Just As He Announced To The Prophets

So far we have studied Christ’s teachings, Daniel’s prophecies and Paul’s writings regarding the last days. We know from our study that the next prophetic event predicted is the emergence of the fourth beast kingdom which will come to dominate the whole world in the last days. Out of this kingdom a leader known to Christians as the Antichrist will arise and persecute Israel and the followers of Christ during the Great Tribulation. We will now examine what the Lord has “announced to His servants the prophets” about the last days. Because we have already studied Daniel’s prophecies we will emphasize the other Old Testament prophets, particularly Isaiah.

Before we begin this part of our study let’s review the key elements of the last days. Jesus taught that there would be two ages on the earth. The present age in which we now live and the coming age of righteousness. Jesus often referred to the coming age in terms like the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven. However, just before the coming age of righteousness there will be a seven-year period we call Daniel’s 70th Week. The last three-and-a-half years of Daniel’s 70th Week is the Great Tribulation. After the Great Tribulation Jesus will return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. Let’s look at the Power-Point timeline below.


We are currently in the Present Age just before Daniel’s 70th Week. We know that prior to Daniel’s 70th Week the fourth beast kingdom will come into being.1 Out of this fourth beast kingdom the Antichrist will rise to power. Once in power he will confirm a covenant of peace with Israel. Then in the middle of the last seven years the Antichrist will set himself up as God in the temple in Jerusalem. This event is referred to as the abomination that causes desolation as spoken of by the prophet Daniel.2 The Antichrist will then reign supreme on earth until Christ returns on the Day of the Lord.

As we study the writings of the Old Testament prophets we need to recognize that they wrote from the perspective of the nation of Israel. During the times of the prophets Israel was engaged in life and death struggles with its neighbors. The prophets often intertwined predictions of Israel’s near term future with predictions of the last days. Therefore, as we study their prophecies we must look for details that match what we already know about the last days. By comparing these prophecies with what we know from other prophecies we will be able to determine if the prophecy is about the last days or not.

There is something else that we need to keep in mind as we continue our study. There is only one last days scenario from God, as revealed in His Word and while each prophet had different perspectives, they each wrote about the same last days. Since they all are describing the same thing we can expect to see similarities in what they describe. Also, remember that no prophecy of God came by man’s own understanding,3 indicating that all biblical last days prophecy has its origin in the Holy Spirit.

When it comes to prophecies depicting the two Comings of our Lord, Isaiah wrote abundantly of both Advents. Isaiah’s prophecies are so descriptive of the First Advent that the Lord’s suffering and crucifixion appear to be written as historical narrative. So extensive are his writings that people even call the book of Isaiah the Gospel of the Old Testament. For the purposes of our study we are very grateful that Isaiah was even more prolific in his writings of the last days and Christ’s Second Advent. For that reason, we will give priority to his writings in this portion of our study.

On May 14th 1948, after almost 1,900 years of exile, Israel once again became a nation established in the Promised Land. From that moment the Jewish nation entered into a series of continuing life and death struggles with their Arab neighbors. Israel’s current struggles seem forebodingly similar to what we find prophesied regarding the last days. We will see from the prophets that Israel’s struggles will continue until she obtains a temporary peace by signing a covenant with the Antichrist.

The covenant is confirmed

Let’s read how Isaiah describes Israel’s relationship with the Antichrist. Isaiah refers to this future world leader as “the Assyrian.”

Woe to the Assyrian [Antichrist]… I send him against a godless nation, I dispatch him against a people who anger me, to seize loot and snatch plunder, and to trample them down like mud in the streets. … Therefore, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will send a wasting disease upon his sturdy warriors; under his pomp a fire will be kindled like a blazing flame. ...  In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him [Antichrist] who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 10:5-20).

Isaiah is telling us that Israel will at first rely on the Antichrist for their security. This is likely a reference to the covenant of peace which the Antichrist will confirm at the beginning of the last seven years, see Daniel 9:27. As we know from Daniel’s prophecy this peace will last only three-and-a-half years and then the Antichrist will turn against Israel. When the Antichrist turns against Israel there will be a period of unprecedented distress and persecution, we call the Great Tribulation.4

In another of Isaiah’s prophecies he captures the very nature of this covenant with the Antichrist when he tells us that the leaders of Israel will boast about the covenant that they have made. Read how he describes it.

