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  • The Double Sense of the Future Day of the Lord

    (From the book The Missing Key in Dispensational Eschatology) In addition to the two-fold nature of the future Day of the Lord that we examined in the previous article, an equally important awareness is that it also has a “double sense” – it is both broad and narrow in terms of its duration. The broad sense refers to an extended time period that begins with the Rapture (a key insight that lies outside of the scope of this article series), and then covers the post-Rapture/pre-Tribulation gap period, the Tribulation period, and the Millennium. The narrow sense refers to one specific and climactic day of ultimate significance – the day that involves Christ’s actual physical return to the earth at His Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation. We’ve also provided the following chart in order to present a visual aid of both the Day of the Lord’s two-fold nature (darkness/judgment + light/blessing) and double sense (broad + narrow). This key and fundamental insight of a “double sense” is often ignored, misunderstood, or overlooked by many Biblical commentators. However, we should point out that for the present context of our study, it will be an essential concept to understand correctly. So, let’s begin to carefully examine this issue. First, we must recognize that just as we today often use single words in a variety of ways in common language, single words in scripture are also used in a variety of ways. For example, consider all of the ways the word “apple” may be used in English. You may be referring to an actual fruit. You may be referring to a computer (the brand Apple, Inc.). You may be referring to New York City (nicknamed the “Big Apple”). Or, you may be using the term figuratively (the “apple” of your eye). You may even be referring to the laryngeal prominence on the front of the human neck (called the “Adam’s apple”). Word usage in the Bible is no different. We understand how a word is being used by the context. Furthermore, a basic hermeneutical (interpretive) guideline is that the Bible is the best interpreter of itself. We can often rely on scripture itself to define the parameters of how a given term is used, and therefore, how we are to understand it. This is especially true of the term “day,” and therefore, by extension, “the Day of the Lord.” Concerning this issue, Walvoord writes: The word “day” is used in the Bible in various ways. Sometimes it is used to refer to daylight; for instance, the hours between dawn and sunset. Sometimes it is used to refer to a twenty-four-hour day. The Jewish day began at sunset and continued to the next day at sunset. That also is referred to as a day. Sometimes the word day is used in the Bible as a period of time, just as we use it in English. We speak of the day of our youth; what do we mean by that? We do not mean that we were young only one day, but we mean the extended period of time in which we were young. [1] So, we should recognize that the word “day” in scripture has both a narrow sense (meaning an actual twenty-four-hour day, or sometimes even just the daylight period of it) and a broad sense (meaning an epoch or extended period of time). Genesis 1:5 is a clear example of the narrow sense of the word “day.” And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. -Genesis 1:5 This verse speaks of the daylight period of a literal twenty-four-hour day, and also the evening and morning, or darkness and light segments of a literal twenty-four-hour day. If you continue reading Genesis Chapter 1, the verses to follow tell us about the next six days of creation in which God brought His work to completion. But then in Genesis 2:4, we read the following summary. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made. -Genesis 1:5 As we clearly see in the verses between Genesis 1:5 and 2:3, the text informs us that God performed the creation in seven literal twenty-four-hour days. Yet, Genesis 2:4 sums up these “narrow-sense” creation days as a “broad day” period. In other words, it refers to the whole creation week period figuratively, as a “day.” Psalm 59:16 is another example of “day” being used in a more unconstrained, figurative sense, as to mean “a period of time.” But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble. -Psalm 59:16 Here, the Psalmist was not trying to convey that his trouble was confined to a literal twenty-four-hour period, but rather that God has been his defense and refuge during any and all periods of trouble in his life. The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary confirms this understanding, providing the following definition of the Biblical word day (the Hebrew word yom). Day, used both in the particular sense of a natural day, and in the general sense of a set time or period of time. … Day is often used by sacred writers, in a general sense, for a definite period of time – an era or season, when something remarkable has taken place or is destined to do so. [2] Many modern prophecy commentators are quick to recognize the narrow sense of the Day of the Lord, understanding the obvious scriptural emphasis on the climactic, literal twenty-four-hour day that will involve Christ’s return. On this culminating day of the judgment phase, He will return to the earth with His bride the Church, defeat His enemies, and rescue the righteous remnant of Israel. However, these commentators often miss the broad sense of the Day of the Lord, not recognizing that scripture clearly uses this term to describe a wider period of time that encompasses all of the major eschatological events the Bible foretells (from the Rapture to the end of the Millennial Kingdom). This usage is similar to the way we might use the term “Christmas” in our modern culture. Christmas has both a broad sense and a narrow sense. When referring to Christmas, we often mean the entire Christmas season. But yet, there is also that one, specific, climaxing day – Christmas Day, December 25th. A somewhat similar Biblical example is