The Day of the Lord
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The “Day of the Lord”
by John Accomando
Many modern, popular, eschatology teachers assert that the “day of the Lord” (DoTL) includes the 70th “week” of Daniel 9:27, and that we are therefore raptured prior to the start of that same span of time, which is widely referred to as “the tribulation”, in futurist vernacular. Most of these same teachers would acknowledge that “The Great Tribulation” only encompasses the 42 months which follow the mid-week “abomination of desolation” (Matthew 24:15).
Here are some excerpts from their writings on the topic:
- Dwight Pentecost (“Things to Come- A Study in Biblical Eschatology”)- “The term the Day of the Lord, or that day, is not a term which applies to a twenty-four hour period, but rather the whole program of events, including the tribulation period…”
- John Walvoord (“The Rapture Question”)- “The Day of the Lord as presented in the Old and New Testament includes rather than follows the tremendous events of the tribulation period. In a word, the Day of the Lord begins before the Great Tribulation.”
- Hal Lindsey– “Those who are left behind will be the ones who experience the ‘Day of the Lord’, which begins with the great Tribulation.”
- John Hagee– “This time [The Day of the Lord] begins at the exact moment the Lord appears in the clouds to gather the believing church unto him and ‘that Wicked’ is revealed…The rapture is therefore the sign that the tribulation has begun.”
- Perry Stone– “Based on the 2500 year old prophecy of Joel, there will be much activity with ‘pillars of smoke’ prior to the day of the Lord (the tribulation).”
- Tim LaHaye (“Charting The End Times”)- “Zephaniah 1:14-18 provides one of the most colorful descriptions of the ‘great day of the Lord’, which we commonly call the Tribulation period.”
- Thomas Ice– “I am driven to the inescapable conclusion that the [apostasia] refers to the Rapture of the Church which precedes the Day of the Lord, and holds back the revelation of the Man of Sin who ushers in the world-aspect of that period…..If this is true, (Dr. Tim LaHaye and I believe that it is), then it means that a clear prophetic sequence is laid out by Paul early in his Apostolic ministry. Paul teaches in 2 Thessalonians 2 that the rapture will occur first, before the Day of the Lord commences.”
- Ron Rhodes (“The End Times in Chronological Order”)- “Because the antichrist’s signing of the covenant with Israel begins the tribulation period, we can also say that this signing of the covenant begins the eschatological day of the Lord. Thankfully, Christians will escape this day because of the rapture.”
- Paul Enns (“The Moody Handbook of Theology”)- “Thus the Day of the Lord is that extended period of time beginning with God’s dealing with Israel after the rapture at the beginning of the tribulation period and extending through the second advent…”
- John MacArthur (“Grace To You” sermon)- “Then you have a number of events. You have the Rapture of the church. You have the rise of the Antichrist. Paul says to them…You’re not in darkness, you’re children of light, you don’t belong in the day of the Lord, you belong in the Rapture not the day of the Lord…So, the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night…And that’s why you open Revelation and the first five seals are the preliminaries and the sixth seal, bang, everything goes black, the sun goes out, the moon turns dark, the skies go out, the stars begin to fall, people scream for the rocks and the mountains to fall on them and that’s the beginning of the day of the Lord…The day of the Lord will happen toward the end of that Great Tribulation, some time toward the end of that last three and a half years so when the abomination of desolation takes place by the Antichrist in Jerusalem, you know the day of the Lord is not far away.” (MacArthur has the DoTL only encompassing a little less than the last half of the 70th week).
- David Jeremiah (“How Should We Then Live?”)- “The Rapture of the Church is the next event to happen on God’s prophetic timetable—it could happen today!—and the Day of the Lord begins when the Rapture takes place.”
- Chuck Missler (“Koinonia House”)- “This [the 70th week] is called the Day of the Lord. It’s also the outpouring of God’s wrath. Not Satan’s wrath. God’s wrath…the rapture, the ‘harpazo’, happens sometime prior to the beginning of that week.”
- Jack Van Impe– “Paul’s argument in II Thessalonians can be summed up as follows.  The day of the Lord will not begin until the antichrist is revealed.  The antichrist cannot begin to act until the restrainer, the Church or believers, are removed.  Since the restrainer has not been removed, the Day of the Lord cannot have begun.”
This is widely considered to be a “Who’s who” of popular 20th and 21st century eschatology teachers, most of whom have either published books or produced videos on the subject of eschatology. Many are also constantly in-demand for speaking engagements, whether at a local megachurch or a major eschatology conference.
Popularity aside, however, Do their teachings about the DoTL actually align with Scripture?
