Question: Do the terms “the Day of the Lord” and “The Great Tribulation” refer to the same event?
The Great Tribulation (continued)
The Great Tribulation describes the persecution of the Church perpetrated by the Antichrist:
Matt. 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
The Antichrist’s reign also represents a persecution of the Jews. He will establish a 7-year covenant with Israel for her supposed protection (Dan. 9:27) and will break the agreement after 31/2 years, presenting himself in the temple as greater than any other god:
2Th. 2:4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
The Day of the Lord
The Scripture is very clear that the Day of the Lord is not only different from the Tribulation but that it follows the Tribulation. In fact, the apostle Paul wants to make sure no one deceives us on this matter because it greatly impacts how we view the Return of the Lord and the Rapture of the Church:
2Thess. 2:3-4 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day [the Day of the Lord] will not come until the rebellion [apostasy — falling away; rebellion] occurs and the man of lawlessness [ie., the Antichrist] is revealed, the man doomed to destruction
There were some false teachers in the New Testament church who taught that Jesus’ Return, the Rapture, and the Day of the Lord had already taken place (2Thess. 2:1). However, as Paul says in the verses above, the Return of Christ, the Rapture of the Church and the Day of The Lord cannot take place until after the Antichrist is revealed, and after the Jews have rebelled against him because of his desecration of the temple. This also highlights the truth that none of these things can take place until after the temple has been rebuilt!
So if the Day of the Lord and the Tribulation are not the same thing, and if the Day of the Lord follows the Tribulation—what exactly is the Day of the Lord?
The Tribulation showcases the wrath of the Antichrist against those who rebel against him, whereas the Day of the Lord is God’s judgment on the Antichrist and rebellious mankind:
Is. 13:9 See, the day of the LORD is coming—a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger—to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.
The Tribulation is sinful man’s final last stand against God, whereas the Day of the Lord is God’s cleansing of His creation from the damage done by sin:
2Pet. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.