The Great and Very Terrible Day

Review of the Twofold Nature of “God’s Day” – Great and Terrible

For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; Who can endure it? (Joel 2:11)

The twofold nature of the Day of the Lord is that it is both great in power for the redeemed and terrible in judgment for those who rebel. These are two dimensions of God’s leadership in the Day of the Lord as He manifests His greatness of blessing and the terribleness of judgment.

Great Day – to the responsive it will be a time of the greatest manifestation of the power of God ever seen in history. It will include supernatural provision, direction (Ps. 91; Jer. 31:9), and protection (Goshen principle of Ex. 8:22-23; 9:4, 6, 26), and the miracles seen in the book of Acts and in the book of Exodus will be combined and multiplied on a global scale. God’s blessing will be more fully manifest in the millennial kingdom. The “great” dimension of that Day will include the outpouring of the Spirit with extraordinary signs and wonders (Joel 2:28-32).

Very Terrible Day – to the rebellious it will be the most severe time of God’s judgments ever seen in history (Rev. 6-20). It is a day of destruction against the Antichrist’s empire. The terrible dimension of the Day of the Lord speaks of God’s judgments coming upon the earth as He shakes all that can be shaken (Heb. 12:26). It will include the seal judgments, the trumpet judgments, and the bowl judgments (Rev. 6-16).

Who can Endure the Day of the Lord? Only Those With His Favor

The LORD gives voice before His army, for His camp is very great; for strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; who can endure it? (Joel 2:11)

Joel asks, “Who can endure the Day of the Lord?” The only kind of people who will endure both the powerful visitation of the Spirit and the judgments are those who live in God’s favor by the gift of righteousness in Christ, along with a life of wholehearted obedience to Him. The free gift of righteousness that we have received from God is our only foundation and it will lead us to a life of wholehearted obedience to God. No one can face this Day in their own strength or on their own account.

The Day of the Lord is when God openly shows Himself as strong, carrying out His promises of blessing and warnings of judgment. He is mighty in bringing to pass the promises as well as the warnings that He declared in His Word. The rebellious ignore the warnings.

Apart from living understanding, called the spirit of revelation (Eph. 1:17), the human heart is naturally offended at both dimensions of the great and terrible Day—the move of the Spirit and the release of judgment.

A pastor came to me after hearing me teach on this subject and said, “You seem to think something dramatic is about to happen. Let’s be honest. I have been in the ministry for so many years, and I have never seen anything like that happen before.” I answered, “I do not limit our future based on the powerlessness and lethargy of our past. Our history in spiritual barrenness must not forecast how we see our future.” We must base our belief system upon the Word of God, not our past lack of experience in God.

The Day of the Lord will be the most dynamic hour in natural history. It is the hour of the greatest glory for the Body of Christ. What God has deemed important, we must also. This Day is certain. It will come to pass. God is inviting us to be a people of understanding, embracing His ways as we partner with Him in agreement with all He is about to do on the earth.

The Day of the Lord is Great

There is only one global great Day of the Lord, and it happens in relation to the second coming of Jesus. It is characterized by a worldwide move of God; the Church across the earth will experience the unusual manifestations of God’s power with His zeal for righteousness. It is a great Day because it will be the greatest demonstration of revival power in world history. There will be a heightened activity of the Holy Spirit’s blessing for the Church. There will be an increase of the winds of the Spirit such as the Body of Christ has never witnessed. It is really good news! The miracles in the books of Acts and Exodus will be combined and multiplied on a global dimension!

In Psalm 91, David describes the fearlessness that the redeemed will have at that time. They will remain unshaken when so much around them will be shaking. The greatness of that Day will be characterized by supernatural provision, protection, and guidance.

Supernatural Provision (Food and Water)

“As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt, I will show them wonders.” (Mic. 7:15)

This will be a great Day for God’s people in terms of receiving supernatural provision. God will manifest His provision like He did in the Exodus. The premier example of God’s extravagant provision in crisis is found in the book of Exodus when God brought Israel out of Egypt. God miraculously provided all the needs of His people as they journeyed through the wilderness. He caused food to fall from the sky and He brought water from a rock in the desert. Jehovah-Jireh, the great Provider, was on magnificent display as He exhibited His kindness time and time again. The Exodus story will be our story because it is going to happen again!

