The day of the Lord.
"The great day of His wrath is come, who shall be able to stand?" Rev. 6:17.
"The day of the Lord" is a scriptural name for a period of time, during which the Gospel and Millennial Ages lap; the one ending, the other commencing. Concerning it we read--"The day of the Lord is a day of darkness, and there is no light in it;" "That day is a day of trouble;" "Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord." It is "The great day of His wrath." This dark day is at once the closing scene of the night of weeping, and the dawn of the morning of joy. We desire your attention not merely to the Scripture evidence that there will be such a day, or time, but especially to the events that will transpire during that day, and their chronological order.
This time of trouble comes first upon the church, afterward upon the world; but in our examination we shall reverse this order; considering [R26 : page 1] first the trouble of the nations during "the day of the Lord." This is a natural consequence of the transfer of authority and rulership from the "Devil, who is the prince of this world," [age] to "Him whose right it is"--Christ--who, in the beginning of the Millennial Age, "takes to himself His great power and reigns;"--"And the nations were angry and thy wrath is come," read along connectedly. Rev. 11:17.
Unquestionably the kingdoms of this world are loyal to their prince. They are mainly controlled by evil, selfish, corrupt men, the agents and representatives of the "Prince of darkness," who do his will.
When the new Prince takes control, the dominion is to be given into new hands, and the Lord proclaims: "I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms and I will destroy the kingdoms of the Gentiles." Hag. 2:22.
Thus by "breaking in pieces"-- throwing down--"the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ," who shall reign forever. Rev. 11:15. Under the new rule there will be new rulers, and we read, "The saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, (dominion) and possess the kingdom forever." Daniel 7:18. Again "All nations, tongues, people, etc., shall serve and obey Him." At present they do not, and they must be brought, by chastisement, to submission; and this is accomplished in "The day of the Lord." The overthrow of nations and society will necessarily involve individual trouble. But, "When the judgments of the Lord are in the Earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." Isa. 26:9.
The trouble is graphically described by the Prophet: "That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess. I will bring distress upon men, and they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them, in the day of the Lord's wrath." Zeph. 1:15. "Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent." Zeph. 3:8. So extreme is the trouble here described, that the world is said to be burned up by the Lord's anger --yet it has a good effect, for after all the indignation against and destruction of governments, the people remain [the destruction is that of government life,] and having experienced the misrule of the "Prince of this world" they are prepared to have the Lord take "His great power and rule," and to "serve the Lord with one consent."
We expect that this distress and trouble will all come about in a very natural way; one prophet gives us a key to its cause by saying: "There shall be no hire for man nor hire for beast;--but every man's hand against his neighbor." Very many Scriptures seem to teach that the kingdoms of earth will be overthrown by a rising of the people: goaded to desperation from lack of employment and seeking relief from the oppression of bloodthirsty governments. Such a rising and overturning, Socialists, Communists, and Nihilists of to-day would gladly bring about if they could. Now, while Scripture recognizes wrong and oppression as existing in the nations and foretells this as the way in which they will be overthrown, and says: "Go to now ye rich men weep and howl for the misery that shall come upon you, ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. Behold, the hire of the laborers, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth." Jas. 5:1. Yet it does not recognize this Communism as right but the contrary rather instructing believers to "obey the powers that be" as long as they last, saying to us--"Be patient, therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord."
Rev. 6:15, figuratively describes that time of falling of kingdoms when every mountain (kingdom) and island shall be moved. The kings and chief ones as well as bondmen will recognize in this trouble that "The great day of His wrath is come," and will seek to make alliances and to hide themselves from the sure coming storm. They will seek to be covered and protected by the great mountains (kingdoms,) of earth and to be hid in the great rocks of this world's societies. (Masonic, Odd Fellows, &c.,) but they shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's anger," for "all the kingdoms of the world shall be thrown down," and instead of these mountains (kingdoms) "the kingdom of the Lord becomes a great mountain, and fills the whole earth." Daniel 2:35,45. Malachi 4:1describes the coming day of trouble and sees the anger of the Lord there displayed-- "the fire of God's jealousy." "Behold the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, and all that do wickedly shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up." Here the wicked are symbolized by stubble, God's wrath by fire, and the righteous by "calves of the stall." vs. 2.
