The Day of the LORD
The Day of the LORD is the series of events which detail:
- The return of the Lord Christ to judge the earth at the Judgment of the Nations,
- to rule national Israel and the earth for a period of 1000 years (typically known as the Millennium),
- to be followed by the Great White Throne Judgment, the eternal judgment of the lost in the Lake of fire, and
- the creation of the New Heaven and New Earth wherein will dwell all His true people forever.
This is the premise and purpose of this article and is presented from the Scriptures in detail in the following chapters.
[A very useful distinction to bear in mind is this: the Lord Christ is called the “judge of the living and the dead”. (Act 10.42; 2 Tim 4.1; 1 Pet 4.5). He is the judge of the living at the Judgment of the Nations (at the start of the Millennium), and the judge of the dead at the Great White Throne Judgment (at the end of the Millennium).]
In both the Old and New Testaments we find repeated warnings of this final, great accounting the LORD will require of all mankind.
While the phrase the Day of the LORD and its equivalents are found in the OT in ~17 passages, the same term and its equivalents are mentioned in ~49 passages in the NT. Since the OT, by word count, is nearly 3 times the size of the NT this means that the topic of the Day of the LORD occurs about 8 times more often in the NT than the OT! To those ~49 occurrences in the NT the Lord Christ Himself contributed 11, nearly one-quarter of the total mentions in the NT.
This frequency of mention should not surprise us: the topic of the Scriptures is the Lord Christ. The NT, by design, is the revelation of the Lord Christ and therefore should make frequent mention of that day which will be uniquely His.
[The statistics of word counts in the NASB can be found in a helpful article, “How many chapters, verses, and words are in the Bible?”]
True Christians today are not served well by the very common notion that Bible prophecy is, and must be, "interpretive". Pick up any reference on amillennialism or postmillennialism and you'll find a typically lengthy and convolved chapter on "how to interpret prophecy".
[Those caught in trap of this philosophical abyss would do well to read The Problem with Biblical Frameworks on this site.]
While some Bible prophecy is difficult to understand, the vast majority of it is very straightforward to grasp, as you'll see in this article. The fact is, the LORD tells us what is going to happen. If we foolishly presume to believe that His words are incomprehensible without an "eschatological framework", to that same extent His Word is useless and the Almighty could justly be accused of deceit.
If you believe such frameworks are necessary, why do you bother with the Bible at all? You already have set it aside; why maintain the façade of actually using the Bible?
I challenge any of the adherents of amillennial and/or postmillennial eschatology to read carefully and prayerfully the scores of Bible texts cited within this article—with one vital stipulation: for a few hours, set aside your foolish and preconceived "interpretive" notion of what you think the texts should say and simply read what the texts do say. If the Holy Spirit truly dwells within you, you will see the simplicity and beauty of the eschatological truths expounded in this article. You will, perhaps for the first time, realize just how elegant, beautiful and powerful the LORD's words are as He tells us what to expect when the Lord Jesus Christ returns to the current earth to judge and rule all things.
During the study and writing of this article, I became convinced that the only way someone could come to the preposterous notions of amillennial or postmillennial eschatology would be that he/she had first become convinced of these ideologies from a source other than the Bible.
[This appears to occur, in no small part, due to the influence of the Reformers and Puritans. That is, the relatively immature and/or careless Christian is impressed by this group (many times for the right reasons) and therefore tends to "absorb" their defective eschatology without first checking their claims against the Scripture. I've noticed something akin to idol worship regarding the Reformers and Puritans; nevertheless, it does not change the fact that so many of them were very unbiblical concerning eschatology. I'll provide some examples of this in the addendums I refer to below.]
An obedient, faithful and simple reading of the texts I cite in this article are incapable of any understanding other than the fact that the Day of the LORD is that sequence of events leading up to the return of the Lord Christ to rule Israel and the earth for a period of 1000 years, to be followed by the Great White Throne Judgment.
If you truly read and obey these texts you will come to believe the same thing, because that is the simple, direct truth of the Scripture.
It also became apparent that I would have to expose the spectacular errors (heresies, actually) of the eschatological "interpretations" of amillennialism, postmillennialism, along with (a different class of) errors of dispensational premillennialism. I chose to do this in three Addendums (seen chapter list below):
- Addendum: A Summary of the Major Tenets/Errors of Amillennial Eschatology.
- Addendum: A Summary of the Major Tenets/Errors of Postmillennial Eschatology.
- Addendum: A Summary of the Major Tenets/Errors of Dispensational Premillennial Eschatology.
In this way the presentation and flow of the article can proceed naturally and logically without major interruptions.
These Addendums are not yet complete. Rather than waiting until they were complete (at least a several more weeks), I made the decision to post the main content of this article (which is complete).
EDIT Oct 2020: A number of serious health issues impeded work on these Addendums. I hope to restart that work in the very near future.
I'll post a notice on the SolaScripturaToday.org landing page when each new addendum is ready.
