The Day of the Lord

This is a continuation of sorts of the posts Soon and So…What Happened? as well as sidebars of other post. These posts were written also to stand on their own in the case that God leads me in another direction with writing. Generally, the day before, I have no idea what I may write about on the following day. Likewise, yesterday was the same. While talking with God this morning, this seems to be the next step. In addition, I generally only have a discombobulated concept in my head that makes perfect sense to me but takes some correlation to put it in words.
As with, and correlating to, the soon terminology, there is a lot of language pointing towards a specific “day” throughout the New Testament. This language is also mentioned in the Old Testament writings and more adamantly presented in Malachi. Though the specific day and hour were unknown, the time frame is listed as that generation. As well, Jesus and the disciples also make reference to their respective audiences that some of those listeners would live to see that “day” (as referenced in the “Soon” post).
Here are some of the verses that all seem to be referencing that day, with my emphasis for easier reading. Please refer to the full context if interested and feel free to skip around as the concept may become quite repetitive:
Malachi 4:5—Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Yahweh comes. (Matt 11:13-14 John the Baptist was Elijah).
This is no doubt referring to the Second Coming of Jesus when he comes in judgment. If it were referencing Pentecost, it wouldn’t have been referenced as terrible. Likewise, it seems the rest of the scriptures were also referencing this same day.
Matt 7:22—Many will tell me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many mighty works?’
This is referencing a soon-coming judgment as also repeated in Matt 25. The time frame starts in Matt 23:36-37, is reiterated at the beginning of chapter 24 (i.e. v1-3), and continues in Matt 25 as one continuous prophecy of the Second Coming of Jesus in judgment.
Luke 10:12—I tell you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.
A few interesting things are going on in this verse. First, as with the others, it’s referencing a specific day of judgment. Additionally, it is hinting that there will be varying degrees of judgment, some more tolerable that others! This throws quite the monkey wrench in the doctrine of all sinners burning in hell for all eternity.
Luke 17:30—It will be the same way in the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
Again, this seems to be referencing the Second coming of Jesus since this was at a point when he was already in the full swing of his ministry. Additionally, the next verse is again referencing the prophecy of the coming destruction (v31).
Luke 21:34—“So be careful, or your hearts will be loaded down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that day will come on you suddenly.
Here we see something very interesting—the why of the early church being told to be careful and aware. If these early Christians weren’t paying attention to the signs, they would likely get caught up in the judgment coming. Verses 35 and 36 go on to state that they could be snared and even that escape was possible (for those who watched the signs carefully). These are some directed concepts that only seem to make sense in regards to those of the 1st century. Like with Matt 24, this was again all in the context of the temple’s destruction (v5-6)
Romans 2:16—in the day when God will judge the secrets of men, according to my Good News, by Jesus Christ.
As all of these “day” references reiterate, there is to be a judgment. The context of timing is always soon.
1 Cor 3:13—each man’s work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man’s work is.
Hebrews 10:25—not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more, as you see the Day approaching.
This is one of those verses that is often taken out of it’s context and misappropriated to something that wasn’t its’ original intent. The author here is encouraging the congregation to continue to meet under extreme persecution based on the time period and the rest of this letter. This wasn’t about requiring people to meet or else they were doomed to hell. In addition, this verse makes reference to these people seeing the signs of the Second Coming as imminent! This is (in my opinion based on the rest of the N.T. passages) referencing Jesus’ prophetic warning signs from Matt 24 and the likes.
2 Thess 2:2—I wanted to point this passage out to mention that some Christians knew that the day was coming so soon that they thought it might have already passed. Paul reminds them that the “man of sin” must come first and there must be a falling away. Many Christians did fall away under the persecution. The “man of sin” is another topic, but again seems to have transpired, based on the timing suggested in the N.T. around the period leading up to the temple’s destruction.
I’ve only made it part of the way though the passages, but I believe the point is fairly clear. I’ll list some of the other verses if interested in further research, though there are many more. Emphasis below is mine for easier viewing.

