September 19, 2007
PLAINER WORDS …IT’S TIME TO FISH OR CUT BAIT
“Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word” (I Kings 18:21).
“How long halt ye between two opinions?” This is an illustration of a Southern expression for “It’s time to fish or cut bait.” In plainer words, it is time for Christians to make a decision between two opinions, “Is the Hope of the Church which is His body” the Parousia [the Coming] of Christ, or is it the Epiphaneia [His Appearing]? How long halt ye between two opinions? Perhaps, today, as when Elijah asked the question, it will be said, “And the people answered not a word.”
The Kingdom of God is a pre-millennial Kingdom. The Millennium is a period of time in which the Lord Jesus Christ is present on the earth for one-thousand-years. This is the one-thousand-year Parousia of Christ. This includes His arrival and His presence upon the earth. He rules and reigns for one-thousand-years. Prior to His Parousia, He will have ruled the heavens and the earth from Heaven’s Throne (Ps. 103:19) but with His Parousia, He will rule the heavens and the earth from the Earth’s Throne in Jerusalem.
Christ will rule and reign over all of the nations from Heaven’s Throne for hundreds of years. Towards the end of the pre-millennial Kingdom of God, He relaxes His restraints of evil, thus allowing some nations to rise in rebellion against His Divine Government. (Psalm Two describes this). This rebellion will be instigated by Satan energizing the “man of sin,” the anti-christ.
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God/Heaven announced that the Kingdom was “at hand.” That is to say, during the time Christ “was a Minister of the circumcision for the truth of God,” confirming the promises made to the fathers of Israel (Rom. 14:8), the long awaited-promised Kingdom was about to make its Epiphaneia [Appearance] upon the world-scene. John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ, both, announced that it was nigh—“at hand.”
Sometime after Acts 28:31, Paul, the prisoner, received the revelation of the Mystery. God made known to him the Holy Secret [the Mystery] which had been hid from ages and generations (Col. 1:26) “which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men” (Eph. 3:5). This new and fresh revelation from God ushered in a new dispensation; thereby, taking the world by surprise. Yes, this event even staggered the living saints with its revelation. What a “bombshell” it was to have it announced that the Jew no longer had any dispensational privileges over the Gentiles. In fact, the truth that Christ was now among the Gentiles and was their “hope of Glory” (Col. 1:27) perplexed many believers who lived through the Acts Period and emerged into the post-Acts Period of the Mystery.
This took “the wind out of the sails” of many believers. Many, in that day, could not accept this new revelation. They were more comfortable with the way things “used to be.” The revelation of the Mystery left no room for their tradition, pomp, privilege, or ceremony. Of course, many didn’t like the fact that Paul claimed this Truth was made known, exclusively, to him by the Lord Jesus Christ.
With all of the above set forth, we now come to a Truth with which most of our brethren are not very comfortable with. They are uncomfortable when faced with the fact that the believer’s primary hope, during the period covered by the Acts of the Apostles, was not that of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The phrase, “the Second Coming,” is not found in the Bible. Christians coined this phrase from the Biblical Greek word, Parousia. Parousia means, according to Thayer, “NT:3952, parousia, (1). presence: 1 Cor 16:17 (2). the presence of one coming, hence, the coming, arrival, advent, 2 Cor 7:6. ”
It is not until Matthew 24:3 that we read of the first mention of the word, “parousia,” in the New Testament.
“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?”
The Companion Bible states, in its note on Matthew 24:3, that “parousia” is a word “which can be traced in the East as a technical expression for the arrival or the visit of a king or emperor, also of other persons in authority, or of troops.”
Christians use the expression, “the Second Coming” of Christ, as the meaning of the Greek word, “Parousia.” The Bible facts do not support the idea that the Parousia of Jesus Christ was the primary hope of the Church of God during the Book of Acts. If it had been, we could certainly have expected that, with the announcement by John the Baptist and Christ Himself, the Kingdom was “at hand,” it would have included the message that the glorious Parousia of the Lord Jesus Christ would usher in the Kingdom of God. When the Parousia is finally mentioned, it is done so, “privately.”
The John Darby and C. I. Scofield school of theology brought to the forefront the idea of the pre-millennial Parousia of Christ. Most fundamental Christians bought into this erroneous interpretation in the mid-to-late 1800’s and the early 1900’s.
