‘The Day of Christ’ is a ‘Day of the Lord’ event. It is a specific term for one ‘Day of the Lord.”
Day of the Lord—In prophecy, this is any day of climactic judgment or blessing by the Lord. The tribulation years are one example of the day of the Lord.
- The Day of Christ—Refers to Jesus’ judgment seat, which occurs after Jesus raptures the Church and before the end of the seven-year tribulation, which ends when Jesus returns physically to earth (Philippians 1:6, 10; 2:15). The Bible only mentions it three times in the Bible and the Apostle Paul also calls this event Christ’s ‘Bema Seat.’
- The Day of God—Refers to the beginning of the eternal state (2 Peter 3:12-13) or the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14).
The Bible Mentions the Day of Christ Three Times
The Apostle Paul wrote Philippians, and he refers to the ‘Day of Christ’ three times. The Bible doesn’t use this exact designation anywhere else.
- “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
In this verse, Paul tells the Philippians that he’s convinced that just as God has already saved them, so He will collaborate with them to sanctify them. He will work in their lives until they appear before Jesus’ judgment seat to give an account of how they lived their Christian lives.
At this judgment seat, which Paul, in shorthand, calls ‘the Day’ (1 Corinthians 3:13), Jesus will determine the quality—the rewardability—of each believer’s good works (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
- “That you may approve things that are excellent so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10).
In this passage (vv. 9-11), Paul tells his readers how to ‘be pure and blameless’ during the Day of Christ. They must selflessly serve God, Christians, and others (v. 9) and learn to discern what is most excellent amongst lesser choices.
The Bible book of Hebrews tells its readers they can develop this skill through training. “It’s “for those who through practice have powers of discernment that are trained to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:14). When they consistently practice good, they get better at it.
- “That you may be blameless and harmless, sons of God, without fault, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world. Hold forth the word of life that I may rejoice on the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain” (Philippians 2:15-16).
In these verses, Paul wants them to live their lives to reflect well on their Savior. In another passage, Paul says believers should be “the letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God” (2 Corinthians 3:3). And a sweet aroma that brings the scent of Jesus’ salvation to everyone they meet. “We are the fragrance of death, which brings death, and to the other the fragrance of life, which brings life” (2 Corinthians 2:16).
Paul is responsible before God for how well these believers “hold forth the word of life.” He has poured out his life and love into their lives, and he longs to rejoice ‘on the day of Christ” in how well they’ve brought Jesus’ light into their perverse generation.
The Day of Christ
The ‘Day of Christ’ refers to the time after the rapture and before the end of the tribulation when Christians appear before Jesus to give an account of how they’ve lived their Christian lives. Paul promises that God will continue to work in believers’ lives to prepare them for that day. They can prepare for that day by practicing making good choices, serving others with love, and living as open letters that reveal their Savior.
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