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Summary: A look at the reality and timing of the Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord. That phrase is mentioned 19 times in the bible and of those 19 four of them are in the book of Joel. Not bad for a book that only has three chapters. That may be indicative of the importance that Joel placed on that particular occurrence. But who was Joel and what do we know about the book that bears his name. Well we know that it is 29th book of the bible and that it’s one of the books we refer to as the Minor Prophets.

The author was a man named Joel, whose father’s name was Prethuel. When was the book written, we don’t know. Some have suggested it was written while Jeremiah was alive which would place it around 609 BC, others have said that he could have written it after the Jews returned from exile, around 538 BC, and still others have maintained that because Joel doesn’t mention any kings and refers to elders as leaders that it could have been written as early as 835 BC. We just don’t know.

We do know the purpose of the book though, Joel was urging the people of Judah to turn again to God.

As I worked on this message I realized something: We as Christians have lost the vision of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. When I first became a Christian I used to get up every day with the thought, “This could be it, perhaps this will be the day that Christ calls his church home” It’s been awhile since I’ve woken up with those thoughts, although sometimes I find myself wishing, “I hope he comes back soon”

Now we all believe that Christ is coming again or at least we say we do, but are we waiting expectantly for the return of Jesus Christ? I mean really expectantly?

People are intrigued by the concept of the “End of the World”, how the world will end and when the world will end. Whether it will end with a bang or a whimper.

Show video clip from Deep Impact. 1:35:03 – 1:38:05 (President’s hands on table to President walking out of Oval office.)

That probably isn’t how we want to find out, is it?

I remember on September 11 2001 another minister asked me: “Do you think this could be the beginning of the end times?” To which I replied, “Well that would certainly solve our pension problems wouldn’t it?” To be very frank I do not live in fear of the end times, it’s not something that I worry about, it doesn’t keep me up at night and I don’t read about it constantly. Someone asked me the other day what my thoughts were concerning the end times in relation to the West Nile virus, and I could honestly say I hadn’t really thought of it.

The Left Behind series of novels have become best sellers over the past few years and I have only read the first one and that was out of curiosity. You say “But Denn, don’t you want to know what’s going to happen?” Well, let’s not go there, no let’s go there. You understand people that the Left Behind Series are just novels, they are fiction if you were to look for them in the Library they would have a “F” on the spine, and not very good fiction either. I know that’s just personal taste. Tim Lahaye and Jerry Jenkins do not have an inside track on the end times, as surprising as that may seem. They have merely fictionalized what they found in the Bible. If the Left Behind books cause you to become more passionate to see people won to Jesus they are wonderful, however if you are reading them in order to gain more knowledge about the end times you might not end up being the scholar that you hope. And maybe people will be won to Jesus with the books.

When I first became a Christian in 1979 there was a movie out called “Thief in the night” and it was a fictionalized vision of what it might be like during the last days. The secret of that movie and the two that followed it was that you’d invite your pre-Christian friends out to church and the movie would scare the hell out of them, literally. Did it work? Sometimes.

I’m no expert on biblical prophesy, but I do believe that we need to look into the scriptures to see just exactly what the Bible says concerning the end times which will either begin or end with the return of Jesus Christ, depending on your theological perspective.

The experts tell us, and we all know what an expert is right? X being the unknown quantity spurt being a drip under pressure. The experts tell us that there are over 1800 references to Christ second coming in the Old Testament alone, and that for every one prophecy concerning the first coming of Christ that there are eight prophecies concerning his second coming. We are also told by the same experts that there are over 300 references about Christ return in the New Testament, or approximately one every 30 verses.

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