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The First "Day of the LORD" (Part I)

Raise your hand if you know that context is everything when it comes to correct Bible interpretation?

All right. You can put your hand down.

Raise your hand if you know that the Old Testament matters when it comes to correctly interpreting New Testament texts?

Great. You can put your hand down again.

Now raise your hand if you know the precise referent of the masculine singular pronouns in the following passage of Scripture (in other words, who is John specifically referring to with his use of the pronouns Him, He, and His?):

And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears we might have boldness and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. (1 Jn. 2:28, Berean Literal Bible)

Did you answer "Jesus"? If so, put your hand down.

Is your hand still up? Really? (You're on the honor system here). Did you know that John is referring to "the Father"? (note: "God" as a response doesn't count...at least on this particular assessment). Ok, if you answered correctly that the Father is the primary referent of John's pronouns, you can take your raised hand and pat yourself on the back.

Everyone else. You've got homework...

The Father's First Appearing

If you fell short of 100% after that pop quiz, don't let it get you down. You are definitely not alone! It's completely understandable why so many Christians gravitate toward reading "Jesus" into the pronouns He, Him, His in 1 John 2:28 (as well as many other pronoun-filled passages in the letter). After all, other New Testament verses explicitly state that believers abide in God's Son, the Second Person of the Trinity, and reveal that the resurrected Jesus is coming back to make a sudden, glorious appearance.

However, as card-carrying Trinitarians (i.e., holding to the belief that Scripture reveals the One True God as Three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), we need to reevaluate our knee-jerk interpretation and response to the commonly misunderstood text of 1 John 2:28.

For the sake of comparison, take a look at another commonly misinterpreted and misapplied verse:

If we should say that we have fellowship with Him, and yet should walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. (1 Jn. 1:6, Berean Literal Bible)

Without any context or background, it appears that John is calling into question those who say that they know Jesus but otherwise live like hell. On the surface of it, this verse in isolation is every legalistic Christian's dream, because they can use this convicting passage to call out the lazy, nominal, and "suspect" Jesus-confessors in their midst. However, there's just one big problem with this approach...

The pronoun "Him" in 1 John 1:6 refers to God the Father, not Jesus! 

In fact, the following verse confirms and clarifies this crucial point of distinction:

But if we should walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 Jn. 1:7, Berean Literal Bible)

Did you catch that? Look at it again, and note the masculine singular pronoun "He" in 1:7 (the same referent as the "Him" in 1:6) has to be God the Father, because John goes on to say that "His Son" (Jesus) is the reason and basis for fellowship with the Father. Seeing "Jesus" as the "Him" in 1:6 and the "He" in 1:7 violates both the rules of grammar and common sense.

Now go thump that legalist over the head with 1 John 1:7.

Just kidding.


After the super-clarifying combo of 1 John 1:6–7, let's return to the text of 1 John 2:28, note again that the Father is the referent of all the masculine singular pronouns. And when 2:28 is seen in light of 2:29 and 3:1, the fog begins to dissipate:

If you know that He is righteous, you know also that everyone practicing righteousness has been begotten of Him. Behold what love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God—and we are! Because of this, the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. (Berean Literal Bible)

The Father is the One who begets ("begotten of Him") and gives love by sending His Son into the world ("the Father has given to us"). And in 2:28, He is also the One who is "coming" and will "appear" in order to gather His children and take them home.

I realize that it might seem strange at first to think of the Father as coming and appearing, when other texts refer to Jesus as the One who physically comes and appears to His people to resurrect and glorify them. However, if we are going to correctly believe and rightly teach the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16–17), then we must align our thoughts with the apostle John here, think in a Trinitarian manner, and teach a Trinitarian theology.

Now that we've got some immediate context under our belts, what about the all-important Old Testament background? Let's figure out what John has in mind as he associates the Father's appearance with the concepts of fear and shame: "...when He appears we might have boldness and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming."

Know of any places in the Old Testament where the LORD God suddenly appears to His children, a momentous event that is also accompanied by His children shrinking away in shame?

Ah, yes. The beginning, you say? Ok, let's go waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back.

Here is the Father's first appearing; which is the conceptual backdrop of 1 Jn. 2:28. And for the sake of our present study, let's first look at the well-known KJV version:

And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat (Gen. 3:8-13).

