Throughout the Scriptures the Day of the Lord refers to the visitation of God’s judgment upon His enemies. This phrase can refer to local judgment, the judgment of God upon the nations that surround Israel, and even the nation of Israel. The judgment of God poured out upon select nations during Old Testament times points to and portends the final Day of the Lord, when the Judge of all the earth will judge the world in righteousness and the people with His truth (Psalm 96:13). There are two passages in the New Testament which describe the Day of the Lord in great detail, but which involve two different time periods. The first passage found in 1 Thessalonians foretells the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His church and then afterward His just punishment poured out upon the world which embraces Satan and hates God. The next passage located in 2 Peter prophesies the judgment of God upon the world which rejects the Lord Jesus Christ’s reign upon the earth after being deceived by Satan. This second Day of the Lord destroys the current creation with fire and ushers in the new heavens and the new earth. The passages out of 1 Thessalonians and 2 Peter are further elucidated by verses out of Revelation.
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an arch angel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness…For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 4:14-5:5 & 9
The wrath of God poured upon the world is detailed in Revelation, relating to the Day of the Lord, the rapture of the church and God’s judgment poured out upon an evil world, specifically in Revelation 19.
6And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 7“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him gory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 10And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” 11Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. 14And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. 16And He himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. 17Then I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, “Come and gather together for the supper of the great God, 18that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and of those who sit on the, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, both small and great.” 19And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 20Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh. Revelation 19:6-21
These verses reveal to us the first occurrence of the Day of the Lord, we will next look at the second reference to the Day of the Lord.
Peter in Second Peter the third chapter refutes those who reject the coming of our Lord to righteously judge this wicked world. Peter passes over Christ’s coming in glory to destroy the Antichrist’s demonic kingdom and to set up His millennial kingdom upon this earth and jumps to the final fiery judgment of God upon sinners snared by Satan who reject the benevolent rule of Christ and prefer instead the devilish delights of godless living. This occurs at the end of Christ’s millennial reign. Peter links this promise of impending judgment with the outpouring of God’s wrath upon this evil world when He sent His global flood to destroy depraved sinners. The promise of God’s final judgment and the creation of the new heavens and the new earth are the focus of Peter’s refutation of those who question the imminent coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:5-13
This judgment of God upon those who reject His Christ and His righteousness is revealed in Revelation, specifically Revelation 20:1-21:1.
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while. And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, God and Magog, to gather then together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Revelation 20:1-21:1
This final judgment of God concludes His promises to the nation of Israel and His promise to set up a new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Both instances of the Day of the Lord have to do with God’s judgment upon those who reject His Son Jesus Christ and embrace the enemy, Satan. According to God’s Word after the great white throne judgment where sinners are judged by their evil deeds chronicled in books, the curse will no longer exist and God will dwell with us.
Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, or sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” Revelation 21:2-7 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. Revelation 22:3
This is our expectation as those who hold to Jesus Christ and to His Word. All others can expect only the just judgment of God upon them and they will suffer for eternity in the eternal fire that never is extinguished with the devil and his cohorts. It is fitting that this study of the ends concludes with the promise that we have of dwelling with God and serving Him for all eternity as His beloved sons and daughters. As you see the fulfillment of the prophecies of the end times, look up expectantly for your redemptions draws near. My we serve our God with glad expectation of His gracious redemption as we share His truth to His glory through the power of the Holy Spirit and for love of His Son Jesus Christ. God bless you.