His Arrival

The arrival of Jesus will mean the resurrection of the dead, the commencement of the New Creation, and final judgment

Alone at Sunrise - Photo by Julentto Photography on Unsplash
In the New Testament, several different Greek terms are applied to the return of Jesus, including
parousia (“arrival”), erchomai (“coming”), and epiphaneia (“appearance”). Regardless of which is used, in each instance, the word is singular and refers to only one “coming” of the “Son of Man.” Nowhere does Scripture refer to two or more final “comings.” - [Photo by Julentto Photography on Unsplash].

The Greek noun parousia is applied to his return most often in the letters of Paul, though not exclusively so. It signifies an “arrival” rather than the process of someone or something “coming.” For example, Paul was “comforted by the arrival of Titus” – (1 Corinthians 16:17, 2 Corinthians 7:6-7).

HIS PAROUSIA

The first use of parousia in this regard occurs in the version of the ‘Olivet Discourse’ recorded in Matthew. Just as lightning flashes suddenly from east to west, “so shall be the arrival of the Son of Man” - (Matthew 24:27-28).

On that day, the creation itself will be disrupted, and “all the tribes of the earth will smite their breasts.” The event will not be limited to Judea - it will be global in scale and all nations will experience it. He will arrive “upon the clouds” and dispatch his angels to gather his disciples to himself - (Matthew 24:30-31, 25:31-46).

Judgment will occur when he “arrives,” not years or centuries later. The godly “will inherit the kingdom,” and the ungodly will be cast “into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.”

Prior to his “arrival,” it will be “just as in the days of Noah” when men were “eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage” until the flood came and destroyed them all.

This analogy portrays normalcy – men going about their daily business as if nothing catastrophic would ever occur (“They observed not until the flood came and took them all away” - Matthew 24:37-39).

BODILY RESURRECTION

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul responded to voices that were denying the future resurrection of the righteous. But just as God raised Jesus from the dead, so, also, he will resurrect his saints when he “arrives.” In his argument, Paul lists key events that must transpire at or before the return of Jesus, including:
  • The consummation of the kingdom of God.
  • The bodily resurrection of dead believers at Christ’s parousia.
  • The subjugation to Jesus of all “rule and all authority and power.”
  • The cessation of death, the “last enemy.”
  • The bodily transformation of believers who remain alive at the time - from mortality to immortality.

To the Thessalonians, the Apostle to the Gentiles declared that they would become his “crown of boasting” at Christ’s parousia when he arrives “with all his saints.” At that time, disciples will find themselves wholly sanctified and “blameless” before him.

Beach Sunrise - Photo by George Kourounis on Unsplash
[Photo by George Kourounis on Unsplash]

At his “
arrival,” dead believers will be resurrected and assembled along with those still alive for “a meeting of the Lord in the air,” and they will then “be with the Lord forevermore.” This promise is intended to “comfort” Christians undergoing trials and especially persecution - (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 3:13, 4:15-17, 5:23).

DAY OF THE LORD

His parousia will coincide with the “Day of the Lord,” the time when believers will be “gathered together” to Christ. But that day will not occur until after the “apostasy” and the unveiling of the “man of lawlessness” whom the “Lord Jesus will paralyze with the manifestation of his arrival” - (2 Thessalonians 2:1-9).

According to Peter, his parousia will mean nothing less than the “day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly men.”

The Apostle Peter also links the “arrival” of Jesus with the “Day of the Lord” when:
  • The heavens will pass away with a rushing noise…and the earth and the works therein will be discovered…the heavens will be dissolved and elements becoming intensely hot are to be melted” - (2 Peter 3:3-14).

On that day, the old order will give way to the “new heavens and the new earth according to his promise, in which righteousness dwells.” His “arrival” will result in the destruction of the present world order and the inauguration of the new creation.

UNIVERSAL EVENT

Thus, his “arrival” will be universal. It will be marked by celestial and terrestrial upheaval. Jesus will gather his people to himself. The righteous will inherit everlasting life, and the ungodly will receive everlasting punishment.

That day will mean the final defeat of God’s enemies and the consummation of His unopposed reign. Death will cease, and the New Creation will be unveiled in all its glory. All these events occur at the parousia or “arrival” of Jesus.



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