And there you have it. This is the primary source and inspiration for John's New Testament message in 1 John 2:28. Note the following thematic connections: 

  • the Father appearing to His children ("the presence of the LORD God")
  • the concept of shrinking away/fear ("I was afraid")
  • the concept of shame ("I was naked")
  • the concept of not abiding but hiding ("I hid myself")
John's argument in his First Epistle is a reversal of this disastrous scene in the Garden. The apostle declares that those born of God through belief in His Son (Jesus) will not shrink back, go into hiding, and seek to cover their sin with self-righteous works (represented by the fig-leaf covering; Gen. 3:7). How can the children of God be so confident on Judgement Day this time around? Because the blood of Jesus cleanses the children of God from "all sin" (1 Jn. 1:7) and "all unrighteousness" (1 Jn. 1:9); the Seed of the Woman (Gen. 3:15) abides in all those who are born of God (1 Jn. 3:9); therefore, because of the Righteous Seed, the children of God will abide in the Father forever and will never be banished from His presence again (1 Jn. 2:28; 4:13–16).

Toward the end of his letter, John affirms that fear, shame, and punishment are not meant for the children of God. In other words, the Father is coming back in order to give them their reward for believing in his Son: eternal life. He is coming to hug them, not harm them!

In this, love has been perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment that, just as He is, also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment; and the one fearing has not been perfected in love. We love because He first loved us. (1 Jn. 4:17–19, Berean Literal Bible)

Are you looking for confidence on the Day of Judgment? Are you seeking complete and total assurance of your salvation the next time the Father comes around? You can rest easy if you have already placed your faith in the Son of God. Jesus is the only WAY to the Father (Jn. 14:6); Jesus is the only Refuge and Escape from God's wrath (Jn. 3:36; 1 Jn. 5:12; Ps. 2:12).

If you don't know Jesus, you don't know the Father! Therefore, if you don't know the Father, get to know Him today, ASAP, by believing the GOOD NEWS about His Son: Jesus paid your sin-debt completely by His death on the cross. His once-for-all sacrifice was perfect, final, and never to be repeated. And since Jesus has risen victoriously from the dead, you can ask Him to save you today. Any time, any place. He will respond, if you call to Him in faith. The Day of the LORD is coming (again), so don't delay!

Stay tuned for Part II...

A NOTE FROM GARY AND JEFF: The Unsealed crew has been quite busy behind the scenes. We are very pleased to announce the imminent publication of a commentary on Hebrews, James, and 1 John: The Hard Books. Stay tuned! Details from this article and Part II are explored in depth in the book. We can't wait to tell you more.

Post A Comment


  1. Thanks Gary and Jeff. I am looking forward to your commentaries on Hebrews and James. I read a commentary by Jeff on I John and it really helped/blessed me a lot. I used to avoid reading I John because I couldn't understand why it seemed to focus on works.. I always loved John's gospel. Reading and understanding I John as I was taught it in church can give a person doubts and a big feeling of falling short as a Christian. Anyway , thanks for your work.

    1. You're most welcome, Dennis! We're excited to get this released. While I don't have an exact date, it should be pretty soon...

      Hebrews, James, and 1 John seem to be stumbling blocks for many Christians.

    2. Thank you for your feedback, Dennis W!

      I'm very encouraged!

  2. An insightful beam of light on this 2023 summer solstice day ! Jeff and Gary , you have, in fact, been busy. In these days of perplexing pronouns, it is so encouraging to know that we can trust in The Word to keep us on the right path . We may become confused, but not Creator GOD . Thank you, both !

    1. Amen! Exactly right. Thank you, Sally!

    2. Thank you for your splendid word of encouragement, Sally!

  3. Jeff, I sure like those verses of clarity for the legalistic believer. Sin is what keeps us from having a CLOSE RELATIONSHIP with the Father through His Son Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit; but once a person is born again, sin does not take away our SALVATION.

    Also have to agree with Sally--"In these days of perplexing pronouns, it is so encouraging to know that we can trust in The Word to keep us on the right path."

    Many Christians have forgotten that Jesus came to make a way to the Father--the Father is the GOAL! As Jeff wrote, "If you don't know Jesus, you don't know the Father! "

    John 14:6-10
    Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

    How wonderful you and Gary are putting together that Commentary! Looking forward to Part II AND your Commentary๐Ÿ’–

  4. It's great my brother, thank you!

  5. You also have 1 John 2:14-15 which is contextually about fathers, and THE Father... :)

    I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

    Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

  6. I'm looking forward to those commentaries as well! I read the previous article on 1 John and felt it was so helpful that I'd be thrilled with more.


    Just caught this story at various outlets,

    Russian nuke attack on Ukraine would be attack on NATO: Graham

    Quoting, New York Post,

    "If Russia used nuclear weapons to try and salvage its faltering invasion of Ukraine, as recently threatened by warring leader Vladimir Putin, it would amount to 'an attack … on NATO itself,' Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday."

    Quoting another source, ABC27.com,

    "WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Russia’s recent decision to send tactical nuclear weapons to neighboring Belarus is ramping up concerns they may use them against Ukraine. Now two senators are teaming up to pass a resolution to warn Russia if that happens it means war with the U.S.

    Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal have introduced a resolution that if Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine, it would be considered an attack on NATO. That would obligate the United States to go to war."

