The Day of the Lord
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.
This article will offer a unique perspective on the Day of the Lord and what it means for the Church, for Israel and for the world at large. The threefold purpose of this article is to:
- Identify the precise beginning of the Day of the Lord within Revelation.
- Prove how it relates chronologically to the Seventieth Week of Daniel.
- Show how it specifically relates to a major Old Testament prophecy that will soon be a major event threatening Israel's very existence.
Before we examine the different arguments that support each of the various viewpoints let us first turn to the Scriptures to gain a more precise idea of what is included in this Day. The prophecies of a future end-times Day of the Lord are given through eight Old Testament prophets:
- Isaiah- 2:10-22, 13:6-13
- Ezekiel- 13:5
- Joel- 1,2,3
- Amos- 5:18-20
- Obadiah- 1:15-17
- Zephaniah- 1, 2:1-3
- Zechariah- 14:1-9
- Malachi- 4:5
- Thessalonians 5:1-11
- Thessalonians 2:1-4
- Peter 3:9-10
There are also a number of other references to either the "Day of Christ" or the "Day of the Lord Jesus" within the New Testament, but these others are of secondary importance to this study and will not be examined, (1 Corinthians 1:8, 3:13, 5:5, 2 Corinthians 1:14, Philippians 1:6,10, 2:16, 2 Timothy 4:8).
We will begin our examination of the Day of the Lord by listing some of the specific events that are predicted to come within the Day of the Lord:
Blackout of natural light sources
Isaiah 13:9-10, "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh... For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine."
Joel 2:1-11, "...for the day of the Lord cometh... the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining... for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?"
Joel 3:14-15, "for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining."
A few other texts also offer general descriptions of darkness, clouds and gloominess during the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:2, Amos 5:18-20, Zephaniah 1:15).
A shaking of the heavens and the earth
Isaiah 2:12-21, "For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low... And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth."
Isaiah 13:13, "Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger."
Joel 3:16, "The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel."
The destruction of the wicked
Isaiah 13:9, "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it."
Isaiah 34:2, "For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter."
Obadiah 1:15-16, "For the day of the Lord is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been."
Zephaniah 1:17, "And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung."
The old earth will be destroyed and made new
Zephaniah 1:2-3, "I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the Lord. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked: and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the Lord."
Zephaniah 1:18, "Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the Lord's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land."
Zechariah 14:8-9, "And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be. And the Lord shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name one."
2 Peter 3:10-13, "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, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."
The four previous events are each proven by numerous texts and confirmed by different prophets to be events which occur during the Day of the Lord. By themselves they do not provide evidence for how long the Day of the Lord will last, or when it begins in relation to the Seventieth Week of Daniel, but they do combine to tell us the basic facts of this Day or period. Fortunately the prophets offer us many more clues that will allow us to understand this Day better. These include several prophecies of events that will occur before the Day of the Lord even begins:
The "falling away" and the revealing of the "man of sin:"
2 Thessalonians 2:3, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."
The appearance of Elijah:
Malachi 4:5, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord."
The sun will be darkened and the moon will turn red like blood:
Joel 2:31, "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come."
There is one more line of evidence that must be pursued before attempting to decipher the mysteries surrounding the volatile subject of the Day of the Lord. As well as telling us what occurs during the Day of the Lord, and what occurs before the Day of the Lord, God's prophets have also provided us with clues that describe how the Day of the Lord begins:
The Day of the Lord will begin with sudden destruction
Isaiah 13:6, "Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty."
Joel 1:15, "Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come."
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, "... the day of the Lord so cometh... then sudden destruction cometh upon them..."
The Day of the Lord will begin unexpectedly, "as a thief in the night"
1 Thessalonians 5:2, "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night."
2 Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night..."
The Day of the Lord will begin when people are saying "peace and safety."
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
The scriptural evidence given above can be summarized to offer the following description:
The Day of the Lord will be preceded by the prophet Elijah, the "falling away," the revealing of the Antichrist, and by a cosmic sign wherein the sun will be darkened and the moon will turn red like blood. The Day of the Lord will then come unexpectedly, as a thief in the night (to unbelievers, that is), when people are saying "peace and safety." It will come with sudden destruction, and during the Day of the Lord the earth and the heavens will be shaken, there will be a complete blackout of the sun, moon and stars, the wicked will be destroyed and the old earth will be wiped clean and made new again.
The above description is a God-given Scriptural fact. It can be counted on to be true. The rest of this article will contain within it much of my own reasoning and conjecture based on these facts. What is written above is directly from the infallible word of God, while much of what is written below comes only from my own fallible, yet God-given intellect. At this point my study will now begin to address the more divisive issues that surround the Day of the Lord.
