Doctrine of Last Things (Part 1)
Transcript of William Lane Craig’s Defenders 2 class.
Some definitions to keep in mind:
Eschatology = Study of Last Things
Eschaton = the final event in the divine plan; the end of the world.
Epiphaneia = the appearing of Christ. scripture reference = 2 Thessalonians 2:8
Apokalupsis = “revelation” – the revealing of something; scripture reference = 2 Thessalonians 1:7
Parousia = Coming or the presence of Christ, his appearing, his becoming present, or simply his coming; scripture reference = 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 8
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My commentary under the cut and pasted sections from Dr. Craig’s full transcript is in YELLOW , as always
KEY ISSUE: What scriptures refer to the Second Coming of Christ?
Sections from the Transcript:
This first part starts out with discussion and wrap up on the Doctrine of the Church, part 7. If it interests you to see the Q&A, please click the transcript link.
Let’s first look at some biblical data concerning the Second Coming of Christ.
First, some Old Testament material. In Old Testament Judaism there was the fervent hope of a glorious messianic kingdom that God would someday inaugurate upon the earth. In the Old Testament prophets, you have predictions of this coming messianic kingdom. For example, let’s look at Isaiah 9:6-7, some very familiar verses:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Here you see the prophecy of this Davidic king who would be in charge of the government of Israel and who would bring about this reign of peace and justice and righteousness that would endure forever.
Turn over to Isaiah 11:1-10. Here Isaiah says,
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the girdle of his waist, and faithfulness the girdle of his loins.
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. In that day the root of Jesse shall stand as an ensign to the peoples; him shall the nations seek, and his dwellings shall be glorious.
Here is this idyllic messianic king who will reign over the world and bring peace among the nations with justice and righteousness. This was the hope for the Jewish people – this messianic kingdom that God would someday deliver.
In the prophecy of Daniel 7 we have a very significant description of the deliverance of this kingdom to a human person. Daniel 7:13-14. In the other visions that Daniel sees, he sees images of beasts or combinations of beasts, but now he sees in verse 13 a human figure. In verse 13 of chapter 7, Daniel writes,
I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
Here is this human person presented before God to whom God delivers the kingdom and all authority over the peoples of the earth. This was the title that Jesus picked up on to describe himself as “the Son of Man.” Not just “a” son of man (a human being) but “the” Son of Man, with the definite article referring back to this prophecy in the seventh chapter of Daniel.
So, in summary, Dr. Craig has pointed some key scriptures relative to the prophetic descriptions of Jesus as a Davidic King and a Messianic King, and how Jesus is associated with the “Son of Man” out of Daniel 7. I don’t have anything to add or comment on to this. These will likely be scriptures that will come up again in the weeks to come.
In the New Testament, the writings of the New Testament are pervaded with predictions of the Second Coming of Christ when he will return to establish his Kingdom over the earth. There are some 250 references in the New Testament to the return of Christ. Let’s look at a few of these, some of the most important.
I’m not going to paste these scriptures in. I would suggest referring back to the transcript link if you would like to read through them. Most of the scriptures were from Mark 13.
All of the questions (without the answers copied in) asked in the DISCUSSION portions of the transcript. You can go to website (transcript link is above) to read answers, if interested:
Followup: [off-mic] Will you also address that some people believe that that actually refers to 1948? The rebirth of Israel.
Question: I’m happy to report that we agree on eschatology, OK? [laughter]. I just had one question. When you read from Mark 13 (which parallels Matthew 24), it mentioned that the generation that sees the fig tree bloom will be the generation that sees the end. Can you address that point? If that is somewhat literal?
Question: Just a commentary. I’ve read that apokalupsis actually can also mean unveiling. There is a reference to the unveiling of a bride – the removal of a veil – to reveal the bride. I’ve also done a lot of research where we read that the book of Revelation is really the groom coming back for his bride. It is Jesus coming back for his church – the bride. So he comes for the marriage supper of the lamb.