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 The Day of the Lord - Part One

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PostSubject: The Day of the Lord - Part One   Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:54 pm

THE DAY OF THE LORD

Paul tells us:

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they (Israel) shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. But ye (Church Age Believers) brethren are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4)

The Day of the Lord was the high hope and the far-off gospel of the Old Testament. It was that toward which the entire Old Testament program was moving. Everything in time and creation looked forward to and moved toward that day. The Old Testament closed without it being realized, and up to today the Day of the Lord has not yet come.

The Old Testament closes with almost a sundown of the nation Israel. The people were brought down to an unconsciousness of sin. They are in a spiritual stupor with no conviction, which is the lowest state of sin. The last word of the Old Testament is a curse, but it does not close with only a curse. It closes with a great hope that although the sun has gone down on Israel and it is very dark, there is coming a new day – the Day of the Lord- and the Sun of righteousness (Christ) who will usher it in: But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness (Jesus Christ) arise with healing in his wings….(Malachi 4:2)

But when we come to the New Testament, we find even there that the Day of the Lord had not come. In Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, we read that this Day of the Lord was still in the future:

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord (Second Coming of Christ) so cometh as a thief in the night. (1Thessalonians 5:1, 2)

So when Paul wrote this in about A.D.51, the Day of the Lord was still in the future, and after almost 2000 years it is yet future.

The expression “the Day of the Lord” occurs five times in the Book of Joel, a very brief prophecy, and all other prophets make reference to this momentous period of time, some using the terms “the day” or “the great day.” You will find that references to the Day of the Lord occur seventy-five times in the Old Testament. It became such a familiar phrase and was such an understandable subject of the Old Testament that by the time of Zechariah, one of the last of the prophets, you will find that he could use the term in that day: and it was understood that he meant the Day of the Lord. It was the great theme of the Old Testament.

The New Testament does not drop the subject at all. It does not ignore the subject nor does it change it. Both Paul (in 1 and 2 Thessalonians) and Peter (see 2 Peter 3:3-10) address it. Now Paul and Simon Peter may have disagreed at Antioch about whether to eat certain meats or not and on other minor points, but they did not disagree on this all-important subject. The Day of the Lord was still a very important part of the program of God.

We believe that if you understand what the Day of the Lord is and get the picture that is set before us in the Word of God, you are well on the way to becoming a student of prophecy. In fact, you can become an authority in the field of eschatology.

When will it come?

Now, the question arises: Is it possible to identify this period known as the Day of the Lord! Can we define it? Can we get it out of the realm of the nebulous and tenuous? Can we avoid thinking of it as a vague theory and a spurious theology as is done today, even in many of our seminaries? I find it interesting to note that this theme has not been featured in any of the Christian journals that I have seen during the past few years. They have almost ignored this subject altogether. Our young people in many of our so-called Christian schools are not taught these fundamental truths of what the Day of the Lord really means.

Now what about the boundaries to the Day of the Lord! Can we place it in the parenthesis of time? How can we fit it into the program of God?

Well, the Day of the Lord has definite reference to the return of Christ (Second coming) to the earth to establish His kingdom. That is made very clear when you turn to Old Testament prophecy. I have already referred to the prophecy of Zechariah. Now let’s read this important section of his prophecy. Note the language carefully:

Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall cleave in its midst toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. (Zechariah 14:1-4).

Here is a remarkable prophecy, a prophecy that says, “Behold, the Day of the Lord cometh….” Note that it says in verse 4 that included in this day is the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is coming to the earth – it says specifically that His feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives.

These verses tell us this much: We know that the second coming of Christ to the earth to establish His kingdom is part of the Day of the Lord.

This great event is so important that actually many very fine expositors begin the Day of the Lord with this second coming of Christ to the earth at the end of the Tribulation period. The Scofield reference Bible presents that viewpoint. One of the greatest teacher’s Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer, taught that. But there is one small change I will make in that view: I think the Day of the Lord begins before Christ’s Second Coming in application to Scripture, and I trust I’ll be able to sustain that thesis.

The Day of the Lord is associated by the prophets with the millennial kingdom that is to be established on this earth. In fact, the kingdom is equally as great a theme of the Old Testament as is the Day of the Lord. Therefore, the Day of the Lord includes the kingdom.

However, I think the Day of the Lord is the all-inclusive term, while the kingdom is the smaller term.

And the LORD shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. (Zechariah 14:9).

Then the verses following give actual details as to where they will begin to measure the land in that day, and Jerusalem is to become the very center. Our Lord called it the city of the great king and our Lord shall be king in Jerusalem in that day. So now we know that the Day of the Lord includes the second coming of Christ when He establishes His kingdom, and it also includes His kingdom.

Now we need to see that the New Testament confirms this. When you turn to 2Peter, you will find a confirmation:

But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are in it, shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10).

