Scripture references related to the day of God’s wrath, also known as the day of the Lord, abound. There are many examples, but we have selected just a few. Zephaniah 1:14-16: “The great day of the Lord is near… 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, a day of the trumpet…” See also Romans 2:5: “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God …”
God’s wrath is expressed at various times throughout history on a limited scale, but it manifests with a vengeance in the second half of the Tribulation. The actual Day of God’s Wrath, however, will be universally experienced, and will be highlighted by the return of Christ.
Some say the day of God’s wrath is a period of time, as we might say, “in our day and time” or “in his day.” But we feel it is actually a single, specific day – a day of extreme vexation and destruction upon the wicked. A day of ominous age-ending calamities. It is the final day that caps off the several prior months of God’s agony-producing anger.
When the seventh trumpet sounds (as described in Revelation, with the opening of the seven seals), voices in Heaven announce the end of the Gentile Age and the beginning of the Kingdom of God: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever… Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants,” (Revelation 11:15, 18). Transitioning from Satan’s worldly kingdom to God’s eternal kingdom involves some fast-moving events, often simultaneous; events for which saints have long waited. This is the day that Christ returns to “reign forever and ever.” As He does, there is the resurrection – “the time of the dead” – of martyred saints, and the day of God’s wrath: “thy wrath is come.” Finally the saints are rewarded, with the Millennial Kingdom, in which they can rule with Christ over the surviving remnant of heathens.
Coincident with Christ’s return, God is sending afflictions from above, by way of the final seven plagues that were the contents of the seven golden bowls: “In them is filled up the wrath of God,” (Revelation 15:1). The bowls contain painful sores, seas and rivers turned to blood, scorching heat, the beast’s kingdom full of darkness, and Jerusalem divided into three parts. Cities fall, islands and mountains disappear, and the Euphrates dries up. Next, the Earth experiences the greatest earthquake in history, and huge hailstones beat down on man.
We also know that the seven plagues signal Christ’s return because of the two events taking place between the sixth and seventh bowls: demons are sent out by Satan; and the Antichrist and the False Prophet gather the world’s leaders and their armies to do battle at a place called Armageddon. As we read in Revelation 16:14, these events take place on “that great day of God Almighty.” We know that is also the day of the Lord’s return, for Christ announced, “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments,” (Revelation 16:15). Furthermore, after the world comes together in Israel, the seventh bowl is poured out with the proclamation, “It is done.”
While Satan rages here on earth, God punishes from His throne in Heaven. His torments are issued from above and below, but not from a divine presence on the planet. That changes with the return of Christ, who comes to wage war with Antichrist and his multi-national armies. While his earlier return was in humility, this time He is taking vengeance on those who have rejected His gracious offer, mocked His word, denied His Father’s existence, and killed His followers. God’s wrath is manifest throughout the second half of Tribulation, but it is from a distance, until the last day, when, in the form of His Son, He, too, makes a visit to earth and confronts His enemies, face-to-face, at Armageddon.
At Armageddon, the returning Son of God defeats Satan and his entire crew. He smites the Antichrist and the world’s armies, after which He casts the Beast and False Prophet into the Lake of Fire and Satan into the bottomless pit, where he stays bound for a thousand years. Then Christ and His resurrected Tribulation saints rule what’s left of the nations with “a rod of iron.” This rod will guarantee a thousand years of peace and order, with governance the way it should be – truly theocratic.
For more on this subject, please see my book, Overcoming Antichrist.