There are many important future events that we have been taught to look forward to, set our hope on and anticipate in faith. Perhaps one of the greatest is the Day of the Lord, often associated with the “second coming” of Jesus among other things. Time and again, we’re reminded as Christians to wait and to be ready for the return of the Messiah. Looking back on my early Christian walk, I can say that I never lived my life conscious of this impending event nor did it add an iota to my relationship with the Lord. Because I saw Him outside of me, up there somewhere and until He came back I was always reaching up and always falling short and never able to experience Him in fullness. Most importantly it deemphasized Christ in me and I perceived the Christ in me as inferior compared to the one up in heaven. I never realized that “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him” (1 Cornth 6:17).
The more the Spirit brought illmination the more I was reminded that there was much error in my understanding. The word was clear that I was seated in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 2:6), that I had already come into the heavenly Jerusalem the city of the Living God and to all the spiritual company there (Heb. 12:22-24). These scriptures and others pointed me to a glorious spiritual reality that is taking place within me right now. I’ve come to realize that the Day of the Lord is a significant position of each believer’s journey with the Lord. God intendes for every believer to partake of this Day. The Day of the Lord is not just an event that a few will one day witness as Jesus appears from the sky.
I want to examine this with you a bit further in this blog. Although not an exhaustive narrative, it’s my hope that this will be a seed that will challenge you by the Spirit’s quickening to encounter the truth regarding the Day of the Lord.
What is the Day of the Lord?
Well, for some it is a day when Jesus Christ will come through the clouds and be revealed to everyone, which will be followed by a number of events that will take place in this physical world. Battles, tribulations, destruction, people stamped with marks on their foreheads and arms are just a few of the events that are to transpire right here on earth. What a shambolic situation it sounds like, can you imagine it? This understanding, which much of church doctrine has adopted, is based on a literal interpretation of the book of Revelation and accounts in books like Daniel. So, in jumping into this, I would like to set the focus on Jesus Christ since the book of Revelation is not about the beast, the dragon, or Babylon, its primary emphasis is the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Revelation is the Greek ‘apokalupsis’ which comes from the root word ‘apokalupto’ which means to uncover, to lay open what has been veiled or covered up and to make known or make manifest. It’s much like uncovering a gift that has been wrapped. Therefore, the book of Revelation is about the uncovering or unveiling of Jesus Christ in a many membered body. It’s also plain that one does not uncover or unveil what does not already exist.
Perhaps the most important message I want to relay is that the revelation of Jesus Christ is an ongoing spiritual process and not an event that takes place in a single occasion where Jesus appears on a white horse through the sky. Rather the revelation or unveiling of Jesus Christ is a work that starts to take place within. Jesus said: “the kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, ‘See here! or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20-21).
Wouldn’t it then be a contradiction to look to the skies for the King to appear? The Kingdom of God is within you. The King is within you. Christ is within you. He is expanding His rule and dominion first and foremost within you. God works inside out. So, to look for a physical Jesus to appear in the skies is a denial of the reality of the indwelling Christ and one that is erroneous and contrary to the truth relayed in scripture. Hear Paul: “from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” (2 Cornth. 5:17). If one agrees with Paul’s inspired statement, why would one wait for a man in flesh to appear? There is an emphasis in scripture on fixing our eyes (our attention, our focus, our hope) on what is unseen for it is a much superior reality (2 Cornth. 4:18, Heb. 11:3).
The emphasis of Paul’s ministry is exemplary. His aim was to point the saints to Christ within. I sense his deep struggle and urge to relay this truth to the Corinthians: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cornth. 3:16). This was the premise of Paul’s relentless labor, that the saints would come to the revelation of Christ within them and that the nature and mind of Christ would be manifested in them in a greater dimension. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” (Gal. 4:19). This is the primary agenda of God in this hour.
In those apprehended to sonship, there is a deep working of the Spirit that is drawing them into the fullness of Christ within to experience the Day of the Lord. This is our greatest hope: “Christ in us the hope of glory” (Col. 1:29) not Christ in the sky or in a faraway physical or astral location called heaven. We desire now for Christ to be our reality in spirit, soul and body. This is the manifestation of sons that creation longs for (Rom. 8:19). Why does creation long for them? Because “the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21). This is the ‘greater works’ Jesus mentioned, it is Christ manifested in a corporate body to redeem the world.
