Revelation 19:6 by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:1 hr 2 mins 30 secs

Day of the Lord. Part 4. Revelation 19:6 and others


The doctrine of the day of the Lord is one of the most significant doctrines in the Old Testament. The New Testament then develops that and when the New Testament writers use this term their frame of reference, their background is the books of the Old Testament we have spent time on—Obadiah, Zephaniah, Zechariah, Amos and Joel. It is important to understand the day of the Lord as it is revealed in the Old Testament because when the New Testament writers use this term that is their background, it is not a word that they are assigning new meaning to or a phrase that they are assigning new meaning to. The importance of understanding the day of the Lord is the way it connects to key understanding of the prophetic timetable. It is a term that is used in a general sense to refer to various times in history when God has brought judgment upon someone or some nation exerting His sovereign power and His sovereign control. It is used several times in the Old Testament to refer to the judgment that God brought, e.g. on the northern kingdom (722 BC). In the Old Testament the focus is really on the judgment that comes, not as much on the joy and all of the blessings and benefits that come at the end of the day of the Lord.


In the New Testament the focus shifts a little bit, and there are about fourteen passages to look at. The first is in Acts 2:20 NASB "THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME." This is a simple quote from Joel chapter two but it is in the context of Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the church, the first sermon in the church age. From the text of Acts 2:16, "but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel," it sounds to us as if what Peter is saying is that this is the fulfillment of what Joel said. But if we look at what Joel said, v.17: 'AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,' God says, 'THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT…'" the only point of similarity is the pouring out of the Spirit. In v. 19 he says: 'AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.' Did that happen on the day of Pentecost? No, it didn't happen at all. V. 20 'THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.' Did that happen on the day of Pentecost? No, it wasn't even the day of the Lord. [21] 'AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.' Now that is a point he is making related to salvation but that only is part of the passage, it is not really the explanation. What we know from studying similar passages—New Testament quotes and Old Testament passages in terms of their fulfillment—is that there are different ways in which this is understood.


There are four different ways in which the rabbis would quote Old Testament passages as fulfillment, and all of these are illustrated in Matthew chapter two. In one sense there is a literal historical prophecy, e.g. Micah 5:2 which said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and the Messiah was born literally in Bethlehem. Then there are other passages that when Jesus left to go to Egypt and then returned, "Out of Egypt I will call my son," and this is a pattern. This was the historical event that occurred when the Israelites came out of Egypt. The point there was that it is not a prophecy, it was history, but that historical event served as a pattern or a type or foreshadowing of what would happen in the life of the young Jesus when the family returned from Egypt. Then there are other cases where there are points of similarity, but again the original event was not a prophecy. For example, when Jeremiah writes of the widows in Rama, north of Jerusalem, weeping over their sons who had been taken into captivity at the time of the Babylonian captivity, that verse has been applied by Matthew to the weeping of the mothers in Bethlehem (not in Rama) south of Jerusalem when Herod killed all of the infants. What Matthew is saying is not that this was a literal prophecy that is now being literally fulfilled, but that this was a pattern or a foreshadowing that occurred at this event, a literal historical event in another location for another reason, but it is like what we are seeing here. That is what we are seeing in Acts chapter two. Peter is not saying that this is the fulfillment of the Joel prophecy because that is not being fulfilled until the end of the Tribulation; he is saying that this is like that, and that just as there will be this tremendous outpouring of God the Holy Spirit at the end of the Tribulation upon all believers, and that this is part of the new covenant that was promised by God for Israel, that this thing on the day of Pentecost is like that. The reality is that if the Jews had accepted Jesus as their Messiah, offering Himself as the King, preaching that kingdom of God was at hand, and had turned to Him then the day of Pentecost would have been, in the fulfillment of the typology in the feast days, the time when the Joel chapter two passage would have been literally fulfilled and the kingdom would have begun. But they rejected Him and so rather than the kingdom beginning at that time with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon Israel there was a new emphasis on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and a new thing was created, the body of Christ, and a new dispensation began that had been unforeseen in the Old Testament. Peter is quoting that in order to show the similarity of events.

