The Day of the Lord

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Question
How did the Old Testament prophets understand the coming "day of the Lord"?
Answer
There are several elements to the day of the Lord. First of all, and probably foremost, it would be the day that God would humble mankind and vindicate his own name. We see in Isaiah 2 it talks about how every lofty thing will be brought down, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. It says something of God's patience, doesn't it, that he has waited this long to bring that kind of a judgment upon the world. So there's that. There's also the fact that God will vindicate his people. Those who have oppressed his people will be brought down. His people will be exalted in the end. Often it talks in relationship to Israel being exalted and her enemies being destroyed. And it's also a day, ultimately, of redemption because it talks about, after this day, that the nations will call upon the Lord. It says in Zephaniah that after he pours out his indignation, then he will give the peoples, the nations, purified lips that they may worship him. Now, that's also found in the New Testament in the book of Revelation where, as they're ready to pour out the bowls of judgment upon the nations, those who are in heaven rejoice because, as a result, the nations will come and worship. And that's an aspect that's not often seen by commentators, that there is going to be, even after this judgment, the Spirit poured out upon people and, as a result, people will be saved. So, it's both a day of judgment, a day of vindication, a day where God alone will be seen to be who he is, and the world will know that the Lord is God. And it's a day that's supposed to be one looked forward to by God's people as the vindication most of all, not of us, but of his name and his glory.