The Day of the LORD

The Day of the LORD is the Revelation of the Lord Christ.

In the introduction I documented 39 different phrases which, in context, all refer to the great Day of the LORD, that series of events which precede the return of the Lord Christ, tell of His arrival and rule of the earth for 1000 years, finally culminating in the Great White Throne Judgment.

The purpose of this and the following chapters is to prove this premise from the Scripture.

 


Types and Shadows

Details of the Lord Christ in the OT are mostly hidden within “types and shadows” (and there are many!). While there may be several reasons the LORD chose to use this method, one “constant” in the Scriptures is the continual obstinance and rebellion of His chosen people, the Jews. As they were in OT times, so they also were when the Lord Christ ministered and served among them during His ministry.

Remember that when His disciples could not understand the Parable of the Soils/Sower, and therefore asked for an explanation, the Lord’s answer to them was stunning:

Mat 13.10-14a
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled

Why did the Lord Christ base respond to the Jews in this manner? The answer is very simple: the Jews were being punished for their characteristic obstinance:

Isa 6.9-11
He said,
“Go, and tell this people:
Keep on listening, but do not perceive;
Keep on looking, but do not understand.’
Render the hearts of this people insensitive,
Their ears dull,
And their eyes dim,
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
Understand with their hearts,
And return and be healed.

This was not the first scathing denunciation of the typical “spiritual dullness” of the Jews. From their earliest days, this was the testimony of their national character (or, rather, the lack thereof). Just before they finally began the entrance into the Promised Land, the LORD spoke these words to them through Moses:

Deu 31.19-21
Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel. For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant. Then it shall come about, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify before them as a witness (for it shall not be forgotten from the lips of their descendants); for I know their intent which they are developing today, before I have brought them into the land which I swore.”

 


There are at least 17 multi-verse sections in the OT which mention the Day of the LORD (or its equivalent phrases). They were essentially opaque to the OT Jew; the revelation in the OT of the Lord Christ, and therefore His day, was kept largely hidden.

Truly, the Jews’ misconceptions of Messiah were spectacular, as demonstrated by their desire not only to discredit the Lord Christ but by their determined efforts to murder Him—which they succeeded in doing when they, by proxy, crucified Him through the Roman authorities.

Moreover, that same hardness of heart continues into the present:

2 Cor 3.14-16
But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

However, with the ministry of the Lord Christ among the Jews, and His subsequent death and resurrection, the following truth was permanently established:

Act 17.30-31
Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.

With the resurrection of the Lord Christ comes the culpability of all mankind. And to whom is mankind to give an account? The “Man” appointed by the LORD, none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.

 


The Lord Christ “takes ownership” of the Day of the LORD

The Lord Christ established from the earliest days of His ministry that it was He alone who would be the coming Judge and Lord with language both parabolic and direct. Notice this very early declaration:

Mat 7.21-23
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’

The Jews, at every turn, continually fell back on the defense “But we are the chosen people of the LORD!”. However, as just quoted above from the well-known Sermon on the Mount the Lord Christ taught that not only would that hollow claim not be a valid defense, a majority of those making that claim would find themselves rejected by the very One whom they rejected!

The Lord Christ made it very clear essentially by stating (in the first person!):

“I am the One who will be your Judge and I will condemn you.”

But there are several other passages in which He presented and maintained the same claim to having the ultimate authority:

Mat 11.20-27
Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day. Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.” At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

Mat 25.31-33,41,46
“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.”

“Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;”

“These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Mar 13.24-27
“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven.”

Luk 17.22-32
And He said to the disciples, “The days will come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. They will say to you, ‘Look there! Look here!’ Do not go away, and do not run after them. For just like the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day. But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, the one who is on the housetop and whose goods are in the house must not go down to take them out; and likewise the one who is in the field must not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife.

Psalm 110 is a very interesting Scripture in this context. Remember that the religious elite continually rejected the claim of the Lord Christ that He was the Son of God. In one of the exchanges recorded in all three synoptic gospels, the Lord Christ appealed to Psa 110:

Mat 22.41-46 [Mar 12.35-37; Luk 20.41-44]
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: “What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?” They said to Him, “The son of David.” He said to them, “Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying,
‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet”’?
If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?” No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.

The religious leaders couldn’t answer His question because, in their minds, the Lord Christ was a dangerous impostor, someone in league with the devil. But that didn’t change the essence of the Lord’s challenge to them by His appeal to Psalm 110: He was the LORD of the Psalm, the One who was David’s son as well as David’s LORD! And, most importantly in the context of this article, the He is One who will rule with power in the coming Day:

Psa 110.2-3a
The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power;

Last of all, at His first religious trial before Caiaphas (see The Myth of the Friday Crucifixion of the Lord Christ for a detailed chronology), in His last mention of the topic, it is the Lord Christ who joins together the prophecies of the OT and NT regarding the Day of the LORD:

Mat 26.62-64
The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

In a single, simple and direct quotation from Daniel chapter 7 which He applied to Himself, the Lord Christ made it clear that those OT prophecies of the Day of the LORD were promises of His coming to judge and rule!

Dan 7.13-14
I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed
.

Unsurprisingly, and true to their nature, the religious elite (and the rest of the “rank and file” Jew, for that matter), instantly rejected His claim and accused Him of blasphemy. The truth of the matter is, rather, that those religious elite now wait in Hades for the great judgment to take place at the end of the age when they will stand before the very One they so arrogantly condemned. (See The Final Sequence for details.) Their arrogant accusations of the Righteous One have given way now to their constant experience of hopelessness and the absolute certainty of ultimate doom, along with all those now in Hades who await the Great White Throne Judgment.

 


The Judgment to be Accomplished by the Lord Christ

There are a number of passages in which the Lord Christ makes it very clear that He is the Coming One, to whom account must be given and who will pass judgment upon mankind:

Mat 16.24-27
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.

Mat 24.29-31
“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”

Mat 24.36-42
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”

Luk 21.20,24,25-28
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near.

and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

 


The Continuing Testimony of the NT Writers

The Lord Christ is the One who is the coming Judge of the Living and the Dead:

Act 10.38-42
You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.

2 Tim 4.1
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:

1 Pet 4.3-5
For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the NT writers would also have realized, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the singular importance that the Lord Christ is the Coming Son of Man of Daniel chapter 7. Indeed, there are many such mentions.

[I have limited the selection of passages below to only those which explicitly mention the Lord Christ in the immediate context. A later chapter covers those passages which mention only God, Lord, etc., without an explicit mention of the Lord Christ in the immediate context.]

There are many mentions of this great truth by the Apostle Paul:

Rom 2.14-16
For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

1 Cor 1.4-9
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in everything you were enriched in Him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Cor 5.3-5
For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

1 Cor 5.9-10
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

2 Cor 1.12-14
For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you. For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end; just as you also partially did understand us, that we are your reason to be proud as you also are ours, in the day of our Lord Jesus.

2 Cor 5.9-10
Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Eph 6.5-8
Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.

Phi 1.6-11
For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Phi 2.14-16
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

Col 3.22-25
Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality.

2 The 1.6-10
For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.

2 The 2.1-4
Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.

2 Tim 1.12
For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

2 Tim 1.16-18
The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me—the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.

2 Tim 4.6-8
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

All but one of the remaining authors of the NT (the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, Peter, John and Jude) mention the great Day but associate it generally with “God” or “Lord” without explicit mention of the Lord Christ in the immediate context. These passages are presented in a later chapter.

Having therefore established the very important premise that the Day of the LORD is, in fact, the revelation of the Lord Christ, the following chapters provide the details.

 

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