In line with this, the Day of the Lord is a spiritual state of being that takes place within those who have received this revelation and are experiencing in greater dimension the life of Christ within them by the Spirit’s dealings. Notice while John is still in the Isle of Patmos he states: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Rev. 1:10). For John, this, the Lord’s Day had come and he was experiencing it in the Spirit in the most isolated and dreadful of places.
The Day of the Lord is a glorious Day and we can partake in it in the Spirit. However, the Day of the Lord is not just some joyous or festive experience, it is a Day that judges and rightly divides and reveals everything within us including all our works. The Light of the Day exposes everything of darkness for “whatever makes manifest is light” (Eph. 5:13). 1 Corinthians 3:13 also tells us regarding our works: “for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.”
The Day & the Man of Sin
I want to highlight one verse which seems contradictory to what I have shared so far. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 it reads:
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
A precursor for the spiritual reality of the Day of the Lord is relayed to us in the above verse, which is the revealing of the man of sin. The Greek word for ‘that man’ is ‘anthropos’ which refers to many people and not a single person. So, who is this man of sin? Again if our understanding of scripture is natural, we will look for the appearing of some physical antichrist in some far off country who will rise to dominance. The truth is that this man refers to one person or nature in many people. It refers to the carnal man, the natural man, or the Adamic nature in all men. This is indicated by the fact that this man opposes and exalts himself above God. The bible makes it clear to us that the “carnal mind is enmity against God” (Rom. 8:7). Additionally, it’s important to note where this man opposes and exalts himself above God. It is in the temple of God. The Greek word used for temple here is ‘naos’ which refers to the inner most chamber of the temple proper which metaphorically represents the body (as in 1 Cornth. 6:19) whereas the temple building is the Greek ‘hieron’. So this man of sin is Adam, the carnal mind that opposes and exalts himself above God in the temple which we are.
Therefore, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is a reference to the revealing of this man of sin in men. For those who are now experiencing the Day of the Lord, the Adamic nature and the religious efforts and activities of the soul are being revealed by the Day. Both our old heaven (carnal mind) and our old earth (our natural body) are being shaken (Rev. 21:1, Haggai 2:6, 2 Peter 3:10). So, we see that the Day of the Lord is not some event, it’s a state of being. It is a glorious Day of being in intimate communion with the Lord. In this Day, the eyes of our hearts are enlightened and we behold with unveiled faces, as in a mirror, the glory of the Lord who transforms us into the same image from glory to glory.
Illuminations of Moses’s Tabernacle
Moses’s tabernacle consisted of three distinctive sections: the outer court, the Holy Place and the Most Holy. This physical structure is symbolic of our spiritual journey and progression in the Lord. What is interesting is the luminaries in each of these sections.
The outer court synonymous with our initial salvation experience is a place illuminated by the sun. This is a partial illumination because when the sun goes down, it gets dark. The Holy Place synonymous with the experience of Pentecost and the baptism of the Holy Spirit is illuminated by the candlestick. Again this is an in-part illumination (1 Cornth. 13:9-10). However, the Day is the realm of the Most Holy where the Shekinah Glory of God illuminates. This is a perfect illumination where there is no longer the incessant cycles of light and darkness and partial lighting. Notice how these three illuminations are contrasted in Revelation 22:5 – “there shall be no night there: they need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light.” Again in Revelation 21:23 – “the city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.”
For those in the Day, there is no longer a dependence on the in-part illumination or anointing of the candlesticks in the Holy Place. A far better Light has come that is transforming us not to just give light but to be light. This is a state of being where night has no reality (Rev. 21:25). We’ve been in the in-part realm of Pentecost for far too long with its highs and lows, its in-part gifts, revelations and ministry, being revived one day and empty another. It’s time to move on and lay hold of that for which Christ took hold of us, to forget those things that are behind and to press on to perfection.
For those who hear this call in the Spirit, there is a declaration to “arise and shine for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you” (Isa. 60:1). There is a wonderful Day that God wants His saints to partake in and it’s an inward reality, an inward working, an inward development of the life, nature and mind of Christ. This is our greatest hope: Christ in us. Saints, let’s not miss the glorious hope of the manifestation of Christ in our spirit, soul and body by setting our expectations on the potentiality of external events. Let these words echo in your spirit: the Kingdom of God is within you and it does not come by observation.
May we enter into complete surrender to the life of Christ and like John experience the Lord’s Day in the Spirit.