By Ray Yungen
In the Bible, the end-time period (traditionally called the Apocalypse) is referred to as “the day of the Lord.”* Bible scholars refer to it as the time of the Great Tribulation. Some Christians believe that the events foretold throughout the Bible actually have already happened in the first century AD. Such a view is known as preterism. But I believe there are certain aspects of these prophecies that have not occurred yet and are even occurring now.
During this time (the end of the age), the one Christians refer to as the Antichrist will make his appearance. The apostle Paul refers to this personality as “the son of perdition” and the “man of sin” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). The term antichrist actually stands for ante-christ meaning more of a substitute than an opposite. In other words, Satan wants to masquerade as the Christ himself and take his seat in the temple—the ultimate blasphemy where he says, I Am God.
When the time is right, Satan will come in person in a man who is completely yielded to him. This man (the Antichrist) will unite the world under a counterfeit spiritual system that blasphemes God and His plan. We read in Revelation 13:5-6:
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
Ultimately, this impostor will be knocked from power by the literal second coming of Jesus Christ at the end of the tribulation period. In 2 Thessalonians 2:8-10, we read:
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: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
After the destruction of this deceiver and his false program, the true Savior (Jesus Christ) will set up His kingdom on earth and rule in what is referred to as the Millennium, a time of true rest and peace on the earth.
In light of these prophetic warnings, the advent of the New Age movement takes on a very special significance. The apostle Paul spoke of the day of the Lord in reference to “the times and seasons” in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2.
He was making reference to the Old Testament book of Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream concerning the Gentile kingdoms, which would begin with his kingdom, Babylon, and continue through Media-Persia, Greece, Rome and ten future kingdoms. Before Daniel interpreted the dream, he made it known that God is responsible for the changes in times, which he calls “the times and seasons”:
Daniel answered and said, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His: And He changeth the times and the seasons: He removeth kings, and setteth up kings:
He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: He knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with Him. (Daniel 2:20-22)
When asked by the apostles in Acts 1:6 whether God would restore the kingdom at that time (bringing in the millennium), Jesus replied in verse 7, “it is not for you to know the times or the seasons.” In light of this, study the verses in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 very carefully where the apostle Paul states:
But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 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. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Paul is saying that the end of the age will come upon the world like a thief in the night—it will sneak up on people. Then he contrasts two groups. “But ye brethren, are not in darkness [ignorance] that that day should overtake you as a thief [unaware]” (vs. 4). He is saying that believers in Christ will have the information available to them to prepare for “that day.”
Paul goes on to say, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day” (vs. 5). Those who walk in the light can see both where they are going and what is coming ahead. He warns against spiritual slumber and drunkenness which could lead to a person being overtaken by that day unaware. “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (vs. 6). The word sober here means “alert” or “aware.” If one is instructed to watch and be aware there must be something to watch for—otherwise, Paul’s admonition would be useless. The reason Paul said, “Ye have no need that I write unto you,” is because the forewarning of when that day would arrive came from Jesus Christ Himself.
* Several verses in the Bible refer to “the day of the Lord”: Acts 2:20, 1 Corinthians 5:5, 2 Corinthians 1:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and 2 Peter 3:10. There are also many in the Old Testament.