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Read:   Acts 2:12-22

  “20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.”  Acts 2:20

The Biblical phrase “the day of the Lord” confuses many people; It’s confusing because it’s used in different ways, at different times, places, and circumstances. This phrase spoken by the prophets often noted a day of judgment.  Looking back at those settings, “the day of the Lord” came to them, and the prophecy was fulfilled. God’s people had become divided into two kingdoms:  Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Israel fell first in 722 BC to Assyria, and the Judah fell in 597 BC to Babylon.  The prophets had given each ample warning of “the day of the Lord”.

But, “the day of the Lord” didn’t always mean judgment. For example, on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was given and Peter preached to the large crowd he told them that it was the fulfillment of what the prophet Joel said – it was “the day of the Lord”.  That tremendous “day of the Lord” was a great blessing! 

So the phrase, “Day of the Lord” doesn’t refer to just one specific day in history or in the future, like the second coming of Christ, or the end of the world.  Numerous days have been a “day of the Lord” in our faith history.  Christmas and Easter day would qualify as a “day of the Lord”.  Likewise, the ushering in of the Kingdom of God has long been associated with the phrase, “day of the Lord” – and certainly the coming of the Kingdom of God on Earth would be a very positive thing.

A few words of caution:  be careful not to read judgments made long ago as prophetic for us today. Many prophecies are fulfilled in the Bible, others were fulfilled in history but not recorded in the Bible, and still others never happened.  Why?  Because prophetic warnings were given to change the behavior and outcome: to bring mercy not judgement (like the story of Jonah).  Biblical prophecies are usually about confronting wrongs, not about foretelling the future.  When we read scripture we look to understand what it meant to the original readers, and then, what it may mean to us today.  We have to understand the context of a Bible verse first, before we can apply it to our lives.  Yes, often there is some effort involved, important work, but why shouldn’t there be?  A good study Bible can help us on our walk of faith.

Shalom,

Pastor Rob Nystrom