Therefore, hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem. You boast, We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. ... Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave will not stand... (Isaiah 28:14-18)

Isaiah says this treaty would be “a covenant with death” because as we will see, death will be its outcome. When the Antichrist comes against Israel, it will be the worst slaughter of the people of God in human history.

In Isaiah 10 and 28, he tells us that the covenant with death - Israel’s reliance on the Antichrist - will not last. The peace under the Antichrist will be cut short, the Antichrist will punish Israel during the Great Tribulation and then God will punish the Antichrist. When God comes against the Antichrist, God will “on that day” be Israel’s protector. Then the remnant of Israel will recognize the Lord as their Messiah and call on Him as Jesus predicted.

This same scenario, which Isaiah describes in chapter 10 between Israel and the Antichrist, is also found in Ezekiel 38 and 39.

Son of man, set your face against Gog [Antichrist], of the land of Magog, 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… 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. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 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 (Ezekiel 38:2-23).

Ezekiel tells us that God will cause Gog - the leader of the land of Magog - to attack Israel to “plunder and loot” just as Isaiah, also, described. Isaiah said God will cause the Assyrian to “plunder and loot” (compare Isaiah 10:6 and Ezekiel 38:12). Ezekiel tells us that God will cause Gog to come against Israel when she is at peace and living safely. In Isaiah 10:20, the implication is also that Israel will be relying on the Antichrist for her peace and safety until he comes against her. However, God will not allow Israel’s complete destruction and He will send a wasting “disease or plague” against the Antichrist and his warriors (compare Isaiah 10:16 and Ezekiel 38:22). First the Antichrist will ensure Israel’s peace then attempt to destroy her. After the Great Tribulation, God will fight for Israel and she will know that Jesus is Lord. Compare these passages and see the similarities.

During Isaiah’s time he referred to the Assyrians and their leader “the Assyrian” in relation to the last days. During Ezekiel’s time he referred to the land of Magog and their leader “Gog” in relation to the last days. When Isaiah refers to Assyria and Ezekiel refers to the land of Magog they are both referring to the same people and territory which is located just southwest of the Caspian Sea. Today, Iran occupies this territory just southwest of the Caspian Sea.

Now, about the time of peace and security between the covenant and the abomination that causes desolation, the Scripture tells us very little. We can, however, determine that by the time of the abomination that causes desolation the Jewish people will be practicing temple worship in the temple in Jerusalem. Therefore, even though we don’t know when temple worship will begin we do know that it will be practiced during at least some of the time covered by the covenant. It is very interesting to recall that the temple mount was one of the topics of negotiations just before the Israeli and Palestinian peace talks broke down, in January 2001. Based on what is written in Scripture we can expect that the topic of the temple mount will be discussed again in the future.

In the last of Isaiah’s prophecies he describes events which will be fulfilled during the last days. As chapter 66 opens Isaiah describes God’s perspective of Jewish temple worship and animal sacrifice during the last days. Let’s see what God has to say regarding this temple worship.

This is what the LORD says: "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?" declares the LORD. "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig's blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol. They have chosen their own ways, and their souls delight in their abominations; (Isaiah 66:1-3)

The Lord is severely rebuking Israel for rebuilding the temple and reinstating temple worship. God is angry with Israel and He will soon punish her by bringing the Antichrist against her in what is also called the “time of Jacob’s trouble.”

The Abomination that causes Desolation

Before the abomination that causes desolation the Jewish nation will be at peace, secure in their land. Then the Antichrist and his army will come and surround Jerusalem. He will enter the city and go to the temple mount. Now let’s read how Isaiah describes what occurs in Jerusalem and from the temple when the Antichrist sets himself up in the temple of God declaring himself to be God.

Hear that uproar from the city, hear that noise from the temple! It is the sound of the LORD repaying his enemies all they deserve (Isaiah 66:6).

The persecution and death of the Great Tribulation immediately follows the abomination that causes desolation. This is when God will repay Israel’s unbelief by using the Antichrist to punish them. Jeremiah also describes the same thing when he tells us that the time of peace will turn to fear during the Time of Jacob’s trouble. Jeremiah, like Isaiah and Ezekiel, also indicates that Israel will not be totally destroyed, because the Lord will deliver a remnant out of the Great Tribulation.

