...Christ’s Triumphant Return to Earth
Our hunger for God's Word kept us ever in the Scriptures, searching and feeding. As we grew in relationship with the Lord and in an understanding of His truth, we began perceiving there is indeed a present knowing of Christ, but there is also an anticipation of a Day yet to come.
This was so with some of the men who lived before Christ came the first time. Nearly two thousand years early; Abraham rejoiced to see His Day—John 8:56. Moses ...esteemed the reproaches of Christ of greater value than the treasures of Egypt—Hebrews 11:26. David foresaw His face a millennium before He walked by Galilee—Acts 2:25.
As with these men, there are those today who rejoice to see Him. But, the seeing today only moves toward His greater appearing. His coming now is in His Body, preparing us for the far greater coming of which we speak here—His Parousía.
Parousia is a Greek New Testament word meaning, "being alongside of; being present." The King James Version of the Scriptures always translates it coming when referring to the return of the Lord. It has claimed our attention for years, holding an attraction like few other New Testament words. It comes from two Greek words, para, "alongside of," and ousía, meaning "to be, being."
I have come to the conclusion that all the passages using the word parousía, point to a single event yet to come at the end of the age. Each time it appears in the Greek New Testament the Definite Article appears with it, making it the parousía. This lends emphasis that there will be one grand parousía of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Early Greek literature used parousía to speak of the arrival of a monarch whose presence in the region claimed the undivided attention of every subject. When applied to the Lord Jesus, it speaks of His arrival in majestic glory when He comes to rule as a military and governmental Prince in the earth.
There are at least twelve different words in the Greek New Testament speaking of Christ’s appearance in the earth. These will be covered in the last chapter of this book.
- The closing years of this age are the subject of much direct prophecy.
After a close study of Daniel 9:24-27 and other passages to which it relates, we choose to call the end time
"The Last Seven Prophetic Years."
- The last half of the Seven Prophetic Years will be a time of great tribulation, closing with the return of Christ. (See: Daniel 12:1-3; Matthew 24:9-22; Revelation 11:2,3; 12:6 and 13:5-9.)
- Before the end, the Lord Jesus will become very intimately known to many believers.
Pressure and trouble only serve to enhance this knowledge of Him, as seen in Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20; John 14:19-21; John 16:33.
- At the end, the Lord Jesus, Himself, will return personally to gather unto Himself the elect.
These will then join Him in battle against the forces holding the world in darkness. Matthew 24:31; I Thessalonians 4:16,17 and Jude 14,15.
- The Father has given the Lord Jesus Christ this earth as His inheritance.
This becomes clear in the Covenant Word of Psalm 2:7-9 and in Matthew 28:18.
- Those joined with Christ will claim the inheritance with Him.
This is made clear in Revelation 2:26,27 and substantiated by Revelation 5:9,10.
Christ's Parousía... Will bring about the consummation of this age. Matthew 24:3
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 (parousía), and of the end of the world?
In this verse, endis from the Greek sunteleía and means "consummation; the full sum and completion of all things relative to a matter." World is from aión and means "a period of time; an age." This makes the disciples' question mean, "What will be the sign of your parousía and of the consummation of the age?" There is no Scripture speaking of "the end of the world," in the sense of the kósmos coming to an end. This is another Greek word often translated "world" and meaning the order of social, economic and political affairs on the earth. He taught very clearly that this age (aión ) will come to an end.
The "new age movement," with its strange mixture of ecology and spiritualism, takes on a certain Satanism as it rules out the only One Who can usher in the “new age,” the Lord Jesus Christ.
39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.
40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
And Matthew 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Four times in these verses Jesus spoke of the end of the world (the sunteleta of the aión—the "consummation of the age"). He used the same wording the disciples used in Matthew 24:3. There is something very interesting in the question from the disciples. They considered that both the parousía and the consummation of the age were connected. They both belonged to the Lord Jesus. If these two events are connected; then we can make the following conclusions:
- All the ages will converge on this one mighty Day.
- All human history will find its consummation in this Day.
- All the redeemed of all ages were saved with a view toward this Day.
- All the Covenants of God look forward to this day.
- With a rapid pace, the present secular order is becoming ripe for this Day.
- Principalities and powers now under Satan fear this Day.