the Passover. According to Leviticus 23:5, the specific day of Passover is to be the 14th day of the first month. However, we also learn that the Passover season as a whole involves a broader period that involves the selection of a Passover lamb on the 10th, the Passover Seder that takes place on the 15th (which begins the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread), and the Feast of First Fruits that takes place on the first Sunday following Passover. These can all connotatively be referred to as the Passover season – and yet, there is that one denotative, specific day of Passover, which is the 14th, when the lambs are killed. In fact, a study of the Passion Week chronology in the gospels reveals that the Bible also uses the term “Unleavened Bread” in this way also. Sometimes it denotatively refers to the actual day when the feast or Seder took place (the 15th), but other times it is used more connotatively to refer to this entire festival week. Many commentators have ended up in error by not maintaining a precise understanding of the connotative and denotative usages of Biblical terms – and as a result, the Bible will appear contradictory. Like the two-fold nature of the Day of the Lord, this understanding of the double sense of the Day of the Lord is also a concept well-recognized by scholars of all eschatological persuasions. For example, John Walvoord recognized the broad period of the Day of the Lord as beginning with the Rapture and extending until the end of the Millennium. When the rapture occurs, this work of God [the Church] will be brought to its close and the Day of the Lord will begin. … the period in general would extend from the rapture until the end of the millennium. [3] Renald Showers also noted the broad and narrow sense of the Day of the Lord. We should note that the biblical expression “the Day of the Lord” has a double sense (broad and narrow) in relationship to the future. The broad sense refers to an extended period of time involving divine interventions related to at least the 70th week of Daniel and the thousand-year Millennium. … The narrow sense refers to one specific day – the day on which Christ will return to earth from heaven with His angels. [4] In similar fashion, A.B. Davidson stated: Though the “Day of the Lord,” as the expression implies, was at first conceived as a definite and brief period of time, being an era of judgment and salvation, it many times broadened out to be an extended period. From being a day it became an epoch. [5] So, again, we should recognize that the Day of the Lord’s double sense is not some new or deviant belief. Rather, it has been long recognized by careful Bible interpreters. In the previous article of this series, we examined a number of prophetic passages from the Old Testament prophets that demonstrated the reality of the Day of the Lord as a prolonged period consisting of a darkness/judgment phase and a light/blessing phase. That understanding also substantiates the claims of this article, in which the double sense is our current topic. In that article, we showed scriptural evidence that the Day of the Lord in one sense is broad in its duration. But we will now focus our attention on the scriptural support for the other sense – a narrow period of one specific day of culmination. The existence of a specific climaxing day is clear in light of a careful examination of the prophetic body of scripture. Many scriptures can be presented that focus on this day that we call the Second Coming, the climax of the darkness/judgment phase, in which the Lord returns to destroy His enemies. Let’s examine several. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For 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. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And 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. -Zechariah 14:1-4 This excerpt seems to clearly focus its identification of the Day of the Lord on the events of the narrow sense (the literal twenty-four-hour day in which the Second Coming proper occurs and the Lord defeats the enemies of Israel). A similar example is found in Joel 3. In this chapter, it is obvious that Verses 12-16 focus on the narrow period of the Day of the Lord (the actual twenty-four-hour day of Christ’s return). It reads: Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: -Joel 3:12-16 We also find a prime example in Amos 5:18-20 (which we also noted in the previous article), in which the text explicitly denies that there is any light found for the wicked during the Day of the Lord. Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? -Amos 5:18-20 Clearly, this refers most specifically to the narrow sense of the Day of the Lord, as it focuses on darkness and judgment. We’ve just spent time showing the many Biblical mentions of the light/blessing phase of the broad period. Either the Bible is contradictory, or this passage in Amos must be understood to be focusing specifically on the wicked who experience the narrow sense of that Day. This turns out to be a potent confirmation that scripture uses two senses to describe the Day of the Lord. Clearly, this context of darkness is addressed to a specific audience, which Verse 1 of this chapter demands to be the unbelieving nation of Israel on earth during this time of judgment. We can also note that the Old Testament has a special term used to describe this narrow period. We find this term in Joel 2:31, as Joel foretells the darkening of the heavenly bodies prior to the coming of the “great and terrible Day of the Lord.” The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord come. -Joel 2:31 This also is a potent confirmation that the Bible speaks of two senses when it describes the Day of the Lord. A reading of Revelation and other prophetic passages foretell the celestial phenomena (such as that which is mentioned in this verse) that will take place during the Day of the Lord. Since Joel here described the Day of the Lord as following these celestial events, are we to then believe that they, as well as the other judgments are not part of that Day? Without recognizing the double senses of the Day of the Lord, one would be forced to adopt such a conclusion. It is clear that the “great and terrible Day of the Lord” is a special term the Old Testament uses to specifically describe this narrow period – the climaxing day of the Second Coming. We find a similar expression in Malachi 4:5. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: -Malachi 4:5 Similarly, when Malachi writes that God will send Elijah before the coming of the great and dreadful Day of the Lord, it should be understood to mean that Elijah would return prior to the narrow Day – not prior to the broad Day. Elijah will likely return as one of the Two Witnesses in Revelation (11:3-12, et al.), which takes place during the Tribulation period (part of the broad Day). The understanding that this term (“the great and terrible/dreadful Day of the Lord”) is a reference to the culminating day when Christ returns to earth in power and glory goes all the way back to the interpretation of the ancient Jewish rabbis, as preserved in The Babylonian Talmud. Tractate Shabbath, Folio 118a tells us plainly: This is understood to refer to the advent of the Messiah. [6] Referring to the Joel 2:31 passage, Bible scholar E.W. Bullinger rightly observes that this “great and terrible” day is the narrow day, or the culminating day of a broader period. It is called “the great and terrible day of the Lord,” as though it were the climax of the whole period known as “the day of the Lord.” [7] Similarly, Renald Showers wrote: We should note that the Scriptures apply the expression “the great and terrible day of the Lord” to the narrow Day, not the broad Day. The implication is that the narrow Day will differ from the rest of the broad Day, not only in duration, but also in significance. Although the earlier part of the judgment phase of the broad Day will involve a great outpouring of divine wrath upon the domain of Satan and mankind, the narrow Day will be the grand climax of that judgment phase. [8] And so, we should understand that the narrow period of the Day of the Lord (the great and terrible Day of the Lord) is the grand day of climax of the judgment phase of the wider broad Day period. Conclusion Throughout our three-part review of the Biblical presentation of the Day of the Lord, we have noted several important aspects that will be critical for us to understand this subject. First, we noted that the Day of the Lord refers to the times of God’s divine interventions into the course of human history in order to judge sin, judge His enemies, accomplish His purposes for mankind, and display His sovereignty as the God of the universe. Second, we recognized that the Day of the Lord is applicable to past historical events in which God intervened in history, but even more notably to a future grand climax of human history in which this final and ultimate Day of the Lord is anticipated. Unlike the past events where God primarily intervened by using human instruments, this final eschatological Day of the Lord will climax in the actual, physical return of Jesus Christ to earth to judge and defeat His enemies. Third, we noted that the future Day of the Lord has a two-fold nature. First, there will be a phase characterized by darkness and judgment. This phase will involve the time period beginning with the Rapture, the post-Rapture gap period that follows it, the Tribulation period, and will culminate with the Second Coming. A significant recognition is the fact that the Rapture is the opening event of the broad Day of the Lord (which is outside the scope of this article series). While the saints are being raptured in glory, the darkness/ judgment phase of the broad Day immediately falls on the wicked inhabitants of the earth. Following this darkness/judgment phase, there will be a second phase characterized by light and blessing. This phase will involve the Millennial reign of Christ on earth. Figuratively, this compares to an actual twenty-four-hour day in the sense that it involves a period of darkness followed by a period of light. Fourth, we then noted that the future Day of the Lord has a double sense in terms of duration. In its broad sense, it refers to a prolonged period beginning with the Rapture, the post-Rapture gap period that follows it, the Tribulation period, and the Millennial Kingdom. But in its narrow sense, it refers to a specific day of culmination in which Christ returns in glory to judge His enemies. This narrow period is sometimes called “the great and terrible Day of the Lord,” referring to the time immediately surrounding the Second Coming. It is the climactic day that separates the darkness phase from the light phase. At the root of most misunderstandings of eschatology is a deficient understanding of how the Bible self-defines its own terms. Since the Day of the Lord by definition describes God's program for the end times, then understanding all of these aspects is invaluable for equipping us with a sound understanding of the chronology of Biblical eschatology. It will help us avoid the common pitfalls that so frequently hinder a sound understanding of the end times. [1] John Walvoord, “The Day of the Lord,” Jan. 1, 2008, Bible.org. (https://bible.org/seriespage/5-day-lord - Retrieved 3/27/22) [2] Merrill F. Unger, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary, ed. R.K. Harrison, Chicago: Moody Publishers, rev. 1988, pp. 1283, 1286. [3] John Walvoord, The Nations, Israel, and the Church in Prophecy, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1988, p. 86. [4] Renald Showers, Maranatha: Our Lord Come! Bellmawr, NJ: Friends of Israel, 1995, p. 35. [5] A.B. Davidson, “The Theology of the Old Testament,” in International Theological Library, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936, p. 381. [6] The Babylonian Talmud, London: Soncino Press, 1938, “Shabbath,” 118a, in footnote, p. 580. [7] E.W. Bullinger, The Apocalypse or “The Day of the Lord,” London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1935, p. 248. [8] Showers, pp. 36-37.

