The Presence of the Day of the Lord: How to know when the end is here – Part 1
5th July 2020

The Presence of the Day of the Lord: How to know when the end is here – Part 1

Passage: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-5

The Presence of the Day of the Lord
How to know when the end is here – Part 1

Chapter 1:
The issue: They were being persecuted (vv4-10)
Encouragement amid persecution
• Encouragement from the past (vv3-5) = They have been growing
• Encouragement from the future (vv6-10) = They will be vindicated
• Encouragement from the present (vv11-12) = They are being prayed for

Chapter 2:
The issue: They were being unsettled by false doctrine

  • False doctrine concerned eschatology (vv1-2)
    • The coming of our Lord and our gathering together to Him (v1)
    • The day of the Lord (v2)

Not only did they have to contend with persecution but they evidently had people teaching them false doctrine

  • The effect was detrimental to their emotional stability and their faithfulness to Christ amidst their already tumultuous lives
    • Quickly shaken (σαλευθῆναι) from your composure (v2)
    • Disturbed (θροεῖσθαι) (v2)
      • Consequences:
        → σαλευθῆναι: Irrational, extreme behaviour – Acts 17:13
        → θροεῖσθαι: Emotional disturbance – Matt. 21:10

So why did the news about the Day of the Lord unsettle them like this?
To understand, we need to know what Paul would have taught them about the Day of the Lord

What I want to do is highlight the characteristics of this day for you. So, as we read through the following texts, take note of how the Bible describes the Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord
• Eze. 30:2-9 = Global wars
• Amos 5:18-20; Zech. 14:1-2; Jer. 30:4-9 = A day of darkness and great distress for Israel
• Zeph. 1:14-16 = Global disaster and death
• Mal. 4:1 = Utter destruction of evildoers
• 2 Pet. 3:10 = Sudden, what seems like natural disasters

So, the Day of the Lord = Judgment on Israel and the rest of the world
What does God’s judgment look like?

A look at Israel’s history gives us the following:

  • Deut. 28:15-68 (Famine, Drought, Plagues, War, Natural Disasters and Genocide)
    • Famine
    • Severe drought coupled with conflict in the region caused the scorching famine of ’92 in Somalia
      → Killed 260 000 people
      → Photo by James Nachtwey – Woman in wheelbarrow and young girl next to her on a meal sack – Captured the attention of the world
    • Man-made famine of 1933-34

→ In response to Stalin’s “collectivisation policy” (nationalisation) an independence movement rose up in Ukraine

      • To eliminate this movement Stalin employed a mass starvation strategy
      • Put the county in lockdown
      • Confiscated food
      • Restricted movement
      • Burned produce

Estimated 3,5 million people died

Timothy Snider, Bloodlands
Survival was a moral as well as a physical struggle. A woman doctor wrote to a friend in June 1933 that she had not yet become a cannibal, but was "not sure that I shall not be one by the time my letter reaches you." The good people died first. Those who refused to steal or to prostitute themselves died. Those who gave food to others died. Those who refused to eat corpses died. Those who refused to kill their fellow man died. Parents who resisted cannibalism died before their children did.


  • Drought
    • Severe drought caused the devastating famine of ’93 in Sudan
      • Photo by Kevin Carter – Starving child with a skulking vulture – captured the horrendous effects on the population
  • Plagues
    • Locust plague of Joel 1:14-20
  • War
    • WW1 (1914-18)
      → 9 million military deaths and 13 million civilian deaths
      → 100 million die due to ensuing influenza pandemic of 1918
    • WW2 (1939-1945)
      → 70-85 million deaths
  • Natural disasters
    • 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami
      • 230 000 dead
        o Earthquakes
        → The deadliest recorded earthquake happened in 1556 Chaanxi in middle eastern side of China

        • 8.2 Magnitude and approximately 830 000 dead

Becky Little writing for the history channel
The approximate death toll comes from local annals that also tracked 26 other earthquakes in the region. In those records, the description of the Jiajing earthquake is starkly different from the others: they describe levelled mountains, floods, fires that burned for days, and a drastically altered landscape. The annals estimated that some counties had lost about 60 percent of their population.

  • Genocide
    • Rwandan genocide (7April – 15 July 1994)
      → In less than three months an estimated 500 000 – 1 000 000 people were slaughtered and brutalized

Jacques Pauw, Dances with Devils
Some 500 Tutsis had sought refuge in the church when the killings erupted on the night the president’s aircraft was shot down. On Saturday 9 April, priests held mass for the refugees. The Polish observers were in the compound when there was shooting outside and grenades exploded. Members of the Presidential Guard and the Interahamwe stormed into the church and began hacking at the arms, legs, genitals, breasts, faces and necks of the asylum seekers. Some were dragged outside and beaten to death. The massacre lasted two hours, after which the killers looted the bodies and finished off those who were still alive.

The Day of the Lord is characterized by these events.
But they will come at the world like tsunami wave after tsunami wave after tsunami wave.

Its no wonder that Jesus said to the disciples that "Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect (the nation of Israel) those days will be cut short.” (Matt. 24:22)

According to Daniel 9:24-27 this time of trouble for Israel and the world (day of the Lord) is a specific period that will last seven years.

The book of Revelation documents these seven years for us in graphic details.

Seven seals: (6:1–17 and 8:1)

1. White horse (V2)
Representing either idolatrous religions or wars of conquest

2. Red horse (V3-4)
Representing civil wars

3. Black horse (V5-6)
Representing famine and food shortages

4. Pale horse (V7-8)
Representing death from wars, famines, pestilence and wild animals

5. The martyrs under the throne

6. The great earthquake

Seven trumpets: (8:6–9:21 and 11:15–19)

1. A third of earth scorched (V7)

2. A third of the sea to blood (V8-9)

3. A third of the waters turn bitter (V10-11)

4. The sun a third darkened (V12)

5. People are tormented  (9:1-11)

6. The fiendish cavalry  (V13-19)

Seven bowls: (15:1–16:21)

1. Painful sores (V16:2)

2. The sea turns to blood (V3)

3. The rivers turn to blood (V4)

4. The sun scorches people (V8-9)

5. Total darkness and tormenting pain (V10-11)

6. Great deceptions to mislead the world (V12-16)

So, the Day of the Lord is a time set apart by God our Father for judgment. He will make a final end of deceiving sinners. He will take vengeance on behalf of His saints and He will discipline Israel His chosen people.

Our Thessalonians brothers were being taught that this time had arrived. They were living in the days that all of these terrible things would be fulfilled. I think we can understand their angst.

Paul firstly tells them how to know when this day is here. Join us next week to find out how.

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