Red Moon/Dark Moon
An important point that must be immediately considered is the distinction between the predicted sign of the red moon, and the many predictions of a completely darkened moon. It should be observed that a darkened moon is never specifically described as coming before the Day of the Lord, whereas the red moon is. The prophets have a pattern for their Day of the Lord descriptions: first an announcement is made, such as "The Day of the Lord is come..." or "The Day of the Lord is near.." or "The Day of the Lord is at hand..." After the introduction, then comes the description of what will occur during the Day of the Lord. The vast majority of the predictions of Day of the Lord events follow this pattern, and so do the predictions of a darkened moon. Occurrences of a darkened moon should be understood as falling within the Day of the Lord.
The prediction of the red moon is different. There is no introduction. The statement is simply made that... "The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come," (2:31). And then separately Joel describes what happens during the Day of the Lord, "... the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining," (3:14-15). Joel clearly understands the differences between a red moon and a darkened moon, for he predicted them both. Joel also shows that they occur at separate times: one before and one during the Day of the Lord. For this reason, I ask that the reader consider the possibility that cosmic disturbances associated with a red moon are meant to be understood as separate and distinct from cosmic disturbances associated with a darkened moon.
The Revealing of the "man of sin"
Pre-wrath and post-trib views put forth the argument that the revealing of the Antichrist takes place at the midpoint of the 70th Week, when he desecrates the Temple. Because the revealing must precede the beginning of the Day of the Lord, this interpretation is offered as evidence that the Day of the Lord cannot begin until after the midpoint of the 70th Week. The text in question is 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
This argument is countered by pointing out that the Antichrist might just as easily be revealed near the beginning of the 70th Week. He is intimately involved in initiating the 70th Week itself through the covenant of Daniel 9:27, and he is symbolically represented at the breaking of the very first seal when the horseman is given a crown and rides out to conquer. In actuality the text above does not state that the revealing takes place within the Temple, rather, verse 4 simply gives a continued description of the Antichrist's career. In the following verses (8-9), the Antichrist's "revealing" is paralleled with his "coming." They take place at the same time, with miracles, signs and wonders, which he will perform from the moment he becomes a public figure. The identity of the Antichrist is not a mystery until the midpoint of the 70th Week. His revealing is the very same as his coming, which occurs very early within, or even before, the Tribulation.
Peace and Safety
The Pre-trib view places a great deal of emphasis on Paul’s words that the Day of the Lord will come suddenly at a time when people are saying "Peace and safety," (1 Thessalonians 5:3). This view argues that the only time people will be experiencing peace and safety is before the Tribulation, and therefore the Day of the Lord includes the entire Tribulation period.
In response to this argument Post-trib scholars maintain that people need not be experiencing peace and safety to say "peace and safety." Perhaps the people prior to the Day of the Lord are simply anticipating peace and safety. The Pre-wrath argument primarily uses this same defense. Both views are forced to use this type of interpretation because both views place the beginning of the Day of the Lord far past the midpoint of the 70th Week, when the world is experiencing anything but peace and safety.
The Post-trib view places the Day of the Lord as a single 24-hour period after the seven-year Tribulation during which all of the wicked are destroyed. Prior to the Second Coming the people of the earth are certainly not experiencing peace and safety, because of the terrible judgments from God inflicted on the earth at this time, leading them to curse Him (16:9-11). The truth is that at the end of the 70th Week, the wicked are also not anticipating peace and safety. On the contrary, the wicked are anticipating war! The end of the 70th week will not come as a surprise to the wicked because they gather their armies and assemble to fight against Jesus Christ at the appointment that He has made for the Second Coming:
This assemblage to resist the Lord with force of arms is described in Joel 3:9-12, "Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about."
Psalm 2:1-5 describes God’s mocking attitude towards their foolish plans, "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."
The plot to defeat Jesus Christ at the Second Coming is also described vividly in Revelation: The ten kings who serve the Antichrist are predicted in 17:14 to make war against the Lamb. The sixth bowl describes evil spirits going out to the kings and armies of the world to gather them to battle. The result of this plotting, as well as its failure, is described in 19:19-20,"And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."
