Christian Churches of God
The Day of the Lord
and the Last Days
(Edition 2.0 19970208-20070824)
The terms Day of the Lord and the Last Days or the Latter Days are often confused and misstated in general Christian literature. Here we examine the terms for their biblical application and see from the various texts that the Day of the Lord is not the Lord’s Day scenario of Sunday-worshipping Christianity. Instead, it is a powerful and cataclysmic time-frame which commences with the Advent of Messiah and spans the entire period of divine intervention in human affairs. We will also see that the terms Last Days or Latter Days cover the entire Messianic Age and are specifically covered in prophecy to a definite purpose and end.
The Day of the Lord and the Last Days
One of the most misunderstood terms in the Bible is that of the Day of the Lord, closely followed by the terms Last Days or Latter Days.
Mainstream Christianity attempts to equate the Day of the Lord with The Lord’s Day and use it as a term to justify Sunday worship. Some Sabbath-keepers understand the term imperfectly and limit its application and scope.
The Last Days
The terms Last Days or Latter Days are often assumed to be confined to a period in time somewhere at the end of the twentieth century or even beyond. However, that is not the biblical meaning of the terms.
The purpose of this work is to outline the meaning of the terms and then to identify the periods in question.
There are three phases of creation. The first phase was the Adamic/Noahite system which lasted until Abraham. The second phase was the Abrahamic/Israelite system, which lasted until Messiah. The last phase is the Messianic age. This combined period was to last some six thousand years. The three phases accounted for approximately forty Jubilees apiece – hence, three times two thousand years. These three periods were represented symbolically in the life of Moses as the three forty-year periods of his life (see the papers Moses and the Gods of Egypt (No. 105) and Pentecost at Sinai (No. 115)). Moses was the prototype of Messiah, and his life represented the activities of Messiah in the creation.
Bible prophecy tells us that the Last Days or Latter Days commenced from the ministry of Messiah, and the commencement of the Messianic age was at the first Pentecost recorded in Acts 2:14-36.
Acts 2:14-36 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day; 16 but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 `And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest [terrible cf. Joel] day. 21 And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' 22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know -- 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 But God raised him up, having loosed the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, `I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will dwell in hope. 27 For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou wilt make me full of gladness with thy presence.' 29 "Brethren, I may say to you confidently of the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens; but he himself says, `The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, 35 till I make thy enemies a stool for thy feet.' 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." (RSV)
In this text, Peter quoted the prophet Joel and also noted that the sequence was that, before the Day of the Lord came, God would do the things prophesied through Joel. God made Yehoshua Lord and Messiah, or Christ, from his resurrection and ascension.
The Day of the Lord is thus a period of catastrophe and not a day of worship. It is the end process of the Messianic age. The text is quoted from Joel 2:28-31.
Joel 2:28-31 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. 29 Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out my spirit. 30 "And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. (RSV)
The text in Acts goes on to quote Psalm 16:8-11.
Psalm 16:8-11 I keep the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also dwells secure. 10 For thou dost not give me up to Sheol, or let thy godly one see the Pit. 11 Thou dost show me the path of life; in thy presence there is fulness of joy, in thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. (RSV)
Thus, the Messianic age was considered to be the period known as the Last Days and commenced from that Pentecost, as identified by the apostle Peter.
The Last Days were first spoken of in Genesis 49:1. This promise of Jacob was to befall Israel in the Last Days according to their tribes. Thus the birthright promises of Genesis 49 were for the Messianic age.
Genesis 49:1-2 And Jacob called unto his sons, and said, Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days. 2 Gather yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto Israel your father. (KJV)
The Revised Standard Version (RSV) renders this text as days to come, but its meaning is the Last Days, as translated here.
The notation to Acts 2:17 in the New Oxford Annotated RSV says that the gift of the Holy Spirit to all flesh, and not just to chosen individuals, is the mark of the Messianic age. The true meaning is that the Gentiles were admitted to the priesthood of the elect regardless of genealogy.
