The Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord

By Pastor Steven L Anderson

 

"The Day of the Lord" is an important phrase in the Bible referring to the coming day when God will begin to pour out his wrath upon this earth.

 

Whether in the Old or New Testament, scriptures dealing with the Day of the Lord are very consistent and upon comparison paint a very clear picture of this coming day of God's wrath.

 

Isa 13:6 "Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty."

 

Isa 13:7 "Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt:"

 

Isa 13:8 "And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames."

 

Isa 13:9 "Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it."

 

Isa 13:10 "For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine."

 

Isa 13:11 "And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible."

 

Isa 13:12 "I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir."

 

Isa 13:13 "Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger."

 

Here are some elements found in this passage that will be seen repeated again and again in scriptures dealing with the Day of the Lord:

1. God's wrath

2. Destruction upon the wicked

3. Sun, moon, and stars darkened

4. Heaven and earth shaken

5. Likened unto a woman being in travail (labor)

 

Joe 1:15 "Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come."

 

Joel 2:9 "They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief."

 

Joel 2:10 "The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:"

 

Joel 2:11 "And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?"

 

Joel 2:30 "And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke."

 

Joel 2:31 "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come."

 

In these scriptures from the book of Joel, we find many of the same elements:

1. God's wrath

2. Destruction upon the wicked

3. Sun, moon, and stars darkened

4. Heaven and earth shaken

5. Likened unto a thief

6. Clouds and darkness

7. Fire

 

Amo 5:18 "Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light."

 

Amo 5:19 "As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him."

 

Amo 5:20 "Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?"

 

In Amos' description, we see again:

1. Destruction upon the wicked

2. Total darkness

 

Zep 1:14 "The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly."

 

Zep 1:15 "That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,"

 

Zep 1:16 "A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers."

 

Zep 1:17 "And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung."

 

Zep 1:18 "Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land."

 

In Zephaniah's description, we see again:

1. God's wrath

2. Destruction upon the wicked

3. Clouds and darkness

4. Mighty men crying bitterly

5. A trumpet

6. Fire

 

When we get into the New Testament, God is still making the same type of references to the Day of the Lord:

 

Act 2:19 "And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:"

 

Act 2:20 "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:"

 

Act 2:21 "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

 

In Acts 2, Joel 2 is being quoted, and again we see:

1. Destruction upon the unsaved

2. Sun and moon darkened

3. Clouds and darkness

4. Fire

 

1Th 5:1 "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you."

 

1Th 5:2 "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night."

 

1Th 5:3 "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."

 

1Th 5:4 "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."

 

1Th 5:5 "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."

 

1Th 5:6 "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."

 

1Th 5:7 "For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night."

 

1Th 5:8 "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."

 

1Th 5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ"

 

Once again, the same elements are associated with the Day of the Lord:

1. God's wrath

2. Destruction upon the unsaved

3. Darkness

4. Likened unto a woman in travail (labor)

5. Likened unto a thief

 

2Pe 3:10 "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."

 

1. Likened unto a thief

2. Heavens pass away with a great noise

3. Fire

 

Now that we have seen all three explicit references to the phrase "the Day of the Lord" in the New Testament, we need to put 1 Thessalonians 5 in its proper context. 1 Thessalonians 5 begins with the conjunction "but" and is a continuation of the thought begun in chapter 4.

 

1Th 4:13 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope."

 

1Th 4:14 "For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."

 

1Th 4:15 "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep."

 

1Th 4:16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:"

 

1Th 4:17 "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."

 

1Th 4:18 "Wherefore comfort one another with these words. This, of course, is the clearest, most famous passage in the Bible concerning the rapture. However, many stop reading there instead of going on to chapter 5 and getting the rest of the story."

 

1Th 5:1 "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you."

 

1Th 5:2 "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night."

 

What is he referring to when he says, "the times and seasons"? He is referring to the times and seasons of what he just told us about in chapter 4 – the rapture. The church at Thessalonica had no need for Paul to write unto them of the times and seasons of the rapture because they already knew that the Day of the Lord is coming as a thief in the night. Therefore the timing of the Day of the Lord is the same as the timing of the rapture.

 

1Th 5:3 "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."

 

1Th 5:4 "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."

 

1Th 5:5 "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."

 

1Th 5:6 "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober."

 

1Th 5:7 "For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night."

 

1Th 5:8 "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."

 

1Th 5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:9 is referring back to the rapture discussed in 1 Thessalonians 4 and helps tie the entire passage together. Believers will be caught up in the rapture the same day as God pours out his wrath upon this earth. God's wrath will be poured out upon the earth immediately after the rapture takes place.

