5. Salvation and judgment are simultaneous events
The last day will be a moment of salvation for true Christians, but a moment of judgment and punishment for those who do not know God or do not obey the gospel. So the meaning of the last day for God’s people to be saved is different for those to be destroyed. Thus, the biblical explanation about the end of the world is divided into two expressions.
However, the fact that the description of the last day is divided into two expressions does not mean that they are separate events. It will happen at the same time. Since there would be two different groups to face at the time, one side was written as the word of salvation and the other as the word of judgment and destruction.
Let’s first look around the prophecy of what the people of salvation will face in the last day.
【1Thes. 4:16-17】 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
The verse above shows true Christians who will meet the Second Coming Jesus in the air. Jesus is described as coming on the clouds in the air. If you look at it from the ground, He’s coming on clouds of the sky.
【Acts 1:9-11】 He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Bible says that Jesus will come back in the same way of His going into the heaven. 1Thessalonians chpater 4 and Acts chapter 1 are the mate verses. When Jesus ascended, a cloud hid him from the sight. If you saw it from the ground, he was riding on a cloud.
Jesus also promised to come again on the clouds in the last day.
【Matt. 24:30】 “Immediately after the distress of those days ” ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’ “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.
The phenomenon that the sun was darkened and the moon did not give its light will be the sign for the time that the Son of Man comes in the clouds. Bible said that all nations would mourn and see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky. Jesus’ coming on the clouds does not mean his coming secretly, but publically so that the whole world can see it. The 144,000 scattered all over the world will gather to meet Jesus on the clouds in the air.
【Luke 21:25-29】 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
All nations will be in anguish and perplexity and men will faint from terror due to the signs in the sun, moon, and stars. Jesus said, “Stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near at that time.”
The Bible warns against destruction and judgment on the same day.
【2Pet. 3:10-13】 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
Bible prophecy tells us that the last day will come in two ways. He said he would come on the clouds and save the saints, and on the other hand, it would be a day of punishment and destruction by fire.
【2Thes. 1:7-8】 and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
There are two kinds of description about the last day; His coming on the clouds to save the saints and his coming in blazing fire to give the punishment. Salvation and judgement will happen simultaneously.