The events of the first day of the world’s existence are recorded in Genesis 1:1-5; the “last day” has not yet arrived --- but it will. The expression “the last day” is unique to the Gospel of John. Six times in that document the phrase is employed by Christ of the concluding day of history. Five of these are associated with the resurrection of the body (6:39-40, 44, 54; 11:24), and once the emphasis is upon judgment (14:48). Other phrases are used also of this auspicious day. Consider the following.
(1) The “last day” is also called the “day of Christ,” the “day of the Lord,” or the “day of God” (Phil. 1:10; 1 Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 2 Pet. 3:12). This designation bespeaks the appearance of Christ from heaven, and divine authority exercised on that occasion.
(2) The final day is called the “day of judgment” (Mt. 10:15), because the sacred verdict will be heralded whereby all men will acknowledge the righteous decree of God (Rom. 2:5; 14:11-12). Not a word of complaint will be heard. It must be noted in this connection that the “day of judgment” is not a day upon which one learns the nature of his eternal fate; that destiny will be realized at the moment of a person’s death (cf. Lk. 16:19ff; 2 Pet. 2:9 ASV).
(3) The last day will be a “day of visitation” (1 Pet. 2:12), at which point the Lord will hold wicked people fully and eternally accountable for their rebellion (cf. Isa. 10:3; Jer. 10:15). In phraseology of a similar nature, the “day of visitation” is termed the “day of wrath” (Rom. 2:5). The book of Revelation speaks of that time when the ungodly will “drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared unmixed [i.e., undiluted – with full strength] in the cup of his anger” (Rev. 14:10). The picture of unending torment is vividly portrayed in this stirring scene.
(4) For the saints, however, there is a wonderfully thrilling representation of the last day. In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul calls the final day the “day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30). There are several senses in which the final day is a “day of redemption.” (a) It will be a redemption from earth’s dangers and evils. The term “redemption” was used of the disciples’ deliverance in A.D. 70 from the crushing oppression of Rome (see Lk. 21:28). (b) The “day of redemption” is also the ultimate deliverance from the power and effect of sin. Note the promise of a future salvation for the children of God (Rom. 13:11; 2 Tim. 4:18). (c) In addition, “redemption” has to do with the resurrection of the human body from the grave. Paul wrote that we are waiting for our adoption, namely the “redemption of our body” (cf. Eph. 1:14; 1 Cor. 15; Phil. 3:21).
The “last day” of earth’s history will be a day upon which it will be “too late” to remedy one’s spiritual condition. Today is the day of opportunity. May we seize it with vigor.