We will be filled with amazement at the different ways in which the Lord provides food and water. Water can again flow from a rock at the Lord’s command. Those refusing the mark of the Beast will be unable to purchase food (Rev. 13:17), but they will be led by the same Jesus who fed five thousand with the fish and the loaves. He also fed Elijah by the ravens. In other words, He is in the business of food multiplication; He will do it again—only in greater measures than ever witnessed before.

Supernatural Protection – Goshen Principle (Pockets of Mercy)

22 will set apart the land of Goshen, in which My people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be there, in order that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the land. 23 I will make a difference between My people and your people. Tomorrow this sign shall be. (Ex. 8:22-23)

Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, there was no hail. (Ex. 9:26)

Another characteristic of the greatness of the Day of the Lord is God’s supernatural protection. It is what I call the Goshen principle (Ex. 8:22-23; 9:4-6, 26; 10:23; 11:7). In the time of the plagues of Egypt, God did not allow His judgments to touch the place where His people lived, a place called Goshen (Ex. 8:22). God protected His people from the plagues He released in Egypt. The Lord said to Pharaoh, “I will make a difference between My people and your people” (Ex. 8:23). Though the plagues were poured out in Egypt and all around the Israelites, nobody in Goshen was sick or affected, not even their livestock. In Goshen, none of the hail or fire fell, and none of the flies swarmed (Ex. 9:4, 6, 26).

Pockets of mercy is a term I use to refer to geographic areas where God’s people will be hidden or protected from God’s judgment in the end times.
Seek the LORD, all you meek of the earth. Seek righteousness, seek humility. It may be that you will be hidden [pockets of mercy] in the day of the LORD’s anger. (Zeph. 2:3)

The same idea of the Goshen principle is seen in Scripture when the mark or seal of God is put on the saints to protect them from the judgment of God.

They [demons] were commanded not to harm the grass but only those men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. (Rev. 9:4)

He [angel] cried to the four angels saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” (Rev. 7:2-3)

The LORD said to him [angel], “Go … through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry [intercession] over all the abominations that are done within it.” To the others [angels] He said, “Go through the city and kill. Utterly slay old and young … but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark.” (Ezek. 9:4-6)

This “Goshen principle” will be seen in the end times. There will be strategic regions across the earth with special divine protection, provision, and guidance. In these geographic locations, the judgments of God will be held back from the people of God just like in Goshen.

Supernatural Guidance (Prophetic Anointing)

They shall come with weeping, and with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, in a straight way in which they shall not stumble. (Jer. 31:9)

I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. (Joel 2:28)

Your ears shall hear a [prophetic] word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. (Isa. 30:21)

Another mark of the greatness of the Day of the Lord events will be in receiving supernatural direction. In that Day, the Lord will direct His people to the right and to the left that they may find safety, protection, and provision.

Jeremiah prophesied that there would be a time when Israel would be escaping and fleeing as refugees, that God would lead them by supplications in that day (Jer. 31:9).

God will direct His people to the places of food, water, and refuge. Our ears shall hear a word behind us or suddenly from the Lord, saying, “This is the way, walk in it”. (Isa. 30:21).

4. There will be supernatural guidance to find food, to reconnect in relationships, to be at the right place at the right time, or to escape a plague.

Terrible Day – God Will Raise up and Evil Leader to Judge Sin

1. During the Day of the Lord judgments, the Antichrist will invade and oppress nations.

2. At the foundation of this evil, global empire is the great paradox that it is God Himself who will raise it up. Though, certainly, Satan will have his role in it and the sin of man will play into it. Jesus will open the first seal to release the Antichrist to conquer rebellious nations (Rev. 6:1-2).

