A comprehensive study on the Day of the Lord, as revealed in Scripture in regard to its meaning, and the time frame in which it will occur on God’s calendar.
The phrase "day of the Lord" is used in the Scriptures 25 times in 23 verses and a careful study of each use reveals both what the day of the Lord is and when it will occur. A careful reading of these Scriptures reveals that the day of the Lord is not just one 24 hour day but a period of time when God brings destruction (Isa. 13:6) on those who are proud and arrogant (Isa. 2:12). The following is every Scripture in the Bible that uses the phrase "day of the Lord," and an exegetical commentary follows each Scripture:
Isa 2:10-12 (KJV) Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. 11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. 12 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:
This Scripture confirms that the day of the Lord is a time when man will be seeking to hide from the Lord because of fear. The following Scripture confirms the time when this takes place as being after the sixth seal is opened:
Rev 6:15-17 (KJV) And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?
The above passage of Scripture takes place after the sixth seal has been opened, and it describes the preparation that men are making for the opening of the seventh seal, which will bring down the wrath of Almighty God, which is the day of the Lord.
Isa 13:6 (KJV) Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
The above Scripture confirms that the day of the Lord is a time of destruction (i.e., judgment) from Almighty God. The opening of the seven seals is a time when Antichrist has been given free rein over the earth without any interference from God. This is confirmed in the following Scripture, since it occurs after the opening of the fifth seal, and it emphatically states that God's judgments and vengeance have not yet been released:
Rev 6:9-11 (KJV) And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
Please note that the souls under the altar are even told that it will still be a while before God releases His judgments and vengeance on those who dwell on the earth. In this Scripture, the souls under the altar who have already been killed and their "brethren" in verse 11 are Christians. The "fellowservants" in verse 11 are the Jews and Gentiles saved after the beginning of Daniel's seventieth week. All three groups together are referred to as "saints" in Revelation 13:7. This will be explained in more detail later.
Isa 13:9 (KJV) 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.
This Scripture confirms that the Day of the Lord is a time of God's "wrath and fierce anger." Rev. 6:17 above leaves no doubt that the day of the wrath of God will not occur until after the seventh seal is opened, and it states "who shall be able to stand?" Joel 2:11 below establishes that the day of the Lord is the same time since it states the same thought, "...and who can abide it?"
Jer 46:10 (KJV) For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord GOD of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.
This Scripture confirms that the day of the Lord is a day of vengeance of the Lord on his adversaries. A careful reading of chapters 4-6 of Revelation establishes that the opening of the seals is not the vengeance or judgment from the Lord God Almighty. The opening of the seals is simply the legal transaction that leads up to the legal right of Jesus Christ to possess the earth. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross not only redeemed the elect of God, but it also redeemed the earth from the curse of God. The scroll with the seven seals is the title deed to the earth, and only Jesus Christ met all of the requirements to redeem the earth from the influence of Satan.
Ezek 13:5 (KJV) Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the LORD.
This Scripture confirms that the Day of the Lord is a time when Israel will suffer persecution. This is the time of Jacob's trouble, which occurs in the last half of Daniel's seventieth week.
Ezek 30:3 (KJV) For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen.
This Scripture confirms that it will be cloudy day for the nations. This is true because of the judgments and vengeance that God will bring upon the nations. This verse confirms that God will be dealing with the nations as well as the Jews during the day of the Lord. This establishes that God is not limited by Daniel's seventieth week to just dealing with the Jewish people. The Church will not be present on the earth during the day of the Lord.
Joel 1:15 (KJV) Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
This Scripture confirms that the day of the Lord is a day of destruction from Almighty God. The four horsemen of the Apocalypse represent destruction from the Antichrist, War, Famine and Pestilence and Death and Hades. These result from the depravity of man and not as a consequence of the judgments of God, which clearly do not occur until after the opening of the seventh seal. The seven trumpet judgments and the seven vial (i.e., bowl) judgments are the judgments of God.
Joel 2:1 (KJV) 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;
This Scripture points to the time of Jacob's trouble as the day of the Lord, and this occurs during the last half of Daniel's seventieth week. The Jews will be living in a time of relative peace and safety during the first half of the tribulation period, and there will be no need for alarm until the middle of the week when Antichrist sets himself up in the temple and claims to be God.
Joel 2:11 (KJV) And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?
This Scripture runs parallel with Revelation 6:7, which occurs after the opening of the seven seals in the middle of the week.
Joel 2:31 (KJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
This Scripture runs parallel with Revelation 6:12 after the opening of the sixth seal and in the middle of the week, and it confirms that the day of the Lord does not occur until after the seven seals are opened.
