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The phrase "day of the LORD" is used multiple times in scripture. Do they all point to the same event or to multiple events? Barnes, in "Barnes' Notes" suggests that it is descriptive rather than identifying a particular day:

The day ... - This expression evidently denotes that the Lord would inflict severe punishment upon every one that was lofty. Such a severe infliction is called “the day of the Lord of hosts,” because it would be a time when “he” would particularly manifest himself, and when “he” would be recognized as the inflicter of that punishment. “His” coming forth in this manner would give “character” to that time, and would be the prominent “event.” The punishment of the wicked is thus freguently called “the day of the Lord;” Isa_13:6, Isa_13:9 : ‘Behold the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger,’ etc.; Jer_46:10 : ‘The day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance.’ Eze_30:3; Zep_1:7, Zep_1:14; Joe_2:31; see also in the New Testament, 1Th_5:2; 2Pe_3:10.

Is that the case or is it one particular day?

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A day of the Lord was a time of God's punishment visited upon the wicked, and it was used to prophesy their destruction at different times for different nations.

Isa. 2:12 against Judah and Jerusalem -

"For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low:" (KJV)

Isa. 13:6 against Babylon -

"Howl ye; for the day of the Lord is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty." (KJV)

Isa. 46:10 against Egypt -

"For this is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord God of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates." (KJV)

Lam. 2:22 against Judah and Jerusalem -

"For this is the day of the Lord God of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood: for the Lord God of hosts hath a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates." (KJV)

Ezek. 30:3 against Egypt, Ethipia, and Lybia prophesying their destruction under Nebuchadnezzar -

"For the day is near, even the day of the Lord is near, a cloudy day; it shall be the time of the heathen." (KJV)

It always indicated a time when God's presence was visited upon the wicked ones for their sins of idolatry, rebellion against God, gloating and boasting of their own strengths, etc. God used several other phrases for the same understanding of the time when He would pour forth His judgment.

"day of their calamity" - Deu. 32:35; Jer. 18:17; 46:21; Obahiah 1:13

"day of visitation" - Isa. 10:3; Hos. 9:7; 1 Pet. 2:12

"day of His wrath" - Job 20:28; Psa. 110:5; Rev. 6:17

"day of vengeance" - Isa. 61:2; 63:4; Jer. 46:10

All of these terms were the prophesies of His coming against the wicked ones throughout time.

You might be interested in my post "The Days of His Visitation" at ShreddingTheVeil.

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  • I understand you to be saying that there are many "days of the LORD" and not just one, correct? – Ruminator Apr 24 '18 at 0:35
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    Yes. God came in judgment of the wicked many times in the OT. Same language was used in the NT... can you find it? Judgment of the wicked was pronounced upon those who crucified Christ. See my site again for Parts II & III Judgement language of It's Not The End of The World... – Gina Apr 24 '18 at 2:17
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This has already been marked as answered but I would like to offer a different perspective based on a dispensational hermeneutic.

Dispensationalists look at the day of the Lord as a lengthy time period having both a time of judgment and wrath and also a time of blessing for the nation of Israel when they will be given their kingdom.

The day of the Lord begins with God judgment of the earth and its people during the seven year tribulation, which is also referred to as a time of trouble or the time of Jacob's trouble.

Yet there are also times where the day of the Lord is described as a time of blessing for Israel which corresponds to the 1000 year millennium.

A special case is the passage 2 Peter 3:10-13 (KJV)

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

This passage involves what is known as prophetic telescoping, a concept in which the Biblical author will detail the events at the beginning of the time span and will jump to the end of the time span to describe the end of the time span, ignoring the events in between. Daniel 9:26-27 is another example of telescoping, the 69 weeks of Daniel in which God is dealing with Israel, followed by a gap of indeterminate length (the Church age), which is followed by the 70th week of Daniel that corresponds to the tribulation.

One of the passages dealing with the time of wrath:

Zeph 2:1-3 1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 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. 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.

notice that in this passage there is a hint of the fact that God will hide Israel during the tribulation, specifically of the 144,000 Israelites of Revelation who will be hidden. The further details coming from a literal interpretation of Revelation.

Another great example of the dual nature of the Day of the Lord is found in the prophecies of Joel.

In Joel 3:9-13 there is a time of preparation for war and readiness because a time of threshing is at hand.

9 Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: 10 Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. 11 Assemble yourselves, and come, all ye heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O LORD. 12 Let the heathen be wakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for there will I sit to judge all the heathen round about. 13 Put ye in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great.

Then a time of judgment and wrath that is called the day of the Lord in Joel 3:14-17.

14 Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision (threshing): for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. 15 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. 16 The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. 17 So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.

Notice that the result of the judgment is that Jerusalem will be made holy and that no strangers (unbelievers) will be in her midst. If a literal interpretation is done this simply could not have happened in 70 AD.

Then in Joel 3:18-21 there is a time of blessing for Israel when her enemies have been vanquished. Notice how verse 18 starts with the phrase "that day." The antecedent for the day that could be called "that day" is found previously in verse for as "the day of the Lord." so what is true of verses 18-21 is also part of the day of the Lord.

Joel 3:18-21 18 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim. 19 Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. 20 But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. 21 For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.

A lot more could be said on these aspects of the day of the Lord. One of the key aspects not covered is that the object of the day of the Lord is not the Church. The object and cause of God's actions is He will be once again dealing with Israel as He cleanses them from their sin, they will look upon Him whom they have pierced. Seeing Him for who He really is.

There are a few references to a past day of the Lord. The key to these rare references is they were already in the past tense of some of the prophets who wrote after the captivity.

There are rare in relation to the number of passages that are future in their timing, so rare in fact that they are often passed over as applying to the Day of the Lord. Lam. 2:22 is an example of this kind, in the Lam. 2:22 example the actions all occurred in the past: "none escaped nor remained" and "mine enemy consumed." In the Lam 2:22 example it was the Lord's anger but He used other nations who were His enemies to exercise judgment. In most of the future ones it is the Lord who will exercise His wrath directly.

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  • There are a few references to the day of the Lord as a past occurrence at the time the prophecy was written (Lam. 2:22 is an example), but they are relatively rare in comparison to the two aspects of the still future time period. In the Lam. 2:22 example the actions all occurred in the past: "none escaped nor remained" and "mine enemy consumed." In the Lam 2:22 example it was the Lord's anger but He used other nations who were His enemies to exercise judgment. In most of the future ones it is the Lord who will exercise His wrath directly. – Ken Banks Apr 26 '18 at 17:44
  • Joel also defines Jews/Israel those "my people" who had been scattered from the land of Israel, to among the nations of the world, by the nations of the world. Therefore the definition of Jews/Israel in Joel disqualifies Jesus believers from claiming to be Israel, whether "grafted in" or not. Theire is only one people called Jews and Israel. – Cynthia Avishegnath Jun 17 '19 at 0:39

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