Summary of His Arrival

The New Testament foresees a single event that means nothing less than the resurrection of the dead, the New Creation, and the final judgment

Arrival Sun - Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash
Several Greek terms are applied in the New Testament to the return of Jesus at the end of the present age, including
parousia (“arrival”), erchomai (“coming”), and epiphaneia (“appearance”). Regardless of which term is used, in each instance, it is singular and refers to only one and only one “coming” of the “Son of Man” at the end of the Age - [Sunset photo by Diego PH on Unsplash].

The term parousia is applied to the return of Jesus 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).

Its first use for his return was in the version of the ‘Olivet Discourse’ recorded in Matthew. Just as lightning flashes from east to west, “so shall be the arrival of the Son of Man” - (Matthew 24:27-28).

Upon his “arrival,” 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 and its environs; it will be global in scale and all nations will experience it. He will arrive “upon the clouds in great power and glory” and dispatch his angels to gather his disciples to himself - (Matthew 24:30-31, 25:31-46, Zechariah 12:10-14, Revelation 1:7).

Judgment will occur at that time, and not years or even centuries after his “arrival.” The godly “will inherit the kingdom,” while the ungodly will be cast “into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.”

Those days will be “just as in the days of Noah” prior to the great flood. Men were “eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage” until the flood came suddenly and destroyed them all. This is a description of normalcy, of men and women going about their daily business as if nothing catastrophic was about to occur - (“They observed not until the flood came and took them all away” - Matthew 24:37-39).

In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul responded to some voices that were denying the future resurrection of the righteous. In the process, he listed several events that must transpire at or before the “arrival” 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.
His converts will become Paul’s “crown of boasting” at the parousia of Jesus when he arrives “with all his saints”. On that day, disciples will be wholly sanctified and made blameless before him - (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 3:13, 5:23).

At his arrival, dead believers will be resurrected and assembled with the living saints for “a meeting of the Lord in the air” as he descends from heaven. He will be accompanied by the sound of a great trumpet and the “voice of an archangel.” Thereafter, believers will “be with the Lord evermore” - (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17).

The parousia will coincide with the “Day of the Lord,” the time when believers will be “gathered together” to Christ. And 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.” Like Paul, he 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 will be melted.”

The old order must make way for the “new heavens and new earth according to his promise in which righteousness dwells.” His parousia will result in the destruction of the present world order and the inauguration of the New Creation - (2 Peter 3:3-14).

Thus, the New Testament presents a consistent picture of his “arrival.” It will be universal, and all men and women will experience it. It will be marked by celestial and terrestrial upheaval, and Jesus gather his people to himself. The righteous will inherit everlasting life, and the ungodly will receive everlasting punishment.

His arrival culminates in the final defeat of all God’s enemies and the consummation of His unopposed reign throughout the Cosmos. Death, the “last enemy,” 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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