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Archive for May, 2016

The 2nd Coming / Appearance of Jesus Christ

Posted by xdoulos on May 12, 2016

The Coming/Appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ:  The word, “coming” in the Greek text is  parousia [pa-rou-si-a] and appears 24 times in the NT.  Below is a survey of those uses.

 

Matt: 24: 3, Disciple’s question, “What will be the sign of  your coming and end of the   age?”  “Sign” is singular, one sign for both Christ’s coming and the end of the age, at least in their understanding at that time.

  1. Christ’s coming.  The disciples understood by this time that Jesus intended to make a formal presentation of Himself to Israel.  In 23:29 He proclaimed to the Jews that they would not see Him until they accepted Him as He was presented in chapter 21:9 and as predicted in Psalm 118:26.  It is likely the disciples assumed from His statement (23:29) that He was going to lead them into an isolated place until the people sought Him as king and then He would “appear” to present Himself.
  2. “End” indicates “completion” as in something brought to conclusion. Thus, they also expected the “age[1]” in which they existed to have a conclusion.  The word “age” can be used in the plural as “forever”  as “life into the ages”which  is to say, “eternal life.” In other uses it refers to a specific designated time frame, g., the “bronze age” or “the golden age of rock and roll.”  Or, it can even be used to reference the elements of existence within a time period and thus translated “world” (e.g., Matt 13:22, “the worry of this world” lit. “this age).  The most logical reference in this context is the culmination of the age in which they presently lived  to be replaced at Christ’s coming by the “messianic age.” Thus,  the term “pre-messianic age” might be the proper understanding of their question.

 

Matt. 24:27, Jesus described His coming[2]  with an analogy of lightening streaking across the sky.  Unlike the first advent, this coming will be visible to all; as Revelation 1:7 declares, “every eye will see Him.”  Christ also indicates the timing of the Parousia. Verse 21 declares “there will be agreat tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.”  With the warning of this great tribulation, He added, “then, if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ, ‘ or ‘There  . . . do not believe him.’ . . . ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness. . .  (vv. 23-26).”  In contrast to the hidden or rummored supposed appearances of Messiah, His second advent will be dramatic and visible to all.  This event follows the “abomination of desolation” prophesied by Daniel (24:15).[3]  Christ further identifies the timing of this event in verse 29, “immediately after the tribulation of those days,” the tribulation introduced in verses 15-21, “then the sign[4] of the Son of Man will appear in the sky . . . .(v30).   From this text it should be observed that in response to the question of a “sign of your coming (parousiva”, pa-rou-si-as) and of the end of the age (sunteleiva” tou~ aijwno”, sun-te-lei-as  tou  ai-ō-nos)” (24:3), Christ declares four distinguishing factors:  it will come after the great tribulation (v 29);  it will be the supernatual astronomical darkness and falling stars with the dramatic brilliance of lightening circling the globe (vv27,30); it will be visible to all (v30); and it will bring grief and not joy to the world (v30).  Another event at this time is verse 31, “He will send forth His angels[5] with a great trumpetblast[6] and they will gather His elect[7] out of the four winds[8]from one boundary of heaven to the other[9].”  This verse will be discussed in another section of this study.

 

Matt 24:37-39   Jesus offers another analogy of His coming, “just like the days of Noah.”  The purpose of this comparison is to demonstrate the complete ignorance of the world as to the approaching event.  Normal daily activities will continue among humans who are totally oblivious to the judgment about to come (vv38-39).  The normal routine of life, in light of the events of the great tribulation,  illustrates the hardness of heart of those on the earth.

 

                   The uses in Matthew are all within the context of the events following the great tribulation.  His return will be supernatural and visible to all the world.  His appearing will cause the world to groan with fear as they apparently realize the judgment has come.

 

1Cor 15:23 Paul offers an order for bodily resurrection.  Those in Christ will be bodily raised “at His coming.”

 

1Cor 16:17     Paul encouraged by the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus because they brought him needed supplies.

 

2Cor 7:6-7 Paul comforted by the coming of Titus

 

2Cor 10:10 Paul ridiculed because his presence[10] was unimpressive.

 

Phil 1:26    Paul’s coming to the church at Philippi

 

Phil 2:12    The Philippians obey Paul, not only in his presence but also in his absence.

 

1Thess 2:19   Paul’s hope, joy, and rejoicing is the Thessalonian believers presence with the Yahweh at His appearing.  The Yahweh’s appearing is a point in which believers are united with Him

 

1Thess 3:13   Paul’s prayer was that God would make the hearts of the Thessalonian believers firm before God and the Yahweh at His coming.  The Yahweh’s coming is “with all His saints.”  One should not jump to the conclusion that “saints” here refers to Christians.  The word “saints[11]” actually means those consecrated or set apart for God’s purpose and can reference buildings, vessels used in temple service, priests, Israel, and angels.  Jesus will appear with His “consecrated ones,” most likely angels.   Mark 8:38 specifically describes the coming of the Son of Man (Christ’s title for Himself) as being in the “glory of His Father with His holy angels (ajggevlwn, ang-gel-ōn  gen/masc/pl > a!ggelo”, ang-gel-os].  However, it is possible that Paul’s allusion is to believers who had died prior to His second advent, cf. 1Thess 4:13-18.

