The end of this age of humanity, right before the start of a literal 1000 year reign of Christ on earth (the Millennial Kingdom), will be preceded by approximately 7 years of refinement “as by fire” on the earth. There are two separate but overlapping purposes for this refinement period:
First, is to prepare Israel to receive her true King (Jesus) and to fulfill all prophecy. This purpose is specifically for national and ethnic Israel and is detailed in the 70 Weeks of Daniel prophecy. This “week of years” will complete the purpose stated in Daniel 9:24, which Jesus partially fulfilled during His first coming – “Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.” (ESV)
Second, is for God to cleanse the earth of its’ bloodguilt and wickedness and punish those who refused to love the truth and be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:12). This cleansing is worldwide in scope and is called the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is not meant to punish those who are righteous and love the truth. “Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.” Isaiah 13:9 ESV
Collectively, the 70th Week of Daniel and the Day of the Lord will prepare the earth and its inhabitants, including God’s chosen people, for Jesus to rule in His Kingdom. It is the Day of the Lord that we will examine here.
“The Day of the Lord” is elsewhere referred to as “The Great Day”, “The Great and Terrible Day of the Lord”, “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble”, “The Day of God”, and “That Day of Which I Have Spoken”. Sometimes it is referred to as simply, “That Day” or “The Day”.
Isaiah 24:21-22; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Isaiah 13:4-6,9-11; Jeremiah 46:10; Job 20:28-29; Ezekiel 30:3-4; Isaiah 27:1; Joel 3:12-14; Zephaniah 3:8; Romans 2:16; Revelation 6:15-17; Amos 5:18-20; Isaiah 2:12; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1-2; Matthew 7:22-23; John 12:48; Romans 2:5; Jeremiah 30:7-8; Joel 2:23-28; Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 27:12-13; Micah 4:6-7; Matthew 24:30-31; Mark 13:26-27; Zephaniah 3:14-20; Isaiah 4:5-6; Isaiah 26:1; Joel 2:32; Joel 3:16-18; Zechariah 9:16-17; Isaiah 4:3-4; Zephaniah 3:11-13; Zechariah 14:20-21; Malachi 4:1-2; Micah 4:8; Micah 5:8-9; Daniel 12:1-2; John 6:40; John 11:24; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:8; Ezekiel 38:14-16; Zechariah 14:2; Revelation 20:8-9; Isaiah 4:2; Isaiah 11:10; Jeremiah 30:9; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11; Zechariah 9:9; Zechariah 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3; Matthew 24:43-44; Luke 12:39-40; Mark 13:32; 2 Peter 3:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8; Ezekiel 13:5; Zephaniah 2:1-3; Malachi 4:5; 2 Peter 3:11-12; Matthew 24:33; Mark 13:29; Luke 21:31; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; Acts 2:19-20; Joel 2:30-31; Joel 2:10; Luke 21:11; Joel 2:2-4; Amos 5:27; Matthew 24:21; Mark 13:19; Isaiah 11:12-14; Haggai 2:23; Zechariah 3:8
God will rise up to protect Israel from certain destruction in order that all prophecy can be fulfilled; this begins the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is an intense period of God’s intervention and judgment (wrath) on earth.
During the Day of the Lord:
- The earth, and in particular Jerusalem, will be cleansed of its bloodguilt (answering the prayers of the Seal 5 martyrs)
- Nations will be judged by how they treated Israel
- Wickedness will be purged
- Those who rejected God’s salvation plan will be punished (2 Thessalonians 2)
The Second Coming of Jesus Christ ends the wrath of the Day of the Lord and will bring about Israel’s reconciliation with God. Ultimately, the Day of the Lord will prepare the earth (physically) and its inhabitants (spiritually) for Jesus to usher in His Millennial Kingdom.
Who Is Involved:
The Day of the Lord will be worldwide in scope. This may seem difficult to comprehend, but please understand that God has been patiently waiting. The clock started ticking almost 70 years ago when Israel was re-established as a nation. This was His clearest warning, much as the ark served as a warning in Noah’s day for many decades before the Great Flood.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9 ESV)
God’s patience is a gift, but His cup of wrath will be completely filled by the sinfulness of humanity very soon. Unfortunately, many have slumbered through His warning. The few who have been proclaiming that the “end is near” are ridiculed even amongst other believers.