Joel 3:14-15 (KJV) Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining.
This Scripture is more confirmation that the day of the Lord is after the sun and the moon are darkened after the sixth seal is opened according to Revelation 6:12.
Amos 5:18-20 (KJV) 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. 19 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. 20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
This Scripture is a prophecy about Israel during the time of Jacob's trouble. The Lion in verse 19 is Great Britain, and the Bear is Russia. Please refer to my article Four Beasts out of the Sea (Daniel 7) for further clarification of this prophecy. The serpent is Satan after he has entered into the Antichrist and bitten Israel in the time of Jacob's trouble in the last half of the week.
Oba 1:15 (KJV) For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.
This Scripture confirms that the day of the Lord occurs during the time that God judges the nations (i.e., Gentiles). This is the sheep and goat judgment, and it occurs at the very end of Daniel's seventieth week.
Zep 1:7 (KJV) Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.
This Scripture in its context is speaking of the battle of Armageddon that occurs at the end of the week. The sacrifice is all the bodies and the guests are the vultures that will be gathered for the great and final battle.
Zep 1:14 (KJV) 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.
This Scripture in its context also occurs during the time of Jacob's trouble when it will be a time of terror for both Israel and the nations. The Church is not in the day of the Lord and will not experience this time of the wrath of God according to the following Scripture:
1 Th 5:9 (KJV) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
The first half of Daniel's seventieth week is not the day of the Lord, which is the time of God's wrath, so there is no prohibition against the Church going through this time when Antichrist is given unrestrained authority upon the earth. Antichrist persecutes the Church that is left on the earth after Philadelphia has been removed according to the following Scripture:
Rev 3:10 (KJV) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Antichrist does not begin his persecution of Israel until after the Church is removed at the Rapture, which takes place in the middle of the tribulation. The following Scripture is the most comprehensive description of the Rapture in all of Scripture:
Rev 7:9-17 (KJV) After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; 10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. 11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. 16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. 17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.
Zec 14:1 (KJV) Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
This Scripture in its context also occurs at the time that God brings all nations against Israel at the battle of Armageddon at the end of the week.
Mal 4:5 (KJV) Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:
This Scripture establishes conclusively that Elijah will come before the day of the Lord, and Elijah does not come until the middle of Daniel's seventieth week. He is one of the two witnesses during the last half of the week. This one verse establishes unequivocally that the day of the Lord does not occur until after the middle of the week.
Acts 2:20 (KJV) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
This is a New Testament verse that establishes that the day of the Lord does not occur until after the sixth seal is opened in Revelation 6:12. Acts 2:20 is the New Testament confirmation of Joel 2:31.
1 Cor 5:5 (KJV) To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
This Scripture confirms that God does turn his disobedient children over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh nature even though they are spiritually born again. This Scripture also confirms that the Rapture occurs in the "day of the Lord Jesus," which is the day of Christ rather than the day of the Lord. The phrase "day of Christ" is used by the apostle Paul in reference to the second advent (i.e., the second coming or the parousia) of Christ (Phil 1:10; 2:16). It is used specifically in reference to the "gathering" of the Church to be with Christ so the "day of the Lord" can commence. The day of Christ is described in Revelation 7:9-17 above, and this is after the Rapture of the Church. Thus, the spirit (i.e., body also) is in heaven with Jesus "in the day of the Lord Jesus" (i.e., day of Christ) at the same time that the Judgments of God are occurring on the earth during the day of the Lord. They occur at the same time but one is occurring in heaven and the other is occurring on the earth. The Church will escape the wrath of God in the day of the Lord since it will be participating in the day of Christ in heaven.
The first half of Daniel's seventieth week is the day of Antichrist (Rev. 13:5-7), and only the faithful Philadelphia Church will escape this time of testing. Revelation 4:1 depicts the removal of the Philadelphia church through the open door promised it in Revelation 3:8,10.
2 Cor 1:14 (KJV) As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus.
This Scripture is also speaking of the day of Christ rather than the day of the Lord, and it depicts the day of Christ as a time of rejoicing in stark contrast to the day of the Lord, which is a time of terror because of the judgments and vengeance of Almighty God. The entire Church will be in heaven during the day of the Lord.