1 Thess 5:2 – for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
1 Thess 5:4 – But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
2 Tim 1:12 – That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.
2 Tim 1:18 – May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus.
2 Tim 4:8 – Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
1 Cor 1:8 – He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 5:5 – hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
Phil 1:6 – being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Phil 1:10 – so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
2 Peter 2:9 – if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment
2 Peter 3:7 – By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
2 Peter 3:12 – as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.
Acts 2:20 – The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
Jude 1:6 – And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling–these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day.
Rev 6:17 – For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can withstand it?”
Rev 16:14 – They are demonic spirits that perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
Rom 2:5 –  But according to your hardness and unrepentant heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath, revelation, and of the righteous judgment of God;
Matt 10:15 – Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
Matt 11:22 – But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.
Matt 11:24 – But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
Matt 12:36 – But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.
1 John 4:17 – This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.
Ephes 4:30 – Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
John 6:39-40 – And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.  For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”
John 6:54 – Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.
John 11:24 – Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

All of these point to a day of the Lord, day of judgment/wrath, great day, last day, etc…They all reference the same time period and signs that were being made evident to the 1st century Christians. They were all looking forward to that day as it was rapidly approaching. If we deny the overwhelming evidence of scripture, we in turn make the Bible of little use other than a book of random philosophical teachings. Our religion then becomes the same as any other religion on earth. When placed into the context of the soon terminology, Jesus’ words—also reiterated in the apostles’ teachings, and the repeated association of the “day” terminology, we get a different view of when and to whom the scriptures were directed. Such evidence, when laid aside in favor of tradition, can violate the very passages we uphold so adamantly.
Now, I know I come across as quite direct here, but I think this is quite a glazed over concept that is stretched into a far-future fulfillment. Based on the contexts, this doesn’t seem very likely when comparing all of the varying books and authors. They all seem to be talking about that soon-coming Day. They all seemed to speak as though that Day would undoubtedly come within their generation. They seem to intimate that the signs Jesus spoke of were being seen by themselves and their fellow Christians in the 1st Century.
If, for all their divinely inspired writings, they were so inexorably wrong about this concept, then we have a Bible that we can never hope to understand and is subject to whatever whim we, or anyone else, wishes to apply to it.
As always, I would like to say this can all be set aside if it isn’t something that is helpful in your journey towards Father, with Jesus, and in the Holy Spirit. I only wish to present my viewpoint so as to help clarify the awkwardness in which these passages are often viewed.
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18 thoughts on “The Day of the Lord

  1. I believe the Bible is incredibly eschatological from beginning to end. Everything is wrapped up in the Day of the Lord. While there are many fulfilled prophecies (like Jesus’ first coming), there are just as many (if not more) that are unfulfilled. Everything looks forward to that time – a day of vengeance and wrath, but also of redemption and glory. The end times is a pet investigation of mine, and I hesitate to say so because there are so many dubious warnings going forth today. I don’t know how deeply you’ve studied this through, but I’d like to encourage you to look at the Scripture as one massive continuum. What Moses said the prophets picked up and carried further. What the prophets said Jesus picked up. What Jesus said the apostles picked up. It is all the same message from beginning to end, pointing unto the day when Christ returns and ushers in a Kingdom that all nations will submit unto (see Isa 2:2-4 and Zech 14:16 for example).
    Grace and peace. I’ll be examining a few other blog posts by you =)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I’ve been seeing the Bible more as a continuum as of late and studying it in that context. My approach, as it seems God has led me, is studying the Bible from the Gospels outward in both directions. This seems to make the most sense to me.

      Recently, I’ve been researching what the Bible says about the Second Coming, especially the direct correlation to historical events such as the war from 66-73 AD that centered around the destruction of the temple in 70. Jesus makes several references to this event and, as I’ve studied, the timing of Jesus’ prophecies and the end of that age all seem to be pointing to that period. As I walk this out, I’ve been writing my viewpoint sort of like a journal. What I’m coming to see has been so illuminating that it has drawn me exponentially closer to Jesus than I ever thought I could be in this life.

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      • I am pleased to hear that it is really helping you grow in your walk =)
        I’ll admit that I still hold to a future fulfillment of these prophecies, mainly holding to the idea of “now, not yet”. There are tremendous true applications of the fall of Jerusalem that apply to what Jesus said in Matthew 24 and parallels. Yet, Jesus also said that the abomination of desolation was future (which means Antiochus Epiphanes wasn’t the fulfillment of Daniel’s “king of the north”). The hardest part of understanding the end times is this: How can Jesus and all the disciples say “soon”, and yet the things they have claimed should happen (return of Jesus in the clouds, resurrection from the dead, redemption of Israel, no more death, no more sin, resurrection of creation, principalities and powers being defeated, etc) have not come into fruition? I saw this question on another one of your posts. I’ll be honest that I don’t have a satisfactory answer, and I’m not sure there is one. My best reply is that when Jesus made that statement it was related to something that wouldn’t put the context of all of prophecy to be fulfilled with that generation, or that the word for generation might have a metaphoric meaning of “race” or “people”.

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      • The soon terminology is something I’m working through, verse by verse even. I’ve mostly been correlating the gospels and epistles so far.