Another point to make is that when Satan is cast down at the midpoint of the 70th Week he understands that "he hath but a short time" (Revelation 12:12). Satan has access to the Scriptures and he will be able date the time of the Second Coming. The Antichrist, who is Satan incarnate would know this as well. At the end of the Tribulation the wicked of the earth are in a state of unadulterated willful rebellion against the Creator of the universe. Why would Satan and/or the Antichrist keep the information on the timing of the Second Coming from them when they already wear the Mark of the Beast? Because the people of the earth plot, conspire, prepare for war and then gather for that war in Israel at the end of the Tribulation we know that an alleged Post-trib Day of the Lord would take no one by surprise. And would "peace and safety" be something at the forefront of their minds, let alone on their lips? Certainly a post-trib Day of the Lord would not be preceded by an anticipation of "peace and safety."
The Pre-wrath argument for peace and safety is a little bit more plausible. Perhaps people are anticipating peace and safety at a certain point after the midpoint of the 70th week. Perhaps the wicked feel that the Antichrist will lead them to utopia after mother-earth finishes cleansing herself. But now we are back to the main argument of what Paul intended to convey when he wrote, "…the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them." Are the people who are saying "peace and safety" merely anticipating peace and safety while experiencing the judgments of Revelation, or are they experiencing peace and safety? My opinion is that Paul's common sense meaning conveys that they are experiencing peace and safety, and Paul contrasts this with the "sudden destruction" that they will soon face. Fortunately though, there is more than just my opinion to make the case.
Prophecy scholars are virtually united in the belief that Jesus was speaking about the beginning of the Day of the Lord within his Olivet Discourse, and both Pre-trib and Pre-wrath scholars apply the following passages to the Day of the Lord within their prophetic models. During Jesus’ sermon He compared the coming of the Son of Man to the days of Noah and to the days of Lot. In both cases the people of the earth were experiencing peace and safety, which was quickly followed by sudden destruction:
Matthew 24:37-39, "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Luke 17:26-30, "And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed."
Jesus gives us the answer as to what Paul meant when he wrote that people shall be saying "peace and safety" prior to the "sudden destruction" of the Day of the Lord. They are saying "peace and safety" because they are experiencing peace and safety. They are eating, drinking, marrying, buying, selling, planting and building. And as Jesus goes on to describe, they are doing this while believers and unbelievers are comfortably living, working and even sleeping together! Certainly this points to an early beginning to the Day of the Lord, perhaps prior to the Tribulation, but certainly prior to the institution of the Mark of the Beast, which is begun at the midpoint of the 70th Week. The Mark will act to separate believers from unbelievers in a very harsh and definite manner.
My own conclusion regarding the "peace and safety" prior to the Day of the Lord is that people will be experiencing peace and safety, which tends to support a pre-Trib or at least a very early Trib beginning for that Day.
The Day of the Lord as it relates to other end-times events
There are two other Day of the Lord events which provide more evidence for an early beginning to this great Day:
The fall of Jerusalem: This event is described in Zechariah 14:1-3 as occurring within the Day of the Lord, "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil 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 the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle."
Most scholars place this event near the midpoint of the 70th Week when the Antichrist takes over the Temple. The fall of Jerusalem is instigated by the Antichrist, after which he makes Jerusalem his capital (Daniel 11:45). After Jerusalem is captured and made the capital of the Antichrist's worldwide kingdom the nations never gather to fight against Jerusalem, because they would then be fighting their king! However they do gather in Israel to fight against Jesus Christ.
Zechariah 14:1-3 is evidence that the Day of the Lord includes within it the fall of Jerusalem to the armies of the Antichrist's united nations. The Day of the Lord must begin prior to this event.
The invasion of the horse-like armies: The prophet Joel described a terrible, virtually unstoppable army that will invade during the Day of the Lord, "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the Lord shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?" Joel 2:1-11
The prophet introduces the passage with the familiar preface, "... the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand," and then the invasion is described. After this lengthy description is ended, a concluding statement is made saying, "... the day of the Lord is great and terrible, and who can abide it?" Obviously this invasion is a Day of the Lord event.
This invasion is also described in Revelation as the sixth trumpet judgment. Joel's invasion is described as an army of huge numbers, the greatest army ever fielded. Revelation places that number at 200 million strong. Joel and Revelation both describe them as appearing like horses, and both describe the invasion leaving terrible devastation in its wake. It is my belief that this unstoppable horse-like army led by four fallen angels, breathing smoke and fire and unable to be wounded, is not Chinese.
The timing of this invasion, also described as the second woe, is connected to the ministry of the Two Witnesses. They minister for 1260 days, they are killed by the Beast, and then they are resurrected days later. On the day of their resurrection Revelation 11:14 states, "The second woe has passed..." The ministry of the Two Witnesses can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to occur within the first half of the 70th Week (http://www.redmoonrising.com/twowitnesses.htm). If this is true, then Joel's invasion must begin prior to the midpoint of the 70th Week when the Two Witnesses are killed. This is further evidence that the Day of the Lord must begin prior to the midpoint of the 70th Week.
