties 4:16 to Matthew, Chapter 24. Both passages use the same Greek term for the “coming” (parousia) of the Lord. The expression “the day of the Lord” ties I Thessalonians 5:2 to Joel, Chapter Two.
How can we disregard all principles of biblical interpretation, logic, and common sense and state that I Thessalonians 4:16 is a secret disappearing of the saints even though nowhere in the Scriptures does it state that the saints will disappear?
Again, we notice that the context of I Thessalonians 4:16 parallels that of Joel 2:11:
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. (I Thessalonians 5:3)
It is likely that the Apostle Paul, in addition to the personal revelations given to him, received his understanding of the Day of the Lord from the second chapter of Joel, as well as from the third chapter of Habakkuk and the thirteenth chapter of Isaiah.
Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. (Isaiah 13:9,10)
The Christians of the wealthy nations of our day are quite content with the doctrine of the pre-tribulation “rapture” of all who profess faith in Jesus. The doctrine of the pre-tribulation rapture makes few demands upon the spiritually lazy believers. It is a destructive doctrine. It leads the Christian into an unrealistic, unscriptural sense of security.
It is time now for the true saints to throw off this deception. The ministers of the Gospel who continue to preach the “rapture,” even though it can be disproved easily by anyone who is versed in the Scriptures, may answer to God for their carelessness; for their willingness to please God’s people with a false vision.
What must we do today? We must warn the Lord’s sheep of the true nature of the Day of the Lord, the Day of Christ. The believers must understand they are not going to be evacuated from the earth in order to protect them from suffering. Rather, the wheat and the tares will grow together until the time of harvest.
As wickedness comes to maturity in the earth, righteousness also will come to maturity along with the lawlessness. This is what the Lord taught. This is what will take place in spite of the “rapture” deception.
The Christian people must be warned. They must arm themselves so they may be able to stand in the evil day. The evil day indeed is at hand!
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13)
The Lord Jesus wants us to stand firm throughout all the testings and pressures that are facing His Church.
There never will be a moment in which the Lord is forced to pull out His people in order to avoid a confrontation with Antichrist. Rather, Antichrist and his followers will be destroyed by the appearing of Christ, and God in Him, in the members of the Body of Christ.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (II Thessalonians 2:8)
Our being transformed into the image of Christ, our service in His army, and our reigning with Him are the goals of our salvation. The object is not to escape from the earth, it is to regain dominion with Christ over all the earth so God’s will may be done here.
We are approaching the climax of the warfare of the ages. It is not a case of weak believers being rescued from a mighty Antichrist. It is the developing of a strong people who will, through the Lord Jesus Christ, drive Antichrist and all his forces from the face of the earth.
The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:15,16)
And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. (Deuteronomy 7:24)
And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver. (Micah 5:8)
Concerning the coming of the large and disciplined army, the prophet cries out:
When I heard, my belly trembled; my lips quivered at the voice: rottenness entered into my bones, and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble: when he cometh up unto the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)
Make certain you are adhering to the Scriptures and not just to the traditions of men. The vision you are following may determine your eternal destiny in the Day of the Lord.
(“The Vision of the Day of the Lord”, 3714-1)