- We are being prepared for this Day—the parousía of our Lord Jesus Christ which will usher in the new age.
The consummation of this age is in Him, for Him and through Him.
J. B. Phillips' interpretation of Ephesians 1:9,10, in his Letters to Young Churches, makes a powerful statement regarding this: For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan, and it is this: He purposes in His sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfillment in Him. Phillips goes on with the next Ephesian verse to say: And here is the staggering thing: In all that will one day belong to Him, we have been promised a share.
Matthew 24:27—For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming (parousía) of the Son of man be.
As the beginning of days—brought on by the sun shining in the east and moving to the west—is unknown to late sleepers, so the outset of the parousía will be unknown to the spiritually dead. The sun makes no discernible noise in its shining upon us, but it does not remain silent in its effect. In the same way, the radiance of Christ's parousía will cover the earth, just like the light of the sun does in a day.
There is one, however, to whom this radiance will be instantly known. This is that man of sin who will come to his end immediately when Christ makes His parousía in the earth—II Thessalonians 2:8.
Will Be exactly as the Days of Noah
36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man. no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming (parousía) of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming (parousía) of the Son of man be.
What a passage! So much in it calls for our attention, but we’ll look at two points where the parousía is used.
FIRST, the exact time and hour of the parousíais known only to the Heavenly Father. No one else knows when He will come, not even the angels of heaven's government. But now, let us observe this: When Jesus said, “no one knoweth the day and hour,” the word used for "to know" is the Greek oída. This means to know instinctively a thing is so—with innate feelings, without being taught. Another Greek word meaning "to know" is ginósko, meaning to know by experience or by effort; to have knowledge gained by learning. Using oída, not ginósko, makes the statement mean: "No one can know within himself by an instinctive feeling when that day and hour is coming."
The word for understand in the Daniel verse is from the Hebrew sachal, from which the word Maschil comes. It means, "to arrive at an understanding through diligent searching after truth." Daniel uses this word again in 12:3 where he says. They that be wise (the "maschilim") shall shine as the brightness of the firmament. This tells of those who give themselves to the diligent seeking after truth and who shine in the earth with the brightness of understanding. Again he uses it in 12:10...none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise (maschilim) shall understand.
So, we can't know by human instinct the time of the parousía, but we can give our hearts and ears attentively to seeking after the truth regarding it.
Daniel knew in his heart it was time for the Babylonian captivity to end in his day. He learned this from the writings of the Prophet Jeremiah in which he sought for understanding. (See Jeremiah 25:11,12 and 29:10.) In the same manner there is understanding for us when we study the Scriptures diligently with the aid of the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures give us, not exact dates, but rather, information and the impartation of light needed to carry us through the dark years until the radiance of Christ's parousía bursts upon us.
Those who understand will have great purpose in the final days when the corruption of world systems comes in its fullness. Many who have found provision for life only in the present world system will cry unto those who have found theirs in the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33; Daniel 11:34b.)
All the world systems will fail—the economic System, social system, and political system, even the religious systems. Their disintegration will come before the Day of the Lord. In their break-up, anti-Christ will make his greatest strides. Only those who understand among the people will know what is happening, and stand triumphant through his onslaught until the moment of Christ's parousía.
I and II Thessalonians give us great insight regarding these people who remain until the time of the parousía. More than any other Scripture, these Epistles teach us about the actual event.
SECONDLY, Jesus said the time of the Parousía will be as the days of Noah. Let's look again at Matthew 24:37-39. For as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the coming (parousía) of the Son of man be.... They were eating and drinking, marrying.. .until the flood came…
We could take this as a general statement meaning life was normal up until the time of the flood. However, for the comparison of the time of the flood with the time of the parousía, it's likely to have more meaning than that.
The word as in verse 37 takes our attention first. It comes from the Greek hósper, meaning "just exactly as." This shows Jesus meant more than a general comparison between the days of Noah and the time of the parousía. Rather, there will be striking similarity between the two times. The time of the parousía will be exactly as the days of Noah.
