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The Day of The Lord

by David Johnson

Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program.

 

     It is great to be together again as we look into the Word of God.  The title for the lesson is: “The Day of the Lord.”  And our main text is taken from the Old Testament the book of Isaiah chapter 13 verses 9 through 13.  Please listen to the Word of God.  

“See, the day of the Lord is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger —
to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.
The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light.
The rising sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light.
I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins.
I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
I will make people scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir.
Therefore, I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place
at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger.”

This is the Word of God.

     We continue in our series regarding unfulfilled prophecy as recorded and revealed in the scriptures for our understanding.  Our subject today has to do with the ‘Day of the Lord’ which is certainly not a pleasant subject, but nevertheless much is revealed by God of this that mankind be informed, warned and so as not to be recipients of his wrath as unbelieving, unrepentant sinners.

      Most of us would agree that there comes the time when, for example, as parents we must inform and warn our children, our grandchildren of the dangers of this world.

I remember when I, at the age of barely nineteen, had joined the United States Marine Corps; and the night before I was to leave for boot camp my mother took it upon herself to have a rather uncomfortable talk with me.  She warned me about a lot of the dangers I would be exposed to out in the world.  It was an unpleasant task, but she loved me, and wanted me to be prepared and watchful.

     On a far, far greater scale our Father in heaven also wants mankind, whom he deeply loves, to be warned, and to be properly prepared and watchful.  That is proper preparation, so as not to be the subjects of God’s holy wrath, which is found only in a saving relationship today in Christ Jesus.  The devil hates this subject to be taught.

     Most ministers today skip, ignore or even deny the holy justice of God toward unbelieving, unrepentant people.  That’s not love, that’s refusing to tell the truth, the whole truth of God’s character, will, and word revealed to mankind.

     In the Old Testament “the day of the Lord” was originally used of any time God brought judgment on people.  Eventually, “the day of the Lord” was used of a far future, ultimate time of judgment.  This practice did not begin in the New Testament.  The referring to the ‘Day of the Lord’.  For example, it is that serious of a subject that God inspired his prophet Isaiah some 700 Before Christ to warn mankind.  As you have heard in Isaiah chapter 13 and verses 9 through 13.

     Do some of the choice of words here sound familiar?  Compare the words of Jesus which he reveals will be at the end of the coming distress or tribulation.

Mark chapter 13 beginning in verse 24 “But in those days, following that distress, ‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; and the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”

     Likewise, the ancient Hebrew prophet Daniel referred to this final terrible tribulation to come upon this earth and reveals its duration.  Daniel chapter 9 and verse 27 which says, “He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven’.  In the middle of the ‘seven’, he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”  Meaning here one ‘seven’ meaning seven years.  Do some of these words sound familiar?  Listen to the prophetic words of Jesus some 530 years later.

     Matthew chapter 24 and verse 15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel, let the reader understand.”

This should give us great pause, that Jesus over five centuries later, reminded and reinforced this coming reality as something important to understand and heed, especially for those on the earth at that time.

There are those who claim that ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ has already been fulfilled, that it was fulfilled in AD 70 by the desecration and destruction of the temple by the Imperial Romans.  However, the apostle John refers to this in his Book of Revelation chapter 13 verses 14 and 15 which was written in about the year of our Lord AD 95, well after the desecration of the temple in AD 70.

     The world-wide, seven year tribulation is synonymous with ‘the day of the Lord’ judgment to come, and especially the ‘Great Distress’ of the last 3 ½ years which will be as Jesus described in Matthew chapter 24 verses 21 and 22 which says in part “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now, and never to be equaled again.  If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive…”

     Obviously, these all-encompassing words refer in scale to much more than the destruction of the small nation of Israel in AD 70.

     That is this ‘great distress’ in Matthew chapter 24 verse 21 or ‘Day of the LORD’ judgment is coming is confirmed again by Jesus Christ in a way that only informed students of the Bible know.  The context is when Jesus stood up to read the scripture in the synagogue of Nazareth.

     Consider Luke chapter 4 verses 17 through 21 “The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him.  Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: ‘the Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’

     Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down.  The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’”

     What is significant is that Jesus read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah what is to us chapter 61 verses 1 and 2 but Jesus stopped reading in the middle of the last sentence.

     If you will look at where Jesus last read in Isaiah chapter 61 and verse 2, he stopped at the words “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  Why?  Because all in fact, that he read that day was being fulfilled at his first coming to this earth.

     However, Jesus did not read “and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn.”  Well why not?  Why did he stop in the middle of that sentence?  Because “the day of vengeance of our God” will not be fulfilled until Jesus Christ returns to judge at the end of the Great Tribulation.  At his second coming to this earth.  The Lord will then pour out his wrath on all who opposed him in unbelief and unrepentance, and thereby comfort tribulation believers who had mourned through this awful time.

     Yes, Jesus Christ is often referred to as our loving Savior, meek and humble, gentle and compassionate.  And he is all these things, far more so than any who have ever lived, or ever will live.  Yet Jesus Christ is also absolutely holy and just.  How often have you heard these words about Jesus preached or taught?

     Revelation chapter 19 verses 11 through 16 “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns.  He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself.  He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood and his name is the Word of God.  The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean.  ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter.’  He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.  On his robe and on his thigh, he has this name written: ‘King of Kings and Lord of Lords.’”

     That is Jesus Christ also, he is most patient and long-suffering but eventually he must also, judge the rebellious, unrepentant, unbelievers.  Or he would not be absolutely holy, holy, holy, and he most certainly is!

      We all know and are eternally thankful that ‘God is love’ as it states and revealed in First John chapter 4 and verse 16. However, we should also know and believe that he is equally absolutely holy which is an attribute of God also.  God and sin cannot abide together.  That is why we all need Jesus Christ because it’s only in him that repentant believers are credited with the perfect righteousness, or holiness of Christ Second Corinthians Chapter 5 and verse 21.

     Theologian Louis Berkoff writes: “It does not seem proper to speak of one attribute of God as being more central and fundamental than another; but if this were permissible, the scriptural emphasis on holiness, on the holiness of God would seem to justify its selection.”

     Actually, according to the Bible and to scholars of the Bible, the scriptures do in fact refer to God’s holiness more than any other attribute of God.  The Bible doesn’t generally refer to God as Loving, Loving, Loving!  Nor does the Bible refer to God as Wise, Wise, Wise.  But over and over we read the cry of the angels: Holy, Holy, Holy.

     Yet according to a discipleship group study on the attributes of God most Christians list the major attributes of God, in their thinking of importance as, “first love, followed by wisdom, power, mercy, omniscience and truth.”  Typically, at the end of the list, almost as an after-thought is God’s holiness.

     A.W. Tozer, a writer of Christian classics has written these words: “God’s holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered.  We know nothing like the divine holiness.  It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible, and unattainable.  The natural man is blind to it.  He may fear God’s power and admire his wisdom, but his holiness he cannot even imagine.”

     Probably that is why most don’t understand nor even want to accept God’s perfect judgment and justice that must come on all unrepentant, unbelievers.

     But for us who are in Christ Jesus we need not fear the coming ‘Day of the Lord’ because it’s not for us.  We are not to be recipients of God’s Holy wrath.  Why?  Because we have chosen to be in the Lord, in Christ, before that day. 

     Are you in Christ Jesus?  Have you received him by faith?  Have you repented of your sins, confessed him as Savior and Lord?  Have you been baptized, immersed into Christ Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord?  And are you persevering in that faith?

You must, so as not to ever be a recipient of the wrath of God toward you as a believer.

 

          David Johnson is minister of the Sellersburg Church of Christ, Sellersburg, IN.

 




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10