God's Word For You is a free Bible Study site committed to bringing you studies firmly grounded in the Bible – the Word of God. Holding a reformed, conservative, evangelical perspective this site affirms that God has provided in Jesus Christ his eternal Son, a way of salvation in which we can live in his presence guilt free, acquitted and at peace.



© Rosemary Bardsley 2024

Isaiah spoke of things that would happen ‘in the last days’ [Isaiah 2:1-4] (see Study 12). By this phrase he anticipated an era when people from every nation would seek the Lord. The New Testament affirms that ‘the last days’ commenced with the first coming of Jesus Christ and continue until his second coming (Acts 2:17; Hebrews 1:2). The ‘last days’ are thus the period in which the Gospel of Jesus Christ is being proclaimed to all people, both the Jew and the non-Jew, the period in which repentance is still possible, the age in which the grace of God in Christ Jesus is available for all who will believe in him. While there is an anticipated escalation of evil and unbelief during this time (2Timothy 3:1; 2Peterr 3:3), the opportunity to turn to the Lord in repentance and faith is still open (2Peter 3:9, 10).

But it will not always be so. These ‘last days’ will not last forever. They will come to an end. The ‘last day’ will come.


The prophets’ anticipations of ‘the day of the LORD’ have two levels of fulfilment. They have already been fulfilled in the short term in the destructive judgements that came upon Israel (in 722BC) and Judah (in 587BC), and on other nations of that era. This short term fulfilment is quite clear in Isaiah. But they will also be fulfilled in a global and final way when the Lord Jesus Christ returns in power, in glory and in judgement. Isaiah and other prophets look beyond that short term fulfilment to the greater, global and final fulfilment.

Two things about the Day of the Lord are very clear in Isaiah: the human pride and arrogance that caused God’s wrath, and the terrible nature of the judgement.

A.1 The end of human arrogance
Isaiah’s messages about God’s judgement are directed against the human pride and arrogance. This human pride was obvious in the actions and attitudes of Assyria (36:4 – 20; 37:23 – 25, 29) and Babylon (13:19; 43:14; 47:7, 8). That pride, that attitude, was expressed in a self-conceit which assumed and boasted of their own ability and accomplishments.

Isaiah’s messages also address the pride and arrogance of God’s people – of Israel, of Judah – who thought that they could live independently of him, that they could trust in their own strength, or in the strength of their chosen allies, and who presumed to make gods for themselves in direct disobedience of their covenant obligations.

Isaiah warns us of this ‘day’ of the Lord:

‘The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled) …
The arrogance of man will brought low and the pride of men humbled;
the LORD alone will be exalted in that day,
and the idols will totally disappear’ [Isaiah 2:12,17,18].

What else does Isaiah say about this human arrogance that incurs God’s judgement?

3:16 – 4:1


10:12, 13

13:9 – 11



25:10 – 12

In ‘that day’, that human pride and arrogance that commenced in Genesis 3 will be brought to an end. In ‘that day’ the ‘gods’ that we, in our arrogant independence, have made for ourselves and substituted for the true God, will be brought down and overthrown. The sinfulness of our human pride and arrogance, and of our false god-concepts, will be exposed by what Isaiah terms ‘the splendour of his majesty’ [2:19 – 21].

This judgement on human arrogance, that exults itself above God and acts as if it is beyond his judgement, is graphically portrayed in Revelation’s description of the pride and arrogance of ‘Babylon’ and of the judgement that fell upon her – Revelation 16:17 – 19:4. See the studies on these chapters here.

When Christ returns in glorious power and splendour, when we see the King in his beauty (Isaiah 33:17), the utter inappropriateness of our human arrogance and our man-made gods will be devastatingly obvious. The New Testament teaches that on that day:

All the nations of the earth will mourn - Matthew 24:30.
Every knee will bow, and every tongue acknowledge that he is Lord – Philippians 2:10, 11.
We will see him as he is – 1John 3:2b.
Every eye will see him, and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him – Revelation 1:7.