  • The Two-Fold Nature of the Future Day of the Lord

    (From the book The Missing Key in Dispensational Eschatology) In the previous article, we examined the Biblical Day of the Lord, understanding that it has both historical applications as well as a future, ultimate fulfillment. This and the next article will both focus on the future, ultimate eschatological (end-times) Day of the Lord. The next thing we need to recognize about the future Day of the Lord is that it has a two-fold nature – including a period of darkness and judgment as well as a period of light and blessing. This basic understanding is often overlooked even by good Dispensational scholars, resulting in the inability to accurately and precisely understand much of what scripture communicates to us further ahead in the New Testament. The darkness/judgment phase will occur first, and will characterize the total nature of the Day of the Lord from the standpoint of God’s enemies. They will not enjoy the subsequent phase that involves light and blessing. This gloomy phase of the Day of the Lord includes what Christians often call the Tribulation (the final seventieth week of the Daniel 9:24-27 prophecy), and culminates with the Second Coming of Christ to issue decisive defeat to His enemies, introducing His earthly kingdom reign. Let’s take a look at several scripture passages that depict this darkness/judgment phase. 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. -Isaiah 13:9 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; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains…. -Joel 2:1-2 Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? -Amos 5:18-20 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. That 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, -Zephaniah 1:14-15 All of these passages clearly depict the judgment phase, describing it as being a day of wrath, trouble, distress, desolation, darkness, gloominess, woe, clouds, thick darkness, and fierce anger, where even mighty men will cry bitterly. It describes it as a time when God will destroy sinners. But the subsequent aspect of the Day of the Lord involves a phase of light and the outpouring of God’s blessing under the rule and reign of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. This takes place during the Millennial Kingdom. As we will see, it directly follows on the heels of Christ’s return to defeat His enemies, which will conclude the darkness/judgment phase. We will also find that this pattern of the prolonged period of the Day of the Lord takes place in similar fashion to an actual twenty-four-hour day – a period of light that follows a period of darkness. In all of the eschatological passages we will examine, the Biblical writer first describes the Day of the Lord by that name, foretelling its initial phase of darkness/judgment. The passages then continue on to discuss the light/blessing phase that follows – denoting it’s inclusion in the same prolonged period by using the phrase “in that day”. In other words, the phrase “in that day” continues the foregoing narrative, and should be understood to refer to its antecedent – the Day of the Lord. So then according to the text, the Day of the Lord does not end with the climax of the darkness/judgment phase. It continues on into the light/blessing phase, as indicated by the continuing usage of the phrase “in that day.” It is not describing a different day, but rather a different phase of the same day (similar to how a phase of daylight follows a phase of darkness in an actual twenty-four-hour day). Let’s now take a look at several scripture passages that clearly depict this. A passage we just looked at, Joel 2:1-2, depicts the darkness/judgment phase, which continues to be the subject of the remainder of that chapter – although it also discusses elements that likely will follow in the blessing phase (such as the outpouring of the Spirit upon Israel). Joel Chapter 3 then refocuses on the culmination of the darkness phase, which involves the gathering of the enemies of God against Jerusalem. It foretells the fierce judgment that will be executed upon them at what we now know is the time of the Second Coming of Christ. But in Verses 16-21 of Chapter 3, we see a clear transition taking place, as Joel then begins to foretell the subsequent Millennial period of great divine blessings that will occur following the judgment phase – with that period still being referred to as “in that day.” Let’s examine this notable shift from darkness/judgment to the positivity of this subsequent light/blessing phase in Verses 16-21 of Joel 3. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the Lord your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth out of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim. Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the Lord dwelleth in Zion. -Joel 3:16-21 Note: For clarity, we of course recommend that you go back in your own Bibles to fully examine these chapters and note the features we are identifying. As we can see, after Joel discusses the darkness/judgment phase, the prophetic narrative then shifts to discuss the light/blessing phase, in which events that take place during the Millennial Kingdom are described. Yet, it continues to describe these events with the phrase “in that day,” showing the continuation of the Day of the Lord throughout the Millennium (the light/blessing phase). Similarly, in Zechariah Chapter 14, after foretelling the darkness/judgment phase when the nations gather for war against Jerusalem, culminating in the Second Coming of Christ to destroy these enemies, Zechariah then begins to detail a subsequent time where the darkness will turn into light. He tells us of a number of great blessings that will be poured out “in that day” as God establishes His reign over the earth in the Millennium. In other words, the first part of “that day” will be darkness, but the latter part will be light – just like an actual twenty-four-hour day. