Isaiah: The Day of the LORD.

6For you have rejected your people, the house of Jacob, because they are full of things from the east and of fortune-tellers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners. Their land is filled with silver and gold, and there is no end to their treasures; their land is filled with horses, and there is no end to their chariots. Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made. So man is humbled, and each one is brought low— do not forgive them! 10 Enter into the rock and hide in the dust from before the terror of the Lord, and from the splendor of his majesty. 11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:6-11)

Isaiah 2:6-22 concerns the subject known as the Day of the LORD. The Day of the LORD was an expression used by Old Testament prophets (as early as the eighth-century BC prophet Amos) to signify a period of time in which God actively intervenes in history, primarily for judgment. Thus “the Day of the LORD” is also called “the Day of the LORD’s anger” (Zephaniah 2:2).

Sometimes “the Day of the Lord” is used in the OT to speak of God’s past judgment (Lamentations 2:22). More often, the phrase describes an impending future judgment of a nation (Joel 2:1–11). However, the term most frequently refers to a climactic future judgment of the world (Joel 3:14–21; Malachi 4:5).

Often, prophecy of a near-future event and an end-time prophecy are merged—the immediate judgment being a preview of the final Day of the Lord. The prophecy of Isaiah against Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:6-22) and Babylon is an example (Isaiah 13:5–10).

Jesus Christ combined events described in Isaiah with other prophecies to explain his second coming (Mk 13:24–37). Another example is Joel’s prophecy of the Day of the Lord (Joel 1:15–2:11). Though the prophet initially spoke of God’s judgment on Israel by a locust plague, that judgment prompted further pronouncements about a final Day of the Lord far beyond Joel’s time (2:14–17, 31). That Day of the Lord extended even beyond the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost predicted by Joel’s prophecy (Joel 2:28–32; Acts 2:16–21; Revelation 6:12–13). The New Testament uses the term exclusively to mean the end times.

The final Day of the Lord is described in the Scriptures as a day of gloom, darkness, and judgment. Along with God’s judgment, is the language depicting changes in nature, including a darkening of the sun, moon, and stars (Isaiah 13:10; Joel 2:31; 3:15; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12).

All nations will be judged for their rebellion against God’s anointed people and king (Joel 3:19; cf. Psalm 2). Israel is counseled not to be eager for that day, because it will also include judgment on that particular people (Amos 5:18–20). However, the prophets promise that a believing “remnant” will be saved by looking to the Messiah they once rejected (Joel 2:32; Zechariah 12:10). Following the judgment, the future Day of the Lord will be a time of prosperity, restoration, and blessing for Israel (Joel 3:18–21).

The more explicit NT expressions—“the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:8), “the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14), and “the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10; 2:16)—are more personal and more positive. They point to final events related to Christian believers, who will not experience the wrath of God (1 Thessalonians 5:9). When the Day of the Lord comes, the earth will be renewed and purified through a judgment of fire (2 Peter 3:10–13). In the book of Revelation the final purging seems to come after the Millennium—that is, the 1,000-year reign of Christ (Revelation 21:1).

 As mentioned earlier, Isaiah 2:6-22 carries a near-far fulfillment regarding the Day of the LORD. When next we meet, we will examine Isaiah 2:6-11 to see why God chose to judge the Nation of Judah and when this judgment historically occurred.

Soli deo Gloria!

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