[Photograph above: (taken from ‘Prayer for Israel Autumn Magazine 2013)]  - “View of Jerusalem from St Peter Gallicantu.”




The Day of the Lord



As in the Epistles to Timothy, Titus and Hebrews






James Payne



The Apostle Peter in his first Epistle says that the Spirit of Christ in the Prophets testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.  Our Lord’s atoning sacrifice runs like a scarlet thread through all the Scriptures.  It is set forth symbolically in the Pentateuch; David speaks of it repeatedly in the Psalms (e.g. Psalm 22); Isaiah refers to it frequently as in chapter 53 - “For the transgression of My people was He stricken”; in the minor prophets also it is seen in such passages as Micah 7: 18 and 19 - “Who is a God like unto Thee that pardoneth iniquity and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage?  He retaineth not His anger for ever because He delighteth in mercy.  He will turn again; He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea”.



At the opening of the New Testament it is said, “He shall save His people from their sins” and, the Acts and the Epistles are replete with such statements as “He gave Himself for our sins”.  In conclusion we have the heavenly song, “Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood ... To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever”.



Likewise the glory which follows Immanuel’s sufferings runs throughout Scripture as a golden cord woven, as we have seen in this series of studies, into almost every book of the Bible, culminating in the glory of the celestial city in the new heavens and the new earth.



Our lot at this time, however, is to consider the Day of the Lord as revealed in the Epistles to Timothy, Titus and the Hebrews.



Testimony to Timothy



In his first Epistle to Timothy, Paul charges him to keep the commandment (concerning his ministry) until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Some 30 years later John exhorted Polycarpthe angel of the Church at Smyrna” to be faithful unto death.  Polycarp was martyred when he was an old man. Peter and Paul both spoke of their own martyrdom which was then imminent when they were both aged.  It seems clear therefore that Paul’s words to Timothy did not indicate that he thought Timothy would be alive at the appearing of Jesus Christ. He appears rather to address him as representative of all under-Shepherds serving in the Kingdom of Christ right down to the time of His coming, encouraging them all to be faithful to their trust always in the light and anticipation of the manifestation of Jesus Christ.  It is then that their work will be tried as to what sort it is.



He goes on to say that at the appearing of Jesus Christ He will show “the blessed and only Potentate; the King of kings and Lord of lords”.  He came in the days of His humiliation to show us the Father.  He said to Philip, “He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father”.   But when He comes in His glory in the Day of the Lord He will show the King of kings; the eternal God “who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen nor can see”.  He himself testified saying, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him”.  Whether we see God as our loving heavenly Father or as the omnipotent Judge of men, we can only see Him in His only-begotten Son.  The King eternal, immortal, invisible” is seen in His Son Jesus Christ for “in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”. So Jesus Christ at the time of His appearing in the Day of the Lord will be seen to be “God over all blessed for ever”; the Alpha and the Omega; the Creator and Sustainer of all things.



In his second Epistle to Timothy, Paul declares his own expectation of the Lord’s appearing when he said, “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day”.  And he follows this up by saying “If we suffer we shall also reign with Him” and this will be when He comes to judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His [millennial] Kingdom.  The manifestation of His kingdom follows His appearing and we cannot reign with Him until His kingdom comes.



He said to His disciples, “I appoint unto you a kingdom as My Father hath appointed unto Me; That ye may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel”.  We may well ask the question, “Over whom or what shall we reign with Him?”  The glorified saints say, “We shall reign over the earth” and Daniel describing Messiah’s kingdom says, “All peoples, nations and languages shall serve Him”, and “The saints shall possess the kingdom”.  So in the 4th chapter of this second Epistle to Timothy, Paul glories in the fact that “henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous judge shall give me at that day and not to me only but to all them also that love His appearing”.  David declared that he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of the Lord”.  He had, however, to confess that “my house is not so with God”.  But Isaiah declared that “a King shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule in judgment”.  And again, “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him ... With righteousness shall He judge the poor and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked one”.



Testimony to Titus



In writing to Titus, Paul testifies that the grace of God that bringeth salvation teaches us how to live.  We are to live soberly, righteously and Godly in this present age looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing [or the ‘appearing of the glory] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”.  This present [evil] age will then terminate and the Day of the Lord will begin.  In this present age we are to live unto Him “who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity”, but without His manifest presence.  Then, when He appears we shall according to His promise to the overcomers,* sit with Him on His throne.


[* Rev. chapters 2. & 3.]

Testimony to the Hebrews



When we come to study the Day of the Lord in Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, we find “waters to swim in”.  In the first chapter he says, “When God bringeth again the first-begotten into the world, He saith ‘Let all the angels of God worship Him”.  Then to the Son, He saith, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever; a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom”.  As we have seen, in the Day of the Lord, a king - the King of kings - “shall reign in righteousness.  When He takes His great power to reign, to Him every knee shall bow and the angels shall worship Him - the eternal Son of the eternal Father.



But” says Paul, “to which of the angels said He at any time, ‘Sit on My right hand until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool’”?  When He comes to initiate the Day of the Lord all His enemies will be placed beneath His feet.  John depicts Him as treading “the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God”.  This Man” says Paul, “after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool”.  He is to-day at the Father’s right hand expecting the Day of the Lord; we here are looking for it as our glorious hope.



Then Paul says, “Unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the oikoumene [world] to come whereof we speak”.  The present oikoumene is in the hands of sinful men actuated and deceived by Satan the god of this world.  Hence the war and strife; the crime and violence; the rebellion and witchcraft.  But Daniel assures us that in the Day of the Lord, the kingdom “shall not be left to other people”.  No” says Paul “not even to angels”; but Immanuel Himself “shall be the Governor among the nations” in the oikoumene to come.  Then “all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him”.



The Second Adam



Paul proceeds to quote from the 8th Psalm where the Psalmist speaks of all creation having been put under the authority of Adam.  This, however, was forfeited by sin but must be restored in Him who came to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  Paul says, however, “we see not yet all things put under Him but we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour’. And he goes on “He is not ashamed to call us brethren saying (in Psalm 22) ‘I will declare Thy name unto My brethren; in the midst of the Church will 1 sing praise unto Thee’”. And when will this be?  Psalm 22 tells us.  All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee.  For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He is the governor among the Nations”.



At that time man will again have complete supremacy over all the creation.  When the Son of David reigns, it is said of Him, “Righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.  The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them ... For the earth - [this sin-cursed earth] - shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”.



In chapter 7 dealing with the Melchisedec Priesthood, the Apostle quotes twice from Psalm 110, “Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec”.  But this Psalm speaks of the time when He shall rule “in the midst of His enemies”; when “He shall judge among the heathen and shall fill the places with the dead bodies”.  This surely is when He shall have His enemies beneath His feet, having left the Father’s right hand; when, in the language of Zechariah, He “shall sit and rule upon His throne - [i.e., upon the throne of David] - and He shall be a priest upon His throne”, in the Day of the Lord.



Under the Mosaic order, the kingship and priesthood were rigidly separate; the priests must be of the Tribe of Levi and the kings of the Tribe of Judah.  The Melchisedec priesthood, however, ante-dated the law. Melchisedec, Priest of the Most High God had kingship enshrined in his very name - King of Righteousness - Melchi, king; zedec, righteousness.  He was also a territorial king - King of Salem - the meaning of “Salem” being “peace”.  Thus he foreshadowed the true Melchisedec, our Great High Priest over the House of God; the [coming] King who is to reign in righteousness, enthroned in the true Salem; “the city of the Great King” who will bring peace on earth, when the nations will learn war no more.



This Psalm 110 speaks of One who is to rule in the midst of His enemies with the rod of His strength out of Zion [not heaven], to whom Jehovah sware without repentance “Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec”.  The “King eternal” is also the “Priest for ever” who, “having made peace through the blood of His cross”, came “to preach peace to them that were far off and to them that were nigh” and to be “a great King over all the earth” whose “kingdom is an everlasting* kingdom and His dominion that which shall not pass away”.


[* Always keep in mind that fact that Jesus, our Messiah / Christ, has two kingdoms.  His millennial kingdom upon this earth will ‘pass awaywhen He has put all His enemies under His feet and death is abolished (1 Cor. 15: 25, 26).  This earth will destroyed by fire, (2 Pet. 3: 10); and this must take place before Christ’s eternal kingdom “in a new heaven and new earth” (Rev. 21: 1) is established, brought into existence, created.]



The New Covenant



Then Paul in the following chapter, quoting from Jeremiah 31 speaks of the time when Jehovah “will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah ... This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord: I will put My laws into their mind and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God and they shall be to Me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour and every man his brother saying ‘Know the Lord’; for they shall all know Me from the least to the greatest.  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more”.



Now in the chapter in Jeremiah from which this is quoted the Lord says of the house of Israel and the house of Judah, “Like as I have watched over them to pluck up and to break down and to throw down and to destroy and to afflict; so will I watch over them to build and to plant”.  And again, “Thus saith the Lord which giveth the sun for a light by day and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night ... If those ordinances depart from before Me saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel shall also cease from being a nation from before Me for ever.  Thus saith the Lord, If the heaven above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.  Behold the days come saith the Lord that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner ... It shall not be plucked up nor thrown down any more for ever”.



So the new covenant will be made with Israel at the time of their final restoration and it is a covenant wholly of grace.  There is nothing in this covenant commanded of Israel but it is wholly a declaration of what Jehovah will do for Israel.  This covenant then is for the Day of the Lord when Israel shall be restored to her land and the Son of David shall be her King and she shall be made a blessing in the earth; and when Jerusalem shall be “the city of the great King” and Zion shall indeed be “the joy of the whole earth”.



In the following chapter, after reminding us that “Christ was once offered to bear the sin of many”, Paul says, “to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time, without sin unto salvation”.  And as we have seen, at His appearing it will be to judge the living and the dead and set up His [millennial] kingdom in the Day of the Lord.



In the 10th chapter there is a very entrancing passage concerning these things.  Paul says, “This Man after he had made one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool”.  Then he goes on, “The Holy Ghost also is a witness to us, for after that (the mention of His sitting at the right hand of God) He had said before (that is in the Old Testament) “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more”.  The first - the sitting at the Father’s right hand - He had said by David in Psalm 110, and the second - the making of the covenant to put away sins - after that by Jeremiah.  Then Paul blessedly applies this to us (the Holy Ghost is a witness to us) saying, “Where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.  Having therefore brethren boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus ... let us draw near”.  The new covenant to be made with Israel is now applicable to us who believe that God “has brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus through the blood of the Everlasting Covenant” enabling us to enter now into the Holiest by that blood.  And when Israel shall “look upon Him whom they pierced” and experience the cleansing power of that “fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness” they too, “having an High Priest over the House of God” will [then] be able to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith”.



And Paul closes this chapter with the assurance that “He that shall come will come and will not tarry”.  So, as James says, “Be patient therefore brethren unto the coming of the Lord”.



The City with Foundations



Abraham “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God”.  So, as children of Abraham because we are Christ’s, we too, “have no continuing city here but we seek one to come”.  Abraham’s faith looked over the vista of the ages to that same city into which we hope to come by God’s grace; the city which Paul calls “Jerusalem which is above, which is the mother of us all”.  To that city we have already come by faith for Paul says to these Hebrew believers in the following chapter, “Ye are come unto Mount Zion and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the firstborn* which are written in heaven”.


[*NOTE.  The words ‘church of the firstborn’ has reference to a selection from amongst the redeemed people of God of all ages, who have not lost their ‘first-born’ status and privileges.  That is, those with a double portion of the ‘inheritance,’ together with kingly and priestly positions under God’s rule.]



That city is described in detail in Revelation 21 when John sees it in vision “descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God”.  Again he says, “the glory of God did lighten it and the Lamb is the light thereof.  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it; and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour unto it”.  Isaiah describes that city after its descent when he says, “The mountain of the Lord’s House shall be established in the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it”.  And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of Mount Zion and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night for all the glory shall be for a covering above”.  This is a part of Isaiah’s description of the Day of the Lord.



The Old Testament worthies “having obtained a good report through faith received not the promises - they saw them afar off and were persuaded of them and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims upon the earth” but they “received not the promise, God having provided some better thing for us that they without us should not be made perfect”.*


[* NOTE.  This reference to being ‘made perfect,’ looks forward to the time of the “First Resurrection” (Rev. 20: 4-6).]



John tells us that in the foundations of the city were the names of the 12 Apostles of the Lamb and upon the gates the names of the 12 tribes of Israel.  Thus both Jewish and Gentile believers find their citizenship in that heavenly city of which the earthly city in the Day of the Lord, will be the vestibule - the outer court - for nothing that defileth can enter into the heavenly city.  Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and Godly fear”.



So we look for Jesus to return again,

To take His place on this sad earth for His Millennial reign”.



                                                                                                                                  - E. G. Lessey.



*       *       *





The Day of The Lord






David Noakes



There is today a famine of the truth of the word of God in many parts of the church, and it is a famine which is increasing in severity.  It is of the greatest importance that in the difficult days that lie ahead, God’s people should not find themselves either deceived by false teaching or taken unawares by events that their teachers had not told them to expect.  It is a matter of urgency that we try to grasp clearly and accurately the whole of what Scripture predicts for the closing days of this age - but stripped of the speculation and sensationalism which so often surrounds it.



To establish truth, we need the illumination of the Holy Spirit; and we need to allow Scripture to interpret Scripture, allowing the word of God to be its own commentary upon itself, and letting the weight of the whole of the prophetic writings taken together build up a clear picture of the events which are being predicted.  It could be likened to a jigsaw puzzle, scattered through the pages of the books of the prophets, which only the Holy Spirit can assemble correctly.



The topic of the Day of the Lord is a thread that is interwoven into the Scriptures from the time of the earliest writing prophet, Obadiah, right through to the book of Revelation.  Almost every prophet makes reference to it, either directly or indirectly.  Sometimes, as with Isaiah in chapters 9-12, their prophetic vision leaps back and forth, from the time of the immediate future of which they are speaking, to the time of the end of this age.  Sometimes, as with Joel and Zephaniah, the Day of the Lord is completely central to their writings, and the prophetic revelation arises either out of considering historical events that have already taken place - in Joel’s case a judgement on the Land of Israel by means of an invasion of locusts which had already happened in his own day (Joel 1: 1 - 2: 11) - or as with Zephaniah, out of a prophetic awareness of the imminence of the invasion and destruction of Judah by the Babylonians, which took place some 45 years later in 586 BCE (Zeph 1: 4 - 2: 3; 3: 1-13).



A major theme of biblical prophecy



The Day of the Lord is a theme to which the prophets were drawn like moths to a candle flame.  What is this great event that so occupied their thoughts and which keeps breaking into their writings as if they had suddenly taken off their reading glasses and instead had picked up a telescope to gaze with astonishing clarity of vision into the distant future?



It is a major theme of biblical prophecy, running like an unbroken thread through the writings of the Hebrew prophets, in which the phrase the Day of the Lord, with its unique significance, occurs 21 times between Isaiah 2: 12 and the very last verse of the Old Testament, Malachi 4: 5.  Parallel to that phrase is another that has similar theological significance when used by the prophets: ‘in that day’, which is found 107 times in their writings and out of which 80 references are directly relative to the future Day of the Lord.



The Day of the Lord is thus mentioned by the prophets more than 100 times.  It is continuously into the book of Isaiah, appearing in no fewer than 17 of the first 35 chapters.  Of the 17 books of the Old Testament prophets, only five fail to mention it directly by name; and of those five, Daniel in chapters 7-12 deals with the subject extensively, while both Nahum and Habakkuk also contain relevant prophecy relating to the closing days of this age.  This prophetic theme continues through the New Testament, emerging, for example, in the Olivet Discourse (Mt 24: 15-31; Mk. 13: 14-27; Lk. 21: 20-36), in 1 Corinthians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, 2 Peter, Jude and of course almost the whole of the book of Revelation.



How should we understand this term the Day of the Lord and its counterpart In that day?  What do they signify?  There is no special significance in the actual Hebrew or Greek words used in the two phrases.  In the  Hebrew Old Testament the ordinary Hebrew word for day, yom, is used; while in the Septuagint and the New Testament the usual Greek word, hemera, is found.  Yom is translated variously in the Scriptures as ‘day’, ‘time’ or ‘year’.  It can express either a particular point in time, or a period of time that may extend during months or even years.  When included in the phrases the Day of the Lord or in that day, it is used prophetically to indicate a particular future period of time when God’s personal and direct intervention in human history will occur in order to fulfil His purposes.



God’s purposes



What are these purposes?  The evidence from Amos 5: 18 indicates that the popular understanding among the people at the time of his ministry in the northern kingdom of Israel (c.760 BCE) was that it would be a day when God would intervene in such a way as to exalt Israel to be chief among the nations, irrespective of Israel’s unfaithfulness towards Him.  This was the view being taken by the people at a time of relative peace and prosperity, which had led to great complacency (Amos 6: 1-7).  Amos, however, hastens to disabuse them of such an idea.  The Day of the Lord will certainly be an occasion when God intervenes, but first to punish sin, which has reached a climax: Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord!  Why do you long for the day of the Lord?  That day will be darkness, not light ... will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light - pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?’ (Amos 5: 18, 20).



All the prophetic writings confirm Amos’s understanding of the Day of the Lord as a day of terror, involving the invasion of Israel and an experience of unparalleled destruction.  Zephaniah, prophesying to Judah in about 630 BCE, says:



The great day of the Lord is near - near and coming quickly.  Listen!  The cry on the day of the Lord will be bitter, the shouting of the warrior there.  That day will be a day of wrath, a day of distress and anguish, a day of trouble and ruin, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, a day of trumpet and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the corner towers. (Zeph 1: 14-16)



Both these and other passages in the prophetic writings underscore the fact that the Day of the Lord is to be a day when the terror of divine Judgement is to be poured out on the unbelieving nation of Israel (see, e.g., Isaiah 2: 6-21; Jeremiah 30: 4-17; Joel 1: 15 - 2: 11; Malachi 4: 1).  Yet this by no means represents the whole of God’s purposes at that time.  The unbelieving nations of the world will also be brought into judgement; and in addition a surviving remnant of the nation of Israel will enter into a national conversion, forgiveness of sins, cleansing, and restoration to possession of the entirety of the Land that God Promised to Abraham (see, e.g., Isaiah 4: 2-6; Jeremiah 30: 18-31:40; Micah 4: 1-8; Zechariah 12: 10 - 13: 2).



The tribulation period



The Day of the Lord is always found in the context of a prophetic prediction of a future disaster, involving certain signs that will portend its arrival, notably convulsions of nature and periods of darkness in the sky.  The Day itself involves the direct intervention of God in the affairs of men, bringing judgement and great destruction upon Israel through military invasion by the Gentile nations, which in turn results in destruction by God of those armies at the return of the Lord Jesus and deliverance for the repentant remnant of Israel.  This leads directly into the fullness of restoration of both the nation and the Land of Israel, God’s judgement upon the Gentile nations, and the establishment of the millennial kingdom of the Messiah upon the earth.



