For the DAY OF THE LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty...

Day of the Lord vs the Great Tribulation

John B. Williamson        

The Day of the Lord and the Great Tribulation are two separate epochs within Daniel's 70th week.

John B. Williamson

John B. Williamson

Isaiah 2:12-17: "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...  And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low:  and THE LORD ALONE SHALL BE EXALTED IN THAT DAY."

2 Thes. 2:1-4: "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the COMING of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by OUR GATHERING UNTO HIM (the rapture), 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 (DAY OF THE LORD), is at hand.  LET NO MAN DECEIVE YOU by any means for THAT DAY (the rapture/Day of the Lord), SHALL NOT COME, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and EXALTETH HIMSELF ABOVE ALL THAT IS WORSHIPPED; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."

Rev. 13:3-7: "And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed, and ALL THE WORLD WONDERED AFTER THE BEAST.  AND THEY WORSHIPPED THE DRAGON which gave power unto the beast, AND THEY WORSHIPPED THE BEAST, saying, 'Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?'  And there was given unto him a mouth SPEAKING GREAT THINGS AND BLASPHEMIES; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.  And HE OPENED HIS MOUTH IN BLASPHEMY AGAINST GOD, TO BLASPHEME HIS NAME, AND HIS TABERNACLE, AND THEM THAT DWELL IN HEAVEN.  And it was given unto him TO MAKE WAR WITH THE SAINTS, AND TO OVERCOME THEM; AND POWER WAS GIVEN HIM OVER ALL KINDREDS, AND TONGUES AND NATIONS, and all that dwell upon the earth SHALL WORSHIP HIM, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

The first two passages tell us in the clearest possible manner that the Day of the Lord (God's wrath in the endtimes) and the Great Tribulation (Satan's wrath in the endtimes) are two separate epochs within Daniel's 70th week.  The great prophet Isaiah has just told us that the LORD ALONE will be exalted during the Day of the Lord.  But the Apostle Paul told the church of Thessalonica that antichrist will be exalting HIMSELF ABOVE ALL THAT IS WORSHIPPED when he enters the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and that he must do this BEFORE the rapture and Day of the Lord.  When the man of sin takes his seat on the throne in the temple to demand the world's worship, this is the beginning of the GREAT TRIBULATION.  These two contrasting passages are evidence enough that the Day of the Lord is a different time period from the Great Tribulation.  In the first the Lord alone is exalted; in the second the antichrist is exalting himself.

But let's go for further proof.  The third scene scribed by John the Apostle tells us several things:

a) all the world wonders after the beast
b) they worship the dragon;
c) they worship the beast;
d) the beast blasphemes God, His Name, His tabernacle and those that dwell in heaven;
e) the beast makes war with the saints and overcomes them;
f) power is given to the beast OVER ALL KINDREDS, AND TONGUES, AND NATIONS (with the exception of those whose names are in the Lamb's Book of Life, i.e. the born again saints that the beast is making war against)

In the last scene the beast (Antichrist) is being worshipped by almost the whole world, he blasphemes God and all in heaven, makes war with and overcomes the saints and power is given to him over all kindreds, tongues and nations.  This Revelation scene is a flashback to the Great Tribulation passage of Rev. 6:9, in which we see martyred souls under the altar crying out to God for His judgment and vengeance to be retributed against their horrific adversary, Satan (who is operating through his surrogate known as the antichrist).

Here it is in a nutshell:

a) In Isaiah we learn that during the Day of the Lord the Lord alone is exalted;
b) In 2 Thessalonians we learn that during the Great Tribulation antichrist exalts himself;
c) In Revelation we learn that during the Great Tribulation antichrist is worshipped and exalted by nearly the whole world, plus he has power over all kindreds, tongues and nations.

What else can we conclude, but that the Great Tribulation is a different segment of the endtimes from the Day of the Lord?  We must also conclude that Paul did NOT want the church of Thessalonica to be deceived about which event would occur first.  Paul clearly stated that the antichrist's identity will be revealed before the rapture, implying that the temple in Jerusalem would already have to be rebuilt in order for him to enter it!  These are two prophesied events that have to occur BEFORE the rapture and BEFORE the Day of the Lord.  Therefore the rapture cannot possibly be either pretribulational or imminent!  Here is the order of events:

a) the Great Tribulation (Satan's wrath, antichrist is exalted, Christians being martyred during the 5th seal (Rev. 6:9-11);
b) the Sign of the Day of the Lord (cosmic eruptions of the 6th seal, Rev. 6:12-14);
c) the rapture of both the dead in Christ and the living saints (between the 6th and 7th seals, Rev. 7:9-14);
d) the Day of the Lord (God's wrath...THE LORD ALONE WILL BE EXALTED, 7th seal of Rev. 8:1-2, initiating the trumpet and bowl judgments during God's wrath against the wicked).

Another important thing to keep uppermost in mind is that the wicked FLEE from God's wrath as soon as they see it is about to be poured out.  The FIRST MENTION of God's wrath is in Rev. 6:15-17: "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, HID THEMSELVES in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks:  'Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and FROM THE WRATH OF THE LAMB:  FOR THE GREAT DAY OF HIS WRATH IS COME; and who shall be able to stand?'"  This first mention of God's wrath is right after the cosmic eruptions of the 6th seal, which the prophets told us was the Sign of the Day of the Lord.  That this is a time of God's wrath only (not man's or Satan's) is made clear when we look at what the prophets had to say about it, i.e. Isaiah 2:19-21 and 13:6, Jeremiah 46:10, Lamentations 2:22, Ezekiel 30:3, Joel 1:15, 2:30,31, Obadiah 1:15, Zephaniah 1:14,15,17, Zechariah 1:1-4 and Malachi 4:5.

By contrast do we see the wicked fleeing from God's wrath when antichrist begins the Great Tribulation?  Is antichrist himself fleeing from the wrath of God?  Or is he sitting in the temple blaspheming God?  Is he showing any fear of God at all?  The answer is a definite NO.  In fact he is showing himself AS IF HE IS GOD (2 Thes. 2:4).  Antichrist is not fleeing from God's wrath during the Great Tribulation, and neither are those who take his blasphemous 666 mark.  These people have sold out to Satan for eternity and can buy and sell with no fear of being hunted down and killed by Satan's forces.

Luke 17:28-30 says "Like also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded (notice that the wicked here are not fleeing the wrath of God, they are just going about their normal everyday business).  But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be when the Son of Man is revealed."  During the Great Tribulation the wicked are not fleeing God's wrath at all; but they will when the Son of Man is revealed with the opening of the 6th seal in Revelation 6!

Antichrist is revealed at midpoint of the 70th week (Dan. 9:27 and 2 Thes. 2:3) FIRST.  Only AFTERWARDS is the Son of Man revealed, when His holy anger is about to be poured out on antichrist and his wicked forces (Rev. 6:16-17).  It is interesting to note that the wicked in this passage say "who shall be able to stand" against the Lord's wrath, whereas they say something totally different in Rev. 13:4: "...Who is like unto the beast?  Who is able to make war with him?"  The second scene is a flashback to the Great Tribulation in which they have total confidence that NO ONE will be able to stand up to the beast...but the first scene is a different picture entirely because they know that nobody will be able to stand against God's wrath...NOT EVEN ANTICHRIST!

The rapture is AFTER the tribulation...  not BEFORE IT!


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