The main question involves the inclusion or exclusion of the Great Tribulation in that day. It is an important discussion, because the final answer determines if the bride of Christ is or is not here for the Tribulation.
Don’t get me wrong, it is not my desire to win this battle, just because I want to be here for Tribulation. I don’t look for pain in my life. I was raised pre-Trib in my understanding of the Second Coming; and from the time I was about 5 years old in a Baptist Church (even before I was saved I believed it to be a pre-Tribulation coming). That is until I was about 25. This was after being saved that I was drawn into the word, and taking it literally, I began questioning the pre-Trib aspect of my Lord’s coming. With that as background the day of the Lord was one area that didn’t align with my prior understanding.
First I read:
2 Thessalonians 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. (other translations even the Darby translation reads “day of the lord” These two are interchangeable in scripture )
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (KJV)
As I always do when discovering a passage that throws me for a loop, I say Lord this is your word, and I just can’t ignore it — help me understand. The answer didn’t always come instantly, but I know when I sincerely ask that it will come.
Sometime later I discovered this passage: Malachi 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: (KJV)
I was excited because I knew from my pre-Trib understanding that Elijah is considered to be one of the two witnesses of Revelation. And his coming before the day of the Lord aligned with what Paul stated concerning this order of events. Elijah is to be in the Tribulation, the Antichrist is here in the Tribulation, and both are before the day of the Lord according to these verses. So now this is about more than just me and might I need to suffer; but it is about God’s word and it’s veracity. Contradiction cannot be truth, and I’m hearing contradictions between God’s word and the teachings and understanding of my church concerning His word. Why should I not believe God’s Word? I personally believed it then and still do now — That God is pleased with those who believe His word. It is a fact that I fully believe in.
So sometime later I discovered this passage:
Joel 3:14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
Joel 3:15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. (KJV)
This passage when I ran across it reminded me of another very familiar passage:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Matthew 24:29-30 KJV
No longer would I doubt the Lord’s ability to have His Holy Spirit teach me His word. But this would only set in motion the challenges to what I was being shown in God’s word. One of the greatest challenges that I’ve found is from God’s word itself not from man, Listen:
Zephaniah 1:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills. (Something dreadful is happening, what is it?)
Zephaniah 1:11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off.
Maktesh [N] [S] What Does It Mean?
mortar, a place in or near Jerusalem inhabited by silver merchants ( Zephaniah 1:11 ). It has been conjectured that it was the “Phoenician quarter” of the city, where the traders of that nation resided, after the Oriental custom.
is it possible that this is the time of the fall of Babylon, when men stood looking recognizing weeping over coming judgment. Read the above verse again.
Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: Revelation 18:10-11 – KJV
No I’m not sure of this, but…
Zephaniah 1:12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, (it is now dark, sun moon and stars? We can’t be sure?) and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.
Zephaniah 1:13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation (destruction?): they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof. (Why?)
Zephaniah 1:14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, (Are these things that we just read about what had gone before Tribulation? Or after?) even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. (Why are they crying before the Tribulation??)
Zephaniah 1:15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, (is this Tribulation or is this men seeking to hide from the now presence of the Lord and His coming wrath, as the sun moon and stars fall?)
Zephaniah 1:16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. (Is this describing Tribulation or God’s wrath following the trumpet — which trumpet?)
Zephaniah 1:17 And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. (Is this the treading of the winepress following Armageddon or Tribulation?)
Zephaniah 1:18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD’S wrath (is this Tribulation or is it Orge wrath?And does this go back and explain verse 11?); but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. (Does this happen during Tribulation or after at His coming in Wrath?)
Zephaniah 2:1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired;Zephaniah 2:2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you. (But who is this not desired nation is it Israel — is it the Holy nation the Royal priesthood; is it the bride who is at this very time in the final process of making herself ready Rev 19?)
Zephaniah 2:3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger (does this mean that His wrath is yet to come, and that there is deliverance from it or from the Tribulation itself? Or does it mean that the meek of the earth are about to inherit the earth in the millennium?)
Zephaniah 2:4 For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.
Zephaniah 2:5 Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant (total destruction, when does it come? Is Tribulation total destruction?). (KJV)
I’ve shown you a lot of verses here. I’ve asked a lot of questions, but some of these verses are considered to be proof of Great Tribulation and the day of the Lord being one, and thus would bring into question and be in opposition to what the first verses listed in this article seem to be telling us. I must admit that this is a difficult passage to fully understand. But the day of the Lord is present in these verses. Zephaniah 2:2 seems a call to get one’s house in order before what — is it Tribulation? making Tribulation the day of the Lord’s anger, or is it all about the nearness of something worse (Total destruction) as expressed in Zephaniah 2:14-15 where we here that the day of the Lord is near, and that it’s a day Of Wrath, a day of darkness, a day of destruction)? Does this actually fit our former verses, which tell us that the sun moon and stars will not shine, and that when Jesus returns that He will tread the winepress of God’s wrath (Isa 63:1-6), as He destroys many nations armies, and fights with no man with Him, as He protects Israel’s Remnant from immediate total destruction, which is Satan’s objective?
I find that you will believe whatever it is that you want from this and other passages. This is the guarantee (or the curse) of our ability of free choice. Should you want to understand the wrath of God spoken of in Zephaniah above, I believe my post placed here 6 days ago titled: Making Sense of Revelation’s Wrath And Jesus’ Coming Without Adding To or Subtracting From What Jesus Sent His Angel to Tell us. I believe it will help.
In a future article we will look at another passage coming from Isaiah that is said to prove Tribulation to be part of the day of the Lord.
But in the interim consider this one thing. If the scriptures taken literally are in conflict for you or for me; then one of three things must be true. Either the scriptures are in error, with no guarantees of veracity, (or) we are refusing to hear God’s stated truth and thus are deceiving ourself, (or) we are still seeking and have not yet arrived at God’s truth. If it’s the later case we must remain open to God’s teaching. God is not the author of confusion. If we must explain away very clear statements of scripture which do agree with one another, what is that telling us? And is it pleasing to God. If we do not allow what is clear in scripture to interpret what is unclear, then our waters are muddied, and then either we are not seeking God for truth, or we are content in confusion.
May God’s Holy Spirit be leading our search for Truth, for Satan will certainly seek to hinder it.