What we are describing is thus that period of prophetic prediction in human history known in the New Testament as the Tribulation or the Great Tribulation.  It may be helpful to tabulate some of the other terms used in the Old Testament to represent this period of time.  It is variously referred to as:



The Time of Jacob’s Trouble .   Jeremiah 30: 7



Israel’s Day of Disaster.   Deuteronomy 32: 35



His wrath.   Isaiah 26: 20



The Overwhelming Scourge .   Isaiah 28: 15, 18



God’s Strange Work.   Isaiah 28: 21



God’s Alien Task.   Isaiah 28: 21



Day of Vengeance.   Isaiah 34: 8; 35: 4; 61: 2



The Seventieth Week of Daniel .   Daniel 9: 27



The Time of Wrath.   Daniel 11: 36



The Time of Distress.   Daniel 12: 1



The Day of Pitch-darkness, without a ray of brightness.   Amos 5: 18



The Day of Darkness and Gloom.   Joel 2: 2; Zephaniah 1: 15



The Day of Clouds and Blackness.   Joel 2: 2; Zephaniah 1: 15



The Day of Judah’s Disaster.   Obadiah 13



The Day of Wrath.   Zephaniah 1: 15



The Day of Distress and Anguish.   Zephaniah 1: 15



The Day of Trouble and Ruin.   Zephaniah 1: 15



The Day of Trumpet and Battle-Cry.   Zephaniah 1: 15



These descriptions alone are sufficient to indicate that this period will be a time of unparalleled distress for the whole world, but pre-eminently for the house of Jacob, for whom it will be the final outworking of God’s judgement upon their national sin and apostasy.  This must come to pass before the restoration of the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1: 6) can take place.  That it will be a time of unequalled distress in Judah is confirmed by Jesus in Matthew 24: 15-29 in the course of speaking to His disciples about the events leading to the end of the age.



The uniqueness of the nation of Israel



To understand rightly what the Scriptures reveal, it is of critical importance to bear in mind that what we are examining is the writings of Hebrew prophets, prophesying to Hebrews about what is primarily, in the purposes of God, an event which involves His final dealing in judgement with the nation of Israel before her national vindication and restoration.  His judgements on the nations, vital though they are, take second place to His dealings with His covenant people so far as the heart of God is concerned.



It is impossible to understand the events that will mark the closing days of this age without understanding the relationship between Hebrew Israel, the physical descendants of Jacob, and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  This relationship is special, unique and irreplaceable; and no third party, including the church, can ever be a substitute within it.



A key biblical distinction is between the place of Israel and the place of the church, and failure to observe and maintain that distinction leads to misunderstanding of much of what the Bible teaches.  As far as eschatology is concerned, the distinction is vital, for a right understanding of the covenant relationship between Israel and her God is crucial in comprehending the revelation of Scripture as to its outworking.  That relationship is pivotal, the hub at the centre of the wheel, around which all the other events of the last days revolve.  If it is not in proper position in our thinking, other matters of eschatology become as loose spokes of the wheel, with no central point of reference.



The Bible speaks of Israel as the Wife of the God of Jacob and of the Church as the Bride of Christ.  They are by no means the same in this age, although ultimately they will be united in the new Jerusalem.  Israel is revealed progressively in Scripture as a wife married to God, who becomes adulterous, is separated, then divorced, then punished, rejected and abandoned, but finally restored into the fullness of the marriage covenant (Is 54: 1-8; Is 62: 4-5; Hos. 2: 14-23).  The church, however, is represented as a betrothed virgin who is not yet joined by marriage to her husband; the wedding feast is yet to come.  Unlike Israel, the adulterous forgiven, cleansed and restored, the church is in the future to be presented to Christ as a pure virgin (1 Cor 11: 2; Eph 5: 25-27).  The two are presented in Scripture as being different and distinct from one another, and it is important to realise that God deals with them as such.



The consistent testimony of the many passages of Scripture that relate to God’s future dealings with the nation of Israel - which will include both the formerly divided kingdoms of Israel and Judah (see, e.g., Is. 11: 12-14; Jer 31: 27, 31; Ez. 37: 15-23) - leaves no room for doubt that the faithfulness of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ will every promise and every prediction made concerning the Hebrew people, with whom He remains in a covenant relationship.  As He says in Malachi 3: 6: ‘I the Lord do not change.  So you, 0 descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.’



Judgement and salvation



Scriptures predict exactly what we see today in the nation-state of Israel: a nation being restored to her Land in a state of unbelief.  The prophetic word of God is being visibly fulfilled in our own day, which is a cause for rejoicing since it heralds the imminent return of Messiah.  It is nevertheless at the same time a cause of foreboding, for the Scriptures also make it plain that before Messiah comes, this restoration to the Land must be the inevitable prologue to a final terrible outpouring of satanic anti-Semitic hatred.  This will bring about the completion of God’s judgements upon His covenant nation in her own Land in the Day of the Lord, which Jeremiah 30: 7 describes as the time of Jacob’s trouble’: ‘Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it (KJV).



An examination of the passages of Scripture dealing with the topic of the Day of the Lord leads to the realisation that, as we have already said, the period of time being described in the Old Testament writings is the same as that which the New Testament identifies as the great tribulation (Rev 7: 14).  At every place in Scripture where the phrase the Day of the Lord is to be found, it is in a context which relates it to the tribulation period.



Although the period of the tribulation is first and foremost the time of Jacob’s trouble, it will include also God’s judgement on the Gentile nations and will result in the salvation and restoration of the surviving remnant of the nation of Israel.  In addition, as it runs its course, it will bring about a worldwide harvest of salvation among the Gentiles (Rev 7: 9-17).



To put some more flesh on these bones and to substantiate what has been said, we need to examine certain key passages of Scripture that make detailed reference to the Day of the Lord.  Since, however, the theme runs like a continuous thread through the prophetic writings, from Isaiah to Revelation, we cannot attempt to cover every place where it is mentioned.



Let us begin with the book of Joel, after Obadiah the first of the writing prophets to deal with the subject of the Day of the Lord. He prophesied to the southern kingdom of Judah, probably in the reign of King Joash, about 835 BCE.  Certainly he must predate Amos, who prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel in the following century during the reign of Jeroboam II (Amos 1: 1), because Amos quotes Joel twice: Joel 3: 16 is quoted in Amos 1: 2, and Joel 3: 18 in Amos 9: 13.



Military invasion of the Land of Israel



In chapter 1: 2-14, Joel describes an actual historical invasion of the Land by locusts in four successive waves (v. 4), bringing total destruction of the crops.  From an examination of Jeremiah 15: 3 and Ezekiel 14: 21, it is apparent that, prophetically, four stages of a disaster indicate its completeness.  It brings lamentation among the people and a call to the priests for national repentance (vv. 13-14).  From the springboard of this account of an actual invasion by locusts in Joel’s own day, he moves immediately into the prophetic future, using the analogy of the invasion by locusts to describe an invasion of the Land of Israel which will take place at the end of this age, in the Day of the Lord.  This will be similar to the plague of locusts in that it will bring a complete devastation to the Land.  The account begins in verse 15, where the theme of the Day of the Lord is introduced and is stated to involve destruction in the Land of Israel.  This continues to verse 11 of chapter 2.



Although there was at least some limited measure of fulfilment of this prophecy in both the Assyrian and the Babylonian invasions of 722 BCE and 586 BCE respectively, this passage has its real and ultimate fulfilment in an even more catastrophic event yet to come.  This invasion will be the worst in Israel’s entire history (2: 2b).  It will involve a vast army (2: 2, 11), which will bring destruction by fire upon the whole Land (1: 19-20; 2: 3).  The devastation will be complete (1: 16-20).  Although it will be a hostile army that will invade Israel and bring the disaster, this is nevertheless the hand of God at work in the final judgement to fall upon Israel.  It is destruction from the Almighty’ (1: 15) and the army is described as the Lord’s army in 2: 11.



More than three centuries later, following the return of the remnant of Judah from the Babylonian exile, the prophet Zechariah received a more detailed account of that same invasion, which even the post-exileic period was still revealed as a future event.  In Zechariah 12, the Lord states in verses 2 and 3: I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling.  Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations.’  In Zechariah 14: 2 the word of God further states: I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped.  Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.’  It is generally understood that this situation will be the culmination of the campaign of Armageddon (Rev 16: 12-16).



Turning to the book of Zephaniah, whose central theme is also that of the Day of the Lord (1: 14), we find that the whole of chapter 3 is speaking to the unrepentant city of Jerusalem concerning God’s future judgement, and beyond that to the subsequent restoration of a saved remnant of her people.  Again, we are told that God’s judgement will be executed at the hands of Gentile nations, who will in turn themselves be judged by the Lord. Zephaniah 3: 7-8 reads:



I said to the city, “Surely you will fear me and accept correction!”  Then her dwelling would not be cut off, nor all my punishments come upon her.  But they were still eager to act corruptly in all they did.  Therefore, wait for me,’ declares the Lord, ‘for the day I will stand up to testify.  I have decided to assemble the nations, to gather the kingdoms and to pour out my wrath on them - all my fierce anger.  The whole world will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.’



To digress briefly at this point, the translation here may be somewhat misleading.  The final sentence, translating the Hebrew word erets, which is translated only rarely as ‘world’, but more usually as either ‘earth’ or ‘land’, says that the whole world will be consumed, while the KJV renders it ‘All the earth shall be devoured.’  Both translations appear to assume that God has here turned His attention to speaking solely of His judgement on the Gentile nations of the world.  However, God never states that He is jealous over the nations of the world, but states frequently that He is jealous over His people Israel and over the city of Jerusalem; and in the context of the whole passage, it may be that the final sentence of 3: 8 should read: The whole land will be consumed by the fire of my jealous anger.’  This statement can be understood either to be literal, or as a metaphorical expression of the overflowing of the Lord’s heated indignation against the corruption about which He has already protested with solemn warnings.



The likelihood of this possibility appears to be reinforced by an examination of the language used by Zephaniah in chapter 1.  In verses 2 and 3, which clearly refer to widespread destruction on the whole inhabited earth in the day of the Lord’s judgement, the word translated ‘earth’ is adamah; whereas in verse 18, in the context of a passage which begins in verse 4 and in which the prophet is specifically addressing Judah, the word erets is chosen.  This distinction in the choice of language in the original inspired texts is surely significant for our understanding and interpretation: adamah is used to describe the earth as a whole, erets when the Land of Judah is in view.



God speaks primarily to Israel, secondarily to the Gentiles



A factor of importance in our eschatological understanding of biblical prophecy concerning the closing days of this age is that although it is not at all unusual for the prophets to speak of specific Gentile nations as being the recipients of God’s judgement, when they do it is almost invariably made clear by the fact that those nations are mentioned by name.  Except where that is the case, we need to bear in mind that the usual task of the Hebrew prophets was to prophesy to their own people concerning the nation and the Land of Israel or Judah.  If the Gentile church were to gain a firm grasp on this principle, much confusion would be removed.  It is very common, for example, among Christians to find the belief that the campaign of Armageddon is bound to involve a worldwide military conflict, including a nuclear holocaust.  This may of course prove to be so, but the Scriptures do not necessarily seem to warrant this particular conclusion.  We must beware of falling into the trap of ‘going beyond what is written’ (1 Cor 4: 6) in the revelation of the word of God.  What is clear is that the military action of the campaign of Armageddon will take place in the Land of Israel.



The rest of the world will, of course, experience the supernatural manifestations of the wrath of God as revealed in appalling detail in the Book of Revelation; and the clear implication of scriptures such as those found, for example, in Isaiah 24 and in the Olivet Discourse is that the entire world will experience the shakings and disasters that result from the overflowing of God’s judgement upon the sin of all the nations (cf. Hag. 2: 20-22 and Heb. 12: 26-27).  When the world’s cup of iniquity is full, His final judgements will fall in the Day of the Lord.



Worldwide warning signs



We have already quoted Amos 5: 18 and 20, stating that the Day of the Lord will be ‘darkness, not light – pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness’.  Returning to Joel 2: 2 we find similarly, that the day will be one of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, and in 2: 10 that the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.  This is not just symbolic darkness; there will also be a literal aspect to it.  Jesus said in Luke 21: 25 that there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.  Even as there was physical darkness when Jesus was enduring the judgement of God against sin at Calvary (Mt. 27: 45), so Scripture also speaks of more than one period of physical darkness in the time of the judgements that will take place in the Day of the Lord.



The terrible invasion described in Joel 2 brings forth God’s call to Israel to repentance in order to avert the disaster before the destruction is total (2: 12-17).  They are to call upon the name of the Lord, reminding Him that they are His covenant people and that the Land is His inheritance (v. 17; cf. Ps. 79: 10).



Salvation of a remnant



Following this repentance, God responds to the surviving remnant and delivers those who have called upon Him for salvation (2: 32; see also Mal 3: 16 - 4: 3).  The second part of Joel’s prophecy moves from the invasion and destruction of Israel to the salvation and restoration of Israel.  The invading army (2: 20) will be destroyed by God in the desert of the Negev, and it will be so large as to be pushed at either end into the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean respectively.  The Land will be restored (vv. 19, 21-27).  Following this deliverance there will be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all the survivors of the nation of Israel (vv. 28-29).



Thus far, we see the Day of the Lord as being a time of terrible judgement on the Land and nation of Israel. Joel 2: 30-31 tells us that there will be dramatic and awful warnings of the impending arrival of that Day by means of:



(a) upheavals in nature;



(b) a period of unnatural darkness.



These are warnings to all those who have ears to hear and especially to Israel, together with an assurance (v. 32) that there will be deliverance on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem for those who call upon the Lord for salvation - but they will only be the surviving elect remnant of Israel.  Zechariah 13: 8-9 speaks of this remnant and says:



In the whole land,’ declares the Lord, ‘two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it.  This third I will bring into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold.  They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, “They are my people,” and they will say, “‘The Lord is our God.’”



Romans 9: 26-29, Paul quotes from Hosea 1: 10, Isaiah 10: 22-23 and Isaiah 1: 9 to establish the fact that a remnant of Israel will be saved; and on examination of the scripture that he quoted from Isaiah 10, we find that it is at the time of the Day of Lord, the complete quotation beginning in verse 20 with the theologically significant phrase ‘in that day’.  The whole passage, Isaiah 10: 20-23, reads:



In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the Lord, the One of Israel.  A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob will return to the Mighty God.  Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous.  The Lord, the Lord Almighty, will carry out the destruction decreed upon the whole land.



Jesus also confirmed that there would be a surviving remnant.  In Matthew 24: 15, He turns His attention to the time of the great tribulation and gives prophetic warnings relating to it.  It is to be, in Judea particularly (v. 16), a time of unparalleled distress (v. 21) from which there would be no survivors except for divine intervention (v. 22), but God will intervene and bring an end to the tribulation in Judea ‘for the sake of the elect’ - that is, the remnant of Israel that is to be saved out of it.



The ‘Little Apocalypse’ of Isaiah 24-27



Another key passage of Scripture that is prophetic of the Day of the Lord is the ‘Little Apocalypse’ of Isaiah 24-27.  Many commentators appear to think that the whole of chapter 24 is speaking about God’s judgement solely on a worldwide basis, but this assumption does not seem to equate with the usual prophetic methods of expression.



We noted previously that when the Hebrew prophets are speaking about nations other than Israel and Judah, they specifically name those nations.  Between chapters 13 and 23, Isaiah has prophesied judgement concerning Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Damascus, Ethiopia, Egypt, Edom, Arabia and Tyre; in chapter 24, however, no individual nation is named.  This may be, of course, because the prophet intends to include every nation without distinction, and it has been assumed by many that because in translation this chapter speaks over and over again of ‘the earth’, the prophecy is therefore entirely to do with events that are to occur on a worldwide basis.  However, as with the book of Zephaniah, on 15 occasions out of 17 the word translated ‘the earth’ is again the Hebrew ‘erets’, which can equally well be translated as ‘the land’.  It is interesting to note that Dr David Stern’s translation of Isaiah 24 in The Complete Jewish Bible relates verses 1-12 to the Land of Israel, but renders verses 13-23 as having global application.



It appears significant when considering the language of Isaiah 24 that when the prophet wishes to make reference to the earth in a worldwide sense, he uses a different Hebrew word.  In this context he does not use erets but adamah, which means the ground or the soil of the dry land.  Adamah is used in Isaiah 23: 17, where Tyre is said to ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth.  It is also the case that in verse 21 of chapter 24, which reads in that day the Lord will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below, Isaiah, having used the word erets throughout the chapter until that point, suddenly switches and uses the word adamah in speaking of the kings on the earth on what is obviously intended as a worldwide basis.  This deliberate choice of the different words under the influence of the Holy Spirit cannot be without reason.



Of the two occasions when the word translated as ‘the earth’ or ‘the world’ is not the usual erets, Isaiah employs the word adamah, once in verse 21; while on the other occasion in verse 4, he uses the less common word for the habitable earth, tebel, sandwiched between two uses of erets in the very same verse.  Why should there be these variations of usage on only two out of seventeen occasions when ‘the earth’ is in view?



It is easy to see in verses 21-23 that the prophetic revelation shifts its emphasis into a clear global perspective of judgement upon world rulers, both human and spiritual; hence the change of emphasis signified by the sudden use of the different word adamah.  In verse 4, however, the sudden single use of tebel may be to enable the prophet to speak in the same sentence of the simultaneous total impoverishment of both the Land of Israel and the whole of the rest of the planet.  The cause in both cases is he outpouring of God’s judgement - the cup of iniquity - on both His own covenant people and also the global community of the Gentile nations, to bring to an end the rebellion of both against His sovereign rulership.  The result of this global judgement will be the repentance and total restoration of Israel as the redeemed messianic covenant nation, taking her appointed place as chief among the nations of the world (Jer. 31: 7), and the judgement of the returned Messiah upon the Gentile nations on the basis of their acceptance or rejection of His covenant people in the hour of their great distress.



It seems very probable, from the actual content of this chapter also, that the prophecy does relate primarily to the Land of Israel and only secondarily to the earth as a whole.  The prophecies of laying waste, devastation and plundering that it contains are entirely at one with the prophetic predictions elsewhere in the Scriptures concerning the invasion of Israel and the siege of Jerusalem.  Verse 5 is extremely thought-provoking; the charge is that the Land is defiled by its people who have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant thereby bringing upon themselves a curse (v. 6).  The only nation mentioned in Scripture as having received laws and statutes, the breaking of which brings a curse, is Israel.  Neither have the Gentile nations of the world ever been party to any everlasting covenant which they have broken, although the Noahic covenant is also expressed to be everlasting in Genesis 9: 16.  That covenant, however, is unilateral on the part of God; and taken in its context, the only tenable argument for its infraction by the earth’s inhabitants would seem to lie in the sin of shedding innocent blood (vv. 4-5).  In view of the increasing global violence and bloodshed in our day, as in the days of Noah, and particularly the widespread sin among the nations of the mass murder of unborn children through legalised abortion, there is perhaps at first sight something in favour of that possible argument.



However, in the context in which Isaiah is writing in chapter 24, it seems much more likely that the broken covenant which is in the prophet’s view is God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, expressed in 1 Chronicles 16: 15-18 and Psalm 105: 8-11 to be an everlasting covenant concerning Israel’s inheritance of the Land of Canaan, ultimately to be possessed by the restored nation in its entirety from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Euphrates (Deut 11: 24).  What, one must ask, would amount to an infraction of this covenant by God’s chosen people?  Could it be that in the sight of God the willingness to surrender His Land (Joel 3: 2) in return for a spurious peace amounts to such a denial of that covenant He has made with His people?



In verses 10 and 12 we find reference to a ruined, desolate city, which would fit with the condition of Jerusalem according to the prediction of Zechariah 14: 2.  In verse 13 comes a reference to an olive tree being beaten; the translation of this verse in the KJV is: When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree, and as the gleaning grapes when the vintage is done.’  There is a similar reference to Jacob as an olive tree in Isaiah 17: 6 (and see also Jeremiah 11: 16 and Hosea 14: 6).  In Romans 11: 24 the whole nation of Israel is, of course, referred to as an olive tree.  No other nation is so described in Scripture.



