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Joel 1:15: “The Day of the Lord”

“Alas for the day! For the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as destruction from the Almighty” (Joel 1:15).

“For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; who can endure it?” (Joel 2:11).

Joel 2:1,2, “Blow 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 is coming, for it is at hand: A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations.”

Joel 2:31, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”

Joel 3:14, “Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.”

The “Day of the Lord” is not just a day, but a period of time. It is one of the most important events in the Bible. It is a time of judgment. It’s a time when God’s patience runs out. It’s a day of reckoning. It is the theme of Joel.

The “Day of the Lord is mentioned four times in the New Testament:

Acts 2:20, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.”

1 Thessalonians 5:2, “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.”

2 Thessalonians 2:2 NASB, “That you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.”

2 Peter 3:10, ”But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”

Whatever the New Testament writer understood about the day of the Lord came from the Old Testament prophets.

Isaiah 2:12,13:6,9 “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up—and it shall be brought low…Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand! It will come as destruction from the Almighty…Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with both wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate; and He will destroy its sinners from it.”

Amos 5:18,20, “Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light…

Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?”

Malachi 4:5, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

Other prophets speak about the day of the Lord, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Obadiah, Zephaniah, and Zechariah. This subject is obviously important for us to know, God mentions it again and again.

Every reference is about judgment! It’s about noise, wrath, devastation, destruction, vengeance, darkness, clouds, gloominess, distress, blood and trouble! “What a day! Doomsday! God’s Judgment Day has come! The Strong God has arrived. This is serious business!” (Joel 1:15, The Message).

The day if the Lord is an event when God intervenes personally in human affairs. It refers to the cataclysmic and final judgment of God on the wicked. It is culmination of God’s fury in a final blast that consumes the wicked.

There is a lot of controversy about the day of the Lord. I have always believed it to be the seven-year Tribulation period, where God’s wrath is poured out on an unbelieving world.

Other Bible scholars teach that it is the 1000-year reign of Christ on earth, the Millennium.

Still others teach that it is the rapture, the tribulation and the the Millennium.

Others that it is all future events from the rapture, the coming of Christ for His church; the seven-year tribulation; culminating in the campaign of Armageddon, till Christ comes the second time with His church, then the millennium, the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth.

But if you are a true believer you do not have to be concerned! We are not looking for the day of the Lord, we are looking for the coming of the Lord!

Jesus said in John 14:2,3, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”

Realistically you could call our present day the day of Man. A time when God is allowing human evil to run its full course! God has allowed sin and debauchery to overtake our present world and there seems to be very little restraint against the forces of evil as the “Mystery of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). is running its course. That’s just preparation for the “Man of sin,” the “Antichrist” to be revealed.

Our text tells us “the day of the Lord is at hand.” Just as the signs of the times in Matthew 24 give us indications of the last days, so do the attitudes listed here by Paul. He says, “Know this!” because it is important in identifying the signs of the times. When he finishes with his litany, he writes, “And from such people turn away.”

2 Timothy 3:1-5, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

Let’s just look at our present world in the light of these verse, and consider just how close the coming of the Lord is:

“In the last days perilous times will come.” We are living in dangerous times, times of distress and great stress, times when our faith will be pushed to the limit of its endurance, as we are under attack and under threat. What we are seeing all around us is a society on the brink of collapse! Have we ever been more concerned about our nation, with terrorists attacks, school shootings, murders, rape, riots, protests, and government’s toppling.

We fear going out at night and the with frequent occurrences of home invasions, we don’t feel safe at home. And with violent carjacking’s on the rise we are almost too afraid to drive. Every neighborhood has its share of sexual predators, released by overcrowded prisons, with government support providing housing for them. There are a total of one-hundred-six-thousand registered sex offenders in California, and there are many more who are not registered. There are seven-hundred-forty-seven-thousand registered sex offenders in America.

People will be “lovers of themselves” “The Greek word used is philautos, which means ‘self-loving.’

“Love of self is the basic sin, from which all others flow. The moment a man makes his own will the center of life, divine and human relationships are destroyed, obedience to God and charity to men both become impossible. The essence of Christianity is not the enthronement but the obliteration of self” –Barclay.