The Book of Hebrews was written in the Last Days.
Hebrews 1:1-2 In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (RSV)
It is thus beyond dispute that the Bible holds that the Last Days began with the incarnation and resurrection of Messiah. Peter understood the Last Days to have commenced at that time as we also see from 1Peter 1:20, being called the end of times, and this sequence was unfolding progressively (1Pet. 1:5).
John held that it was the last time or a last hour.
1John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. (RSV)
The term is eschate õra (see Marshall’s Greek-English Interlinear). There is no article in the phrase; therefore, the indefinite article must be deduced as “a last hour”. Thus the Last Days were seen as being in divisions of time. The concept of Antichrist(s) was to occur within these divisions.
The times were seen as perilous and stressful.
2Timothy 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. (RSV)
The apostle James, the brother of Christ, shows that there will be a complete change of the existing world order and its system of wealth at the Last Days, which takes up to and includes the return of Messiah and the fall of this order (Jas. 5:3-11).
James 5:3-11 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you. 7 Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we call those happy who were steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. (RSV)
This overthrow of the existing world order is by a system that is different to its traditional economic organisation and governed under different God-given Laws, the same ones given to Moses by the pre-incarnate Christ.
Jude 18 repeats the sentiments of 2Peter 3:3, admonishing the Church.
The term Last Day is the final phase of this period called the Last Days or Latter Days. Through the apostle John, Christ shows this is a period of time covering the resurrection of the dead.
John 6:39-44 and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." 41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, "I am the bread which came down from heaven." 42 They said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, `I have come down from heaven'?" 43 Jesus answered them, "Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (RSV)
Thus the Last Day here is that of the First Resurrection which is the resurrection of the saints. However, this entire period is not simply that process of the Advent and is not confined to the First Resurrection.
The general resurrection of the dead is also called the resurrection of the Last Day.
John 11:24-27 Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." 25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27 She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, he who is coming into the world." (RSV)
Christ was saying here that Lazarus was to be given the resurrection in Christ above that which was expected by Judah. The people who rejected Christ would still be judged at the Last Day.
John 12:48 He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. (RSV)
Thus the Last Day covers the entire period of the resurrections, which is a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-14) plus one hundred years (Isa. 65:20).
Revelation 20:4-14 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years. 7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are at the four corners of the earth, that is, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city; but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 11 Then I saw a great white throne and him who sat upon it; from his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Also another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, by what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead in them, and all were judged by what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire; (RSV)
Then the hundred years of the Second Resurrection occurs.
Isaiah 65:20 No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days, for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed. (RSV)
This hundred-year period is part of the final judgment process. The Last Great Day is a feast in its own right. This is a separate system to the Millennium but still part of the Day of the Lord.
The terms Latter Days or The Last Day also refer to the entire process of the millennial reign of Messiah.
Micah 4:1-2 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, 2 and many nations shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (RSV)
This period is clearly prior to the general resurrection of the dead. The term here is Latter Days, but the KJV renders it the Last Day and the text has the meaning the end of days (see Companion Bible note, cf. also Gen. 49:1 (same phrase); Num. 24:14; Isa. 2:2 etc., Ezek. 38:8,16; Hos. 3:5).
Hosea 3:5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and they shall come in fear to the LORD and to his goodness in the latter days. (RSV)
When Israel dwells securely in the Latter Days, the hordes of the north of Gog and Magog are brought up against Israel. It is significant that this is also termed the Latter Days, and we see from Revelation that it occurs at the end of the Millennium as well as at the beginning (cf. Ezek. 38:1-23).
