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THEOLOGY > Future > The End of the Age > The Blessed Hope > Terminology  


Over ten Greek words, when the various verb forms and nouns are counted, appear in the New Testament to describe the Second Coming of Christ. In the choice of specific words information concerning the Lord’s Return is conveyed. The more common words that are  used will be briefly considered:

coming” – parousia; a common word that indicates one’s arrival or presence; used to speak of the visit of individuals, gods, or of dignitaries, but the general use is seldom found in the NT (I Cor. 16:17; II Cor. 7:6; Phil. 1:26); rather the word is used constantly of the return of Christ, so much so that some have claimed that the word came to have a technical use in the NT; to speak of the parousia, therefore, is to speak of the Second Coming of Christ, which marks the ending of the present age. Following are some of the verses that use parousia:

What will be the sign of Your coming (parousia) (Matt. 24:3);

For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man be (Matt. 24:27);

so also will the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man be (Matt. 24:37, 39);

at His coming (parousia) (I Thess. 2:19);

at the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints (I Thess. 3:13);

coming (parousia) of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep (I Thess. 4:15);

be preserved blameless at the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ (I Thess. 5:23);

concerning the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Thess. 2:1);

And the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (parousia) (II Thess. 2:8);

until the coming (parousia) of the Lord (Jas. 5:7);

for the coming (parousia) of the Lord is at hand (Jas. 5:8);

where is the promise of His coming (parousia) (2 Pet. 3:4);

looking for and hastening the coming (parousia) of the day of God (II Pet. 3:12).

Each verse speaks of a coming, and the coming is either “the parousia” or “His parousia.” And in each verse the word “parousia” is singular. While the word may or may not be used in a technical sense, the fact that the same word is used repeatedly does serve to unite the passages in which the word is used rather than dividing them. The point is that all of the above verses speak of the same event.

For instance, First Thessalonians 4:15, the passage speaking of the rapture, and Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39, the Olivet Discourse where Jesus instructs the disciples regarding His coming, must be referring to the same event. The “coming” in Thessalonians is the same as the “coming” in Matthew. While this exegetical observation appears obvious and undeniable, that is exactly what the Dispensationalists do not accept; they reject the association of these two passages, separating them by seven years. Parousia will not allow such tampering with the text (see: Harmonization of Scripture).

First Thessalonians 4:15 speaks of “the coming of the Lord.” In English there is the article “the” because the article appears in the Greek text. It is the definite article, speaking of the specific coming of the Lord. Implied is the fact that there is only one coming, “the coming.” In numerous and seemingly insignificant ways the Scriptures constantly affirm the one-time coming of Christ. Scripture does not state, nor does it ever suggest, that the Return of Christ will be in two stages. There is one Second Coming, “the coming.” The article is also used in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew (see: One Second Coming).

The word is also used of the coming of the Antichrist in II Thess. 2:9.

revelation” – apokalupsis; this word is a combination of two Gr. Words: apo, from; and kalupto, to lift; therefore, the word means “unveiling,” “uncovering,” or “revelation”; speaks of something that was not known or was hidden but is now made known or uncovered. Following are examples from Scripture:

waiting for the revelation (apokalupsis) of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:7);

when the Lord Jesus is revealed (apokalupsis) from heaven with His mighty angels (II Thess. 1:7);

when His glory is revealed (apokalupsis) (I Pet. 4:13).

When the word is used of the Return of Christ, “revelation” speaks of making visible what could not be seen; Christ is now hidden or removed from the vision and from the presence of the believer, but on that day the Lord Jesus will be unveiled, no longer hidden—He will be made known. He will be with His people.

appearing” – epiphaneia; the word means “manifestation” or “appearing”; word was used by the Greeks of a glorious manifestation of the gods; this noun is used six times in the NT, and five of the times the reference is to the Return of Christ:

until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing (epiphaneia) (1 Tim. 6:14);

God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing (epiphaneia) and His kingdom (II Tim. 4:1);

which the Lord, the righteous Judge will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing (epiphaneia) (II Tim. 4:8);

looking for the blessed hope and the glorious appearing (epiphaneia) of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Tit. 2:13);

And the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness (epiphaneia) of His coming (parousia) (II Thess. 2:8).

coming”  - erchomai;  a common verb in the NT meaning “to come” or “to arrive”; used approximately 650 times in various contexts of both people coming and objects coming, like the star over Bethlehem (Matt. 2:9); also used of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Matt. 6:10; Lu. 11:2; 22:18) and of the Return of Christ. Following are some examples:

you do not know what hour your Lord is coming (erchomai) (Matt. 24:42; Mk. 13:35);

the Son of Man is coming (erchomai) at an hour you do not expect (Matt. 24:44);

you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming (erchomai) (Matt. 25:13);

When the Son of Man comes (erchomai) in His glory (Matt. 25:31; Mk. 13:32);

You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming (erchomai) on the clouds of heaven (Matt. 26:64; Mk. 14:62);

when He comes (erchomai) in the glory of His Father (Mk. 8:38);

Behold, I am coming (erchomai) as a thief (Rev. 16:15);

Behold, I am coming (erchomai) quickly (Rev. 22:7).

While the verb certainly did not develop a technical use with reference to the Return of Christ, as is possibly true of parousia, it is used as part of a description of Christ, who is spoken of as “the One who is to come” or “the Coming One”:

He [John] sent two of his disciples and said to Him: “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Matt. 11:2-3; ESV: “Are you the one who is to come?”);

Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay (Heb. 10:37).

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