The Prophet’s Watchword: Day of the Lord -- By: Richard L. Mayhue

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 06:2 (Fall 1985)
Article: The Prophet’s Watchword: Day of the Lord
Author: Richard L. Mayhue

The Prophet’s Watchword:
Day of the Lord

Richard L. Mayhue

The biblical phraseDay of the Lord is a key phrase in understanding Gods revelation about the future. The NT writers use of this phrase rested upon their understanding of the OT prophets. A survey of the OT indicates that it was used by the prophets when speaking of both near historical and future eschatological events. The NT writers picked up on the eschatological use and applied the phrase both to the judgment which will climax the Tribulation period and the judgment which will usher in the new earth.

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The phrase “Day of the Lord” (DOL) embodies one of the major strands woven throughout the fabric of biblical prophecy. Without a clear understanding of DOL, the pattern of God’s plan for the future is obscure.

DOL appears in four uncontested NT passages (Acts 2:20, 1 Thess 5:2, 2 Thess 2:2, and 2 Pet 3:10). However, OT prophets actually wrote more about DOL. The OT provided the basis for whatever Peter and Paul understood about DOL. Beecher argued that,

All doctrines in regard to the millennium, the second coming of Christ, and the final judgment depend greatly on the passages in the New Testament that use the formulas, “the day of the Lord,” “the day of our Lord,” “that day,” and the like; such passages, for example, as 2 Pet iii:10, 1 Thess v:2, 1 Cor 1:8, v:5, 2 Cor i:14, 2 Thess i:10, 2 Tim i:12, Matt xxv:13, etc. The meaning of these passages is, in turn, greatly dependent on the relations that exist, both in ideas and in phraseology, between them and the texts in the Old Testament that speak of “the day of the Lord,” that is, “the day of Jehovah.” Necessarily, the study of these places in the Old Testament will be profitable, both in itself and for the light it throws on New Testament eschatology.1

Accordingly, this study will first evaluate the OT data concerning DOL. The pattern that emerges will then be used as an aid in the interpretation of the NT uses of this phrase.

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