What Is the Day of the Lord?

The Philadelphia Trumpet, in conjunction with the Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course, presents this brief excursion into the fascinating study of the Bible. Simply turn to and read in your Bible each verse given in answer to the questions. You will be amazed at the new understanding gained from this short study!

To the average person, the idea of Jesus Christ returning to Earth is a fantastic fable that has no bearing whatsoever on the realities of life.

Yet millions of professing Christians still expect the Second Coming of Christ—though widely divided among themselves as to why, when and how He will appear.

Just before His death and resurrection—before His departure from the Mount of Olives almost 2,000 years ago—Jesus Christ promised, “I will come again” (John 14:3).

So was Christ telling the truth? Will He come again? The answer is a resounding YES—though the manner of His return will be shocking to most professing Christians.

Jesus Christ came about 2,000 years ago as a meek lamb to be slain for the sins of the world. But when He comes again, He will be wrathful—angry—toward all evil! He will use His mighty power to change the ways that have caused all the sorrow and suffering on Earth.

Let’s understand why.

What Christ Will Do When He Returns

1. When Christ returns, exactly why will God have to punish mankind? Revelation 11:18, last few words; Zephaniah 1:17.

Comment: God is love (1 John 4:16). God and Christ love all of humanity (John 3:16). But Christ will be angry at the sins of mankind when He returns. To save the human race alive (Matthew 24:22), He is coming to punish in love! Otherwise, man would destroy all life upon the Earth!

In love, God revealed His way of life that leads to everything good and desirable—including eternal life—to our first parents, Adam and Eve. But they rejected that way. Their descendants have continued to reject God’s way for 6,000 years!

Therefore, as any wise and loving father punishes his children for their own good when they refuse to respond to kind and loving verbal admonition, an all-loving, all-wise God will have to punish this world to bring it to its senses! The glorified Christ is coming in all the splendor, power and glory of God to stop escalating wars, nuclear mass destruction, and human pain and suffering. He is coming to usher in peace, abundant prosperity, happiness and joy for all mankind.

2. What is this time period of God’s wrath called? Isaiah 13:6, 9; Joel 1:15; Zephaniah 1:18.

Comment: In over 30 prophecies in the Old and New Testaments, the period of Christ’s supernatural intervention and wrath at mankind’s sins is called the Day of the Lord!

3. How long does this prophetic “day” of the Lord’s wrath last? Isaiah 34:8; 61:2; 63:4. Does a prophetic day often represent a year? Numbers 14:34.

Comment: The “day of the Lord” refers to a year-long punishment that culminates with the return of Christ.

The Trumpets Begin to Sound!

In the last installment, we learned that the Great Tribulation is immediately followed by supernatural signs in heaven (Matthew 24:21, 29). The signs in heaven are also referred to as the sixth seal in Revelation (Revelation 6:12-14).

1. What happens next? Is the seventh seal, which contains the seven trumpets, opened? Revelation 8:1-6. Is this time period of the seventh seal (which occurs immediately after the heavenly signs) called the Day of the Lord? Acts 2:20.

Comment: The wrath of the “day of the Lord” is manifested in the seven “trumpet” plagues which are unleashed consecutively over a period of months, culminating in the Second Coming of Christ.

2. What will occur on Earth when the first angel blows his trumpet? Revelation 8:7.

Comment: A gigantic firestorm will burn all green grass and one third of the trees. Burned vegetation will be the first punishment on mankind for continued refusal to submit to the government of God and refusing to obey His commandments.

3. What does the blast of the second angel’s trumpet announce? Verses 8-9.

Comment: The seas will be gravely affected by this plague. One third of the seas will turn to blood, one third of life in the seas will be destroyed, and one third of the ships, mainly used for trade and warfare, will be destroyed!

4. Next, what happens to part of the Earth’s supplies of drinking water when the trumpet of the third angel sounds? Verses 10-11. Will many die from drinking this poisoned water? Verse 11.

Comment: God will next punish unrepentant sinners by making one third of the waters of the Earth unfit for human consumption. The waters will become bitter, causing many to die.

5. What terrifying plague is announced by the fourth trumpet? Verse 12.

Comment: Most people during the Day of the Lord, although terrified because of the heavenly signs, will still continue in sin, despite God’s repeated warnings to repent!

Nevertheless, remember that God is ultimately after repentance. As each plague from God falls on the wicked and disobedient, those who surrender to God—those who do repent and begin to obey Him and forsake the ways of this evil society—will be protected from the horrible punishments yet to come.

Woe, Woe, Woe!

1. Will there be further cataclysmic events that will jolt humanity? Verse 13. Are these three woes the same as the final three trumpets? Same verse.

Comment: These three woes involve three final major battles, each so horrifying that it is called a “woe” by Almighty God. Each battle is so destructive that only God will be able to repair the damage man’s armies will do to the surface of the Earth.

At the third battle—the third woe and last trumpet—all mankind will be saved from extinction only by a miracle from God. If God did not personally intervene in this climactic war, men would destroy the last vestige of human life from the face of the Earth!

2. What is revealed about the fifth trumpet, the first woe? Revelation 9:1-12.

3. Does the Apostle John describe terrifying “locusts”—grasshoppers—that will be used to inflict pain on men? Verses 3-10.

Comment: John used the symbolic term locusts to describe the terrifying war machines that would be invented by scientists and used by the military in this final world conflict! Notice that these symbolic locusts, or grasshoppers, are driven by men and are able to fly (verses 7, 9). They will make a tremendous noise and are protected by armored plating.

These superweapons of destruction and world conquest were completely unfamiliar to the Apostle John. He could only describe them in the language of his day. These terrifying weapons of war probably now exist in design in our modern military arsenals. At the time of the fifth trumpet and the first woe, it will be plainly evident just what these weapons are and how they will be used.

4. Who is the real leader of this army that is equipped with these awesome weapons of mass destruction? Verse 11.

Comment: The Hebrew word abaddon and the Greek word apollyon both mean “destroyer”! The sinister power that will guide this army is Satan the devil!

5. Where does this army, with its diabolical leadership, come from? Verses 2-3. Is this symbolic “bottomless pit” referred to elsewhere so we can identify the army that proceeds from it? Revelation 17:8. Is this superarmy of the beast power—that is, the final restoration of the Roman Empire (in Europe)—backed by a great false religion? Verses 7-13.

Comment: For a detailed explanation of the beast power and the false religion that will dominate it, request our free booklet Whoor What Is the Prophetic Beast?

This war will come about as hordes from the east will be preparing to attack the beast power. But rather than let them obtain the advantage by striking the first blow, the beast will turn to attack them in the full fury of his military might! (Daniel 11:44).

This attack—using all the terrifying destructive power the beast can devise—will be the first woe. It will be the beginning of the all-out struggle for complete world domination between two Eurasian rivals for world rule.

6. Are the sixth angel’s trumpet plague and the second woe clearly the same? Revelation 9:12-13. What will happen when the sixth trumpet is blown—who will even dare to threaten and make war on the beast power? Verses 14-16. And how are their weapons described? Verses 17-19.

Comment: The Asian hordes of 200 million soldiers will counterattack, devastating the cities and armies of the beast. Again, the Apostle John could describe the terrifying weapons they will use only by comparing them with things familiar to him! These symbols likely represent nuclear explosives, as well as chemical and biological weapons.

At this point we come to the climactic moment of the sounding of the seventh trumpet. One more “woe” remains to occur. Almost immediately, at the blast of this final trumpet, God will move with lightning speed to execute multiple events around the globe, as we will cover in the next installment.