 

This is exactly what Jesus taught in Luke 17:

 

Luk 17:26 "And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man."

 

Luk 17:27 "They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all."

 

Luk 17:28 "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;"

 

Luk 17:29 "But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all."

 

Luk 17:30 "Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed."

 

Luk 17:31 "In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back."

 

Luk 17:32 "Remember Lot's wife."

 

Luk 17:33 "Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it."

 

Luk 17:34 "I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left."

 

Luk 17:35 "Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left." 

 

Luk 17:36 "Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left."

 

Luk 17:37 "And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together."

 

Here Jesus is comparing the day when the Son of man is revealed to the days of the flood. Just as it began to rain the same day that Noah entered into the ark, God's judgment will come on the same day we are taken out of this world via the rapture. Likewise, just as fire rained on Sodom the same day Lot was taken out by the two angels, God's fiery judgment will be poured out on the same day we are taken out of this world by the rapture. That day is known as "the Day of the Lord." Luke 17 is 100% consistent with 1 Thessalonians 4 and 5.

 

Now let's look at another classic "Day of the Lord" passage from the New Testament.

 

Rev 6:12 "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;"

 

Rev 6:13 "And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind."

 

Rev 6:14 "And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places."

 

Rev 6:15 "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;"

 

Rev 6:16 "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:"

 

Rev 6:17 "For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"

 

Here we see another clear reference to the day of the Lord, and all the key elements are there.

1. God's wrath

2. Destruction upon the unsaved

3. Sun, moon, and stars darkened

4. The heavens rolled back

5. Earthquake

 

It is important to note that here the King James Bible states that the day of his wrath "is come." Modern Bible versions have changed this to say "has come" and have thereby slightly altered the meaning. The phrase "is come" is clearly letting us know that the day of God's wrath had not come at a previous time but had just arrived at this instant. The Day of the Lord is again marked by the sun, moon, and stars being darkened, just as it is over and over again throughout the Old and New Testaments. Thus it is undeniable by anyone that the great day of the Lord's wrath occurs directly after the sixth seal is opened in Revelation 6 and not sooner.

 

Next we see the following statements opening chapter 7:

 

Rev 7:1 "And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree."

 

Rev 7:2 "And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,"

 

Rev 7:3 "Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."

 

It is clear from these verses that up to this point, God has not begun to damage the earth, the trees, or the sea. God's wrath is about to be poured out in the form of hail and fire mingled with blood that will burn up a third part of the trees and all the green grass. However, the rapture must first take place before he begins to rain fire upon the earth and pour out his wrath. Directly after this pronouncement and before God begins to pour out his wrath in Revelation 8, an innumerable multitude appears in heaven:

 

Rev 7:9 "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;"

 

Rev 7:13 "And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?"

 

Rev 7:14 "And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

 

Rev 7:15 "Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them."

 

Rev 7:16 "They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat."

 

Rev 7:17 "For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Now that all believers have been removed he can begin to pour out his wrath the same day."

 

Rev 8:1 "And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour."

 

Rev 8:2 "And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets."

 

Rev 8:3 "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne."

 

Rev 8:4 "And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."

 

Rev 8:5 "And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake."

 

Rev 8:6 "And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound."

 

Rev 8:7 "The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up."

 

Now let's look at the clearest passage of all, Matthew 24, in which Jesus clearly lays out the timeline of the rapture in relationship with the Day of the Lord in perfect harmony with 1 Thessalonians 4 & 5 and Luke 17:

 

Mat 24:29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:"

 

Mat 24:30 "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

 

Mat 24:31 "And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."

 

Here we see that the Day of the Lord and the rapture (which take place on the same day) occur immediately after the tribulation. Therefore the "tribulation" is not God pouring out his wrath since the great day of his wrath does not come until after the tribulation! Let's keep reading in Matthew 24:

 

Mat 24:32 "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:"

 

Mat 24:33 "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors."

 

Mat 24:34 "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

 

Mat 24:35 "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."

 

Mat 24:36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

 

Mat 24:37 "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

 

Mat 24:38 "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,"

 

Mat 24:39 "And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

 

Mat 24:40 "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left."

 

Mat 24:41 "Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left."

 

Mat 24:42 "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."

 

Many people will refer to the fact that "no man knoweth the day nor the hour" of Christ's coming at the rapture which is referred to in verses 36 and 42. They are right to do so. However, they conveniently ignore the statement in verse 29 that this day will come after the tribulation and teach that Christ could come "at any moment" even thought the tribulation has not yet taken place.