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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Day of Christ

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DAY OF CHRIST.—This is the general expression used by certain of the NT writers to indicate that moment in time in which Jesus the Christ shall reappear to establish His Messianic kingdom. It marks the beginning of that new age which Jews and Christians expected would follow the present evil one. The term thus lacks the precise reference of the Day of Judgment (wh. see), and is also more general than the term Parousia; but all three of these terms refer to the same point in time, and represent different phases of the same event. It is spoken of indiscriminately as the ‘day of Christ’ (Philippians 1:10), ‘day of the Lord’ (1 Thessalonians 5:2), ‘day of Jesus Christ’ (Philippians 1:6), ‘day of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 1:8), and ‘day of our Lord Jesus’ (2 Corinthians 1:14). It is generally thought of in connexion with the great assize which is to be established by the reappearing Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:2, Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:10). It was then that the process of sanctification was to reach its real completion (Philippians 1:6) and salvation be consummated (1 Corinthians 5:5). It was to come unexpectedly (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10), but was to be preceded by certain premonitory conditions which had not been fulfilled at the time of the writing of 2 Thessalonians (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2). There is no reference in the NT to an identification of the Fall of Jerusalem with this day, and all such interpretations must be read into it. In order to grasp its real significance, it is necessary to remember that the early Christians did not believe that Jesus had done strictly Messianic work during His earthly career, and that they looked forward to His return as the time when He would take up the work of the Messiah pictured in the apocalypses. This work was to be inaugurated with the resurrection of the dead, the establishing of judgment, and the conquest of His enemies. In the Apocalypse (Revelation 6:2; Revelation 15:4; Revelation 15:6; Revelation 19:11; Revelation 19:13) this period of conquest is prominent, but not in other portions of the NT. Here also there is to be noticed a distinction drawn between the ‘day of Christ’ and that ‘great day of God’ which follows the one thousand years’ reign of Christ on earth. Such a view, however, is not clearly presented in other portions of the NT, the nearest approach being 1 Corinthians 15:23-24, in which Jesus is spoken of as giving over the kingdom to God the Father. See, further, Day of Judgment, Parousia.

Shailer Mathews.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Day of Christ'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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