When does the period known as the "Day of the Lord" occur?

Email Received:

There are many references to the "Day of the Lord" in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments. I believe it commonly is understood that this "day" is when God's wrath is dispensed upon the earth. Some feel that it is during one literal 24-hour day, while others believe it is during the entire 7-year period commonly known as the "70th Week," that God's wrath will fall. What do you think?

Ted's Response:

Commonly, but I believe incorrectly, the entire 70th Week, often referred to as the "Tribulation period," is referred to as the "Day of the Lord." On the contrary, I believe that the Day of the Lord period will not begin until well after the middle of the 70th Week. The (primary) Rapture event will occur at some point after the opening of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12-14); then, chronologically, the Seventh Seal will be opened (8:1), beginning the Day of the Lord period.

A typical Hebrew day, beginning at sunset, starts with darkness. After sunrise, the day becomes light. Likewise, the Day of the Lord will begin with the darkest, most terrifying time in human history: the "day of vengeance." This will be followed by a bright, glorious epoch of time, the Millennium, which will commence after Jesus' second advent (bodily descent) back to earth.

In my commentary on The Rapture, it is demonstrated that the following events will occur, in chronological order:

  1. the confirmation of a covenant or agreement, involving Israel, for one seven-year period, thus beginning the 70th Week (Daniel 9:27a), commonly known as the "Tribulation period";
  2. the cessation of sacrifices and offerings in the midst of the 70th Week, then the setting up of the abomination that causes desolation (Daniel 9:27bc) inside of the "holy place" mentioned by Jesus (Matthew 24:15);
  3. the beginning of the Great Tribulation period (Matthew 24:9,10,21), which I believe will encompass the Fourth and Fifth Seals (Revelation 6:7-11);
  4. the cosmic tumult, where the sun and moon will turn dark and the heavenlies will be shaken, which will begin with the opening of the Sixth Seal (Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12,13);
  5. the Pre-Wrath Rapture event (Matthew 24:30,31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17; Revelation 6:16); and then
  6. the Day of the Lord (Isaiah 13:9-13, 34:8; Ezekiel 30:1-3; Joel 2:1,2,10,11, 2:30,31; Amos 5:18,20; Zephaniah 1:14,15,18; Acts 2:19-21; Revelation 6:17, 8:1–10:7, 11:6-19, 14:1–18:24), which will be initiated by the opening of the Seventh Seal, and which will not be merely one day but, rather, a period of time.

The initial dark and horrific stage of the Day of the Lord—the "day of vengeance"—probably will last approximately a year (Isaiah 34:8, 61:2, 63:4): the seventh year of the 70th Week. During this time, the devastating wrath of God will be poured out upon the earth, initially as the Trumpet Judgments (Revelation 8:6-13, 9:1-21). This will be followed by the greater portion of the Day of the Lord: the Millennium, continuing for another thousand years (2 Peter 3:8). (See also Why do you believe that there will be a literal millennial period, of 1,000 years, after Jesus returns?)

Just after the opening of the heavenly scroll's Seventh Seal, there will be an eerie period of complete "...silence in heaven for about half an hour" (Revelation 8:1), much as a typical evening begins quietly and peacefully. (If this silence also is apparent on the earth by a cessation of Sixth Seal disturbances, Israel and the world may even think that "peace" finally has arrived.) But I see this as the "quiet before the storm" or the "eye of the hurricane," with the worst destruction yet to come.

Zephaniah said, "Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near" (Zephaniah 1:7a). Other ancient prophets also may have predicted this unearthly silence (Isaiah 41:1a; Amos 8:3b). After this silence, from John's futuristic point of view, "there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake" (Revelation 8:5b), signaling that the real disturbances were about to ensue.

The seven angels who will "blow out" the seven Trumpet Judgments evidently are the same seven angels which represented the seven churches (Revelation 1:20), about which John wrote in Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 of Revelation. John also saw four of these angels, prior to the sealing of the 144,000 (7:1). These four angels will be responsible for sending judgments which directly and adversely will affect the land, trees, sea, rivers, and atmosphere of the earth (8:6-12). Apparently, the two witnesses will be responsible for bringing down some of the judgments (11:3-6).

Unlike what occurred during the first six seals, where no supernatural punishment was evident, the Trumpet Judgments clearly will involve supernatural (angelic) intervention, as directed by God (Revelation 8:2). This is yet another indication that, whereas the Trumpet Judgments (and, later, the Bowl Judgments) will be God's wrath patently being dispensed upon the earth, the events encompassed by the first six seals will not be instances of God's wrath.

Following the Battle of Armageddon, Jesus will be in firm control of the world and everything in it. His "Son"-light will illuminate and enlighten mankind for 1,000 years. Whereas the day of vengeance will be a period of God's wrath upon the earth, the Millennium will be an epoch of God's glory in the world. Together, they will comprise the Day of the Lord, with the second portion being the greatest and most wonderful period in human history.

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