1 Th 5:2 (KJV) For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
This Scripture confirms that the day of the Lord will come upon the unbelieving world like a thief in the night, but the Church should not be in darkness and overtaken by that day. Since the day of the Lord occurs in the middle of the tribulation, the majority of the Church will be on the earth right up until the day of the Lord commences. Methuselah and Lot are Old Testament types of Christians who remain on the earth right up until the day of the Lord when judgment falls upon the earth. Methuselah went out in death and Lot went out alive the very same day that God's judgment fell upon the earth. Enoch was taken out long before God's judgment fell because he pleased God. Abraham "stood yet before (i.e., in the presence of) the Lord" (Gen. 18:22) and negotiated with God about the destruction of Sodom long before Lot was taken out of Sodom the same day it was destroyed. Abraham and Enoch are types of the Philadelphia church being removed before evil runs rampantly upon the earth during the first half of Daniel's seventieth week.
2 Pet 3:10 (KJV) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
This Scripture also describes the day of the Lord coming as a thief in the night upon the unsuspecting world. The description of the day of the Lord in this passage of Scripture is a clear and concise picture of the nuclear devastation that will take place during the trumpet and vial (i.e., bowl) judgments of Almighty God. The heavens passing away occurs after the sixth seal is opened and the following Scriptures describe this passing away of the heavens like a scroll:
Isa 34:4 (KJV) And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
Rev 6:14 (KJV) And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
The picture is that of a nuclear blast that ascends into the heavens in a pillar of smoke that rolls up at the top like a scroll. Most have seen this picture on television when nuclear bombs were being tested before the danger of nuclear radiation was fully realized. The elements literally melt or come apart in a nuclear explosion. The above Scriptures are fulfilled in the day of the Lord in the last half of Daniel's seventieth week.
The opening of the seven sealed scroll is not the time for God's judgments and vengeance, and this is confirmed by Revelation 6:9-11. This is the time when the restrainer has been removed, and Antichrist has been given complete authority over the earth for a period of 42 months. Jesus Christ was given authority to minister for 42 months, and Antichrist will also be given 42 months to exercise his authority as stated in the following verse:
Rev 13:5-7 (KJV) And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
The use of the word saints in the above Scripture includes Christians saved before Daniel's seventieth week in addition to Jews and Gentiles who are saved after Daniel's seventieth week begins. The word saint is an all inclusive term for all of God's people and it includes members of the Church as well as those Jews and Gentiles saved outside of the Church Age. The word saints is used in the above Scripture since the people involved are not just members of the Church. Antichrist will persecute all believers in Jesus Christ during the first half of Daniel's seventieth week and not just the Church. This is the reason the word Church could not be used instead of the word saints. Many Christians have taken the use of the word saints in this Scripture as proof that the Church will not be on the earth during this 42 months. The following Scriptures confirm that the word saints refers to Christians:
Rom 1:7 (KJV) To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Cor 1:2 (KJV) Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
There are about 50 other verses in the New Testament that refer to Christians or the body of Christ as saints. It is very poor exegesis to exclude Christians as being among the saints persecuted by Antichrist in Revelation 13:7 simply because the Holy Spirit used the word saints instead of the word Church, especially since the word Church could not have been used accurately in the context as stated above.
All of the death and destruction caused during the 42 months that Antichrist has authority is the result of man. There is not even a hint that the opening of the seals results in judgments from God, and the opening of the fifth seal as stated above declares that these are not the judgments of God Almighty.
God will work with Christians, Jews and Gentiles during Daniel's seventieth week in a similar manner that He works with the Jewish nation in the current age of Grace. God used Hitler and the Third Reich to bring the Jews back to Israel, even though they have come back in unbelief. The vision of the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37 confirms that Israel is brought back to the land in unbelief, and they are not spiritually regenerated until the very end of the week. Bible students need to be very careful about limiting God in the way He works with all classes of people, which includes Christians, Jews and Gentiles. The book of Revelation describes God's dealing with the Church while the book of Daniel describes His dealing with the nations (i.e., Gentiles). The book of Ezekiel describes His dealing with the Jews. These three books together give an excellent overall view of God's dealings with all classes of people. The seventieth week of Daniel will be the culmination of God's dealing with the Church, the Jews and the Gentiles. It is poor exegesis of Scripture to exclude the Church as having any part during the seventieth week of Daniel.
It is the writer's prayer that the reader will study the above Scriptures within their context in order to see that the day of the Lord begins after the Rapture of the Church in the middle of Daniel's seventieth week. It is important to understand that this Rapture is the Main Harvest Rapture, but there is also a Firstfruits Rapture of faithful Christians at the beginning of Daniel's Seventieth week. These faithful Christians make up the 24 elders and the four living creatures that are in heaven around the throne when Jesus is opening the seven-sealed scroll. The Firstfruits Rapture will only involve a small segment of the Church that will include the Bride of Christ as well as her court.