By Nathan Jones
On June 4, 2014, I was interviewed by Vic Batista, senior pastor of the Miami-based Calvary Chapel Aventura on his radio program "The Truth Will Set You Free" via TWave Radio. "Pastor Vic" (as he likes to be called) was born in the Dominican Republic and is as active in planting churches and helping orphans there as he is in southern Florida, reaching out with the Good News of Jesus Christ to both the English and Spanish speaking audiences.
In this "The Truth Will Set You Free" episode, we discuss what the Day of the Lord is, what it entails, and how we can have hope. The first half of the discussion is in English, while the second half is translated into Spanish.
The Day of the Lord
Vic: Today's topic is the Day of the Lord. As we look at 2 Peter 3:10-14, I wanted to ask you, Nathan, if you would maybe read that passage for us?
Nathan: Sure thing. That's a fantastic passage about the Day of the Lord. It covers a lot information and is kind of a broad brush stroke about what the Day of the Lord is. I'll go ahead and read it and I'll be doing so in the New International Version, starting in verse 10.
"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells. So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with Him."
Vic: Man, what an incredible passage! Nathan, this is so good that we are going to be covering this passage, because there's a lot of confusion when it comes to the Day of the Lord. I want for you to clarify for us by maybe talking to us a little bit about this passage and especially the Day of the Lord.
Nathan: Certainly. The Day of the Lord is one of the most often spoken about topics in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. You can find it in the prophetic books like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Amos, Zephaniah, Zechariah and Malachi. All these different prophets talked about the Day of the Lord. You can also find it all throughout the New Testament, too, and not just here in 2 Peter, but in Acts 2:20 and 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and Philippians 1:10. They all talk about the Day of the Lord.
Now, what is the Day of the Lord? Ezekiel 38 doesn't just call it the Day of the Lord, but the "later years" or the "last days." Jeremiah 30:7 calls it the "time of Jacob's trouble." So, we know that the Day of the Lord is the last years, the last days, before Jesus returns in His Second Coming.
Jesus promised that He would return, but before He returns the earth will face seven of the worst years in human history. Those seven years are the Day of the Lord. Another term for that is the Tribulation. So, going forward, Pastor Vic, I'll probably just call it the Tribulation because it's easier to say.
It is the seven year Tribulation that Daniel and the other prophets talked about where the Lord will pour down His wrath upon this world for its unceasing sin. Vic, it seems like the world is getting worse and worse and worse.
Vic: Yes, it is.
Nathan: People are crying out, "Lord, where are you? Why aren't you dealing with the murders and the deaths and the political corruption and the immorality that's growing and growing?" Well, the Lord has promised that He will deal with sin, because not only is He a God of love, but He is also a God of justice. So, the time is coming when the Lord will deal with that sin, and that's what the Tribulation is in part about.
The Lord also promises that He will take the Church — those of us who have accepted Jesus as Savior — that we will not have to face the wrath of God.
Nathan: We will be taken out of here before the Tribulation. If you think of Noah, Noah and his family were taken out of this earth before God poured His wrath upon it and destroyed the world for its sin. The Tribulation — the Day of the Lord — is just like that time. The Tribulation is God's wrath upon the world, and the Christian is exempt from having to endure God's wrath.
Purposes of the Tribulation
The seven year Tribulation that's coming on the earth has three purposes.
One, the Lord needs to deal with sin. Sin cannot continue to go on increasing and multiplying and destroying people like it does.
Two, and this is why in Jeremiah 30:7 the Day of the Lord is called the "time of Jacob's trouble." God has done one of the greatest miracles in history, Vic. He has taken a people group — the Jews — who have been dispersed from the land for almost 2,000 years and He has brought them back into their own country. He has given them their land again. In a few short decades they have restored the desolate land, they've brought Hebrew back from the dead as a language, they have a military that is one of the top ten militaries in the world, and the Lord is gathering them back a second time, though in unbelief. The Jews still don't believe in God, morally 90% of them are pretty much humanist at this point and so they definitely don't accept Jesus — Yeshua — as their Savior.
Much about the Tribulation will concern the whole world fighting against the Jews. Today as we follow the news, we see that anti-Semitism — that hatred of the Jews — is growing and growing and growing, almost to the point where society was like before the Nazi Holocaust of the Jews. The Tribulation will sadly and terribly be a second holocaust of the Jews.