In verses 18b-20 of Isaiah 24 the Scripture makes reference to a great earthquake.  Is this to be a worldwide earthquake?  In Zechariah 14: 4-5 it is predicted that in the Day of the Lord there will be a great earthquake in the Land of Israel which splits the Mount of Olives in two immediately prior to the Lord’s Second Coming. Revelation 11, which speaks of events in Jerusalem during the tribulation, tells us in verse 13 that there will be a severe earthquake which causes a tenth of the city of Jerusalem to collapse.  However, the earthquake mentioned in Zechariah 14 is probably that which is predicted in Revelation 16: 17-21.  It appears that this earthquake certainly could be of worldwide proportions, since it is stated to be the greatest earthquake that has ever occurred since man has been on earth (v. 18); it causes Jerusalem (the great city - see Revelation 11: 8) to be split into three parts, and also we are told that the cities of the nations collapsed’ (v. 19).  All of this, taken together, appears as compelling evidence that Isaiah 24 is speaking of the Day of the Lord in a way that is entirely consistent with other prophetic writings, first concerning the final judgement on Judah and Jerusalem prior to the return of her Messiah in deliverance, and secondly of the outpouring of God’s wrath on the Gentile world whose rebellion has filled its cup of iniquity to the full.  The three following chapters, 25-27, also fit with the predictions of the other prophets, speaking not to the Gentile nations, but principally of the Lord’s renewed favour to the restored and converted nation of Israel, after the period of tribulation has been ended by the return of her Messiah.  Terrible though it is to contemplate, the last and most awful expression of satanically inspired anti-Semitism has yet to occur.  However, this will constitute the very action which brings that cup of iniquity to the full, resulting in God’s judgement on the Gentile world system and the deliverance of His covenant people through the return of Messiah Yeshua.



God’s subsequent judgement of the nations



Returning to the book of Joel, the prophet’s attention turns in chapter 3 towards the judgement of the Gentile nations of the world.  This also forms part of the events of the Day of the Lord, and will happen (v. 1) the time of God’s restoration of the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem.  It will take place in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, the Kidron Valley between Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives.



Judgement on their armies



Verses 9-11 underline that the nations have come to Israel for war.  The Hebrew of verse 9 means literally ‘sanctify a war’.  The armies of the nations, summoned by the Antichrist to a ‘holy war’ against Israel the aim of wiping her out totally, and lured by the influence of demonic powers released in the sixth bowl judgement of Revelation 16: 12-16, will have assembled in the valley of Megiddo in northern Israel.  They will move south against Jerusalem and take the city after which God will intervene personally through the return of Messiah (Zech 14: 3-15; Rev 19: 11-21) to overthrow the armies and to deliver Judah and Jerusalem.  He will halt those armies by sending upon them madness, panic, plague and blindness (Zech 12: 1-9; 14: 1-3, 12-15).



Judgement on the individual Gentile survivors on that Day



Following this deliverance, and the repentance and restoration of the surviving remnant and of the Land, which we have already mentioned and which is also described in Zechariah 12: 10-13: 1 and 14: 6-11, the returned Messiah will bring the survivors of all the nations before Him for judgement in the Valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3: 1-8, 12-17).  They will be there in huge numbers (v. 14).



The judgement of God upon the Gentiles will be on the basis of either their anti-Semitism or their pro-Semitism (v. 2). His charges against them will be those of scattering the people of Israel, dividing up the Land and enslaving the people (vv. 2-3).  They will be judged on the basis of their attitudes and behaviour towards the Hebrew people, and this is re-affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 25: 31-46, where He speaks of dividing the people of the nations into the categories of sheep or goats according to whether they treated His brethren well or badly.  Joel 3:13 speaks of the salvation of some in the figure of getting in the harvest, and of the condemnation of others in the figure of the crushing of the grapes in the winepress (see also Isaiah 63: 1-6).



Judgement of particular nations



Space will not permit the lengthy examination of God’s dealings with specific individual nations, but Scripture has much to say on the subject.  For example:



• Babylon and Edom (the descendants of Esau) will both become permanent desolate wastelands, dwelling-places only for demons (Jer 50: 35-40; 51: 37-43 [Babylon]; Jer 49: 13, 15-18; Obad 15-18; Is. 34: 5-16 [Edom]).



• The descendants of Lot (the nations of Moab and Ammon) will be restored after judgement (Jer 48: 47; 49: 6).



• After judgement, both Egypt and Assyria will enter into the blessing of the Lord and a close relationship with Israel (Is. 19: 23-25).



Philistia will be taken over by Israel (Obad 19; Is. 11: 14), and so will Lebanon (Obad 20).  The judgement of both is mentioned in Joel 3: 4-7.



The establishment of the millennial kingdom



The final outcome of the Day of the Lord is the establishment of the millennial kingdom.  The Lord will dwell in Zion (Joel 3: 17, 21).  In verse 18 the prophet tells us that the fruitfulness of the Land will be restored, there will be abundant water, ending the problem of drought.  The same verse refers to the millennial river, also described in Ezekiel 47: 1-12 and Zechariah 14: 8, which will flow from below the threshold of the millennial temple.  From Ezekiel 47: 13 - 48: 29, we learn also that time Israel will at last possess the entirety of the Land promised to Abraham’s descendants in Genesis 15: 18-19.  That covenant was conditional; the ‘everlasting covenant’ of which we have already spoken, God will have proved His faithfulness to keep His covenant to the letter.  His word cannot fail, because He cannot be unfaithful to what He has unconditionally undertaken to do.



What will be the signs to warn us of the

impending approach of the Day of the Lord?



1. Specific to the nation of Israel will be the re-establishment of the ministry of the prophet Elijah, which will have the particular emphasis of calling the nation to repentance in the area of its collapsing family relationships (Mal. 4: 5).



2. We have already seen in Joel 2: 31-32 the prophetic prediction that ‘before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord’, there will be certain signs:



(a) wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke’ (v. 30), corresponding to the effects of the first, second, fifth and sixth trumpet judgements found in Revelation 8: 7-9 and Revelation 9: 1-21;



(b) the sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood’ (v. 32), corresponding to the judgement released at the Lamb’s opening of the sixth seal in Revelation 6: 12-17.



The whole of the order of nature in the heavens and on the earth will be thrown into turmoil and upheaval as a result of the out-pouring of the judgements of God, before the culmination of the Day of the Lord in the Armageddon campaign and the Second Coming of Messiah.



Isaiah 13: 9-10, Amos 5: 20 and Zephaniah 1: 15 all speak similarly of periods of darkness coming over the earth at that time, and Jesus underlined these events during the Olivet Discourse.  He says in Luke 21 that:



(a) there will be wars and revolutions’ (v. 9);



(b) Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom’ (v. 10);



(c) we’ll see great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places’ (v. 11);



(d) there will be fearful events and great signs from heaven’ (v. 11);



(e) before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you’ (v. 12).



All these events of war, and upheavals of nature on earth and in the heavenly bodies, have been predicted by more than one of the writing prophets.  Daniel 9: 26, speaking of the times of the end when the Antichrist will rule, says: The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed (see also Psalm 46: 8).



3. To these predictions, however, Jesus adds one more: the severe persecution of the church, together with the apostasy this will bring about (Mt. 24: 9-13).



4. This apostasy is mentioned by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2: 3, which leads us on to one final and crucial indication that the Day of the Lord is drawing near.  This will be the emergence of the man of lawlessness, the Antichrist.  Paul writes to the church at Thessalonica in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4:



Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion [Greek apostasia] occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.



What will initiate the Day of the Lord,

the period of the tribulation?



The final sign, just mentioned, is that of the emergence into recognition of the man of sin, the Antichrist.  The same figure appears constantly as a king in Daniel chapters 7, 8, 9 and 11.  We read in 7: 25: ‘He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws’; in 8: 25: ‘He will destroy many and take his stand against the Prince of princes.  Yet he will be destroyed, but not by human power; and again in 11: 36: ‘The king will do as he pleases.  He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.  He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.’



This same figure is in focus in Daniel 9: 24-27, the well-known passage to the 70 weeks of years that Daniel prophesied.  There is still remaining one period of seven years to run in God’s prophetic time-clock for Israel. The event that will initiate this final seven-year period is that which is specified; the Antichrist will make a seven-year covenant with nation of Israel: He will confirm a covenant with many for one “seven” but the middle of that “seven” he will put an end to sacrifice and offering (v. 27).’  This latter event marks the starting point of the of three-and-a-half years of the great tribulation, the Day of the period of the Hebrew prophets. The passage concludes by telling us of the Antichrist: And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolution, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.’



The warning of Jesus is specific: So when you see standing in the holy place “the abomination that causes desolation”, spoken of through the prophet Daniel ... then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now - and never to be equalled again’ (Mt 24: 15-16, 21).



Speaking of the Antichrist, 2 Thessalonians 2: 4 says: He sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.’  This event, breaking His covenant made with Israel, will be the clear signal to the Jewish nation that their time of false security (for that is what it will have been) is over and that the final and intense period of Jacob’s trouble, their last great persecution at the hands of the Gentile nations, is about to begin.



What are the purposes of the Day of the Lord?



1. To bring a great harvest of salvation from all nations into the kingdom of God (Rev 7: 9-17).



2. To break the stubbornness of the nation of Israel against God (Dan 12: 5-7).  This will come about through the severity of the judgement upon her, followed by the national restoration of the surviving repentant remnant.



3. To deal with the sin of the Gentile nations, of which Babylon in Isaiah 13: 9-13 is a representative example (and see also Isaiah 2: 10-21).



4. To usher in the millennial kingdom, with Jesus on the throne in Jerusalem (Ps.  2; Obad 21; Mic 4: 1-5; 5: 3-5, 7-9; Zeph 3: 14-17; Zech 14: 9-11, 16-21; Rev 11: 15-18; 20: 4-6).  Appropriately, the book of Obadiah closes his prophecy concerning the Day of the Lord with the simple statement: ‘And the kingdom will be the Lord’s.’



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The Day of the Lord as Predicted In The Psalms






James Payne



The day of the Lord is not referred to under this title in the Psalms but many Psalms mention it and some are descriptive of it.  In the Nov. / Dec. 1973 issue of “Watching and Waiting” our brother Mr. Harvey dealt with a number of Psalms voicing the cry of the remnant of Israel under the Great Tribulation and depicting their triumph in the Day of the Lord.  We will not therefore go over this ground again but seek now to draw attention to some other highlights in the Psalms descriptive of the Day of the Lord. 



The first Psalm gives a description of the character of God’s perfect Man in the person of His beloved Son our Lord and the second Psalm describes briefly His triumph over all the forces of evil, in the Day of the Lord.



Moses in Deut. 32, describing the coming of the people of Israel out of Egypt into the wilderness, says, The Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance.  But in due course His people, His inheritance; rebelled against Him and chose other gods and He cast them out of their land and scattered them abroad among the nations.  But through His prophet Zechariah He says, “I am returned to Jerusalem with mercies: my house shall be built in it ... and a line shall be stretched forth upon Jerusalem.  Cry yet saying, Thus saith the Lord of Hosts; My cities through prosperity shall yet be spread abroad; and the LORD shall yet comfort Zion and shall yet choose Jerusalem”.  And again, “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for lo, I come and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the Lord, And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee ... And the LORD shall inherit Judah His portion in the holy land and shall choose Jerusalem again”.



But Psalm 2 speaks of the nations and their kings being gathered together against the Lord and against His anointed, and the disciples of the Lord after being threatened by the Jewish Council against preaching in the name of Jesus, referred to this Psalm in prayer to the Lord, saying, “Thou art God ... who by the mouth of Thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage and the people imagine vain things?  The kings of the earth stood up and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.  For of a truth against Thy holy child Jesus, whom Thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate with the Gentiles and the people of Israel were gathered together for to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be done”.



And to-day, after nearly 2000 years the nations of the earth are still gathering together and raging against the Lord’s anointed One.  The recent action of our own Prime Minister in his visit to Russia shows only too clearly that they still choose a murderer in preference to the Prince of Life.



The Nations do not Improve



The words of the Apostle Paul to the Romans and to Timothy show all too clearly that the preaching of the Gospel has not improved the nations, as such.  When the Gospel was first preached to the Gentiles, the Apostle described the Gentile world thus: “As they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which were not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, deceit, debate, malignity, whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful”.  Such was the state of the Gentile world when the Gospel was first preached to them.



Then in writing to Timothy, Paul describes their condition at the close of this age.  He says, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof”.  Thus in almost identical language he describes the Gentile nations at the beginning and at the close of this age; showing that the impact of the Gospel has not altered one whit the evil heart of man nor the general character of the nations.  The purpose of the Gospel has been only to gather out from the nations “a people to His name”.



Thus, in Psalm 2, as the Lord surveys the raging of the kings of the earth and their peoples in their continued rebellion, He says, “Yet I have set My King upon My holy hill of Zion” and He thus addresses His Son; His anointed One; “Ask of Me and I shall give thee the nations for thine inheritance and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession”.  Thus, in the Day of the Lord, the lot of His inheritance will no longer be confined to Jacob, but “His dominion shall be from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth.  All kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him ... Men shall be blessed in Him and all nations shall call Him blessed”. (Psalm 72)



The Cross entitles to the Crown



Psalm 22 shows that the blessings of the Day of the Lord are the direct outcome of the Lord’s work upon the Cross.  The Lord’s plaint in verse 2 is “O my God, I cry ... but Thou hearest not”.  Then in verse 21 He says, “Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns”.  Thus being delivered in the uttermost extremity, He sounds a note of triumph, “I will declare Thy name unto My brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee”.  And Paul makes clear in Hebrews 2 that the congregation here spoken of is the Church.  So the Lord leads His Church in everlasting praise to God.  Then He goes on in Psalm 22, “Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him; all ye seed of Jacob, glorify Him, and fear Him, all ye seed of Israel.  For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath He hid His face from Him; but when He cried unto Him, He heard.  Thus Israel will praise Him in the light of the Cross when He is enthroned in their midst.  Then He says, “My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation ... All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee.  For the kingdom is the Lord’s and He is the governor among the nations”.  Thus, as we have seen, all nations shall worship and serve Him in the Day of the Lord.  The same truth is taught by Paul when in writing to the Philippians he says that Christ “became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross; wherefore God hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow”.



In Psalm 45 we see the King with His bride who is also a king’s daughter.  As the King He rides in majesty prosperously in order to establish truth and righteousness in the earth and then the Father addresses Him as His Son, saying, “Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever; the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.  Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness; therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows”.  That this is addressed to the Son of God, Paul makes clear in Hebrews 1.  This therefore, is the King that “shall reign in righteousness” over the nations of the world in the Day of the Lord.



The middle verse of Psalm 46 tells us, “The nations raged; the kingdoms were moved”.  Psalm 2, as we have seen, asked “Why do the nations rage and the peoples imagine a vain thing?”  And the vanity of their ranging is seen particularly here when in response “God uttered His voice; the earth melted”.  God is in the midst of His City and Israel, in the midst of international and topographical upheavals finds that God is her refuge and strength and triumphs in the certainty that “The Lord of Hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge”.  The river of God which is full of water, referred to in Psalm 65: 9 and also by the Prophet Zechariah and elsewhere is here said to make glad the City of God.  Then in the latter part of the Psalm it is said that God “maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth” which is a clear reference to the Day of the Lord in which, Isaiah says, men shall beat their swords into plough-shares and learn war no more.



In the latter part of this Psalm God, surveying the raging and the tumult of the nations and their armies led by the Man of Sin who has said “I am God”, says to him and them, Desist!  I am God, I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth. This He will be in the Day of the Lord.



Israel’s King reigning over the Earth



This is Israel’s triumph in Psalms 47 and 48. “O clap your hands all ye peoples!  Shout unto God with the voice of triumph.  For the LORD most high is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth.  He shall subdue the peoples under us and the nations under our feet.  God is gone up with a shout; the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.  Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises to our King, sing praises.  For God is the King of all the earth; sing ye praises with understanding.  God sitteth upon the throne of His holiness.  He is greatly exalted”.



The “going up” here referred to is not, as is sometimes supposed, the Lord’s ascension into heaven.  The whole context of the Psalm discredits this.  It is, however, as indicated, His going up to Jerusalem; to the throne of His holiness, from whence He will reign over the nations.  In the days of His humiliation, we read, “Jesus, going up to Jerusalem, took the 12 disciples apart in the way and said unto them, Behold we go up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes and they shall condemn Him to death and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify Him”. He then went up to Jerusalem to suffer for His people’s sins but in the Day of the Lord He will go up to Jerusalem with a shout and with the sound of a trumpet; not then to suffer but to reign over the nations and to receive the praise of all the earth.



Then Psalm 48 commences “Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of His holiness.  Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth is mount Zion ... the City of the great King”.  The City of God is, as our Lord Jesus himself characterised it, the City of the Great King.  This will be seen to be Himself when His title upon the Cross is verified, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews”.  The following verses of Psalm 48 are ably dealt with by Mr. B. W. Newton in the Jan. / Mar. issue of “Watching and Waiting” so we will not enlarge upon them here.



Psalm 67 is the language of Israel pleading the fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant which said, “I will bless thee and thou shalt be a blessing”.  So here Israel prays, “God be merciful to us and bless us ... That Thy way may be known upon earth; Thy saving health among all nations.  O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for Thou shalt judge the peoples righteously and govern the nations upon earth”.  So, as we have seen, when Israel’s King is the King of all the earth in the Day of the Lord this will be abundantly fulfilled.  This is the desire of the true Israel of God, “Let the peoples praise Thee O God; let all the peoples praise Thee.  Then shall the earth yield her increase”.  When, as the result of our Saviour bearing the crown of thorns, the curse is removed from the earth, then it will “bring forth by handfuls” unhindered by the thorns and the thistles.   So, says Israel, “God shall bless us and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him”.



This same truth is further unfolded in Psalm 85. “Lord Thou hast been favourable to Thy land; Thou hast brought back the captivity of Jacob.  Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people; Thou hast covered all their sin.”  When the Lord finally turns the captivity of Israel and establishes them again in their own land, then, as Isaiah testifies, “the inhabitants shall not say, I am sick, and the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity”.  So the Psalmist goes on, “Surely His salvation is nigh them that fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land”.  So again Isaiah testifies to Israel, “Arise, shine for Thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee ... and His glory shall be seen upon thee”.  Then the Psalmist goes on, “Truth shall spring out of the earth and righteousness shall look down from heaven.  Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good and our land shall yield her increase.  This shall be gloriously fulfilled in the Day of the Lord.



Prayer and Praise for the Day of the Lord



In the middle verse of Psalm 86 there is a clear reference to the Day of the Lord.  All nations whom Thou hast made shall come and worship before Thee, 0 Lord, and shall glorify Thy name”.  The former part of the Psalm is occupied mainly with prayer and the latter part mainly with praise.  The Psalmist prays thus, “Bow down unto me, 0 Lord; hear me; for I am poor and needy ... Be merciful unto me, O Lord; for I cry unto Thee dailyGive ear, O Lord, unto my prayer ... In the day of my trouble I will call upon Thee, for Thou wilt answer me”.



Then he contemplates the Day of the Lord in the verse already quoted and he bursts into praise and adoration:  For Thou art great and doest wondrous things: Thou art God alone ... I will praise Thee O Lord my God, with all my heart and I will glorify Thy name for evermore ... O God, the proud are risen against me and the assembly of violent men have sought after my soul ... But Thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion and gracious, longsuffering and plenteous in mercy and truth”.  And are not we filled with the same feeling of adoration when we contemplate the final triumph of our Saviour as King of kings and Lord of lords?