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord, not day, nor night: but it shall come to pass, that at evening time it shall be light. And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one. In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness Unto The Lord; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. -Zechariah 14:6-9, 20 So, like the previous example in Joel, we find this passage in Zechariah first discussing the darkness/judgment phase but then moving on to discuss the light/blessing phase, with both clearly described as being “in that day” (or in the Day of the Lord). Likewise, the book of Zephaniah starts out by describing the coming darkness/judgment phase of the Day of the Lord (another passage we read earlier). But then, midway through Chapter 3, the focus begins to transition from the judgment of God’s enemies at the end of the darkness/judgment phase to the blessing, regathering, and restoration of Israel during the light/blessing phase – all still being described as “in that day.” Let’s make note of this positive shift beginning here in Verse 11. In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid. Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem. The Lord hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the Lord, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord. -Zephaniah 3:11-20 And so, from all of these clear scriptural examples that provide us with a detailed prophetic description of the future Day of the Lord, we can readily understand that this period includes first a darkness/judgment phase then followed by a light/blessing phase. Furthermore, it is clear that, just as is true in a literal twenty-four-hour day, the darkness phase will be followed by the light phase. This plain reality has been acknowledged by theologians of various interpretive camps for years. In the Dispensational camp, leading scholars have long noted this two-fold nature and its figurative similarity to a literal day. For example, John Walvoord writes: In 1 Thessalonians 5 the Day of the Lord is used in the sense of an extended period of time, but having the characteristics of a twenty-four hour day. That is, it is a day which begins at midnight or in the darkness, advancing to dawn and then daylight. It will close again with another period of darkness after daylight has passed. That apparently is the symbolism involved in the Day of the Lord. … The Day of the Lord, according to the Old Testament, is a time of God’s judgment and a time of God’s dealing with the world in its sin. … The Millennium – the whole kingdom reign of Christ on earth – in which Christ personally directs the government of the world, is also included in the Day of the Lord. [1] Similarly, Renald Showers asserted: The Day of the Lord in the future will be at least twofold in nature. Just as each day of creation and the Jewish day consisted of two phases – a time of darkness (“evening”) followed by a time of light (“day”) [Gen. 1:4-6] – so the future Day of the Lord will consist of two phases, a period of darkness (judgment) followed by a period of light (divine rule and blessing). [2] Likewise, Tony Garland notes: The phrase “Day of the Lord” is uniformly connected with darkness and judgment, whereas the phrases “this day” and “that day” do appear to be associated with the positive era subsequent to the initial dark elements of the day. The two-fold nature of the day is characterized by a time of intense darkness followed by incredible blessings. This dual nature results from both a sequential division (judgment bringing in the Kingdom of God on earth followed by the blessings of the millennial reign of Christ) and a spiritual division (the enemies of God will experience only the judgment whereas the people of God will experience the blessings of the millennial reign). [3] Many non-Dispensational scholars have also recognized this two-phased construction of the Day of the Lord. For instance, J. Barton Payne noted a period of judgment that is followed by a period of restoration. [4] Likewise, A.B. Davidson stated: Hence the “Day of the Lord” acquires a double-sided character. It is a day of salvation and judgment, or a day of salvation through judgment … a day of salvation behind this. Sometimes one side is prominent and sometimes another … Sometimes both sides of the Divine manifestation are brought forward, as in Joel. [5] John A.T. Robinson also admits that this period has both a judgment and a victory component. In itself, “the Day of the Lord” is a general and comprehensive expression for the consummation of God’s purpose, alike in victory and in judgment. [6] In addition, we should note that the scriptural teaching about God’s nature is that He is light, and there is no darkness in Him (1 John 1:5, et al.). If this is the case, then it would seem inconsistent to imagine His day (the Day of the Lord) consisting entirely of darkness, and having no periods of light. Further yet, it is difficult to imagine a future Day of the Lord that does not include His direct rule over the earth – which will only take place during the Millennium (the light/blessing phase). The Millennium is certainly part of the “consummation of God’s purpose,” as noted in the previous quote by Robinson. And as we’ve mentioned a number of times, this understanding aligns perfectly with the typology of an actual twenty-four-hour day, which consists of both dark and light phases. Thus, we should recognize that the two-fold nature of the future Day of the Lord is neither a new doctrine, nor a fringe, irrational doctrine. Rather, it is a basic insight of a careful and thorough exposition of the Bible – one that is and has been held by Christian scholars across the interpretive spectrum. [1] John Walvoord, “The Day of the Lord,” Jan. 1, 2008, Bible.org. (https://bible.org/seriespage/5-day-lord - Retrieved 3/27/22) [2] Renald Showers, Maranatha: Our Lord Come! Bellmawr, NJ: Friends of Israel, 1995, p. 33. [3] Tony Garland, Revelation Commentary, under “2.13 - Related Passages and Themes,” PreceptAustin.org. (https://www.preceptaustin.org/revelation-intro-parallels (Retrieved 3/21/22) [4] J. Barton Payne, The Theology of the Older Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1962, p. 464. [5] A.B. Davidson, “The Theology of the Old Testament,” in International Theological Library, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1936, pp. 377-378. [6] John A.T. Robinson, Jesus and His Coming, Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1979, p. 19.