...the days of Noah
Genesis 3:14,15 is God's word to that old serpent, called the Devil, or Satan (Revelation 12:9 and 20:2), in which God declared the triumph of the Seed of the woman over the serpent's seed. This is the beginning of the Gospel. It belongs in the foundation of our understanding regarding the parousía, which is the final triumph of the Seed of the woman over the seed of the serpent.
The serpent's judgment to "eat dust" probably does not mean Satan will consume the flesh of man, as some have interpreted it. More likely it is reference to his defeat at the hand of man. By those who know the triumph of the Lord Jesus, he shall "eat the dust" in defeat.
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it (He) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel.
This statement, although made to the serpent, has the power of a covenant. Some call it "the Edenic Covenant." God made it in the presence of Adam after the serpent had come into the sacred confines of Eden. Adam and Eve's deception by the serpent was like the fatal injection of poison into the human race. It was the beginning of the satanic bid to gain the government of the earth.
Indeed, the word of Genesis 3:15, more powerful than all the attempts of Satan to annul it, prevents the satanic overthrow. Through his darkest days of his oppression, this word prevails.
Right up until the parousía, Satan will move with vengeance toward gaining the government rightly belonging to Christ. Because of the word in Eden, the first obstacle to his success lay in the woman who would bare the promised Seed of his defeat. Thus, we see in the day of Noah the overspreading of an evil corruption aimed at woman to stop that Seed.
God sent the flood, not to destroy the world, but to save the holy Seed. In a powerful triumph four thousand years later, Jesus came as that promised Seed. (See Isaiah 7:14; Galatians 4:4 and Colossians 2:15—some of the passages showing the triumph over the Satanic design.)
The word of Genesis 3:15 was that the seed of the serpent would bruise the heel of the Seed of the woman was not a bruise (literally, "crush") unto defeat. The heel is not a point of the body on which a fatal strike can come. However, the Seed of the woman would bruise the head of the serpent's seed, the vulnerable point. The crushing of his head would mean utter defeat In Jesus' death, burial and resurrection—the "bruising of His heel"—He triumphed over the bruise of the serpent. The ultimate manifestation of this will come at the end.
The seed of the serpent will make his own bold parousíaon the earth in the final day, only to be brought to nothing by the Parousíaof the Seed of the woman. Daniel 9:25 states it well: ...he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand. (See II Thessalonians 2:1-9.)
Let’s look carefully at Moses' concrete and concise statement regarding the time of Noah.
1 And it came to pass, when 1)men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,2 That 2)the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair: and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 And the Lord said, 3)My spirit shall not always strive with man, 4)for that he also is flesh: yet
5)his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 6)There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5 And God saw that 7)the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and the every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth and it grieved Him at His heart.
7 And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But 8)Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.
Let’s look closely at the above numbered statements:
1) men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them… The word men, is from the Hebrew ha adorn. Having a Definite Article before it in this Hebrew passage, it literally means "the man Adam." Thus, the man Adam, with all his descendents, began to be many on the face of the earth. Our attention goes to the daughters among them. They are significant, for out of them would come the woman in line to bear the promised Seed. This woman must not be corrupted.
2) the sons of God saw the daughters of men… Some interpretations maintain the sons of God were the sons of Seth, the third son of Adam (Genesis 5:3). However, there is more evidence they were angels who forsook their heavenly habitation to work in the satanic attempt to overthrow the holy Seed. The rebellious angels took wives of the daughters of Adam to corrupt that Seed. No seed of woman who could crush the seed of the serpent could ever come through a race mongrelized by Satan.
The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament widely used in New Testament times, translates sons of God in Genesis 6:2 as angels. For some, this will seem strange even though it is born out by Scripture that there were angels who fell. II Peter 2:4 tells of …the angels that sinned. Jude 6 tells of …the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation.
First estate in Jude 6 is from the Greek arché, a word meaning an office of government like that of "chief magistrate" or "principality." Could the angels who rebelled and came into the earth to corrupt the holy Seed have come from among those set by God to minister in his heavenly government? There is indication this is so.
Those who find difficulty with this, saying angels neither marry, nor are given in marriage, must note carefully what Jesus said in Matthew 22:30. He indicated it is in heaven they neither marry nor are given in marriage. This seems to emphasize the opposite for those who left their heavenly calling.
