- Parent Category: FAQs
- Category: Questions about Bible Prophecy and the End Times
- Published on Thursday, 19 November 2009 10:02
This expression appears four times in Paul’s writings, three times within the four chapters of this epistle. It is safe therefore to expect a similar meaning and to consider each context to verify that. Paul seems to have "that day" in his mind as he closes his ministry and is about to depart.
In chapter 1:12, Paul is thinking of the gospel entrusted to him by the Lord. This "good thing" (verse 14) involved a stewardship both for Paul and now for Timothy to which it had been transferred. Paul had committed the keeping of the deposit of truth to the Lord and labored to pass it to others, particularly Timothy, in order to perpetuate it. Ultimately, though, he would have to give account of his stewardship (Luke 16:2; 1 Corinthians 4:1-4) to the Lord. "That day" was the day of review, the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is clear that the same occasion is on Paul’s mind in 4:8 when he speaks about the Lord giving him a crown of righteous in "that day," a day of rewards.
The meaning of the passage in chapter 1:16-18 may be decided by the meaning of mercy. W. E. Vine indicates that mercy assumes a need and "resources adequate to meet the need." "Mercy is His [God’s] attitude toward those who are in distress." In 1:15, Paul names two who turned away from him. In contrast, Onesiphorus deliberately associated himself with the imprisoned apostle (verse 17). He may now have gone home to heaven as a result of his boldness in standing by truth and Paul, its ambassador. Paul desires mercy for him in "that day" (verse 18), when the Lord would fully bless one who had suffered on earth for the sake of the gospel. Twice Paul uses an expression unique to this passage: "the Lord give" or "grant" (verses 16, 18). His wish was for divine resources to respond in the present to Onesiphorus’ household’s needs and to respond in the future to Onesiphorus’ costly faithfulness. "That day" will be a day of recompense.