The Day of the Lord is Near – Bible Research Tools
astor Paul LeBoutillier of Calvary Chapel, Ontario, Oregon, one of the featured pastors on the Bible Research Tools Website, presented a common theme in a sermon on Elijah. Pastor LeBoutillier first quoted Ezekiel 30:3, implying it to be a future, “end times” prophecy, in this segment:
This is the text in question:
“For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations.” — Eze 30:3 ESV
The context of that passage is found in the following verses:
“Cush, and Put, and Lud, and all Arabia, and Libya, and the people of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword. ‘Thus says the LORD: Those who support Egypt shall fall, and her proud might shall come down; from Migdol to Syene they shall fall within her by the sword, declares the Lord GOD. And they shall be desolated in the midst of desolated countries, and their cities shall be in the midst of cities that are laid waste . . . Thus says the Lord GOD: I will put an end to the wealth of Egypt, by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. He and his people with him, the most ruthless of nations, shall be brought in to destroy the land, and they shall draw their swords against Egypt and fill the land with the slain.” — Eze 30:5-7, 10-11 ESV
Ezekiel was in Babylonian Exile at the time of that prophecy. Jeremiah also wrote of a battle between Egypt and Nebuchadnezzar, and a future invasion of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar:
“About Egypt. Concerning the army of Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates at Carchemish and which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon defeated in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah: . . . The word that the LORD spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to strike the land of Egypt: ‘Declare in Egypt, and proclaim in Migdol; proclaim in Memphis and Tahpanhes; say, ‘Stand ready and be prepared, for the sword shall devour around you.'” — Jer 46:2, 13-14 ESV
“Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah..” — Jer 46:2 ESV
The biblical timeline for the 4th year of Jehoiakim is about 605 BC. However, Ezekiel’s prophecy occurred in the 10th year and 10 month of his captivity, which was about 597 BC:
“In the tenth year, in the tenth month, on the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came to me: ‘Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him and against all Egypt;” — Eze 29:1-2 ESV
“In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the Lord was upon me, and brought me thither.” — Eze 40:1 ESV
Therefore, Ezekiel was foretelling a future invasion of Egypt by the Chaldeans. But so was Jeremiah:
“Thus says the LORD, Behold, I will give Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies and into the hand of those who seek his life, as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, who was his enemy and sought his life.'” — Jer 44:30 ESV
The text says Pharaoh Hophra would be killed after the days of King Zedekiah. Combine that information with the invasion mentioned in Jeremiah 46:13-14 above reveals the invasion would also occur after the days of Zedekiah. That would place it after the destruction of the temple in 586BC, which was the 19th year of Nebuchadrezzar’s reign:
“In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month–that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon–Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. And he burned the house of the LORD and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down.” — 2Kin 25:8-9 ESV
Josephus said this about the invasion:
“when [Nebuchadnezzar] had brought all these nations under subjection, he fell upon Egypt, in order to overthrow it; and he slew the king that then reigned  and set up another; and he took those Jews that were there captives, and led them away to Babylon.” [Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, “The Complete Works.” Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1934, Book X.9.7, Eze 30:10, pp.559-60]
“329 Herodotus says, this king of Egypt [Pharaoh Hophra, or Apries] was slain by the Egyptians, as Jeremiah foretold his slaughter by his enemies, Jeremiah 44:29, 30, and that as a sign of the destruction of Egypt . Josephus says, this king was slain by Nebuchadnezzar himself.” [Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, “The Complete Works.” Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1934, Book X.9.7, fn329, Eze 30:10, p.560]
That text and footnote indicates the invasion occurred during the reign of Pharaoh Hophra.
- Nebuchadrezzar fought Egypt in 605BC, in the 4th year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah.
- Nebuchadrezzar invaded Egypt after the captivity of Zedekiah, king of Judah — after 586 BC.
The time of that invasion was approximately 564-565 BC, based in part on the following prophecy, and assuming the captivity of the Egyptians ended at or after the end of the captivity of Israel (Nebuchadrezzar died about 561 BC):
“therefore, behold, I am against you and against your streams, and I will make the land of Egypt an utter waste and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, as far as the border of Cush. No foot of man shall pass through it, and no foot of beast shall pass through it; it shall be uninhabited forty years. And I will make the land of Egypt a desolation in the midst of desolated countries, and her cities shall be a desolation forty years among cities that are laid waste. I will scatter the Egyptians among the nations, and disperse them through the countries. For thus says the Lord GOD: At the end of forty years I will gather the Egyptians from the peoples among whom they were scattered, and I will restore the fortunes of Egypt and bring them back to the land of Pathros, the land of their origin, and there they shall be a lowly kingdom.” — Eze 29:10-14 ESV
This footnote provides other possibilities:
“The desolation that followed the invasion of Egypt was of long duration – a forty-year hiatus in the normal political life of the nation. There was for Egypt as there was for Judah, an exile, which left the land bleak and barren. For Judah the exile ended by degrees with a succession of returns of exiled Jews under Cyrus and his Persian successors. We assume that the Egyptian exile, as understood by Ezekiel, ended with the 525 B.C. arrival in Egypt of Cambyses, son and successor of Cyrus. Working backward from that date, and taking Ezekiel’s figure of forty years literally, a tentative date around 565 B.C. is determined for the invasion. Other considerations lead us to reduce that figure by a single year. For the chronological revision that follows, the date 564 B.C. will be adopted as a working hypothesis.” [Jim Reilly, “Displaced Dynasties – Nebuchadnezzars Wars.” Displaced Dynasties, 2000, Eze 29:10, p.21]
The prophecy of Ezekiel 30:3 is not a prophecy of our future, but was fulfilled about 565 BC. Improper exegesis of that and similar passages is typically based on the “desire” that the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” has not been fulfilled. For example, later in the video, Pastor LeBoutillier said this:
“We don’t refer to the first coming as the great and dreadful day of the Lord. That was the fun and exciting day of the Lord because it was the time of good news”.
The first-century Christians who were persecuted and killed by the Jews, and the Jews who were slaughtered in Jerusalem, Jotapata, Joppa, and other cities throughout the Roman Empire may beg to differ. Jesus foretold that great slaughter:
“Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation.” — Luk 11:49-51 ESV
“Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”” — Luk 13:33-35 ESV
“Rejoice over , thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her . . . And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” — Rev 18:20,24 KJV
The prophet Daniel foretold the Roman Empire to be “great” and “dreadful”:
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.” — Dan 7:7 ESV
Of course, to the Egyptians the invasion of Nebuchadnezzar’s armies was also the “great and dreadful day of the Lord”.
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