This is what the LORD says: Cries of fear are heard--terror, not peace. ... How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:5, 7).

From Daniel’s prophecies we know the Great Tribulation will be a time of unequalled distress lasting three-and-a-half years. Jesus also indicates that the Great Tribulation will be so horrific that if it were not cut short, no one would survive.

 Let’s take another look at the timeline to see where we are as we prepare to study what will take place after the Great Tribulation. Let’s look at the Power-Point timeline below.


Signs before the Day of the Lord

Before we begin to study the Day of the Lord we should note that the Old Testament prophets specifically tell us about two signs which will come before “the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” Malachi prophesies,

See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes (Malachi 4:5).

The prophet Joel prophesies that the sun, moon and stars will be darkened before the great and dreadful Day of the Lord. When we read prophecies regarding the Day of the Lord we frequently see the sign of the darkening of the sun, moon and stars. However, Joel is the first to tell us that this sign will come beforethe great and dreadful day of the Lord.”

I will show wonders in the heavens and the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD (Joel 2:30, 31).

In our study of the prophets we have now come through the Great Tribulation and we are poised at the very end of the age as we wait for the Day of the Lord to break out over the whole world.

The Day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord is an extremely important part of the biblical record and God’s plan. Without a good basic understanding of “the Day of the Lord” no one can properly understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, many people in the household of God have not even heard about the “Day of the Lord” and its significance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The “Day of the Lord” is the prophetic event most referred to in Scripture. “The Day of the Lord” is referred to so many times by the prophets that they often abbreviated it by writing, “that day” or “the day.” In the New Testament “the Day of the Lord is also referred to as “the day of the Lord Jesus Christ,” “the day of the Lord Jesus,” “the day of Christ Jesus,” “the day of Christ,” and “the day of God.” There is only one Day of the Lord!

As the world goes through the Great Tribulation and approaches the “Day of the Lord,” conditions on the earth will become catastrophic. God will allow great destruction through the Antichrist during this time of severe trial and testing which will come upon the whole world.5

As we examine the writings of the Old Testament prophets about the coming of the “Day of the Lord” we need to be alert to what is written. If we are not careful, we may become confused about exactly what is being described.

    There are several reasons to study these writings carefully:

1.     The general world conditions during the Great Tribulation will become so catastrophic that we could confuse them with God’s wrath.

2.     Biblical prophecy often moves back and forward in time as God describes the events which will take place. What is written rarely follows a strict chronological order. Therefore we need to read prophecy in the context of the whole Word of God.

3.     There are so many events taking place before and during the Day of the Lord that the amount of activity can be overwhelming.

Let’s review what we already know as we prepare to study the coming Day of the Lord. The darkening of the sun, moon and stars will be a sign that the Day of the Lord is imminent. We also know that before Jesus returns He will leave heaven accompanied by His angels and appear in the clouds of the sky. While He is still in the sky He will send His angels to gather all believers to Himself. With these things in mind let’s examine what the prophets say about the Day of the Lord and Christ’s return.

The Day of the Lord – He comes down from heaven

David tells us that the Lord will come down out of heaven and touch the earth when it is time for Him to rout His enemies.

Part your heavens, O LORD, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightning and scatter the enemies; shoot your arrows and rout them. Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners (Psalm 144:5-7)

From these prophecies, we see that the Lord will come down from heaven to earth when He returns. David in Psalm 144 and Isaiah both seem to be indicating that the resurrection of believers will also occur at this time.

Look! The LORD is coming from his dwelling place; he comes down and treads the high places of the earth (Micah 1:3).

But your dead will live; their bodies will rise… See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins (Isaiah 26:19, 21).

The LORD will roar from on high; he will thunder from his holy dwelling ... he will bring judgment on all mankind and put the wicked to the sword,’ declares the LORD. This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Look!' Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth (Jeremiah 25:30-32).

David also prophesied that the Lord would remain at the Father’s right hand in heaven until it is time for Him to put His enemies under His feet (Psalm 110). This sounds similar to what Peter said in Acts 3:21, when he tells us that the Lord must remain in heaven until it is time to restore everything. Both of these passages place the Coming of Christ following the Great Tribulation, when He destroys His enemies and restores everything to Israel. Compare the timing of these two verses.