In Joel chapter two the focus on the day of the Lord was divine judgment, and in the heavens there would be these signs that would take place, earthquakes upon the earth, etc., that was related to the end of the Tribulation period, the campaign of Armageddon, and that is what gives birth to the Millennial kingdom. In Joel chapter three we saw that the day of the Lord also relates to the beginning of the Millennial kingdom and the blessing that comes upon Israel. Joel 3:1 NASB "For behold, in those days and at that time [of Israel's deliverance at the end of the Tribulation period], When I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, [2] I will gather all 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 have scattered among the nations; And they have divided up My land." The valley of Jehoshaphat was the place where Israel gathered after they had the remarkable victory that God gave to Jehoshaphat down in the south as he was fighting the invasion from the Edomites. God gave them a tremendous victory and it took them four days to clean everything up and head back to Jerusalem. Just outside of Jerusalem they gathered together in this valley and they had a huge time of sacrifice and praise to the Lord for the victory. That place was called the valley of Berachah, the valley of blessing. It will become a place of judgment after the Tribulation, also known as the sheep and goat judgment of the Gentiles in relation to how they treated the Jews during the Tribulation period. [3] "They have also cast lots for My people, Traded a boy for a harlot And sold a girl for wine that they may drink." This all relates to the horrible things that take place during the Tribulation period.

Joel 3:12 NASB "Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations. [13] Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe. Come, tread, for the wine press is full; The vats overflow, for their wickedness is great. [14] Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. [15] The sun and moon grow dark And the stars lose their brightness. [16] The LORD roars from Zion And utters His voice from Jerusalem, And the heavens and the earth tremble. But the LORD is a refuge for His people And a stronghold to the sons of Israel….[18] And in that day [the day of the Lord] The mountains will drip with sweet wine, And the hills will flow with milk, And all the brooks of Judah will flow with water; And a spring will go out from the house of the LORD To water the valley of Shittim." This is a picture of great blessing and prosperity in the land of Israel. So the day of the Lord refers to both the judgment period and the subsequent period of blessing in the Millennial kingdom. All that Peter is doing in Acts 2 is quoting that verse in relation to its historic meaning of the great end time judgments that precede the coming of the kingdom.

The next place we have the phrase "day of the Lord" is in 1 Corinthians 5:5 NASB "{I have decided} to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." It is actually the day of the Lord Jesus and is different from the day of the Lord. The day of the Lord Jesus is similar to Paul's terminology of the day of Christ. The day of Christ in the New Testament, for the most part, is a reference to the Rapture, not to the day of the Lord, the Old Testament judgments that come at the end of the Tribulation period. So we have to maintain that distinction between the day of the Lord and the day of Christ. There are three places in Philippians where this phrase is used. Philippians 1:6 NASB {For I am} confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." In that context Paul is challenging and encouraging the Philippians to continue to press forward in their spiritual growth until the end of the church age. There is an end point beyond which we are not going to be concerned about our spiritual growth and going forward. The phrase is used again in verse 10: "so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ [until the Rapture]." The two words there, "sincere" and without offense" is talking about the spiritual life of the believer as he pursues his spiritual growth and maturity. The day of Christ is a reminder that there is a judgment coming after the Rapture at the judgment seat of Christ. The next example is in Philippians 2:16 NASB "holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain." He has been talking about "working out their salvation with fear and trembling" in the previous verses. This is not talking about working to be justified (phase one salvation). The word "salvation" is used in three different senses in the New Testament. One has to do with being saved from the penalty of sin—justification (phase one salvation)—when a person believes that Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins. At that instant they are transferred from death to life and are saved from the eternal penalty of sin in the lake of fire. Phase two is being saved from the power of sin: ongoing spiritual maturity or spiritual growth—experiential or progressive sanctification. That comes from studying God's Word under God the Holy Spirit, applying it in the life and growing to spiritual maturity. That is what Paul is talking about here: spiritual growth; progressive sanctification. Phase three happens when we die. We are saved from the presence of sin at glorification, we are absent from the body and face to face with the Lord and there is no more struggling with sin.

In 1 Thessalonians 5 there is a shift from the previous chapter which focused on the Rapture. Here he goes on to say, 1 Thessalonians 5:1 NASB "Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you." He uses the same two Greek words for "times" and "seasons" that Jesus used in Acts chapter one. Just 15 or 20 years after Jesus told the disciples they didn't need to know anything about the times and the seasons Paul is saying he has taught the Thessalonians all about the times and the seasons. What happened in between is the initial revelation that came to the apostles as church age doctrine. What Jesus was saying to the disciples in Acts chapter one was it was not the time yet for them to know these things. But because Paul uses the same terminology and has already taught the Thessalonians this it is obvious that now it is appropriate for church age believers to know about the times and the seasons. [2] "For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night." He had obviously taught them about the doctrine of the day of the Lord. Believers know all about the day of the Lord but unbelievers will not be expecting it and so it will come as a complete surprise because they have deluded themselves into thinking that it is not going to happen to them. [3] "While they are saying, 'Peace and safety!' then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape." This is imagery that is used in Isaiah 13 related to the day of the Lord. But contrast: [4] "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief."