It is important to point out that, not once, in the Book of Acts is the “Parousia” of Christ mentioned. But, orthodox Bible exegesis makes it to be the principle event hoped for by all Christians in the New Testament writings. THE PAROUSIA WAS NOT THE PRINCIPAL EXPECTATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT! If it was, we would expect it to have a prominent place in the four Gospels, the Book of Acts and the Epistles written during the Acts Period. But, it hardly has no place at all!
Consider the following:
The Gospel of Matthew—has 1071 verses, and Parousia is only mentioned in four verses. Each instance is in Chapter 24. The context of its usage clearly gives the future time-frame for its occurrences. The Parousia is to take place at the “consummation of the (Kingdom) age” (Matt. 24:3). The other three references, Matthew 24:27, 37, and 39, are likewise, intimately associated with the time of the great Tribulation [part of the consummation].
The Gospel of Mark—in the 677 verses, no mention, at all, is made to the Parousia.
The Gospel of Luke—in the 1151 verses of Luke, no mention, whatsoever, is made of the Parousia.
The Gospel of John—in this magnificent book, where Christ is presented as the Son of God, there is a total silence in all of the 879 verses on the subject of the Parousia.
The Acts of the Apostles—in not one verse, of its 1007 verses, can a reference to the Parousia be found! The Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the theme of The Acts of the Apostles from beginning to end, makes no mention, whatsoever, that the expectation was the Parousia. If the Second Coming (the Parousia) was to have been the primary hope announced by the ministry of John the Baptist and Christ, as well as, that of the apostles, why was it suppressed and, even, spoken of only in private (Matt. 24:3)?
Pre-millennial dispensationalists have promoted the doctrinal error that the next move God makes is that of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This significant blunder leads many to unscriptural and undispensational distortions concerning the prominence which The Parousia has in God’s prophetic program.
A glaring mistake, concerning the throne of David, is commonly made in the interpretation of the following verse:
“Therefore being a prophet [i.e., David], and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;” (Acts 2:30).
A correct understanding of this verse would be enhanced if we, properly, capitalized the “H” in “his throne.” Failure to mentally supply the capital letter, or failure to actually capitalize it reinforces the distortion. The ingrained error of understanding the pronouns in Acts 2:30 is the root cause of this monumental blunder. We will give the proper explanation, thus, identifying the pronouns.
“Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him [David], that of the fruit of his [David’s] loins, according to the flesh, He [God] would raise up Christ to sit on His [God’s] Throne;” (Acts 2:30).
The blunder is to think that “his throne” refers to David’s throne in Jerusalem. This error is prevalent in standard orthodox teaching, as well as, in much of the teaching of those who acknowledge the Dispensational dividing line of Acts 28. The context bears out that the throne in question is God’s Throne, which is in Heaven, not David’s throne on earth. See Acts 2:33-34:
“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He [Holy Ghost] hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD [Yahweh] said unto my Lord [Christ], Sit Thou [Christ] on My [Yahweh’s] Right Hand …”
You see, the context is that of Christ sitting on God’s Throne—not Christ sitting on David’s throne.
While the Lord Jesus Christ is seated on God’s Throne in the Heavens—that is, “being by the Right Hand of God exalted,” He will speak, and the world will be restored to its pre-flood pristine glory. The “times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord (Jesus Christ)” (Acts 3:19). Christ remains in heaven until the restitution (restoration) of all things is accomplished which God spoke about through the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:21). This was the Hope of the Acts Period believers, as well as, all of the Old Testament saints. A single sentence equivalent to the Hope of man is; Christ is to replace Satan—who assumed the dominion which the Creator gave Adam who lost it when he sinned in the Garden. Only our Lord Jesus Christ has the right to the universal dominion which Adam lost. He will take to Himself this Dominion at His Appearing [Epiphaneia] and Kingdom (2 Tim. 4:1).
The magnificent Divine work of the universal regeneration of Acts 3:19-21 is accomplished without Jesus Christ making one move toward leaving heaven. The hope, that is, the glorious expectation of the New Testament believers was the coming of the Kingdom!!! This will be accomplished while Christ remains [i.e., retained] in heaven (Acts 3:21). The Coming (The Parousia) of the Lord Jesus Christ does not establish the Kingdom of God in the earth; it consummates it (Matt. 24:3).
If the Parousia of Jesus Christ was the New Testament hope, why is it not mentioned, except in private, in Matthew, and not at all in Mark, Luke, John, and The Acts of the Apostles?
