Bible Study: Eschatology
"THE COMING!" by Dr. J.W. Bernard
Greek word for coming: "parousia"
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" (2 Peter 3:10 &12).
The "day of the Lord" or "day of God" will point us to the end of something and the beginning of another. This day is the "coming of Christ." Therefore, our study will take us through all of the occurrences of the Greek word, parousia (coming) in the New Testament.
The Apocalypse means, the unveiling. "Apo" = from; "calypse" = hiding. Hence, out of the words, "from hiding" we get "revelation." The Revelation is about the unveiling, appearing or coming of Christ. This is the "day of God."
Since September 11th, 2001, America is responding to an evil that is terrorizing the world. Many are concerned that this could be the beginning of "the end of the world" and the second "coming of the Lord." Throughout the Bible, the end of the world is associated with the coming of the Lord. If this is the end, it is "the coming of Christ" or "the day of God." The Bible is clear about when the second "coming of the Lord" and the end of the world will happen? I want us to look at the day of "the coming of the Lord" and when "the end" will occur.
Gifted scholars and trained researchers, at times, understand the past differently, even after they have read the same texts and examined the same evidence. We are no exception. You and I will look at the same material and come out with different viewpoints. So, I will place all the facts before you. I am presenting all the verses in the New Testament, that concern the frequently used Greek word, "Parousia." It is translated into the English as "coming." The reason for looking at this Greek word is because the English word, "coming" does not give us a clear picture of this Greek word that is translated twenty four times into the English. I will show that two English words (presence & arrival) better convey the thought behind the first century usage of the Greek word, parousia (pronounced: par - oo - see' - a).
M. R. Vincent has recorded in his book, "Word Studies in the New Testament" (page 74), that the Greek word for "coming" ( parousias) was originally thought of as (in the Greek language of the first century) "presence." It derives its usage from the Greek word, pareiuai, which means "to be present." On the other hand, our word, "coming" is an on-going process. This Greek word pictures the end of the process.
A very trust worthy Greek scholar, W. E. Vine, in his work, "An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words" (page 203), says that par-eis-erchomai means to come in (eis) beside or near (para) as the arrival of harvest or to the side of those present so as to be present with them, and is used...
* in the literal sense, of the coming in of the Law in addition to sin, Romans 5:20; (hence: it's arrival)
* in Galatians 2:4, the coming of false brethren into your midst, suggesting their arrival through stealth.
In Vine's book (page 208), he says that parousia means a presence, para, with, & ousia, being (from eimi, to be), denotes both an arrival and a consequent "presence with." For instance, in a first century papyrus letter, a lady speaks of the necessity of her parousia in a location, in order to attend to matters relating to her property there. For a fuller treatment of Parousia, see Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine (pages 87, 88).
The Greek word for "coming," parousia (parousia) occurs 24 times in the Greek New Testament. This word is translated "coming" in 22 out of 24 passages and clouds the meaning many times for the reader. The Greek word, parousia (parousia) does not mean an on-going process of coming. It is in contrast to being absent. One could be absent and still be coming. However, one cannot arrive and be absent at the same moment. Therefore, it should be translated "arrival" in 20 of the passages and "presence" in 4 of the passages in order to keep the thought of the writer consistently clear. This would lift the veil and clarify the meaning of all the passages.
A. Four passages where the Greek word, "parousia" should be translated "Presence."
1. In Second Corinthians 10:10 ( "...his bodily presence (parousia) is weak..." ) If we used the word, "coming" here, the meaning would be destroyed. Paul is talking about the very real "presence" of his physical body. We are very fortunate for this translation of the Greek word, parousia in this instance as "presence."
2. In Philippians 1:26 ( "...by my coming (parousia) to you again." ) Paul is referring to his arrival and presence with them. "Presence" would be the better translation for the Greek word, parousia.
3. In Philippians 2:12 ( "...not in my presence (parousia) only, but now much more in my absence." ) Paul uses the word parousia to contrast with his absence. This is a good translation of the Greek word, parousia.
4. In Second Peter 1:16 ( "...coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ." ) The word parousia here is used to picture the termination of the process of coming and the beginning of the state of being presence. The Greek words should be translated, "...presence of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Parousia is an event. It is not a condition. It is a transitional point of contact, not a continuous line of movement.
Eleus'sis (eleus'sis) is a Greek word for covering the entire line of movement from point A to point B. Our Greek word we are considering, parousia (parousia), is the arrival or conclusion of the process of coming.
B. Twenty verses where the Greek word, "parousia" should be translated "arrival."
Matthew 24:3 "And as He sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming (parousia), and of the end of the world?"
Matthew 24:27 "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming (parousia) of the Son of man be."
Matthew 24:37 "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming (parousia) of the Son of man be."
Matthew 24:39 "And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming (parousia) of the Son of man be."
1 Corinthians 15:23 "But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward, they that are Christ's at His coming (parousia)."
1 Corinthians 16:17 "I am glad of the coming (parousia) of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which is lacking on your part, they have supplied."
2 Corinthians 7:6 "Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming (parousia) of Titus; and not by his coming only,
2 Corinthians 7:7 "And not by his coming (parousia) only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire..." coming (parousia) only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire..."
1 Thessalonians 2:19 "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming (parousia)?"
1 Thessalonians 3:13 "To the end He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."
1 Thessalonians 4:15 "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming (parousia) of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep."
1 Thessalonians 5:23 "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ."
2 Thessalonians 2:1 "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him."
2 Thessalonians 2:8 "And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming (parousia)."
2 Thessalonians 2:9 "Even him, whose coming (parousia) is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders."
James 5:7, "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming (parousia) of the Lord."
5:8 "Be ye also patient; establish your hearts: for the coming (parousia) of the Lord draweth nigh."
2 Peter 3:4 "And saying, Where is the promise of His coming (parousia)?"
3:12 "Looking for and hasting unto the coming (parousia) of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"
1 John 2:28 "And now, little children, abide in Him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming (parousia)"
This is a complete list of the New Testament locations of the Greek word, Parousia (parousia) in it's 24 occurrences. The English word "coming" does not give us the true picture that is painted in the Greek word, Parousia (parousia). A "coming" may or may not end in an arrival. However, an arrival is final and means that we are experiencing His Presence. Many are beginning to understand that He has already come in 70 C. E. and is here, according to Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13. Many still debate this issue.
The Bible speaks of the "end of the world" in connection with the "coming of the Lord." His coming or arrival was during the first century (70 C. E.) and that "generation" did not pass away until they saw it. We are not living in the "last days." For in 30 C. E., God spoke to the Hebrew people through Jesus Christ and called those times "the last days" (Hebrews 1:2). The last days ended the Biblical period of redemption. We have been redeemed and are living in the days beyond those last days. We are in living in "the ages to come."
These are days when we must unite.
Whatever you or I believe about the end of the world, today we are in times of trouble when Terrorists are threatening our peace. We must act now and unite all our efforts to safeguard our families and country.
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