The doctrine of the day of the Lord isn't just some abstract discussion about what is going to happen in the end times and how the Tribulation is going to work its way out, we have to understand that there is judgment coming. There is the judgment seat of Christ coming for believers and because of that we have to realize how important the present time is in our spiritual life and our spiritual growth so that we are prepared for that.

2 Thessalonians 2:2 NASB "that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come." Some versions use "the day of Christ," but "the day of the Lord" is the better translation. [3] "Let no one in any way deceive you, for {it will not come} unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction." The word "apostasy" is the Greek word apostasia [a)postasia]. The noun form comes from a Greek root aphistemi [a)fisthmi] and it has the basic meaning of to go away, to withdraw, to depart, or to fall away. The initial meaning of this word would be applied in some cases to a ship leaving a port, an airplane taking off, to leave on a trip. That is the root meaning of this word, so it came to be applied a departure from the truth which is what we would call "apostasy" today. But the root idea is departure, so this verse is debated but many scholars teach that the falling away (in some versions) here is the Rapture—"unless the departure comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed." What we see from all these uses is that the day of the Lord is used eighty per cent of the time to refer to that period we call Daniel's seventieth week, the Tribulation and, based on Joel chapter three, the time period of the Millennial kingdom.

We have to keep that in mind because we next look at 2 Peter 3:10 NASB "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." In this chapter Peter is talking about the second coming of Christ. In verse three he says that scoffers will come in the last days. There are two different "last day" periods in the Scriptures. There is the last days related to Israel and the last days related to the church age. The last days of the church age are basically the whole church age. Verses 3, 4 NASB "Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with {their} mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For {ever} since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.'" What is implied here is the statement that God doesn't interfere in human history. [5] "For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God {the} heavens existed long ago and {the} earth was formed out of water and by water, [6] through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. [7] But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men." Is that referring to Armageddon, the Tribulation judgments, or is it referring to the final Gog and Magog revolution that occurs at the end of the Millennial kingdom? That is the question. [8] "But do not let this one {fact} escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day." In other words, time isn't a factor with God. [9] "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." He is extending human history to give unbelievers the opportunity to respond to the gospel. Once He says, "Game over," that's it! [10] "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up."

The day of the Lord means in every place that is not historical the Tribulation period, except in the passage in Joel where it includes the Millennial kingdom. But there is a view that this is not talking about the end of the Millennium but the end of the Tribulation.

1.  In this view the day of the Lord is emphasized as consistently being a term (and everywhere else in the New Testament) for the Tribulation period only.

2.  The metaphor "thief in the night" is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3 as a reference to the period of the day of the Lord in the Tribulation period. It comes as a sudden surprise to the unbelievers. "…in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." The view that is commonly held is that that refers to the destruction of the present heavens and the present earth at the end of the Millennial kingdom, a view that most of us have been taught. This would mean that this would have reference to a judgment at the end of the Millennium rather than the Tribulation judgment.

3.  Old Testament background of the heavens passing away is similar to Isaiah 34:4; connected to Matthew 24:29 and Zechariah 14:6—the view that this occurs in the Tribulation period of the day of the Lord.

4.  This is the view that the earth is "burned up" in the Tribulation judgments; between 2/3s and 3/4s of the earth's surface is burned up during the Tribulation period.

5.  Their fifth point is that when using the phrases "new heavens" and "new earth" we have to see its precedent in Isaiah 65:17-25 which is clearly talking about the Millennial kingdom, not a new created heavens and earth.  

2 Peter 3:11 NASB "Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness." Notice the application again. [12] "looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!" The view that most of us have always believed is that this is when the present heavens and earth are completely destroyed and God creates new heavens and new earth. But in Isaiah 65:17ff—the context prior to this is dealing with various judgments that have taken place relating to Israel— "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind." That is a great promise. Whether that is the Millennial kingdom or eternity we will not remember this life at all. The slate is going to be wiped clean. [18] "But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem {for} rejoicing And her people {for} gladness. [19] I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of weeping and the sound of crying. [20] No longer will there be in it an infant {who lives but a few} days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred Will be {thought} accursed. [21] They will build houses and inhabit {them;} They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit. [22] They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree, {so will be} the days of My people, And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands….[24] It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. [25] The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent's food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the LORD." That is the Millennial kingdom.

The problem that is seen with this view is that it doesn't take into account Joel chapter three, which is the day of the Lord applied to the Millennial kingdom, and how it adequately deals with 2 Peter 3:7 which seems to indicate a final destruction of the earth, not just preparing or reinvigorating the earth. Then in Revelation 21 it talks about the new heavens and the new earth, not as the Millennial kingdom but what happens after the Millennial kingdom.