Ezekiel 38:1-23 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him 3 and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; 4 and I will turn you about, and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you forth, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great company, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords; 5 Persia, Cush, and Put are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; 6 Gomer and all his hordes; Beth-togar'mah from the uttermost parts of the north with all his hordes -- many peoples are with you. 7 "Be ready and keep ready, you and all the hosts that are assembled about you, and be a guard for them. 8 After many days you will be mustered; in the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land where people were gathered from many nations upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste; its people were brought out from the nations and now dwell securely, all of them. 9 You will advance, coming on like a storm, you will be like a cloud covering the land you and all your hordes, and many peoples with you. 10 "Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day thoughts will come into your mind, and you will devise an evil scheme 11 and say, `I will go up against the land of unwalled villages; I will fall upon the quiet people who dwell securely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having no bars or gates'; 12 to seize spoil and carry off plunder; to assail the waste places which are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have gotten cattle and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth. 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all its villages will say to you, `Have you come to seize spoil? Have you assembled your hosts to carry off plunder, to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to seize great spoil?' 14 "Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say to Gog, Thus says the Lord GOD: On that day when my people Israel are dwelling securely, you will bestir yourself 15 and come from your place out of the uttermost parts of the north, you and many peoples with you, all of them riding on horses, a great host, a mighty army; 16 you will come up against my people Israel, like a cloud covering the land. In the latter days I will bring you against my land, that the nations may know me, when through you, O Gog, I vindicate my holiness before their eyes. 17 "Thus says the Lord GOD: Are you he of whom I spoke in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel, who in those days prophesied for years that I would bring you against them? 18 But on that day, when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, says the Lord GOD, my wrath will be roused. 19 For in my jealousy and in my blazing wrath I declare, On that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; 20 the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground. 21 I will summon every kind of terror against Gog, says the Lord GOD; every man's sword will be against his brother. 22 With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples that are with him, torrential rains and hailstones, fire and brimstone. 23 So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD. (RSV)
From this text we see clearly that the latter years are involved in this process called a day.
We see from this sequence that God commenced to deal with Israel and Judah when He first sent them into captivity. The entire Messianic age is concerned with God’s intervention in the affairs of mankind. God dealt with Jerusalem as the centre of worship both in its end Temple phase and the restoration under Messiah where God then re-establishes the world by working with mankind through the millennial system.
John the Baptist and Messiah were the two witnesses to Jerusalem and Judah at the commencement of the Messianic age. The Church then stood as witness against them during the forty years of the Sign of Jonah. James was martyred in 63 CE and the Church fled to Pella from this time. On 1 Nisan 70 CE, Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman army. It was then systematically destroyed over the year until Atonement 70 CE.
This process is outlined in Ezekiel from chapter 4 onwards. It was placed under siege by the Babylonians as a warning, but the prophecies of Ezekiel did not commence to be fulfilled until the last siege.
This process continued for two thousand years and is still taking place.
Ezekiel first represented the elect from chapter 5:1-4.
Ezekiel 5:1-4 "And you, O son of man, take a sharp sword; use it as a barber's razor and pass it over your head and your beard; then take balances for weighing, and divide the hair. 2 A third part you shall burn in the fire in the midst of the city, when the days of the siege are completed; and a third part you shall take and strike with the sword round about the city; and a third part you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe the sword after them. 3 And you shall take from these a small number, and bind them in the skirts of your robe. 4 And of these again you shall take some, and cast them into the fire, and burn them in the fire; from there a fire will come forth into all the house of Israel. (RSV)
The elect are the remnant that is burnt by fire, and from them will come the fire that consumes the whole house of Israel over the Latter Days.
God then commences to deal with the physical nation from Jerusalem.
