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day of the Lord

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A Dictionary of the Bible What is This? Contains accessibly written entries for topics covering the religious, historical, and social aspects of the Bible.

    day of the Lord

    The popular belief in Israel that a day would come when God would dramatically intervene to release the nation from fears and oppressions. Possibly the hope was celebrated (and supposedly its realization accelerated) by an annual festival with imposing sacrificial ritual which was expected to ensure prosperity and victory over enemies. In the middle of the 8th cent. BCE the prophet Amos declared that the country's welfare was being achieved by exploitation and false religion, and when the ‘day’ arrived it would turn out to be a judgement (Amos 5: 18–27); the capture of Jerusalem in 586 BCE and the previous overthrow of northern Israel were seen as a fulfilment of this prophecy. But beyond the judgement there was still awaited a ‘day’ when Israel's fortunes would be reversed and Yahweh's rule would be established over all the earth (Isa. 40). In the NT the concept becomes the ‘day of the Lord Jesus’ (2 Cor. 1: 14), and in Rom. 2: 15–16 the day of final judgement. It will be preceded by warning signs (2 Thess. 2: 1–2) and is not to be regarded as actually present, as if Christians who possessed knowledge of Christ and enjoyed a sacramental life in the Church had passed already into a state of ultimate salvation. On the contrary: the ‘day’ will be the final consummation and with it the judgement of the whole of history and the readjusting of the world.

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    Oxford University Press

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