What is “The Day of The Lord”?
The answer to this question has been for me a process of learning and understanding things that are true, and also unlearning things not true. I learned that there is more fable than fact in most of that which is taught or implied on this subject. There is often a general framework of Scriptural truth in things said or written, but it quickly goes off on a tangent of guesswork, or just plain doctrinal forgery, that leaves the student (like me) confused, perplexed and entangled in more questions.
I learned that I had to let go of conventional conclusions, no matter the position or status of the source—except for the written Word of God. And even then I found it necessary to dig into words or phrases that proved to be misleading. Misleading, in some ways, due to the translation, in other ways, due to the prevailing deceptive conclusions. A good example of this is the Bible word “hell”. There are many prevailing and deceptive conclusions about the meaning of this word that are not founded in God’s Word. I could go into detail about the assumptions of “hell-fire” and “eternal damnation”, but that is not our present pursuit.
The purpose here is not to point fingers at errors, but rather to point to the truth, for when we know the truth, “the truth shall make you free”. Understanding that which is true is often also accompanied by realizing things that are not true. For instance, as you understand that Jesus Christ is all man, the son of God, you realize that he is not a God-man or God the son. Another truth that may cause new learning for some is the “status” of those who have died. As you understand that God says the dead remain dead until the time (still future) when He will make the dead alive, you realize that those who have died are not now “home with the Lord” in heaven or otherwise. There is great comfort in understanding the truth, for God is light and love, therefore the truth of His ways always gives comfort and deliverance.
The Sadducees did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, but they devised a “resurrection” question for Jesus intending to ridicule and entrap him. He answered, “You do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Was Jesus rude to the Sadducees? No. It’s not rude to speak the truth in love. He was simply teaching and giving them the opportunity to see the right way of God’s Word. God says the dead are “asleep” until the time when He makes them alive. The first and second resurrections of the dead occur during the Day of The Lord. This is some of the remarkable greatness of that time! If someone wants to argue and say that the dead are already alive, I will not argue back. I simply want to teach and say what His written Word says.
I am taking the time here on preliminaries to lay some groundwork for the learning adventure that lies ahead! Getting to the truth regarding the Day of The Lord is in many ways similar to the plight in getting to the truth regarding the Birth of Christ as well the Resurrection of Christ. These are pivotal, extraordinary events in the fulfillment of God’s plan to redeem man. These also have been popularized with “narratives” based on traditions of men, rather than Scriptural integrity. These narratives have become global folklore.
For example, the Birth of Christ is popularly taught to have been in late December, winter. Mary’s husband, Joseph, is said to have been so poor that he had to settle for lodging in a stable with his wife at full-term in her pregnancy. Here Jesus was born and was wrapped in strips of cloth that must have been rags. The local shepherds had their sheep out grazing at night in the winter cold. Suddenly there appeared hovering angels, fluttering their wings, proclaiming the birth of the Christ and then breaking into glorious angelic song! Shortly after the shepherds see the babe wrapped in those rags, three wise men show up bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
You may have seen something much like this summarization in a school play—if they even dare to present something biblical. Right? Is there some truth to this description? Of course. Is there error? Absolutely. Jesus Christ’s birth was in the late summertime (our mid-September), and there was no poverty, no rags, no wings, no singing angels and no wise men until they arrived at a house more than a year later (see Luke 2:1-20 and Matthew 2:1-12). What’s left is true. How do we separate truth from error? By studying what the Scriptures say. With diligent study it is likely that we will even discover many other marvelous truths that were excluded in the folklore tales!
Let’s also recall here the fable of Easter with the rabbits and their bunnies that hatch from eggs. First of all, the name ‘Easter’ likely originated from the ancient fertility goddess Ēostre, who was associated with dawn, Spring, eggs and bunnies—all related to the beginning of new life. No genuine relation at all to God and the resurrection of His son. Similarly, the traditional narrative is also problematic. You cannot get “three days and three nights” into ‘Good Friday’ afternoon to early ‘Easter Sunday’. The truth is that he was crucified on Wednesday afternoon, buried before sunset on Wednesday, and therefore raised from the dead on Saturday before sunset. God’s Word also says that there were two robbers and two malefactors crucified with him (both at different times). Two plus two does not add up to just about every drawing and popular portrayal of that solemn time. Every iota of teaching must be checked against the written record with detailed care. God certainly cared about every detail in accomplishing our redemption. Jesus Christ fulfilled every “jot and tittle” necessary—not even the smallest point was left undone!
Perhaps you are knowledgeable of the detailed study that is needed to get to the right answers about the other four who were crucified with Jesus Christ. The same diligent work is also required to get to the realization that the crucifixion was on Wednesday and the resurrection on Saturday. It calls for a deliberate, disciplined process of building and piecing together all the pertinent truths from the written Word of God that relate to the subject of study. The understanding of the Day of The Lord requires no less disciplined building of each record upon record essential to the topic. Also, above all, simply allowing God’s Word to speak for itself!