For their disobedience, those angels of wickedness are reserved unto judgment. After His resurrection, Jesus went by the Spirit to their prison and preached to them—I Peter 3:19,20. Preachedfrom the Greek kerússo, meaning, "He made a bold proclamation as a conqueror." He told of His triumph. What a glorious day! Their attempt to corrupt the holy Seed had failed.
3) My spirit shall not always strive with man. This statement sometimes finds use in meetings to encourage sinners toward repentance. However, the word strive implies more than the Spirit's struggle with a sinner to repent. It is from a Hebrew word meaning "to govern; to rule; to contend with."
The passage more clearly means, "My Spirit shall not continue as a governing force in the man Adam or his descendents." God was not turning from His purpose for Adam—but the corruption of his descendents through the fallen angels made them unfit to produce a holy Seed. God was making a determined statement to reject them all—with the exception of one family not yet defiled by the nephilim corruption. This was the family of Noah who alone was perfect in his generations and who walked with God—Genesis 6:9.
The flood worked for our salvation. It saved the holy Seed and made possible His arrival in the earth.
4) …that he also is flesh (In his going astray he became flesh.) It was necessary there remain a physical purity on woman for the bearing of the holy Seed. Since He would come of her flesh, she must not be tainted in flesh by the satanic corruption. The physical mongrelization of Adam's descendents, with the exception of Noah, made them not only useless but a threat—lest his family also fall prey to the evil design.
A spiritual corruption came upon all the race of Adam through the serpent in Eden. This brought us all under sin. To bring us back, the holy Seed would enter the race, become a man born of woman, and make a purification for our sins.
Because of this, it is significant that Christ came in the flesh. Spirits under control of Satan refuse to confess He came in the flesh, less they concede that the holy Seeddid arrive in the earth. (See I John 4:2,3.)
5) …his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. This fixed the time of the judgment to come. The descendents of Adam would have 120 years left on earth before the flood came.
In the genealogy of Genesis 5, we see Methuselah, the eighth from Adam living to be 969 years. His name meant, "When he dies, it will be." This prophetic name determined when the catastrophe would come. We find he died the year of the flood, having lived longer than any man. In his preservation, we see the hand of God's …longsuffering that waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was preparing—I Peter 3:20.
6) There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that. Giants, is from the Hebrew word nephilim. It’s a form of the Hebrew word naphal, which means, "to fall.” Nephilim actuallymeans "fallen ones."
It's association in this passage and in Numbers 13:33 indicates that it has reference to beings of super-human size and strength. This Genesis passage indicates there were the offspring of the sons of God and the daughters of Adam about whose union we learned in Genesis 6:2.
Genesis 6:4 says they were in the earth in those days; and also after that. Since they were destroyed in the flood, there must have come a later eruption, perhaps from another gang of rebellious angels. From Numbers 13, we find how their presence in the land of Canaan so startled the spies surveying the land that all but two brought back a hopeless report. In speaking of the sons of Anak there, whom they said, were of ... the giants (the nephilim), they said. We were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so were we in their sight.
The nephilim had an inclination toward those with whom God made covenant regarding the Seed. Thus they came to be in Canaan, the land of promise to Abraham through whose line the holy Seed must pass. In Numbers 13:22 we note their place of dwelling in Canaan was Hebron. This was the very place in the land where, generations later, the men of Judah would anoint David King over Judah—II Samuel 2:3,4. God also made a Covenant with David regarding His Seed—II Samuel 7:12,13; Acts 2:30-32.
The first thing we learn of the Lord Jesus in the New Testament is He was the Son of David, and the Son of Abraham—Matthew 1:1. The satanic plot failed. The holy Seed made His way into the world. He became flesh—Seed of the woman, Son of Abraham, and Son of David.
By tracing the line of the nephilim through the Scriptures, we find two particular families of them in Canaan, producing some pretty evil descendents. One nephilim man named Rapha begat Goliath whom David slew as a lad. Significantly, he had four brothers of amazing size and strength who also withstood David. II Samuel 21:15-22 names these four. There was also another family of one named Anak about whom we learn in Numbers 13:22,28 and 33.
What’s the significance of this for the closing days before the parousía? Mainly that Jesus said it is significant. There will be a striking parallel between the days of Noah and the day of the parousía of the Son of Man—Matthew 24:37.
