Joe Babendreier

By Joe Babendreier
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IN THE OLD Testament, “Day of Yahweh” (or “Day of the Lord”) appears dozens of times, especially in the prophetic books. The phrase is never used to talk about the Sabbath Day, the day of rest. The Sabbath Day would happen every week. It was a holy day and a day of blessings, set aside to commemorate God finishing his work of creation.

The “Day of the Lord” is different. It is a single day, at the end of time. Judgment Day. The prophets always described the Day of the Lord as a day of destruction and calamity. It is that day when God will curse all evil. It is the day of God’s anger.

This passage from the Book of Isaiah is typical: “Howl! For the Day of the Lord is near, coming like devastation from Shaddai. This is why all the men are panic-stricken, seized with pains and convulsions; they writhe like a woman in labour, they look at one another appalled, with feverish faces.

Look, the Day of the Lord is coming, merciless, with wrath and burning anger, to reduce the country to a desert and root out the sinners from it.

For in the sky, the stars and Orion will shed their light no longer, the sun will be dark when it rises, and the moon will no longer give its light.

I am going to punish the world for its wickedness and the wicked for their guilt, and put an end to the pride of the arrogant and humble the haughtiness of despots. I shall make people scarcer than pure gold, human life scarcer than the gold of Ophir. This is why I am going to shake the heavens, why the earth will reel on its foundations, under the wrath of the Lord of Hosts, the day when his anger ignites.”

When preaching the Gospel, the apostles mention this day five times. St Peter refers to it when speaking to the Jews in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost.

He explains that, on “that great and terrible Day”, all who “call on the name of the Lord will be saved”. According to the apostle, only those who call upon Jesus the Lord will be saved. “For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.”

In 2Thessalonians, St Paul connected the Day of the Lord to Jesus coming to conquer the Antichrist. Then St Peter reminded everyone: “The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar, the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and melt away, the earth and all that it contains will be burned up.”

Next week, I’ll explain how the Bible uses the phrase “the Lord’s Day” to refer to going to church on Sunday.