All nations whom Thou hast made” says the Psalmist.  The nations were ordained of God.  We read of Noah and his seed that “by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood”. And in Deut. 32 we read, “When the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.  For the Lord’s portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance”.  Paul confirms this when speaking from Mars’ Hill he says, “God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth and hath determined the times before appointed and the bounds of their habitation”.  Job also says concerning this, “He increaseth the nations and destroyeth them: He enlargeth the nations and straiteneth them again”.



And so to-day the Lord is still controlling the nations for the working out of His purposes in anticipation of the time when they shall be brought under the control of Israel in the Day of the Lord.  When the Lord Jesus sits upon the throne of His father David, then, says Daniel, “all dominions shall serve and obey Him”.  This, John in the Revelation confirms in the song of Moses and of the Lamb, “Who shall not fear Thee, 0 Lord and glorify Thy name? For Thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before Thee”.



Let us also thus pray and in anticipation, praise, for the Day of the Lord when His inheritance shall be extended to all the nations and when “the knowledge of the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea”.



For His inheritance shall be shared by us as His joint-heirs.  Peter speaks of “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that fadeth not away; reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”.  And again, “the hope that is laid up for you in heaven whereby ye have heard before in the word of the truth of the Gospel”.  We therefore shall share the inheritance in the heavenly glory and also the inheritance of the nations upon earth, for “if we suffer we shall also reign with Him”; in accordance with His promise, “To him that overcometh will I give power over the nations” and “to him [the overcomer] will I grant to sit with Me in My throne even as I also overcame and am set down with My Father in His throne”.



O sing unto the Lord! - The Lord Reigneth



The introduction to Psalms 96-99 alternate with these words: “O sing unto the Lord a new song” – “The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice”.  O sing unto the Lord a new song” – “The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble”.



This then is the subject of these Psalms - a new song because of the reigning Lord.  Sing unto the Lord all the earth”.  Such a call to the earth would be most inappropriate for these days.  The language of the Apostle James would be much more fitting, “Be afflicted and mourn and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy into heaviness.  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up”.  But the language of Psalm 96 is, “O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him all the earth.  Say ye among the nations that the Lord reigneth ... He shall judge the peoples righteously ... He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with His truth”.



These words are repeated almost verbatim at the close of Psalm 98 which speaks of the new song of victory, “O sing unto the Lord a new song, for He hath done marvellous things: His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory.  The Lord hath made known His salvation: His righteousness hath He openly showed in the sight of the nations.  He hath remembered His mercy and His truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God”.  The call of the Lord to Zion by the Prophet Isaiah is in almost exactly the same terms, “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth ... Break forth into joy and sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted His people; He hath redeemed Jerusalem.  The Lord hath made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God”.  Then Psalm 98 continues “With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD the King ... for He cometh to judge the earth, etc.”



The emphasis in Psalms 97 and 99 is the manifest reign of the Lord, the King.  The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice ... A fire goeth before Him and burneth up His enemies round about.  His lightenings enlightened the world; the earth saw and trembled.  The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord; at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth.  The heavens declare His righteousness and all the peoples see His glory.  Confounded be all they that serve graven images; that boast themselves of idols: worship Him all ye gods.  Zion heard and was glad and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of Thy judgments 0 Lord”.  Could anything describe more vividly the coming of the Lord in glory in the Day of the Lord?  The language here used could not refer to the Lord’s first coming; nor to the triumphs of the Gospel.  It must therefore refer to the coming in of His [millennial] kingdom.



So similarly in Psalm 99, “The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble ... The Lord is great in Zion and He is high above all the people”.  And then the repeated refrain, “Exalt ye the Lord our God and worship at His holy hill; for the Lord our God is holy”.



A King shall Reign in Righteousness



The tenor of Psalm 102 is somewhat similar to that of Psalm 86.  The oppressed servant of Jehovah takes comfort in the contemplation of the Day of the Lord.  The Psalmist says, “Hear my prayer, O Lord and let my cry come unto Thee.  Hide not Thy face from me in the day when I am in trouble.  For my days are consumed like smoke and my bones are burned as an hearth.  My heart is smitten and withered like grass ... Mine enemies reproach me all the day and they that are mad against me are sworn against me.  For I have eaten ashes like bread and mingled my drink with weeping ... My days are like a shadow that declineth and I am withered like grass.  But Thou, O Lord, shalt endure for ever, and Thy remembrance unto all generations.  Thou shalt arise and have mercy upon Zion: for the time to favour her, yea, the set time is come.



So in the midst of his affliction he is transported in spirit to the time of the final restoration of his city.   And he continues, “So the nations shall fear the name of the Lord and all the kings of the earth Thy glory.  When the Lord shall build up Zion He shall appear in His glory ... For He hath looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from the heaven did the Lord behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those that are appointed to death; to declare the name of the LORD in Zion and His praise in Jerusalem; when the peoples are gathered together and the kingdoms, to serve the Lord”.  Thus he envisages the time described by the Prophet Zechariah when “everyone that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of Hosts and to keep the feast of tabernacles”.



Finally we have Psalm 110 which was so ably dealt with in our Conference last September by Mr. Jack Green so that we need not enlarge upon it now.  The quotations from this Psalm in the New Testament make it clear that the opening words are addressed by God the Father to His beloved Son, “Sit Thou on My right hand until I make thine enemies Thy footstool”.  Then “Jehovah shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion”.  In the days of His humiliation his enemies put a reed in His hand and mockingly bowed the knee before Him.  But in the day of His triumph they will be compelled to bow the knee before Him because of the rod of His strength.  Then it is that Jehovah commands, “Rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies”.  Not until then shall He leave the right hand of the Father where now He sits, and come in all His glory to give relief to His persecuted people and to place His enemies beneath His feet.  Then “He shall judge among the nations ... He shall wound the head over many countries”.  The Man of Sin, the head and leader of those in rebellion against Him shall receive his final doom and the true Messiah who in the days of His flesh “bowed His head and gave up the Ghost [spirit]*” shall now lift up His head over His enemies and govern the nations upon earth.  In His triumphal march from Mount Olivet to His city, “He shall drink of the brook in the way”; that river mentioned in Psalm 46, “the streams whereof make glad the City of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High”.


[* That is, the animating spirit.  See Luke 8: 55. cf. Acts 7: 59 and James, - “As the body without the spirit is dead…”]



The Spirit of Christ in the Prophets



On the day of Pentecost Peter reminded the people that David “spake of the resurrection of Christ”.  And in his epistle he tells us that the Spirit of Christ was in the prophets when they “testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow.  We saw something of the glory predicted as following the suffering in Psalm 22.  And David in his famous “last words” when he spake of the coming just ruler over men, ruling in the fear of the Lord, said, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me and His word was in my tongue”.  This was confirmed by Peter when he said, “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy, men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”. So in many of the Psalms we have the Spirit of Christ showing through David the glory of the coming Saviour and King of whom it is said, “The Spirit of Jehovah shall rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears but with righteousness shall He judge the poor and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth; and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the Wicked One”.



Jesus is coming! Sing the glad word!

Coming for those He redeemed by His blood;

Coming to reign as the glorified Lord!

Jesus is coming again!”







MATTHEW 26: 40



The night is dark: behold, the shade was deeper

In the old garden of Gethesemane,

When the calm voice awoke the weary sleeper,

Could’st thou not watch one hour alone with Me?”



O thou! So weary of thy self-denials,

And so impatient of thy little cross,

Is it so hard to bear thy daily trials,

To count all earthly things a gainful loss?



What if thou always suffer tribulation,

And if thy Christian warfare never cease?

The gaining of the quiet habitation

Shall gather thee to everlasting peace.



But here we all must suffer,* walking lonely

The path that Jesus once Himself hath gone;

Watch thou in patience, through the dark hour only -

This one dark hour - before the [millennial] dawn.


[*Rom. 8: 17b; Phil. 3: 10b; 2 Tim. 3: 12; Rev. 2: 10.]


Can’st thou forget thy Christian superscription,

Behold, we count them happy which endure?”

What treasure would’st thou, in the land Egyptian,

Repass the stormy water to secure?



Poor wandering soul!  I know that thou art seeking

Some easier way, as all have sought before,

To silence the reproachful inward speaking –

Some landward path into an island shore.



The cross is heavy in thy human measure,

The way too narrow for thy inward pride;

Thou can’st not lay thine intellectual treasure

At the low footstool of the Crucified.



In meek obedience to the Heavenly Teacher,

Thy weary soul can find its only peace;

Seeking no aid from any human creature

Looking to God alone for His release.



And He will come, in His own time and power,

To set His earnest-hearted children free;**

Watch only through this dark and painful hour,

And the bright [millennial] morning yet will break for thee.***


** Matt. 12: 40. cf. Heb. 9: 28b; 10: 36; 11: 39, 40; Rev. 9: 9-11.

*** Rev. 20: 4.  cf. Luke 20: 35; Phil. 3: 11; Heb. 11: 35b.




                - (Author unknown: slightly altered. - Ed.)



*       *       *





The Day of the Lord as in

Zechariah and Malachi





H. G.  Harvey



The Prophecies of Zechariah and Malachi are a part of that more sure word of prophecy whereunto we do well to take heed as unto a light shining in a dark place - this evil world of sin, darkness, and woe.






Now to begin with, I think it is well to have in our minds a little outline concerning the Prophets of Israel in their relation to the time of the captivity of Israel in Babylon.



Jeremiah prophesied before the seventy years of the Babylonian captivity; Ezekiel and Daniel prophesied during that period; and Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi prophesied after the return from captivity.  Ezra and Nehemiah are the historical Books relating to the resettlement of Israel in their own land and give descriptions of their difficulties and afflictions and rejoicings.



We learn from these historical books how, after their return to their land again an altar was erected.  They offered unto the Lord thanksgiving and sacrifice for His mercies in bringing them back to the land of their fathers.  Also, the foundation of the Temple was then laid, but due to difficulties and persecutions from the Samaritans around, the people grew discouraged and weary and left off building the Temple of the Lord and turned to elaborate their own dwellings.



Because of this, the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah were sent to stir up the people to complete the Lord’s house, and although the Temple which they had started to build was insignificant as compared with Solomon’s Temple, Haggai and Zechariah assured the people that God would take pleasure in their labours, and they were given rich promises of restoration and of blessing if they continued faithful.



The Structure of the Prophecy



Regarding the structure of this book of the prophecy of Zechariah, there are eight visions which God gave to the prophet to record, and these are found in chapters 1 - 6, while chapters 7-14 record more direct statements of prophecy.  We also find in the visions and the promises connected with them, that they go beyond their immediate application to Israel at that time, and thus unfold end time conditions, and God’s judgements on the wicked, and His final purposes of grace to His own repentant Israel in a yet future day.  This is illustrated in Haggai’s prophecy (chapter 2: 4-9) not yet fulfilled, where the shaking of the heavens and of the earth are mentioned which is reserved for the Day of God’s judgement and wrath at the return of the Lord from heaven; the third vision of Zechariah may also be mentioned as clearly depicting future Millennial blessing.



It is always important to remember that sometimes prophecies have a double fulfilment.  We see this in connection with Joel’s prophecy in chapter 2 of his book.  Peter refers to this on the Day of Pentecost.  Truly, Pentecost was an earnest of this, but how brief!  And the final or complete fulfilment is to be in the “Day of the Lord”, when the Lord will be once again in the midst of His people Israel, and when they as God’s priests and Ministers will dispense justice and truth and healing in the earth.



Its Opening Message



In the opening words of the Prophet Zechariah before the visions are enlarged upon we find how God through His servant first calls the people to repentance (verse 3), and this is exactly how both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus began their message and ministry to the nation of Israel.  They both came saying “Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand” (Matthew 3: 2; Mark 1: 5).  This is the only ground upon which God can truly bless His people, and Zechariah bids them take warning.  They were not to be as their fathers who had provoked God’s displeasure and who had set at nought His Prophets (v. 4).  They, their fathers, suffered God’s judgement by being sent into captivity, and of this calamity they themselves were partakers (vv. 5, 6).  God’s anger had indeed been turned away; their fathers had suffered the judgement of God.  Let not the people incur God’s anger again.



We also read in verse one of the actual time when the prophet received this Word of the Lord.  It was in the eighth month in the second year of Darius the king; and it was exactly two months before, in the sixth month of the second year of the same king that Haggai began to prophesy.



We pass on to verse 3 of this first chapter of Zechariah where we have the term “The Lord of Hosts and in passing I would just state that this majestic Name is used no fewer than 80 times by these last three Prophets of Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi; and note again, it is “Thus saith the Lord of hosts”.  It is evidently to inspire the people with confidence that God was greater than all their outward circumstances, however great and powerful were their enemies.



Then in verses 5 and 6 we have the questions “Your fathers, where are they?  And the prophets, do they live for ever?  Their lives were of short duration but My words and My statutes, in contrast remain.  Did they (that is God’s words) not overtake your fathers?  Yes truly, and in judgement, and they turned, but not in repentance; only to acknowledge that their afflictions were from the hand of God”.  The literality of the judgement was too apparent to deny; they recognised that they had reaped what they had sown and said, “according to our doings so hath He dealt with us”.



Now since my subject is concerning “the Day of the Lord” which is yet to dawn, I must pass over the visions which are described from verse 7 of chapter 1 to the end of chapter 6, and concentrate our thoughts more upon chapters 7-14, and also briefly refer to the Prophet Malachi.  This of course is a vast subject and therefore one can only summarise some of the most important details of these latter chapters.



In chapter 7 we find that nearly two years had elapsed since that memorable night on which the series of the eight visions were shown to the Prophet - in which were unfolded in a wonderful panorama the thoughts and purposes of God concerning Israel and the nations from the beginning to the very end of this age.  Then the word of Jehovah came again to Zechariah.



Again the day, the month and the year of the Divine Oracle are clearly given as being the fourth year of King Darius.  Thus it would be about two years after Haggai had stirred up the people to re-commence the building of the Lord’s house, and about two years before the house was finished. Ezra 6: 15; Hag. 1: 1-15.



At this time, a deputation comes from Bethel to the elders of Israel regarding the continuation of fast days which the nation had instituted while they were in Babylon.



Their enquiry was, need the people continue to keep these fasts and afflict their souls in memory of their former calamities, namely the invasion of their land and destruction of their Temple by Nebuchadnezzar?



The Cause of Israel’s Calamity and

Promise of Future Blessing



The Prophet Zechariah however, who spoke to them in the Name of the Lord did not answer them directly, and the first part of the prophetic discourse as contained in this chapter was intended to bring home to them and the nation the cause of their former and present sad and reduced circumstances.  The cause of their low estate was moral, the perverting of justice, oppression of the poor, and their hardness of heart.  It was because of these things that they had been scattered with a whirlwind, and their land made desolate.  The causes were divinely reiterated.  It was of their own making.  So with God’s condemnation of the nation the chapter ends, but as it is seen so often in these prophetical passages, after the condemnation of His people Israel, the Lord affirms that His love will not utterly depart from them - there is always a remnant.



And this prophetical discourse continues in chapter 8 with gracious promises that He will yet save His people and be their God in Truth and Righteousness, resulting in world-wide blessings.



This same climax of blessing is found in chapters 1-6, 9-10, and 12-14; in other words, throughout the whole Book.  In wrath, God ever remembers mercy.



Restoration and Blessing



And so we have the closing words, verses 20-23, in chapter 8 declaring “It shall yet come to pass that there shall come peoples and the inhabitants of many cities saying, Let us go speedily to pray and seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem. ... In those days, ten men out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you for we have heard that God is with you”.  Such words imply eagerness and assurance for the Lord will take away the reproach of His people Israel from off the whole earth.  Instead of being a byword among the nations they will be held in high esteem as Isaiah 25: 8 definitely declares.



The nations will then realise that their fathers have inherited lies and vanities, and that God’s favour rests upon Israel (Jer. 16: 19), and as the priests and ministers of God, Israel shall teach the people knowledge.  They will bring peace and healing to all nations.  Such will be the power of the age to come.



We pass on to chapter 9 and here it is reiterated like each of the passages already noted that much is beyond the then present circumstances or contemporary history, and culminates in the time when Israel shall be brought to true repentance and will return unto the Lord, never more to be forsaken, neither their land again made desolate.



Although some of the expressions in this chapter as indeed in other chapters in this book may seem somewhat obscure, yet the general trend of events is clear, and especially as they accord with the prophetical passages in the New Testament concerning the end of this age.  Take such words as we have in verse 10And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off”.  These things will not be needed by Israel, not even for their final deliverance from the hosts of Antichrist.  Their deliverance will not be by munitions of war but by the Spirit of God, and the Lord’s intervention on their behalf.



True Peace and Rest



And He shall speak peace unto the nations”.  How parallel are such words with Isa. 2: 1-4, “The swords shall be beaten into plowshares, the spears into pruning hooks, neither shall they learn war anymore”.  And Psalm 86: 9, “All nations which Thou hast made, shall come and all shall be brought low before Thee and shall glorify Thy Name”.  And His dominion shall be from sea to sea and from the river (Euphrates) even to the ends of the earth”.  He shall save the souls of the needy and redeem them from deceit and violence” (Psalm 72).



And as to spiritual life, it will still be peace through the blood of His Cross, and through Israel God’s Gospel will be declared to all nations.



Verse 14.And the Lord shall be seen over them, and His arrow shall go forth as lightning”.  And in the Isaiah 63 context with Zech. 14: 3 we read of how the Lord will fight for them, when He comes from heaven glorious in apparel, the day of vengeance in His heart “for the year of His redeemed is come”.



And the Lord God shall blow the trumpet”.  How fitting are such words with the New Testament passages “The Trump of God” (1. Thess. 4: 15-18) and “the last Trump” (1. Cor. 15: 52), linked with Rev. 11, 15-18 when resurrection and reward to saints takes place and God’s wrath follows on the ungodly and “the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ”.



And shall go with whirlwinds of the South”.  The elements of nature shall be used to effect God’s judgements.  The Sun darkened, the Moon as blood, the heavens departing as a scroll, mountains and islands removed out of their places are accompaniments of the Lord’s second Advent as confirmed by Revelation chapters 6 and 7 and Hebrews 12.



For how great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty” (v. 17).



Such will be the words used by converted Israel in this Day of the Lord’s Glory as they receive this manifestation of His grace and the fulfilment of His immutable promises as recorded in Jeremiah 31 and 32, as they behold Him in His beauty - who once saw “no beauty in Him, that they should desire Him”.



True Contrition and Confidence

in the Messiah



But in that Day, Israel, when they first look on Him whom their nation once pierced and despised, shall be brought to mourn and lament for Him, with deep contrition of heart as the words of chapter 12 verse 10-14 state.  But their mourning shall be turned to rejoicing, for the Lord shall preserve them during the brief time following His glorious coming, while the vials of wrath are poured out on the wicked.  Then He will make Himself known to His brethren in everlasting embrace, nevermore to be pulled out of their land.  And I will bring again the captivity of My people Israel ... And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord.” (Amos 9: 14 and 15).



Now may I just draw your attention to verses 4-7 of chapter 10.



In verse 4 we read “From him”; that is from Judah as the preceding verse shows; “from him shall come forth the Corner Stone, from him the Nail, from him the Battle Bow, from him every Exactor, or Ruler, together.”  Here we have four Messianic Titles of dignity and judgement.  From him (Judah the royal tribe from which our Lord sprang), the One, God laid in Zion for a foundation stone, a tried stone, a precious Corner Stone, a sure foundation.  These are expressions giving varied aspects of the dignity and glory that belong to the Lord Jesus Christ (Isa. 28: 16).  We may also call to mind the somewhat similar figure given in Daniel 2, vv. 44, 45, The Stone cut out without hands which shall destroy and consume all the kingdoms of this world, so that His Kingdom of peace and righteousness shall stand for ever.



