Christian Apologetics Study

THE TERRIFYING DAY OF THE LORD

Nov
29

The Day of the Lord is an expression used by Old Testament Hebrew prophets to describe a time when God actively takes part in human history. The words “DAY OF THE LORD” usually identifies events that take place at the end of history and is often closely associated with the phrase “THAT DAY.” The key to understanding these expressions are words identifying a span of time during which God personally intervenes in history, directly or indirectly, to accomplish some specific aspect His plan. Many eschatology experts associate the Day of the Lord with the tribulation period when God will release 21 judgments upon a Messiah rejecting world. The tribulation is a future seven year period of time when God will intensify His dealing with Israel and finalize His judgment of the unbelieving world.

CHURCH SAINTS RAPTURE AND TRIBULATION

The church, made up of all believers who have trusted in the person and work of Messiah Yeshua, will be saved from the tribulation judgments because believers in the Church will not be present during the tribulation. The church will be removed from the earth in an event known as the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54). The church is saved from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 5:9). Throughout Scripture, the tribulation is referred to by other names such as the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:12; 13:69; Joel 1:15; 2:131; 3:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:2) and a time of trouble and tribulation (Deuteronomy 4:30; Zephaniah 1:1).  The Great Tribulation, which refers to the more intense second half of the seven year period (Matthew 24:21) and time or day of trouble (Daniel 12:1; Zephaniah 1:15) and time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7).

DURATION OF THE TRIBULATION

An understanding of Daniel 9:24-27 is necessary in order to understand the purpose and time of the tribulation. This passage speaks of 70 weeks that have been declared against “your people.” Daniel’s people are the Jews, the nation of Israel, and Daniel 9:24 speaks of a period of time that God has given “to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.” God declares that “seventy sevens” will fulfill all these things. This is 70 sevens of years, or 490 years.

This is confirmed by another part of this passage in Daniel. In verses 25 and 26, Daniel is told that the Messiah will be cut off after “seven sevens and sixty two sevens” (69 total), beginning with the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. In other words, 69 sevens of years (483 years) after the decree to rebuild Jerusalem, the Messiah will be cut off. Biblical historians confirm that 483 years passed from the time of the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the time when Jesus was crucified. Most Christian scholars, regardless of their view of eschatology (future things and major events), have the above understanding of Daniel’s 70 sevens.  With 483 years having passed from the decree to rebuild Jerusalem to the cutting off of the Messiah, this leaves one seven year period to be fulfilled in terms of Daniel 9:24: “to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.” This final seven year period is known as the tribulation period—it is a time when God finishes judging Israel for its sin.

Daniel 9:27 gives a few highlights of the seven year tribulation period: “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” The person of whom this verse speaks is the person Jesus calls the “abomination that causes desolation” (Matthew 24:15) and is called “the beast” in Revelation 13. Daniel 9:27 says that the beast will make a covenant for seven years, but in the middle of this week (3 1/2 years into the tribulation), he will break the covenant, putting a stop to sacrifice.

Revelation 13 explains that the beast will place an image of himself in the temple and require the world to worship him. Revelation 13:5 says that this will go on for 42 months, which is 3 1/2 years. Since Daniel 9:27 says that this will happen in the middle of the week, and Revelation 13:5 says that the beast will do this for a period of 42 months, it is easy to see that the total length of time is 84 months or seven years. Also see Daniel 7:25, where the “time, times, and half a time” (time=1 year; times=2 years; half a time=1/2 year; total of 3 1/2 years) also refers to “great tribulation,” the last half of the seven year tribulation period when the beast will be in power. For further references about the tribulation, see Revelation 11:23, which speaks of 1260 days and 42 months, and Daniel 12:11-12, which speaks of 1290 days and 1335 days. These days have a reference to the midpoint of the tribulation. The additional days in Daniel 12 may include the time at the end for the judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:3146) and time for the setting up of Christ’s millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:46).  Therefore, the tribulation or Day of the Lord is a seven year time period in the end times in which humanity’s decadence and depravity will reach its fullness, with God judging accordingly.

THE DAY OF THE LORD

The phrase “DAY OF THE LORD” is used many times in the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6, 9; Ezekiel 13:5, 30:3; Joel 1:15, 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18, 20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7, 14; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:5). The Old Testament Biblical passages dealing with the Day of the Lord often convey a sense of imminence, nearness, and expectation: “Wail, for the Day of the Lord is near!” (Isaiah 13:6); “For the day is near, even the day of the Lord is near” (Ezekiel 30:3) and “Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. It is close at hand” (Joel 2:1) and “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision” (Joel 3:14) and “Be silent before the Lord God! For the Day of the Lord is near” (Zephaniah 1:7). This is because the Old Testament passages referring to the Day of the Lord often speak of both a near and a far fulfillment, as does much of Old Testament prophecy. Some Old Testament passages that refer to the day of the Lord describe historical judgments that have already been fulfilled in some sense (Isaiah 13:622; Ezekiel 30:219; Joel 1:15, 3:14; Amos 5:1820; Zephaniah 1:1418), while others refers to divine judgments that will take place toward the end of the age (Joel 2:30-32; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:1, 5).

This same phrase is employed a few times in the New Testament Christian Scriptures (Acts 2:20; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Peter 3:10). It is also alluded to in other passages (Revelation 6:17; 16:14). The New Testament calls it a day of “wrath,” a day of “visitation,” and the “great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14) and refers to a still future fulfillment when God’s wrath is poured out on unbelieving

Israel (Isaiah 22; Jeremiah 30:117; Joel 12; Amos 5; Zephaniah 1) and on the unbelieving world (Ezekiel 38–39; Zechariah 14). The Scriptures indicate that “the day of the Lord” will come quickly, like a thief in the night (Zephaniah 1:1415; 2 Thessalonians 2:2), and therefore Christians must be watchful and ready for the coming of Christ at any moment.

SUMMARY OF THE DAY OF THE LORD

Finally, the Day of the Lord will also be a time of salvation as God will deliver the remnant of Israel, fulfilling His promise that “all of Israel will be saved” (Romans 11:26), forgiving their sins and restoring His chosen people to the land He promised to

Abraham (Isaiah 10:27; Jeremiah 30:1931, 40; Micah 4; Zechariah 13). The final outcome of the Day of the Lord will be that “the arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled and  the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:17). The ultimate or final fulfillment of the prophecies concerning the Day of the Lord will come at the end of history when God, with wondrous power, will punish evil and fulfill all His promises.

RELATED SOURCES

Bible Mysteries; Donald P. Ryan, PhD; 2000. The Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy; Stephen M. Miller; 2010. The Last Days; Richard H. Perry; 2006. The Book of Revelation; Larry R. Helyer, PhD and Richard Wagner; 2008. Article by Dr. Thomas Ice. Bible Prophecy Revealed  by Dr. Grant Jeffrey. Article by Dr. David Reagan. Learn the by in 24 Hours by Dr. Chuck Missler. Comments by Dr. Gary Stearman. Got questions?org.

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