Last night we continued our study of how the Bible describes the end times by looking at a specific set of events that constitute a major transition in the plan of God–events known as the Day of the Lord. Here are the notes:
The Prophet’s vision of the End: The Day of the Lord
See Isaiah 13:1-13; Joel 1:15-2:5, 3:13-15; Obadiah 15
What it is: The coming of the Lord to judge and destroy evil and remove those opposed to his rule.
Elements of the Pattern: Military conflict: Armies, sieges, battle. Divine judgment: cosmic signs, divine action, God appearing. Judicial sentencing on all evil is passed. It concerns Jerusalem, and then other cities (Babylon, Edom, Nineveh) and then finally all nations.
Type and Fulfillment: Historically happens at several times, revealing a pattern that leads up to a final climactic set of events which will be final end of all evil and opposition to God’s rule.
Daniel gives us the time period: The 70th Week
Daniel received all kinds of info about “the time of the end.”
Dan 2:42-45 – There will be a succession of kingdoms, until God smashes them all and sets up his own.
Daniel 7:23-27 – Right before it’s all over, there will be a terrible king, and he’ll make things very difficult for 3.5 years. (see more about him in Daniel 8:23-27; 11:35-12:13)
Daniel 9:24-27 – Daniel is praying about what he read in Jeremiah 25—that God would keep Israel in exile for 70 years, and then they’d come back to their land. But Daniel gets an even more complete future history of the nation. There would be seventy “weeks” of seven years each which would transpire, in order to fully finish the history of the nation of Israel. After 69 of those weeks of years, the messiah would be killed. A final group of seven years would then be left to transpire, when everything is finally finished. A coming prince would set up an “abomination” in the temple in the middle of this last seven year period, and then destroy both the temple and Jerusalem.
Jesus teaches more: Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:1-3, 15-22, 29-31) (Also Mark 13 and Luke 21)
Jesus integrates the day of the Lord prophecies with Daniel’s time of the end to show us that they are the same thing. The point? Jesus says that the day of the Lord prophecies, and Daniel’s time of the end, refer to the same thing—the sequence of events that, like birth starting with labor, begins with troubles, includes God’s pouring out of his judgment, and climaxes with the appearing of Christ in the sky. (“sorrows” = “birth pains”)
John receives more detail: Revelation 5-19
John sees the same pattern given in the Day of the Lord prophecies, Daniel’s “time of the end” prophecies, and Jesus’ Olivet Discourse: Judgments on all nations, Antichrist, 3 ½ years of trouble (Revelation 11:2-3 and 12:14), God doing battle, God’s appearing, final victory.
The Point: The three covenants must be fulfilled: God must establish his kingdom on earth and heal and bless the world. The way that kingdom comes in is called the day of the Lord. It is a sequence of events that include the intensifying of evil on the earth, and the process of God judging that evil, and then finally sweeping it away as he comes. This day of the Lord is prophesied to include a full seven year period, and is manifested in the final opposition of one evil king, who desecrates the temple in Jerusalem in the middle of the seven year period, which divides the seven years into two halves, and the second half is the most intense time of trouble the earth has ever seen. It is a time of exceptional trouble for God’s people, specifically, the nation of Israel, who is the focus of the events in that time. Jesus taught on this same subject when the disciples asked him about the end, weaving together what the prophets said about the day of the Lord, and the details Daniel used to describe it. John saw visions of even more details, but with the same structure—an evil king, whole-world judgment, 3 ½ years of exceptional trouble, Israel at the center of things, the final defeat of evil, a new kingdom set up. This Seven year “Day of the Lord” is what we often call the Tribulation.
What we’ll see next week is that, in the letters to the Thessalonians, Paul promises deliverance to those who believe from this Day of the Lord.
But for those who do not currently acknowledge Jesus as their savior, there is good news. The evil that we hate, God hates it too. He will not let it run on forever. He’s going to sweep it away in one climactic set of events, and then appear himself to set things straight. Judgment on all evil is coming. It is called The Day of the Wrath of God. But right now, it is not that day. Today, anyone who turns from the evil he’s coming to judge, who repents and turns to trust Jesus to rescue (save) them from this coming judgment will be a saved.
Because there is another Day spoken of by the prophets: The Day of Salvation. See 2 Corinthians 5:18-6:2.
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
“Working together with him, then, we appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For he says (in the book of Isaiah), ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.’
“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the Day of Salvation.”