The Day of the Lord

By Mary Jane Chaignot

Categories: Biblical Teachings

  • The Day of the Lord generally refers to events that will take place at the end of time.
  • It really doesn’t refer to one “day,” but rather to a series of events. (Though some people think the events of this “day” will happen instantaneously.)
  • At this time, God will personally intervene in history to bring about the fulfillment of His will and purpose for mankind and the world.
  • The phrase is found dozens of times in the Old Testament. In addition, there are several allusions to it in other passages. It has been variously called a day of… “darkness, God’s wrath, battle, disaster, reckoning, vengeance, salvation, calamity, coming, great and dreadful.”
  • In the Old Testament, the phrase often conveyed a sense of expectation, even imminence. (The prophets frequently indicated the “Day” was near, it would be coming very quickly.)
  • Typically, the Israelites looked forward to the “Day of the Lord” as that time when their oppressors would be judged.
  • The prophets gave it a new twist by saying the apostasy of the Israelites had become so apparent that they were the ones who would be judged. They had, in fact, become like their enemies and could also expect judgment for their sins.
  • Amos, for example, called this “a day of darkness for Israel” (See Amos 5:18-20).
  • Indeed, this “Day” would comprise both disaster as well as salvation. · The prophet, Zephaniah, was referred to as the prophet of the Day of the Lord for his detailed description of what that day would be like. (See Zeph 1:7ff, 2:2-3, 3:8)
  • At the time of exile, many people thought the Day of the Lord had arrived.
  • This didn’t last, however, and soon people were again giving it an eschatological meaning, this time looking forward to it once again as a Day of Salvation.
  • The whole idea, of course, was to prompt people to repent – to change their lives and be ready.
  • Generally, the Day of the Lord would be preceded by tremendous upheaval, persecution, and tribulation.
  • This would all occur just before the divine intervention.
  • · Those righteous saints who would be killed in the process were given the assurance that they would be raised from the dead.
  • The wicked, however, would be condemned to eternal punishment.
  • But the righteous will exist with God in a land of harmony, peace, and abundance.
  • Old Testament images included the fact that this era would be preceded by a messiah (or king) from the house of David.
  • The synoptic gospel writers all include some aspect of the nearness of God’s kingdom in words that were usually spoken by Jesus.
  • Jesus’ exorcisms of demons were a demonstration of how Satan’s power was being overcome.
  • Indeed, the very appearance of Jesus was an indication that the Kingdom of God was at hand.
  • Revelation speaks of the final battle as a great day and describes the dwelling place for the righteous as a New Jerusalem.
  • There, the emphasis is on a completely new reality.
  • The bottom line is that even though The Day of the Lord is known as a time of judgment, it is also destined to be a time of salvation for the “remnant.” It will fulfill God’s promises: “all of Israel will be saved” (Rom 11:26); sins will be forgiven and his chosen people will be restored to the land; the arrogance of man will be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.
  • These events will occur in demonstration of God’s wondrous power when evil will be punished and his promises will all be fulfilled.
  • In Paul’s theology, the final day is in harmony with the second coming of Christ.
  • In addition to the Old Testament allusions to that “day,” the New Testament writers added a few of their own: the day of….“judgment, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord Jesus, slaughter, God, Christ, and the great day of God Almighty.”
  • In fact, the phrase is so commonly used that oftentimes Biblical writers simply refer to it as “that day” or “the day.”

Bible Characters