The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet’ ... The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.  He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers (Psalm 110:1, 5).

He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets (Acts 3:21).

The Day of the Lord – the trumpet call

We have seen that when Jesus appears to gather all believers a trumpet call will signal the gathering and the resurrection. Of course, we already know from the New Testament that it is the last trumpet which signals the gathering. So, let’s read how the prophets describe the sounding of the trumpet call which signals the gathering of believers to Christ.

All you people of the world, you who live on the earth, when a banner is raised on the mountains, you will see it, and when a trumpet sounds, you will hear it…(Isaiah 18:3)

In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound (Isaiah 27:12, 13).

Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; ... The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people (Zechariah 9:14, 16).

Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine. The LORD thunders at the head of his army; his forces are beyond number, and mighty are those who obey his command. The day of the LORD is great; it is dreadful. Who can endure it? Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, and call a sacred assembly. Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, (Joel 2:10-16)

When we connect these prophecies, we get a good picture of what we have already received from Jesus and the Apostle Paul.

The Day of the Lord – the resurrection gathering

When the Lord comes down out of heaven the trumpet will sound and all believers will be gathered to Him in their resurrection bodies. We see the first mention of this resurrection change in the book of Job, when he describes the resurrection of the dead. In the Old Testament we find numerous descriptions of the resurrection of the dead. Let’s read how the prophets describe the raising of the dead.

Job tells us that the resurrection of believers will be at the end of the age, when Christ comes to earth. Job also tells us that, after God’s anger (with Israel) has passed, there will be a renewal. Job also indicates this renewal will include his resurrected body.

If only you would hide me in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed! All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come (Job 14:13, 14).

I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—(Job 19:25-27).

In the Psalms we are told that the Lord will come in the clouds in the brightness of His glory as he thunders down from heaven. When He comes He is described as reaching down to take hold of the believers as they are gathered to Himself in the resurrection.

Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced, with hailstones and bolts of lightning. The LORD thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded...  He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters (Psalms 18:12, 13, 16).

And I, in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness (Psalm 17:15).

But God will redeem my life from the grave; he will surely take me to himself (Psalm 49:15).

Isaiah, who always provides vivid descriptions, tells us of the Coming of Christ. See how he develops this picture of the Lord coming out of heaven to raise the believers in the resurrection and to punish the sinners.

But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You, who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead. Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut the doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until his wrath has passed by. See, the LORD is coming out of his dwelling to punish the people of the earth for their sins. The earth will disclose the bloodshed upon her; she will conceal her slain no longer (Isaiah 26:19-21).

The idea of the “resurrection of the dead” is well developed in the Old Testament. When Daniel describes the resurrection below he places it as occurring after the time of unprecedented distress.

Therefore prophesy and say to them: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; (Ezekiel 37:12)

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress [tribulation] such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:1, 2).

I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction (Hosea 13:14)?

           The resurrection of the living believers is not fully explained in Scripture until the New Testament. However, there are some indications from the prophets that the believers alive at that time of the resurrection would also be included.

What man can live and not see death, or save himself from the power of the grave (Psalm 89:48)?

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done. The LORD has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death (Psalm 118:17, 18).

Psalm 144 not only describes the Lord coming down from heaven to earth but also indicates that the Lord will rescue the believer from foreigners. This sounds very much like what the Lord will do when He gathers the living believers from the earth and out of the Great Tribulation.

Part your heavens, O LORD, and come down; touch the mountains, so that they smoke. Send forth lightning and scatter the enemies; shoot your arrows and rout them. Reach down your hand from on high; deliver me and rescue me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreigners (Psalm 144:5-7)

There is another prophecy in the Psalms that pulls together the Coming of the Lord and the resurrection of the living and the dead. When we compare this Psalm to Jesus’ same description, in the Olivet Discourse, we find confirmation that the resurrection includes all believers, living and dead. Let’s compare the two passages to see how the living are gathered from the earth and the dead are gathered from heaven at Christ’s return.

From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth. Our God comes and will not be silent; a fire devours before him, and around him a tempest rages. He summons the heavens above [dead in Christ], and the earth [living in Christ], that he may judge his people: Gather to me my consecrated ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice (Psalm 50:2-5).