People are self-absorbed, and selfish, intent on their own interests, desires, and needs. Nothing is more important to some people than me, myself and I. Many people today feel as if the world revolves around them and them alone. When we listen to interviews of celebrities, they think they are actually doing something important. They are literally setting themselves up as their own little god! And the trend in the modern church is toward self-esteem, self-worth and a positive self-image, all concepts borrowed from modern, secular psychology!

Ray Stedman included this little poem about self in his writings:

I had a little tea party this afternoon at three.

'Twas very small, three guests in all, just I, myself and me.

Myself ate up the sandwiches, and I drank up the tea.

'Twas also I who ate the pie, and passed the cake to me.

“Lovers of money.” In this world there is God, people and things. We should worship God, love people, and use things. But if we start worshiping ourselves, we will ignore God and start loving things and using people. And this is a sure-fire formula for a miserable life, but it sadly characterizes most of America today and even many who call themselves “Christians.” The worldwide craving for money and things is just one evidence that people’s hearts have turned away from God.

Bernie Madoff, investment broker, preyed on people’s love of money. He defrauded investors of sixty-five- billion dollars through “Ponzi” schemes, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, false statements, false filings, and theft. He is now in federal prison, sentenced to one-hundred-fifty years. He is a perfect illustration of the “love of money.”

Some television preacher’s, preach a “Prosperity Gospel,” an insipid heresy whose popularity among American Christians has boomed in recent years, teaches that God blesses those God favors most with material wealth.

“Boasters.” The Greek word, alazon describes a person who exaggerates his own worth. Also translated as, empty pretenders and windbags! They brag about what they have and what they have done!

“Proud” (arrogant). The Greek word, huperephanos literally means, “one who shows himself to be above other people.” An over estimate of one's worth. People like this regard others with contempt, people whom they consider beneath them, either socially, materially, or in appearance. These people would do well to remember the counsel of Romans 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…” and, Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

“Blasphemers.” Today boasting, pride, and blasphemy are apparent everywhere, especially among the celebrities that our culture idolizes. They have no fear of God because they are lovers of self. They don't want God because God threatens everything that they are. And so they use insulting, terms that put God and others down. This disdain for God and others will eventually find expression in outward slander. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:21-23).

“Disobedient to parents.” From the Greek, apeithes meaning one who continually refuses to be persuaded and therefore continually refuses to obey. They refuse to be submissive, they are stubbornly disobedient. Obedience is doing what you are told to do, when you are told to do it. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise…” (Ephesians 6:1-3). You can’t keep the commandment to “Honor your father and mother” if you are disobedient.

With the Bible and prayer taken out of public education, rejection of Christian values reaches into the home. If children will not respect and obey their parents, whom will they respect? If there is no obedience, respect and loyalty in the home, why should we expect to find it in society?

“Unthankful.” From the Greek, acharistos describing people who are utterly destitute of any gratitude toward God or others. They refuse to recognize the debt they owe both to God and to men. This is certainly a sign of the last days! 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

"The person who elevates self above all others will feel he deserves everything good he receives and therefore feels no need of gratitude for it. Although he may not put it into words, the ungrateful person despises the very idea of grace, which denotes goodness received that is undeserved. This is a particularly noxious sin to God, whose wrath is revealed against sinners for being unthankful.” –John MacArthur

Romans 1:21, “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

“Unholy.” This word means, wicked, or profane, it is the opposite of consecrated, hallowed, holy, righteous, and unpolluted. This Greek word, anosios refers to that that which is in opposition to God or what is sacred. It means ungodly and without regard of duty toward God or toward man and carries the idea of gross indecency. In other words this person not only breaks the laws of God and society, but even breaks the unwritten laws of common decency. This trend is becoming more and more evident, and certainly a sign of the last days! The bottom line is that some people hold nothing as being sacred anymore! 2 Timothy 3:12, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

“Unloving.” The Greek word astorgos means, “without natural affection,” a loss of love for those whom we ought to love the most, our children, grandchildren, husbands, and wives, et al. “Without natural affection” describes the breakdown of the family through, abandonment, abuse, abortion, divorce and infidelity, All natural love will be lost in the desire to fulfill the basest and most perverted of human excesses. I saw a woman on the News who was very angry that her dog was euthanized because it had killed her child. Why was she so angry? She said, “I can get another baby, but I can’t get another dog.”