 

1Thess 4:15   (v13-18),  Beginning with verse 13, Paul is explaining to the Thessalonian believers that the saints among them who physically died were not lost because they died before the Yahweh had returned.[12]  In verse 14 he reminds them of the doctrine of resurrection and that those who died will be with God when Christ returns.

 

2Thess 2:1 (see discussion in commentary)

 

2Thess 2:8 (see discussion in commentary)

 

2Thess 2:9 The lawless one is qualified by the revelation that his coming is according to (by the power of) or in correspondence[13] with (in agreement with) Satan’s work.  The second prepositional phrase, “with all power, signs, and false wonders” seems to give credence to the second option.  His works will imitate those of Satan who uses power, signs, and false wonders to deceive.  Christ warns that false prophets and false messiahs would convincingly use the same tools to deceive (Matt 24:24).  However, it is quite possible that the point is that Satan will empower him to do those false miracles.  Needless to say, both assertions are true, he will imitate Satan because Satan is his source of power and the reader should not determine the “either / or” model of either the NASB or the ESV, but the “both / and” model in that both are possible translations and both statements are true.

 

James 5:7   James exhorts the believers who are suffering trials and persecution for their faith to be patient, to continue living their faith regardless of the difficult circumstances.  They are to continue “until the coming of the Yahweh.”  The Yahweh’s appearance will terminate the trials and struggles of believers.  It is the point in which struggles on this earth will cease.

 

James 5:8   The exhortation to be patient “until” is followed by the assurance that the Yahweh’s coming “has drawn near.”  The verb “has drawn near”[14] refers to the closeness of the future event.  “Near” is relevant to the mindset of the speaker, it is a conceptual expression not an actual time prediction.  James is not predicting a time of his coming, only that the believer should anticipate His appearing and remain faithful until that point.  The idea could well be that in the entire redemptive program of God, beginning with the hint of the conquest of Satan in Genesis 3:15 thoughout the pre-history of Genesis 1-11, the initation of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the rise and fall of the Israelite kingdom, the first advent of the Messiah, and the death, resurrection and ascenion of the glorified Christ, are all in James’ mind.  In relation to all the other programs and aspects of God’s work, Christ’s second advent is next in order of God’s work.  Therefore it has come near.

 

2Peter 1:16  Peter testifies to the legitimacy of his teachings on the “power and coming of the Yahweh Jesus.”  It appears from the context that Peter refers to the first advent, ”but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. . . For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, ‘This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased’” (vv16b-17).  Peter refers to Christ’s baptism (Matt 3:13-17).

 

2Peter 3:4  This mention  of the “coming” is apparently now referring to Christ’s second advent.  In verse 3 He indicates that in “the last days”[15] ridiculers would mockingly ask “where is the promise of His coming?”  Their skepticism is based on the limited perspective of human experience.  Note that James’ epistle was written several years before Peter’s and since James had mentioned that the “coming had drawn near” it is possible that is the promise they refer to.  Of course the “promise” of His coming was a common theme of the New Testament and apostles.   The argument of the scoffers is that nothing has changed from the creation of the world.  This is a typical humanistic attitude.  They fail to see the progress in God’s program or in the continual decay in human morality.   In the next several verses Peter gives a clear warning of what has happened and how that points to what will happen.  This passage will be discussed in detail in another portion of this study.

 

2Peter 3:12     Here Peter uses the term “coming” (parousiva, pa-rou-si-a) as related to “the day of God.”  Peter’s exhortation is that believers are to live appropriately in consideration of God’s destructive judgment about to come on the world (verse 11).  We should be “looking for and earnestly desiring[16]” the culmination of God’s redemptive work.  It is interesting that, though Peter had been speaking of the Yahweh’s advents (previous and future) he now uses the phrase, “coming of the day of God.” One should consider Revelation 16:14 as a parallel, both emphasize God’s horrific but just judgment with destruction of the solar system or perhaps the entire universe as we know it and it seems to begin with the great and final war of human rebellion.

 

1John 2:28,    The apostle is encouraging and challenging believers to “abide in Him,” that is to maintain a fellowship with Christ.  Believers are placed in Christ by baptism of the Holy Spirit (1Cor 12:13) and that position cannot be changed, but remaining in the proper relationship with the Yahweh Christ involves obedience to Him.  John’s exhortation is to guard that relationship daily so as to have “confidence” (lit. an “openness” with Him) and not have reason to “shrink back” at His coming.  The implication is that those who do not maintain the right relationship with Him will sense the guilt and shame of disobedience at being in His presence.

