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The Day of the Lord

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The Day of the Lord

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The Day of the Lord
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The prophetic key of the Day of the Lord appears prominently in both Old and New Testaments. During this day reserved for the wicked (Proverbs 16:4), God pours out unparalleled judgment on humanity and the ‘Day of the Lord' is always associated with God's judgment. Note the unbridled fear of men (bolded text) and anger of God (underlined) in the following passages:

Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt: 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. 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 13:6-9)

For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates. (Jeremiah 46:10)

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. 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, (Zephaniah 1:14-15)

These descriptions make Amos's proclamation very intriguing:

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. (Amos 5:18)

Apparently, there was confusion among the Jews concerning the Day of the Lord with some believing that it would be a time when Israel receives good things (light) including becoming the head and not the tail. Since this is not the case, how is this confusion possible? Perhaps, the use of similar phrases in reference to both Jesus reign and God's judgment causes some of this confusion. Often ‘that day' refers to the day of God's judgment. Unlike ‘Day of the Lord', ‘that day' also refers to Jesus' millennial reign. The following passages clearly show the duality of ‘that day':

And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if one look unto the land, behold darkness and sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof. (Isaiah 5:30)

In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. (Zephaniah 3:16-19)

In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness. (Zechariah 13:1)

As these passages show, ‘that day' refers to both the dreadful ‘Day of the Lord' and the following millennial reign of Jesus.

How long are the ‘Day of the Lord' and ‘that day'? The 70th week of Daniel provides an important clue:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:24-27)

Seventy weeks of years of God's judgment are broken into two parts: 69 weeks (7 + 62) and a single week. The first 69 weeks predicted the year of Jesus' death and is past. The 70th week points to an unspecified point in the future, immediately preceding Jesus' return. This week of starts with the antichrist confirming a covenant with Israel for seven years and culminates in the greatest war ever fought.

If God's last day judgment lasts seven years, as the 70th week of Daniel implies, why does the Bible refer to it as a day? Clearly, this exceeds a twenty-four day. It even exceeds the one year represented by each day in Daniel's seventy weeks. Further exasperated this is by the fact that ‘that day' refers to also Jesus' millennial reign. Fortunately, the Bible gives additional clues:

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. (Psalms 90:4)

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. (2 Peter 3:8)

It is easy to underestimate the importance that a day in the Bible may refer to a 24-hour period, a year, or, most importantly, a thousand years. This makes Jesus' millennial reign only a single day in God's eyes and the term ‘that day' fits this event. Interestingly, it gives insight into James 4:14's comparison of a person's life to a vapor. People live only a couple of hours of one of these thousand-year days and, in God's eyes, this is like a water vapor that lasts just a couple of hours before it evaporates under the morning sun.

The thousand-year days unlock many other prophetic scriptures. Consider for example, Mark 2:27-28 where Jesus proclaims His Lordship over the Sabbath:

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.

Like ‘that day', Jesus claims Lordship over a single day. Could He be referring to a thousand-year period? If He is, could He be referring to a specific period? First, consider the commandment concerning the Sabbath:

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: (Exodus 20:8-10)

People are to work six twenty-four hour days and rest on the seventh. If Jesus is referring to a thousand-year period, then He rules the last of seven millennia. According to the Bible, roughly 6000 years have transpired from Adam to present:

  • Approximately 1500 years from Adam to Noah
  • Approximately 2500 years from Noah to Jesus
  • Approximately 2000 years from Jesus to present

By God's measure, approximately six days have elapsed since creation. Could this mean that the next thousand-year period is a Sabbatical day and that this is Jesus' Sabbath? This seems likely considering that on the Sabbath, Jesus fed the hungry (Luke 6:1-5), healed the sick (Mark 3:1-5) and taught the wisdom of God (Luke 3:31) and that each are distinguishing characteristics of His millennial reign. Probably, ‘that day' includes both the wonderful thousand-year reign of Christ and Daniel's horrific seven year 70th week immediately preceding it.

Does the application of thousand-year days apply to other prophetic passages? For example, Hosea 6:1-3 speaks of three days when it foretells the children of Israel's suffering:

Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.

For two days, God bound and enslaved the children of Israel but the third day, finally offers hope and relief. Applying the thousand-year day principle, this passage shows the Jews suffering for approximately two millennia before their relief in the following millennium. This nicely matches the history of the last two millennia. From 72 A.D. to 1948 A.D., 1876 years, Israel had not been a nation. For the majority of the last two ‘days', the Jews have gone through all of the pain and suffering Hosea promised. Now that Israel is a nation once again, it would appear that the third day either is here or soon will be. It is probably not coincidental that the third day of Hosea and the Sabbath millennium both appear poised to start anytime.