    Hmmm...and the drums of war grow louder as the spectre of the dragon draws nearer. A war Rapture is making more and more sense.

    BTW, Venus (now the evening star) will return as the bright morning star after August 13, 2023. When it does it will be squarely "standing" on the head of the seven headed serpent Hydra as the Sun approaches Regulus in the constellation Leo and the new moon heads into the Beehive Cluster (Manger) of Cancer. Jupiter and Uranus are both still in Aries (Ram) where they have been for some time while Mercury and Mars face off under the hind feet of Leo.

    Remember what we have been promised,

    25 Hold fast what you have until
    I come.

    26 The one who conquers and
    who keeps my works until the end,
    to him I will give authority over the

    27 and he will rule them with a
    rod of iron, as when earthen pots
    are broken in pieces, even as I
    myself have received authority
    from my Father.

    28 And I will give him the morning

    (Revelation 2:25-28 ESV)

  8. The online sentiment towards the people who died in the Titan sub is filled with vitriolic envy and mocking celebration over their death. Talk about love grown cold! It reminds me of the Biblical passages of the two witnesses, and how the whole world will see them die and celebrate and send each other gifts. I feel like there was a time when people would have offered sympathy to the relatives and at least token sorrow about lost life (especially the 19 year old), but instead we hear overwhelming disdain since they were rich (and therefor, presumably, evil).

    Anyway, I just thought it was worth noting the way this is pointing to a society that the Bible says will exist in the End Times.

    1. That's a fascinating perspective @sherrill777! Thank you for sharing that. I have found others and posted on an earlier topic. Perhaps I should start sharing that here...

    2. Find the posting mentioned above ("OCEANGATE TITAN & RMS TITANIC") at the end of the thread HERE.

      Dig a little on the father lost on this voyage and the message becomes clearer. I for one am heart broken at the loss and the measure of their wealth is not a factor in my feelings. It is their poverty that breaks my heart as a father and fellow human being.

      I stand with those who are praying for their friends and families.

    3. The depth at which the Titanic (and now the Titan) lie beneath the ocean surface is 12,500 feet according to most sources. Many of us see Revelation "12:5" as a parenthetical passage of end time scripture giving us a picture of the Rapture seen in Revelation 4:1 (see that interplay of prophetic numbers there) …

      “And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne” (Revelation 12:5).

      Further still, it was published that “rescue” equipment was seen arriving in “St John’s, Newfoundland” on American military planes.

      (1) “Rescue” equipment
      (2) St. John’s Newfoundland (or shall we say New Found Land.
      (3) U.S. military planes performing the delivery of search vessels.

      In summary, this reminds us of the Apostle John giving us the description of rescue in Revelation 4:1 in which the Church is “rescued” from approaching judgment and taken to a “New Found Land” called Heaven. America being the nation whose primary prophetic purpose in God’s plan from the start has been to declare the Gospel and return of Christ to the world since its very beginning – thus the U.S. military planes.

      The wreckage of Titanic is located “400” miles southeast of New Found Land – giving us a picture of the Rapture linkage to the Exodus via the 400 years of slavery of the ancient Israelites in Egypt (the well known 400-year fulfilled Exodus prophecy).

      With all hell breaking loose in Russia and the world hanging by a thread from plunging into global war, to have this omen suddenly appear is off the charts obvious and in our face. At least that's how I see it.

      If there were ever a time to understand the true Gospel message of salvation through Christ as Jeff and Gary are presenting here, it's now.


  9. Now The End Begins at https://www.nowtheendbegins.com/vladimir-putin-flees-to-saint-petersburg-as-the-25000-strong-wagner-militia-column-advances-on-moscow-in-stunning-russia-civil-war-harbinger/ "Vladimir Putin Flees To Saint Petersburg As The 25,000-Strong Wagner Militia Column Advances On Moscow In Stunning Russia Civil War Harbinger".

    What will this bring to Ukraine, Europe, other Western nations and Israel?

  10. It was likely all a ruse from Russia working with Wagner to perpetrate a deception to further their goals. The following comes from Hal Turner's site ...

    "Wagner PMC Owner Yevgeni Prigozhin has announced he is turning his men around and returning his units to the battlefields of Ukraine rather than spill Russian Blood.

    (Hal Turner Remark: WTF? Are you kidding me? Holy Sh*t . . . . you can't even make this stuff up it's so absurd.)

    According to Russian State Media, Major Changes to the Leadership of the Russian Ministry of Defense including changes to the current Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu and Army Chief of General Staff, Valery Gerasimov have reportedly been Agreed upon in order to Stop the March of the Wagner PMC Group towards the Capital of Moscow; these Negotiations have also reportedly included the assured “Security of the Wagner Group.”

    These Negotiations are also reported to have included a “Stipulation” that the Majority of Wagner PMC Forces will be Redeployed out of Russia and Ukraine to Africa.