3. God is the one raising up an evil leader to test the inhabitants of the earth who choose evil.

The hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those … on earth. (Rev. 3:10)

4. It was the Father, not the devil, who gave men authority over Jesus at His first coming.

Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” (Jn. 19:11)

5. God raised up evil Pharaoh in Moses’ day. He was the most powerful man in the world.

The Scripture says to Pharaoh, “I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.” (Rom. 9:17)

Indeed … I have raised you up [Pharaoh] that I may show My power in you. (Ex. 9:16)

6. God raised up an evil Assyrian leader named Sennacherib to judge Israel in 721 BC.

Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger… the staff in whose hand is My indignation. (Isa. 10:5)

7. God called Nebuchadnezzar, His servant, to judge Israel in 586 BC.

Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will [come] against this land … and will utterly destroy… ‘Then … when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and the Babylonians, for their iniquity,’ says the LORD. (Jer. 25:9, 12)

I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar … My servant… (Jer. 27:6)

Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I will send Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will set his throne above these stones…” (Jer. 43:10)

Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans [Babylon], a bitter and hasty nation…they are terrible and dreadful. (Hab. 1:5-7)

I [the Lord] will prepare destroyers against you [Babylon against Jerusalem]. (Jer. 22:7)

8. God raised up the Persians to judge the Babylonians.

I have commanded My sanctified ones [Persian army]; I have also called My mighty ones [Persian army] for My anger … a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together! The LORD of hosts musters the army for battle. They come from a far country [Persia] … the LORD and His weapons [Persian army] of indignation, to destroy. (Isa. 13:3-5)

God is a just judge … He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready. He also prepares for Himself instruments of death… (Ps. 7:11-13)

9. God sets into place the leaders of the nations to serve His purposes.

This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men. (Dan. 4:17)

God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses. (Dan. 5:21)

Be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God … for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. (Rom. 13:1, 4)

10. Specific to our study is the testimony of Joel, who prophesied that the evil Babylonian army would be sent by God. Joel calls Babylon God’s army (Joel 2:11). In Joel’s day, God raised up Nebuchadnezzar, an evil man who blasphemed God. At the end of the age God will raise up the Antichrist to be used to judge the nations that choose wickedness.

11. God willraise up the Antichrist to a position of great authority for 3½ years to bring the entire earth to a place of decision for righteousness or unrighteousness (Dan. 7-12; 2 Thes. 2; Rev. 13).

God will grant time and authority for some of the events of darkness to be walked out (Rev. 6:2,4, 8; 9:1, 3, 5; 11:2; 13:5, 7, 14-15).

The Lamb [Jesus] opened one of the seals… a white horse. He [Antichrist] who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him…he went out conquering and to conquer. (Rev. 6:1-2)

He  [Antichrist]  was  given  …  authority  [by  God]  to  continue  for  forty-two  months.  It  was granted  to  him  to  make  war  with  the  saints  and  to  overcome  them.  Authority  was  given  him [by God] over every tribe, tongue, and nation. (Rev. 13:5, 7)

He  [Antichrist]  shall  speak  pompous  words  against  the  Most  High,  shall  persecute  the  saints of the Most High…Then the saints shall be given into his hand [3½years]. (Dan. 7:25)

For  indeed  I  will  raise  up  a  shepherd  [Antichrist]  in  the  land  [Israel]  who  will  not  care  for those  who  are  cut  off  …  nor  heal  those  that  are  broken  …  But  he  will  eat  the  flesh  of  the  fat and tear their hooves in pieces. “Woe to the worthless shepherd!” (Zech. 11:16-17)

12. There is a distinction between God’s judgment and discipline. God releases His wrath to punish rebellion and His discipline to free His people who refuse to repent of their compromise.

Whom the LORD loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights. (Prov. 3:12)

13. Satan possesses tremendous hostility, desiring to destroy the righteous.

14. God’s judgment and Satan’s rage will be happening simultaneously across the earth. We cannot know the mixed responses that occur in the hearts of so many. Therefore, we should not have overly simplistic answers as to the reasons and causes of all the end-time crises events. The general principle is that the rebellious experience God’s wrath, compromising believers undergo God’s discipline and the righteous endure Satan’s rage.

