The Day of the LORD
Acts 2:20–21 (NIV84) The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood
before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
This year, Christians will begin to celebrate Advent on November 29th. My Webster's dictionary has two different entries for Advent. With a small a = advent, it says: “A coming or arrival.” The word comes from the Latin and means “to come.” With a big A = Advent, it says: “1. The birth of Christ. 2) The second coming of Christ. 3. The season including the four Sundays before Christmas.” During the Advent season – the four Sundays before Christmas we think about Christ's comings. His first coming for us in the manger at Bethlehem; His coming to us today through Word and Sacrament; and His second coming at the end of time. Advent is a time of anticipation and hope. Our Christian hope is based on the promises which God has made of these comings of the LORD Jesus.
Christians celebrate the first coming of Christ on December 25th. Is that the correct day? I don't know, but it does not matter. What does matter is that as God had promised, on one specific day in History God came to earth in the Baby of Bethlehem.
Most Christians worship on Sunday, the first day of the week. When they worship Christ, He comes to them. He is there with them as they listen to His Word and hear and receive the Gospel in His Sacraments. Is there one day holier than any other? In the Old Testament times, God had strongly commanded His people to rest and worship Him on the Sabbath – which is Saturday. Christians choose Sunday to remember Christ's Resurrection from the dead after his suffering for their sins, His death and burial for three days. In New Testament times, we are not commanded to worship on any certain day, but rather each day we praise and thank God for what he has done for us.
As Christians we also know and believe that Christ will come again. As there was a first day of Creation, so there will come the Day of the LORD when he will judge all people. This Day is called: 1) A Day of the LORD's wrath; 2) A Day of darkness, clouds and doom; 3) A Day of Destruction; and 4) A Great and Glorious Day – as in the text above.
How can the Day of the LORD be all that? It is talking to those who do not believe in Jesus as their Savior and those who do. For those who do not believe, it will be as the prophet records: Zephaniah 1:14ff “The great day of the Lord is near— near and coming quickly. Listen! The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there. That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness... on the day of the Lord’s wrath. In the fire of his jealousy the whole world will be consumed, for he will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth.” So yes, that day in History will not be a good or welcome day for those who do not believe.
But for the believer, it will be totally opposite, it will be our Happiest Day! As Jesus tells us: “Luke 21:28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” On that day, those who died and believe in Jesus will rise from their graves as he did and together with all believers of all time, they will rise to meet Him in the skies and so they will be with the LORD forever.
No wonder Christians celebrate Advent and remember how Jesus came on one night in history, how He comes to us through His Word and how He will come again and shortly as He promised. May we all be ready for the Great and Glorious Day of the LORD!