The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The idea is a common Old Testament one. It denotes the consummation of the kingdom of God and the absolute cessation of all attacks upon it (Isaiah 2:12; 13:6,9; 34:8; Ezekiel 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:11; Amos 5:18;Zechariah 1:14; Zechariah 14:1) It is a “day of visitation” (Isaiah 10:3), a day “of the wrath of Yahweh” (Ezekiel 7:19), a “great day of Yahweh” (Zec 1:14). The entire conception in the Old Testament is dark and foreboding.
On the other hand the New Testament idea is pervaded with the elements of hope and joy and victory. In the New Testament it is eminently the day of Christ, the day of His coming in the glory of His father. The very conception of Him as the “Son of Man” points to this day (E. Kuehl, Das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu, 68). John 5:27
“And he gave him authority to execute judgment, because he is a son of man” (compare Matthew 24:27,30; Luke 12:8). It is true in the New Testament there is a dark background to the bright picture, for it still remains a “day of wrath”. (Romans 2:5,6), a “great day” (Revelation 6:17; Jude 1:6), a “day of God” (2 Peter 3:12), a “day of judgment” (Matthew 10:15; 2 Peter 3:7; Romans 2:16).
Sometimes it is called “that day” (Matthew 7:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:4;2 Timothy 4:8), and again it is called “the day” without any qualification whatever, as if it were the only day worth counting in all the history of the world and of the race (1 Corinthians 3:13).
To the unbeliever, the New Testament depicts it as a day of terror; to the believer, as a day of joy. For on that day Christ will raise the dead, especially His own dead, the bodies of those that believed in Him–“that of all that which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day” (John 6:39).
In that day He comes to His own (Matthew 16:27), and therefore it is called “the day of our Lord Jesus” (2 Corinthians 1:14),”the day of Jesus Christ” or “of Christ” (Philippians 1:6,10), the day when there “shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven” (Matthew 24:30). All Paulinic literature is especially suffused with this longing for the “parousia,” the day of Christ’s glorious manifestation.
The entire conception of that day centers therefore in Christ and points to the everlasting establishment of the kingdom of heaven, from which sin will be forever eliminated, and in which the antithesis between Nature and grace will be changed into an everlasting synthesis.
See also ESCHATOLOGY (OF THE OLD TESTAMENT AND NEW TESTAMENT).
Henry E. Dosker