“Unforgiving.” Greek, aspondos Also translated as: “Trucebreakers.” Unwilling to be at peace with others; bitter haters; unyielding; covenant breakers; and implacable (not capable of being appeased). This word describes a person who is implacably hostile or uncompromisingly opposed. It is one who is unwilling to negotiate a solution to a problem involving others.

The only other place this word is used is in Romans 1:31, where it occurs in a list of unrighteous traits characteristic by those who did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer…They are undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, and unmerciful.”

“Slanderers.” The Greek word is a familiar one, diabolos, “The accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12;10). Diabolos is also translated as: “Devil; false accusers; slander; and men of unscrupulous speech, and malicious gossips.” Diabolos points out the fact that these individuals are like devils because they imitate the Devil in constantly inventing and throwing evil reports and accusations at others.

“Without self-control.” This means “without power” and refers to a person who gives in to wrong impulses or desires. It literally means without strength to resist the one's passions and so describes a man who is powerless and/or unable to govern his fleshly appetites. These people are "without power over self" so that they are slaves to their own passions and lusts.

“Brutal.” Savage, fierce, untamed, cruel. They are like animals in their nature, action and instincts. Genuine godliness has power which produces gentleness and the want of this power makes people rough, harsh and cruel. Many Christians watch movies that portray and glorify violence. The Bible says, “The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit” (Psalm 5:6) “The Lord examines both the righteous and the wicked” He hates those who love violence” (Psalm 11:5 NLT). How can you watch enjoy a movie portraying what God hates?

“Despisers of good.” Greek, aphilagathos, this word is only found in this verse. One of the most telling characteristics of the last days is found in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” John 3:19,20, “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light…”

“Headstrong.” The Greek word is propetes, it gives a vivid picture of those who act in haste with lack of caution. They plunge ahead without forethought. Their behavior is rash, reckless, headlong, out of control, impetuous, and thoughtless. Nothing stops them! Such people act foolishly and carelessly, completely unconcerned about the consequences for themselves or others. The word headstrong includes their determination to have their own way, regardless of advice to the contrary.

“Haughty.” Conceited. In Greek, tuphoo, it literally means to wrap in smoke or mist and so to cloud, a smokescreen. Figuratively it means to be puffed up or conceited. No one can tell them anything, for they “know it all,” so blinded with conceit. All of the self-made men and important (so-called) people of this world and all of their accomplishments will be turned into wisps of smoke, but God’s people will continue to flourish until “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord” (Habakkuk 2:14).

“Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” The Greek word is Philedonos, “delight, enjoyment,” it is related to the verb hedomai, “to have sensual pleasure.” This word describes well the self-absorbed, self-gratifying lifestyle of the world in which we live. Pascal once wrote that in every man's heart is a “God-shaped vacuum,” yet men will continue to fill this vacuum with the god called “pleasure.”

“Having a form of godliness but denying its power.” “Form” in Greek is morphosis referring to outward shape and appearance, such as that of a silhouette. In this verse it refers to the outward resemblance, as distinguished from reality. Like the unbelieving scribes and Pharisees, were only concerned with the outward form. These men go through all the correct movements and maintain all the external forms of religion; but they know nothing of the dynamic power of the Christ life which transforms sinners into saints. 2 Corinthians 11:15 MSG, “And I’m not changing my position on this. I’d die before taking your money. I’m giving nobody grounds for lumping me in with those money-grubbing ‘preachers,’ vaunting themselves as something special. They’re a sorry bunch—pseudo-apostles, lying preachers, crooked workers—posing as Christ’s agents but sham to the core.”

The Bible is God's word. The Bible teaches that the next event on God's prophetic calendar is for the Lord to return to the earth for His own.

As a Christian we do not worry about the “Day of the Lord!” Since we have been born-again, and have a new-life in Christ, we will go to be with Him at the rapture, and will not suffer the trials of the Tribulation. You can escape this terrible time of tribulation if you accept Christ as your Savior and Lord.

**Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB).**

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