The Parousia in the Scriptures
The Greek word “parousia” in the Scriptures means presence, an arrival and a consequent presence with. This event is presented in the New Testament as something that would take place during the generation of those to whom Jesus of Nazareth spoke. In this Learning Activity we will be looking at some of the scriptures that provide a connection to this event.
1. Matthew 3:7
2. In the verse above, what does John the Baptist say is coming upon the Pharisees and Saducces?
In Matthew 10:6–8, Jesus tells the twelve (see verse five) to preach the kingdom. As a part of that overall message He says:
3. Matthew 10:23
4. In the verse above, what does Jesus say about His coming (Parousia)?
5. Matthew 16:28
6. In the verse above, when does Jesus say His coming (Parousia) would take place?
In Luke chapter twenty-one starting with verse five and continuing through verse thirty-six, Jesus describes the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple and His soon to take place Parousia. After describing how the Temple stones will be thrown down in verse six, He goes on in verse twenty to say “And when ye [those to whom He was speaking at that moment] shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies [the Roman armies], know that the desolation [of the city and the Temple] is nigh.” In verse twenty-two He calls this time “the days of vengeance” and in verse twenty-three “there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.” There could not be a clearer warning to the people by Jesus of the coming judgment.
7. Read John 16:16–19.
8. What is Jesus of Nazareth saying to His disciples in the above scripture?
9. Matthew 24:34
10. According to the three verses above, when would all of the prophesies, including the Parousia of Christ, take place?
11. Read Mark 13:32–37.
12. What message does Jesus give to His disciples in the above scripture?
13. Revelation 3:11
14. What message is given about the Parousia of Christ in the three verses above?
15. John 21:22
16. In the verse above, which takes place AFTER the resurrection of Christ, Jesus is speaking to Peter about John (the disciple whom Jesus loved – see verse twenty). What did Jesus tell Peter about John?
If we honestly examine the preceding passages we are forced to make one of four decisions:
a. Jesus was confused Himself about future events.
b. Jesus deliberately misled those to whom He spoke.
c. Jesus lied to those to whom He spoke.
d. Jesus told the truth and He did come back again just as He said He would during the generation to whom He was speaking!
Which of the above do you think is correct?
It appears to the author of this web site that the only view that is compatible with the Christian faith is (d) above. The Parousia was the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ to abolish the Mosaic dispensation (the Old Covenant), execute judgment on the guilty nation of Israel, and receive His faithful people into His spiritual heavenly kingdom and glory.
If we assume that the Parousia has not yet taken place as some Christians do, then the writers of the Bible and Jesus Himself cherished a vain hope and lived in the belief of a delusion. If the writers were mistaken in regard to the Parousia, one of the most confident and cherished of their convictions, how can we have any reliance on any of the other issues to which they speak in the sacred Scriptures?
These scriptures tell us that a significant eschatological event was to take place in the lifetime of those who had heard and made these statements! Jesus, and the other writers meant exactly what they said and what they said did take place exactly as they said it would in AD 70 when Titus and the Roman army marched on the city of Jerusalem and leveled it to the ground. This action not only destroyed the city but also the Temple which was the center of the Jewish religious system and ended the Old Covenant.
There are other documented sources that help to confirm the understanding of the past historical return (presence, parousia) of Christ. St. Chrysostom (AD 347–407), makes the following statement in his writing, St. Chrysostom’s Liturgy.
“Having in remembrance, therefore, this saving commandment and all those things which have come to pass for us: the Cross, the Grave, the Resurection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the Sitting at the right hand, and the second and glorious Coming.”
You can see from this writing that St. Chrysostom believed that “…the second and glorious Coming” had already taken place prior to his writing his material.
Adam Clarke wrote a commentary in 1837 in which he gives the following narrative on Matthew 24. “It may be asked, to whom, and to what event does it relate?…to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity; which in the Gospel is called the coming of Christ and the days of vengeance, Matthew 16:28; Luke 21:22.”
Much of Christianity is still waiting for a physical return when it all took place spiritually!
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