The honest answer is because the Parousia was not the believer’s hope at that time. After the Kingdom is established in the earth, those who are privileged enough to live during the “Golden Age” of the pre-millennial Kingdom of God will have a legitimate right to anticipate the Coming [Parousia]. A tragic case in the mis-application of Christ’s Parousia results in stealing the hope of another Dispensation and appropriating it to “ourselves.” The hope of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head is clearly delineated in I Timothy 6:14, II Timothy 1:10, 4:1, 4:8, and Titus 2:13. Our hope is that of a higher and more noble calling than that of the Parousia of Jesus Christ.
“How long halt ye between two opinions?” The Parousia or the Epiphaneia?
Friends and Mountaineers, “It is time to fish or cut bait!”
PLAINER WORDS …THE ROMAN TREATISE AND THE PAROUSIA
The Apostle Paul’s Treatise of the Roman Epistle is the biblical repository for essential New Testament Truths. The New (Covenant) Testament is a covenant between God and Israel. He never made any covenants with the Gentiles. Therefore, as members of the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head and, as such, we are strangers from the covenants of promise (Eph. 2:12). Therefore, we are not to look at New Testament Truth to get “our marching orders.” By saying this, we don’t in any way, suggest that we cannot learn and be edified by such Truth. But, we are to distinguish between New Covenant Truth and Truth for today.
The New Testament will be the Jews’ “ticket” into the long-awaited Kingdom of God. Their “ticket” into the Kingdom is not the Coming and Presence, i.e., the Parousia, of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their Kingdom “ticket” will be punched when “the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord [Jesus Christ], …Whom the heaven, must receive [or retain] until the times of restitution of all things which was spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began [to wit, from ancient times]” (Acts 3:19 & 21).
In the last issue of Plainer Words Online, “It’s Time to Fish or Cut Bait,” it was pointed out that the 2nd Coming of Christ, to wit, His Parousia, had no prominent place in the first 4,785 verses of the New Testament. In fact, in only four verses was it even mentioned, and each one was in Matthew 24. Each reference occurred within the context of the consummation of the coming Kingdom age.
The Pre-millennial Kingdom of God becomes a reality when the event of 2 Timothy 4:1 occurs.
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at [to wit, by] His appearing and His kingdom;” (2 Tim. 4:1).
The lengthy duration of the Kingdom of God winds-down with a Divine coup de grace—which is highlighted by the Return of Jesus Christ. This event is the consummation of His Reign from Heaven. Christ Jesus administers the coup de grace to the anti-christ and his followers at His Parousia and His Kingdom. This spectacular event brings about the catastrophic destruction of the Satanic, counterfeit Kingdom and the end of the Great Tribulation. Christ’s Arrival from Heaven and His Presence on earth initiates His One-Thousand-Year Parousia on the earth.
If the word, “parousia,” is used only four times in the first five books of the New Testament, we would certainly think that it would be covered in much detail in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. After all, Romans is the most doctrinally profound writing of all of the New Testament writings. (Every advanced student of Scripture understands that the New Testament does not include those epistles by Paul which are referred to as his “Prison Epistles”). As The Companion Bible states, “Romans … contains the A B C of the believers education. Until its lesson is learned, we know and can know nothing. The Holy Spirit has placed it first in Canonical order because it lies at the threshold of all ‘church’ teaching , and if we are wrong here we shall be wrong altogether.”
The book of Romans has an important role in the scope of the New Testament literature. The theological content of this writing is of great importance to the Christian community, both ancient and contemporary. One Commentator has said of Romans, “As the most systematic and complete exposition of the gospel that the NT contains, it has naturally seemed to have a very special place in the Bible.” Paul’s treatise has caught the attention of many commentators over the centuries. There is no syllable of the Greek text of Romans which has gone unscrutinized, no verb unconjugated, no noun undeclined, no extract unexegeted, and no chapter unoutlined. This is the favorite book in the Bible for most “Grace Believers.” One would think that surely a section of verses would be set aside to reveal the widely held view that the “hope of the New Testament Church” is the 2nd Coming (The Parousia).
On the contrary, not one single verse even mentions the Parousia of Christ. Not only that, but the word, itself, does not find a place in all of the Book of Romans. Paul’s New Testament Treatise to the Romans is silent concerning the 2nd Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wow! “How ‘bout them apples?”
