Risen from the Dust
The Day of the Lord is a period of time that will begin with the return of Christ, and it will be an hour of vengeance when the Lord's wrath is finally unleashed upon the Earth. This day will come upon the world quickly and unexpectedly, as a thief in the night, and no one will escape.
On the Day of the Lord, the great battle of Armageddon will commence; a decisive confrontation between Christ with his glorious army, and the nations of the Earth united under the mark of the beast. It will be a cataclysmic event that changes the Earth, and affects not only mortal man, but every other living creature on it.
There are different metaphors that are used throughout the bible to describe what Armageddon will be like, but what they all have in common is that they portray a great slaughter in which the Lord ferociously strikes down his enemies, both physically and spiritually. Despite the varying ways it's depicted, it will ultimately be a supernatural confrontation, when the things that are now unseen overtake the things that are seen.
The most true-to-life scenario that will happen on the Day of the Lord, is that the wicked will be set ablaze by the blinding light and holy fire that will issue forth from the presence of Christ, "For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze" (Malachi 4.1 NASB bible). Remember that the Lord is a consuming fire (Deuteronomy 4.24), and when he descends into the world with all his holy ones, the wicked will be melted like wax before them, "As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God" (Psalm 68.2 KJV bible), "And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them...their faces shall be as flames" (Isaiah 13.8 KJV bible). The wicked will be melted like wax before the Lord's presence, when he returns to reign on Earth.
As symbolized by the conquest of Jericho, the Lord's army will spread across the face of the Earth, and burn everything in devotion to him, "For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire" (Isaiah 66.15 KJV bible), "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2nd Thessalonians 1.7-8 KJV bible). At the seventh trumpet, the Lord and his angels will descend from heaven, cleansing the Earth of all wickedness and impurity by holy fire.
On the Day of the Lord, the words spoken by Christ himself will be a powerful double-edged sword that goes forth to destroy the enemy, "the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming" (2nd Thessalonians 2.8 KJV bible), "and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11.4 KJV bible). There will also be furious storm winds and hailstones that are more severe than anything ever witnessed before, "With pestilence and with blood I will enter into judgment with him; and I will rain on him and on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, a torrential rain, with hailstones, fire and brimstone" (Ezekiel 38.22 NASB bible), "And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones" (Isaiah 30.30 KJV bible).
When the Day of the Lord arrives, Christ will utilize all the forces of nature against mankind. There will be an enormous earthquake that levels mountains and rearranges the face of the Earth, "And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great" (Revelation 16.18 KJV bible), "For the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake. The earth is broken asunder, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently" (Isaiah 24.18-19 NASB bible). On the Day of the Lord, Christ will utilize the earth itself to bring about a decisive victory for the children of light. At the same time, he bring the days of spiritual darkness to an abrupt and eternal end.
When Christ returns on the Day of the Lord, the Earth will become utterly desolate and nothing will survive. The return of Christ will bring about the greatest cataclysm the world has ever seen, similar to an astronomical impact or nuclear doomsday, and no one will escape. There will be tempest, earthquakes, giant hailstones, and holy fire radiating outward and devouring everything in its path. Cities and forests, cars and planes, and every tree, building, plant and animal, along with every man, woman, and child will perish. All that will remain is the dust of the earth, and everything we see around us will be brought back to it, "I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD" (Zephaniah 1.2-3 KJV bible), "Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land [or Earth] desolate" (Isaiah 13.9 KJV bible), "And all the earth will be devoured in the fire of His jealousy, for He will make a complete end, indeed a terrifying one, of all the inhabitants of the earth" (Zephaniah 1.18 NASB bible). Notice how it says fishes of the sea and birds of the sky, indicating a complete devastation of the Earth. The Earth's surface will be devoured in the fire of the Lord, and he will make an end of all its inhabitants.
At this time no flesh will be able to stand before the Lord without being consumed, and only the sons of God will be able to approach his glory. The Day of the Lord will bring the age of flesh man to a thorough and climactic end, "Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof...as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller...The land [or Earth] shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word" (Isaiah 24.1-3 KJV bible), "Notwithstanding the land [or Earth] shall be desolate because of them that dwell therein, for the fruit of their doings" (Micah 7.13 KJV bible), "For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many" (Isaiah 66.16 KJV bible). The Earth will be made desolate on the Day of the Lord, and flesh man will be no more.
In the New Testament, Paul refers to the desolation on the Day of the Lord as the shaking and removal of created things, "but now he [God] hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain" (Hebrews 12.26-27 KJV bible). So with few exceptions, the created and perishable things of the world will be destroyed on the Day of the Lord, and all the works of the world will be pulverized back into dust, "So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground" (Ezekiel 38.20 KJV bible).
This future "shaking" of created things is also what Jesus is speaking of in Mark 13, "And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down" (Mark 13.2 KJV bible). His apostles are marveling at the greatness of man's achievements as seen in the temple complex, but Jesus is teaching them that everything (including the temple mount) will be turned to dust when he returns at the end of the age. On that last day, even the outer heavens or universe will begin to rapidly disintegrate, "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." (2nd Peter 3.10 KJV bible). The world as we know it will cease to exist when the Day of the Lord begins.
However, there are a few notable exceptions that will be spared from the cataclysm of Christ's return. The Earth, meaning the basic globe or sphere, along with the sun and moon will remain intact throughout the millennium. Then, at the end of the millennium, they will be replaced with a new heavens and Earth, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness" (2nd Peter 3.13 KJV bible). So we should be hopeful and recognize this future waste and desolation as being in preparation for something much better, an eternal Earth and universe where righteousness dwells.
When the Day of the Lord begins, all flesh will be destroyed. For the wicked, however, destruction of the flesh will be only the beginning of sorrows. When the radiance of Christ enters the world at the second advent, the children of darkness will be afflicted in spirit long after their bodies have died. Their agony is depicted in Revelation 14, "If any man worship the beast and his image...The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God...and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night" (Revelation 14.9-11 KJV bible). All flesh will die, but the wicked will have spiritual agony that continues on even after destruction of the flesh.
The worshippers of the beast will be tormented by the presence of the Lamb and his angels because he is the living truth, and the truth cuts through the layers of delusions, lies, and false foundations that they have built their lives upon. They will be instantly toppled from a state of conceited self-love and narcissism, even thinking that they are God, to one of complete horror, "How are they [the wicked] brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image" (Psalm 73.19-20 KJV bible). Desolation will overtake them, and the Lord will become their worst nightmare as he shines light upon them and exposes their hideous nature. They will be like water droplets landing on a hot pan, and the smoke of their torment will be so heavy that it never dissipates.
After being ravaged in spirit, the wicked will be driven away by the presence of the Lamb, and into the outer darkness, "God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind" (Isaiah 17.13 KJV bible). At this time they will hide in the remote places of the Earth and dig into the ground for shelter, having no rest day or night because they have been made to drink from his cup of wrath, "And the kings of the earth...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" (Revelation 6.15-16 KJV bible). They will seek refuge in the darkness where they might remain hidden in the shadows, far away from the glory of Christ, "And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth" (Isaiah 2.19 KJV bible). The Day of the Lord will bring an end to all flesh, both man and beast, but it will also be an hour of great spiritual retribution and justice prior to the resurrection of judgment.
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