colapse02I received the following comment/question:

I was reading some of the minor prophets and came across this one.

Amos 5:18-20 (God’s Word Translation)

How horrible it will be for those who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you long for that day? The day of the LORD is one of darkness and not light. It is like a person who flees from a lion only to be attacked by a bear. It is like a person who goes home and puts his hand on the wall only to be bitten by a snake. The day of the LORD brings darkness and not light. It is pitch black, with no light.

Amazing huh?  It asks why anyone would long for that day, but how many Christians do this very thing when they deeply desire Christ’s return.  They don’t realize that the time of Christ’s return will be hyper-violent.  While the killings will be just, it will make the holocaust seem like a Disney movie.  But what does Christ say to long for?  Thy kingdom come.

Food for thought.

We have to use care in interpreting this passage. First of all, we need to remember the context of what Amos is talking about. Amos was a prophet to the rebellious ten-tribe northern kingdom of Israel in the days before that nation was destroyed for their wickedness. The first two chapters pronounce punishment upon many nations including Judah, but the last place of mention is Israel, the ten-tribe kingdom, and their wickedness and coming punishment takes up the majority of the remainder of the book.

In Joel 2:28-31, he speaks of the kingdom taking place before the day of the LORD, as we know. Yet in Joel 2:31, it says, “31. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.” Here, that day is described as “the great and awesome day of the LORD.” Does this indicate that there might be other “day of the LORD”s, not as great or awesome, but still a day of the LORD?

It could be that Amos is speaking of the day of the LORD’s visitation of the northern kingdom of Israel, the day when He would come and heap upon them punishment for all their sins. Some of those who were sinning against the LORD were wishing for Him to come and visit His people. They were hoping to have blessings showered upon them by God. However, their rebellion and idolatry against Him meant that when He would visit them, all He would do is punish them for their sins. Therefore, they should not have been hoping for the day of the LORD to come, for it would only bring wrath and destuction upon people like them.

However, it could be that this is talking about what we think of as the day of the LORD yet future. Yet remember who it is who suffers and is destroyed when the LORD returns. II Thessalonians 1:7-9 tells us this.

7. and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8. in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,

It is those who do not know God or obey the gospel who are destroyed at that time. After the great kingdom period they have gone through, they have little excuse for not knowing God or obeying His right message. Unlike today, they cannot be doing this because they are deceived, but rather because they are openly rebellious. Therefore, they deserve destruction.

This could well be what it is talking about in Zechariah, when in chapter 11, He prophecies destruction upon the people of Israel and Judah, saying He will not help them, whereas in chapter 12, He talks of saving them and destroying their enemies. Chapter 11 may be talking about the rebellious in Israel in the tribulation, whereas chapter 12 is talking about the faithful. It is only the rebellious who need to fear that day.

The time of Christ’s return will be very violent, though I don’t know what you would describe as “hyper-violent.” This will be because those rebels have confronted God and defied His kingdom, and now there is nothing left for them but destruction. Yet the violence will only be upon those who so openly and violently rebelled against God and sought to destroy His representatives. I do not think anyone faithful to the Lord needs to fear that day, only those who are unfaithful.

I think you are a bit off the mark when you say that it will make the holocaust look like a Disney movie. The holocaust was upon all people held unfit to reproduce by Hitler and his like who sought to further human evolution. The deaths at the Lord’s coming are selectively upon those who have behaved contrary to the kingdom. It is because of what they have done, not because of who they are. Any punishment upon them is well deserved. The problem with the holocaust is that horrible things were done to people who did not deserve it. Any punishment Christ gives out will be just, and not excessive.

Even the persecution by the anti-Christ and his like is not necessarily as bad as some have made it out to be. I do think it will be bad for some, but I think the jury is still out on whether it will be worse than the holocaust. The holocaust was really bad. It is not necessary for the tribulation to be worse. What is significant about the persecution in the tribulation is that it takes place after the kingdom has been here for hundreds of years, wherein nothing like this ever took place. That things like this start taking place again is what is significant. Whether or not they are worse than what we have going on today is not the point. It doesn’t really matter. Things might not get nearly as bad as in the holocaust.

Some have drawn the whole “worst torture ever” idea from the fact that this will be the greatest tribulation ever (Matthew 24:21.) However, tribulation has nothing to do with trouble, persecution, or horror. It means a severe and thorough testing. The test at that time will be the greatest and most thorough that has ever been. It does not have to be combined with the most horrible period of torture and death that has ever been. I highly doubt that it is.