The Day of the Lord includes the millennial kingdom up to the establishment of the new heavens and the new earth. It extends therefore to the new heavens, the very beginning of eternity future.

70th Week of Daniel:

When studying in the Book of Daniel, we find a great deal of information pertaining to the future of the nation Israel. Most significant is the “70 Weeks of Daniel” in chapter 9. Daniel was one of the Jewish captives in Babylon, and to him God gave some specific information including actual dating – as to the end of their captivity, return to Israel, and their rebuilding of Jerusalem. That fits into secular history from 445 B.C. to 397 B.C. and was literally fulfilled.

Then, the second period consisted of 430 years – from 397 B.C. until Christ came (First Advent). And we find that the very day He marched into Jerusalem, presenting Himself as the Messiah, was the exact fulfillment of this. According to the lunar calendar which Israel followed, it was right up to the very minute!

After the 483 years, there is a time break, and two events of utmost importance take place: “Messiah [will] be cut off” – this was the crucifixion of Christ. Also Jerusalem would be destroyed by the “people of the prince” who would come later on (Daniel 9:26). This was fulfilled when the Romans under Titus destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

God’s revelation to Daniel had nothing to say about the Church Age – it wasn’t necessary to mention it in the “70 Weeks of Daniel.” The Hebrew word shabua translated by our English word “week” literally means “seven.” Therefore seventy weeks is seventy sevens. The context determines that “sevens” is being used as a unit of time and refers to years. Sir Robert Anderson, a brilliant and astute student of prophecy, worked out the dating of Daniel 9 in meticulous detail. It can be found in his classic work, the Coming Prince.

There were 490 years that pertained to Daniel’s people, which is the nation Israel. “69 Weeks have transpired” Today there are seven years (the seventieth week) of this period that have not yet taken place.

Now when you come to the New Testament, you’ll find that something has been added, that the Church is brought before us. We learn that after Messiah was cut off, He rose from the dead and ascended back to heaven. He sent the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and there took place something new: the calling out of a body of believers called “The church.” And the calling out has been going on for almost 2009 years.

The next thing on God’s program we call the imminent coming of Christ for His church (The Rapture). We found out that Paul, in effect, said to the Thessalonians Christians who were weeping for their loved ones who had died, “Sorrow not, even as others do which have no hope. Of course you sorrow, but you have a hope!” (See 1 Thessalonians 5:13).

Why?

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).

Those who believe that Jesus died and rose again (verse 14) will go with Him Immediately to heaven. And in heaven there will take place the judgment for believers at the judgment seat of Christ to receive their reward (At the Marriage supper) or not (2 Corinthians 5:10).

But, you see, momentous things will be happening on the earth during that period. The Great Tribulation will take place, designated in the Old Testament as the “Seventieth Week of Daniel.” It is the seven-year period yet to run that will complete the 490 years.

Of the prophecy God gave to Daniel. It pertains to the nation Israel, and it will be concluded by the return of Christ to the earth (Second Advent) as Zechariah chapter 14, verse 4, says: “His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives.”

Now we can understand that when Christ calls His own out of the earth and into the air to meet Him, His feet won’t be touching the Mount of Olives. His taking of His Church out of the world is the event we call the Rapture of the Church.

Then there will take place the Great Tribulation here on earth, and at the end of that period Christ will return to establish His kingdom on this earth. During those seven years, the earth will be under a world dictator who will combine both religion and politics. He will bring the
Ecumenical movement under one head, and only he himself will be worshiped as god. Paul’s epistle reveals this fact, so does John in the Book of Revelation, and in the Old Testament Daniel confirms it. This world dictator, called the Antichrist, will show himself as god in the temple of God. He also will be the political ruler, the dictator of the entire world. No one can break his rule on this earth except Christ at His Second Coming. The Lord Jesus Christ will come in judgment to establish His kingdom, and that kingdom will last for 1000 years. His coming to the earth is the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Rapture is the great theme of 1 Thessalonians, while the Revelation, meaning Christ’s Second Coming to the earth, is the theme of 2 Thessalonians. And the interesting thing is that all of this is called the “Day of the Lord” in the Bible.

Now we have something else to look at here that is very important for us to see We can now put down our pegs and say that the Day of the Lord does not begin with the return of Christ to earth at His Revelation, but it begins at the Rapture (As Scripture application is used) when He takes His church out of the world – because we’re told very definitely that the Day of the Lord comes without warning at all. You see, the Bible has given signs to look for what will indicate the coming of Christ to the earth, but three are no signs for the Rapture of the Church.

The Day of the Lord begins when the Church leaves the earth, and that triggers the Great Tribulation Period on the earth. The Day of the Lord does not begin therefore with the return of Christ to the earth; rather, it begins with the Rapture.
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