Things to Come, Lesson 11, The Day of the Lord, Part 1, Zephaniah 1:14-18
There are certain words or phrases in the Bible that are given to always turn the mind to think about things to come.
One of those phrases that does this is the phrase "The Day of the Lord"
Sometimes the day of the Lord is spoken of as "that day", "the day", or "the great day".
God uses the phrase the great day of the Lord or the day of the Lord 21 times in scripture and uses "that day", "the day" or "the great day" in many other passages.
God uses these terms to guide us in knowing what is to come.
He does not want us to be ignorant of His plans and therefore when we see these terms we are to think about things to come.
Now someday the Day of the Lord will be in the past but for us it is yet to come.
But as in anything that happens there are portends that bring the mind to think that things are coming and will eventually be here.
Now it is obvious from scripture that the Day of the Lord covers a long time period.
In this usage "Day" simply means time.
It could be called the Time of the Lord for it is a time when God intervenes in the affairs of men.
God has been silent for almost 2000 years but when the Day of the Lord begins it begins a time when the silence of God is broken.
Oh, how we need the intervention of God but God knows the exact time when his intervention will come for He will allow his harvest to get to its peak ripeness.
The last two verses of the Bible speak of his intervention and they recognize our hope that it be soon.
Revelation 21:20,21, He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. 21The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
So we are promised by God that He will come quickly to intervene lest we destroy ourselves.
Now I believe the scriptures teach that the Day of the Lord includes the Great Tribulation all the way through the Millennium to include the cleansing of the heavens and Earth by fire, and the creation of new heavens and a new Earth.
The Day of the Lord includes the day when God pours out his judgments upon the Earth and those of the Earth who oppose Him, including Satan and his forces.
As to the beginning of the Day of the Lord, Zephaniah 1:14-18, describes Godís judgments which will take place in the Tribulation.
Zephaniah 1:14-18, The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly (when the enemy shall come in like a flood), even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. 15That 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, 16A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. 17And 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. 18Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORDíS 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.
This judgment we know from other passages in scripture, takes place during the last half of the tribulation and will include the rescue of Godís chosen people, the Jews who will be surrounded by the forces of Satan.
We can read of this in Zechariah 14:1-4.
Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2For 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. 3Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. 4And 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.
Now as far as the extent of the time period of the Day of the Lord II Peter 3:10-14 leads us to believe it goes though the 1000 year rule of Christ, and through the cleansing of the heavens.
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. 11Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12Looking 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? 13Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. 14Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.
Godís word is clear as to what events take place during the Day of the Lord.
Daniel, chapters 2 and 7 describe a federation of nations which are devoted to the elimination of Israel.
Psalm 83 describes their determination to erase the name of Israel from remembrance.
Psalm 83 starts out this way, Keep not thou silence, 0 God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, 0 God. For, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:
A political leader will rise up who will make a covenant with the people of Israel but will break the covenant in the midst of the week of years.
Daniel 9:27, 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.
There will be a world wide false religious system established under the leadership of the second beast of Revelation 13 who will cause those who dwell upon the earth to worship the Antichrist as God.
Great judgments will be poured out on the Earth as foretold with the symbolism of the seals described in Revelation 6 and the trumpet judgments of chapters 8-11.
During the tribulation Godís grace will be active as 144,000 Jewish missionaries will go forth to preach the Gospel of the coming Kingdom to every one on Earth.
As Jesus told us Matthew 24:14, And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
Two special witnesses of God will prophesy for 1260 days and have power to control the weather, power over the purity of water, and power to smite the earth with plagues as often as they choose.
Revelation 11:2-7, And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. 7And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
Godís wrath will be poured out upon the Earth described in Revelation 16 using the symbolism of the vials.
The overthrowing of the false professing church of the Antichrist will take place, symbolized by the harlot of Revelation 17 and 18.
The events of the battle of Armageddon will occur as described in Ezekiel 38 and 39
The rising up of the enemies of Israel is foretold in:
Ezekiel 38:10-12, Thus saith the Lord GOD; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought: 11And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates, 12To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.
And Godís defeat of them is given Ezekiel 39:1-5, Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal: 2And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel: 3And I will smite thy bow out of thy left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of thy right hand. 4Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. 5Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.
And then the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ in glory with His angels gathering his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
The Lord Jesus Christ told us of this in:
Matthew 24:29-31, Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
His elect of course include those who were saved during the tribulation and this resurrection is implied in Revelation 20:4
Revelation 20:4, And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
The Church, and I believe the Old Testament saints, will already have been raised, but at the end of the seven year period of the tribulation those slain for the witness of Jesus will be raised to live and reign during the Millennium.
Christ will destroy the beast, his armies, and the false prophet. Revelation 19:17-21
Satan will be bound as recorded in Revelation 20:1-3
And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 3And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
The nations will then be judged.
Matthew 25:31-46, When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. 41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
The nation of Israel shall be re-gathered into their own land.
This is so beautifully expressed in:
Ezekiel 37:1-14, The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, 2And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. 3And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. 4Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. 5Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 6And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 7So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. 8And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. 9Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. 10So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. 11Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. 12Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, 14And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.
And not only will re-gathering take place but Godís sifting and purging will take place as Israel is judged.
Ezekiel 20:33-38, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, surely with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out, will I rule over you: 34And I will bring you out from the people, and will gather you out of the countries wherein ye are scattered, with a mighty hand, and with a stretched out arm, and with fury poured out. 35And I will bring you into the wilderness of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face. 36Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the Lord GOD. 37And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant: 38And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me: I will bring them forth out of the country where they sojourn, and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
And Israel will be restored never again to leave their land.
Amos 9:15, And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
And then Revelation 20:6-10 records those great times when Jesus Christ reigns here on the earth with His bride, the Church, that He has married, with whom He has eaten the great marriage supper of the Lamb.
And also that final rebellion of Satan and his forces who will be for the last time cast into the lake of fire and brimstone.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 7And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them. 10And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Following this the resurrection of the dead takes place where all the dead will be assembled before Godís Great White throne to be judged unworthy to participate in Godís kingdom.
Revelation 20:11-15, And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
And finally eternity is ushered in where we will find a new creation of heaven and earth plus the Holy City, which is the bride of Christ.
Revelation 21:1, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. 5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
What a glorious day it will be, if you are in Christ!