The Day of the Lord

Note, this article is part of a topical study series.

What is "the day of the Lord"? The following are direct references to the "day of the Lord":

“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:”
Isaiah 2:12
“Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand;
it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.”
Isaiah 13:6
“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
“For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.”
Isaiah 34:8
“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.”
Jeremiah 46:10
“Thou hast called as in a solemn day my terrors round about, so that in the day of the LORD'S anger none escaped nor remained: those that I have swaddled and brought up hath mine enemy consumed.”
Lamentations 2:22
“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.”
Ezekiel 13:5
“For the day is near, even the day of the LORD is near, a cloudy day;
it shall be the time of the heathen.”
Ezekiel 30:3
“Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand,
and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.”
Joel 1:15
“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;”
Joel 2:1
“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?”
Joel 2:11
“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision:
for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.”
Joel 3:14
“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.”
Amos 5:18
“Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light?
even very dark, and no brightness in it?”
Amos 5:20
“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.”
Obadiah 1:15
“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.”
Zephaniah 1:7
“And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD'S sacrifice,
that I will punish the princes, and the king's children,
and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.”
Zephaniah 1:8
“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.”
Zephaniah 1:14
“Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD'S wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy:
for he shall make even a speedy riddance
of all them that dwell in the land.”
Zephaniah 1:18
“Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD'S anger come upon you.”
Zephaniah 2:2
“Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness:
it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD'S anger.”
Zephaniah 2:3
“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh,
and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.”
Zechariah 14:1
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:”
Malachi 4:5
“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:”
Acts 2:20
“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.”
1 Corinthians 5:5
“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.”
2 Corinthians 1:14
“For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
1 Thessalonians 5:2
“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.”
2 Peter 3:10

Many of these seem to be double prophecies, which had both a recent fulfillment and yet will have a future fulfillment as well. We can see from these verses that this is a great, terrible, dreadful day, a day of vengeance, a day of war, a day of destruction for all the nations, and a day that is at hand, a day that shall come as the thief in the night. It shall be upon the mighty man, upon the heathen, upon everyone that is proud and lofty. Amos says it is a day of darkness (actually "very dark") and not light. This seems to me to be talking about this day mentioned in Revelation 19:11ff:

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Revelation 19:11-16

The Day of Vengeance

There are a number of verses which refer to "the day of vengeance", especially Jereimiah 46:10 which says the day of the Lord is a day of vengeance:

“For it is the day of the LORD'S vengeance,
and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.”
Isaiah 34:8
“To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all that mourn;”
Isaiah 61:2
“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.”
Isaiah 63:1-6
“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.”
Jeremiah 46:10

Other references related to “the Day of the Lord”

There are a number of references that do not use the phrase "the day of the LORD", but rather in some cases just refer to “that day”. However, the context also indicates that they are talking about the same.

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, ... Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. ... Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”
Psalms 2:1-2,5,9
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.”
Isaiah 10:20
“Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon thee, O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the foundations of the earth do shake. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth. And they shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison, and after many days shall they be visited. Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.”
Isaiah 24:17-23
“And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name: That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.”
Isaiah 65:15-17

The day of Indignation

“And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation:
for at the time appointed the end shall be.”
Daniel 8:19
“Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation.”
Ezekiel 22:24
“Who can stand before his indignation?
and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger?
his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.”
Nahum 1:6
“Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.”
Isaiah 26:20-21
“For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations,
and his fury upon all their armies:
he hath utterly destroyed them,
he hath delivered them to the slaughter.”
Isaiah 34:2
“But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”
Hebrews 10:27
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:”
Revelation 14:10

The Day of Christ

There are three verses in the Scriptures which use the term "the day of Christ":

“That ye may approve things that are excellent;
that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;”
Philippians 1:10
“Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”
Philippians 2:16
“That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled,
neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us,
as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
2 Thessalonians 2:2

The day of Christ seems to be different from "the day of the LORD" insomuch as it is possible to “rejoice in the day of Christ” We never see any rejoicing at the day of the LORD. It seems clear to me that the church is no longer on the earth during the "day of the LORD". So I would tend to think that the "day of Christ" would be referring to the either being "caught away" in 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18, or the judgment seat of Christ in 2 Corinthians 5:10:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
2 Corinthians 5:10

His Coming

“...Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,
To execute judgment...”
Jude 14
“For I know that my redeemer liveth,
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:”
Job 19:25
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.”
1 Corinthians 15:22-24
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing?
Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ
at his coming?”
1 Thessalonians 2:19
“And then shall that Wicked be revealed,
whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth,
and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:”
2 Thessalonians 2:8
“And now, little children, abide in him;
that, when he shall appear,
we may have confidence,
and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
1 John 2:28
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel,
and with the trump of God:
and the dead in Christ shall rise first:”
1 Thessalonians 4:16
“Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory
at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
1 Peter 1:6-7

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