The Day of The Lord
The Day of the Lord or Day of Jehovah has to be a significant time otherwise it would not have the heavenly Father’s name. Consequently it must be considered seriously as a time when matters come to a head, a time of change to remove the old so that the new can emerge. It’s much like working in a garden where weeds, like ground elder, have taken over and all you can do is dig up the whole bed and make a fresh start. This is a time in which God’s interests come to the fore at His appointed time.
Peter uses this label in the third chapter of his second epistle, Zephaniah (1:14) calls it "the great day of the LORD", Ezekiel (7:19) goes even further to label it "the day of wrath of the LORD" and Isaiah (61:1‑3) labels it "the day of vengeance of our God". What begins to emerge is a picture of destruction.
How this day is described in Biblical language
Zephaniah 1:15‑18 gives this day a colourful but dark description by calling it a day of wrath, of trouble, of distress, darkness, gloominess, of clouds, of the trumpet and alarm. Isaiah uses the language of grapes being trampled decisively in a winepress from the old days when they were trodden down by the weight from human feet and similar language is used by John in Revelation. (Isa.63:3‑4; Rev.19:15) Jesus described it as great tribulation. (Matt.24:21‑22)
Why should this be so? Zephaniah answers simply because they have sinned. (1:17) Malachi contains a similar thought because they have done "wickedly" and to Isaiah were given similar reasons (Mal.4:1; Isa.13:11). Its like Noah’s day before the flood when God saw the wickedness of mankind and their thoughts were evil continually. (Gen.6:5; Matt.24:37) Therefore God saw this can only be permitted for so long before the decree comes ‘enough’ and those times have to be stopped in their tracks.
What happens in this day?
Some of this language is simpler to understand as some language is more literal than some of the other language being pictorial! The heavens usually represent the religious or ecclesiastical world in this imperfect world as these present religious orders will be superseded by a one world religion. The earth represents the civil systems of this world such as the imperfect laws and traditions that bring some sort of order, even if they do not work 100%.
Peter indicates three events of the day of the Lord. The middle event of the day of the Lord indicated by Peter describes the elements melting with fervent heat. What elements are these? Stoicheia is the Greek word translated by the A.V. as ‘elements’. It is Strong’s word 4747 which can be a row of letters and by extension the elements of knowledge. This is a word closely related to the stoic philosophers that Paul encountered in Athens in Acts 17:18. "Stoic philosophy concentrated upon logic, physics, and ethics." (Fascinating Bible Facts (Howard & Burge)) Such people were without God and used their own mental powers to try to understand the people in the world around them and how they interact.
The kings are easily discerned especially in former days when many nations were ruled by monarchs who were head of state and head of the governments. If they were not ruled by hereditary kings or queens often it was a dictator or similar like Oliver Cromwell from 1649 to 1658. These kings will not be needed once they are replaced by ‘the kingdom of His Christ’. (Rev.11:15) Likewise the kingdoms or nations and the divisions of land marking the border of one country to another and the people living there will be under pressure with division and conflict where the stronger one exerts control over another because it can and so does. This brings war between nations and civil war leading to the dividing one country into two or more.
A mountain is oft thought to represent a nation. War between nations is destructive and expensive in terms of lives lost as well as in financial resources. These mountains or nations shall be brought low (Isaiah 2:12,14). Presently most countries are ruled by presidents in charge of capitalist economies and this feature of the current civil governments will have to end in order to come under the direct influence of Christ’s government.
The financial systems will pass away so one will not work and another profit and those elements of selfishness that create resentment in this present world will cease. This could be applied to the stock market, paper money, credit and debt, trade and other such financial matters. Isa.2:16 talks about the ships of Tarshish being brought low. Tarshish is the geographical area commonly connected with the coastlands and therefore trade by sea was the principal method of transporting goods around the Mediterranean and beyond in Greco‑Roman times. This indicated trade will be problematic and the balance where strong and large countries and trading blocks will no longer be able to profit from their present advantage once Christ’s government is finally established here.
Another feature of this process will be the spasmodic nature of the Day of the Lord. It could be described as birth pangs or birth pains. These are Jesus’ words in Matt 24:8 (TLV) speaking about the Gospel age (Christian era) when looking towards the consummation of the age.
Do we see anything similar today?
In the U.K. society has become increasingly secular since 1914 with most people either agnostic or atheist. According to the Church of England the worshipping community was 2.0% of the population with the average for October 2018 being 1.5% and in total 1.1m adults and children. Gallup International says Christian church attendance was 11% in the UK, about 75% in Africa and 35% in Ireland (2016). About a hundred years ago in 1918 Church of England membership was 2.3m and including all Christian groups 8m. This is in the context that the UK population including Ireland was 45m in the 1911 census compared to 63m including Northern Ireland in 2011. This indicates a gradual decline in religious observance over the course of 100 years.
