THIS PHRASE frequently occurs in Biblical prophecies. What "day" is being spoken of? You need to know the vital significance of this important term! Shocking events are prophesied to occur "in that day," and surprisingly enough they concern your very life! Occasionally the term means an event that was to occur at some historical time already past. But most often the phrase "in that day" is referring to the cataclysmic times we are now entering! It applies to the end time in prophecy. Notice Isaiah 24:21-22, for instance: "...In that day,...the Lord shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high, and the kings of the earth upon the earth.. ,." Here we see "that day" is a time of punishment upon world rulers. It is to take place on this earth. It is a time when strong armies and normally courageous men will run and hide (Amos 2:15-16). Their flight will not save them, however, because "in that day" God will disrupt the normal cycles of day and night (Amos 8:9). Many will die (Amos 8:3).
The Day of the Lord
"That day" is also called the "day of the Lord" in many scriptures. Notice Zephaniah 1:14-17: "The great day of the Lord is near...... That day is a day of wrath, a time of trouble and distress, a period of desolation and destruction. It is described as a time of darkness and gloominess. It is a day of WAR, when the alarm — the "trumpet" — is sounded against those areas which will be militarily fortified. Zephaniah continues to describe "that day" as a period of punishment on those who sin against God by violating His great Law! Read the remainder of Zephaniah 1. Sin is the transgression of God's Ten Commandment Law (I John 3:4). If you break the laws of God, they bred you! If you keep them, they keep you! Those who insist on continuing to fly in the face of God's eternal spiritual laws will incur His wrath. He will punish those who continue in sin. "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it" (Isa. 13:9). "In that day" God will destroy His enemies (Jer. 46:10).
The "day of the Lord" is also the "day" or time of the imminent return of Jesus Christ to this earth to set up world government! In Zechariah 14 we find Christ returning to fight against those who resist His government. (And there will be whole nations fighting Him at His return!) His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives in modern-day Israel, and from that point He will begin to consolidate His rule over all earthly nations. Read Zechariah 14:1-9 for yourself. Jesus Christ warned Christians not to lose sight of the significance of these sure prophecies. His warning is found in the book of Luke. "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass... (Luke 21:34-36). Jesus again spoke of that day when He said: "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils [demons]? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matt. 7:22-23). Many professing Christians will find out they were not really Christians after all. They had merely appropriated the name of Jesus Christ but were not willing to obey Him and follow His example. God inspired the ancient Prophet Malachi to prophesy of "that day." He said it would be a time when the wicked would be burnt to a crisp. A day when they would become ashes under the feet of God's saints (Mal. 4:1-3). But God holds out a different promise to those who are willing to obey Him "in that day"! He says of those who have been willing to commit themselves to Christ in obedience to His Law: "... they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not', (Mal. 3:17-18). God likens true Christians to jewels and says that they will be rewarded when Christ returns to this earth. Malachi 4:5 is a prophecy being fulfilled in your lifetime — right now! "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord." Luke 1:17 says that John the Baptist came "in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah]" to prepare the way before the first coming of Christ. Another Elijah is prophesied to warn the world "before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord" — the return of Jesus Christ in power and glory to punish the unrepentant nations of the earth! This Work is performing that commission! You are being warned in advance! The Day of the Lord is coming. "That day" is just about this day! The question is which verses will apply to you? Malachi 3:17-18 or Malachi 4:1, 3? The decision is yours.