God has to bring people down to their knees before they'll call out to Him and ask for forgiveness and ask for salvation. And so, the second purpose of the Tribulation is to bring a remnant of the Jews, about one-third of the surviving Jews of the world who will be left by the end of the Tribulation, to salvation in Yeshua. There are about 12 million Jews alive today, but only one-third of them will be left to survive. They will call out to Jesus when He returns, "Blessed is He who comes in the name Lord." They'll call out, "Oh, Lord, you've come back and so we give our lives to you."
Many Gentiles during the Tribulation will accept Jesus as Savior as well as the Jewish remnant. And so, the third purpose of the Tribulation is so that Jesus can come back to rule and reign on this earth. He's going to abolish human government and set up His Millennial Kingdom for 1,000 years. The Day of the Lord is an end to human-led history.
The final human government will be really bad. All the world leaders will turn over control of their countries to a one-world leader whom the Bible calls the Antichrist. He will rule like the worst dictators of human history. The Bible reveals there will be a lot of death and destruction. That's why as we read in 2 Peter 3 where it talks about the destruction of the heavens and the fires and the elements melting.
But, we know that at the end of that Tribulation the Lord will restore the earth. Those who accepted Him as Savior during the Tribulation will live on into Jesus' Millennial Kingdom. We Christians who have been raptured will have our glorified, heavenly bodies and live there as well.
Nathan: Yes, hallelujah! I know I'm looking forward to an upgraded body. I really am. Those verses which describe the Millennial Kingdom says that Jesus will rule from Jerusalem. King David will be restored to the throne. And, the whole world will know peace and righteousness and justice with Jesus as King. You and I, Pastor Vic, we're going to be administrators and teachers of the Word throughout the Millennial Kingdom. The world will know peace and righteousness like it has never known before.
If you've woken up in the morning just before the dawn, and you see how it is so dark at that time of day, the Tribulation is like that. It's like that darkest part of the night, the darkest before you get the morning dawn. The Tribulation is the darkest time in human history, but it happens just right before the dawn.
When Jesus returns, He'll defeat Satan. He'll defeat the Antichrist and his False Prophet. Jesus will defeat all the evil in the world and set up His Kingdom here on earth.
Window of Opportunity
Vic: Amen, that's just super cool! Nathan, we share this passage here regarding the Day of the Lord, but the reality of it is that God also has a plan for humanity, right? There in 2 Peter 3:9 he says, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some count slackness, but is long suffering towards us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." So, there is still a window of opportunity, right, Nathan?
Nathan: Oh, definitely. I think 2 Peter 3:9 is the key verse for explaining why in the world it seems like God is just sitting on the sidelines watching, because He's not. Like verse nine says, the Lord is patient. The Lord wants to give every opportunity to people to ask for forgiveness of their rebellion against Him — their sin — and accept Jesus as their Savior. To be saved is to be saved from the punishment of eternal death, which is Hell, and that's why the Lord is holding out. We Christians as well don't want anyone to have to live into the Tribulation, for it is the worse time period in human history, and want everyone to come to Jesus for salvation.
There are 21 judgments that God is going to release upon the earth. I'll tell you, Vic, between the wars, the pestilence, the famine, the disease, the death and the suffering, just in the first year half the human population will die. We're talking about 3.5 billion people dying during the Tribulation! The ecology of the world will be destroyed. The waters become by the end undrinkable. The nations of the world collapse, the systems collapse, and every evil is allowed because God's restraining hand is pulled back and people are allowed to live out any sin they want and suffer the consequences. It's going to be the worst time in human history.
So, sure, we don't want anyone to have to go through that time period. That's why the Lord is being patient. He's waiting to the very last second before His anger is so built up that He finally has to step in with justice and deal with sin.
Vic: That's right. And you know what, Nathan? What a wonderful word of encouragement, because maybe someone reading this is new to this concept of the Day of the Lord and they don't know the Lord, but there's still time for them to turn, repent, and call on the name of Jesus. Those who call on the name of the Lord will be saved.
In the second part of Pastor Vic and my discussion of the Day of the Lord, we'll address those who scoff at the idea of the Lord's return, how we can be rid of fear, and why believers in Christ should live holy lives. Plus, we'll address a call-in question about how fast the Rapture happens.