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The day of the Lord


extracted from 'Sondez les Ecritures'

Isaiah 2:12-22

The expression 'the day of Jehovah' is found frequently in the Old Testament; 'the day of the Lord' in the New Testament. This 'day', which is always presented as a future time or event, is characterized by judgments which will strike suddenly men and nations on the earth.

The first mention[1] is found in Isaiah 2:12-22, where the prophet gives a striking description of it: 'For there shall be a day of Jehovah of hosts upon everything proud and lofty, and upon everything lifted up, and it shall be brought low ... And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low, and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day' (v. 12, 17).

From the time when Adam and Eve listened to the tempter in Eden, man has constantly tried to lift himself up against God or among his fellow men. Since then God has intervened in two ways:-

1)     He has spoken to men by the prophets then 'in His Son', in order to reveal Himself and to let them know the way of salvation.

2)     He has governed in different ways in order to restrain the development of evil and to direct events towards the fulfilment of His counsels.[2]

Nevertheless God remained hidden from the eyes of men; He is known only through faith. When He manifested Himself in Christ, it was in One 'who emptied Himself . and humbled Himself' (Phil. 2:7-8), in perfect contrast with the attitude of men of this world where Christ was rejected.

But the day is coming where the patience of God will have its end and He will intervene directly and publicly to assert His rights. He will do it through Christ. 'He has set a day in which he is going to judge the habitable earth in righteousness by the man whom he has appointed, giving the proof of it to all in having raised him from among the dead' (Acts 17:31). This will be 'the day of the Lord', 'the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven, with the angels of His power ... taking vengeance on those who know not God' (2 Thess. 1:7 & 8). Note that the judgment concerns the habitable earth and will be executed on the nations living on the earth at that time. This should not be confused with the judgment of the dead as individuals when they stand before the great white throne (Heb. 9:27; Rev. 20:12).

All the passages[3] where the day of Jehovah, (or of the Lord) is mentioned show that men living on the earth at that time will be terrified by the judgments; Jehovah 'shall arise to terrify the earth' (Isa. 2:19).

This day is mentioned in relation to the judgment of several nations: Babylon (Isa. 13:9), Egypt (Jer. 46:10; Ezek. 30:3), the Assyrian (Joel, 5 times), Israel (Amos 5:18 & 20), Judah (Zeph. 1:7 & 14); or in a general way (1 Thess. 5:2).

Where can we place this day in relation to the great prophetic events of the end?

This day is to come, but 'it is near, and hasteth greatly' (Zeph. 1:14). It will not come before the manifestation of the man of sin, the Antichrist (2 Thess. 2:3). It will take place after 'the times of the nations' are ended through the destruction of the Beast, the head of the Roman empire, and the false prophet, the Antichrist (Dan. 2:37-40; Rev. 19:19 & 20). The judgment will then fall suddenly on apostate Israel, on the Assyrian and the nations which are enemies to Israel, and on 'all the nations' (Obad. 15). It will precede and introduce the reign of Christ on the earth. Paul clearly contrasts the coming of the Lord to take His own to Himself, a subject of hope and comfort (1 Thess. 4:16-18), and the day of the Lord, a subject of terror for the unbelieving world (1 Thess. 5:3). The Christians will be taken to be with Christ before the day of the Lord (Rev. 3:10).

How long does this last? Peter declares: 'But the day of the Lord will come as a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a rushing noise, and the elements, burning with heat, shall be dissolved, and the earth and the works in it shall be burnt up'
(2 Pet. 3:10). Therefore he includes in the judgments of this day the destruction of the present heavens and earth, an event that will take place after the end of the millennium. The expression 'Christ's day' (or 'Jesus Christ's day') used by Paul in the epistle to the Philippians alludes to the day of recompense which will take place when the Lord comes (1 Cor. 4:5).

The day of God (2 Pet. 3:12) refers to the eternal state, which will introduce the new heavens and the new earth after the destruction of the present heavens and earth. This is not to be confounded with 'that great day of God the Almighty' (Rev. 16:14) which corresponds with the day of the Lord.

Extracted from Sondez les ecritures

The expression 'the Lord's Day' (Rev 1:10) is distinct from 'the Day of the Lord.' It refers to the first day of the week when Christians gather to remember the Lord Jesus (Acts 20:7). In the original language of the New Testament it is linked closely to the expression 'the Lord's Table'. Eds.

[1] This expression is to be found in the following passages:-

  • The day of Jehovah:- Isa. 2:12; 13:6 & 9; Jer. 46:10; Ezek. 13:5; 30:3;
    Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11 & 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18 & 20; Obadiah 15;
    Zeph. 1:7; Mal. 4:5.
  • The day of the Lord:- Acts 2:20; 1 Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14;
    1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Thess. 2:2; 2 Pet. 3:10.


[2] For example, He has dispersed the builders of the tower of Babel in giving them different languages (Gen. 11). Later on He put it in the heart of Cyrus, king of Persia, to call the Jews, captives in Babylon, to rebuild the house of God in Jerusalem (Ezra. 1).


[3] The expression 'the holy day of Jehovah', in Isaiah 58:13, refers to the Sabbath and not to 'the day of Jehovah'.