Dispensational Days. There are three time periods referred to in scripture as “days”. They provide a simple yet helpful way to organize world history: not only past and present, but future as well.
- The “day of man” (1 Cor. 4:3) began in Genesis, either with Adam when he fell, or (more likely) with Cain, who went out from the presence of the Lord and set up a city. The day of man will continue on until the Appearing of Christ. The particular phase we live in now is called “the evil day”, ever since Christ was rejected and cast out of the world (Eph. 6:13). It is characterized by man having his way in this world, while God does not step in publicly. Paul would not give any credulity to the way he was judged by man’s day. It is really “the night” (Rom. 13:12) if we view it from God’s standpoint!
- The “day of the Lord” refers to the thousand-year Millennium. It will begin at the appearing of Christ (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Thess. 2:2) and will continue until the heavens and earth are dissolved (2 Pet. 3:10). There are a number of names for this “day”:
- The “day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Thess. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:10) has to do with the Lord’s authority being established on the earth though judgments.
The "day of Christ" (1 Cor. 1:8; Phil. 1:10; Phil. 2:16) or the "day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6) has to do with the display of Christ's glory from the heavens. The Lord's expression “My day” (John 8:56) refers to the appearing and manifestation of Christ in glory to the world, the time when the promises given to Abraham will be made good in Christ. It is the day when the completed work of God in each believer (Phil. 1:6), and the rewards given at the judgment seat of Christ will be displayed to the world!
- “That day” (2 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 4:8; 2 Thess. 1:10) or “the day” (1 Cor. 3:13) is a reference Paul used to refer to the day of Christ, specifically to the appearing when rewards for faithfulness will be distributed. Note: rewards will be assessed at the judgment seat of Christ, but distributed at the appearing. He calls it simply “the day” or “that day” because there is no other day that can compare to it!
- The “day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14) is also a reference to the appearing of Christ, but in the aspect of the fruit of judgment or chastening. When judgment is brought in, the term “Lord” is used instead of “Christ”. The fornicator in 1 Cor. 5 would be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus if he was subjected to the destruction of the flesh in this life. The Corinthian saints would be Paul’s boast in the day of the Lord Jesus as a result of the corrective ministry of 1 and 2 Corinthians.
- The “day of God” will begin when God makes all things new in the eternal state. It is God’s day because all things will be according to His mind, and He will finally have His rest. It is also called “the day of eternity” (2 Pet. 3:18) because it is a day that will never end!
Chart of the Ages, Three Worlds, and Three Dispensational Days
Dispensations, Ages; 1 Cor. 1:8; 1 Cor. 3:13; 1 Cor. 4:3; 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; Phil. 1:10; Phil. 2:16; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Thess. 1:10; 2 Thess. 2:2; 2 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 4:8; 2 Pet. 3:10; 2 Pet. 3:18;