    This analysis is NOT mine, it comes from a guy in Europe whom I respect. I think you'll like it:

    From recent events I can conclude following:

    Wagner mutiny was very likely staged operation. Fallout of ostensible rebelion provided cover for fast military movement with numerous air defense units and thousands of troops reaching western borders of Russia practically unnoticed as everyone was focused on Prigozhin's insurgency. Without mutiny pretext such massive movement would be seen, and mainly linked, directly to Ukraine very quickly.

    If I consider that Russia already did some serious preparatons to protect its capital, with roads blocked and checkpoints rised, I think Russia is about to blow heavy strike on Kiev and its forces (if not even further) and all this protective measures, ostensibly related to mutiny, were done actually as protective measures if NATO will decide to intervene.

    If my conclusions are correct then such blow will come in next hours or days.

  11. But then again, if the globalists control Russia too, that means the ruse narrative itself was stage theater for cover. On and on and on it goes. Say, where's that Trumpet blast anyways. Can we go now? My head hurts.

  12. As Shelia just shared over at Revelation 12 Daily, the advance of Wagner was apparently halted at "120" yards out from Moscow. Paging Jeff.

    The Number 120 And A Biblical Theology Of The Restrainer

    The restrainer is showing his handiwork. That said, given that we have just had the Titanic spectacle and the Rapture hintings taking place there, could it be that the 120 is telling us that the Holy Spirit is soon going to "lift us out of here?" It is the Apostle Paul who revealed that those who have the spirit of "Christ" dwelling on the inside of them shall be raised. Is that not what he said? Given that this situation involves the bear (bear rapture prophecy of 2 Kinds 2), we could easily interpret it like that. Or perhaps both those statements are true I e. restrainer restraining evil and also hinting the rapture is right around the corner.

    OK. my deep thoughts for the day. I'm going back to sleep. I think the news just made my headache worse.

    1. Aaaaaaaand ... it all goes back to the subject of this here fine article by Jeff. How do we ensure that the Spirit of God resides on the inside of us and we are ready for the rapture as we see the dark, prophetic day approaching? Answer: by Grace through Faith alone without the possibility of personal bragging rights through works. If works and good behavior have to be kept to ensure the continuous indwelling of the Holy Spirit, then no one goes in the Rapture. Plain and simple. The ultimate and desired outcome of prophecy and its fulfillment for each individual is an escape from what is to come. Therein lies the importance of understanding what the Gospel message truly is and what it is not as laid out by Jeff here. Prophecy and the Gospel of eternal security go hand in hand as far as having peace in the descending darkness of the end times is concerned.

      K? mmmmk.

    2. Exactly Corey my brother! AMEN!

    3. Amen, Corey! Saw you were paging me: I read you loud and clear!

  13. All that said, since we're talkin' bout' salvation in this here fine posting. A gentleman who was a saved Christian owned a local barbershop. He was new to the faith and had a calling and a wish to witness to customers who came into his shop in hopes that their soul would be saved. However, he struggled with timidness in presenting the message.

    As he serviced customer after customer with their haircuts, he struggled and wondered how he would present the message to all the lost people in the shop. His timidness was getting the better of him. As customer after customer got their hair done and left the shop, he still hadn't found the courage to witness to anybody. As minutes and customers passed by, he grew more and more frustrated with himself until he felt like he was going to explode from the pressure and the responsibility.

    Enter the next customer of the day. As he began to cut his hair, his frustration continued to grow. Finally, he couldn't take it anymore as he held inside all the frustration that he could take.

    Realizing that his last customer of the day was just about in the history books and that he still hadn't witnessed to anybody, he couldn't hold it in anymore. He walked over to his scissor drawer in front of the customer to grab a different pair of scissors for the special finishing cuts to the man's hair. As he turned around to face the customer again, with a pair of big, sharp scissors in his hand raised over his head and aggressively walking forward back toward the customer with a look of utter contempt of himself and his inability to be bold, he blurted out in frustration ...

    ... "ARE YOU READY TO DIE!!!!!!๐Ÿ‘ฟ๐Ÿ‘น


    1. LOL. Great imagery in that joke.

    2. Lol. I can relate with the awkward pent-up outburst in trying to build a bridge to the Gospel.

    3. And the customer ran out the door with an incomplete haircut - never to be seen around those parts ever again.

  14. Thank you Jeff! This article blessed me.

  15. I am re-visiting these articles (This one and part 2) because they are so so good and rich. A verse I wanted to add along with this that you have helped to explain because of your exegesis regarding the He & Hims of 1 John being the Father is 1 Thess. 3:12-13:

    "And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."

    The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints....I thought previously that it was a coming to earth but I am thinking it is showing Christ's return to heaven with His bride as He, the WAY, takes them to the Father?



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