Showing posts with the label Parousia

Normalcy or Chaos?

Jesus compared the final years before his return to the period leading up to the Great Flood of Noah. “ Just as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be ” when the “ Son of Man ” returns. Some commentators take this saying as a prediction of the return of the same conditions that existed in Noah’s day; that is, a repetition of the moral anarchy and violence that prompted God to send the floodwaters in the first place.

His Repeated Warning

Christ’s ‘Olivet Discourse’ is comprised of instructions given to the disciples before his arrest and execution, and repeatedly in it, he warns that “ many deceivers ” and “ false prophets ” will come and propagate false information about his return and the end of the age, therefore, constant vigilance is necessary to avoid deception.

A Singular Event

The New Testament promises that Jesus will return to the earth at the “ end ” of the present age. His glorious “ arrival…on the clouds ” will result in the judgment of the ungodly, the resurrection and vindication of the righteous, the arrival of the New Creation, and the termination of death. Thus, it will be an event of great finality.

Day of the Lord

Jesus will arrive and gather his people on the day of the Lord, and in the New Testament, this event becomes the Day of Christ . Paul refutes claims that the “ day of the Lord ” is imminent. That day will not arrive until the “ apostasy ” and the “ revelation of the man of lawlessness .” And Jesus will destroy this malevolent figure at his “ arrival ” or parousia , an event Paul links to this final day.

On the Clouds of Heaven

Portions of Daniel’s vision of the four beasts from the sea and the Little Horn are applied to Jesus and his saints in the New Testament . Key phrases from Daniel’s vision of the “ four beasts ascending from the sea ” occur in the New Testament, most often in contexts concerning the future arrival of Jesus, but also in passages about the kingdom of God and Christ’s sovereignty.

Sorrow Not - Resurrection Hope

Foundational to the church’s future hope is the bodily resurrection of believers when Jesus arrives in glory . Paul’s description of the “ arrival ” of Jesus is written to comfort believers concerning the fate of their compatriots who died before that event. They need not sorrow “ like the others ”  BECAUSE  the dead will be resurrected when the Lord “ arrives .”

Paul, Signs and Seasons

Paul does not provide a detailed outline of the signs and seasons that will precede the End. Instead, he exhorts disciples to live righteously now .  Does the Apostle Paul instruct believers that they must understand the “ times and seasons ” so they may calculate the timing of Christ’s return? In fact, considering that Christ will arrive “ like a thief in the night ,” he exhorts the congregation in Thessalonica to live righteously as the “ sons of the light ,” and to “ watch and be sober .”

His Parousia

The arrival of Jesus means the resurrection of the dead, the commencement of the New Creation, and the final judgment .  Several Greek terms are used in the New Testament for the return of Jesus. They include parousia (“arrival”), erchomai (“coming”), and epiphaneia (“appearance”). Regardless of which one is used, in each case, it is singular, referring to only one future “ coming .”

His Appearing

When Jesus “appears,” faithful believers will rejoice exceedingly and participate fully in the glories of that day .  In his first epistle, John exhorted his congregations to “ abide ” in Jesus so that “ when  he appears , we may have boldness and not be shamed away from him at his  arrival .” John was summoning believers to holy living in consideration of the inevitable “ arrival ” of Jesus and the rewards that he will bring with him – ( 1 John 2:28–3:3 ).

Epilogue - Revelation

If anyone fails to keep the words of the book, he will be excluded from citizenship in the city of New Jerusalem  – Revelation 22:6-21.  The book of   concludes with an epilogue that recalls the earlier promises to “ overcoming saints ,” reiterates warnings against faithlessness, summons believers to render homage to God alone, and calls for Jesus to “ come quickly .” Testimony from uncontestable sources attests to the trustworthiness of the “ words of the book .”

Revelation of our Lord

At the revelation of Jesus, the saints will experience glory, but the wicked receive everlasting destruction .  The Apostle Paul labels the future return of Jesus as his ‘ parousia ’ (“ arrival ”), ‘ erchomai ’ (“ coming ”), or ‘ epiphaneia ’ (“ manifestation ”). But on two occasions, he also calls it his ‘ apocalypsis ’ or “ revelation .”  By comparing how he applies these several Greek terms, it becomes apparent that, in each case, the same event is in view.

Day of Visitation

Peter exhorts Christians to persevere in trials and live holy lives in the knowledge of the coming day of visitation .  Peter writes to Christians under pressure to conform to the expectations of the surrounding society. Their situation is not unique - they were members of a worldwide suffering community.

Lying Signs and Wonders

The “ day of the Lord ” will not commence until the “ Lawless One ” is “ revealed in the sanctuary of God .” His arrival coincides with the “ apostasy ,” and he will be characterized by his ability to deceive, especially with “ lying signs and wonders .” Satan himself will equip him to destroy as many saints as possible.

Sanctified Wholly

Considering the future arrival of Jesus, Paul summons the church to become sanctified completely by that day – 1 Thessalonians 5:23.  Paul concludes his first letter to the Thessalonians with a series of exhortations calling on disciples of Jesus to pursue righteous living in the interim between their conversion and his “ arrival ” from heaven, and he ends by summoning them to complete sanctification, an exhortation with verbal links to the preceding sections of the letter.

Coming on the Clouds

Next, Jesus takes us beyond the destruction of the Temple to the return of the “ Son of Man .” How much time will pass between the Temple’s demise and his arrival is not provided. But during the interim, the church must beware of deceivers who disseminate false information about his coming.

Day of Christ

Jesus will arrive on the Day of the Lord when the dead are raised, the wicked are judged, and death will cease forevermore .  The coming of Jesus is not a major topic in Paul's letters to the Corinthians. But he does touch on several aspects of it, including its identification with the “ Day of the Lord ,” the consummation of God’s kingdom, the resurrection, the judgment, and the cessation of death .

Final Note

The arrival of Jesus will mark the end of the present order and the commencement of the age to come and the New Creation .  Jesus will return at the “ end ” of the age in great power and glory. His “ arrival ” will result in the judgment of the ungodly, the resurrection and vindication of the righteous, the New Creation, and the termination of death – Thus, it will be an  event of great finality .

New Creation and Parousia

The arrival of Jesus in glory will usher in the Day of the Lord, the final judgment, and the New Heavens and New Earth .  The Apostle Peter addresses the growing weariness of some Christians due to the apparent “delay” in the “ coming ” of Jesus, an open door for false teachers and critics to exploit. Instead of predicted terrestrial and cosmic upheaval, daily life continues as it always has.

Hastening the Day

In the interim between Christ’s ascension and return, God has granted humanity the opportunity to repent .  Peter explains the apparent “delay” in Christ's return. God is merciful with no desire for anyone to perish, and, if anything, the conduct of the church may “ hasten ” its onset.  The relationship of men with God is dynamic, not static, and He responds eagerly to repentance.

Lawless One Destroyed

Jesus will deal with the “ Lawless One ” at his “ arrival ” or  Parousia . In describing this, Paul employs language from Daniel’s vision of the “ little horn speaking great things ,” originally, an image representing the Seleucid ruler who attempted to destroy the Jewish faith and nation through deceit and persecution.