From him (Judah) the Nail fastened in a sure place and upon whom shall hang all the glory of His Father’s house. (Isa. 22: 20 - 25).



From him (Judah) the Battle-Bow.  The Lord is a man of war. He will not let the wicked go unpunished.  He will come in all His strength to save all the meek of the earth.  Psalm 76, 7-9.  His wrath will be poured out (Isa. 63: 1) upon the ungodly, upon Antichrist and all his evil hosts.



From him (Judah) every Exactor or Ruler together.  All ruling power and authority united in Himself - both Kingship and royal Priesthood as Psalm 110 makes clear; and all who do not submit themselves shall perish.



And They (Israel) shall be as mighty men, treading down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle.  And they shall fight because the Lord is with them and the riders on horses shall be confounded.  Such words again confirm how Israel will be empowered to overcome their enemies in the final conflict when they shall no more be pulled out of their land.  They shall be as mighty men confounding their enemies.  God’s promises of deliverance include all the tribes, as Judah and Joseph and Ephraim suggests, and in that Day they shall be one in heart and purpose. (Ezek. 37).



They of Ephraim, shall be like a mighty man ... yea their children shall see it, and rejoice; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord” on account of His mercies and deliverance.



V. 12I will strengthen them in the Lord”.  On this bright note the chapter ends “And they shall walk up and down in His Name saith the Lord: subdued and conscious of God’s mercy and none shall make them afraid.” (Micah 4: 1-4).



Divine Events in that Future Day



We thus arrive at the last three chapters of this prophecy.  These chapters 12-14, link together events connected with “That Day” the expression so often used in the prophetic scriptures in reference to “The Day of the Lord” which embraces the 1,000 years of sabbattic rest in contrast to “Man’s day” of misrule and oppression which has now continued nearly 6,000 years.  It is the “last day” spoken of in John’s Gospel chapter 6 (mentioned four times); the day of resurrection unto life when the Lord takes control and [dead] saints [will] enter into their rest* and judgement follows upon the ungodly (2 Thess. 1).  We can only give a very brief outline of these three last chapters.  Chapter 12 sets forth God’s Sovereignty over all creation, and reminds us of the immutability of His promises to Israel.


[* See Heb. 4: 1, 6-8, 11. cf. 2 Pet. 3: 14, 17; Psa. 95:8-11.]



Jerusalem is spoken of as a burdensome stone to all nations who intermeddle with her policy.  God not only gives deliverance to his people Israel from their outward enemies but also saves them from internal strife.  His Holy Spirit mightily works within them resulting in a humbled and repentant people made conscious of their nation’s sin and of their own evil heart of unbelief.



Chapter 13 speaks of how in this Day of the Lord there will be a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; how idolatry and false prophets will be exposed and cast out from the land.  And we see the process of God’s saving work with His people Israel; how that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off and die.  And I will bring the third part through the fire and will refine them as silver is refined and will try them as gold is tried; solemn words of discriminative judgement.  The Lord, however, will preserve the remnant who will be brought through His refining fires, and to repentance when they will once more become His people, and become a praise and blessing in the earth nevermore to be cast away as confirmed by Jer. 33; Amos 9 and Zeph. 3.



At that time, even as the chapter ends, the Lord will say “It is My people and Israel shall say, The Lord is My God”.



And this brings us to our last chapter wherein is brought before us how all nations will be gathered against Jerusalem at this time, and how the city will be taken.  It also records how the Lord will come and deliver His people Israel from their enemies, overcoming them, and establishing His [millennial] kingdom of Peace and Righteousness in the earth; how there will be geographical changes in the land and in the service and worship of the Lord; how in that Day the Lord shall descend from heaven and His feet shall stand upon the mount of Olives which shall cleave into two, one part moving toward the north and the other toward the south, causing a very great valley between its two parts.  This glorious consummation and Coming of the Lord with all* His Saints and mighty Angels is referred to in Matt. 24: 30-31; 2 Thess. 2: 7-10 and Rev. 19: 11-16.  It will be the time when He shall gather His elect (the church) from the four winds; from one end of heaven to the other.  It will also be the time when the last trump, the trumpet of God, shall be sounded (1 Cor. 15: 52; 1 Thess. 4: 16; Rev. 11: 15-18; Matt. 24: 31), when the first resurrection - the resurrection of the just and reward to saints takes place; with judgement to follow on the ungodly.*  It shall be one day, known unto the Lord, not day nor night (reminding us of Matt. 24: 36), but at evening time it shall be light (v. 7).  And in that Day living waters shall go out from Jerusalem (v. 8) (Psalm 46: 4; 65: 9; Ezek. 47: 1-12).  A river making glad the City of God”.


[* See Luke 14: 14. cf. 22: 28-30; Rev. 2: 26, 27; 3: 21, 22, etc. and always keep in mind:-


Christ will give the crown to none but the worthy.  And are we fit for the crown, before we have overcome?  Or for the prize, before we have won the race?  Or to be rulers of ten cities, before we have achieved our ten talents?  Or to enter into the joy of our Lord, before we have well done, as good and faithful servants?  God will not alter the course of justice to give you rest [i.e., the ‘rest’ mentioned in Heb. 4: 1 and Psa. 95: 11.] before you have laboured nor the crown of glory till you have overcome.” - Baxter.


There is one overwhelming proof that no believer will enter the Millennial Kingdom simply on the ground, and merely for the reason, that he is a child of God.  This proof is very simple but very profound.  Our Lord Himself does notAs the Eternal Son of God, Jesus is King of all kings and Lord of all worlds; and this Sonship is not the reason for which He is millennially enthroned.  It is solely on His life and service as the Son of Man - His renunciation, His fidelity, His laid-down life - that God Himself lays the whole reason of His exaltation in the Kingdom that immediately follows the Second Advent; and simultaneously this fact reveals the truth of tremendous importance that our entrance into the Millennial Kingdom is on identical grounds.” - Panton.]



The True King



And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.  In that Day shall there be One Lord and His Name Onev. 9.  No longer, “god’s many and lord’s many”.



The nations shall realise that their idols are vanity and less than vanity and that they have inherited lies.  The satanic veil of superstition and idolatry shall be taken away. (Isa. 25: 7; 1 Cor. 8: 5).



The Session of the Ancient of Days will have taken place, and the Son of Man given dominion and glory and a kingdom that will not pass away, that all peoples and nations and languages shall serve Him (Dan. 7: 13, 14). Truly, then, will a King be reigning in perfect Righteousness as Isaiah 32: 1 states and it shall be fulfilled, “The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1: 31-33).  V. 21: “And in that Day” there shall be no more the Canaanite (or merchant) in the house of the Lord, for then will be designated everything as “Holiness unto the Lord”, when Israel as a nation will be conscious of God’s grace, loving Truth and Righteousness.



*       *       *



Now very briefly I must just refer to the Prophet Malachi.  The name Malachi means “My Messenger”.  This is the last of the Old Testament Prophecies and Malachi was to Nehemiah what Haggai and Zechariah were to Zerrubbabel.



Following a period of revival after the return from captivity in Babylon, the people of Israel had become indifferent and morally lax and this is the state of things which Malachi rebukes.  The heart of hope in the prophecy is in chapter 3 verses 10-18 where we read, “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened and heard, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord and that thought upon His Name.



And they shall be mine saith the Lord of Hosts, in that Day when I make up my jewels, or special treasure, and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.  Then shall ye return and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not”.



And chapter 4 continues, “For behold the day cometh that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea all that do wickedly, shall be as stubble; and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.



But unto you that fear My Name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings, and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this saith the Lord of hosts”.






As already mentioned Israel in their previous kingdom failed, and the kingdom was taken away from them.  The Church, likewise once manifestly the body of Christ on earth fell away and did not continue in the unity, the faith, and the discipline which God gave for its continuance.  But redeemed Israel in the age to come is to continue in faith and power, an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations, and unlike this age they shall fill the earth with fruit even as the apostle exclaims “How much more their fullness Romans 11: 12.



All these consolatory announcements given to Israel show clearly thatJehovah is jealous for Zion [not heaven] with great jealousyand will return to Jerusalem with mercies; and that not only will the people be restored and the land rebuilt, but that He Himself will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem which shall be known as “the City of Truth and The Holy Mountain - the centre to which the Gentile nations shall come to seek Jehovah and be taught His way.



(The substance of an Address given at Alliance Hall, Westminster, June 1975).



*       *       *





The Day of the Lord

Foreshadowed in the Pentateuch






James Payne







The Day of the Lord is not, in fact, named in the Pentateuch but it is frequently described under various aspects.  On at least eight occasions we find some clear reference to, or portrayal of, the Day of the Lord.  We will look briefly at each of these.



The Covenant with Abraham



God said to Abram in Gen. 12, “I will make of thee a great nation and I will bless thee and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing; and I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee; and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed”.  And again in Gen. 15, “I am Jehovah that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees to give thee this land to inherit it.  And when Abraham desired some more evidence that he should inherit the land, the Lord made an unconditional covenant with him saying, “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates”.  Again in chapter 13 the Lord said, For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed for ever.  Again in chapter 17, the Lord said, I will give unto thee and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.



In these passages we observe that the Lord promised to give the land to Abraham as well as to his seed and that he should possess it.  Stephen in his address to the Council in Acts 7, emphasises this; he says, concerning Abraham, The Lord gave him none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on: yet He promised that He would give it to him for a possession, and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child”.  Now if, as here repeatedly stated the Lord promised the land to Abraham for a possession, yet during his lifetime he possessed nothing in it except a grave, then this promise must be fulfilled after the Resurrection, when indeed Abraham, and his Seed - even Immanuel - shall together possess it for an everlasting inheritance.  Of this our Lord reminded us when He said, Many shall come from the east and from the west and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of God.  And this will be in the Day of the Lord which is ushered in by the First Resurrection.



The same promise is confirmed later unto Isaac in chapter 26. “Unto thee and unto thy seed I will give all these countries and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father ... and in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed”.



Jacob’s Vision of the Ladder



When Jacob left his father’s house and journeyed to Padan Aram as recorded in Gen. 28, he lay down in a certain place to sleep.  And he dreamed and behold a ladder set up on the earth and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.  And, behold, Jehovah stood above it and said, ‘I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it and to thy seed; and thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth and thou shalt spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed’”.  The word seed in the first and last mentions above is in the Hebrew singular, thus pointing to Christ in accordance with the Apostle’s words in his Epistle to the Galatians, Now to Abraham and to his seed were the promises made.  He saith not ‘And to seeds’ as of many; but as of one, ‘And to thy seed, which is Christ.  And this I say, that the covenant that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was 430 years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.  For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise”.  All these promises then, to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob were unconditional promises of grace and are totally unaffected by the law.  Abraham, Isaac and Jacob must then yet possess [after the “First Resurrection], under the Governorship of Immanuel, the promised Seed, the land of Palestine, Immanuel’s land.  And this, therefore, when the Lord Jesus, the Son of David, shall be King over His own inheritance; and this will be in the Day of the Lord.



All this seems to be confirmed by our Lord in His words to Nathaniel, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man”.  It is difficult to imagine that the Lord had not in mind here Jacob’s vision of the ladder.  At our Lord’s baptism we are told that “the heavens were opened unto Him” but to Nathaniel He says, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open.  At the time of which our Lord speaks there will be visible and continuous communication between heaven and earth.  And the Lord said to Nathaniel, Thou shalt see it.  Nathaniel will see it together with all the risen saints at His coming.  This will be seen in the Day of the Lord.



A Prophet like unto Moses



The promise of the Lord to Moses in Deut. 18 was I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee and will put my words in His mouth; and He shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him.  And it shall come to pass that whosoever will not hearken unto My words which he shall speak in My name, I will require it of him”.  Peter refers to this in Acts 3 where he says, Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 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.  For Moses truly said unto the fathers, ‘A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever He shall say unto you.  And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people’”.  Thus the word of Moses I will require it of him is interpreted by Peter as shall be destroyed from among the people”.



But when our Lord was here He definitely declared that He had not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them.  He did say, however, of the time to come, He that rejecteth Me and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken the same shall judge him in the last day.  The last day of this [evil] age when the dead in Christ shall rise, will usher in the Day of the Lord.  Then the law shall go forth of Zion and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem and HE shall judge among many people and rebuke strong nations afar off”.  He did not do this at His first coming but He will at His second coming and on through the Day of the Lord.



The Glory of the Lord



When the Children of Israel refused to enter into the Promised Land owing to the evil report of the 10 spies, the Lord threatened to destroy them but in answer to Moses’ intercession He said I have pardoned according to thy word: But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord.  All the unbelief and rebellion of the people could not alter the ultimate determination of the Lord.  This is enlarged upon a little by the Prophet Habakkuk in the chapter which pronounces the five-fold woe upon the Man of Sin.  The Lord says, For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”.  And in Psalm 72 which deals with the coming King and the greatness of His Kingdom, David prays, Let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen! and Amen!”



To-day the glory of God is above the heavens but when He who is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person comes in all His glory and in the glory of all the holy angels, then the glory of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.  This will be the Day of the Lord.



Balaam’s Prophecy



In Balaam’s second parable as recorded in Numbers 23, he said God is not a man that He should lie ... Behold I have received commandment to bless and He hath blessed and I cannot reverse it.  He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel: Jehovah his God is with him and the shout of a king is among them ... According to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, ‘What hath God wrought!’”.



This is clearly prophetic of the last days when the remnant of Israel shall look upon Him whom they pierced and a nation shall be born in a day; when the people shall be all righteous and when, as the Lord hath said, they shall all know Me from the least of them unto the greatest of them”.  The whole nation then will be embraced in the everlasting Covenant of Grace and consequently the Lord will not then behold iniquity in Jacob, neither see perverseness in Israel.  Not until then will this Scripture be fully fulfilled.  Then, indeed, will there be the shout of a King among themfor the Son of David will then sit upon the throne of His father and a King shall reign in righteousness and princes shall rule in judgment.  Then shall the law go forth of Zion and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem and this will be in the Day of the Lord.  Then it will truly be said of Israel What hath God wrought!”



Then in Balaam’s final parable, he said, There shall come a Star out of Jacob and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel and shall smite the corners of Moab and destroy all the children of Sheth.  And Edom shall be a possession, Seir shall also be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.  Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion and shall destroy him that remaineth in the city ... Alas, who shall live when God doeth this!”*  He who is the Star will also hold the sceptre for the prophet had foretold that out of Bethlehem should he come forth who is to be ruler in Israel and when He comes in glory and wields the sceptre, then all Israel’s enemies, including Moab, Edom and Seir will be for ever overthrown.  Who, indeed, shall live [upon this earth] when God doeth this?  For this will be in the Day of the Lord when the loftly looks of man shall be humbled and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day.  For the day of Jehovah of Hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall be brought low”.


[* Isa. 38: 18, 19; 63: 10. cf. 40: 10; 58: 8.]



The Feast of Tabernacles



The Children of Israel had three major feasts which foreshadowed future events.  (1) The Passover which was a memorial of their deliverance from Egypt and a foreshadowment of our Lord’s sacrifice at Calvary.  The Apostle says, Even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us.  (2) The Feast of Weeks or the Feast of the Firstfruits which was fulfilled at Pentecost when the firstfruits of the Gospel were gathered.  (3) The Feast of Tabernacles or the Feast of Ingathering, celebrating the gathering of the harvest and pointing forward to the Day of the Lord when many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day and shall be His people.



The Prophet Ezekiel foretells that in that day the feast of the Passover will be continued as a national festival and as a constant memorial to the people of Israel of their redemption by the Saviour whom they crucified.  In the knowledge of this, they will be kept humble before the Lord; to be His servants in the earth and His messengers to the nations.  The Feast of Tabernacles, on the other hand, will be an international festival. Zechariah foretells this in his last chapter where he says, And it shall come to pass that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts and to keep the feast of Tabernacles.  In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the Lord’s house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts”.  Thus the Feast of Tabernacles, celebrated by the Children of Israel from the days of Moses shall have its abundant fulfilment in the Day of the Lord.  The Feast of Weeks or Firstfruits will not be kept in that day because that will have been already fulfilled during this age and will have no relevance to the Age to Come.



Jacob’s last Blessing



When Jacob gathered his sons together to bless them before his death, he said of Judah, The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.  Binding his foal unto the vine and his ass’s colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine and his clothes in the blood of grapes: His eyes shall be red with wine and his teeth white with milk”.



Who is Shiloh?  The meaning of the word itself may be summed up in the expression The Prince of Peace”. When applied to a place, the word signifies a place of rest.  The place where the Ark of the Covenant first rested in the Promised Land was called Shiloh.  So the glorious person in whom all the promises of the eternal covenant rest is also called Shiloh; the name indicating pacificator - Prince of Rest or Peace.  That the Shiloh is to be a Prince or Governor is apparent for he is to give laws and wield a sceptre.  But he is not only to wear the diadem; He is to acquire His Government by right of birth; by right of royal descent.  He is the seed of Judah and from Judah cometh the chief ruler” (1 Chron. 5: 2).  He is the seed of Abraham, the friend of God, in whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed.  He is the seed of Israel - the true Prince who has power with God and with men and must prevail.  He is the seed of David - the Man who, beyond David, is the Man after God’s own heart, fulfilling all His will; ruling in righteousness and in the fear of the Lord.  God had sworn to David that of the fruit of his loins He would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.  And Paul declares that this is partly fulfilled; “Of this man’s seed hath God, according to His promise raised unto Israel a Saviour; Jesus.  Having obtained eternal redemption for His people, He has entered into the holiest, there to await the time when He shall take His great power and reign.



The Lord said through Jacob, The sceptre shall not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh come.  The Throne of Israel was overturned at the captivity and has never been the same since.  Nevertheless the lawgiver continued to spring out of Judah until in the days of Caesar Augustus, Judaea became a Roman province and was taxed as such.  Hence Jesus was born King of the Jews and must, in His own time, manifestly exercise that sovereignty.  In agreement with this, the Jews cried at His crucifixion, We have no King but Caesar”, thus declaring all too plainly, by their language in condemning Him, that they were killing the Prince of Peace - the Shiloh of Jacob’s deathbed prophecy.



Shiloh, the King of kings



Of the Shiloh it is said, Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be or, more literally.  Unto Him shall be the obedience of all peoples.  Thus David sang concerning his seed, this same glorious person, He shall judge Thy people with righteousness and Thy poor with judgment ... He shall break in pieces the oppressor ... He shall have dominion also from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth.  They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him, and His enemies shall lick the dust ... Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him ... Daily shall He be praised ... All nations shall call Him blessed”.



It is further said of Him, He shall bind His foal unto the vine and His ass’s colt unto the choice vine; He shall wash His garments in wine and His clothes in the blood of grapes”.  When Shiloh comes to set up His [Millennial] Kingdom, the earth shall yield her increase.  Vines, at least in the land of Palestine, will be so common as to be used as pickets for young asses.  And not only the common sort will be so used.  The choice vine will grow, as it were, in the hedgerows.  The result of this will be to make wine as plentiful as water, insomuch that it will be used for purposes of washing and cleansing as well as for drinking.



It is said finally of the Shiloh, His eyes shall be red with wine and his teeth white with milk.  There is of course no reference here to the redness of eyes spoken of in the book of Proverbs as the accompaniment of drunkenness; but the Patriarch indicates rather a sparkling bright countenance which is the result of a gladdened heart, for wine, says the psalmist maketh glad the heart of man”.  This gladness of heart and comeliness of appearance will be common in the Regeneration, when the Son of Man sits upon the Throne of His glory.  Indeed, Young’s literal translation leaves out the word his and the passage reads simply Eyes shall be red with wine and teeth white with milk.  Our Lord promised His disciples that He would drink the new wine with them in His Father’s kingdom.*  So when we see Him as He is, we shall be like Him and share with Him in all the rich blessings of His Millennial Kingdom. And this will be in the Day of the Lord.


