The Jews, as well as we who believe in God and His Word, know that Yahweh is both a God of mercy and justice, rendering mankind their due: salvation to the righteous and damnation to the unrighteous.
For centuries the Hebrew nation had seen God’s justice enacted in history. Yahweh not only punished Israel’s enemies in the times of conquest and during David’s reign, but also punishing His own people’s apostasy (i.e. the northern tribes to the four corners and the southern tribes later).
The ninth century prophet Joel called it a “great and terrible day", which none will be able to endure (Joel 2:11). Joel also described it as a day of cosmic phenomenon (Joel 3:15), and a day of judgment against the nations surrounding Israel (Joel 3:2).
Amos, an eight century prophet, depicted the "Day of the Lord" as a day of darkness and gloom, a day of unexpected disaster (Amos 5:18-20). After the deportation of the northern kingdom Isaiah, another eighth century prophet, chastised the southern kingdom for its idolatry and told them to repent (Isaiah 1:16-17)
Finally, Zephaniah (sometimes called the prophet of the "Day of the Lord") around 615 B.C., reiterated the stern messages of his predecessors, but expanded it to all people, not just the people of Judah (Zephaniah 1:14-18; 2:4-15).
While the major theme is on judgment, there is a note of comfort for God’s people. Joel threatens, but proclaims Israel’s security in their God (Joel 3:16-17); Zechariah very explicitly refers to God’s protective care of Israel (Zechariah 12-14).
Accordingly, the faithful, especially the oppressed, await the blessed "Day of the Lord" to restore righteousness in the land. That’s when Jesus will come back and deal with the enemies of God and Israel and to establish His millennial reign on David’s throne (Luke 1:31-33).
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