William L. Thompson was a composer and songwriter of the late 1800’s. While he had success in making music for secular organizations, his greatest work was writing hymns that have become timeless. Perhaps his most famous work was “Softly and Tenderly” which has given so many the gentle nudge to step out from behind the pew, give the good confession, and be saved in the waters of baptism.
One of his other well known songs is “There’s a Great Day Coming”. If “Softly and Tenderly” is a gentle plea to accept the Lord’s invitation, “There’s a Great Day Coming” is the sober reminder of the reality of judgement. One song utilizes the most beautiful melody and lyrics, and one song uses the bone chilling truth of whats to come. And both songs are a blessing to all who would listen to the lyrics.
In “There’s a Great Day coming”, the title itself should cause all men to stop and think.
The word “Day” in the bible is significant. Especially when it is used in the phrase “day of the lord”. That phrase is a generic term signifying a day of judgement. For instance, in the book of Joel, the prophet speaks of calamities that Judah faced as “day of the Lord” (1:15, 2:1, 2:11). He is talking about a specific judgement that was being rendered to them. In this case a great locust plague was destroying their livelihood. Often times, the phrase will bring with it desolation, destruction, and sorrow.
But the phrase can also mean judgement in a positive way. If someone is wrongly accused of murder and they are found not guilty, that is a great day of deliverance. In the Bible, the phrase can point to God’s people being delivered or restored. In Isaiah 10:20 “day” is used to point to the time when a small remnant of Israel would be released from Babylonian captivity and resettle Jerusalem. That is a good day of judgement.
We shouldn’t look at every calamity or positive thing in our lives to be “the day of the Lord”. We can’t say “God is punishing me for this”, or “God is rewarding me for that”. As Amos said, “Surely the Lord does nothing unless He reveals his secrets to his servants the prophets” (3:7). God doesn’t speak to us through prophets like he did in the Old Testament times (Heb 1:1). Now we have his word that is all sufficient for telling us all we need to know (2 Tim 3:16, 2 Pet 1:3).
In the Christian age, which was established on the day of Pentecost in 33AD (Joel 2:28, Isaiah 2:2-4,Acts 2:17), all people of all time look forward to the same “day of the Lord”. It is the “great day” that William L. Thompson wrote about in his hymn. The final day of judgement for all mankind (Acts 17:31), which will take place at the second coming of Christ.
While Jesus promised his followers he would come again (John 14:2), he never told them when. In fact, Jesus made it clear that this was information that was not revealed to him during his earthly ministry (Mk 13:32). Isn’t it strange and telling that so many people become millionaires predicting the date of Jesus return? Have any of them been right yet? Quit sending them money. Quit watching their programs. These people are charlatans.
Jesus said that his return would be unexpected, similar to a thief in the night (1 Thess 5:2). While there would be signs for the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD (Matt 24:4-34), there won’t be for his 2nd coming and the judgement (Matt 24:36-44). Again, you have people all over the place trying to see the signs of Jesus’ return. They are wrong. The command is to be “be ready” (24:44) because it will be unexpected. If there were signs, it would be expected.
The day will not be a secret. All will see him (Rev 1:7). All will bow and confess that He is Lord (Rom 14:11). This idea of a secret rapture is not biblical. Jesus is coming back one time to judge all the nations (Matt 25:31).
The day will be just like the song says. It will be when the saints and sinners are parted to the right and left. For the saints, it will be a bright and glorious day. For the sinners, it will be the moment when they hear their doom.
It is going to be a shocking day, as many who think they are saved will be told “I never knew you” (Matt 7:21-23).
It is going to be a miserable day as so many people stand there realizing that Jesus is judging everyone by his word (John 12:48). He won’t judge by your pastors opinion, a creed book, or a discipline. He won’t be judging by how you feel.
On that day, many people will think back to all the times that they were invited to study with a member or visit with the Church of Christ to learn what the Bible says to get ready. Maybe you will look back at this article in your mind and say, “why didn’t I just ask him to help me get ready”.
As the chorus of the song says, “Are you ready for that day to come? Are you ready? Are you ready? Are you ready for the judgement day?”
Won’t you visit the Church of Christ? Won’t you prepare for that day?