They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds [living in Christ], from one end of the heavens [dead in Christ] to the other (Matthew 24:30, 31).

If we lay the key elements of these two passages side by side we can see clearly that they both describe the Coming of our Lord and the gathering of all believers from the earth and from heaven.

Psalm 50

Matthew 24

Our God comes

Son of Man Coming

God shines forth

They will see the Son of Man

Will not be silent

With a loud trumpet call

Gather His people

Gather His elect

From the earth

The heavens above

From the four winds of earth

The heavens

So with just a little help from the New Testament we are able to see the resurrection of the dead and the rapture of the living at Christ’s appearing, even in the Old Testament.

After the angels have gathered the believers to the Lord in the air, the Lord will continue to earth with His holy ones. Let’s see how Zechariah describes this.

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, ... Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him (Zechariah 14:4, 5).

Zechariah reveals in this passage that Jesus will return to earth in the same way that He left as described in Acts 1:11. Not only will He return in the same way He left but He will return to the same place – the Mount of Olives. Ezekiel tells us from there the Lord will enter the temple through the eastern gate.

Then the man brought me to the gate facing east, and I saw the glory of the God of Israel coming from the east. His voice was like the roar of rushing waters, and the land was radiant with his glory... The glory of the LORD entered the temple through the gate facing east. Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple. While the man was standing beside me, I heard someone speaking to me from inside the temple. He said: “Son of man, this is the place of my throne and the place for the soles of my feet. This is where I will live among the Israelites forever” (Ezekiel 43:1-7).

From these passages we can establish that after we are gathered to the Lord in the air we will continue with Him when He descends to the Mount of Olives and enters Mount Zion through the eastern gate. When we connect these last days prophecies we get a magnificent picture of the Lord’s triumphant return. However, there is still more.

The Day of the Lord – The wedding feast

Now that all believers have been gathered to Christ and we have accompanied Him to Mount Zion. Let’s look at what happens next.

On this mountain [Zion], the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-- the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever (Isaiah 25:6-8).

Isaiah describes a lavish feast that the Lord prepares which can only be the wedding feast of Jesus Christ and His bride the Church. Jesus taught us about this wedding banquet several times, see Matthew 8:11 and 25:10. The wedding banquet is also referred to in Revelation 19:9. While some have mistakenly imagined that the wedding feast takes place in heaven, it is clear from Scripture that it takes place on Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

As Isaiah tells us about the wedding feast he also describes the resurrection changes that will take place in the believers. First, he says that the shroud or sheet that covers the people will be destroyed, indicating that the shroud will be removed. This conveys the same idea Paul expressed regarding the change we will experience. Paul said, “Now I know in part; then I shall know fully.”6 What was previously shrouded from our view will be revealed. Another aspect of the resurrection change is that believers will no longer be subject to death, “he will swallow up death forever” (Isaiah 25:8). Therefore, just as we saw in 1 Corinthians 15:54, at the time of resurrection the believers will no longer be subject to death and they “shall know fully”(1 Corinthians 13:12). Isaiah also places the change in the believers on the Day of the Lord, in 25:9 he says this will happen in “that day.” Isaiah also makes other references to aspects of the Day of the Lord and the coming Kingdom when he says, “the Lord will wipe away the tears, and remove disgrace from the earth.”

The Day of the Lord – Is one Day

Before we go any further with our study regarding the Day of the Lord we should look closely at what the prophets say regarding its duration. Is the Day of the Lord a protracted period or is it a 24-hour day? While a great deal will happen on the Day of the Lord, we can rest assured that the Lord will not need a consultant to accomplish His plan on time. In describing the events of the Day of the Lord, Isaiah says that it will happen, “in a single day.”

The Light of Israel will become a fire, their Holy One a flame; in a single day it will burn and consume his thorns and his briers. The splendor of his forests and fertile fields it will completely destroy, as when a sick man wastes away. And the remaining trees of his forests will be so few that a child could write them down. In that day the remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no longer rely on him who struck them down but will truly rely on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 10:17-20).

Zechariah also tells us that “on that day,” when Christ comes down from heaven and establishes the Kingdom on earth, “[i]t will be a unique day,” which definitely qualifies him as the prophet of understatement.