  • What Is the Day of the Lord?


    (From the book The Missing Key in Dispensational Eschatology) The Day of the Lord is a Biblical term that, within Bible prophecy discussion, is often either not defined at all, or is defined in a way that limits its scope in a way inconsistent with its actual usage in scripture. What is the basic definition of the Day of the Lord, according to its scriptural usage? Put simply, the Day of the Lord denotes God’s times of intervention in human history. As the Creator of the universe, God had specific purposes in mind for its creation – and as a result, when the sinful tendencies of mankind interfere with the sovereign plan of God, there is a point at which He intervenes in order to accomplish these purposes. Old Testament scholar and theologian J. Barton Payne described the Day of the Lord as follows. The comprehensive phase, by which the Old Testament describes God’s intervention in human history for the accomplishment of His testament is yom Yahwe, “the day of Yahweh.” … The “day” is thus characterized by an observable accomplishment of the general aims of divine providence. It refers to that point in history at which the sovereign God lays bare His arm on the behalf of His testament and of its heirs… [1] Similarly, theologian Renald Showers defined the Day of the Lord in the following way. In the Scriptures the expression “the Day of the Lord” (together with other synonymous expressions, such as “that day,” “the day of God,” etc.) is strongly related to God’s rule of the earth and, therefore, to His sovereign purpose for world history and specific events within that history. The Day of the Lord refers to God’s special interventions into the course of world events to judge His enemies, accomplish His purpose for history, and thereby demonstrate who He is – the sovereign God of the universe. [2] The scriptures clearly indicate that its mentions of the Day of the Lord (like much of the Bible’s prophetic content) often focus on a near-term or local application, as well as a future ultimate eschatological sense. In an article on the Day of the Lord in The Popular Encyclopedia Of Bible Prophecy, Richard L. Mayhue writes: A survey of the prophets indicates the term [Day of the Lord] was used in reference to both near historical fulfillments and far future eschatological events. [3] We can take note of these usages in the Old Testament books of the prophets where the term “Day of the Lord” appears – including Obadiah, Joel, Amos, Isaiah, Zephaniah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Malachi – showing how these authors spoke of the Day of the Lord in both a near-term historical sense but also a far-term future eschatological sense that clearly transcended any immediate local application. In the past “Days of the Lord,” God typically used foreign nations to execute His sovereign interventions against His enemies – in the form of war and military invasions. For instance, He raised up Assyria to invade, conquer, and exile the apostate Northern Kingdom of Israel in the 700s BC, as we see in, for example, Amos 5:18-20. God also similarly raised up Babylon to bring His judgment against the Southern Kingdom of Judah in the centuries to follow – as we see in passages such as Lamentations 1-2, Ezekiel 7:19, 13:5, and Zephaniah 2:2-3. He also used Babylon to bring judgment against Egypt and its allies in the 500s BC, as shown in Jeremiah 46:10 and Ezekiel 30:2. In similar fashion, Medo-Persia was later used to judge Babylon for its wickedness, as we see in Isaiah 13:6 and 9. But these past historical interventions are just foreshadows of the future ultimate Day of the Lord – in which God will intervene not only by using human instruments to execute His divine wrath, but He Himself as the risen Messiah, Jesus Christ, will actually arrive on the scene and fight against His enemies, bringing about His earthly reign – the Millennial Kingdom. George Ladd wrote: The prophets viewed the immediate historical future against the background of the final eschatological consummation, for the same God who was acting in history would finally establish his Kingdom in the future. [4] When we get to the New Testament, we then see that the New Testament writers consistently interpreted these Old Testament prophetic “Day of the Lord” texts in light of this ultimate eschatological fulfillment to take place in the future, and connected them with the noteworthy end-time events that Christians today refer to as the Tribulation and the Millennial