āThe great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. 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, and day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers.
And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the lordās wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of them that dwell in the land.ā Zeph. 1:14-18
In almost every case where the day of the Lord is mentioned in scripture it is in reference to the close of probation. While the expression āclose of probationā is not mentioned in the Bible we can see clear statements from the testimonies of different prophets outlining the very situation by which the phrase is defined. While the subject of human probationary period coming to an end is clearly taught in the scriptures, the words used to describe it varies from prophet to prophet.
In the book of Daniel it is called the ātime of troubleā (Dan. 12:1), Jeremiah calls it the ātime of Jacobās troubleā (Jer. 30:5-7), while Jesus in his prophetic exhortation to His disciples describes it as the āgreat tribulationā (Matt. 24:21). In the writings of the minor prophets like Joel, Amos, and Zephaniah you will see where it is designated as the āday of the Lordā (Joel 2:1; Zeph. 1:14; Amos 5:18).
The prophecy of the seven trumpets introduces us to a most extraordinary stage in the history of humanity. It is a time when the plan of salvation is accomplished, intercessions ceased, and the probation of planet earth is now at an end. Sinful man will now be made to face the consequences of rejecting the final message of mercy to a world laden with guilt and mired in outright idolatry and devil worship.
While transgressors faces the prospect of dire consequences for their rejection of the only means of their eternal safety, the righteous look forward to a glorious future free of enmity and an eternity of unbounded happiness. The multiplied calamities to be imposed on the inhabitants of the earth will be a dramatic demonstration to both saints and sinners alike that the wages of sin is indeed death, and that the only escape from sinās consequences is to forsake them.
Unfortunately, for those who chose to continue in the way of transgression it will have been eternally too late. They have slighted the gospel, persecuted the saints, and thus embolden themselves in rebellion against God. It is to this class that the prophet Jeremiah spoke the following words:
āBehold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not savedā Jer. 8:20
Human probation will not be closed because God wanted to shut out transgressors who would otherwise repent and turn to Him, but because humanity will eventually reach the place where there minds are made up one way or the other. Hence, there would be no purpose to be served in keeping the door of mercy ajar. The close of probation is merely an indication that every man, woman, and child is in the valley of decision (Joel 3:14) and that no more soul is left to be saved. This is the spiritual condition of humanity to which Revelation 22 speaks when it says,
āHe that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.ā Rev. 22:11, 12
Thus, the recompense that each man is to receive at the Second Advent will be the result of the choice he makes, a choice that represents a final decision concerning his eternal destiny. When this decision is reached by all the inhabitants of planet earth it will then be made manifest who is destined for the kingdom and who will have their part in the lake of fire.