The Very Last Day of All
One day, there are going to be quite a few people getting mad. Their calendars will be incorrect. They will say "tomorrow is Tuesday, or Thursday, or Saturday", but it won't be. Every calendar in the world will be in error. Why? Because there will be no tomorrow, and it will be too late to get your money back. But I doubt if anyone will be thinking about that.
We need to be thinking about that day when our calendars, watches and clocks become forevermore useless. We need to be ready for it. It will be just as if you're leaving on a long trip (you are), and there is only one departure date, you cannot take a later flight (you cannot), and the trip is one you simply cannot afford to miss (you cannot), and it has already been paid for (it has) but you need to be all packed and ready to go (you must be prepared). "...because he has fixed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." (ACTS 17:31). Let's look a little more closely at that day yet to come... if we are not already in it.
THE GREATEST EVENT EVER KNOWN
A Trumpet and Shout will fill the air. It will be nothing like you ever heard before (1 Corinthians 15: 51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16). The sounds of that day might well be the first indication that the final hour has arrived. More than likely, people will be busy doing that which we do on any other day.
Jesus shall come back with His mighty angels. Angels are suddenly popular in our society today. What do angels look like? We'll be finding out! I'm thinking they'll be nothing like Hollywood imagined them to be. We'd best be on their good side when we see them (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Matthew 25:31; Jude 14-15). Sometimes we sing a song: "He could have called 10,000 angels..." referring to Christ as He was arrested and led away. He could have saved Himself from the cross by calling His angels. Instead, He allowed Himself to be put to death for our redemption. But next time, they'll be with Him!
And not just the angels will be accompanying Jesus on His return. The souls of the righteous dead will also be with Him. All of them! They will be returning to be resurrected as they receive new bodies, spiritual and incorruptible (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 4:14).
He will come in the clouds and every eye shall see Him (Revelation 1:7). How could that be since we live on a globe? Do you suppose God is able to bend the light rays around the earth so that every eye can see His Son's grand appearance? Of course!
Everything on earth will be destroyed (2 Peter 3:10). Everyone will know that this is the final moment of the earth. Hard to miss it! What we have read already conflicts with much being taught today. Jesus did not secretly come in 1914 ( As the "Jehovah's Witnesses" teach). Nor will there be a "secret rapture" (or if it is, a very poorly kept secret, with the trumpet playing and all! ). When the Lord returns, everyone will know it; it will the greatest demonstration ever know to man.
THE GREAT RESURRECTION WILL OCCUR
All the bodies of all will be raised (John 5:28-29). There will not be two resurrections but only one (Acts 24:15). There are senses in which there are multiple resurrections (resurrection of hope/of a cause, as in Revelation 20:4-6; a spiritual resurrection in baptism as in Romans 6:3-5). But there is only one in connection with the end of time.
The great resurrection will occur when Jesus returns so His people can return home with Him in new spiritual bodies adapted perfectly for the eternal home God has prepared (1 Corinthians 15:22-26; 50).
When Jesus returns, the saints (the righteous living) will follow the resurrected faithful ascending into the air to meet the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)
Men today with their theory of the millennium have days beyond the "last day" (John 6:44), another trumpet blast after the "last trumpet" (1 Corinthians 15:52), and time beyond "the end" (1 Corinthians 15:24). We are in the last age now. (1 Corinthians 10:11; Hebrews 9:26-28)
BECAUSE THE GREATEST CROWD WILL ASSEMBLE
All men of all nations of all times will be assembled (Matthew 25:31-33). Everyone will appear before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). We must all appear there to give an account of ourselves (Romans 14:11-12).
God will judge men according to their work without respect of persons (1 Peter 1:17). These passages shed much light on the criteria for the final judgment. Many suppose today that because salvation is by grace through faith that obedience is unnecessary. God will not be considering what we have done or failed to do, they say. But the Bible says otherwise. We will be judged based on what we have done, these passages all insist.
THE GREATEST JUDGE WILL PRESIDE
Jesus Christ is the One ordained by God to judge all men (Acts 10:42). He is the righteous judge (2 Timothy 4:8). The judgment will occur at His second coming (2 Timothy 4:1).
Many things influence our judges in our courts today. They can be deceived; they are only human and make mistakes. This will not be so with the great judge. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will judge every man righteously.
THE GREATEST BOOKS WILL BE OPENED
The books (more than one) will be opened (Revelation 20:11-12). The Scriptures are the standard of judgment for everybody. We can mock them today, but we will be judged by them on this final day of all (James 2:12; John 12:48).
There will be an accounting of our deeds (recall 2 Corinthians 5:10; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14). The Book of Life will be opened. Is your name in it? (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5). The Scripture will read then just as it does now. (Matthew 24:35). Have you/are you obeyed its holy precepts?
Another song we sometimes sing is titled "There's a Great Day Coming". In it we speak of the very last day. "Are you ready?" the song asks. Now is the time to make ready (2 Corinthians 6:2).
By Jon W. Quinn
From Expository Files 5.11; November 1998