I was recently reading with a friend part of the prophecy of Zephaniah. The main theme of his prophecy is “the day of the Lord” – a day of judgment for those who sin against God, but a day of blessing for those who follow Him.
This expression, “the day of the Lord”, occurs in a number of other Old Testament prophetic books and can refer there to judgment upon the northern kingdom of Israel or upon the southern kingdom of Judah or upon other nations. In Malachi 4v5 it describes the coming of the Lord Himself. The prophetic nature of this expression can, therefore, be fulfilled in similar terms but in a number of ways.
In the New Testament Peter especially writes about this day in chapter 3 of his second letter. It is clear that he is referring to the Lord’s second coming – a day of untold blessing yet also great judgment. This day will not be delayed forever; God is patiently working to a perfect timetable and Jesus will return suddenly, and without warning (like a thief v10). Because of this, there is great wisdom in heeding Zephaniah’s warning that “the day of the Lord is near” (1v7,14).
We may smile at the statement that “we are nearer the end times than we’ve ever been before”. But are we each day looking forward to and living in the light of the Lord’s return? Peter actually appears to suggest that we can “speed its coming” (3v12). God knows and has ordained when Jesus will return and yet He works through us to bring about all His purposes prior to the Lord’s return. In that sense, when we share the Gospel with others and pray (Matthew 6v10), we hasten or speed Christ’s return!
In the penultimate verse of the Bible Jesus says “Yes, I am coming soon”. May our prayer and desire be like the apostle John’s – “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22v20).
Peace and Grace