Meaning of “Day of the Lord” Part 3

April 1, 2015 at 10:25 AM 1 comment

jeremiah30Now that we took a side road through abortion territory with our last couple of articles, I want to get back on track with the subject related to the “day of the Lord.” In our last article – Part 2 – we discussed a number of things, including the various instances that the phrase “day of the Lord” (or its derivative) is used in the Old and New Testaments. I want to start looking closely at some of those instances to learn the specifics.

We noted last time that often, it appears that prophecies related to the “day of the Lord” have a near and a far reference or fulfillment. There is the example of Ezekiel 28:11-19 and the reference to the King of Tyre. Many students of the Bible (myself included) believe that while much of the text refers directly to the human being that was the actual King of Tyre, it appears that the text itself goes into far greater depth than something that could be attributed solely to a human being.

“However, some of the descriptions in Ezekiel 28:11–19 go beyond any mere human king. In no sense could an earthly king claim to be “in Eden” or to be “the anointed cherub who covers” or to be “on the holy mountain of God.” Therefore, most Bible interpreters believe that Ezekiel 28:11–19 is a dual prophecy, comparing the pride of the king of Tyre to the pride of Satan. Some propose that the king of Tyre was actually possessed by Satan, making the link between the two even more powerful and applicable.”

I personally know students of the Bible who disagree with this and believe it only refers to the human being who was also the King of Tyre. Fortunately, there has been no knock down, drag out fight over it…as far as I know. It appears to make more sense to me that these references to “Eden,” the “anointed cherub,” and “the holy mountain of God” are more than simple allegorical ways of stating something. They do not seem to be mere figures of speech. They have weight behind them. If we couple this with the fact that Lucifer in Isaiah 14, as well as places in Revelation, is seen as God’s highest created being, who clearly was in Eden (at least leading up to the fall of Eve and Adam), there is more than just a casual poetic reference to the King of Tyre as being more than a man. Some students go so far as to say that Satan possessed the King of Tyre, but we don’t know that for certain, though it is possible.

This is the type of understanding we gain from many prophecies and references in Scripture where a near/far situation exists and God seems to want us to see beyond the curtain just a bit. In the case of Lucifer who became Satan, it is also true. We gain another glimpse behind the curtain in Job 1 where we actually see Satan going before God with the “sons of God” (angelic beings, all of which are always described as male). In essence, Satan is made to report to God and provide information as to what he’s been doing and why. I’m sure it’s very galling for Satan to still have to answer to God especially in light of the promises he made in Isaiah 14 (his five “I wills”).

Regardless, with respect to prophecy and spiritual insight reflected in Scripture, we do often find that there is a near/far, surface/depth meaning in many places throughout Scripture. It takes a sharp eye, guided by the Holy Spirit to notice and understand. Much like medical researchers who are always studying the latest information, performing the most up-to-date tests and studies in order to find the most appropriate and correct information possible, students of the Bible must always do the same thing. We cannot rest on one or two verses of Scripture and say that we now have THE answer to our questions regarding Eschatology or any other doctrine of Scripture. We must always be searching to discover what God’s Word says when allowed to interpret itself.

Let’s take a look at two sections of Scripture in this article that deal with the “day of the Lord” introduced last time:

  • The Time of Jacob’s Trouble – Jeremiah 30:7
  • The Seventieth Week (a seven) of Daniel – Daniel 9:27

While each reference contains one verse each, it is exceedingly important that we note the context. First of all, we need to realize that the entirety of chapters 30 and 31 of Jeremiah speak of a great day of judgment. Here are the opening verses of Jeremiah 30:1-3:

“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book. For behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The Lord says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.”

According to Constable, Jeremiah chapters 30 – 33 make-up what he calls the Book of Consolation. Bearing that in mind, it is rather impossible to point to one verse in this section and build a theology on it. However, Jeremiah 30:7 epitomizes and captures the full essence of the coming day of the Lord.

“‘Alas! for that day is great,
There is none like it;
And it is the time of Jacob’s distress,
But he will be saved from it.”

Notice the use of the word “days,” in Jeremiah 30:3 (above) which says, “For behold, days are coming…” (emphasis added). This verse points to the full restoration of Israel’s AND Judah’s fortunes. The Lord tells us that He “will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.

Clearly, the prophecies held in this section of Jeremiah refer to all of Israel, including what became known as the Southern Kingdom of Judah, as both are mentioned individually. Jeremiah 30:7 points us to a time when it will be called “Jacob’s distress” and “there is none like it.” This last phrase is certainly reminiscent of our Lord’s own words in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24:21:

“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.”

If we look carefully at the passage and allow Scripture to interpret itself, it becomes somewhat obvious that Jeremiah was referring to a future event where it would stand out as being so terrible that no other event would be “like it.” Is this not representative of our Lord’s own words quoted above from Matthew?

This concept also ties in directly with Daniel 9:27, which states:

“And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.”

Daniel is the only place in Scripture which speaks of “weeks” and we’ve gone over this in several previous articles already. Though some tend to deny it, the “one week” here in Daniel ultimately refers to the exact same period referred to Jeremiah and other portions of Scripture that speak of the worst time ever for Jacob (Israel), which is still yet future.

It is important to realize also that Jeremiah 30:1-4 (and chapters 30 – 33 overall) refer to a time of terrible persecution for Israel as well as complete deliverance (cf. Zech. 12:10—13:1). So much so in fact, that they would possess the Land that God promised to Abraham.

The Jeremiah 30:7 references a partial fulfillment. If we take Jeremiah 30:7 by itself (within its context), we learn that the “great” day that is referenced here is the same one highlighted by the same events in Joel 2:11, Joel 2:31, Amos 5:18, and Zephaniah 1:14. The portion of the verse that speaks of “there is none like it”…”but he will be saved” also points to the prophecies of Daniel (12:1).

The use of the pronoun “he” points back to Jacob (Jacob’s distress) under the rule of first antecedent. It is important to also note that when God refers to Israel as Jacob, it is normally because Jacob (Israel) had done something wrong and was out of favor with God. When God refers to Israel as Israel, this was when Jacob (Israel) was normally in favor with God. Here, the time of Jacob’s “trouble” or “distress” is coming because of Jacob’s (e.g. Israel’s) continued rebellion against God. The fact that “he” will be saved is telling us that the final remnant of Israel (cf. Romans 9-11) will enjoy the fullness of God’s promises originally made to Abraham and this has not happened in all of history…yet.

It is also important to note that “The partial deliverance at Babylon’s downfall prefigures the final, complete deliverance of Israel, literal and spiritual, at the downfall of the mystical Babylon (Revelation 18:1-19:21′).” I think we can all agree that even though the Jewish captives were freed from Babylon after the appointed 70 years noted by Jeremiah, the reality is that the kingdom of Babylon simply began the “times of the Gentiles” (Daniel 2), in which Gentiles would maintain control over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. This disposition continues to this day.

So many things from beginning to end are connected in God’s Word. Because of that, it is of the utmost importance to take God’s Word in its entirety, allowing His Word to interpret itself, before choosing to arrive to conclusions that ultimately may not be in harmony with His Word.

God’s Word is timeless in many ways. Though there are many prophecies filled with partial fulfillment, they continue to point to final and full fulfillment, something that is yet future.

We’ll continue this next time.

Entry filed under: israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology. Tags: , , , , .

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