The Beginning of the Day of the Lord Within Revelation
Revelation 6:12-17 describes the beginning of the Day of the Lord,
"And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"
There are five events which occur in sequence after the sixth seal is opened:
- A local earthquake at an unknown location.
- A darkening of the sun.
- A blood red moon.
- A brilliant meteor shower.
- A great shaking of the earth.
The darkened sun and blood red moon are the fulfillment of the sign predicted in Joel 2:31. This sign occurs "before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come." The Day of the Lord must then begin after the sixth seal's third event.
The fifth event is described as causing every mountain and island to move out of its place. If taken literally, then certainly this must mean that the entire earth is moved. When this occurs the sky is darkened, and the stars would then be visible. The heavens appear to move across the sky as the letters on a scroll are rolled up as it is being read. Revelation is describing a massive polar-shift type event where the earth tips over, causing islands and mountains to move from their set places (perhaps their known latitude and longitude), and the heavens to move across the sky rapidly like a scroll that is being rolled up. Perhaps the north star would then be in the west, or the southern cross in the north. When this event occurs the people of the earth react wildly as described in verses 15-17. The passage concludes with their cries of, "...the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" The people of the earth know full well that the Day of the Lord has just begun.
Compare the latter part of the sixth seal passage above with a similar passage found in Isaiah 2:12-21,
"For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low... And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day... And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth."
This is a separate prophecy of the same event. Isaiah describes the very same actions of a terrified humanity and he writes that this terrible "shaking" of the earth is indeed a Day of the Lord event.
The sixth seal of Revelation combines with this prophecy of Isaiah to show us that the Day of the Lord will begin with a great shaking of the earth by the hand of God.
At this point we should stop and consider again the evidence that we have collected on the subject of the Day of the Lord:
The Day of the Lord will be preceded by the prophet Elijah, the "falling away," the revealing of the Antichrist, and by a cosmic sign wherein the sun will be darkened and the moon will turn red like blood. The Day of the Lord will then come unexpectedly, as a thief in the night, when people are saying "peace and safety" while living in a state of peace and safety. It will come with sudden destruction and will first be felt when God causes a great and terrible shaking of the entire earth.
Read now the prophecy of Ezekiel (38:1-20) which predicts the events that will take place at the time of a massive invasion of Israel:
The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army--your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops--the many nations with you.
" 'Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.
" 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You will say, "I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people--all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land." Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, "Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?" '
"Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
" 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground...' "
Ezekiel begins this passage by speaking of a man named Gog, from the land of Magog, the leader of a huge military alliance that will include a number of Muslim nations. This alliance of nations plots and schemes and basically says "Look at Israel, living in peace and safety and enjoying riches and great wealth, we will attack her and destroy her and carry off her wealth." The narrative continues and states that when Magog begins to invade, that God will immediately act, and reach out in his wrath, first causing a local earthquake in Israel, but one that increases in scope, so that it engulfs the entire earth. The entire earth will be shaken on this day, when Israel is living in peace and safety, so that the beasts, the creatures, all of the people on the face of the earth and even the fish, tremble at the presence of God. This great shaking causes "sudden destruction" in the form of mountains overturning, cliffs crumbling and walls falling to the ground. The great and terrible Day of the Lord begins here, in Ezekiel 38:20, at the time of the Magog invasion of Israel.
When the sixth seal of Revelation is broken the first event is a local earthquake. Ezekiel explains that this earthquake will be felt in Israel. Revelation then describes the cosmic signs of the darkened sun, blood red moon and meteor shower, events which are left out in Ezekiel's account. The Day of the Lord then begins with the fifth event of the sixth seal, the greath shaking of the earth that is described as the mountains, islands and heavens moving. Ezekiel records this event in 38:20 and Isaiah in 2:12-21. All three accounts describe similar reactions from the people of the earth. Isaiah says that they react from the "dread of the Lord" and the "splendor of His majesty," Ezekiel states that every man will "tremble at His presence," and Revelation states that people ask to be hid from the face of God and from the wrath of the Lamb. Ezekiel confirms that this event is indeed an outpouring of God's "wrath."
If there is any doubt within the mind of the reader as to whether or not the event predicted in Ezekiel 38:19-20 is the same as the event that will come at the opening of the sixth seal, then he or she should continue on to Ezekiel 38:21-39:6 and compare that passage with the events that come after the opening of the sixth seal in Revelation 8:1-7.
Ezekiel- "I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.' ...I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD."