Ezekiel 5:5-12 Thus says the Lord GOD: This is Jerusalem; I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries round about her. 6 And she has wickedly rebelled against my ordinances more than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries round about her, by rejecting my ordinances and not walking in my statutes. 7 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are more turbulent than the nations that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes or kept my ordinances, but have acted according to the ordinances of the nations that are round about you; 8 therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, even I, am against you; and I will execute judgments in the midst of you in the sight of the nations. 9 And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again. 10 Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in the midst of you, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds. 11 Wherefore, as I live, says the Lord GOD, surely, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, therefore I will cut you down; my eye will not spare, and I will have no pity. 12 A third part of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine in the midst of you; a third part shall fall by the sword round about you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds and will unsheathe the sword after them. (RSV)
Jerusalem was entered by conquerors some 24 times over its history, and the people were placed under siege. The horrors of the sieges under Judah are reflected here. The scattering of the inhabitants resulted in the third that survived being pursued by the sword. This has a meaning for the House of God. Over the centuries, the elect have been tried by fire continually. God continued the reproach to Jerusalem from Ezekiel 5:13-17.
The next step in the purging of the nation of Israel is over the period that Israel becomes comprised of separate nations or mountains. They become profaned by idols and false gods, and their cities are laid waste because of their false systems of worship.
Ezekiel 6:1-7 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, set your face toward the mountains of Israel, and prophesy against them, 3 and say, You mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains and the hills, to the ravines and the valleys: Behold, I, even I, will bring a sword upon you, and I will destroy your high places. 4 Your altars shall become desolate, and your incense altars shall be broken; and I will cast down your slain before your idols. 5 And I will lay the dead bodies of the people of Israel before their idols; and I will scatter your bones round about your altars. 6 Wherever you dwell your cities shall be waste and your high places ruined, so that your altars will be waste and ruined, your idols broken and destroyed, your incense altars cut down, and your works wiped out. 7 And the slain shall fall in the midst of you, and you shall know that I am the LORD. (RSV)
The nation Israel is to be sent into captivity and dispersed when it fails in its system of worship and its duty to God. Some, however, are left alive as a remnant that can return to God.
Ezekiel 6:8-10 "Yet I will leave some of you alive. When you have among the nations some who escape the sword, and when you are scattered through the countries, 9 then those of you who escape will remember me among the nations where they are carried captive, when I have broken their wanton heart which has departed from me, and blinded their eyes which turn wantonly after their idols; and they will be loathsome in their own sight for the evils which they have committed, for all their abominations. 10 And they shall know that I am the LORD; I have not said in vain that I would do this evil to them." (RSV)
When Jerusalem was sent into captivity at the final stage in 70 CE, it was seemingly not burning incense to idols. It was sent into captivity because it had perverted the Laws of God by tradition. It was still ostensibly worshipping the same God, but had profaned His Laws by implementing the traditions that it had brought into itself from the Babylonian system. It was still keeping the Feasts and Holy Days but was perverting their intent and worship and had begun to play with the Calendar based on those same traditions.
After the witness of Messiah, Judah then began to persecute the Church to the extent of putting the elect to death. James, the brother of Jesus, suffered the same fate as Messiah, as did all the Apostles except John. From this point, God began to bring about the destruction of the Judaic system in Jerusalem. This hardness of the heart of Judah was to last some two thousand years. In the end, they will be converted. However, they have persisted in their traditions for the entire period. They have, in fact, reinforced those traditions to the point that it is almost impossible to keep the original system observing their traditions and calendar system. The entire European structure of Judaism was almost exterminated in the Holocaust of the Second World War. The wars of the twentieth century have been warnings to both Israel and Judah but neither heeded the warnings. We have to remember that God has said: No curse comes without its cause (Prov. 26:2).
With the Advent comes the restoration of the entire true system of the Laws of God. The traditions and the false systems of both Judaism and mainstream pseudo-Christianity will be swept away from that point. Messiah said Scripture cannot be broken (Jn. 10:35), and the prophets have said that the entire Sabbath system, including New Moons and Festivals, will be re-established from Jerusalem.
The period from the Advent of Messiah as King-Messiah of Israel until the general resurrection of the dead is termed the Last Day, the End of Days and also the Day of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord
The first occurrence of the term Day of the Lord is in Isaiah 2:12.
Isaiah 2:12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: (KJV)
“He shall be brought low” is referring to the overturning of the existing world order we see from Revelation and James 5 (above).