[* Luke 22: 29, R.V.: “… I appoint unto you a kingdom, even as my Father appointed unto me, that ye may eat and drink in MY kingdom…”]



Moses’ Song and Blessing



Moses’ song in Deut. 32, after delineating the history of God’s dealings with His people Israel from the land of Egypt, brings it to this climax in verse 43, “Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people (or, as in the margin, Praise His people, ye nations) for He will avenge the blood of His servants and will render vengeance to His adversaries and will be merciful unto His land and to His people”.  This looks forward to the fulfilment of God’s covenant with Jacob – In thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed and also to the Lord’s covenant with the Seed of David – “All nations shall serve Him”; while the remaining portion is confirmed by the Prophet Isaiah.  Speaking of the time of Israel’s glory he says, For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted ... Violence shall no more be heard in thy land; wasting nor destruction within thy borders; but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation and thy gates Praise”.  Thus Moses’ song beautifully sums up Israel’s Millennial blessings in the Day of the Lord.



It may be that Moses’ blessing upon the individual tribes has reference, in some cases at least, to Israel’s final restoration but his concluding blessing upon the whole nation certainly foreshadows Israel’s glory in the Day of the Lord.  He says, The eternal God is thy refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.  This is the reason for Israel’s continual preservation and for the fact that her enemies have never finally prevailed over her.  Therefore he says of her final deliverance, He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee, and shall say, ‘Destroy them’.  Israel then shall dwell in safety alone: the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine; also his heavens shall drop down dew.  Happy art thou O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by Jehovah, the shield of thy help and who is the sword of thy excellency!  And thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shalt tread upon their high places”.*



Thus ends the writings of Moses, looking forward to the time when that people whom he had led all through the wilderness to the promised land, after many vicissitudes* should dwell safely therein with Jehovah Himself as their Divine refuge and Protector; when their foes shall be all defeated and they themselves a lasting blessing in the midst of the earth.  Then will be fulfilled the prophecy of Zachariah the father of John the Baptist, As God spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been since the world began: that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us; to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember His holy covenant; the oath which He sware to our father Abraham; that He would grant unto us that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life”.


[* See footnote.]



Such will be the blessing of Israel in the Day of the Lord when Jesus, the Son of David Himself will be their King.  So we may say to Him with Nathaniel, ‘Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the King of Israel!”.



(The above article is the substance of an address given at the Alliance Hall in January last). [1975]











Affliction worketh glory:”  our light affliction worketh an exceeding weight of glory;”  our affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh an eternal weight of glory.”  Every word is a marked and beautiful antithesis.  Strange to say, the Apostle describes the glory by an old earthly metaphor, nay, by the very metaphor he used to apply to his afflictions; he calls it a weight.  We speak of a weight of care, a weight of sorrow, a weight of anxiety: but the weight of glory! surely that is a strange symbol.  We do not think of a man as being crushed, overwhelmed, weighed down by glory.  We should have thought that the old metaphor of care would have been repulsive, that it would have been cast off like a worn-out garment and remembered no more for ever.  Nay, but the old garment is not worn out when the glory comes, it is only transfigured; that which made thy weight of care is that which makes thy weight of glory.  Thou needest not a new object but a new light - to see by day what thou hast only seen in darkness.  Thou who art weighted with some heavy burden, pause ere thou askest its removal; thy weight of present care may be thy weight of future glory – may be, nay, must when light shall dawn. 





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The Day of the Lord as in the Thessalonian Epistles



By  H. A. Huckett



1 Thessalonians has been called a missionary’s letter to his converts, and in both of his epistles to the church at Thessalonica, Paul’s concern for the spiritual welfare of the believers there is clearly manifest.  Acts 17 indicates that owing to the intense persecution of the Jews, Paul had been compelled to leave Thessalonica somewhat abruptly, and it seems that he had not been able to return there, as he did at Lystra, to strengthen the new converts in the things of God.  He was particularly anxious about them, because he had heard that many of them were in a state of confusion about the Day of the Lord, and so, in both letters Paul deals with this important issue.  We shall consider it under Four Aspects:



1.  The Attitude of the Apostle Paul to the

Day of the Lord



It was evidently part of the Gospel which he preached, for right at the beginning of 1 Thessalonians in vv. 9 and 10 he includes it in describing their response to the message of salvation.  Ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from Heaven’.  It surely is significant that soon after Pentecost, Peter linked the return of Christ with those times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3: 20), where he says: 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”.  Is the Second Coming of Christ [and the establishing of His Millennial Kingdom upon this earth] included in the doctrinal basis of your church?



In 1 Thess. 2: 19-20 Paul refers to his converts as his joy and crown in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at His coming, and in 3: 13 and 5: 23 he links his longing for them to increase and abound in love toward each other with the earnest desire and prayer that their hearts might be established unblameable in holiness before God the Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints [holy ones].



1 Thess. 4: 16 shews that Paul did not believe [at this time] in any secret rapture theory.  He believed that the return of Christ would be personal and public.  He says: For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trump of God.  This cannot possibly be construed as a secret or private coming for the church, unbeknown to the outside world.*


[* NOTE. That there will be an “escape” for living saints before the Great Tribulation, who walkwith God” as Enoch - the seventh from Adam - once did cannot be denied, (Gen. 5: 24; Jude 14; Luke 21: 34-36; Rev. 3: 10); but this pre-tribulation ‘rapture is not the ‘rapture’ made mention of in 1 Thess. 4: 17 which will occur at its end.  This latter ‘rapture’ embraces those “who are alive and remain” [who are “left” R.V.] until end-time when our Lord Jesus Christ will return to this earth to establish His Millennial Kingdom here.  Most of the confusion, I believe, is brought about by seeing only one rapture - during this seven-year period - when the scriptures speak of two!  Some “shall be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass,” (Luke 21: 36), while others will be “left” to ‘endure unto the end’ under the persecutions of Antichrist.  See footnote 1]



2. The Advice or Admonition which Paul

gave to the Church at Thessalonica



While praising them for their brotherly love and their patience under much persecution, he nevertheless felt it necessary to warn them against immorality (1 Thess. 4: 3-8), laziness and idle gossip.  Some of them thought that the Day of the Lord was so near that there was no need for them to work any longer, and this had led to disorderly behaviour (2 Thess. 3: 11), tittle tattle and wanting to live at other people’s expense - verse 12 and 1 Thess. 4: 11, 12.  There was also an erroneous idea in some quarters that believers who died before Christ returned would not share in the glory of His appearing, and this had made some of the Christians feel hopeless about their departed friends and loved ones.  So in 1 Thess. 4: 13-18, Paul stressed (1) that those who sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him (2) that believers still alive when Jesus comes would not have precedence over those who had previously died (3) that the dead in Christ would first rise and (4) that those still alive at the coming of the Lord would be caught up together with them to meet Christ and to be with Him for ever. He exhorted them to comfort one another, to edify one another, to respect the elders in the church who were over them in the Lord and to be at peace among themselves (1 Thess. 5: 13).  In 2 Thess. 2: 15 he told them to stand fast and remain true to the traditions they had received through Paul, and actually commanded them in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ to withdraw from every brother who was behaving in a disorderly manner (2 Thess. 3, 6, 14 and 15).



3. The Approach Road to the Day of the Lord



The Apostle gave them the following signs, which as children of light, and no longer in darkness, they could recognise as guide lines to the near approach of Christ’s Coming - signs that are more than ever relevant for God’s people in these days:



(a) Widespread Apostasy - 2 Thess. 2: 3, “falling away” (Gr. “apostasia”) = deep-rooted rebellion against God.  In recent times this began with a denial of His Deity, His Authority and even His Existence - a revolt which had its origin in the Higher Criticism of the Bible and the spread of Modernism in Theology.*


[* NOTE.  This modern A-millennialist ‘theology,’ and the apostasy which accompanies all who believe it, is rampant amongst multitudes of regenerate believers who vehemently deny Christ’s / Messiah’s reign upon this earth in righteousness and peace.  It is a false doctrine out of the mouth of Satan himself; and all who persist in their holding on to it must lose their inheritance the “age” to come.  Num. 14: 20-22; Psa. 78: 8-10, 17, 18, 21-23, 32, 36, 37, 41, 42, 56-58. cf. 1 Cor. 5: 1, 2, 9-13; 6: 1, 5-9; 10: 1-12.]



(b) The revelation of the man of sin - the lawless one - the son of perdition who will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God and every object of men’s worship, and sitting in the temple of God will claim to be God Himself, and demand divine worship.



(c) Endued with Satanic power, This Antichrist will perform miracles and lying wonders, and deceive many. God will send strong delusion to those who have rejected the truth, which will make them believe what is false; carried away by this monster of iniquity.



(d) Evil men and seducers will increase (2 Tim. 3: 13).  Men will walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, despising government and speaking evil of dignities (2 Pet. 2: 10).  They will promise liberty while they themselves are the slaves of corruption (2 Pet. 2: 19).  There will be widespread violence, crime and vice; as in the days of Noah. (Gen. 6: 5).



(e) A period of false peace and safety (1 Thess. 5: 3).



4. The Advent Itself



Paul draws a distinction between the position of the unbeliever and the believer.



For the wicked the Day of the Lord will be a sudden and totally unexpected event. It will come as a thief in the night, while men are asleep.  But says Paul, you are no longer in darkness (paganism), that that day should overtake you as a thief.” (1 Thess. 5:  4).  Nevertheless, believers are to be watchful.  Luther: Live as if Christ had died yesterday, risen today, coming tomorrow.”



For the ungodly the Day of the Lord will be the Day of God’s Wrath, referred to in Isa. 13: 9-11.  It will be a day when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven in flaming fire with His mighty angels, taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It will be a day of punishment for the wicked, but a day of rest and relief for the children of God who have suffered so much at their hands. Paul says: It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you and to you who are troubled, rest [with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ from heaven with the angels of his power R.V.]...(2 Thess. 1, 6, [7]).



Peter tells us that in the Day of the Lord, “the heavens will pass away with a great noise, the elements will melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein will be burned up.  Praise God that we, according to His promise can look forward to new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing we are looking for such things, may the Lord help us to be diligent - working, watching* and waiting** for His return, that we may be found of Him in peace, without spot and blameless.



(Part of an Address at the Alliance Hall,

on 26th September, 1975).








* 1. The Lord’s people ought to be watching and praying for the Advent (Luke 21: 36).  (1) For it is possible to escape the judgments which are coming on the earth before the Advent.  There is no merit in allowing one’s self to be involved in judgments which others by their unbelief have invited.  It is our duty to escape, if possible, the catastrophe.  (2) It can only be by a watchful and prayerful spirit.  Self-indulgence, everything that would dull our sense of the impending Advent [and Day of the Lord], must be avoided.  It is to come as a thief and a snare upon those that dwell on the face of the whole earth.  Hence the imperative necessary of watching.  And it is prayer which will help in our watching.   - The Pulpit Commentary.



** 2.Wait on the Lord, be strong, and let thine heart take courage; yea, wait thou on the Lord” (Psa. 27: 14).  Wait,” says Hosea, (12: 6), “on thy God CONTINUALLY.”  Waiting is a habit of mind brought into the prayer-room, and kept aleat there; a devout mind, that looks in all the things of God; a submissive mind, ready to receive what God will send; a receptive mind, able to absorb the plans of God; and an obedient mind, that is resolved to do just what God commands. … Waiting leads to strength; strength leads to courage; courage leads to battle; and battle leads to victory. – D. M. Panton.



*       *       *





The Day of the Lord in Ephesians



By H. A. Huckett



Ephesians is essentially an epistle which deals with the sovereign purpose of God to bring about the final consummation of all things both in heaven and on earth in Christ, and the high destiny of the church in the working out of this process.  The epistle opens with a paean of praise to the Lord for the plethora of spiritual blessings that He has bestowed upon believers in Christ - verse 3.  Three times Paul stresses that the purpose behind the bestowal of these blessings is that we should be to the praise of His glory (vv. 6, 12, 14).



The outcome of this summing up of all things in Christ, first mentioned in Chap. 1: 10 is a consummation which embraces the unending ages of eternity, as is indicated in verse 21, where Paul states that the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of the Father has placed Him “far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named, not only in this world (or age), but also in the ages that are to come.”  The Day of the Lord will usher in that glorious time, when Christ, the Eternal Son of God, will return as King over the whole earth and establish His [millennial] kingdom of righteousness and peace.  No wonder Frances Ridley Havergal bursts out into a song of worship and eager expectation in the hymn:



Thou art coming, 0 my Saviour,

Thou art coming, 0 my King!” –


which ends with -


0h, the joy, to see Thee reigning,

Thee, my own beloved Lord!

Every tongue Thy name confessing,

Worship, honour, glory, blessing

Brought to Thee with one accord;

Thee, my Master and my Friend,

Vindicated and enthroned,

Unto earth’s remotest end,

Glorified, adored and owned.”



In Chap. 2: 1-2, Paul looks back to the terrible state of the Ephesian converts before they became Christians, and, linking himself with them in verse 3, magnifies the wonderful grace and mercy of God in quickening such hell-deserving sinners, raising them up from the dung-heap of depravity and sin, and causing them to be seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.  Then in verse 7 his vision reaches out to the Divine purpose which inspired the great love with which He has loved us.  It is that in the ages to come He might display the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.  As Francis Foulkes puts it: The purpose of God for His church as Paul sees it, reaches beyond the church itself, beyond the salvation and enlightenment of individuals, beyond its unity and fellowship, beyond even its witness to the world.”  This truth is stressed again in Chap. 3: 10-11.  The function of the church is not confined to its witness in this age alone.  In the ages to come the church is to be the means of making known to the principalities and powers in heavenly places the manifold wisdom of God according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And this great purpose, conceived in eternity and eternal in its scope will come to its full fruition in that period known as the ages to come, which will be ushered in by the Day of the Lord.



So it is not surprising that Ephesians 3 ends with this very fitting benediction: Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus unto all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen.”



In Chap. 4 there are several verses which suggest a definite link with the Day of the Lord.  The first is verse 8, a quotation from Psa. 68: 18.  Wherefore He saith: ‘When He ascended up on high He led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men’.”  The ascension and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ, already dwelt upon by Paul in Chap. 1: 20-21, is the source of all those spiritual gifts now enjoyed by the church ‘for the building up of the body of Christ’ - vv. 12-16, and this aim, that believers should come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ is an obvious preparation for the return of the Lord in glory.



Similarly, the practical exhortation to holy living contained in verses 23-32 includes a warning not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God in Whom we have been sealed unto the day of redemption.” That is the day referred to by Paul in Rom. 8: 23 where he says: We who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”  That will take place in the Day of the Lord after the great tribulation.  We know that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God*; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption ... We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed” says the Apostle in 1 Cor. 15, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.”



In Chap. 5: 1-21, we are again exhorted to avoid the unfruitful works of darkness and to walk as children of light, redeeming the time because the days are evil.  We are to be spiritually awake and constantly filled with the [Holy] Spirit, so that when Jesus comes we may be ready to meet Him.  This thought of readiness for the redemption of the body at His appearing is further emphasized in the commands given to married couples and the simile used in vv. 25-27.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing: but that it should be holy and without blemish.”  One’s thoughts go out at once to Rev. 19: 1-9 where after the judgment of the great whore in the Day of the Lord, the beloved disciple says in vv. 6-9: “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude ... saying Allelujah: for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”  In the Christian community in India, very often a bride wants to have a white sari for her wedding, and this is the gift of the bridegroom to her.  The righteousness of saints is the gift of our Heavenly Bridegroom, purchased for us by the shedding of His own precious blood.*



Finally, the promise in Ch. 6: 8 that faithful service will be rewarded - while it is sometimes fulfilled or partially fulfilled in this life, undoubtedly directs our thoughts to those wonderful words spoken by the Risen and Ascended Saviour in Rev. 22: 12: “Behold I come quickly and my reward is with Me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.”  How watchful and diligent we should be so that when Jesus comes we may not be found wanting, like the man who buried his lord’s talent in the earth.  Let us heed the warning given in 2 John verse 8:  Look to yourselves that ye lose not those things that we have wrought, but that ye receive a full reward.”









* Paul says we are to receive “a spiritual body, (1 Cor. 15: 44, R.V.)  What does the word ‘spiritual’ mean?  Does it mean that immediately after the time of death, we can somehow appear in the presence of God in heaven ‘like the angels’ as the N.I.V. translates, (Luke 20: 36)?  NO.  We must wait for the Lord’s return; only then can any Christian have a resurrected, glorified and immortal body like His - a body of “flesh and bones” (Luke 24: 38).


Sitting on a bench beside platform 4 at Belfast Central Station; as we waited for our train to arrive, some minutes later we heard the whistle of an old steam train which arrived and stopped at an adjacent platform. 


Now nobody in their right mind would believe I was describing a train made of steam: and in the same way, our spiritual body will not be made of spirit; it will be a body of “flesh and bones” – a body like that which our Lord presently has.  So, when Paul says, “Flesh and BLOODcannot inherit the kingdom of God” he does not mean that flesh and spirit can!  According to Jesus, “flesh and bones” most certainly can!  He proves this by His own words and bodily presence in the sight of His disciples.  On one occasion during His post-resurrection ministry, They (the disciples) “were terrified and affrighted, and supposing that they beheld a spirit.  And he (Jesus) said unto them, Why are ye troubled?  And wherefore do reasonings arise in your heart?  See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see: for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye behold me having,” (Luke 24: 37-39, R.V.).


Our Lord is now seated upon His Father’s throne, in a body of “flesh and bones”: but this is vitally important for us to know, He did not get there until after the time of HIS RESURRECTION, when His “soul” was reunited to His “body”, (Acts 2: 17-31. cf. verse 34).  For such a glorified, immortal body like that of our Lord’s, we must be “waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption OF OUR BODY” (Rom. 8: 23, R.V.): and that cannot happen before the Second Advent of Christ.





John 1: 14



THE Son, in mighty love,

Came down to Bethlehem for me;

Forsook His throne of light above,

An infant upon earth to be.



In love, the Father’s sinless Child

Sojourned at Nazareth for me

With sinners dwelt the Undefiled,

The Holy One in Galilee.



Jesus, whom angel-hosts adore,

Became a Man of griefs for me;

In love, though rich becoming poor,

That I through Him enriched might be.



Though Lord of all above, below,*

He went to Olivet for me,

There drank the cup of wrath and woe,

When bleeding in Gethsemane.


* Psa. 139: 8b.


The ever blessed Son of God,

Went up to Calvary for me,

There paid my debt, there bore my load

In His own body on the tree.



Jesus, whose dwelling in the skies,

Went down into the grave [Sheol]* for me,

There overcame my enemies,

There won the glorious victory.


* Acts 2: 25, 27. cf. Psa. 16: 10.


In love the whole dark path He trod,

To consecrate a way for me,

Each bitter footstep marked with blood,

From Bethlehem to Calvary.



Tis finished all: that veil is rent,

The welcome sure, the access free;

Now then we leave our banishment,

O Father to return to Thee!



                                                                                                                                                               - Dr. H. Bonar



** While this statement is true, for all is ultimately received by God’s grace, it is nevertheless of vital importance to know that the “righteousness” mentioned here in Matt. 2: 20, is not the imputed righteousness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ: it is a the undisclosed standard of our righteousness.  Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom”.  The context, in verses 1, 2, show us that our Lord was primarily addressing His own “disciples”: and many other teachings throughout the scriptures of truth make this divine condition perfectly clear to all whom the Holy Spirit has enlightened.  See also, Matt. 7: 21, 26, 27. cf. Luke 20: 35; 22: 28, 29, etc.  