 

 

Parousia:  Summary

1st Advent of Christ

2Peter 1:16 –  Apostles were eyewitnesses (cf, Matt 3:13-17)

2nd Advent of Christ

Mt 24:3, 27, 37, 39 – Olivet Discourse on His second coming, the Great Tribulation, and the end of the age.

1Cor 15:23 – Believer’s resurrection at Christ’s coming

1Thess 2:19; 3:13; 4:15 – Believers still alive at His coming, dead saints with Him, living saints meet Him in the air, never separated from Him again

2Thess 2:1 – Connected with believers being “gathered together with Him”

2Thess 2:8 – The Lord will kill the man of lawlessness at His coming

James 5:7, 8 – Christians to remain faithful until He comes

2Peter 3:4  – Skeptics mock the promise of a second coming of Christ

1John 2:28 – Believers to abide in Christ to have no shame at His coming

“Coming” of Others

1Cor 16:17 – Paul encouraged by the coming of Stephanas and others

2Cor 7:6-7 – Paul comforted by the coming of Titus

Phil 1:26 – Paul’s coming to the church at Philippi

2Thess 2:9 – The coming of the “lawless one”

[1] “age,” or “world order” as another way of understanding “age” [Greek, aijwvn-ai-ōn].

[2] Jesus used the designation “Son of Man” to describe Himself more than any other title.

[3] “abomination of desolation,” Christ’s statement cannot refer to the blasphemous act of Antiochus Epiphanes in 167BC, thus, there was to another abomination future to Christ’s death and resurrrection.  Some might point to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD but it is better to understand the reference to be to the man of lawlessness sitting himself in the temple claiming to be God (2Thess. 2:4).

[4] “sign” see 24:3 where the disciples asked  what the sign of His coming would be.  In this verse He answers that question.  The sign, shmei~/on, [sē-mei-on] is a demonstration of power which marks or signals the appearing of the Son of Man (Dan. 7:13).  Verse 29 offers the dramatic picture of an unmistakable astronomical and terrifying event and verse 27, the spectacular visible manifestation across the entire heavens (against the supernaturally darkened sky).

[5] “angels,” The Greek word a!ggelo”, [ang –el-os] indicates simply a messenger and can be either a human or spirit being.

[6] Trumpets were symbolic of dramatic announcements or signals for action.  There are several references to angelic trumpets indicating different events.  The word savlpigx, [sal-pinxs] can reference either a trumpet or the sound of a trumpet.

[7] “elect”  Those chosen can refer to individuals such as David (Psalm 89:3), to the nation of Israel  (Isa. 45:4), and to followers of Christ (Col. 3:11-12).  The word does not have to be treated as a title but an act of selecting for one’s own purpose.  It is possible also that it is a reference in this context to those sealed to be protected during the time of tribulation, the 144,000 Jews (Rev 7:3-8).

[8] “four winds” was a colloquial term meaning “from all directions.”

[9] “one boundary of heaven . . .”  Interesting idiomatic expression again emphasizing the totality of the gathering event.  It may be noteworthy that it does not say from one end of the earth to the other.

[10] “presence” is another common translation of parousiva [pa-rou-si-a].  It indicates a person’s physical existence at a time and place.

[11] “with” is the Greek preposition mevta [me-ta] used with the genitive case to indicate “in company with” or “among.”  “Saints” from the Greek adjective  aJgivwn [ha-gi-ōn—gen/masc/pl> a@gio”, h, on] “set apart to or for God,” “consecrated.”   The adjective appears over 230 times in the NT:  Jesus is called God’s “holy Servant” (Acts 4:30); the nation of Israel is a “holy nation” (Ex 19:6);  Christians are called “saints” (Rom 1:7);  “Holy” is the proper title for God’s Spirit (John 1:33);  and of unfallen angels (Mk 8:38).

[12] The early church knew that Christ was to return, but they could not have conceived the time frame since even the apostles did not yet fully understand the depth of God’s international work.  They, as we also should, lived with the expectation that Christ’s return was imminent.

[13] “according to or corresponding to” The Greek preposition katav [ka-ta] with the accusative case ejnevrgeian [e-ner-gei-an, acc/fem/sng > ejnevrgeia, “activity, power”] indicates that the works of the lawless one corresponds to, that it  agrees with Satan’s work (NASB, “in accord with”) or it can indicate the works of the lawless one is based upon Satan’s work (ESV, “by the activity of . . .”).

[14] “has drawn near”  from the verb h!ggiken perf/act/ind/3/sng > ejggivzw “to approach, come close, draw near.”  The perfect tense indicates the completion of an act with results still remaining.

[15] “in the last days” evpV evsca,twn tw/n h`merw/n [ep  es-cha-tōn  tōn  hē-me-rōm].  See the appendices on the study of this phrase.

[16] “earnestly desiring” from speud [speu-dō] means to “hasten” or “to urge on” and, according to Liddell and Scott  and followed by Thayer’s lexicon, “to eagerly desire.”  This last interpretation is far more logical in this context since it is unlikely that any human can rush the coming event.

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