This is the first of twenty such occurrences of the term in the Bible. From this usage, we see that it refers to the intervention in the affairs of the planet, which is the Advent of Messiah and the subjugation of the nations. This is over an extended period. We have seen from above that the term is in conjunction with the term Last Day, which extends over a thousand years.
Peter gives us this clue when he talks of the patience of God and the concept of time in the eyes of God.
2Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (KJV)
On sixteen occasions, the term is simply yom Yahovah or day of Yahovah (Isa. 13:6,9; Ezek. 13:5; Joel 1:15; 2:1,11; 3:14 (cf. Heb. 4:14); Amos 5:18,20; Obad. 15; Zeph. 1:7,14 (twice); Mal. 4:5).
Isaiah 13:6-9 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. 7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: 8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. 9 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. (KJV)
This period also involves a battle.
Ezekiel 13:5 Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD. (KJV)
Joel 1:15 Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come. (KJV)
This Day of the Lord is a battle at the beginning of the millennial system in the reference in Joel 2:1-11.
Joel 2:1-11 Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; 2 A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. 3 A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. 4 The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. 5 Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 6 Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. 7 They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: 8 Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. 9 They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. 10 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: 11 And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it? (KJV)
Thus the battles of the Day of the Lord shall be greatest at the beginning and there shall not be anything like it for many generations.
This confining of the time in this process is not exclusive of the later period, as we see from the texts.
It is of interest to note the type of warfare and the capacity of the army to resist wounding. This is a type of warfare fought with weapons and machines we have not yet seen or only imagined in science fiction movies. God allows this horror to befall mankind because of its iniquity.
The judgment of God’s system is in two phases. The first is the physical judgment and subjugation to establish the system. This simply involves the destruction of the war systems of the nations.
Joel 3:9-21 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: 10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. 11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. 12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. 13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. 14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. 16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. 17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. 18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim. 19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. 20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. 21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion. (KJV)
The subjugation of the nations sees the establishment of Judah and Jerusalem in the Last Days. But these days are not something to look forward to in anticipation.
Amos 5:18-27 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. 19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. 20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? 21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. 22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. 23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. 24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. 25 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. 27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts. (KJV) [Acts 7:43 has beyond Babylon which is beyond Damascus and refers to a religious system also. The Holy Spirit adapted this text.]
The Day of the Lord here was for Israel first, then Judah and then the nations. Thus, the term was applied as a series of activities of God over the entire period of the captivity of Israel and the subjugation of the nations. We see from this a weaving of the Plan of God as a tapestry over the pages of history, interlinked with the sequence of the prophecy of the Last Days.
The establishing of the tribes in their birthright promises (as we see above) appears to precede God’s judgment on Israel. Having been given great blessings, they do not turn to God and keep His Feasts in righteousness. They keep their own feasts in unrighteousness. Judgment and righteousness are the same word in Hebrew: tsedek.
We see this is applied to the heathen, from Obadiah 15-17.
Obadiah 15-17 For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. 16 For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been. 17 But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. (KJV)
The process is gradual over all people. The wars of the twentieth century are part of this process designed to destroy the power of the ‘holy people’. Only when the power of the holy people is finally shattered will the end come (Dan. 12:7). This commenced from the First World War and continues. The period called The Time of the Gentiles finished in 1996-1997 (see the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36) The Prophecy of Pharaoh’s Broken Arms).
Zephaniah 1:7-18 Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. 8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. 9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit. 10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills. 11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off. 12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil. 13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. 14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. 15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. 17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. (KJV)
The word Maktesh means mortar or a hollow or socket. It is allegedly a district near Jerusalem, but this view may derive from its use here. It is probably that the inhabitants of cities are meant, as it is not a specific place. The destruction of the social order based on the military/industrial complex is hence meant. This covers a large period of time and up to and beyond the twentieth century.