        To me, it would seem Matt 24 is all one continuous prophecy. I don’t see any obvious leaps between soon and further future. I’ve only recently started viewing the prophecy this way as I mostly held to the “now and not yet” view previously. The abomination of desolation standing in the holy place would make sense (to me) to be the Romans. Wherever the corpse is, there the ἀετός (eagles) are gathered (Matt 24:28). The standards of the Romans bore the “Eagle” at the top along with the emblem of Caesar on the banner. The Jewish people considered this an abomination as the Caesars set themselves up as “the sons of god.” Likewise, the Romans encamped Jerusalem for a similar period of time mentioned in Daniel 12:11. It took about that amount of time also before the holy people were “broken,” and all things were completed (v7). This represents to me the end of the age (the Jewish dispensation), the tribulation period, the judgment, and the beginning of the new age. This would also explain why Jesus listed all of these prophecies warning the disciples, who warned the early church, to “flee from Judea” when they saw the signs coming to increasing fulfillment as Jesus had laid out. Some did and avoided the tribulation that took place inside of Jerusalem and all over Judea.

        Yes, there are still some issues I have with things like Jesus in the clouds and such, but he did say that some standing there would in no way taste of death until they saw him coming in a similar manner (Matt 16:27-28). In addition, there was at least one period when there was a bodily resurrection of the dead in the Bible, but it seems to be almost completely overlooked today (Matt 27:52-53). I’m still working through a lot of this but in part I believe there to be a lot that isn’t in the Bible in regards to the prophecies fulfilled though there are strong correlations to what the early church was witnessing in the signs. The actual things that transpired could have been at work in both the physical and spiritual realms as well as the general symbolism of prophecy (example – the stars falling could reference the former Jewish authorities being stripped of their power).

        These are some of my prospective views as of now. I’m just beginning to get into Revelation and also starting to read Josephus’ unique account from both within Jerusalem, and then from within the Roman camp. I admit I still have a long way to go and am by no means a scholar in these areas.

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      • I understand. I held to the preterist view for a while. It was my inability to line up all of the phenomena described in the New Testament (spiritualizing them didn’t seem to satisfy me) that caused me to second guess. I honestly do think that Jesus was talking about the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. And I honestly believe that Isaiah was prophesying of the Assyrian, Daniel of Antiochus, Ezekiel of the Babylonians, etc. What caught my attention, which caused me to also question whether I could truly put everything in the past, was how similar the language seems to be across the board. Keep digging. As much as I want to be the guy who says anyone who disagrees with my position is wrong, I’m not going to be that guy lol. I do think that there are patterns and types, and there are fulfillments in history, but the patterns and fulfillments all point to a final tribulation yet future. And, I’ll also say that because of my searching, I’ve come to radically different opinions than almost anyone else I’ve heard or read. I’m not a dispensationalist, don’t believe in the rapture, disagree with many of my post-trib friends, and believe that Israel still has a vital role to play in the Kingdom of God. Good luck to your searching. At the end of the day, it is always worth wrestling with opinions (whether true or not) regarding the Scripture.

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      • Yes, I’m not fully satisfied by the spiritualizing of some of the events and I do continually second guess them. The preterist view has been useful in understanding much of prophecy so far though. I try to keep an open mind as I keep digging. I do see a lot of similarities in the patterns I’ve researched so far, but I’m hesitant to consider a meaning as applicable today/future before I’ve had a chance to more fully investigate the 1st century relevance. That opens a whole new can of worms. I’m also hesitant because it seems that all those prophecies were directly relating to specific events during the Jewish age and that age was brought to an end. I guess what I’m trying to say is, whatever relevance prophecy has to our age would be questionable to say the least unless the signs were to specifically start reoccurring as they did during the 1st century. Then, I would be the first to run for the hills.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re correct. If they rebuild a temple and start sacrificing upon it, it is time to run for the hills lol. When you read through Revelations, notice how often John quotes the Old Testament, and what I’ve found incredibly helpful is to go back to what he is quoting. Often the context of what he is quoting will help you understand what he is trying to communicate. For example, in Revelation 9, John speaks of locusts that harm people for 5 months. You go back to Joel 1-2 (what he is referencing) and the context seems to be of this northern army coming down and just obliterating Israel. Yet, Joel’s prophecy should have already been fulfilled. What I believe John is doing is taking the pieces and weaving them together. There is an original context, and that is never to be thrown aside. Then, there is somehow a future implication that John is drawing from, whether for 70 AD or for something yet future. This happens constantly through the book of Revelations. I think that is one reason it is so often misinterpreted.

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