In everyday life the civil government continues and although the connection between church and state continues to decline those countries have continued to exist. However 26 Lords Spiritual of the Church of England still sit in the House of Lords. The Empires of Britain, France and other West European countries have reduced. Britain ruled large areas of Africa, India and the Caribbean and has seen nearly all those countries obtained independence primarily between 1946 and 1969. In 1914 there were about 60 countries in the world whereas now there are 195. Civil governments have led their citizens into two world wars, a so‑called cold war and other conflicts in and around the Middle East. The ‘Arab spring’ has led to ongoing conflict especially now in Syria. Politics has supplied a succession of left and right‑wing governments as well as centre left and centre right administrations. In recent years politics has become increasingly polarised as a significant percentage of the populace remain dissatisfied with their present situation and look to new solutions and administrations to try and make a better life.
The day of the ruling king has come to an end. Russia, Germany, Italy, Greece, Romania, Serbia, Austria, and Hungary were ruled by kings although some were only constitutional monarchs. These are no longer ruled by kings or queens. There are only a handful of constitutional monarchs in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Spain. They have no real power like the Tsar did in Russia and the Kaiser in Germany and King Charles I in England. The principle of the ‘divine right of the kings’ has been banished. Their day has passed away but the traditions and those that survive have had to adapt and find another way to serve their people and preserve the institution.
Outside Europe there were monarchs in 1950 in the following countries Egypt (King Farouk I), Iraq (King Faisal II), Persia (now Iran, Shah Mohammed) as well as ones that still continue to this day–Saudi Arabia and Jordan in the Middle East. Japan and Thailand are other Far eastern countries which have just constitutional monarchs. Most countries have presidents instead.
Economic ups and downs continue to affect the economies of the world, especially the Great Depression of the 1930s. Rampant inflation has plagued countries such as Germany after WW1. Emerging countries like Zimbabwe have seen their economies collapse with at present no evidence of any real recovery. However the progress has not always been downward. World Vision reports the following, "The world is making huge strides in overcoming global poverty. Since 1990, a quarter of the world has risen out of extreme poverty. Now less than 10 percent of the world lives in extreme poverty, surviving on $1.90 a day or less. When families move out of poverty, children’s health and well‑being improve. Since 1990, the number of children dying—mostly from preventable causes such as poverty, hunger, and disease—is less than half of what it was, dropping from more than 35,000 a day to under 15,000. While progress continues.fragile contexts and countries affected by conflict, poor governance, and natural disasters, especially in sub‑Saharan Africa, have seen an increase in people living in poverty." So some lives are really improving.
Progress is not all downward and this is what Daniel was told to predict that knowledge and wisdom would increase and people would run back and forth, while the problems in the world were getting worse. (Dan.12:4) In 1969 two men even walked on the moon because of the discoveries made. In aviation, it’s expected that 2019 will set a new record in terms of the number of scheduled passengers with almost 4.6 billion, around 130 percent higher than in 2004 according to E. Mazareanu. Labour‑saving devices like washing machines have made life easier and central heating systems make life comfortable and lengthened life where the climate is cold in winter.
People are becoming healthier and living longer. According to the UN’s populations division in 1950 there were about 23,000 centenarians in the world and this grew to 316,000 in 2012. However in the U.K. the current generation in not forecast to live as long as its parents for the first‑time and it is suggested obesity and poor diet choices are some of the primary causes.
Economies continue to grow and the average person in the world is 4.4‑times richer than in 1950 according to Core‑Econ. Nevertheless there is often talk of a coming recession, or growth flattening out, market volatility and wealth inequality.
Despite economic growth, labour‑saving devices, more leisure time, people living longer and so on there have also been the invention of many efficient and worrying ways to kill each other like the deadly gas in WW1 and the holocaust. Poor management has led to problems with nuclear power like at Chernobyl and industrialisation has led to breathing issues and probably global warming and the current climate emergency.
This needs to be set in the background that God’s four attributes are wisdom, justice, love and power. Is it wise, is it just, is it loving and does God have the power to do it? The answer is yes. Its wise to give people the opportunity to experience the consequences of sin and disobedience, just as the penalty was death not punishment. He has the power to do it as we see daily all around us from creation and its properties, and see his love because he sent His son Jesus to die as a ransom for all and by His power raised him from the grave.
After any war there is peace and that should not be forgotten and it is the same here after the Day of the LORD there is peace for 1,000 years. The picture language of the wolf dwelling with the lamb (Isa.11:6) speaks of peaceful times, as does the still small voice of 1 Kings 19:12 and the stillness of Psalm 46:10.
Daniel (2:44) tells us the God of heaven shall set up a kingdom. Therefore having removed all that is unholy, the prince of this world, Satan, will be replaced by Christ’s kingdom (Rev.11:15). Peter in 2 Pet.3:13 expresses it as "a new heaven and earth wherein dwells righteousness".
The resurrection of the dead will be one of the greatest and most exciting features after the day of the LORD when everything will be restored. The philosophers in Athens thought it impossible that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and that therefore there was a resurrection of the dead. (Acts 17:31,32; 26:8)
A massive campaign of education will begin bringing all to a knowledge of God (Isa.11:9; Hab.2:14) Malachi uses the expression of "healing in his wings". Christ will heal all the problems of ignorance and prejudice that have blinded the minds of so many people. Small boys will not be taught to slaughter their enemies. Satan being bound will remove his influence on men, women and children. In the stillness people will get to know God and His attributes (Psalm 46:10