Revelation- "When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.... The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up."
Ezekiel tells us that the invading armies will be destroyed, and that the nation of Magog itself will also be judged. God will send fire upon that nation, as well as on the "coastlands." If Magog is indeed Russia, and "the coastlands" refers to the other invading nations and/or the Mediterranean basin or other unknown areas, then the judgment of fire in Ezekiel's account could easily fulfill the first trumpet judgment from which one third of the earth is burned up with fire.
How does the beginning of the Day of the Lord relate to the Seventieth Week of Daniel?
After the Magog invasion is destroyed, then Israel is preoccupied with cleaning up and rebuilding. Part of this cleanup includes taking possession of a vast collection of captured weapons, as related in 39:9. Ezekiel is precise that these weapons will be used as a fuel source for exactly seven years. Perhaps a ten or even fifteen years supply is captured, but they will be used for fuel for seven years.
It is my belief that this seven-year period is not a coincidence, and that the 70th Week covenant will be implemented with Israel via the Roman leader in the aftermath of the Magog invasion. It is not farfetched to believe that this agreement comes after a great war, as this is usually when peace treaties are implemented. After the sixth seal is broken the 144,000 are sealed, and this will lead to a Godly revival in Israel. Unfortunately there will be "many" (Daniel 9:27) Jewish leaders who will remain Anti-christian and who will be party to the 70th Week covenant, the "covenant with death," (Isaiah 28:14-18). They will be involved with building the Temple, and re-instituting the animal sacrifices which are called an abomination in Isaiah 66:3.
There are some prophecy scholars who believe that the Magog invasion takes place within the 70th Week of Daniel. This view would then place a portion of the seven years that Israel burns weapons for fuel during the Millenial Kingdom. At face value this should sound very improbable. Why would Israel need to burn old captured weapons for fuel in the new earth of the Messianic Age? Indeed, this is entirely impossible, because Isaiah 2:4 describes what will be made of weapons of war, captured or otherwise, prior to the Millenial Kingdom,
"And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."
There can be no burning of weapons during the Millenial Kingdom because the Lord will decree at the onset of His reign that all weapons be recycled into agricultural equipment!
It is my belief that the only sound conclusion that can be arrived at after weighing all of the Biblical evidence, is that the great and terrible Day of the Lord begins prior to the beginning of the Seventieth Week of Daniel 9:27, at the time of the Magog invasion of Israel.
It is only fitting that the Lord, who delays His coming as long as possible in order that He might save as many as possible (2 Peter 3:9), is finally forced into action when His wayward people, those who rejected Him yet whom He loves with all His heart, are faced with the certain annihilation of their new nation.
If the conclusion of this article is correct then it raises a number of questions regarding our present preconceptions of prophecy. If the Day of the Lord begins prior to the 70th Week, yet at the opening of the sixth seal, then how should the first five seals be viewed? Do they describe a lengthy period of pre-Day of the Lord tribulation? Or are they opened in a matter of moments in heaven, setting the stage for a Tribulation beginning with the sixth seal?
Another important question that should be raised is that of the obvious change that takes place to believers in heaven as the Day of the Lord begins on earth. At the fifth seal, the souls of martyrs are shown at first not wearing robes and existing under the altar. After the sixth seal a great multitude of believers are shown in heaven, clothed with robes, standing before the throne of God. What caused this distinct and notable change? Who better fulfills these words of Jesus? "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man," (Luke 21:36).
The 24 Elders- "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting...(4:4) And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon..." Where is Jesus prior to Revelation 5:6?
The Great Multitude- "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb..."
Is the Great Multitude taken out of the Great Tribulation, or are they taken away from the Great Tribulation, moments before it begins?
After the sixth seal is broken God asks that the 144,000 be sealed with the Seal of God. In Revelation 14:4 they are described as "firstfuits" who were purchased from among men and offered to God and the Lamb. The term "firstfruits" only makes sense if the 144,000 are understood as the first converts from a world left with only unbelievers after the Rapture of the Church. They are the firstfruits of the Tribulation period. This group is converted at a point precisely after the outbreak of the Day of the Lord, and after they are sealed the Great Multitude of believers is shown already present in heaven.
If the Rapture and the Day of the Lord both begin near to the time of the Magog invasion of Israel then a great number of questions are raised. Many of these question await logical answers, but many of them I have sought to address myself. If the reader is led to pursue this line of prophetic study then please go to www.redmoonrising.com where I have posted a number of articles relating to my research into this area over the past few years. I welcome any feedback and criticism and I would be very pleased to continue this study in the company of sincere, truth-seeking believers. Thank you and God bless.