By Ed Tarkowski
The prophet Joel prophesied of Armageddon and placed the Day of the Lord AFTER it, mentioning heavenly signs that bring the Day of the Lord NEAR:
14: Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD IS NEAR in the valley of decision. 15: The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. 16: The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3). . . .
Previously, in Chapter 2, Joel had prophesied that these same celestial signs would occur BEFORE the Day of the Lord:
31: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, BEFORE the great and the terrible day of the LORD come (Joel 2).
The words of the prophet Amos enhance the picture of the Day of the Lord as a Day of darkness, that being because of the effects on the sun and moon and stars:
18: Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. . . . 20: Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it? (Amos 5).
Zephaniah also mentioned the darkness of the Day of the Lord, which complements the verses already discussed:
14: The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, . . . 15: That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, . . . 18: Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land. (Zeph. 1).
And Zephaniah again mentions that the Day of the Lord is a day of His anger:
1: Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 2: Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD's anger [wrath, NIV] come upon you.(Zeph. 2).
As you read the following New Testament verses, remember that one verse given to us by the prophet Joel points to the end time when the Day of the Lord arrives, and we will see that it is
1. after the beginning of the Tribulation
2. after the midpoint of the Tribulation
3. after the Tribulation comes to an end:
21: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. . . . 29: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31: And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32: Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors (Matt. 24).
12: And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; 13: And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. 14: And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15: And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; 16: And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Rev. 6).
The earthly and celestial phenomena in the above New Testament verses are the same as those that occur "BEFORE the great and the terrible day of the LORD come." (Joel 2:31). Both sets of Scripture describe the sun being darkened and the moon as if by turning to blood. They also mention like phenomena in the sky and in the stars (Joel 2:31; Revelation 6:16-17). Also common to them is the Lord Jesus coming to reign, His wrath being unleashed at this time, and the effects in the earth itself. Unless we can come up with some valid reasons to believe these Old and New Testament descriptions have nothing to do with each other whatsoever, or that both sets do not speak of the Day of the Lord and the phenomena introducing it, then our verses plainly place the beginning of the Day of the Lord immediately after the Tribulation at the time of Christ's second coming:
21: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. . . . 29: Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (Matt. 24).
The signs in Matthew occuring "immediately after the tribulation" are the same signs that Joel says occur "BEFORE the great and the terrible day of the LORD come." Looking at it from another angle, between the time "immediately AFTER the tribulation" but "BEFORE the great and the terrible day of the LORD" are these signs, sandwiched in-between. The beginning of the Day of the Lord, then, is within a very condensed time period immediately after the Tribulation. Robert H. Gundry comments on these verses on page 95 in his book, The Church and the Tribulation:
"Certain celestial portents will both precede the day of the Lord (Joel 2:30,31) and follow immediately upon the tribulation (Matt. 24:29). Clearly, the day of the Lord will not begin with the tribulation or any part of it, for otherwise the heavenly portents after the tribulation could not be said to precede that day. It cannot successfully be maintained to the contrary that the portents of Joel will find fulfillment toward the beginning of the tribulation under the sixth seal (Rev. 6:12-17) because, as we have seen, the sixth seal brings us to the end of the tribulation. And in 3:15 Joel mentions in connection with Armageddon at the close of the tribulation the same celestial portents which precede the day of the Lord according to 2:30,31."
"Since the day of the Lord will begin after the tribulation, there would be a gap of seven years between a pre-tribulational rapture and the day of the Lord. Such an interval would destroy any relevence of the day of the Lord to members of the Church living on earth, for they would have been translated long before the day of the Lord set in."