Meaning of “Day of the Lord,” Part 4

April 3, 2015 at 11:43 AM 1 comment

ObadiahIn our last article in this series – Meaning of “Day of the Lord,” Part 3 – we discussed several portions of Scripture that use either the phrase “day of the Lord,” or refer to it in some other way. We also spoke of a near/far fulfillment of numerous Scripture related to prophecy, beyond this, pointed to a clearly delineated gap that unequivocally exists between verses nine and ten of Zechariah 9.

In this article, we want to look at several other portions of Scripture (first mentioned in Part 2 of this series) that highlight aspects of the “day of the Lord.” Those sections are:

  • Jehovah’s Strange Work – Isaiah 28:21
  • The Day of Israel’s Calamity – Deuteronomy 32:35; Obadiah 12-14

Isaiah 28:21 reads as follows: “For the LORD will rise up as at Mount Perazim, He will be stirred up as in the valley of Gibeon, To do His task, His unusual task, And to work His work, His extraordinary work.”

Deuteronomy 32:35 states: “‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them’.”

Obadiah 1:12 – 14 reads:

12 Do not gloat over your brother’s day,
The day of his misfortune.
And do not rejoice over the sons of Judah
In the day of their destruction;
Yes, do not boast
In the day of their distress.

13“Do not enter the gate of My people
In the day of their disaster.
Yes, you, do not gloat over their calamity
In the day of their disaster.
And do not loot their wealth
In the day of their disaster.

14“Do not stand at the fork of the road
To cut down their fugitives;
And do not imprison their survivors
In the day of their distress.

I want to emphasize that if we merely take these three sections of Scripture by themselves and out of context, not allowing them to be interpreted by the rest of Scripture, it is possible to arrive to a conclusion where any reference to a final, culminating “day of the Lord” is not seen. In order to avoid this, we must leave the Scriptures within their own context and allow that context to help determine the full meaning for us. Anything less than this is surely faulty exegesis (pulling meaning from the text) of Scripture. Any student of the Bible worth his or her salt knows that since the entirety of the Bible was written ultimately by God Himself, then all of it needs to be studied to arrive at God’s intended meaning.

Isaiah 28 begins a new section (Isaiah 28-35) and it is being sent primarily to the Southern Kingdom, Judah.  The prophet Isaiah warns the drunkards (of Ephraim) that judgment is coming. In essence, Judah is being likened to a person who is a drunk or alcoholic. This whole section of Isaiah is the Lord building a case against Judah.

Just as God stood with His people on many occasions, His being “stirred up” in this passage means that He will be standing against His people because of their sin. References to “His task,” “His unusual task,” “to do His work,” and “His extraordinary work,” all reflect the fact that God will work against His people in judgment. While there was the “near” fulfillment of this, it also looks ahead to the days of the future when God will – during the Tribulation period – work against His own people for the final time as He purges them and pulls from within the nation of Israel the final remnant.

Deuteronomy 32:35 evidences the same thing. If we take all of Scripture together as one unit, we will certainly note that, like Ezekiel 28, which speaks directly of the human being known as the King of Tyre, but also of Satan himself and his final destruction, passages like this one in Deuteronomy, or the other sections mentioned in this article, ultimately point to the final and irrevocable judgment that God will enter into with Israel in order to break their proud spirit. They will be humbled before the Lord (Ezekiel 20:36).

The passage in Obadiah 1:12-14 is more prophetic language directed toward the people of Israel. In that section, though Judah had fallen, God was warning the Edomites to essentially “knock it off!” and stop gloating over Judah’s demise. Interestingly enough, nearly the entire book of Obadiah speaks of judgment against Edom for the way they acted upon learning of Judah’s fall. The book of Obadiah ends on a promise that Judah will be restored.

History tells us the attack against Jerusalem took place (most likely) between 848 – 841 BC and was precipitated by the Philistines and Arabians. Since Obadiah does not indicate here that Jerusalem was fully destroyed, this date is the better date than the attack that occurred under Nebuchadnezzar, in which Jerusalem was ultimately completely destroyed (586 BC).

Because of the way Edom acted towards Judah, God chose to bring nations against Edom. Edom was considered to be filled with pride, which is the root of so many sins in people, largely because pride creates such a deceptive understanding of ourselves. It actually causes us to think better of ourselves than we ought to do. Continued unchecked, God will certainly judge it in His people. Judgment was coming against Edom and when it came, it was complete.

Today, Petra, the city built into the rock cliffs and believed to be where Edom existed, is nothing more than a tourist area. Long ago, because they did nothing to help “Jacob,” Edomites were judged, found wanting, and defeated by God Himself using numerous nations of that area of the world to accomplish it. Note here that Israel (or rather the southern kingdom, Judah) is called “Jacob” in the text and you’ll recall we mentioned that when this occurs in Scripture, it is usually because the nation of Israel is not in favor with God.

Obadiah 1:15-16 states, “For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; as you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head. For as you drank on my holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually; yes, they shall drink, and swallow, and they shall be as though they had never been.

The first part of the above text promises that the “day of the LORD upon all nations is near.” Clearly, this is a reference to God’s final, work of judgment when He will pour out His wrath upon all nations and will finalize these judgments in the Sheep and the Goats judgment (Matthew 25:31-46), just prior to the start of the Millennial Reign of Jesus, physically on earth.

It is also noteworthy to learn that God says in Obadiah 1:17 that the house of Jacob will possess the Land (including Edom) and this points to the future. In fact, Obadiah 1:15-21 speaks clearly of the results of the coming “day of the Lord,” the judgments that will occur and the rewards that will be given. It is clearly futuristic because this portion of Scripture has not yet been fulfilled.

This is a good place to stop, but we’ll continue on with more Scripture next time!


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

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1 Comment

  • […] In our previous article on the meaning of the “day of the Lord,” we dealt with a number of passages from Scripture that reference the “day of the Lord.” We spent some time in Obadiah since the book is only one chapter in length. As we noted, there are some interesting things happening in that book and the very last portion of Obadiah indicates that the promises to restore Judah to the Land is as yet, an unfulfilled promise. Though it has not been fulfilled yet, we can count on it being fulfilled. […]


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