Thus, Judah is here mentioned in context of the destruction of the surrounding nations such as Assyria, and also regarding the destruction of Nineveh. This process of the removal and destruction of Judah was done through the Babylonians, who succeeded to the empire of the Assyrians. Thus, the Day of the Lord’s anger, as it is referred to in Zephaniah 2:1-14, covers the destruction beginning with the Assyrians and goes on through the entire period of the dispersion, and on to the restoration under a pure language and for a restored Israel (Zeph. 3:6-20).
In four passages it is prefixed by lamed and means a day known to Yahovah (Isa. 2:12 (see above); Ezek. 30:3; Zech. 14:1,17).
The destruction of Egypt and the south was seen as part of a day of the Lord or a day known to Yahovah.
Ezekiel 30:3-7 For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen. 4 And the sword shall come upon Egypt, and great pain shall be in Ethiopia, when the slain shall fall in Egypt, and they shall take away her multitude, and her foundations shall be broken down. 5 Ethiopia, and Libya, and Lydia, and all the mingled people, and Chub, and the men of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword. 6 Thus saith the LORD; They also that uphold Egypt shall fall; and the pride of her power shall come down: from the tower of Syene shall they fall in it by the sword, saith the Lord GOD. 7 And they shall be desolate in the midst of the countries that are desolate, and her cities shall be in the midst of the cities that are wasted. (KJV)
In this text, the destruction of Egypt begins with Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Ezek. 30:10ff.). Thus, the day here is not that of Revelation but a precursor as a type/antitype.
This type of day known to the Lord is also seen from Zechariah 14:1-21. However, in this text we see that Messiah is involved with the saints (Zech. 14:1-5) and it is indeed the period of intervention.
Zechariah 14:1-5 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 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. 3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4 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 the midst thereof 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. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee. (KJV)
The concept of one day derives from this text.
Zechariah 14:6-16 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: 7 But it shall be one day which shall be known to the LORD, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. 8 And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. 9 And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one. 10 All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses. 11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited. 12 And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that a great tumult from the LORD shall be among them; and they shall lay hold every one on the hand of his neighbour, and his hand shall rise up against the hand of his neighbour. 14 And Judah also shall fight at Jerusalem; and the wealth of all the heathen round about shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel, in great abundance. 15 And so shall be the plague of the horse, of the mule, of the camel, and of the ass, and of all the beasts that shall be in these tents, as this plague. 16 And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. (KJV)
Verse 17 shows that those nations that do not send their emissaries to Jerusalem will have no rain in due season. Thus, the world will keep God’s Feasts during the millennial reign or they will go without food until they repent or die.
The concept of one day is metaphoric, as it will take some seven years to bring the nations down to Jerusalem. We see this lesson or sequence from the fall of the nation in both the story of Jericho (see the paper The Fall of Jericho (No. 142) and also from the wars of Revelation, the papers The Seven Seals (No. 140); The Seven Trumpets (No. 141) and The Last Thirty Years: the Final Struggle (No. 219)).
It thus involves the First Resurrection from there on. This day carries over into the millennial system, and all the nations will be required to keep the Feast of Tabernacles each year or there will be no rain in due season (Zech. 14:13-21).
In other places in the Bible the term is combined with other terms such as wrath or vengeance.
The term Day of the Lord occurs four times in the New Testament (1Thes. 5:2; 2Thes. 2:2; 2Pet. 3:10 and Rev. 1:10).
1Thessalonians 5:1-4 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (KJV)
The meaning here is that the world thinks it has developed a system of peace and order without God’s Laws, but this is the time the entire edifice is destroyed.
The term in 2Thessalonians 2:2 is day of Christ in the KJV, but the term is day of the Lord (kuriou; cf. Marshall’s Greek-English Interlinear). This Day of the Lord is the day of Old Testament prophecy referred to above. The term Day of Christ is used in Philippians 1:10. Paul holds that it is in the Day of Christ (Phil. 2:16) that he will rejoice, not having run in vain. Thus, the Day of Christ is another expression for the sequence of activity which commences from the Advent and the First Resurrection of the dead. Paul eagerly awaited this event and, indeed, could know nothing more until that time.