On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, ...Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. ... On that day there will be no light, no cold or frost. It will be a unique day, without daytime or nighttime--a day known to the LORD. When evening comes, there will be light... The LORD will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name (Zechariah 14:4-9).

Zechariah wrote extensively concerning the Day of the Lord and in this passage he says, the Lord alone will be King over the whole earth, on that day. Therefore, those that say the Day of the Lord includes the Great Tribulation should consider this passage. Because, how will it be possible for the Antichrist to rule the whole world at the same time Christ is King of the whole earth?

The Day of the Lord – the Wrath of God

As we read through the writings of the prophets we also find that the Day of the Lord is the time of God’s wrath. The wrath that comes with the Day of the Lord will not be destruction by water as in the days of Noah, but by fire.7 This destruction and judgment will consume everything that is not of Christ. The final aspect of God’s judgment on the nations will be the battle of Armageddon.

Once again we find that Isaiah provides a thorough description of the Day of the Lord. So comprehensive in fact that his description requires no commentary. As we read these passages we will see vivid descriptions of the wrath of God as well as other aspects of that day which we have already covered. Read this sample of Isaiah’s description of the coming Day of the Lord.

Go into the rocks, hide in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty! The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), ...  The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD (Isaiah 2:10-19)

I have commanded my holy ones; I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath-- those who rejoice in my triumph. Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The LORD Almighty is mustering an army for war. … Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty… See, the day of the LORD is coming --a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger-- to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it. The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light. I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins… Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the LORD Almighty, in the day of his burning anger (Isaiah 13:3-13).

They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey and to the wild animals; the birds will feed on them all summer, the wild animals all winter (Isaiah 18:6).

In that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below. They will be herded together like prisoners bound in a dungeon; they will be shut up in prison and be punished after many days. The moon will be abashed, the sun ashamed; for the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously (Isaiah 24:21-23).

So far we have learned from the prophets that on the Day of the Lord: (1) The Lord will appear in the sky and gather all believers to Himself. (2) Then accompanied by the saints, He will return to earth, prepare the wedding feast and establish the Kingdom of God on the earth. (3) He will also punish the unbelieving and disobedient world. As the prophets say, this day will be both great and terrible. Great, for it is the day of deliverance for the people of God, and dreadful, for it is the day of God’s wrath for the unbelievers. Of course, Isaiah captures the idea when he calls it “the day of reckoning,” redemption for the righteous and punishment for the unrighteous. Several of the prophets have captured these two aspects of the Day of the Lord. Starting with Isaiah let’s see how they describe the Day of the Lord.

See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him (Isaiah 40:10).

Why are your garments red, like those of one treading the winepress? ... For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come (Isaiah 63:2, 4).

I will show wonders in the heavens and the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD (Joel 2:30, 31).

On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem. And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, (Zechariah 12:9, 10)

The Day of the Lord - Kingdom of God

The long awaited and much desired aspect of the Day of the Lord is the coming Kingdom of God on earth. Isaiah tells us that in the last days the Kingdom of the Lord will be established, emanating from Jerusalem and encompassing all the nations of the world. Isaiah says, “the LORD Almighty will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and before its elders, gloriously” (Isaiah 24:23).

In the last days the mountain of the Lord's temple will be established as chief among the mountains; ... it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples... Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore (Isaiah 2:2-4)

The word “mountain” in this context, like many places in Scripture, is synonymous with “kingdom” and, therefore, the “mountain of the Lord” also means the “Kingdom of God.”8

On that day, Christ will establish on earth the long awaited Kingdom of God. Isaiah vividly describes the characteristics of this earthly Kingdom as he heralds its arrival. The vision of the Kingdom is that of a Kingdom of righteousness where the curse of sin will be lifted and everything will be restored. The restoration of everything seems to signify that God will be restoring the earth to its original state, as it was in the Garden of Eden before man first disobeyed God. The restoration of everything also means that Christ will rule the world from the throne of David in Jerusalem. From these passages below we receive a preview of some of the Kingdom characteristics which we can expect.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his place of rest will be glorious (Isaiah 11:6-10).

Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands. They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them. Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, says the LORD (Isaiah 65:20-25).

