Meaning of “Day of the Lord” Part 6

April 22, 2015 at 6:44 AM

isaiah_61_2Previously, in Day of the Lord, Part 5, we discussed several passages in Deuteronomy, Obadiah, and Isaiah. Since then, I’ve posted other articles but wanted to get back to this series. It’s important because of the confusion that exists for people regarding just exactly what this “day of the Lord” represents. Is it one particular day? Is a specific span of time of limited duration? What is it? Can we know?

Hopefully, I’ve made it clear that yes, I believe we can know. In order to truly comprehend the facts surrounding the “day of the Lord,” we cannot simply pick one or two verses from here or there and arrive to a theological conclusion. We must allow God’s Word to speak to the matter fully by allowing that Word to interpret itself.

We must get beyond trying to place meaning into the Scriptures (eisegesis). Our job is to pull God’s meaning from His Word. Yet, all too often (and we’ve all done this whether we’re honest enough to admit it or not), we read into Scripture. We then arrive to conclusions that are not God’s intended meaning. As merely one example, in a very recent article, I wrote about the problematic interpretations of Zechariah 13:6 (Is Zechariah 13:6 Talking About Jesus or Someone Else?). People continue to believe that this particular verse refers directly to Jesus. However, when the context is thoroughly considered, it becomes very clear (or should) that the entirety of that chapter is dealing with false prophets, not God the Son!

I find it remarkable how many people today who carry a Bible, call themselves Christians, and even attend church can be so vapid when it comes to even the basics of understanding God’s Word. I realize that may sound a bit egotistical, but I don’t mean it that way. Every Christian should have the type of discernment that guides them through the study of His Word. It should be the norm that Christians know how to “rightly divide” His Word (2 Timothy 2:15). Instead, too many rely on one or two favorite verses and fail to grasp the greater meaning of His Word. You would think that God is there for our pleasure, to fulfill our needs, to make our life happy. He is NOT. We are here to serve Him, to fulfill His will, to give Him joy at a job well done!

The “day of the Lord” (DOTL) represents a time of judgment and that is very clear even from the few verses we have touched on in this series. What is not necessarily as clear is how long a period of time is represented by the DOTL and when it is supposed to occur. We’re going to look at a few more Scripture references to see if we can shed more light on the subject. Eventually, we want to cover all the Scripture that deals with anything to do with the DOTL.

Last time, we dealt with Deuteronomy 4:30, Isaiah 26:20, and Daniel 11:36. Let’s move onto the next several referenced in our article, Meaning of the Lord, Part 2:

  • The Overflowing Scourge – Isaiah 28:15, 18
  • The Day of Vengeance – Isaiah 34:8; 35:4; 61:2

Please be reminded that these individual verses are simply focal points, but they should always remain within their context. There is a reason these verses say what they say and it is normally based on what is stated beforehand.

Isaiah 28:15 – “Because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception’.”

The above verse connects to a section where God is warning that He will deal with Israel because of several things. It seems clear that this section also refers to a time of coming, future judgment upon Israel for their lack of discernment, wisdom, and obedience to the Lord. However, let’s please remember that THE reason the leaders of Israel act like this is due solely to the fact that they have not put their faith in Jesus, their Messiah. In essence, they are UNSAVED and in order for them to be able to follow the Lord’s commands willingly, they must first know Him and that can only be accomplished after receiving salvation.

For too long, Israel’s leaders have scoffed at God and His rule over them. Israel – the only nation that God ever created for the specific purpose of being a light to other nations, ultimately, through the birth of the Savior – has a long history of refusing God through rebellion. But God’s long-suffering kept Him after them because of His promises originally made to Abraham, then reissued through Isaac, and Jacob.

The immediate context of verse 15 quoted above is Isaiah 28:14-16, which states:

“Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, O scoffers, Who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, For we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.” Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed…”

The idea of the “overwhelming scourge” was something that was on the horizon for Israel. In verses 1 – 13 of Isaiah 28, we see references to the coming woes for the Northern Kingdom (Israel). This kingdom lasted approximately 250 years and there was not one righteous king in all that time. Eventually, the Assyrians came in and destroyed the Northern Kingdom. God pointedly notes to Israel’s leaders (through Isaiah) that their “covenant with death” will not save them in the coming day of destruction and judgment.

These judgments often have a near/far application, especially if we consider that the Israel once again became an official nation in 1948 and a language that had been dead for generations (Hebrew) was now enjoying a resurgence. That Israel once again became a nation is referenced in Ezekiel 37 with the “valley of dry bones.” It does NOT refer to the Church in any way, shape, or form. In Ezekiel 37:11, we read the following words by God Himself:

“Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel…

Amazingly, many today read that and interpret it to refer to the Church. Yet, from the text itself, it is clear that God is referring to Israel. Even if we include the Church in this (and proper exegesis does not allow that), we cannot ignore the fact that God is speaking about the nation He created – Israel.

Tied together with this is Isaiah 34:8 – “For the LORD has a day of vengeance, A year of recompense for the cause of Zion.

This verse (and surrounding context) refers to a specific period of time – a “day” – in which God will pay back on behalf of His cause through Zion. This clearly speaks to a future time because Israel once again exists as a nation. Had God intended to decimate Israel (and Zion, or Jerusalem) completely in the past so that there was no chance of it rising again, He would have done so. Today’s Israel is no accident. The current nation of Israel is completely within the scope of God’s will. He is not finished with Israel and many prophecies point to that fact.

The other two verses in Isaiah (35:4 and 61:2) inform us of God’s intent where Israel is concerned.

  • Isaiah 35:4 – “Say to those with anxious heart, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.”
  • Isaiah 61:2 – “To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn…”

The only way around any of this is to allegorize Scripture so that verses clearly applying to Israel are made to apply to the Church. This is wrong as it changes God’s intended meaning. It removes Israel itself from being the apple of God’s eye (cf. Zechariah 2:8).

There is a coming “day” of vengeance, prepared by the Lord Himself. It begins with the Tribulation because it will be during that time that Israel will go through the purification process. Many, making up the final remnant of Israel – will be purified and that clearly includes receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord. Salvation for the Jew is exactly the same for the Gentile and visa versa. Israel enters the Tribulation as a nation unsaved and without God. This is why THEY need to go through the purification process.

The true invisible Church – on the other hand – already has salvation. We are being built into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27; 1 Peter 2:5). It is a process that is happening now because of our salvation. We have already been purified and are now seated with Christ, in the heavenlies (cf. Ephesians 2:4-7). This is the HUGE difference between Israel and the Church. God is not done with Israel and in many ways, has not even begun to work on them. There is coming a “day” when He will do just that.

As Christians, yes, we are being formed into the character of Christ. However, our sins – past, present, and future – are forgiven, tossed into the deepest sea and God has no remembrance of them. Unfortunately, we still have the sin nature within us and that will not be excised until we die. Though we will still at times sin, we cannot lose our salvation if we actually have it (cf. Romans 8).

The meaning of the phrase, “day of the Lord” clearly represents a period of time that culminates in the physical, bodily return of Jesus Christ to this earth. It will be a time when He metes out judgment on Israel for their continued rebellion and on the world for the way the nations have treated (and continue to treat), the nation of Israel. The Church has absolutely no part in this at all.


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

Is Zechariah 13:6 Talking About Jesus or Someone Else? Is Salvation a Sure Thing or Dependent Upon Us? Part 1

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