Meaning of “Day of the Lord” Part 2

March 29, 2015 at 5:47 PM 2 comments

dayofthelordLast time, in part one, we pointed out how important context is when we attempt to discern meaning in normal conversation. We would do well to ask how much more important context is when studying God’s Word to determine what it is HE is telling us. We need to remember that we are reading His Word, written ultimately by Him and because of that, our obligation is determine what He is saying, not what we think He is saying.

Admittedly, there are areas in Scripture where there is some wiggle room. Moreover, there are even places in Scripture where it is difficult to say with certainty that a particular passage has a meaning that we have adopted. It is imperative that we grasp this concept.

For instance, two people can read the same set of passages that deal with whether or not salvation is eternally secure or can be lost. Each person may come away from Scripture with the each separate belief. How is that problem resolved? The only thing that can be done is to continue to study His Word, humbly submitting to Him for His discernment and understanding.

There are people who believe that the Bible teaches “oneness” doctrine, that there is one God (that is true) as only one Person (that is not true). Because of that, they believe that Jesus was God, but at times, He is the Father, and at other times, He is the Holy Spirit. This flatly denies the triune nature of God that – to me – seems to be clearly evident in the Bible.

Throughout history, since the beginning and establishment of the Church, there have been major disagreements over specific doctrines that continue to this day. While we should always understand that those who do not espouse the “five fundamentals” of the faith are either bordering on heresy or are themselves heretics, we need to realize that without these five basic fundamentals, there can be no real salvation for people. They must accept them as they are, as taught in Scripture:

  1. The Trinity: God is one “What” and three “Whos” with each “Who” possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.
  2. The Person of Jesus Christ: Jesus is 100% God and 100% man for all eternity.
  3. The Second Coming: Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth to rule and judge.
  4. Salvation: It is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
  5. The Scripture: It is entirely inerrant and sufficient for all Christian life.

Too many people add to this, telling us that your view of Eschatology can make or break your claim to salvation. The problem of course, is that Eschatology (study of end times) is very complex and not as easy to comprehend as other truths in Scripture. Moreover, it is never connected in any way, shape, or form with the requirements of salvation. Anyone stating otherwise is telling an untruth.

So it is that we again turn to the phrase the “day of the Lord” in this second part of our (hopefully) short series on the true meaning of this phrase. We noted yesterday that the meaning of this phrase can mean one thing to one person and another to another person. What we are trying to do is simply provide meaning based on as much Scripture as possible in this series and then you can decide yourself what makes sense to you.

It is important to understand first, that the “day of the Lord” (DOTL) often represents a span of time, not a singular day or one single event. We’ll look to Scripture in a moment to provide some examples. Note also that there are many different names for this period, depending upon the person called upon by the Lord to write a section of His Word. The phrase DOTL (or its equivalent) is used some 20 or so times in the Old Testament. Because of that, it is imperative to thoroughly research each usage to determine if/how they tie together.

In the remainder of this article, we’ll introduce the various names for DOTL and note where they are found in God’s Word. It is important to also understand that without looking at every instance in God’s Word, we will not be able to arrive at a complete picture of what God is telling us with respect to the phrase, “day of the Lord” and all its ramifications. Though God chose roughly 40 human authors over a period of between 1,600 and 2,000 years to write His Word, ultimately, He is the Author. Because of this, it is clear that God’s Word needs to be allowed to interpret itself and that is only accomplished when we refer to all areas in His Word which speak to the “day of the Lord.”

Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum in his book – “Footsteps of the Messiah” [1] – notes that the following terms are used to signify either the “day of the Lord” or the coming period of Tribulation:

Old Testament

  • The Time of Jacob’s Trouble – Jeremiah 30:7
  • The Seventieth Week (a seven) of Daniel – Daniel 9:27
  • Jehovah’s Strange Work – Isaiah 28:21
  • The Day of Israel’s Calamity – Deuteronomy 32:35; Obadiah 12-14
  • The Tribulation – Deuteronomy 4:30
  • The Indignation – Isaiah 26:20; Daniel 11:36
  • The Overflowing Scourge – Isaiah 28:15, 18
  • The Day of Vengeance – Isaiah 34:8; 35:4; 61:2
  • The Year of Recompense – Isaiah 34:8
  • The Time of Trouble – Daniel 12:1; Zephaniah 1:15
  • The Day of Wrath – Zephaniah 1:15
  • The Day of Distress – Zephaniah 1:15
  • The Day of Wasteness – Zephaniah 1:15
  • The Day of Desolation – Zephaniah 1:15
  • The Day of Darkness – Zephaniah 1:15; Amos 5:18, 20; Joel 2:2
  • The Day of Gloominess – Zephaniah 1:15; Joel 2:2
  • The Day of Clouds – Zephaniah 1:15; Joel 2:2
  • The Day of Thick Darkness – Zephaniah 1:15; Joel 2:2
  • The Day of the Trumpet – Zephaniah 1:16
  • The Day of Alarm – Zephaniah 1:16

New Testament

  • The Day of the Lord – 1 Thessalonians 5:2
  • The Wrath of God – Revelation 15:1, 7; 14:10, 19; 16:1
  • The Hour of Trial – Revelation 3:10
  • The Great Day of the Wrath of the Lamb of God – Revelation 6:16-17
  • The Wrath to Come – 1 Thessalonians 1:10
  • The Wrath – 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 11:18
  • The Great Tribulation – Matthew 24:21; Revelation 2:22; 7 :14
  • The Tribulation – Matthew 24:9
  • The Hour of Judgment – Revelation 14:7

As you peruse the above names, you’ll note some repetition throughout the list even though from different human authors. The important thing to ask is do all these various names for the “day of the Lord” mean or refer to the same event and are they all referring to one specific day?

Another important question to ask is whether or not the prophetic leanings of these particular sections of Scripture were completely fulfilled already or was there some measure of partial fulfillment during or not long after each prophet/writer spoke the warnings provided him by God? In other words, was there a sense of a near/far orientation with respect to many/most of these prophecies?

What we are attempting to determine is the following:

  1. Is the “day of the Lord” (and any of its other designations in Scripture) referring to one specific day or a span of time?
  2. Are the prophecies connected to the “day of the Lord” things that have already occurred completely or was there a partial fulfillment?
  3. If there was a partial fulfillment to these prophecies, when did they occur?
  4. What, if anything, is left to occur in front of us, on future’s horizon?

We will look at these questions and others in upcoming articles, so please join me then.


[1] Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah (2004), p. 174

Entry filed under: Posttribulational Rapture, Pretribulational Rapture, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , .

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