The first eight chapters of Romans are almost pure doctrine. They cover all of the important New Testament tenets. They range from the “gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1) to the “all things work together for good” (Rom. 8:28). With all of this said, it must be affirmed that not one word concerning the Parousia of Jesus Christ is mentioned. Is this fact significant? We think it is extremely significant.
The Epistle to the Romans has 16 chapters, 433 verses, and 9,477 words. Yet, it remains loudly silent on the subject of the 2nd Coming (Parousia) of Christ. If Romans is the “threshold of all church teaching,” as stated in the Companion Bible, why wouldn’t this popular doctrine be mentioned in Romans? After all, as most Christians believe, the 2nd Coming of Christ is the hope of the New Testament believers and, most certainly, the hope of the church. Sadly, we must point out that many believers who embrace Mystery Truth think the Church over which Christ Jesus is the Head will realize its hope in some fashion associated with the 2nd Coming. To believe the New Testament hope was, and is, the Parousia is to believe error. And, likewise, to believe that the hope of our calling is somehow connected to Christ’s Parousia is, also, error.
The “hope” of the Church which is His Body is irrevocably linked to Christ’s Appearing (Epiphaneia) and His Coming Kingdom (2 Timothy 4:1). It is strange how so many folks won’t “touch 2 Timothy 4:1 with a ten-foot pole.” I understand. I avoided it for years. Admittedly, I was spiritually blind to its monumental significance. Yes, “once I was blind, but now I see.” When this event takes place, our faith will give way to sight and the glorious Epiphaneia of the great God will flood the universe. Our “blessed hope” becomes authenticated.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing [Epiphaneia] of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13)
It should be noted that we are not told to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for the Coming (Parousia) of Christ. We must not be guilty of mixing the Parousia with the Epiphaneia, or vice versa. If we do, we may lead others astray and will, in that day, stand as ashamed workmen for having wrongly divided the Word of Truth.
The Hope Romans Presents
The Apostle Paul begins the fifth chapter with the following words:
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1-2).
He speaks of standing and rejoicing in the HOPE OF THE GLORY OF GOD. The magnificent display of God’s Glory was visible to the naked eye before the Flood came in Genesis Seven. With the catastrophe of Noah’s Flood, the visible Glory of God was snuffed-out. It will not be seen, again, until the “restitution of all things” (Acts 3:21) takes place. The LORD predicted, once again, that the earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD (Num. 14:21).
“And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen” (Ps. 72:18).
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9).
“And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it” (Isa. 40:5).
The manifestation, or revealing of God’s Glory will be a key ingredient when the Hope of the Roman believers is realized. This is indicated by Paul in Romans Eight.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. (This speaks of Kingdom resurrections; “every man in his own order” 1 Cor. 15:23).
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Literally, “into the liberty of the glory of the children of God”).
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (redemption of the body, i.e., resurrection, not that of 1 Cor. 15:51-55, or 1 Thess. 4:16-17 ).
24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
These verses speak of the hope of the glory of God being manifested when the “times of refreshing comes from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19), and He ushers in the Kingdom of God—not the One-Thousand-Year presence of Christ on the earth.
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Rom. 13:11-12).
The Apostle Paul reiterates an expression used by John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ by writing, “the day is at hand.” Yes, the Kingdom was still “at hand” when Paul wrote Romans.
There was no instruction with the “at hand” message to be prepared for the sudden Parousia of Christ. We should not be guilty of reading into the context of this part of the New Covenant, something which is not there—the Parousia of Jesus Christ.
The Parousia of Christ does not become a major-factor in “Kingdom Truth” until the last days when the Divine restraints of evil are gradually lifted. The Parousia is the event in which all of those who have believed Satan’s lie and partook in his rebellion will be destroyed by Christ’s Coming. Then, He will be Personally Present on the earth for One-Thousand-Years.
December 31, 2007
PLAINER WORDS …THE HOPE OF ISRAEL—THE KINGDOM
This Plainer Words should be read in the light of two previous studies, “Time to Fish or Cut Bait,” and “The Treatise of Romans and The Parousia.” These two studies presented misunderstood truths concerning the Parousia of the Lord Jesus Christ. The AKJV of the Bible translated the Greek word, parousia, as “coming.” In New Testament times, the Greek-speaking-world used the word, parousia, to describe the “arrival and presence” of a dignitary. The arrival and the subsequent presence of a king, or emperor were referred to as a parousia. If, for example, King Croesus of Lydia were to visit another nation, his journey to and his arrival and presence in the other nation would be called the parousia of King Croesus. A parousia was associated with an official visit and presence of an individual of stature. If an ordinary citizen was required, by Law, to be present at a certain proceeding, then, his presence would have been considered a parousia.
