“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:” (Isaiah 2:12)
This is the first text mentioning the ‘Day of the Lord’. In each case this ‘day’ is of great magnitude and importance, indicating a ‘big event’, something vital. These ‘days’ are of such vital worth that arrogant people are told to “Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty.” (2:10).
Those who try to face God without humbling themselves will be brought down... only God will be exalted. We are told that the “day of the Lord shall be upon every one” that is “proud and lofty”. This tells us God will act against, and humiliate, these people. Today, it applies to all who deliberately reject God and teach others to do likewise – atheists, homosexuals, Islamists, politicians - all who do so will be crushed.
Make no mistake, the “day of the Lord” is like a hammer to reduce proud men to nothing, or even to destroy them completely (Isaiah 13:6). When God acts in this way “every man’s heart shall melt”, “And they shall be afraid” (13:7, 8). The wrath of this day is shown in verse 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.”
In this text the word “cruel” does not mean petty violence, such as resorted to by sinful men. Rather, in this context, it means ‘fierce’. When God brings his hammer of justice down He is not concerned with the meagre emotions of men. He acts as a judge, but also as the owner of all things created – He has every right to end a man’s life, or to cripple a nation: it is His legal right. He acts in this way to punish those whose finite, sinful minds cannot comprehend the true nature of God, or of His commands; those who reject Him will suffer the consequences:
“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)
In God there is no compromise! His word is literally law. Humans either obey or they suffer, whether by their own folly or by God’s direct punishment. Today, we are seeing this anger of the Lord. He has, for example, already visited homosexuals with dire diseases that kill them, but they refuse to remove themselves and their evil ways from the world. For this reason, when God comes again against them, He will utterly destroy. As He says in Ezekiel 30:3,
“For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.”
Is this not the day we currently live in? Do not the heathen ruin and run all societies, destroying nations themselves by their wickedness? This is evidence of God ‘giving over’ a whole people because they reject the truth of God. “Heathen” literally means a nation or people, but in this text it refers to Gentiles (non-Hebrews). It can even figuratively refer to a swarm of locusts or other animals... and who can deny that the abominations and evils of modern people are similar to a swarm of locusts! It is certainly their “time” in history, soon to be destroyed by God’s vengeance. (We should not see God’s vengeance as anything like human vengeance. With God, His vengeance is a legal penalty brought about by consistent unrepented-of wickedness).
Many Christians today recognise that we are in the last days, as evil proliferates and Satan has been given a short time of freedom, as prophesied. “Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.” (Joel 1:15). Christians can be assured that God is at hand. He will soon act against those evil men and peoples who coerce and harm His people:
“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;” (2:11)
Those who laugh at God and scorn His people will very soon fear for their lives, but most will still not submit to His rule and demands, even though great signs will appear to show it will happen! “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” (2:31)
A feature of the “day of the Lord” is that it is a time of darkness, not light. No man should derive comfort from such a day. “Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?” (Amos 5:20). In our modern times we are fast heading for such a momentous day of the Lord. Everything is pointing towards it, bringing fear even to the saved. But, we should not fear, because such a day is aimed at the heathen, not us (Obadiah 1:15). God’s derision is upon them and when He has finished with them, no matter how proud or distinguished they were on earth, memory of them will just vanish, as if they had never lived. (1:16). At that time God’s people will again take what is their own, and the heathen will disappear, vanquished (1:17).
In my ministry many scoffers come against me in derision, blaspheming the Lord. They cannot see the clouds gathering over them – but even if they did, they would still be foul-mouthed and defiant. Yet, when His wrath strikes, they will cry out in fear. “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.” Zephaniah 1:14). There is no escape from this judgment.
Malachi (4:5) prophesied the coming disaster to hit the heathen – he was speaking of the coming of Elijah, who would come before the awful day of judgment: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:” Elijah came, in the person of John the Baptist, so the “dreadful day” is not far away.
Paul repeats the same warning given by Joel 2:31(Acts 2:20) so in his mind we are very close to that “great” day. He says the day will be epiphanēs, highly obvious, manifest, illustrious. It will not be hidden, but will be seen by all; some to great fear and others to their glory and benefit. Until the hammer finally falls, men can still call upon God in repentance and be saved. Some believers may even be put to death by God “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5). This is what happened to Ananias and Sapphira: their fate was not only an instant judgment, it was also a blessing, preventing them from sliding into even more sin.
The “day of the Lord” will be sudden and swift, but Christians cannot say it is unexpected: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
This is repeated in 2 Peter 3:10:
“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.”
We see from the text that this “day of the Lord” is about the complete obliteration of the Creation. This will be followed by God creating a brand new earth and a new universe. In terms of the scope and effect of God’s work on that day, we can say it is, to human unsaved eyes, something so fearful as to cause intense fear. But, saved men and women need not fear, for they will be safe in Heaven with the Lord.
The “day of the Lord” is not the same as “the day that the Lord made...”. The first is a cataclysmic event bringing fear and judgment upon the unsaved. The latter is something bringing blessings.
We can see in the texts that the “day of the Lord” has already been visited several times on the ancients, the last being the day He allowed (or even employed) the Romans to destroy Jerusalem, the Temple, and the Jews.
The “Day of the Lord” in the New Testament points forward to the end of time and the end of the original Creation. It will be just as cataclysmic but will not affect those who belong to Christ. And that final day is close to hand. Seek righteousness.
How many modern Christians live as if their next hour will be their last? That is, being holy and just, and showing righteousness to both God and man? Very few. It seems to me that most believers are only believers verbally, and do not extend this righteousness to everyday life, to be evidenced by both fellow believers and the world, whose criticism of God is forever on their lips and minds.
The ‘day of the lord’ is coming upon us fast. It will strike before we know it, and then our bodies will arise to be with Christ in the air. No time for reflection or putting things right! And that is when God’s anger against unbelievers will be shown in full might. Do not disappoint the Lord; live as His child should live.
© October 2016
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
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