To begin to answer the question ‘What is the Day of The Lord?’ let’s look at two specific and foundational references that were recorded by the prophet Isaiah:
Howl ye; for the Day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Behold, the Day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. ISAIAH 13:6 and 9
Now, we can handle these verses in one of two ways. The right way would be to pay attention to exactly what is said, make note of each and every pertinent detail while also noting that which is not said. From there, continue to read, study and vigilantly piece together all other relevant Scripture. The wrong way would be—Read it. Let your mind wander to uncorroborated conclusions. Make associations and outcomes that seem right to you. Put together a fascinating story. Publish it.
For example, you could take this verse from II Peter:
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. II PETER 2:9
Throw in some big words from the Book of Revelation [because no one reads Revelation and anything you say about it will be accepted], like: Armageddon and apocalypse [which is adapted from the Greek apokalupsis, translated “revelation” in your Bible]. And then you could publish something like the following “typical” scenario which I have concocted (and certainly many could be convinced that this is Bible truth).
The final war between human governments and God will be the great Battle of Armageddon. After a vigorous back-and-forth, Jesus will lead the holy armies in triumph over God’s enemies. Then God will cause an excessive apocalypse of ruin and chaos that will destroy all the ungodly sinners, culminating in the end of the world. Then comes Judgment Day when every man and every woman will appear before the Great White Throne of Judgment. The Almighty God will separate the righteous from the sinners. Unleashing His cruel wrath and fierce anger, the sinners will all be judged and appropriately punished forever in hell. The righteous will go to heaven in glory with God and Jesus forever. Amen.
Do you see why I spent so much time on the “Christmas” and “Easter” topics? This story-like narrative is no less haphazard than their popular “folklore” versions. Is there some truth in this? Some. Is there also fiction? Lots! How do we distinguish truth from error? Personally, it took me over ten years of deliberately working on this topic (the Day of The Lord) to get to answers that fit together and harmonized with other related truths. Much time in God’s Word was necessary to get to that point where I knew that I knew the truth on many things that before had been a dilemma. This is what I share with you in my class on the Day of The Lord. The class is only seven sessions, but you will need to invest that much of your attention to see the depth of the truth in the answers. Just telling you that there were four others crucified with Jesus does not convince you, does it? It requires the time of reading the records in all four Gospels and building together all the pieces of the complete picture. And then, when you see it—Wow! You wonder how it can be so universally mistaught and misunderstood.
That is what I am asking of you here. Give me the seven hours, or so, of class study to work God’s Word together with me on this topic. As a result, I believe, you will have a much greater understanding about the Day of The Lord: what it is, how it begins, the events involved, and how it concludes. You will see for yourself what His Word has to say on this vital and dynamic subject!
This class is the first of two parts: I. The Arrival of The Day of The Lord
and II. The Reward From The Lord to Every Man
There are seven sessions in Part I: The Arrival of The Day of The Lord
1. The Way of The Lord
2. The Hope of The Promise
3. What Is The Day of The Lord?
4. The Order of Events
5. The Arrival of The Day of The Lord
6. The Book of Revelation
7. Saved From Wrath Through Jesus Christ
The Word of God is very specific and clear in describing the event that is the arrival of the Day of The Lord. We will look at all the records that give us this information, and we will see that this same event also concludes the time of “the man of sin”, who erroneously is called “The Antichrist”.
Just one of many startling realizations for me in working these things was to discover that in God’s Word there is not a certain, specific evil guy named “The Antichrist”. In fact, there are only five places in all of the Bible where the word “antichrist” is found. All five are in the epistles of I and II John, and each one is a common noun, not proper, and not capitalized. This word is not used to name a certain individual. The individual is identified by several other names in various other records of Scripture. Most notable is the information given in II Thessalonians, chapter two. In the third verse it says, “…and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition….” Since the phrase “man of sin” is used here in describing him, that is also the term I use to refer to him. In the class I will show you the other records that identify him with other designations and that tell us who he is and what he does.
The arrival of the Day of The Lord is a singularly significant event which is brought to pass because of the essential nature of God’s mercy, compassion and perfectly just judgment. The greatest benefit of studying His Word is getting to know and understand Him more and more. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Getting to know God and His ways should be our heart’s most sincere desire. The “eyes of our understanding” are enlightened as we read and study His Word and allow His Word to speak for itself. I am truly thankful for the privilege to be a workman of The Word of Truth and have the opportunity to share with you some of the inherent greatness of His wonderful, matchless Word! God Bless.