Christian Churches of God
The Day of the Lord and the Last Days
(Edition 1.0 19970208-19970208)
The terms Day of the Lord and The Last Days or the Latter Days are often confused and misstated in general Christian literature. Here we examine the terms for their biblical application
Christian Churches of God
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(Copyright ã 1997 Wade Cox)
(Summary By Willard Boettcher, Ed. Wade Cox)
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The Day of the Lord and the Last Days
The Last Days
Bible prophecy tells us that the Last Days or Latter Days commenced from the ministry of Messiah and the commencement of the Messianic age at the first Pentecost shown in Acts 2:14-36.
Peter quotes the prophet Joel and also noted that the sequence was that before the Day of the Lord came, he would do the things prophesied through the prophet Joel.
The Day of the Lord is thus a period of catastrophe and not a day of worship. It is the end process of the Messianic age. The text is quoted from Joel 2:28-31 and Psalm 16:8-11.
The last days were first spoken of in Genesis 49:1-2. This promise of Jacob was to befall Israel in the Last Days according to their tribes. Thus the birthright promises of Genesis 49 were for the Messianic age.
Hebrews 1:1-2 was written for the last days. It is beyond dispute that the Bible holds that the Last Days began with the incarnation and resurrection of Messiah. Peter understood this as being called the end of times, and this sequence was unfolding progressively (1Pet. 1:5, 20).
John held in 1John 2:18 that it was the last time or a last hour.
2Timothy 3:1 shows the times were seen as perilous times.
James shows that there will be a complete change of the existing world order and its system of wealth at the Last Days, which takes up to and includes the return of Messiah and the fall of this order (Jas. 5:3-11).
The term Last Day is the final phase of this period called the Last Days or Latter Days. Christ, through the apostle John, shows this is a period of time covering the resurrection of the dead (Jn. 6:39-44, RSV).
Thus the Last Day here is that of the first resurrection. However, this entire period is not simply that process of the advent and is not confined to the first resurrection. The general resurrection of the dead is also called the resurrection of the Last Day (Jn. 11:24-27).
In John 12:48 we see that the Last Day covers the entire period of the resurrections which is a thousand years (Rev. 20:4-14) plus one hundred years (Isa. 65:20).
Micah 4:1-2 shows the term Latter Days or The Last Day also refers to the entire process of the millennial reign of Messiah. This period is clearly prior to the general resurrection of the dead.
In the Latter Days when Israel dwells securely, the hordes of the north of Gog and Magog are brought up against Israel. This is also termed the Latter Days and we see from Revelation that it occurs at the end of the Millennium as well as at the beginning (cf. Ezek. 38:1-23). From this text we see clearly that the latter years are involved in this process called a day.
John the Baptist and Messiah were the two witnesses to Jerusalem and Judah at the commencement of the Messianic age. The Church then stood as witness against them during the forty years of the Sign of Jonah. On 1 Nisan 70 CE, Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman army. It was then systematically destroyed over the year until Atonement 70 CE. This process continued for two thousand years and is still taking place.
Ezekiel first represented the elect from chapter 5:1-4. They are the remnant that is burnt by fire and from them will come the fire that consumes the whole house of Israel over the Latter Days. God then commences to deal with the physical nation from Jerusalem.
The nation Israel is to be sent into captivity and dispersed when it fails in its system of worship and its duty to God. Some, however, are left alive as a remnant that can return to God (Ezek. 6:8-10).
Jerusalem was sent into captivity at the final stage in 70 CE because it had perverted the Laws of God by tradition brought in from the Babylonian system. After the witness of Messiah, Judah then began to persecute the Church to the extent of putting the elect to death. This hardness of the heart of Judah was to last some two thousand years. In the end, they will be converted.
The period from the advent of Messiah as King Messiah of Israel until the general resurrection of the dead is termed the Last Day, the End of Days and also the Day of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord
The first occurrence of the term Day of the Lord is in Isaiah 2:12. This bringing low is the overturning of the existing world order.
2Peter 3:8 gives us this clue when he talks of the patience of God and the concept of time in the eyes of God. This period is a battle also (Ezek. 13:5; Joel 1:15). This Day of the Lord is a battle at the beginning of the millennial system in the reference in Joel 2:1-11.
The judgment of God’s system is in two phases. The first is the physical judgment and subjugation to establish the system. This simply involves the destruction of the war systems of the nations (Joel 3:9-21).
The subjugation of the nations sees the establishment of Judah and Jerusalem in the Last Days. But these days are not something to look forward to (Amos 5:16-20).
This Day of the Lord here was for Israel first, then Judah and then the nations. Thus, the term was applied as a series of activities of God over the entire period of the captivity of Israel and the subjugation of the nations. We see this is applied to the heathen from Obadiah 15-17.
The process is gradual over all people. The wars of the twentieth century are part of this process designed to destroy the power of the Holy People. Only when the power of the Holy People is finally shattered will the end come (Dan. 12:7). This commenced from the First World War and continues. The period called the Time of the Gentiles finished in 1996-1997 (see the paper The Fall of Egypt (No. 36)).
The Day of the Lord’s anger in Zephaniah 2:1-14 covers the destruction of Judah beginning with the Assyrians and goes on through the entire period of the dispersion, and on to the restoration under a pure language and for a restored Israel (Zeph. 3:6-20).
In four passages "The Day of The lord" is prefixed by Lamed and means a day known to Yahovah (Isa. 2:12; Ezek. 30:3; Zech. 14:1,7).
The destruction of Egypt and the south was seen as part of a day of the Lord or a day known to Yahovah (Ezek. 30:3-7).
Here in this text, the destruction of Egypt begins with Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Ezek. 30:10 ff). Thus, the day here is not that of Revelation but a precursor as a type/antitype.
This type of day known to the Lord is also seen from Zechariah 14:1-21. However, in this text we see that Messiah is involved with the saints (Zech. 14:1-5) and it is indeed the period of intervention.
The term Day of the Lord occurs four times in the New Testament (1Thes. 5:2; 2Thes. 2:2; 2Pet. 3:10 and Rev. 1:10).
God gave Christ the final prophecy of Revelation, which had to be revealed by God to him. Christ had, until that time, acted in faith and was obedient unto death in faith. Christ then committed it to John so that it would be faithfully recorded. Some elements are still sealed until the final phases to be revealed by the prophets of God. It was for this reason that John was kept alive as Christ indicated (Jn. 21:22-23). Revelation is the explanation of the prophecy of Matthew 24 (esp. v. 22). But those days shall be shortened refers to the destruction, not the entire process.
John was taken in the Spirit to the Day of the Lord (Rev 1:1) so that he would see the future and the process of events that would go on over the entire period. This period was the one thousand one hundred years of the Day of the Lord.
The text in Revelation 1:10 is rendered Lord’s Day instead of Day of the Lord by Sunday-worshippers in an attempt to find some justification in the Bible for their practice, which arose from sun worship. They seek to infer from this wording that John had the vision on a Sunday that he referred to as the Lord’s Day. This is totally false.
It does not refer to Sunday; nor is the process confined to the advent at Trumpets as the sequence of Revelation so colourfully illustrates. The entire process is seen as the Day of the Lord. The resurrection is in two phases and spans one thousand years as Revelation 20 so clearly states. The texts thus demonstrate the ongoing process of the Day of the Lord through to the subjugation and judgment of the planet. Christ actually refers to this phase of the Resurrection, which spans a thousand years as an hour in John 5:25-29.
The Day of the Lord is the time of the Lord’s justice and judgment and this takes more than a thousand years of earth time to complete.