IN THAT DAY
By John Aldworth
Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils, and in thy name done many wonderful works. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.
Holding forth the word of life: that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
2 Tim. 4:8:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day…
As Bible students we should be “right dividers” (2 Tim. 2:15) and learn to follow the Apostle Paul as our pattern, preacher and teacher. We should “compare spiritual things with spiritual” and like Paul acknowledge words “which the Holy Ghost teacheth” (1 Cor. 2:13).
Doing so we realise that the Bible uses words in a different way to that of common human usage. We learn that the Holy Ghost does so in order to impart important spiritual truths. A case in point is the phrase “in that day” or “at that day”. Comparing use of this phrase where it occurs allows us to grasp its spiritual significance.
When Jesus spoke these very words in Mt. 7:22 during his earthly ministry He did not need to explain their meaning because every Jew familiar with Old Testament scripture knew what “in that day” meant. They knew the phrase was used 20 times by Isaiah, Ezekiel and other prophets. They knew it described a future time of judgement and deliverance, of setting things right; a day when the kingdom of heaven would be established on earth. It was also the “last day” when the righteous would rise again. For example, Lazarus’ sister Mary knew her dead brother would “rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (Jn. 11:24).
Sadly most Christians are ignorant of these connections. They do not understand important dispensational distinctions. Most, for example, do not know that the “latter days” of prophecy describe a different time period to that of the “latter times” of the dispensation of grace referred to in 1 Tim. 4:1. Result: confusion.
Thus when charismatics sing “This is the day which the Lord has made. We will be glad and rejoice in it”, they think it is the day of the so-called “charismatic renewal”. Of course, it is not. Why? Because the context of those words in Psalm 118: 22-24 speaks of “that day” as a future time in which “the stone which the builders rejected” becomes the head stone of the corner. And that hasn’t happened yet. Nor will it be brought about by singing the “This is the day” chorus numerous times. In Mt. 21:42-43, the stone Himself, the Lord Jesus, reminded Israel’s chief priests this prophesy had yet to be fulfilled, saying:
Therefore say I unto you, the kingdom of God shall be taken from you and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Even to this day we still meet Jesus Christ only as the “chief cornerstone” of the mystery temple foundation, not the head stone (See Eph. 2:20). We will only meet Him as the head stone of the corner in that day yet to come, the day of Christ (Phil. 2:16) when the “church which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:22-23) is convened in heaven. It is the Day of Christ itself that closes the dispensation of the grace of God. It is the time when Christ Himself will appear in his full heavenly glory as “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).
So we see that “the day that the Lord has made” has yet to happen. It is in fact the yet-to-come “day of Christ” (Phil. 1:6, Phil 2:16). It is the day which the Lord Himself described as “my day” (Jn. 8:56) and which in 1 Cor. 1:18 is described as “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Back to Mt. 7:22. The Lord prophesies that “in that day” He will tell those who have prophesied (i.e. publicly taught), cast out devils and done wonderful works in his name, “…I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity”. What a devastating rebuke! What an awful end. Cast out of the Lord’s presence and barred from his kingdom for doing the very things He said would follow those who believed the kingdom gospel he preached (Mark 16:15-18). So why was it wrong for them to do so?
One reason is that they claimed to know the Lord when He didn’t know them. We must be known by the Lord, because the only alternative is to face everlasting banishment. You see, only when so known by the Lord can a believer be sure he is on the right foundation. Thus in 2 Tim. 2:19 the Apostle Paul says:
Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
To pretend you know the Lord when He says He doesn’t know you is sheer delusion. To then do works in his name is, according to the Lord’s own words, to work iniquity. I tremble when big church preachers in their own power pronounce spiritual blessings over people “in Jesus’ name”. They should tremble too, because presumption goes before a fall.
Of course, we should pray to the Father “in Jesus’s name” and we should witness of the Saviour to the lost. When we do so what happens “in Jesus’ name”? Suffering and rejection, that’s what! The Lord’s told the 12 apostles they would suffer and be “hated of all men for my name’s sake” (Jn. 15:12, Mt.10:22). But suffering is not what today’s big time preachers talk about. Rather they speak of prospering, battling spirits, doing great things “in Jesus’ name”.
The truth is that in these, the last days of the dispensation of grace, God is not looking for faith heroes to “do things for Him”; rather He is looking for those who put their trust in all that He has already done and is doing. You see, believing that Christ has “done it all”, from paying for our sin to providing our righteousness and meeting all our everyday needs through grace, is to “live godly” (Titus 2:12). It is exercising the “obedience of faith” (Rom. 1:5).
This is evidenced by the fact the Apostle Paul never talks of doing great things “in Jesus’ name”. Instead he talks of the great things Christ did through him. He stresses the grace that was given to him and how Christ’s worked in and through him, “his working which worketh in me mightily”. As to knowing the Lord, the apostle has this to say in Titus 1:15-16:
…they (the unbelieving) profess that they know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable and disobedient and unto every good work reprobate.
