“The Day of the LORD” is a prophetic phrase found 29 times in our Authorized version of the Holy Scriptures.1 It is found most often in the minor prophets, particularly it is described by the prophets Joel, Zephaniah, and Zechariah. It is mentioned 5 times in the New Testament. What is meant by this prophetic phrase, and what significance does it have to us? These questions and more we hope to answer in this issue of the Harmony Baptist Herald.
1. The “Day of the Lord” is a day of judgment and the wrath of God. The Scripture says, “Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.” and “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger,…” (Joel 1:15 & Is. 13:9)
It will be a time of chastisement for the nation of Israel. Jeremiah calls it “the time of Jacob’s trouble.” (See Jer.46:10 w/30:7-11) It will also be a time of God’s wrath upon the Gentile nations of the world. This element is brought out by almost all of those who mention this day. It is often contained in “the principle of succession fulfillment.” By this is meant that the prophets of God spoke of a judgment of God upon a nation or nations in the near future, such as Babylon, Egypt, Edom, etc.. but also had a prophetic eye to the distant future of the end times described in the Book of the Revelation. Such as that in Joel 3:14 “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision,” and Zechariah 14:1-3 “Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.” Revelation chapters 6-19 describe this wrath and judgment of God in much detail. It will culminate with the Lord Jesus coming to destroy the armies of the antichrist gathered against Israel. The Lord will destroy them by the word out of His mouth as 19:15 says, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”
2. “The day of the Lord” is a day when God shall be exalted and man humbled. God’s Sovereign power will be manifest to the universe. “For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: …and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:12, 17) See also Ezekiel’s prophecy where the phrase “ye (or thou, or they) shall know that I am the LORD (Jehovah)” is found 70 times in the prophecies concerning Israel’s future.
3. In “the Day of the Lord,” Israel will be re-gathered in her land. It is a time when the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Literal Jews) will be gathered back into the land of Promise. God gave the land to Israel by an everlasting and irrevocable covenant. They will one day possess it forever! “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,” (Joel 3:1) “and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.” (Ezek.36:23-24) Certainly Ezekiel’s prophecy of “The Valley of Dry Bones” makes it a matter beyond dispute. We do not have space to print it, but the reader is encouraged to read the entire 37th chapter. I cite but a couple of verses, “Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel….And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.…Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:” See also Zephaniah 3:19-20; Ezek. 16:60-62; Zech. 12-14; Micah 7:18-20; etc…) The prophet Zechariah, among others, connects this
with “the Day of the Lord.”
4. “The Day of the Lord” will see God’s kingdom established upon the earth under the rule of the Messiah, as King. Our Lord taught us in the “model prayer” to pray for God’s kingdom to come to be established on earth, when He said, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10) This prayer will be answered when the Lord Jesus returns in power and glory, destroying the rebellious nations, re-gathering Israel and turning their hearts in repentance to true faith. He will sit upon the throne of David, His father and rule over all the earth in righteousness and peace. “Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives,…And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.” “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain:” (Zech.14:4,9; Joel 3:16,17)
The book of Revelation tells us this will last for 1000 years. (20:4,6) The kingdom of God, the rule of Jesus Christ over all the earth will be a time of such fruitfulness and blessings as the world has never known. The curse will be removed from off of the earth. There will be no open rebellion against Christ or God.
We know that Jesus was born as the son of David and heir to his throne (Matt. 1; Luke 1:31-33), and that He claimed to be the King of the Jews (Mat. 27:11), and that He died as the King of the Jews (Matt. 27:37). He Himself gave a parable, where Jesus referred to Himself as “a nobleman,” that very clearly teaches that He will return from Heaven as king to establish God’s kingdom on the earth; “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” (Lk. 19:12) In Revelation, at His return, Jesus is called, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (19:16) Just prior to His return in power and glory, the mighty angels of God will shout from Heaven, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15)
5. “The Day of the Lord” will come suddenly and catch many unprepared. The inspired apostle plainly says, “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” (1Thess. 5:2) Jesus Himself taught the same when He said, “Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” (Lk. 12:40) This truth is also taught by the Old Testament prophets.