Assuredly, the apostle Paul tells us that we’re “not appointed to wrath”:
1 Thessalonians 5:9- “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”
What is the “wrath” which we’re not appointed to? The DoTL. He tells us as much in verse 2, as that’s the theme of 1 Thess 5:
1 Thessalonians 5:2- “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
A careful examination of Scripture reveals that it does indeed give us a timetable for the start of the DoTL:
Matthew 24:29- “Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”
Here, The Lord tells us that the heavenly signs follow the tribulation. Then Peter (in quoting Joel 2:31), tells us that the DoTL follows the heavenly signs:
Acts 2:20- “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, BEFORE that great and notable day of the Lord come:”
It should also be noted that Joel uses the “dark” moon and the “blood” moon descriptions synonymously:
Joel 2:10-11: “The Earth shall quake before them; the heaven shall tremble: the sun and the MOON shall be DARK, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for THE DAY OF THE LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?”
Joel 2:31- “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the MOON into BLOOD, before the great and the terrible DAY OF THE LORD come.”
Joel 3:14-16: “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the DAY OF THE LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the MOON shall be DARKENED, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.”
So the sequence of events is:
Therefore, according to Scripture, the “wrath” which we’re “not appointed to” is the post-trib, post-70th week DoTL. This is verified elsewhere:
Acts 3:20-21: “And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
When is the “restitution of all things”? Surely, one wouldn’t argue that it’s before the final week. What does Scripture say? What did the prophets write?
Daniel 9:24- “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.”
Again, Scripture verifies that the DoTL follows the trib, as the Lord doesn’t leave Heaven until the 70 weeks are complete.
Other verification? Paul places the resurrection squarely after the tribulation, in a verse which escapes many:
1 Corinthians 15:54- “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY.”
What verse was Paul referring to? What was “written”?
Isaiah 25:8- “HE WILL SWALLOW UP DEATH IN VICTORY; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it.”
When is death “swallowed up”, according to the Book of Isaiah? After the heavenly signs:
Isaiah 13:10- “For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”
Isaiah 24:23- “Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem, and before his ancients gloriously.”
As shown above, the heavenly signs FOLLOW the tribulation.
Furthermore, the Lord is still telling us to “watch” for His coming like a “thief” even after the 6th vial:
Revelation 16:15- “Behold, I come as a THIEF. Blessed is he that WATCHETH, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
One should note that this is also the same vial in which the armies of the Earth are gathering together:
Revelation 16:14- “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
Therefore, at the same vial in which the armies are gathering, the Lord is telling us to “watch” for His coming, in a verse which parallels His earlier words:
Matthew 24:42-43: “WATCH therefore:for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the THIEF would come, he would have WATCHED, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.”
Matthew 24:37-39: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall ALSO the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, UNTIL THE DAY THAT NOE ENTERED THE ARK, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
The Lord distinctly compares His second coming to the days of Noah, but many readers don’t see where the Lord says: “until the day that Noah entered the ark”. Noah wasn’t caught like a “thief”. He was warned about when the wrath would begin:
Genesis 7:1- “And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.”
Genesis 7:5-7: “And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him. And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons ‘wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.”
It was the WICKED who were caught unaware, because they weren’t looking. Those are precisely the ones Paul said will be caught like a “thief” on the DoTL:
1 Thessalonians 5:2-4: “For yourselves know perfectly that the DAY OF THE LORD so cometh as a THIEF in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake YOU as a thief.”
Some might also ask: “How can the wicked be saying ‘peace and safety’ while getting pummeled with the seals, trumpets, and vials?”
I’ve long-contended Scripturally that the judgments aren’t chronological. The 6th/7th seal, 7th trump, and 7th vial seem to occur simultaneously. In any case, what happens just before the 7th trump (the last trump, by the way)? The wicked are rejoicing. Why? Because the beast killed the two witnesses, who were calling down plagues:
Revelation 11:10- “And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.”
One can see that there is certainly a false sense of security. They’re making merry, and sending gifts to one another. These are the ones to whom the DoTL will come upon like a “thief”.
Lastly, How else can we know that the DoTL follows the tribulation? What else did Isaiah say about the DoTL?
Isaiah 2:17- “And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord ALONE shall be exalted in that day.”
Yet who is the world exalting during the trib? The beast. Not only are the wicked NOT exalting the “Lord alone”, but they’re unrepentant, and even blaspheming Him:
Revelation 16:9- “And men were scorched with great heat, and BLASPHEMED the name of God, which hath power over these plagues:and they repented NOT to give him glory.”
Revelation 16:11- “And BLASPHEMED the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented NOT of their deeds.”
That all changes when they see the cosmic lights go out at the 6th seal heavenly signs, and also experience the worst earthquake ever experienced, immediately before the Lord emerges out of Heaven:
Revelation 6:15-17: “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
So these men who were deceived by the unholy triad are now petrified with fear at the reality of who they are going to be up against at Armageddon. And what “wrath” is it? What follows the 6th seal heavenly signs? Again, the posttrib, post-70th week DoTL.
Therefore, according to Scripture, the DoTL follows the tribulation. So while those men I initially quoted frequently and confidently make themselves out to be the authoritative voices of eschatological doctrine, they are found to be squarely at odds with the Word of God.
As such is that case, Why are they praised by millions upon millions of believers, rather than sternly denounced as false teachers?
2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
See related post HERE.