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Day of the Lord

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The occasion of God’s final intervention in human affairs to punish sin, restore the faithful of his people and establish his rule over the nations. It is linked with the Messianic hope and will be fulfilled at Jesus Christ’s return. This future consummation is anticipated in historical acts of judgment and, although its time is unknown, it will be heralded and accompanied by signs and by great upheavals in nature.


The day of the Lord as a day of judgment

Of universal judgment

Isaiah 24:21–22 ESV
On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished.
See also Zep 1:14–18

Of judgment on the nations

Is 13:9–11; Je 46:10
See also Job 20:28–29; Is 13:4–6 God’s judgment on Babylon

God’s judgment on Egypt:

Is 19:16–17; Eze 30:3–4
Is 27:1; Joe 3:12–14; Ob 15 God’s judgment on Edom; Zep 3:8; Ro 2:16; Re 6:15–17

Of judgment on faithless Israel

Amos 5:18–20 ESV
Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?
See also Is 2:12; Joe 1:15; Joe 2:1–2; Mt 7:22–23; Jn 12:48; Ro 2:5

The day of the Lord as a day of hope

A day of restoration for God’s people

Jeremiah 30:7–8 ESV
Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it. “And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him.
See also Joe 2:23–28

God will gather his people

Is 11:11; Is 27:12–13; Mic 4:6–7; Mt 24:30–31

God will save his people

Zephaniah 3:14–20 ESV
Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! The Lord has taken away the judgments against you; he has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall never again fear evil. On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: “Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. I will gather those of you who mourn for the festival, so that you will no longer suffer reproach. Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth. At that time I will bring you in, at the time when I gather you together; for I will make you renowned and praised among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” says the Lord.
See also Is 4:5–6; Is 26:1; Joe 2:32; Joe 3:16–18; Ob 17; Zec 9:16–17

God will purify his people

Is 4:3–4; Zep 3:11–13; Zec 14:20–21; Mal 4:1–2

God will exalt his people

Ob 21; Mic 4:8; Mic 5:8–9; Re 22:5

God will complete his saving work

Php 1:6 The “day of Christ Jesus” is the NT equivalent to the “day of the Lord” which refers to Jesus Christ’s second coming.
See also Da 12:1–2; Jn 6:40; Jn 11:24; 1 Co 1:8; 2 Ti 1:12; 2 Ti 4:8

The siege and deliverance of Jerusalem on the day of the Lord

Nations will gather against Jerusalem

Eze 38:14–16; Zec 14:2; Lk 21:20; Re 20:8–9

The Lord will fight for Jerusalem

Eze 38:18–23; Zec 12:2–5; Zec 14:3–5; Zec 14:12–13

The establishment of God’s kingdom on the day of the Lord

God’s kingdom will be universal and everlasting

Zechariah 14:9 ESV
And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one.
See also Da 2:44; Da 7:13–14; Re 11:15

God will be the object of universal worship

Is 19:19–24; Zep 3:9–10; Zec 14:16

God’s rule will be centred on a restored Jerusalem

Is 2:2–4; Zec 2:10–12; Re 22:3

The fulfilment of Messianic hope on the day of the Lord

Isaiah 4:2 ESV
In that day the branch of the Lord shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.
See also Is 11:10; Je 30:9; Ho 3:5; Am 9:11; Zec 9:9; Zec 12:10

Being prepared for the day of the Lord

The day will come unexpectedly

1 Thessalonians 5:2–3 ESV
For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
See also Mt 24:43–44; Mk 13:32; 2 Pe 3:10

The need to be ready for the day

1 Thessalonians 5:4–8 ESV
But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.
See also Eze 13:5; Zep 2:1–3; Mal 4:5; 2 Pe 3:11–12

Signs heralding the day may be discerned

Mt 24:33; 2 Th 2:3

The day of the Lord will be accompanied by signs and great upheavals in nature

Acts 2:19–20 ESV
And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day.
See also Joe 2:30–31; Is 13:9–10; Joe 2:10; Lk 21:11; Lk 21:25–26

Historical events anticipate the day of the Lord

Disaster foreshadows final judgment

Is 5:29–30 Judah invaded by Assyria; Eze 30:10 Egypt defeated by Nebuchadnezzar; Joe 2:2–4 Israel devastated by a locust swarm; Am 5:27 Israel defeated and exiled by Assyria; Mt 24:21 Jerusalem destroyed by the Romans

Return from exile foreshadows final restoration

Is 11:12–14; Hag 2:23; Zec 3:8
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