2 "I will utterly consume everything From the face of the land," Says the LORD; 3 "I will consume man and beast; I will consume the birds of the heavens, The fish of the sea, And the stumbling blocks along with the wicked. I will cut off man from the face of the land," Says the LORD… 7 Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD; For the day of the LORD is at hand…
Zephaniah 1:2-3, 7
Zephaniah, in three relatively short chapters, employs the phrase “the day of the Lord” seven times. What is “the day of the Lord?” Ultimately, the day of the Lord is God’s final judgment of all the world when Christ comes again. We tend to think excitedly of the Second Coming of Christ with glowing expectation of the full realization of Christ’s Kingdom in the New Heavens and the New Earth. While that is true, the flip side of the day of the Lord is the outpouring of God’s most severe wrath on all sin and on all sinners. That aspect of that great day of the Lord is not so appealing to us.
There have been other “days of the Lord” along the winding path of biblical history. The great and terrible day of the Lord for Israel was in 722 BC when the Assyrians destroyed Israel and cruelly marched them into exile, from which they never returned as a people.
The great and terrible day of the Lord for Judah was in 586 BC when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, enslaving most of the population in far away Babylonia. God graciously delivered the Judeans back after 70 years, since the Messiah was to come from the tribe of Judah.
As already mentioned, the final great and terrible day of the Lord will be the day of final judgment. At that judgment, those sentenced to God’s unending wrath will never return. Those in Christ, will be delivered into the everlasting bliss in God’s kingdom. Those who will be spared in the final judgment are spared because of another great and terrible day of the Lord. That day took place 2,000 years ago in a cross on a hill called Calvary, where God the Father poured out the wrath deserved by those He purposed to spare on His only Begotten Son, Jesus. What a terrible day that was when the Son of God experienced the full fury of Father’s wrath! What a great day that was for those who will be ultimately and forever spared because of what happened on that day 2,000 years ago!