True believers in Jesus will be whisked away at the last second as God’s wrath is stirred. Those who are left behind will “perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 ESV)
Yet God will still extend His forgiveness and salvation as long as one doesn’t take the “mark of the beast“. “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” (Joel 2:12-13 ESV)
Events that occur (immediately?) BEFORE the Day of the Lord:
- The gathering of believers unto Christ (the rapture) – 2 Thess 2:3
- The revealing of the antichrist – 2 Thess 2:3-4
- Wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke, darkened sun and blood red moon – Joel 2:30-31
- Elijah will appear – Malachi 4:5
- A Trumpet is Blown from the heavenly Mount Zion – Joel 2:1-2
For a discussion on these prerequisites, please see this post: Precursors to the Day of the Lord.
It is difficult to pinpoint the exact start of the Day of the Lord, but my understanding is that it begins immediately upon God arising in wrath to protect Israel from a massive impending attack that would lead to her annihilation. This attack is known as the Gog/Magog war, and is detailed in Ezekiel 38-39.
The start of the day of the Lord also seems intricately connected with Seal 6 of Revelation 6. The Seals of Revelation 6 parallel the “beginning of birth pains” as discussed by Jesus on the Mount of Olives. Seals 5-6 seem to detail the rapture of the church.
I believe that the rapture of the church, the conclusion of the Gog/Magog War, the “revealing of the lawless one”, and Seals 1-7 collectively inaugurate the Day of the Lord.
The duration of the Day of the Lord is unspecified (unlike the 70th week of Daniel which is defined as 1260+1260 days). Some passages describing the Day of the Lord refer to its’ start point, some to the entire time period, and some to its’ end point, but none specifically tell its’ complete duration.
There is connection between the Day of the Lord and the 70th week of Daniel. We know that Daniel’s 70th Week is specifically started by the confirming of a covenant with Israel. The traditional interpretation is that either the antichrist or the false prophet confirms this covenant, and this would effectively “reveal” the antichrist at the start of the 70th week. Alternately, God Himself may confirm His Abrahamic covenant with Israel when He rises to protect her from obliteration during the Gog/Magog war (Ezekiel 38-39). This would also start the 70th Week of Daniel. However, the antichrist would then have to be revealed in some other fashion before the Day of the Lord could begin.
I am leaning towards the view that the Day of the Lord will begin at the same time as the 70th Week of Daniel, and that it will be apparent at that time, on that day.
The Day of the Lord will include the effects of the Seals, and all the judgments of the Trumpets and Bowls described in the book of Revelation. Regardless of whether or not they share the same start point, the 70th week of Daniel and the Day of the Lord both have the same endpoint: The Second Coming of Christ.
Parallel Tracks – On Earth as it is In Heaven:
There are parallel tracks running at any given time – one in the supernatural / spiritual realm (the “third heaven”), and one in the natural / physical realm (the “first and second heavens”). In end times prophecy, we see views from both perspectives. The Day of Christ is the heavenly track while the Day of the Lord runs its course on earth.
The Day of Christ is the day of redemption, when the age of grace is complete and the church is called to join Jesus in glory. Jesus tells us in Luke to pray that we are have the strength to stand before the Son of Man and escape all the things that are going to come upon the earth (Luke 21:36). We do this by being AWAKE spiritually – being born again and sealed by the Holy Spirit.
The body of Christ will be spared from the Day of the Lord. Followers of Christ are to look forward to the Day of the Lord, as it signals our being gathered unto Christ.
Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! 2 Peter 3:11-12 ESV
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
The Day of the Lord is a day of wrath upon the earth, where those “who refused to love the truth and so be saved” will experience horrific catastrophe in the judgments of God.
You will be a part of one “Great Day”, and they both begin with the rapture of the church. Which “Day” you are a part of is up to you!
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
Douglas Berner – “When God Intervenes”.
Peter Goodgame – The Day of the Lord: When, How and Why?
Jesus Christ Initiates the Wrath of God – BeginningandEnd
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!