2 Peter (3:10,12) describes this-- "Day of the Lord," and under symbol of heavens, refers to the governments. ("The heavens do rule.") "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, [overthrow of governments with great confusion] and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. The earth also, and the works that are therein shall be burned up." [The elements of the (heavens) governments as well as of (earth) society in general, will be dissolved in the great trouble (fire) of that day. The word here translated elements is the same that Paul uses in speaking of "the beggarly elements of this world." Gal. 4:9.
Scripture teaches that in the Millennial age, fleshly Israel will be the chief nation, "The joy of the whole earth." And we find that whilst other nations fall during the day of the Lord, they gradually come into prominence until in the latter part of that "day of wrath;" when "the battle of the great day" is fought, we find "Jerusalem safely inhabited, her people having much cattle and goods." They will doubtless go to Palestine, not through respect to promises of God, nor with the expectation of restoration to national power, but with true Jewish perception they will realize before others the dangers to which property, etc., will be exposed, during this overthrow of order and they will choose to be far away from the strongholds of communism. Yet even there they will not be secure for Gog and his bands say, "Come let us go up, to take a spoil and prey," "and they [R26 : page 2] come against Jerusalem a great company to pillage and rob the wealthy Jews there gathered from all quarters of the globe." Ezek. 38:8,12.
Zech. (14:1,4) describes the battle then fought. "Behold the day of the Lord cometh and the spoils shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken and the houses rifled, and half of the city shall go forth into captivity." Here God interposes and defends them, and here they come to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, for "The Lord my God shall come and all thy saints with thee"--and "His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives." I know not whether He and His saints will appear to them visibly or, be recognized by them in their remarkable and as described, miraculous deliverance from their enemies.
In Zech. 12:3, God declares that He will deliver them, "though all the people of the earth be gathered against them." Verse 10describes the recognition of Him whom they have pierced, and their sorrow when, in that day, God "pours upon them the spirit of grace and supplication."
Here are a number of events-- The "Time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation &c.;" The return of the Jews to Palestine and the reorganization of the Jewish nation though not independent; The gathering of great wealth to Jerusalem which tempts the hordes of Gog, Togomar and many peoples to go up "to take a spoil;" "The battle of the great day of God Almighty" fought at Jerusalem; The partial success of the invaders and in the hour of darkness to the Jew the power of Messiah manifested in some way effecting their deliverance; Their recognition of the long waited for Messiah and the cry "Lo this is our God, we have waited for Him and He will save us;" Then their recognition of him as the one whom they had once rejected, and as they look upon Him "whom they have pierced" (Zech. 12.) God will "pour upon them the spirit of grace and supplication" and they shall mourn for their sin, and be accepted again into fellowship with God. Thus in its close being "The day of Jacob's trouble but he (Israel) shalt be delivered out of it." These events we expect in about the order mentioned. As most of our readers are aware, we believe that the word of God furnishes us with indubitable proof that we are now living in this "Day of the Lord" that it began in 1873, and is a day of forty years duration as was "the day of temptation in the wilderness," when Israel proved God and saw His works forty years." Heb. 3:9.
And it is astonishing how very rapidly these things once looked at as absurd and impossible are becoming realities. When we with a few others declared these things only a short time since, and called attention to the fact that trouble was taught to be occasioned by a rising of the people and the overthrow of governments--Communism, we were laughed at; there was truly little sign then of Communism; but to-day every civilized nation is in dread, and Nihilism, Communism and Socialism, are household words, and we see "men's hearts failing for fear and for looking after those things coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven (governments) shall be shaken." Luke 21:26.
Of recent years the Jew has been coming into prominence, furnishing the world as capitalists and statesmen, such names as Rothchilds, Disraeli, Gambetta, Montefiero, etc., while yet more recently, complications of other nations have placed the control of Palestine in the hands of Hebrews, and opened it to them as a people for their home, whither the poorer classes are now flocking in great numbers from Russia, where one third of the race are said to reside. And what can be more probable than that the wealthy ones as already suggested, should flee there to escape the anarchy and insecurity of earth's falling empires.
But what of this day to the church? We will endeavor to show shortly.