The Day of the Lord: Theme and Pattern in Biblical Theology -- By: Craig A. Blaising

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 169:673 (Jan 2012)
Article: The Day of the Lord: Theme and Pattern in Biblical Theology
Author: Craig A. Blaising

The Day of the Lord:
Theme and Pattern in Biblical Theology*

Craig A. Blaising

* This is the first article in a four-part series “The Day of the Lord,” delivered as the W. H. Griffith Thomas Lectureship, March 29–April 1, 2011, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, Texas.

Craig A. Blaising is Executive Vice-President, Provost, and Professor of Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.

Traditional Views Of The Day Of The Lord

The traditional understanding of the day of the Lord in Western Christian theology has generally followed Augustine, who set forth his view on the subject in the City of God. He wrote, “The whole church of the true God holds and professes the belief that Christ will come down from Heaven to judge the living and the dead. This is what we call the last day, the day of the divine judgment. We also call it the last time, for it is not certain how many days this judgment will take, since anyone who reads the sacred scriptures, even negligently, knows that the word day is often used in them to mean time. Also when we speak of the day of God’s judgment we add the word last or final for God is judging even now.”1

In his letters to Hesychius, in which Augustine again gave a detailed explanation of his eschatological ideas, he cited various biblical texts in which “the day of the Lord” appears. For example in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 Paul wrote that his readers were well

aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief. In his comments on these texts Augustine typically substituted the term “the last day” for “the day of the Lord.” In his view these terms represent the judgment complex that will include the return of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the final judgment. He also wrote of the day as “the end of the world” or “the end of time” in conjunction with his well-known distinction between time and eternity. Another term he often used is “the day of judgment,” which is taken from the Lord’s pronouncement of woes on Galilean cities in Matthew 11:22, 24 and is used later in 2 Peter 3 interchangeably with “the day of the Lord.” Augustine did note that some of the New Testament texts that seem to speak of the last judgment may actually refer to the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century.You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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