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The Day of the Lord

The Bible references “the day of the Lord” many times throughout the scriptures in a kind of swirling description. The prophet Joel spoke much about “the day of the Lord,” describing it from three angles: discipline, deliverance, and final judgment.

The first angle Joel takes concerning “the day of the Lord” is a coming day of discipline for the rebellious people of God. Joel mourned the destruction that came upon Judah through plagues due to her rebellion and called Judah to fasting and repentance before “the day of the Lord” arrived.

“Consecrate a fast,

Proclaim a solemn assembly;

Gather the elders

And all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the Lord your God,

And cry out to the Lord.

Alas, for the day!

For the day of the Lord is near,

And it will come as destruction from the Almighty.”      

             Joel 1:14-15 NASB

Joel is very severe and sober about this coming day of judgment upon God’s people.

“For the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near, a day of darkness and gloom…” Joel 2:1-2.

“The day of the Lord is indeed great and very awesome, and who can endure it? ‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘Return to me with fasting, weeping, and mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’” Joel 2:11-13 NASB

But the day of the Lord is about more than discipline for the people of God; it is also a day of deliverance from ungodly overlords. The prophets regularly spoke of this kind of thing, where God’s anger with His people runs out, and He turns to become her defender and deliverer. Once God purifies His people of their sins, God becomes her deliverer.

“Then the Lord will be zealous for His land and will have pity on His people…I will remove the northern army far from you, and I will drive it into a parched and desolate land, and its vanguard into the eastern sea. And its rear guard into the western sea. And its stench will arise, and its foul smell will come up, for it has done great things.”

               Joel 2:18,19-20 NASB

God will begin to turn the fortunes of His people around, and this will also be part of “the day of the Lord.”

“It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.

Even on the male and female servants, I will pour out My Spirit in those days.I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,            Blood, fire and columns of smoke.

      The sun will be turned into darkness            And the moon into blood            Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

      And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD            Will be delivered;”

                            Joel 2:28-32 NASB

So, the day of the Lord is a day of deliverance and discipline. But please note that this deliverance has nothing to do with God taking His people off the planet but instead restoring the planet to its proper functioning order for God’s people.

“So rejoice, O sons of Zion,And be glad in the LORD your God;For He has given you the early rain for your vindication.And He has poured down for you the rain,The early and latter rain as before.

The threshing floors will be full of grain,And the vats will overflow with the new wine and oil.

 Then I will make up to you for the yearsThat the swarming locust has eaten,The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you.

You  will have plenty to eat and be satisfied And praise the name of the LORD your God,Who has dealt wondrously with you;”

             Joel 2:23-26 NASB

These descriptions of the moon “turning to blood” and “the sun turned into darkness” are not weather forecasts for the day of the Lord but rather descriptions of the radical change in the world's powers. The day of the Lord will throw down the unholy overlords and establish His purified people as the rightful lords of the land.

Finally, “the day of the Lord” is a day of final judgment upon the nations who will not worship Yahweh.

“For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land. They have cast lots for my people, traded a boy for a harlot, and sold a girl for wine that they may drink.”

Joel 3:1-3 NASB

The “day of the Lord” the Bible talks about most often is when judgment fell on Jerusalem in the form of destruction by Rome in 70 A.D. The sad irony is that the Israel which rejected Jesus as her Messiah found herself on the side of the pagans on “the day of the Lord.” But there are many days of the Lord for different nations, people groups, families, even churches and ministries. God is still in the business of giving blessings and removing blessings. And indeed, there is the day of the Lord for each individual who must give an account of our lives to the judge of all the earth.

We should always be ready for “the day of the Lord” by keeping a short account with Him and attending to holiness. Because still, no one knows the day nor the hour when God will call “time” on the works of our hands and ask us to give an account of our doings. Are you ready for that day?

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