Revelation of our Lord
In his introduction to First Corinthians, the Apostle Paul describes members of the congregation as those who are “eagerly waiting for the Revelation of our Lord Jesus,” an event he connects to the “Day of the Lord.” In his letters, Paul refers to this glorious event as the ‘Parousia’ (“arrival”), the ‘erchomai’ (“coming”), and the ‘epiphaneia’ (“manifestation”) of Jesus, as well as his “Revelation” or ‘apocalypsis.” By comparing how he applies these several terms, it becomes apparent that the same event is in view in each case, and always he applies whichever noun he uses in the singular number.
Paul points to this future hope to encourage the Assembly in Corinth to progress further in the faith, “So that you come short in no gift of grace, ardently awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” - (1 Corinthians 1:4-9).
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He thanks God for enriching the Corinthians in knowledge and “gifts,” and in the context of the letter, the reference is to the “gifts of the Spirit” detailed in chapters 12 and 14. Rather than overvalue spiritual “gifts,” they must remember that they are still waiting for the fuller glories that will be dispensed at the “Revelation” of Jesus.
His reference to the “Revelation of the Lord” introduces the theme of right conduct since Paul does take the Corinthians to task for tolerating unacceptable behavior. It is vital for them to be found “blameless on that day.” Correct conduct is necessary, especially in consideration of Christ’s impending arrival.
The English term “revelation” translates the Greek noun apokalypsis, which means “revelation, disclosure; an unveiling.” Thus, what was previously hidden from the world will be revealed on that day, namely, Jesus Christ in all his glory.
Moreover, God will “confirm” the Corinthians “until the end.” The Greek term translated as “until” means that God will continue to confirm believers until the last moment, which, among other things, indicates that some believers will remain alive when Jesus appears.
The English word “blameless” translates the Greek legal term for persons against whom charges can no longer be leveled (anegklétos). They are “unimpeachable, guiltless, irreproachable.” No one will bring charges against “blameless” saints when they stand before the Lord Jesus Christ.
The “Day of our Lord Jesus Christ” is Paul’s adaptation of the term and idea of the “Day of the LORD” from the Hebrew Bible. It was the day when Yahweh would deliver his children, judge His enemies, and conclude the existing age.
By adding the name “Jesus Christ” to the term, Paul centers this ancient hope on the Nazarene. It is in and by him that God will bring about that Day and all that goes with it.
His description of the “Revelation of our Lord” echoes the saying of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of Luke when the Lord warned that the “days will come when you will long to see ONE OF THE DAYS of the Son of Man and will not see it.” Likewise, his followers are “eagerly awaiting,” longing to see that day and him. It will be a day of “revelation,” not only because the world will see Jesus, but also because the “blameless” status of the saints will be confirmed and unveiled for all to see.
Paul expresses the same idea in his first letter to the Thessalonians when he declares his hope that God will increase their love for him and others. By doing so, their faith will become complete, enabling them to stand “blameless” before God when Jesus “arrives” at his ‘Parousia’ - (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13).
In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul encourages the congregation to endure and persevere despite ongoing “persecutions and tribulations.” In the interim since his first letter, persecution had increased. However, persecution by the world becomes “evidence of the just judgment of God, so that you be considered worthy of the Kingdom of God on behalf of which also you are suffering.” - (2 Thessalonians 1:2-10).
For the disciple, suffering for the sake of Jesus and his Gospel is a matter of rejoicing rather than despair, and it demonstrates that God honors the faithfulness of His saints. It is a great privilege in His Kingdom to be accounted worthy to suffer for Jesus.
Persecution also demonstrates God’s justice. Just as faithful believers will be rewarded on that day, so their persecutors will reap condemnation “since it is just for God to requite affliction to those afflicting you… at the REVELATION of the Lord Jesus from heaven.” For the time being, Jesus remains “in heaven” where he reigns hidden from human eyes until he is “revealed” on the last day.
The Greek clause translated as “in flaming fire” refers to the “fire” of destruction that will befall the wicked on that final day, ultimately, “everlasting destruction” and banishment from the presence of the Lord. His “Revelation” will mean glory for those who have believed the “witness” of the Gospel, but “affliction” and “destruction” is the fate of all who have rejected it and resisted the Gospel.
The English term “destruction” translates the Greek noun olethros, the same word Paul applied in his first letter to the “unexpected destruction” that would befall the unprepared on the “Day of the Lord” - (1 Thessalonians 5:3).
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For the saints, that day will mean their “gathering together” to Jesus, presumably, “when he comes to be made all-glorious in his saints and to be marveled at in all who believed.” His arrival will result in their “salvation” and the “obtaining of the glory of Jesus,” because they “believed in the truth” of “our Gospel” – (2 Thessalonians 2:1-14).
Before that day comes, the “Apostasy” must occur along with the “Revelation of the Man of Lawlessness.” His unveiling will mean his destruction since Jesus will destroy him at the “manifestation of his ARRIVAL” or Parousia. On that day, the unrighteous and apostates will be “judged,” because they “received not the love of the truth,” and they will likewise “perish.”
Paul’s several descriptions demonstrate that the single return of Jesus at the end of this age will affect believers and unbelievers. The saints will be vindicated and the wicked condemned. His “Revelation” will coincide with the “Day of the Lord,” which is why Paul elsewhere now labels it the “Day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”