Kingdom. These both are major eschatological events that consummate the age of human rule over the earth and usher in the judgments and blessings of God as He brings about His sovereign purposes for the earth. Showers provides a number of scriptural indicators that require the Day of the Lord to apply most ultimately to this future culminating time period where God brings about one final intervention in human history. First, Isaiah 2:10-22 describes a Day of the Lord that will involve the sixth seal described by the Apostle John in Revelation 6:12-17. Because this sixth seal will take place during the [future] 70th Week of Daniel 9, the Day of the Lord that will involve that seal must also take place during that future time period. Second, Isaiah 34:1-8 and Obadiah 15 describe a Day of the Lord when God will judge all nations or Gentiles of the world. None of the past Days of the Lord involved divine judgment of all the nations. Up to this point in history, there has not been a judgment of all nations during the same time period. In light of this, we must conclude that the Day of the Lord of Isaiah 34 and Obadiah must be future. Third, Joel 3:1-16 and Zechariah 14:1-3, 12-15 refer to a Day of the Lord that will involve God’s judgment of the armies of all the nations of the world, when those armies gather in Israel to wage war against that nation and the city of Jerusalem and when the Messiah comes to war against them. According to Revelation 16:12-16, those armies will not begin to gather until the sixth bowl is poured out during the [future] 70th Week of Daniel 9. In addition, Revelation 19:11-21 indicates that Christ will wage war against them when He comes from heaven to earth. This, too, forces the conclusion that the Day of the Lord of Joel 3 and Zechariah 14 is future. Fourth, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, the Apostle Paul referred to a Day of the Lord that was future beyond the time when he wrote his epistle and that would bring sudden, inescapable destruction upon the unsaved of the world. That Day of the Lord had not taken place before Paul wrote his Thessalonian epistle, and it seems evident that nothing of its nature has transpired since. Thus, the Day of the Lord of 1 Thessalonians 5 is also future. [5] It is also crucial for us to recognize that just as the historically-fulfilled “Days of the Lord” were not necessarily literal, twenty-four-hour days (but rather periods of judgment), our interpretation of the future ultimate eschatological Day of the Lord also cannot be limited to a twenty-four-hour day. Rather, scripture clearly describes it in its broadest sense as a prolonged period of time. John Walvoord, one of the most prominent Dispensational scholars of the twentieth century wrote: According to the Bible, the day of the Lord is a time when God deals in direct judgment of the world in contrast to a time of grace when he does not. There were frequent days of the Lord in the Old Testament when God dealt with Israel because of their straying and would bring in an invader or would introduce drought or famine or some other catastrophe. These periods had a beginning and an ending, but obviously were more than a twenty-four-hour day. It was an extended period of time, long or short, depending on the circumstances. [6] And so, we can readily understand the ultimate eschatological nature of the Day of the Lord in scripture. It has both past historical and ultimate future applications – but always refers to the periods of time when God Himself intervenes in history in order to bring about His sovereign plan for the world. In the next several articles on this topic, as we uncover deeper nuances of how this concept is expressed in the Bible, our concern will not involve the past historical applications, but instead will look deeper into the future, ultimate, eschatological Day of the Lord. [1] J. Barton Payne, The Theology of the Older Testament, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1962, pp. 464-465. [2] Renald Showers, Maranatha: Our Lord Come! Bellmawr, NJ: Friends of Israel, 1995, p. 30. [3] Richard L. Mayhue, “The Day of the Lord,” in The Popular Encyclopedia Of Bible Prophecy, eds. Tim Lahaye and Ed Hindson, Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2004, p. 73. [4] George Ladd, The Presence of the Future, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974, p. 68. [5] Showers, pp. 31-32. [6] John Walvoord, “The Day of the Lord,” in Journal of Ministry and Theology, 4:2, Fall, 2000, p. 10.