The Kingdom of God as described in Scripture is a Kingdom of righteousness in a revitalized earth. As we see, it is a world difficult for us to imagine as we look on the present world around us. Never the less it is easy to see that the Kingdom will be infinitely better than our currently reality. One passage that comes to mind while reflecting on the Kingdom is in 1 Corinthians 2.

None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:8, 9)

In this brief study of the prophets we have seen that their writings provide clear and detailed descriptions of the last days and the return of Christ. When we connect their descriptions with the rest of Scripture we find an amazingly comprehensive picture of the time leading up to the return of Christ.

Watch out that no one deceives you

Before we conclude this portion of our study of the last days there is another very important message that the prophets received from God. They not only warned the people about what was coming but they also warned the people and their leaders of their need to repent and turn back to God. God’s message to His people of that day is the same message He has for us today. The apparent similarities between the Jewish church of their day and the Christian church of today should convict us to repent and turn back to God. As we consider these similarities we should ask, what if the Christian church today is as hard hearted and stiff-necked as the Jewish church was in their day? Let’s pray that this aspect of history will not repeat itself.

Now let’s read from the prophets to see what else God is saying to us about the last days. There are at least two reasons which indicate that these messages are also for today. First, the spiritual conditions are the same today as they were then. Second, these prophecies connect themselves to the events that relate to the Day of the Lord and the last days. First, let’s read what Jeremiah has written about the false prophets.

This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’  But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word?  See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly.  I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. … “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?” … “Therefore,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. Yes,” declares the LORD, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The LORD declares’” (Jeremiah 23:16-31).

This passage from Jeremiah reveals several characteristics of false prophets. Let’s list the characteristics to get a clear understanding.

The false prophets:

·        Claimed to have heard the Word of God, but had not.

·        Attribute words to God He had not spoken.

·        Prophesy out of their imagination.

·        Say “The LORD says: You will have peace.” and “No harm will come to you.”

·        Take from one another words supposedly from God.

·        Have God against them and His wrath will be on their heads.

Now consider these characteristics, in light of what we observe today. Ask yourself these questions.

·        Who is proclaiming what is going to happen in the name of the Lord?

·        Who is proclaiming the Word just as it is written in Scripture?

·        Who is saying that we will be gone before the tribulation comes?

·        Who takes words from one another supposedly from God?

In answering these questions, I have some very good news! Today, since we have the complete written Scripture we are all able to determine who the false prophet is and who is not. Therefore, if someone says, the Bible says, when it does not they are prophesying falsely.

Now, in Ezekiel’s time there were also people who falsely proclaimed the Word of God. Let’s read from Ezekiel what God had to say about the foolish prophets.

"Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who are now prophesying. Say to those who prophesy out of their own imagination: 'Hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! Your prophets, O Israel, are like jackals among ruins. … Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. They say, "The LORD declares," when the LORD has not sent them; yet they expect their words to be fulfilled. Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, "The LORD declares," though I have not spoken? "'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD. "'Because they lead my people astray, saying, "Peace," when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash, (Ezekiel 13:2-10)

Once again the Lord warns those who prophesy, not to prophesy out of their own imagination. In other words, do not go beyond what is written and don’t add anything to what God has said. If God did not say it, then we are not to proclaim it. Notice that the Lord indicates in this passage that the false prophets actually expect their prophecies to come true. This means that the prophet’s sincerity and conviction are no guarantees that their prophecy is true. Only through a careful examination of the Word, are false prophecies revealed.

The Lord also has some advice for His people as well. Let’s see what the Lord says through Isaiah.

Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness. These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD's instruction. They say to the seers, "See no more visions!" and to the prophets, "Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions. Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!" Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says: "Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit, this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant (Isaiah 30:8-13).

Isaiah records that we have the written Word of God as “an everlasting witness” which is written down “for the days to come” so we can read and understand what God has said and what He didn’t say.

Finally, God has also spoken to the shepherds of His flock, regarding the last days.

Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally…"'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: … because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore,… I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock (Ezekiel 34:2-9).

The prophets gave us clear descriptions of the last days events along with important spiritual warnings which we would be wise to take to heart and put into practice.

Richard H Perry

1 Daniel 9:27

2 Daniel 9:27

3 2 Peter 1:21

4 Matthew 24:21 and Daniel 12:1

5 Revelation 3:10

6 1 Corinthians 13:12

7 2 Peter 3:6-7

8 Isaiah 13:4