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The Day of the Lord as in the Minor Prophets



Address given by Pastor W. H. Reeves on 23rd May, 1975






I want to give you a key word to each of these MINOR PROPHETS which I shall not expound but which I shall just use as an introduction.  The key word in Hosea is RETURN.  You will find it mentioned 15 times.  Hosea prophesied to the ten tribes of Israel in the northern kingdom the great message concerning evil and steadfast love; repentance and consequent restoration.  He was bidden to marry a worthless woman, one who was in a position to receive and participate in all he possessed - his home, his reputation and his religion.  And yet, being united to such a man of God she left him and went off into infidelity and finally seems to have known the wretchedness of slavery.  Adultery, although glossed over today as extra marital relationship, is a terrible sin, made the more so because it is the breaking of a covenant and that is always a terrible transgression in the sight of our holy God.  This book unfolds the fact that as Hosea was married to Gomer the unfaithful bride, so God Jehovah was married to unfaithful Israel but it also reveals the victory of love. Gomer was unfaithful but Hosea remained faithful, and out of the depths of his love he redeemed her at a price, 30 shekels of silver, the price of a slave.  Israel’s sin was great and it was grievous.  We find as we look in chapter 4: 1 that there was no truth, no mercy, no knowledge of God in the land.  There was immorality and drunkenness (verse 11); there was cruel slaughter (chapter 5: 2); and there was oppression.  And so God threatens sternly, but He also speaks gracious words; He will not give His people up.  In chapter 6: 1, the call is to repentance Come, let us return unto the Lord,” and He graciously makes promises - I will ransom” (chapter 13: 14); “I will heal their backsliding” (chapter 14: 4). and O how precious is this in chapter 14: 5: “I’ll be as the dew unto Israel”.



Now the day of the Lord is promised very early in the book - chapter 1: 10 and 11: “Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.  Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.” Also in chapter 2, verses 18, 20 to 23.  As we look in this book we see and pray for Israel’s final restoration.  Chapter 14: 4 tells of Israel healed and loved, verse 5 refreshed and growing, verse 6 beauty, fragrance and fruitfulness, verses 7 and 8 of true revival and true fellowship.  This prophecy has not yet been fulfilled for Israel.  I want you to know what Dr. Campbell Morgan had to say about this matter we are thinking of.  He said that long after Hosea’s time God came to them in the person of His Son. They cast Him out, therefore discipline continues; it is discipline but not destruction.  They will yet be brought to the One whom they rejected, and it will be a glorious thing for the world.  For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11: 15).  I thank God for words like that and thank God that in His Word we have such a book as Hosea, a strange book which deals with love to His People and tender love to His Israel; rejecting Him and far from Him at the present time.



After this message of RETURN, RETURN, RETURN ‑ we come to






The key word I have for this book is REPENTANCE.  For this remarkable prophecy has for its message the value and importance of repentance, and as you well know the key phrase is THE DAY OF THE LORD, which is named five times (ch. 1: 15, ch. 2: 1, 11 and 31, ch. 3: 14).  Those who understand this fact have an insight into the message of the book, which describes a terrible locust invasion.  It gives the first intimation of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all flesh, and yet it contains prophecies reaching from the time of Joel to that Day of the Lord right to the end of time.  The first utterance in chapter 1: 15, deals with the dire calamity Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come”. Severe drought; a terrible invasion of locusts; ruin on every hand; and it would seem that up to this point the people had not realised that God was chastising them; that God was acting in judgment.  Therefore Joel is urging the need for a fast and for a calling unto the Lord.  With spiritual insight, being taught by the Spirit of God, Joel sees this locust attack as an emblem of a more terrible attack by swarms of heathens; by the nations in that day; and not only in that day for it is typical of the invasions in the last days yet to come.  Therefore he continues in chapter 2: 1, “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh; for it is nigh at hand.”  And in verse 11: “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?”



Here we see the power of the Lord’s sudden intervention to save Israel from complete destruction.  Thus there is a call to repentance on the part of all; evil must be remedied.  We find in verse 20 the Lord will remove the army and then He says Fear not, O land: be glad and rejoice: for the Lord will do great things.”  Then we come to the great message of Joel in chapter 2: 27 to 32.  Now verses 28 and 29 mainly foretell of Pentecost as in Acts 2, but can any of us say that all these verses have been completely fulfilled?  Can anybody really say that the moon has been turned into blood?  We know there were great movements in nature at that wonderful time when the Lord died, but I do not know that there were blood and fire and pillars of smoke.  There is yet a time coming when this world will see even greater things.  From verse 30 and continuing into chapter 3, God speaks of the signs indicating the great and terrible day of the Lord.  All nations shall be gathered into the valley of Jehoshaphat, the heathen will be judged and God will dwell in Zion, and in chapter 3: 14Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision”.  To quote Campbell Morgan again: “In this day Jehovah will restore Judah and Jerusalem by His people Israel, deal with the nations through the processes of war, make Zion the centre of His earthly kingdom and Israel as a complete nation, the instrument of His government.  “Thus to Joel was given the plan of the ages.  He saw the near, the imminence and the ultimate.  He saw that the day of Jehovah was present, persistent, powerful, to the complete realisation of divine purpose.  It was a great vision, and our secret of confidence [in being with Him at this time] is in walking in its light.  We live in the un-numbered age of the Spirit, it has lasted 1900 years and we know not when it will end, but we do know that beyond it is the great and terrible day of Jehovah.  Therefore we are sure of the ultimate realisation of all His purposes for men.  I do wish we had a leading preacher today able to preach truth like that, a real dividing of the prophetic Word of the Lord.






Now we move on to the book of Amos, to which I have given the title RESTORATION.  Amos was a working man, a herdsman, a preserver of sycamore trees, who was of Judah and yet one who prophesied in and against Israel.  His burden was the punishment of Israel’s sins by national judgment, and whereas we have in Joel the form of chastisement in the plague of locusts, here we have judgment in the form of a severe earthquake which Zechariah mentioned as a well remembered event even 300 years afterward.  In this book Amos deals with a misconception in the minds of the people about the power of the Lord; in fact in chapter 5: 18-20 he said to them: Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness and not light.  As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.  Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light?  Even very dark and no brightness in it?”



There were three classes of people whom Amos had to denounce with a Woe, and we have them today. There were those who were at ease in Zion; they put far away the evil day (chapter 6: 1 - 3) - it won’t come in our time.  I have heard people talk like that.  Others were concerned about the evils of their day and were desirous that the day of the Lord would come because they wanted better conditions.  To this end these people clung to an outward form of religion, but their motives were wrong and their interpretation even of the day of the Lord was false.  That is sadly possible even today.  You will hardly credit this, but the late Dr. Basil Atkinson at the close of a meeting in Cambridge, told me that he once met a professing Christian who told him that he was looking forward to the millennium because he would then be able to go to a theatre!  That sounds absolutely incredible to us.  We who believe would condemn such an attitude, but there is nothing new under the sun and there were people like that in the day of Amos.  No, said Amos, what is the day of the Lord to you?  Are you looking forward to it so that you can have a good time?  Just so that it will bring you national prosperity?  The day of the Lord is darkness and not light and so the Lord tells them in chapter 5: 21, “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.”  And in verse 22, “Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.”  For any persons to desire the day of the Lord when out of harmony with its true principles of righteousness and judgment is to be guilty of false purposes.  Amos ends his prophecy with the true meaning of the day, with the prosperity attending the return of the Lord.  We know it is going to be a day of darkness for those who are [1] not ready to receive Christ*, [2] for the rebels, [3] for the attacking forces, but here in chapter 9 from verse 11 we have the RESTORATON of Israel.


[* NOTE.  Some disobedient, immoral and cowardly regenerate believers will no doubt, unless their repentance is forthcoming, fall into this category.]




We now come to Obadiah, the shortest book in the Old Testament, and for this I have the word RETRIBUTION; for Obadiah shows in some measure an example of Anti-Semitism, a hatred of God’s chosen people and how the Lord, not man, brings retribution.  Now the Edomites were the Idumeans as you know, the descendants of Esau and God had commanded His people in Deuteronomy 23, verse 7, to treat them kindly.  But they were proud; they were bitter; they were resentful; and the Edomites [the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother] never failed to help any enemy that attacked the Jews.  They had an apparently inaccessible and impregnable mountain fortress hewed in the rocks from which they could emerge on raiding expeditions, and those wonderful rock dwelling are still a marvel.  At the fall of Jerusalem they casually looked on, they laid their hands on the substance of the sufferers and then they cruelly stood in the crossway to cut off any of God’s ancient people trying to escape in order to hand them over to a cruel power.  Obadiah had a word for them and he said in verses 15 and 16 The day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto Thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.  For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.” This will be of course on the nations in the coming day of the Lord.  And this is a lovely text – “But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.”  Some people do not believe that, but they will possess their possessions, and although today they are far away in their condition where they are not possessing their possessions, they shall do so, and then in verse 21 (and isn’t this lovely) a Saviour shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.  It is only when the Lord has judged and dealt with the heathen foes, the enemies of His ancient people that this scripture shall be fully realised; only then.  God has yet to appear on the behalf of His people who have suffered so much.






Now we come to the book of Jonah, and “ give this the title RE-COMMISSIONING.  Now the question we may well ask is, Can anyone see the day of the Lord in this remarkable book, and if you ask concerning the actual letter, I would have to say No!  But spiritually the day of the Lord to a truly spiritual mind can be seen in the book, for Jonah is definitely a type.  We know that Jonah was a type [of select resurrection]*.  There is one thing you can always be sure of; when the Lord makes a type of anything in the Old Testament, you may be sure it was a type.  Jonah was a type of the Lord Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection - that is quite clear from Matthew 12: 40.  But, Jonah is also a type of Israel - Israel disobedient to God; Israel with the truth and not spreading it abroad; Israel swallowed by the nations of the earth and yet to emerge when Christ returns and then to be a glorious witness everywhere.


[* That is, a type of all those “accounted worthy to attain to that world (or ‘age’) and the resurrection from the dead” (Luke 20: 35, R.V.)]






We move on to Micah with the theme RIGHTEOUSNESS.  Micah was contemporary with Isaiah and belonged to Judah, and he exalted the holiness, the righteousness and compassion of God.  He reveals how God hates injustice but loves to pardon.  He denounces but he comforts, and speaks clearly of the day of the Lord.  We have this set out in chapter 4: 1 to 4; chapter 5: 7; and then in chapter 4: 6 to 8 we see that scattered Israel is to be gathered.






Now Nahum, with the title RUIN; a book which foretells the overthrow of Nineveh, a great empire.  150 years before, the people had repented at the preaching of the prophet Jonah but a dreadful apostasy had set in. There was oppression and drunkenness as we see in chapter 1: 10, and a wicked counsellor in verse 11; the place was vile.  This is a pointer to the fact that before the day of the Lord there will be dreadful apostasy. The Man of Sin will appear; one that imagines evil against the Lord and practises it.  Now no world empire can finally withstand God, and we may expect a greater power to arise, even Babylon, but that will be completely and utterly destroyed even as Nineveh was.  Nahum leaves us in no doubt of the being and nature of God as chapter 1: 1 to 7.  Is there any ray of hope, any light for Judah?  Yes, chapter 1: 15, “Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace!  0 Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, perform thy vows: for the wicked shall no more pass through thee; he is utterly cut off.”  Again I say, the last part of that verse can only be fulfilled at the day of the Lord.



We are getting through these little books, there is a lot in them and we are just touching on them.






speaks of REMEMBRANCE.  This prophet was a chorister in the temple.  He has been termed the grandfather of the Reformation and a prophet of faith, and although we shall not develop this theme his writings are in the form of a conversation between himself and his Lord.  He speaks as a puzzled man who wants the Lord to show him the answer, and of course He always does.  In chapter 2: 3, the Lord said to him, The vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak and not lie; though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”  That is what we have to remember regarding prophecy, and so we have to learn both to hope and quietly wait for the coming of the Lord, living by faith and looking to the future.  Here is the day of the Lord in verse 14: “For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”






Now we come to a book of REJOICING, Zephaniah, and it is believed that Zephaniah was used of God very much to bring about the time of revival at the time of king Josiah.  It is a book which begins with judgment and ends with a song of rejoicing, and again as in Joel, the day of the Lord is the key to the study of this book.  Apart from references to that day, he uses the phrase seven times: (1) chapter 1: 7, “Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.” (2) verse 8, “And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord’s sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king’s children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.” (3) verse 14, “The great day of the Lord is near, it is near and hasteth greatly,” and (4) even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.” (5) verse 18: “Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath. (6) chapter 2: 2, introduced by verse 1: “Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, 0 nation not desired: Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day of the Lord’s anger come upon you.” (7) verse 3: “Seek ye the Lord all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness; it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s anger”.



Finally, in chapter 3 we have what has been described as the sweetest love song in the Old Testament, verses 16, 17 and 20: “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.  The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.  At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes saith the Lord.”






Then we come to Haggai - REASSURED, and how much we need it.  Haggai’s work is post-exilic.  The people who had returned from captivity were disheartened and they had much to discourage them.  Discouraged about rebuilding the temple, there was political intrigue that stopped the work and so the zeal and enthusiasm of God’s ancient people had mostly died away.  So the people made time for excuses, as we see in chapter 1: 2, and the thought that we may bear in mind as we read this is, that before the day of the Lord the temple will be rebuilt.  In fact, on my holiday last year I saw a film (I don’t know how authentic the interpretation of it is) which indicated that the Jews out there in their unbelief are asking permission to excavate on the site of the temple and what they are really doing is not just excavating but they are actually, according to the film, getting the foundations ready under the plea of doing some archaeological work; they are actually laying the foundations for the rebuilding of the temple.  I can only go on what the commentator of the film said, but THAT TEMPLE WILL BE REBUILT.  I am getting older than I was and I sometimes tell young people that I hope I shall live to see the temple rebuilt.



I was sitting in a train one day with a dear old Jew, and he was reading his Scriptures.  I said to the old man, Excuse me but do you believe that the temple will be rebuilt?  That dear old man looked at me and said, I pray for it every day.



We will just close with this thought of RE-ASSURANCE.  Chapter 2: 6-7: “For thus saith the Lord of hosts: Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land, and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts.”  I do not know how the Lord can fill the house of the Lord with glory if it is not there.  I know you can spiritualise all these passages, but when you have done spiritualising them there is still a great deal more.  I do feel when I listen to an A-millennialist preaching on these passages, how empty the message really is.  You can get something for the soul but you cannot get much for the future.  No hope for God’s ancient people, how sad!  But we do thank God for the wonderful truths in these minor prophets, and as our chairman has reminded us, they are not so minor after all.  There is prophecy packed in small portions. We thank God it is there and for the encouragement and the hope that this message brings to everyone who is looking forward to the coming of the day of the Lord from a true Godly motive.



*       *       *



The final section considers the biblical theme of the restoration of all things. …  Some of the content will be very new to readers, but a close reading will bring its own reward.  He considers elements of the restoration of both land and the people, and the categories of those involved in the restoration. …”





The Restoration of

All Things



David Noakes*



* David Noakes has had a long standing relationship with Prophetic Word Ministries in a number of roles, and is Chairman of the Board of Hatkvah Film Trust.  He is respected as a Bible teacher and acknowledged for his deep understanding of the ministry of the prophets.”




At the time of writing, it is a matter of weeks since a survey of the recent disturbing increase of anti-semitic attacks against Jewish people and property in Britain revealed that 80 per cent of those attacks were motivated principally by hatred related to the presence of the Jewish state in the Land of Israel.  Such hatred is today largely fuelled by the grossly distorted media coverage of the continual conflict in that small country between Israelis and Palestinians.



Behind this human hatred, however, lie more profound and significant causes.  What for centuries has been known as anti-semitism is now presented in a new guise: that of anti-Zionism.  The former is generally held, outwardly at least, to be unacceptable in our day as being racist and, therefore, politically incorrect, but paradoxically the latter is regarded as acceptable.  In essence however they are identical, inspired from the same hidden source.



In November 1975, the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution which declared that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.  Yet Zionism is in essence no more than the expression of the longing in the hearts of the Jewish people, after 19 centuries of exile and persecution, to return to the ancestral homeland of their forefathers and to enjoy peace and security in the Land which God has given by everlasting covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants (Gen 12-17).



Zionism, understood through the true perspective of the revelation of Scripture, is no modern phenomenon, but has its origins in the heart of the God of Israel Himself, and is clearly stated many times in His word.  Herein lies the key to understanding the true nature of anti-Zionism; it is rooted not in the political, social or even religious views of men, but in the age-abiding conflict between the God of Israel and His rebellious adversary, Satan, whose desire is to contest the word and will of God at every point - and never more than in matters concerning God’s own covenant Land and people of Israel, and His chosen city Jerusalem.



The driving force behind anti-Zionism is therefore not human and political, but lies in an unrelenting demonic hatred which seeks to manipulate the minds of men and control the affairs of the nations.  The supreme irony of the UN resolution already mentioned is that it was Zionism, an entirely biblical concept, which led to the creation of the modern State of Israel by an act of the United Nations Assembly, the same body which some 28 years later was effectively challenging the right of existence of that nation-state which it had established.



Christian Zionism



Zionism is today perceived as being essentially evil.  Christian Zionism is viewed as unacceptable in much of the professing church, being regarded simply as an expression of a fundamentalist right-wing religion-political position.  However, Christian Zionism is founded squarely upon the revelation of Scripture, as many have recognised in the centuries since the days of the great Puritan writers.  During more than four centuries, men of God who have believed the clear revelation found in the prophetic writings of Scripture have been convinced that the unequivocal predictions of the word of God must be fulfilled in the return of the descendants of Jacob to the Land given by God’s everlasting covenant to the Hebrew patriarchs and their descendants.



After many centuries of anti-semitic attitudes and behaviour on the part of the church in Britain, the translation of the Bible into English and a genuine spiritual awakening brought about a remarkable change of heart.  The Puritan movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries gave rise to a strong desire for reformation of the church accompanied by doctrinal purity, both of which arose from a renewed understanding of the inspiration and authority of the word of God and a more thorough acquaintance with its contents.  The result for many was an entirely new revelation of God’s everlasting love and His continuing purpose for the nation and Land of Israel; and with this revelation, the realisation that the fortunes of the Land and the people are inextricably intertwined and that it is essential in God’s purposes that the two be reunited.



In Britain, Christian Zionism is no new phenomenon.  As early as 1589 this renewed understanding cost Francis Kett his life, when he was burned as a heretic.  In 1621 Sir Henry Finch caused a great stir with his book The Restoration of the Jews, which had a somewhat utopian view of a restored Land of Israel which would function as a perfect theocracy.  During the period of the English Civil War and the Commonwealth between 1640 and 1660, there was a strong belief in a restored Jewish state which would lead to the imminent return of Messiah and the establishment of His millennial kingdom.  Such outstanding men as Cromwell, Pepys and Spinoza held this belief, based upon their understanding of the prophetic Scriptures, and Cromwell was inspired to readmit the Jews to England for the first time since their expulsion in 1290 by Edward I.



During the same period, the great theme of Jewish restoration to the Land of Israel inspired writings by men such as John Milton and Johann Comenius, while in the following century the truth of God’s word was upheld by Wesley and Whitefield, and in the nineteenth century the concept of a restored Jewish state was openly recognised and upheld by outstanding men of their day such as Palmerston, Shaftesbury and Disraell, Darwin, the well-known authors George Eliot and Robert Browning and the Scottish churchmen Andrew Bonar and Murray McCheyne.