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  • Jeremiah's 70 Years Prophecy: The Babylonian Captivity | Let Us Reason

    let us reason Daniel 9:25 Prophecy Description Contents Download In this study, Jeremiah's 70 Years Prophecy: The Babylonian Captivity , we will explore this often misunderstood prophecy in depth and try to determine if what we know from history aligns with what the Bible says about these prophetic seventy years. ​ Jeremiah’s prophecy about the impending Babylonian invasion and the captivity of the Jews is undoubtedly his most well-known prophecy – and is linked with a duration of seventy years. But a historical seventy-year period has been problematic for some commentators to identify precisely. Can we identify this period with any confidence? Some have concluded that these seventy-year prophecies are only approximate at best, and wildly inaccurate at worst. Is this true? Or were these prophecies fulfilled accurately? And if so, can it be proven using our understanding of ancient history? Download this free study and find out for yourself! let us reason jeremiah 70 years prophecy babylonian captivity Back to Home Home Studies The Daniel 9:25 Prophecy A Refutation Of Alternative Chronologies The Basis Of Our Epistemology Prophecy - The Various Forms... The Nature Of Time How Sure Can We Be That Jesus Was The... The Psalm 22 Prophecy Establishing The Prophetic Validity... The Daniel 11 Prophecy The Isaiah 53 Prophecy The Luke 19:43-44 Prophecy Typology Of The Moedim Understanding The Distinction Between... Jeremiah's 70 Years Prophecy... The Identity Of The Nephilim Should Christians Support Israel? Articles Charts Contact

  • Should Christians Support Israel? | Let Us Reason

    let us reason Daniel 9:25 Prophecy Description Contents Download This study, Should Christians Support Israel? will explore several important questions concerning the nation of Israel from a Biblical basis ... questions such as the following. ​ What should the attitude of the Christian be towards Israel as a nation? Should the fact that national Israel is currently in unbelief affect the way we view the covenants and promises God has given to them? Is Israel as a unique chosen nation still relevant in God’s program – and do they still have a future in His plan? How should Christians view the modern State of Israel? Should Christians support the independent sovereignty of the modern State of Israel? ​ These questions have emerged as some of the most polarizing and hotly contested issues in our modern religious and geopolitical world. As we enter into an examination of this subject, we will do our best to exclusively look at what the Bible says about this subject – and not the frequent disinformation routinely spewed by both political and religious institutions. Download this free study and find out the answers for yourself! let us reason should christians support israel Back to Home Home Studies The Daniel 9:25 Prophecy A Refutation Of Alternative Chronologies The Basis Of Our Epistemology Prophecy - The Various Forms... The Nature Of Time How Sure Can We Be That Jesus Was The... The Psalm 22 Prophecy Establishing The Prophetic Validity... The Daniel 11 Prophecy The Isaiah 53 Prophecy The Luke 19:43-44 Prophecy Typology Of The Moedim Understanding The Distinction Between... Jeremiah's 70 Years Prophecy... The Identity Of The Nephilim Should Christians Support Israel? Articles Charts Contact

  • The Daniel 11 Prophecy: History From The 5th-1st Centuries B.C. Detailed In Advance | Let Us Reason

    Description Contents Download In this study, The Daniel 11 Prophecy: History From The 5th-1st Centuries B.C. Detailed In Advance , we will undertake an exploration of the longest continuous prophecy in the Bible, found in the 11th Chapter of Daniel, and continuing into the beginning of Chapter 12. This expansive prophecy anticipates the political maneuverings of the powers that fought over and ruled Judea and the Jews throughout the period of the first sixty-nine weeks of the seventy weeks prophecy given earlier to Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27). These powers included the northern Seleucid kingdom of Syria, the southern Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt, the Jewish Hasmonean dynasty, the Roman Empire, and Rome’s vassal in Judea, Herod the Great. Like many prophecies, this one is likely dual in many ways; events that have occurred in ancient times will likely be replicated at the time of the end (in the future seventieth week) for an ultimate far-term fulfillment. It seems clear that Antiochus IV and Herod the Great are types of the coming Antichrist. What is remarkable from this extensive prophecy is how it thoroughly demonstrates the precision the Bible uses to profile history in advance. Just how precise is it? Download this free study and find out for yourself! let us reason daniel 11 prophecy Back to Home Home Studies The Daniel 9:25 Prophecy A Refutation Of Alternative Chronologies The Basis Of Our Epistemology Prophecy - The Various Forms... The Nature Of Time How Sure Can We Be That Jesus Was The... The Psalm 22 Prophecy Establishing The Prophetic Validity... The Daniel 11 Prophecy The Isaiah 53 Prophecy The Luke 19:43-44 Prophecy Typology Of The Moedim Understanding The Distinction Between... Jeremiah's 70 Years Prophecy... The Identity Of The Nephilim Should Christians Support Israel? Articles Charts Contact

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