Peter shows that the Day of the Lord covers the entire period over the time of the Advent right up past the judgment to the destruction of the Earth by fire and the establishment of the City of God. These texts do not contradict one another; they show to the diligent Bible student the scope and timing of the Plan of God.
2Peter 3:10-16 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the 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 therein shall be burned up. 11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction. (KJV)
God gave Christ the final prophecy of Revelation, which had to be revealed by God to him. Christ had, until that time, acted in faith and was obedient unto death in faith. Christ then committed it to John so that it would be faithfully recorded. Some elements are still sealed until the final phases to be revealed by the prophets of God. It was for this reason of the recording of God’s Revelation that John was kept alive, as Christ indicated (Jn. 21:22-23). Revelation is the explanation of the prophecy of Matthew 24 (esp. v. 22). But those days shall be shortened refers to the destruction, not the entire process.
Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: (KJV)
John was taken in the Spirit to the Day of the Lord so that he would see the future and the process of destruction of the nations at this time. John saw the events that would go on over the entire period. This period was the one thousand one hundred years of the Day of the Lord.
The Last Great Day is a Feast in its own right because it portrays this last one hundred years of the process over the Second Resurrection of the dead.
The text in Revelation 1:10 is rendered Lord’s Day instead of Day of the Lord by Sunday-worshippers in an attempt to find some justification in the Bible for their practice, which actually arose from Sun worship. They seek to infer from this wording that John had the vision on a Sunday, which he referred to as the Lord’s Day. This is totally false. The practice of Sunday meetings did not come into vogue until the middle of the second century – and then only in Rome. It arose from anti-Semitism and was used as a means of protection for the Church in Rome but did not replace the Sabbath even then (see Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho; cf. Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday, pp. 231ff.).
Revelation 1:10-11 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. (KJV)
The Greek text is kuriake emera or imperial day (see Marshall’s Interlinear). It refers to the entire process or sequence contained in Revelation covering in excess of one thousand years. It does not refer to Sunday; nor is the process confined to the Advent at Trumpets, as the sequence of Revelation so colourfully illustrates. The entire process is seen as the Day of the Lord. The resurrection is in two phases and spans one thousand years, as Revelation 20 so clearly states. The texts thus demonstrate the ongoing process of the Day of the Lord through to the subjugation and judgment of the planet. Christ actually refers to this phase of the Resurrection which spans a thousand years as an hour in John 5:25-29.
John 5:25-29 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live. 26 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; 27 And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. 28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29 And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (KJV)
The KJV says the resurrection of damnation but the word is kriseõs and means judgment and, hence, correction (see Marshall’s Interlinear and RSV). This translation in the KJV is given to support the Trinitarian soul doctrine, which is false (see the paper The Soul (No. 92)).
The time-frame of the Last Days and the Day of the Lord covers over three thousand years. The concept of an hour makes the term half an hour used in Revelation 8:1 for the seventh seal rather imprecise. Half an hour is one forty-eighth of a day. This sum is the span of years within the Jubilee prior to the final Sabbath and Jubilee years. The forty-eighth year is the triple harvest. Half an hour in this context could mean one forty-eighth or fiftieth of the thousand years; that is, twenty years in duration. From Christ’s use of the term hour, it could also extend much longer.
The real problem here is that the distinction in the terms underlies the division of the periods concerning the age of man and the rulership of the planet.
The terms emphasise the intervention of God through Messiah.
Thus, the distinction is developed by the Bible that the current age is the day of man where men attempt to remove God from the creation (1Cor. 4:3).
1Corinthians 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self. (KJV)
The Day of the Lord is the time of the Lord’s justice and judgment, and this takes more than a thousand years of Earth-time to complete.
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