CONCLUSION & SUMMARY
What are we to learn from these facts, and what does all this mean to you and me? First of all it should be obvious that “the Day of the Lord” is not a 24 hour day. It is a period of time that will encompass a time of over 1007 years.
Secondly, let us learn that Jesus Christ is coming again. He will return as Lord of lords and King of kings and establish God’s kingdom on earth. He will literally sit upon the throne of David in Jerusalem, called “Mount Zion.”
Before the Lord’s return, God will re-gather the Jews into the land given to Abraham and his descendents. It’s dimensions and boundaries are described in the Word of God. We have neither time nor the inclination here to give the details, but suffice it to say, the land that God will give to Israel is substantially larger than those of that nation called Israel today.
This time will also include a time of “Great tribulation” that will serve to chasten and purify the Jews and punish with divine wrath and justice the Gentile nations. God, by means of a person known in prophecy as “the antichrist,” will gather an alliance of nations to war with Israel. [See the article, The Antichrist in this same paper.] These will be destroyed by the Lord Himself at a place called “Armageddon.”
Lastly, and perhaps the most practical application of this study, is that each of us need to ask ourselves, “Am I ready?” Jesus warned us that it will be like a thief, that is, at a time when we do not expect it. Many will not be ready. For all who are not ready it will be a time of such terrible wrath and judgment of God as the world has never known. “Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.” (Joel 1:15) “Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.” (Is. 13:6) In the Revelation we read these words of warning, “And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth…” ( 8:13) And we also read of what will happen in chapter six verses 15-17: “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Can you picture the awful scene described? God’s wrath without mercy poured out on a rebellious creation, a planet that has rejected its Creator and persecuted His saints. Wars, plagues, famine, and pestilence all combined into a few awful years. Such suffering and sorrow that people, rich and poor, “in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.” (Rev. 9:6) Rebellious sinners will seek to hide from the wrath of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
But dear friend, there is hope, salvation, and deliverance for all who trust upon Him NOW as Lord and Saviour. The same apostle that spoke of “the day of the Lord” also reminded those believers and followers of Jesus Christ, that it would not come upon them as a thief. They should not fear it as the ungodly, and indeed, he promised them to be delivered from God’s wrath through salvation in Jesus Christ. (See 1 Thes. 5:1-9 & 1:10) The Lord Jesus gave to His faithful Church the same promise in Revelation 3 verse 10.
Dear Reader, I beg you and plead with you in the name of the Lord Jesus and by His coming in power, to repent now of your sin and rebellion and trust upon the Lord Jesus alone for salvation. The church cannot save you. Only Jesus can. Neither baptism nor any other “good works” can take away your sins. They can only be taken away by the precious blood of Christ through faith. We can only be
“…redeemed…with (by) the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” (1 Pt. 1:18-20) No bloodless sacrifice of the mass can take away sin. No human priest can forgive sins. Jesus Christ alone is our High Priest, Who gave Himself for us, and rose again from the dead, and now lives “to save to the uttermost all that come to God through Him.”
The Bible is very clear that there is only one group of individuals during that time of great judgment and wrath that will be exempt from the wrath of God. It is those “whose names are in the book of life.” Only the true saints of God, saved by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ are written there. Is your name in that book? Will you escape God’s wrath to come? Have you been converted and regenerated by the power and grace of God?
If you do not have certainty about your future, or if you have questions, please contact us. We will be glad for the opportunity to come to your home, or help you in any way you desire. I leave you with these wonderful verses of Holy Scripture. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” and “There is therefore now no condemnation (cause for wrath) to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (That is, those who truly are right with God will live like it. It is a vain hope to think oneself a Christian while still living a life of sin.)
1All the texts that contain the phrase, “the day of the Lord.” [Is.2:12; 13:6, 9; 34:8; Jer. 46:10; Lam. 2:22; Eze. 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Ob. 1:15; Zeph. 1:7,8,14,18; 2:2,3; Zech. 14:1; Mal. 4:5; Acts 2:20; 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; 1 Thes. 5:2; 2 Pt. 3:10]