From the time of the Napoleonic Wars, men of God who understood both the Scriptures and the signs of the times in which they were living, began to see and predict that Britain would become an instrument in the hand of God in His prophetic purposes of restoring the Jews to their ancestral homeland of Israel.  Christian statesmen and preachers alike accepted the revelation of Scripture on the matter and declared the truths of it from their platform’s and pulpits.



Rejection of the testimony of Scripture



Replacement theology, however, lacks this understanding, denying the revelation of Scripture which accounts entirely for the phenomenon which we are seeing in our own day, that of a nation being restored to her roots. Never in recorded history has any other nation dispersed into exile retained a sense of national identity through 20 centuries and returned to its original Land and language; yet this has happened before our eyes in our own generation.  To those who deny that this is a work of God, the same reply is appropriate as that which Jesus gave in His response to the unbelieving Sadducees: You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God’ (Mt. 22: 29).



Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?’ cries the psalmist in Psalm 2: 1 (NKJV).  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us,”’ he continues in verses 2-3.



This is precisely what we see in our own day: increasing worldwide rebellion against God and against the authority of Jesus His Messiah.  Everywhere the authority of the word of God in Scripture and the divinity of Jesus are being called into question, not least within the professing church; but the same psalm provides God’s response: He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.  Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion”’ (Ps 2: 4-6, NKJV).



These words are full of significance for our understanding.  Through the prophetic writings, God has revealed the reason why today the most disputed area of land in the world is that of Israel, and the most disputed city that of Jerusalem, with the Temple Mount at its heart.  The Land is God’s chosen Land, declared to be His inheritance together with the descendants of Jacob (Joel 3: 2); Mount Zion, the city of Jerusalem, is the chosen city of the great King (Ps 48: 1-3); and in Psalm 132: 13-14, God makes an unequivocal statement: For the Lord has chosen Zion, He has desired it for His dwelling place: “This is My resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it”’ (NKJV).



It is a bold professing believer who would dispute with the word of God which contains statements such as these: Zion, at the heart of the city of Jerusalem in the historic Land of Israel, is God's chosen dwelling place upon this present earth, and the place where the Messiah will return and establish His throne to rule the nations with a rod of iron and restore divine order to the rebellious nations. The time is coming when Zion will be the seat of His authority, when the government will truly be upon His shoulder’ (Is 2: 1-4; Mic 4: 1-5; Is 9: 6).



God’s promised restoration of Israel



In our own day, we are privileged to see the beginnings of a work which God predicted long ago.  In many places, the Hebrew prophets have foretold that the Day of the Lord would come; a day which would culminate in God’s restoration of the fortunes of the two houses of Israel and Judah (e.g. Jer 30: 3; 50: 4, 20, 33; 51: 5) and the reuniting of those two divided kingdoms into the one house of Jacob, the messianic kingdom of Israel living in her ancient Land and ruled by her returned Messiah (Ezek 37: 15-27).



From the time of the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BCE and the exile into captivity of Zedekiah, the last king of the southern kingdom of Judah, until the establishment of the modern State of Israel in 1948, national sovereignty and autonomy were lost to the Jewish people.  During that time they were subjected continually to Gentile rule. As the prophet Hosea predicted: The Israelites will live for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or idol’ (Hos. 3: 4). There would, as has now been the case for more than 2,500 years, be no kingdom or Temple; yet Hosea immediately adds: Afterwards the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king.  They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days’ (v. 5).



In the midst of the sufferings of exile and of the subsequent subjugation of the returned remnant under the successive rule of the great Gentile empires foreseen by the prophet Daniel, the descendants of Judah clung to the hope of eventual restoration which their God had given through the prophetic writings.  Thus it was that the burning question on the lips of the disciples of Jesus to the crucified and risen Messiah before His ascension was: Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ (Acts 1: 6).



The urgent desire of their hearts was for that national restoration which God had promised so many centuries earlier.  However, they were obliged to be content with the enigmatic response which Jesus gave: It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority (implying that the word of God would undoubtedly be fulfilled, but at the proper time, which had not yet come).



On the Day of Pentecost, the day when the giving of the Law was celebrated, the Holy Spirit came, as Jesus had promised, to put [God’s] law in their minds and write it on their hearts’ (Jer 31: 33).  Subsequently we find Peter, emboldened by the Spirit of God, addressing a crowd in the Temple in a most remarkable way (Acts 3: 11-26), which so enraged the religious establishment that Peter and John were jailed and brought before the authorities (Acts 4: 1-22).



Peter’s address confronted the nation of that time: Men of Israel …’ (3: 12).  As he had done on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2: 22-36), he stated unhesitatingly the sin of the disowning of the Messiah by His own people, together with the fact of His resurrection (vv. 13-15).



Having acknowledged that the rejection of Jesus had been done in a state of ignorance on their part, Peter then proceeded to unfold to his hearers the revelation that it had nevertheless also been God’s way of fulfilling the prophetic writings concerning the redemptive suffering of His Messiah; and to present to them the person of Jesus as the fulfilment of the Abrahamic covenant and the source of blessing to the nation if they would repent (vv. 17-26).



Tragically, as history bears witness, despite those who did repent and become followers of The Way, the nation as a whole continued in unbelief, and the terrible events of judgement followed in CE 70 as Jesus had predicted, while the birthright of Jacob’s descendants in the salvation accomplished through Messiah’s sacrificial death was made available to the Gentiles (Rom 11: 11-12, 25; Eph 2: 11-22).



Nevertheless, the ultimate purpose in the heart of God to fulfil the promised restoration of His covenant representative nation of Israel was not to be thwarted.  It was restated by Peter on that same day: Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you - even Jesus’ (Acts 3: 19-20).  We should take note that when Peter used those words appointed for you, he was addressing not Gentiles but men of Israel.  Jesus was, and remains, first and foremost the Messiah of Israel; the gospel is first to the Jew, then to the Gentile’.  His predicted return will be to Jerusalem, when at last His own people are ready to raise the cry, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord’ (Ps 118: 26; Mt 23: 39).  On that day the national repentance and turning to God for which Peter called (Acts 3: 19) will take place and national sin will be blotted out in a fountain of cleansing opened in Jerusalem (Zech 13: 1) as a result of the outpouring by the Lord of a spirit of grace and supplication (Zech 12: 10).  Then at last the times of refreshing’ (Acts 3: 19) will come, when God sends His Messiah for the second time.



It is of the utmost importance that we should be aware of the context in which these events take place, for otherwise we shall fail to understand the significance of the times in which we are now living, and our interpretation of the eschatological writings of Scripture concerning the end of this age will consequently be flawed; they will be like the spokes of a wheel that has no central hub into which they could fit.  When considering these eschatological predictions, it is only possible to obtain a clear and accurate picture if they are taken in the context of the whole prophetic revelation of Scripture, which states clearly that the return of Messiah will be first to His own chosen Land of Israel and city of Jerusalem, in order to save His covenant people from total destruction by Gentile armies (Is 63: 1-6; Zech 12: 9; 14: 3ff.) and to reveal Himself, for who He is, to a repentant people.



His feet will stand upon the Mount of Olives (Zech 14: 4).  He


will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem.  Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord Almighty will be called the Holy Mountain ... ‘I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west.  I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.’ As you have been an object of cursing among the nations, 0 Judah and Israel, so will I save you, and you will be a blessing’ (Zech 8: 3, 7-8, 13).



Creation - the restoration of all things



In the context of prophetic statements such as these, let us now return to Peter’s address to the men of Israel and in particular to the statement of Acts 3: 21 concerning Jesus whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time (NASB).  Jesus will return when that prophesied time of the restoration of all things comes. Who will accomplish this work of restoration?  He will.  Nowhere in Scripture is it suggested that any human person, group or nation can perform this task.  It is He who will return to restore divine authority and order on the earth, ruling the nations with a rod of iron (Ps. 2: 9; Rev. 19: 15), ruling with His mighty sceptre extended from Zion (Ps. 110: 2).  It is He alone who can judge with righteousness and cause the wolf to live with the lamb and the leopard with the goat (Is. 11: 1-9).  Then, when He returns, will come the times of restoration, when the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord’ (Is 11: 9).



What is to be restored?



What is to be restored in that glorious day, that unique day ... known to the Lord when The Lord will be king over the whole earth.  On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name’ (Zech 14: 7, 9)? What are the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from ancient times?  Is the church to be in some way restored, as some have suggested?  Nowhere is that to be found in the prophetic writings.  Rather, the Bride is to he completed, and presented to Jesus her Bridegroom as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless’ (Eph 5: 27).



What, then, has God undertaken to restore, as revealed through the prophets?  The Greek word Luke employs in Acts 3: 21 is apokatastasis.  This noun is found only in this one place in the Scriptures, and is derived from the verb apokathistemi, itself used on only three occasions, one of which is in Acts 1: 6, which has the meaning of restoring something to its former state.



The fallen creation



Taking first the most all-embracing aspect of this meaning, this prophesied restoration of all things embraces the entire fallen creation, which is groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time’ (Rom. 8: 22).  Paul speaks of ‘the glory that will be revealed in us’ while at present the creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed ... in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God’ (Rom 8: 18-21).



The entire fallen creation is thus revealed as being at present in anguish as a result of the Fall, awaiting the restoration that will be initiated when Messiah returns, bringing His redeemed saints with Him.  Through the atoning work of Messiah, God was not only reconciling the world of men to Himself (2 Cor 5: 18-21), but was pleased ... through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross’ (Col 1: 19-20).



This atonement is complete and all-embracing; when Messiah comes again He will establish reconciliation and order where there has been pain, disharmony, hostility and chaos, and Jew and Gentile will find in place of hostility and suspicion the joy of total reconciliation and of becoming at last truly one new man in Messiah (Eph 2: 15-16).



As Isaiah has foretold, the enmity of predators and prey in the animal kingdom will disappear (Is 11: 6-9). ‘They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain’ (v. 9) declares the prophet.  His declaration is repeated in Isaiah 65: 25 at the culmination of a passage (vv. 17-25) that looks to the immediate restoration of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel, but even beyond (v. 17) to the ultimate creation by God of the new heavens and new earth, later revealed more fully to John in Revelation 21-22.



This crucially important aspect of the restoration of all things apart, however, the prophets’ principal revelation has to do entirely with matters relating to the Land and nation of Israel.



The Land and nation of Israel



The Land is to be restored to the people and the exiled people to the Land.  The Hebrew prophets foresaw with awful clarity that disobedience would bring exile and dispersion, but also that God would subsequently restore His people to their own Land.  Moses foresaw the horrors of God’s judgement in awful detail in Deuteronomy 28: 15-68, including ultimate dispersion among the nations (vv. 64-68).  It was not a matter of ‘if’ but of ‘when’ (Deut 30: 1); yet in the same breath Moses also predicts ultimate reconciliation with God and restoration to the Land: Then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you ... and bring you back.  He will bring you to the land that belonged to your fathers, and you will take possession of it’ (vv. 3-5).



Many similar passages could be quoted, but the most outstanding and comprehensive prophetic revelation is to be found in Ezekiel 36, where first in verses 8-12 God speaks to the barren and desolate Land of Israel:


But you, 0 mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home.  I am concerned for you and will look on you with favour; you will be ploughed and sown, and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel.  The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt.  I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous.  I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.  I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk upon you.  They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children.



The nation’s relationship with her God



In verse 16 of the same chapter (36), Ezekiel is then led to prophesy concerning the exiled people.  Just as the Land of Israel does not prosper when its people are absent, so the people do not thrive when separated from the Land, for both together form God’s declared inheritance (Joel 3: 2).  Thus in this remarkable passage (36:16-38), Ezekiel speaks the word of God to the whole house of Israel in exile.  It is for His own sake, declares God, that He will restore an unholy and unbelieving nation to their homeland; and there He will restore them to Himself:



I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them.  Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.  For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.  You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God (NIV) ... Thus says the Lord God, ‘On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt.  And the desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passed by.  And they will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the Garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate, and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’  Then the nations that are left round about you will know that I, the Lord, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the Lord, have spoken and will do it. (vv. 33-36 NASB)



This is a work of restoration which God has declared unequivocally, both here and in numerous other places in the prophetic Scriptures, that he will surely accomplish (e.g. Is. 11: 11-12; 43: 5-7; 49: 8-23; Jer. 32: 37-41; Hos. 2: 16-23; Amos 9: 13-15; Zech. 8: 3-8).



The Davidic kingdom



The kingdom is to be restored to Israel, declares the word of God.  Although Jesus declined to reveal to the disciples the timing of the Father in the matter, the fact of this restoration is stated unhesitatingly in the prophetic Scriptures: ‘“In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent [i.e. the house, or dynasty, of David].  I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name,” declares the Lord, who will do these things’ (Amos 9: 11-12).



The God of Israel never breaks covenant, but keeps His word down to the last detail.  The covenant made with David has never been abrogated: Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever’ (2 Sam 7: 16).  Just as David, was king of Israel, so his successor the Messiah, born into his own house, will take His throne literally as King of Israel and the word of God will be fulfilled: Sing with joy for Jacob; shout for the greatest of the nations’ (Jer. 31: 7), for her King will also be King of the whole earth (Zech 14: 9).  In Jeremiah’s great passage concerning God’s restoration of Israel in chapters 32-33, God first reaffirms His intention to bring back both Judah and Israel from exile and rebuild them as they were before’ (33: 7).  He follows a further messianic prophecy (vv. 14-16) by moving straight into the following emphatic passage:



For this is what the Lord says: ‘David will never fail to have a man to sit on the throne of the house of Israel, nor will the priests, who are Levites, ever fail to have a man to stand before me continually to offer burnt offerings, to burn grain offerings and to present sacrifices.’  The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘This is what the Lord says: “If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time, then my covenant with David my servant - and my covenant with the Levites who are priests ministering before me - can be broken and David will no longer have a descendant to reign on his throne.  I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars of the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.’”  The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘Have you not noticed that these people are saying, “The Lord has rejected the two kingdoms he chose”?  So they despise my people and no longer regard them as a nation.  This is what the Lord says:-“If I have not established my covenant with day and night and the fixed laws of heaven and earth, then I will reject the descendants of Jacob and David my servant and will not choose one of his sons to rule over the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  For I will restore their fortunes and have compassion on them’” (vv. 17-26)



From the previously quoted passage from Jeremiah 33, two further significant, but often overlooked, aspects of God’s promised restoration of all things stand out with clarity.



The unity of Israel and Judah



The first is the assurance that both the southern kingdom (Judah) and the northern kingdom (Israel) will be restored to their inheritance in the Land.  The sceptre of rulership which belongs to Judah will be restored to union with the birthright to the Land which belongs to Joseph (Ephraim or Israel).  In the declared purposes of God, the descendants of all the tribes are to be reunited to form again the entire house of Jacob in the Land of their forefathers.



This prophetic prediction begs certain questions that cannot be considered here, but the weight of scriptural evidence is overwhelming.  Here in Jeremiah 33, the prophetic statement is that God will bring Judah and Israel back from captivity’ (v. 7); that He will fulfil the gracious promise I made to the house of Israel and to the house of Judah’ (v. 14); and again in verse 24, ‘Have you not noticed that the Lord has rejected the two kingdoms he chose?’  Hosea also makes the firm declaration: Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted.  In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people’, they will be called ‘sons of the living God’.  The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited, and they will appoint one leader and will come up out of the land, for great will be the day of Jezreel.’ (Hos 1: 10-11)



Isaiah 11: 12-14 predicts the re-gathering of the exiles of both Israel and Judah, and declares that the age-old jealousy of Ephraim towards Judah (who retained Jerusalem and therefore the Temple), and the hostility of Judah towards Ephraim, will end, so that united they will overcome their traditional enemies of Philistia, Edom and Moab.  The broken brotherhood between Judah and Israel (Zech 11: 14) will be permanently restored; God will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim’ (Zech 9: 13).



This prophetic revelation of the restoration of the whole house of Jacob through the re-gathering of both members of the divided kingdom of Solomon, Judah and Israel, finds full expression in the key passage of Ezeklel 37: 15-27:



The word of the Lord came to me: ‘Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, “Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.” Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, “Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.”  Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.  When your countrymen ask you, “Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?” say to them, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph - which is in Ephraim’s hand - and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.”  Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, “This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone.  I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land ...”’



*       *       *





The Sin of Silence



By  E. L. Burton



Now therefore why speak ye not a word

of bringing the king back?”

(2 Samuel 19: 10)



He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.  Amen.. Even so, come, Lord Jesus

(Revelation 22: 20).



The land of Israel was in a sad state of strife following the rebellion against David, the battle of Ephraim Wood, and the slaying of Absalom.  The people were distracted and disillusioned.  The proud promises of the usurper, Absalom, had passed away like morning mists with his unexpected and tragic death.  The rebel army was rent and broken by defeat.  Who could stand against David and his valiant veterans?



Without a leader the people were as sheep wanting a shepherd and their thoughts turned backward to the greatness and goodness of their old shepherd-king now in exile.  One to another they whispered: The king saved us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines ... Now therefore why speak ye not a word of bringing the king back?”  The desolation of defeat and despair, the delusion of Absalom’s rebellion, and the disrupted state of the land, drove them back on David; and yet, strange to say, while all felt the need of the king, no one would speak out and declare to the distracted nation, We need David back upon his throne!  Let us call him to return to Jerusalem!”



This sad sin of silence has often shackled the sons of men.  When Elijah faced the apostate nation on Carmel’s crest with the drastic challenge: How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him,” he was met with the sin of silence - And the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18: 21).



The grim charge that Jeremiah brought against the people of his day in the name of the Lord was, I called you, but ye answered not (Jer. 7: 13).  Surely a fatal sin of silence!



Then again, when our Lord stood before the chief priests on the morning of His crucifixion, He unveiled the same subtle sin. Art thou the Christ?  Tell us!” they cried.  He said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not answer Me nor let Me go” (Luke 22: 67-68).



Now, in these latter days, when many people are distressed and distraught with the confusion of world events, the lack of leadership, the seeming ineffective efforts of world figures to procure peace, and the inability of the Church to rectify the rent and restore order, may we not challenge the average professing Christian with the danger of the sin of silence?  Why speak ye not a word of bringing the King back?   Who else can right the wrongs of humanity?  Who else can rule the nations with equity?  Who else can defeat the devil, and bring in everlasting righteousness?  Who else, but the rightful, though rejected, King Jesus?  Surely, I come quickly,” was His final message to us, and yet, alas, how silent we are about it! How few in our assemblies rejoice to repeat the prayer of the beloved disciple Amen! Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”?  Why are we so silent about bringing the King back?  Do we not love Him enough to long for Him?  Massillon declared: “That in the days of primitive Christianity, it would have been deemed a kind of apostasy not to sigh for the return of the Lord.”  Ah! is that the hidden cancerous cause of modern apostasy?  Oh, Lord, deliver me from the sin of silence; make me an advocate of Thy Second Advent ever to speak a word about bringing the King back.









O Lord, I long to do Thy will,

To walk with Thee each day;

For I have often missed the path,

And turned to my own way.



But now I want to follow Thee,

My Saviour crucified,

And never wander from the way,

But keep close by Thy side.



Thy way is best tho’ dark or fair,

And I need never fear;

I’ll leave my future in Thy hands,

For Thou art ever near.



Tho’ floods of sorrow overwhelm

My soul from day to day,

Yet will I put my trust in Thee,

And seek to know Thy way.



So many things would claim my time,

But they are not for me;

Thy will alone must be my goal –

I yield, dear Lord, to Thee.