The Day of the LORD is expressed in various ways throughout the Bible:
Isa 2.17,20; Jer 30.7-8; Joe 3.18; Amo 8.3,9; 9.11; Zep 1.15; Hag 2.23; Zec 14.4,6, 8-9,13; Mat 7.22; 24.36; Luk 17.31; 1 The 1.10; 2 Tim 1.12,18; 4.8
Isa 13.6,9,13; Joe 1.15; 2.1, 2.11, 2.31-32; 3.14; Amo 5.18, 5.20; Oba 1.15; Zep 1.7, 1.14; 1 The 5.2; 2 The 2.2; 2 Pet 3.10
1 Cor 1.8
2 Pet 3.12
2 Pet 3.7
1 Cor 1.7
When the Lord Christ returns, He will punish and judge sinful mankind and reward His saints. (Rev 11.18) He will establish and rule His kingdom on the earth for a period of 1000 years (typically known as the Millennium, Rev 20.1-7). Immediately following the Millennium is the Great White Throne Judgment, the creation of the new heaven and new earth, the entrance of the saints into the eternal kingdom and the casting of the lost dead into the Lake of Fire (Gehenna).
While it is true that all people will be judged as individuals by the Lord Christ at His return, it is also true that the details of that “day” may best be understood as the LORD’s dealings with exactly two vast, mutually-exclusive groups of people: Jews and Gentiles.
Moreover, within each of these two main groups (Jews and Gentiles) are the following three subgroups:
- Those who are truly the LORD’s people.
[These are true Christians, as the Bible defines them.]
- Those who profess to be the LORD’s people (but are not!).
[These are the host of pseudo-Christian religions such as Roman Catholicism, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc., as well as the vast array of Protestant denominations which would mostly pass (loosely) as a religious social club with no real allegiance to Scripture or fear of the LORD.]
- Those who claim no allegiance at all to anything even remotely “Christian”.
[These are all non-Christian religions such as Islam, Buddhism, etc., as well as humanistic "religions" like atheism, the worship of science as an end in itself, agnosticism, and so on.]
As will be shown in this article, the Day of the LORD is a series of events:
- The beginning and continuation of tribulation and punishments upon mankind throughout the entire earth for its sins.
- The return of the Lord Christ to take His place as the sovereign ruler of the earth.
- The Lord Christ sits as judge at Judgment of the Nations (the “judge of the living”, Act 10.42; 2 Tim 4.1; 1 Pet 4.5).
- The establishing of His earthly kingdom over which the Lord Christ will rule with a “rod of iron” (Psa 2, Rev 2.27; 12.5; 19.15) for a period of 1000 years (Rev 20.2,3,4,5,6,7), the Millennium.
- The fulfillment of the LORD’s promise to Abram to give his descendants (national Israel) the broad swath of land comprised of most of Syria, the western half of Iraq, Jordan, the northern end of Saudi Arabia, and the northeast corner of Egypt (Gen 15.17-21; Exo 23.31; Deu 1.6-8; 11.22-25), possibly a portion of the southeast corner of Turkey (depending on the northern extent of the Euphrates River), along with the land Israel currently has.
- Reestablishing the system of Law and sacrifices for Israel (Jer 33.17-22).
[A full explanation for this assertion is beyond the scope of this article. Let it suffice to to say here that the Millennium is not a time of grace, it is a time of Law. There are several OT texts which clearly show that evil will still exist and will be punished directly and quickly. Remember, the Lord Christ rules "with a rod of iron"; this manner of rule would be completely unnecessary if evil was not present (contrary to the unbiblical meandering of amillennialists). This point also causes a great deal of consternation and anti-biblical double-speak with at least some forms of dispensational eschatology who recognize this text but try to dismiss it.]
- After the 1000 years (the Millennium) lost mankind will rebel against the Lord Christ (led by the beast and false prophet).
- The rebellion and its “armies” are destroyed, and the beast and false prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire.
- The Lord Christ sits on the Great White Throne to judge the lost dead (the “judge of the dead”, Act 10.42; 2 Tim 4.1; 1 Pet 4.5).
- The Lord Christ creates the new heaven and the new earth, then moves His true people into them where they will remain forever with their LORD.
- The lost dead are thrown into the Lake of Fire where they will remain forever with no hope.
This series is presented in 12 chapters:
- The Day of the LORD is the Revelation of the Lord Christ.
- The Day of the LORD in the OT.
- The Day of the LORD in the NT.
- The Destruction and Restoration of Israel: Introduction.
- The Destruction and Restoration of Israel: The Promised Land Fulfilled.
- The Destruction and Restoration of Israel: The Sovereign Rule of the Lord Christ.
- Addendum: The Extended Region of the Middle East the LORD Promised to Give Israel.
- Addendum: The Day of the LORD was Sometimes Used to Describe Local/Limited Judgments.
- Addendum: The Day of the LORD and the Signs in the Cosmos.
- Addendum: A Summary of the Major Tenets and Errors of Amillennial Eschatology. [still in process]
- Addendum: A Summary of the Major Tenets and Errors of Postmillennial Eschatology. [still in process]
- Addendum: A Summary of the Major Tenets and Errors of Dispensational Premillennial Eschatology. [still in process]
As the Scripture says:
Heb 4.12-13 (lit.)
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and have been laid bare before the eyes of Him before whom we give account.
This great text will be fulfilled completely when the series of events of the Day of the LORD have run their course.