Most certainly, the decent of the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven, His arrival, and His presence in Jerusalem for one-thousand-years would constitute a grand and glorious Parousia. The translators always translated parousia as “coming.” By doing this, it gave rise to a non-biblical phrase adopted by Christendom—the Second Coming of Christ. The English language has no word equivalent to the Greek word, parousia. Therefore, we have no quarrel with the translation.
The arrival and presence of Him as a babe in the manger was no parousia. Nor, was his presence on earth as a twelve-year- old, nor as a teenager, nor even as a grown man, a parousia. His earthly ministry was that of a servant, a person of no outward stature, or reputation. He was even said to have been born of fornication (John 8:41).
“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:7-8).
We said in The Treatise of Romans and The Parousia, “The book of Romans has an important role in the scope of the New Testament literature. The theological content of this writing is of great importance to the Christian community, both ancient and contemporary. One Commentator has said of Romans, ‘As the most systematic and complete exposition of the gospel that the NT contains, it has naturally seemed to have a very special place in the Bible.’” There is absolutely no reference to the 2nd Coming of Christ, to wit, His Parousia, in the beloved book of “Romans.”
Keep this in mind. “The Epistle to the Romans” was Paul’s last epistle written during “The Acts of the Apostles.” This means that he wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Hebrews before he penned Romans. If the Parousia of the Lord Jesus Christ was the definitive hope of the Acts Period believers, why on earth didn’t Paul mention it in the most authoritative Scripture in all of the New Testament?
The epistles written during “The Acts of the Apostles” were in harmony with the period, itself. The Acts Epistles did not introduce something that was not part of the revelation of its time. Not only that, but a prophetic Truth, like the Parousia of Christ which didn’t have a major impact on the believer’s hope during the Acts time-frame, was not given a great deal of print in the Scriptures of the time.
The Book of Acts opened with a question concerning the primary hope of the Apostles:
“When they [the Apostles] therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6).
The Kingdom was the “hope of Israel” throughout the Acts period. Notice, the Apostle Paul, as late as Acts 28, mentioned his hope during the Acts Period as that of “the hope of Israel.”
“For this cause therefore have I [Paul] called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain” (Acts 28:20).
It must be concluded that everything preached and written between Acts 1 and Acts 28 carried with it the underlying hope of Israel. Its realization was not dependent on the 2nd Coming, i.e., the Parousia of Christ. The hope of Present Truth, the Appearing, that is, the Epiphaniea, cannot be found in any of the Acts period Scriptures.
Israel’s hope was also expressed by the Apostle Peter in Acts 3, and it was not associated in any way, shape, form, or fashion with the 2nd Coming (Parousia) of the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, Acts 3:19-21 clearly stated the Apostolic Expectation:
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
Peter’s message, in Acts 3, validated what the Lord Jesus had told the Twelve Apostles in Matthew 19:28:
“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed Me, in the regeneration [palingenesia = re-creation] when the Son of man shall sit in the Throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
The Throne of His glory will be in heaven. Christ Jesus will rule the earth from His Throne in heaven, while the Twelve sit upon their earthly thrones, during His Kingdom. Jesus Christ and the Twelve will govern for hundreds of years before Christ comes in His Parousia.
“Heaven is My Throne, and earth is My footstool: what house will ye build Me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of My rest?” (Acts 7:49). See also, Ps. 11:4, 103:19, and
The blue-print for the Church of God, which was made up of Jews and Gentiles, was thoroughly spelled out in the Roman Epistle. And, as it has been pointed out, the Parousia of Christ was not to be found as part of the inspiration of the Romans Treatise.
Paul only mentioned it once in sixteen chapters in 1 Corinthians, and that was in
1 Corinthians 15:23. He did not mention it, at all, in any of the thirteen chapters in 2 Corinthians, nor did he mention it in Galatians. He did use the word, Parousia, when referring to the arrival and presence of Christ, four times in 1 Thessalonians. Each time, it was used in the context of the end of the Great Tribulation. In 2 Thessalonians, Paul made reference to the Parousia (i.e, the 2nd Coming) of Christ only twice. Once, it is found in 2 Thessalonians 2:1, and then, in 2:8.