All human excuses will be silenced. All human doubts about the existence of God will be answered. All human dependence on personal effort and identity will be exposed as futile. All human concepts of ‘god’ will be ripped away. All human rejection of God will be proved ludicrous. Christ will appear, and everyone will then know that it is all true – all that the Bible says about God, is all true. He actually is, and he is all that the Bible says he is. We humans, in our arrogance and pride, will be proved wrong.

A.2 The terror of that day
Because of this terrible realisation, there is terror on that day:

Three times in Chapter 2 Isaiah wrote of this terror:

‘Go into the rocks, hide in the ground, from dread of the LORD and the splendour of his majesty!’ (2:10).

‘Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendour of his majesty ...’ (2:19).

‘They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from dread of the LORD and the splendour of his majesty’ (2:21).

Elsewhere Isaiah says of this ‘day’:

‘In that day ...if anyone looks at the land, he will see darkness and distress; even the light will be darkened by the clouds’ (5:30).

‘Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty …
See, the day of the LORD is coming – a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger …’ [13:6,9].

‘In that day (17:4)...In the evening, sudden terror! Before the morning, they are gone’ (17:14).

‘In that day, the Egyptians...will shudder with fear’ (19:16).

‘The LORD, the LORD Almighty, has a day of tumult and trampling and terror …’ [22:5].

‘On that day the LORD will punish the powers in the heavens above and the kings on the earth below’ [24:21].

Read the whole of Isaiah 24. What do you learn about the judgement that falls ‘on that day’?




Read these verses to learn what other prophets and Revelation also say of this terrible ‘day of the LORD’:
Joel 1:13

Joel 2:1, 2, 11

Amos 5:18, 20

Zephaniah 1:14, 15

Revelation 6:15 – 17

The certainty of this terrible judgement that the Day of the Lord means for unbelievers reminds us of the urgency of Christ’s great commission – the urgency for those who believe in Jesus Christ to make him known in all the world. As long as God in his patience and grace delays the return of Jesus Christ, and with it the final judgement, there is time and opportunity for repentance. His desire, his will, is to save, not to condemn [2Peter 3:3-10]. His desire is that men should live, not die [Ezekiel 18:30-32].


In Isaiah 63:1 – 6 we find that the Christ who redeems and saves is also the One who comes as Judge to pour out the wrath and the vengeance of God.

Compare the descriptions of Christ as the executor of God’s wrath:
Isaiah 63:1 – 6


Revelation 14:14 – 20


Revelation 19:11 – 21



We have just looked at what Isaiah says about ‘the Day of the Lord’ as a day of judgement. But Isaiah also speaks of ‘that day’ as a day of salvation, restoration and glory. As with the prophecies of judgement, so with the prophecies of salvation, there is often a micro fulfilment in the short term in the history of Israel and a macro and final/eternal fulfilment in and through Jesus Christ.

With this perspective of over-lapping fulfilments in mind we will now look at ‘the day of the Lord’, ‘that day’, as it relates to the present salvation that we already have in Jesus Christ, and the final, complete, ultimate expression and perfection of that salvation that will be implemented when he returns. [Note that our focus here is on Isaiah’s teaching on ‘the day of the Lord’; there is much that Isaiah says about our salvation in Christ that is addressed in other studies in this series.]

Here in Isaiah the One who ushers in and establishes the day of the Lord is Jesus Christ:

He is ‘the Branch of the LORD … beautiful and glorious’ and provides a canopy of protection and shelter [4:2, 5, 6 ‘In that day ...’].

He is the ‘great light’ that shines on those living in darkness [9:2 ‘in the future...’; John 3:19; 8:12].

He is the Branch of Jesse, upon whom the Spirit of the Lord rests [11:1-3; John 3:34].

