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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Day of the Lord

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DAY OF THE LORD . The day in which Jehovah was expected to punish sinful Hebrews and the enemies of Israel, and to establish at least the righteous remnant of His people in political supremacy. The Hebrews believed implicitly that their God Jehovah was certain to defeat all rivals. Before Amos this view had not reached a definite eschatology, and probably involved only a general expectation of the triumph of Israel and Israel’s God. With Amos, however, the conception of punishment became less ethnic and more moral. The sins of Israel itself deserved punishment, and Amos declared that the luxury of the nation, with all its economic oppression, had grown hateful to Jehovah, and unless abandoned would bring fearful punishment ( Amos 2:6-8 ; Amos 3:9-15 ; Amos 5:10-13 ; Amos 6:4-8 ). The righteousness of Jehovah demanded that the sins of His people as well as those of the heathen should be punished. After Amos the thought of an awful day of Divine punishment was extended from Israel to a world of sinners. According to Zephaniah ( Amos 1:2-15 , Amos 2:4-15 ), punishment was now to come upon all wicked persons, both Jews and Gentiles, because of wrong. So, too, the unknown prophet who wrote under the name of Malachi. Ezekiel ( Ezekiel 30:2 f., Ezekiel 34:12 , Ezekiel 39:8 f.), however, reverted to the same national thought of a ‘day of battle,’ in which Jehovah would conquer all Israel’s foes; and to some extent this same national idea is represented by Joel ( Joel 2:18-27 ). With the later prophets there is to be seen an element of reconstruction as well as punishment in Jehovah’s action. Sinners, whether Jews or Gentiles, are to be punished, but a pious remnant is to be saved, the beginnings of a new Israel.

It is clear that this conception of a great Day of Jehovah underlies much of the Messianic expectation of apocryphal literature. The establishment of a remnant of a pious Israel was the germ of the hope of the Messianic kingdom; and the Day of Jehovah itself became the Day of Judgment , which figures so largely in both Jewish and Christian Messianism. It fact, it is not too much to say that the eschatology of Judaism is really a development of the implications of the prophetic teaching as to the Day of Jehovah.

Shailer Mathews.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Day of the Lord'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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