If the 2nd Coming of Christ was the HOPE of the Apostles, as well as the members of the Church of God during the Acts Period, one would suppose that this event would warrant more than the seven times Paul made reference to it in his Acts Epistles. I would think that the thorough student of Scripture would be curious as to why Paul made reference to it so sparingly. If the 2nd Coming is considered, by today’s Christians, to be the most prominent expectation of believers, why is it only mentioned seven times by the Apostle Paul in his Acts Epistles?
These things are pointed out, not to diminish the importance of the Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ, but to point out that it is not the next event on God’s Prophetic Clock. Church-going Christians have been taught that Christ could come at any moment, and with His Coming, it would usher in His Millennial Reign which they, also, call the Kingdom. By failing to rightly divide the Word of Truth, they confuse the 1000 year reign with the Pre-Parousia Kingdom of God, believing them to be the same thing.
It is important to point out that, not once, in the Book of Acts is the “Parousia” of Christ mentioned. But, orthodox Bible exegesis makes it out to be the principal event hoped for by all Christians in the New Testament writings. THE PAROUSIA WAS NOT THE PRINCIPAL EXPECTATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT! If it was, we would expect it to have a prominent place in the four Gospels, the Book of Acts, and the Epistles written during the Acts Period. But, it hardly has a place at all!
It should be noted that the Parousia of the Lord Jesus Christ is found only sixteen times in all of the twenty-seven books of what is commonly referred to as the New Testament.
Listed, below, is a concordance of the sixteen usages of the word, Parousia, as it is used in reference to the Parousia of Jesus Christ. Each reference of the Parousia is associated with the destruction of the anti-christ, thus, ending the Great Tribulation which is the consummation (sunteleia) of the Kingdom Era.
The Gospel of Matthew – 24:3, 27, 37, 39.
I Corinthians – 15:23.
I Thessalonians – 2:19. 3:13. 4:15. 5:23.
II Thessalonians – 2:1. 2:8.
James – 5:7-8.
2 Peter – 1:16. 3:4.
I John – 2:23.
The 2nd Coming of Christ, to wit, the Parousia of Christ, takes place hundreds of years after the “Hope of Israel” becomes a reality. Therefore, it was not the great expectation of the Apostles, or the Church of God. Note this, carefully, and mark it well. The “Hope of Israel” does not come with the Lord descending, His Voice shouting, angels accompanying, trumpets blasting-forth, and saints ascending as most Christians are saying today. If it does, then it will come with an outward show, and the Lord Jesus’ words will be found to be false.
Of course, all of these things do take place in connection with Him coming in His Parousia. He does not come back to earth to govern because He has been doing so from His Throne in Heaven. He comes back to be Personally Present on earth.
The Apostolic Expectation must be in harmony with the promises made in the Old Testament, and all the more so, since Paul declared in Romans 15:8, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” Among these promises which He will validate is the one found in Psalm 46:6-10 where it is revealed that at a time when the nations are in turmoil, and the governments are shaken, “… He uttered His voice, the earth melted.” Those living during the Kingdom Era will observe this and will, then, be invited to Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations He has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, He burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” NIV.
This was, in fact, what the Apostles fully expected to take place when their hope materialized, and Christ Jesus began to Reign over the nations. Their hope, as well as the Church of God, was in agreement with the promises of God that He would cause judgment to be heard from heaven (Ps. 76:8); that He would bring forth judgment to the nations (Isa. 42:1); of a time to come when His judgments would be in all the earth
(Ps. 105:7). Matthew set forth the Hope of Israel when he quoted Isaiah in Matthew 12:18-21, closing with the words, “And in His Name shall the Gentiles trust.”
Paul repeated this Truth in Romans 15:12, “And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and He that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in Him shall the Gentiles trust.” This will not be connected, at all, with His Parousia.
The unashamed workman can rightly divide the Word of Truth. He does not confuse the Kingdom of God with the 1000 year Parousia of Christ. A true spiritual differentiator is enabled to do so.
From Plainer Words
Part I –It’s Time to Fish or Cut Bait: Part II- Roman Treatise & The Parousia: Part III – The Hope of Israel – The Pre-Millennial Kingdom.
Posted in: 2007
By Tom L. Ballinger
Feb 29, 2008 - 6:52:58 PM
Feb 29, 2008 - 6:52:58 PM
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