Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Other Greek Words, Part 1: Parousia

When we look at the pre-Tribulation Rapture as it is taught today, we find that the singular event of the Second Coming of Christ has been cut in half. The first half is a secret coming of Christ in the clouds for his saints, and the second half (seven years later) is a visible coming of Christ with his saints. As shown in earlier posts, this division is not only unnecessary, but it's also unscriptural.

The Greek word apantesis proves this because this one word means to go out to meet someone and escort them on the last leg of their journey. Christ comes with his saints (that have previously fallen asleep in Jesus) when he comes for his saints (to call out those who are still alive) who will meet him in the air, and then arrive with him (for the final battle of Armageddon and the establishment of his earthly kingdom). And so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Other Greek words offer similar testimony to the singular event of the Rapture AT the Revelation. In this post, and the next few upcoming posts, we will be looking at parousia, epiphany, apokalusis, and phaneroo (which is a really fun word, isn't it?).


The New Testament Greek word parousia, when used concerning Christ, is a specialized technical term, since it speaks “nearly always of his Messianic advent in glory to judge the world at the end of the age” (Greek-English Lexicon by Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich, p. 635).

In fact, 16 of the 17 usages are like this.

This word was used in NT times to indicate the coming of a ruler or official who was just then arriving at the outskirts of a city in order to be present with the people in that city. It never meant that the ruler would merely draw near to the city, only to pass it by without entering in.

The picture of parousia rules out the ‘fly-by’ concept where the Lord doesn't complete his descent to be present with people on earth. Parousia is usually translated ‘coming’ but it must also include the ideas of ‘arrival’ to be physically ‘present’ with the people.

Let's consider some verses which speak of Christ’s parousia.

I Corinthians 15:23

“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming [parousia].”

For context, see verses 16 and 17, where Paul is discussing the resurrection of the Corinthian believers. Here we see the resurrection of saints is associated with Christ’s parousia.

I Thessalonians 3:13

“To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.”

Here we see two things about the parousia. First, that the believers of Thessalonica would have their hearts established unblameable until the parousia (in other words, believers would be alive on earth up until the time of the parousia!), and, second, that the Lord Jesus would bring ALL his saints with him at his parousia.

The context includes 4:17, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet [apantesis] the Lord in the air:…

It is because of Christ’s catching up of believers into the air, followed by their meeting and escorting (apantesis) of him as he finishes his arrival to earth, that Paul says the parousia (the coming and arrival) of our Lord is “with” all his saints as he descends to the earth.

He doesn’t just come with them, he arrives with them. He doesn't just come to the clouds for a quick removal of his saints, he arrives on earth with them!

If the Lord Jesus were to leave heaven, stop in the clouds, call up his church and then return to heaven with them, his coming would NOT fit with the picture portrayed by the two Greek words parousia and apantesis!

Matthew 24:27

Remember that the context is "Immediately after the tribulation of those days" (v. 29).

“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.”

Here the Lord Jesus says that his post-Tribulational (24:29) coming will be bright and obvious.

Note that parousia sometimes refers to events that are commonly associated with the Rapture, and sometimes to events that are associated with the Revelation.

That's because the Rapture is AT the Revelation.

II 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]:”

This verse tells us that at his parousia, which will be bright, the Lord will destroy the Antichrist.

James 5:7-8

“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”

Here James encourages believers to patiently wait for the parousia as a farmer waits for his crop to grow and ripen unto harvest.

Why would he tell Christians to wait for the glorious second coming if they are to be Raptured out seven years earlier?

And isn't James mixing his metaphors by speaking of a harvest at the time of Christ's coming as a Warrior King? No, not at all.

James just knows that they happen at the same time!

I 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].”

Here John exhorts believers to abide in Christ so that they won’t be ashamed before him at his parousia.

Like Paul and James, the apostle John seems to have his Rapture confused with the Revelation!

And now, one of my favorites...

The Parousia Trump

A trumpet blast is associated with Christ’s parousia in both Matthew 24 and in I Thessalonians 4.

“…so shall also the coming [parousia] of the Son of man be….And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet,…” (Matt. 24:27, 31)

“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….and with the trump of God:…” (I Thess. 4:15-6)

In both cases, the parousia is directly associated with a trumpet blast and the gathering together of God’s people.

Summary of Parousia

Parousia means ‘to come’ and includes the ideas of arriving and being present with.

At Christ’s parousia, we see:

  • Believers are patiently waiting for it
  • Believers are not ashamed
  • A trumpet blast
  • The resurrection of the saints
  • The Rapture of the saints
  • The brightness of Christ's glory, like lightning
  • The destruction of the Antichrist

And that is just ONE Greek word. We still have three more to go!!

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