The satanic intention, before Christ's incarnation through the virgin woman Mary, was to bring about a physical and natural corruption. This was an attempt to corrupt the woman's seed and thus stop the coming of the "serpent crusher." In this he failed.
Satan has no hope now of reaching that holy Seed Who has ascended already to the Father's right hand. His remaining hope is to corrupt those joined with that holy Seed, thereby weakening His Kingdom and authority in the earth. This latter day corruption will be parallel to the corruption before the flood, though of greater magnitude and more clandestine in its methods. It will be more of a spiritual corruption.
Paul makes a curious statement in I Corinthians 11:10 that probably has some bearing at this point. In a passage speaking of spiritual authority, he said, For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels. Power is from the Greek exousía, a word denoting "executive power," or "authority." He meant, "It is obligatory that woman be under the covering of authority—because of the angels."
To what angels did Paul refer? Was it to more angels who rebel and look with unholy intention on women? Possibly, yes. Paul's admonition that women be covered with authority was not that they be brought into subjection, but that they might be protected spiritually from an unholy interference.
Are women alone the objects of satanic desire for these last days? No. He desires both men and women as objects for his corruption. Is there any further need for bringing about a physical corruption? No. Christ, the holy Seed, has come already in the flesh. The end time corruption must be spiritual to accomplish Satan's plan. The Parousía of the Lord Jesus will foil his last evil attempt.
7)...the wickedness of man was great in the earth, ...every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The corruption reached a level demanding God's judgment. It was not only physical; it came over on mind and heart. The frame of mind in Adam's descendents became only evil. No capability of good remained in them. If there is that parallel between the days of Noah and the time of the parousía, then what might we expect in the last days? The sophistication of evil will reach a degree never before known. It will demand the judgment of Christ’s Parousía.
It is no wonder that God is dealing with us regarding the framework of our inner man. It is here Satan designs to start off his latter day corruption. It is also here that the Holy Spirit is working to set up the power and authority of Christ's Kingdom.
8) But Noah found grace… What an indication of hope for those of us who face the final days!
Back now to the New Testament passages
...pertaining to the Parousía
Let’s look at the remaining verses of Matthew 24, and then proceed on to Paul's revelation.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming (parousía) of the son of man be.
Those people who lived before the flood knew not until the flood came and took them all away. The word knew is from the Greek ginósko. It indicates they gave no attention to learning or perceiving what was taking place, even though they had the warning of Noah, a preacher of righteousness (II Peter 2:5). He was building an ark where there had never been water. They should have taken heed. Perhaps God would have granted some of them repentance.
A New Dimension of Life Will Find Release
...at the Parousía of the Lord Jesus
I Corinthians 15:22,23...51-54
22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
23 But every man in his own order. Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming (parousía).
51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound. And the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written. Death is swallowed up in victory.
Complete resurrection life will come to those who are with Christ when He makes His parousía. This is a description of what will happen to believers when the Lord Jesus makes His parousía. There will come a burst of dynamic power in the earth. It will be a release of the same power that worked in His tomb, but in a proportion like never known. Those who have known Him but have died will come to life. The fact that many have gone on before does not exclude them from this triumphant hour. Believers of all ages will stand triumphant and become a part of Christ's company.
The primary difference between saints prepared before the time of the end and those who reach the final day, is that those who remain will have gone through great Babylon's fall (Revelation 18:21) and the release of untold fury in the earth. Also, they will have faced anti-Christ himself and learned what it means to endure to the end.
The operation of the Holy Spirit in those who live just prior to the parousía will be more significant than in earlier times. What the end time saints face will call for more of God's anointing than ever before known on so wide a scale.
The main purpose for the latter day out pouring of the Spirit, coming on throughout this century, has been for the preparation of a people who can stand in the end time fury.
The operations of the Spirit we have thus far received are a pledge of the Life that will become fully ours at the parousía.
I Thessalonians 3:13—To the end He may stablish your hearts unblamable in holiness before God, ever our Father, at the coming (parousía) of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.
The language of I Thessalonians becomes very military in its expression. After Jesus appears He will present His redeemed host before God, even our Father, in a military review. They will stand there unblamable in holiness, equipped for conquest.
