What is the Day of the Lord? It's a phrase referenced throughout the prophetic books of the Hebrew Bible, and its meaning can help shed light on the biblical story of deliverance.
Day of the Lord
It can be discouraging to think about all of the evil in our world. Does God still care about the destruction humans have caused in his good world? Will he ever do anything about it? In this video, we look at how God confronts human evil, as well as the deeper spiritual evil that is at work on Earth. Ultimately, we see how Jesus is the answer to the problem of evil, by allowing his death on the cross.Video Details
Does the Day of the Lord mean the end of the world?
This phrase is often used in modern contexts to refer to the end of days when Jesus returns at Armageddon to defeat evil once and for all. This understanding doesn't quite capture the full picture of what this phrase meant to ancient Jewish and Christian people. To better understand what the Day of the Lord is, we have to go back to the book of Genesis.
God created humans and gave them the authority to rule over the Earth as his representatives.
But humans decided to define good and evil for themselves, and this rebellion led to death and destruction. We see the Tower of Babel where humans tried to elevate themselves as gods, and we see the story of Egypt where Pharaoh enslaved the Israelite people. God’s people become completely removed from the peace and presence of God they had in the garden of Eden.
But God doesn’t forget about that. He liberates his people from slavery and exile. In the book of Exodus, the liberated Israelites praise God for their deliverance, singing about how God is their warrior who rescues them from evil. In this song, the Israelites refer to this liberation as "the Day." This is the first mention of the Day of the Lord in the Hebrew Bible. This day was then celebrated every year with the feast of Passover.
As the Israelites eventually settled in the promised land, they faced new enemies and challenges. But the remembrance of the Day through the celebration of Passover gave the Israelites hope that their God would again bring the Day and deliver them from evil.
Later in the biblical story, the Hebrew prophets began speaking about this Day. But the prophet Amos warned that the Day of the Lord was coming again to crush evil, but this time Israel was to be punished. The very nation God rescued from evil had begun perpetrating evil among their poor and vulnerable.
The Day of the Lord comes upon Israel, and they are conquered and taken into exile. Israel is ruled by one oppressive empire after another, including the oppressive empire of Rome into which Jesus was born.
Jesus didn't come to defeat the oppressive Roman empire with weapons of violence.
Instead, Jesus came to conquer the underlying issue—the sin of humanity that had been leading them astray since the Tower of Babel. Jesus took on the full power of sin and evil when he died on the cross, allowing evil to fully overcome him only to defeat its only weapon, death. In doing this, Jesus gave his followers power over sin and death through the forgiveness that he offered.
But evil still exists in our world, and Jesus promised to return for the final Day of the Lord. This is the Day of the Lord that the book of Revelation talks about, where Jesus will return and destroy evil completely, freeing our world from corruption and bringing about the good and perfect world that God had planned for us from the start.
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