A phrase repeated twenty-two times in the prophets is “the day of the Lord.” That number could be multiplied if we counted all their references to “that day,” a phrase which is repeated in the New Testament.
It is a mistake to limit “the day of the Lord” to a single event. Some would limit the Old Testament references to the fall of Jerusalem (586 B.C.) and the New Testament ones to the singular events of A.D. 70. These specific judgments are certainly examples of “the day of the Lord,” but the meaning is broader and should not be limited to a single historical event but rather to every time God frustrates the progress of evil and reinvigorates His Kingdom. It is every time God destroys man’s pretentions so that His Providence might move forward. “The day of the Lord” is God hitting a “reset” button and saying, “This stops now!”
We err in looking at eschatology as a single end of all history because God forces many endings on man. If you had lived in the generations of Noah’s Flood, Babel, Pharaoh’s army, the Canaanites in the time of Joshua, or the fall of Jerusalem in either 586 B.C. or in A.D. 70, you would have seen it as an ending forced by God so that man’s plans would be frustrated and His advanced. “The day of our Lord” is a recurring fact of history.
“The day of the Lord” is destructive of that which opposes God but restorative of God’s salvation. We may suffer with the ungodly during judgment, but our hope is that God will Judge sin and reset history to His glory. We have hope for the future because Christ is on His throne and “of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end (Is. 9:7a).
“The day of the Lord” is a frightening concept, but the alternative is worse. Our hope for the future is that God will yet once again say, “This stops now!”