15. In times of crisis, God judges sin, disciplines the Church, and prepares the harvest. God raises up evil leaders to bring judgment on the rebellious nations, then He judges those wicked leaders. It is essential that we have clarity on the sovereignty of God.

The Very Terrible Day of the Lord

They worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” 5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months … 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev. 13:4-8)

A divinely appointed evil empire is one dimension of the terrible Day of the Lord. One of the terrible dimensions of the Day of the Lord is that an evil empire led by the Antichrist will invade rebellious evil nations that oppress God’s people and the poor.

God will raise up this temporary evil leader to shake wicked nations. This empire will not succeed in dominating all the nations of the earth. However, the Bible repeatedly uses terms like “the whole earth” to describe its influence (Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:8). Thus, it will have some presence and impact in all the nations without necessarily dominating them.

There are 262 nations (including territories, etc.) on the earth right now. This evil empire may only unify fifty or one hundred nations, yet that will still be the largest coalition of nations in history! Many nations will resist him and some will prevent him from totally dominating their land, while still feeling the impact of his oppression.

God’s judgment will be released through the seven seals, trumpets, and bowls of wrath (Rev. 6:16) as a dimension of the final Day of the Lord against the kingdom of darkness and the Antichrist’s empire. These will include earthquakes, storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and drought.

The sowing and reaping process of sin will cause troubles on the earth. God will allow seeds of wickedness to fully ripen on the earth; sin will reach its highest dimensions at the end of the age. Sin has never been fully ripe globally. However, God will give the human race the opportunity to reach its fullest potential of sinfulness as it reaches heights of perversion, unequaled in history.

The four primary categories of sin in end times will be murder, immorality, sorcery and theft (Rev. 9:21).

Today the soil of America is defiled with the blood of 50 million abortions over the last 30 years. Yet, the “murder-movement” has only just begun as millions possessed by demons of murder bring the crime rates to an all-time high.

Internet perversion will reach new levels of darkness in the days to come. Satan will use all the resources of technology to bring sexual perversion to the most wickedly corrupt levels. There will be millions and millions of people possessed by demons of lust.

The occult will fill the earth, resulting in millions of demonized people.

Theft will increase to dramatic proportions. Most wars are about theft. There are many different manifestations of theft that man calls “protecting our political interest.”

In the natural process of reaping and sowing, all of these categories of sin will crescendo. Talk about an unsafe environment! It truly will be a very terrible day.

Results of the Day of the Lord Judgements

The four angels … were released to kill a third of mankind. (Rev. 9:15)

One result of the Day of the Lord judgments is that one-third of the earth’s population will die unnatural deaths. Their deaths will be related to the release of God’s judgment.

People who study demographics say that by about 2025, there will be 8 billion people in the earth. A third of that number would be between 2 and 3 billion people. We cannot relate to such a large number. It would be about fifty times the death toll of World War II (50 million).

God’s Goodness in the Midst of Judgement

We know that all things work together for good to those who love God… (Rom. 8:28)

All these things will work together for the good of the redeemed and the future of the earth. God will use the least severe means to bring the greatest numbers to Himself at the deepest levels of love for Jesus without violating their free will. Anything of less severity would not get the job done. Reflecting back on the Great Tribulation judgments, the saints in heaven will sing, “Great and marvelous are Your works and just and true are Your ways!” (Rev. 15:3-4).

After Joseph was reunited with his brothers who sold him into slavery, he understood that what his brothers meant for evil, God meant for good, saving many (Gen. 50).

You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (Gen. 50:20)

Joseph endured two prison sentences in Egypt. God worked for good through what others meant for evil, that many would be saved. In the same way, the works of the Antichrist’s evil empire will be meant for evil but God will overrule their evil intentions, resulting in salvation for many.

The Church Will Not Want to Miss this Glorious Hour of History

The Church will be present and victorious through the events described in the book of Revelation. This will be the Church’s most glorious hour in all history!

The glorious outcome will be great numbers coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus. I believe that over a billion souls will be saved. This Day will be characterized by the greatest number of souls ever reached in salvation and distinguished by the deepest levels of mature love.

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