He is the Root of Jesse, with world-wide impact [11:10, 12 ‘In that day ...’; Romans 15:7-12; Revelation 5:5; 22:16].

He, the glorious and holy ‘I AM’, is our salvation (12:1-2 ‘In that day ...’; 6:1-3; John 12:41].

He is Immanuel, God with us (7:14; 9:6), in and through whom, ‘in that day’ men will see their Maker (Isaiah 17:7, 8; John 12:44, 45). ‘In that day they will say “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us...let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation”’ (Isaiah 25:9). ‘In that day everyone of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made’ (Isaiah 31:7).

Thus, hidden here in Isaiah are glimpses of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, the One who saves, the One who himself is our salvation. So also here in Isaiah is the salvation he brings on ‘the day of the Lord’, a salvation that has already been accomplished in and through his incarnation, death and resurrection, but is not yet experienced in its completeness.

Note this two-stage salvation/redemption accomplished by Jesus Christ – stage one accomplished by his first coming, and stage two accomplished by his second coming:

Already enjoyed by all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ:

The inhabitants of Jerusalem (the church, the bride of Christ – Revelation 21:2, 9, 10) are ‘holy’, and cleansed [Isaiah 4:3, 4; Hebrews 10:10; Colossians 1:22], and protected by the presence of the Lord [Isaiah 4:5,6; 26:1-3; 27:2-5; Exodus 13:20-22; Romans 8:31-39].

Already enjoyed by those who are saved by Christ, but not yet completely experienced:

There will be world-wide knowledge of the Lord, with people from every nation coming to him and honouring him as God [Isaiah 11:9-10; 12:3-5; 19:18-25; 40:5; Matthew 28: 19; Revelation 5:9; 14:6]

Satan will be overcome [Isaiah 27:1; John 12:31; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 20:2, 10].

God himself will be the glory of his people [Isaiah 28:5; Colossians 1:27; 2Thessalonians 2:14; Revelation 21:11].

Those who are dead live (Isaiah 26:19) – already true in a spiritual sense (John 5:24; 1John 5:12), and still future in the physical sense (John 11:25; 1Thessalonians 4:13 – 17).

Promised, certain, but not yet in place:

There will be universal peace. The suffering, death and destruction that entered the world in Genesis 3 will cease [Isaiah 11:6-9; 25:7, 9; 1Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 21:4].

In the first coming of Jesus Christ Isaiah’s ‘day of the Lord’ was inaugurated. Already those who have been saved by him possess and experience the multi-faceted spiritual salvation purchased by his substitutionary, sin-bearing death and validated by his bodily resurrection. Already, those who believe in him live in a position of unimpeded, permanent, present access to God [Ephesians 2:18; Colossians 3:3; Hebrews 4:14 – 16; 10:19-22]. Nothing – neither Satan, nor sin, nor suffering, nor death – can ever undo what Jesus Christ has done for us. But these enemies, though restricted by God, still exist. That day, which Isaiah also speaks of, on which they will all be removed forever, has not yet come.

To this grand and final day Isaiah, and all Old Testament believers, looked forward [Hebrews 11:13-16]. To this day also, New Testament believers – we ourselves - also look with joy and expectation. The unquestionable certainty of this day, this final day when all that is opposed to God and to his people is brought to an end, is grounded in the power and the person of God and of his Christ. The unquestionable certainty of this day is the focus of Isaiah’s last words [Isaiah 66:22-24]. It is also the promise of the last words recorded of Jesus Christ: ‘Yes, I am coming soon’ [Revelation 22:20], and the confidence of John’s reply: ‘Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.’

May we, with Isaiah, with John, and with our Lord Jesus Christ, look beyond the present sin and suffering to this great day of the Lord. With this sure and certain confidence let us live out our lives with patience, knowing that our present suffering is nothing compared to the glory that will follow [Hebrews 12:1-3; Romans 8:17-21]. We will look at the new heavens and new earth – in the next study.