And the “work” today is to simply believe all that God is saying to us now in the marvellous revelation of grace and the Mystery He gave to Paul.
Back in Mt. 7:22, the Lord said He had never known the “workers of iniquity” clamouring for his acceptance. That means that the teaching, exorcisms and miracles they did “in his name” could not possibly have been done by his Spirit. In turn that means such works were actually done by evil spirits. No wonder the Lord angrily exposes these pretenders as frauds. Note again that it is “in that day”, that He will tell them to depart.
In other words He is foretelling what will happen in his day, Christ’s Day, 2,000 years or more after He spoke these words during his earthly ministry. What does that say of the false workers he banishes? Does it mean they will be specially resurrected in the Day of Christ, simply to be barred from his presence and kingdom? I don’t think so, because scripture repeatedly states it is the righteous, not the unrighteous that will be resurrected, that is, believers not fakers. Therefore these workers of iniquity must be among those found alive when the Lord is revealed in his heavenly kingdom glory to all on earth.
As such they will have lived during the present grace dispensation. And they will have been among the “many” that chose to believe in their own ability to supposedly prophesy, work wonders and cast out devils rather than “knowing the Lord” by obeying his clear instruction through the Apostle Paul that such signs had ceased.
Actually, prophecies, exorcisms and miraculous works effected through human beings have been off God’s menu for believers since the end of the book of Acts. They ceased then, just as Paul said they would. Why, after Acts 28 the apostle himself could no longer heal Timothy, Epaphras or anyone else for that matter.
Why did such signs cease? Answer: because they were to be “done away” with. When? When “that which is perfect is come” (1 Cor. 13: 10) came. Clearly “that which is perfect” came when the dispensation of the grace of God and the revelation of the Mystery was given to Paul when in prison and written up for our benefit in his later epistles.
You see, from the time Paul wrote Ephesians until now, God has been, and still is, perfecting believers by pure grace through belief of the truth. People today are saved by hearing and believing the “the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation” (Eph. 1:13). They are then invited to learn the “mystery among the Gentiles” which, as Paul preaches, is “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27-28).
This revelation comes in order to “present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”. Thus, far from being told to perform miracles or prophesy, believers saved by grace alone are today told they are “complete in Christ” (Col. 2:10). Thus we see that the “perfect” has already come and that the Pentecostal dispensation of signs and wonders in the book of Acts has truly ceased.
Persistent seekers after truth have learned that they can only know, and be known, by Christ as God chooses to dispense Him to mankind. Today He is not dispensing Christ through prophesies or wonderful works but through grace and the Mystery. You see, God does change the way He deals with man from time to time and we must note the differences.
For example, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the Father dispensed his Son as the Messiah sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mt. 15:24). Gentiles were excluded. Then the resurrected Lord was dispensed and preached with “signs following” (Mark 16:17) “to the Jew first but also to the Greek”. This was during the Pentecostal Acts period when indeed it was appropriate to work wonders “in Jesus’ name”, if you knew Christ and He had told you to do so.
Now, however, it is no longer appropriate, because, under the dispensation of grace (Eph. 3:3), we are saved by grace through faith alone and Gentiles (once excluded) are now made nigh by the blood of Christ.
Yet to this day Pentecostal and charismatic churches say they exercise the spiritual gifts of 1 Cor. 12: 8-10. But their claims are bogus, because in 1 Cor. 13 Paul clearly teaches that prophecies would fail, tongues cease and (supernaturally imparted) knowledge vanish away. And vanish they did. By the end of the book of Acts all supernatural sign gifts had ceased.
The ensuing dispensation of the grace of God we still live in today is a sign-less dispensation. Importantly, Paul’s own gift of healing ended on the isle of Malta. Later he had to advise Timothy to take a little wine for his oft ailments and Epaphras he left sick at Miletus. Why couldn’t the apostle heal them? Because the day of sign gift miracles had ceased.
By contrast, those who take their position in the Mystery (see Eph. 3 and Col. 1) know that today they are “seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:6). They are blessed “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places” in Him. “Delivered from the power of darkness” they have been “translated into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13).
They are the Father’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works, none of which include tongues, prophecies, casting out devils or working wonders “in Jesus’ name”. Thus in our day Christ is being dispensed as “…the Mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations but now is made manifest to his saints.”
This means it is scripturally wrong, dispensationally incorrect and downright disobedient to Christ to seek to do miracles in his name at this present time. And those the Lord finds still doing so when He is revealed in heavenly glory at his “appearing and kingdom”, according to his own word, will be banished. Truly, as He prophesied, the Lord will say to them “in that day”, “depart from me ye workers of iniquity”.
This article is one of a series on the wonderful truths that surround the Day of Christ. More will be added to this website on a regular basis. For more information email email@example.com.