Jude sheds light as to what Jesus and His host will proceed to do. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold. The Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds...
The host assembled with Jesus will go out into the earth under His leadership as instruments of judgment. Little is known of this in the church today. Nevertheless, Paul's searching question in I Corinthians 6:2 remains with us. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? Preparation for the hour of judgment is progressing among all the nations. A people is being made ready. See Revelation 2:26,27 and Revelation 5:9,10.
Something Jesus said to Peter shows us the judgment and conflict to which we are called will not be with weapons of the flesh. He told Peter, Put up thy sword—John 18:11. The weapons of our warfare are of a far higher sort—like none the world could ever use. Of course, II Corinthians 10:4,5 and Ephesians 6:10-18 instruct us regarding our weapons.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that 1)we which are alive remain unto the coming (parousía) the Lord shall not prevent (go before) them which are asleep.
16 For 2) the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:17 Then we which are 3) alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds 4) to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
No writing could be more military in expression than this. Filled with warfare terms pertaining to the parousía, it tells of a battle like never before known, between Christ and the prince of the power of the air. Lets look at the numbered statements above:
1) … we which are alive and remain, is significant in that it implies some survive, some do not. It could be translated properly "we who are the living survivors." It describes a company who have come through severe trouble, alive and well. That there will be survivors indicates some, on the other hand, did not survive. There will be those who stand and those who fall during the difficult days before the parousía. Daniel 11:33,34 informs us more about this.
Revelation 13:5 tells us power(exousía—authority) was given unto him(the beast, the anti-Christ) to continue forty and two months. In this time he will make his boldest attack on believers. According to Revelation 13:7, he will overcome them. However, the message of Revelation does not end here. The saints, with a little help, come to the end in triumph.
Daniel 7:25 tells of this time, designating it …a time and times and the dividing of time. Daniel 9:25 refers to …the midst of the week. Revelation 11:3 calls this same time …forty and two months. Revelation 12:6 informs us of the same time, …a thousand two hundred and threescore days. Daniel 7:22 helps us see through the dark time and learn that the saints do not go down in defeat, ...and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.
When that man of sin manifests his false salvation, when he comes boldly on the scene with his solution to world problems, when he blasphemes God and all associated with Him, and when all not under the authority of God's Kingdom worship him—there will remain a company true to Christ. They will come through every conflict triumphant and stand with the Lord in the final day. Ephesians 6:13 is about this.
2) In His parousía …the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout (with the cry of a mighty military leader). He will come with the voice of an archangel. The trumpet of God will sound. These are both associated with mustering forces for battle.
3) Those who are …alive and remain, along with …the dead in Christ who rise, will be caught up in the clouds …to meet the Lord in the air.
The King James translation of this passage may be misleading. It seems to indicate we will be caught up into the clouds where we will meet Jesus, and from there be ushered to our eternal home. However, in the Greek, the emphasis of the word clouds makes us consider that it is not speaking of our meeting Jesus in the nebulous watery masses hovering over the earth. Instead we ourselves become like the particles of clouds as we advance en masse upon the prince of the power of the air. We will become clouds of witnesses as in Hebrews 12:1. We will advance as clouds of warriors.
4) To meet the Lord in the air.... To meet expresses purpose, thus saying, "The purpose of our being caught up together is to meet the Lord." The Greek, however, uses the word eis meaning "unto" with apántesin meaning "an encounter." This generally indicates a meeting with someone after which the company proceeds on the way with the one whom they meet. In this case, the meeting is with Jesus to proceed on with Him to His destination. He is not on His way to heaven, but rather on His way to the earth.
This is clearly the case in the only other two passages where the term eis apántesin is used. In Matthew 25:6, the virgins go out to meet the bridegroom to accompany him back to the wedding. In Acts 28:15, the brethren go out along the way to meet Paul and proceed on the way with him.
Eis apántesin can have further implication. It could mean a military encounter. The context of the preceding verse seems to demand this. We will meet Jesus to proceed on the way with Him to a battle encounter in the air. He must break the force of …the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience(Ephesians 2:2). This will make way for the Kingdom of heaven to spread the earth over. We shall be with the Lord Jesus in the battle …and so shall we ever be with Him in His Kingdom.
All the great doctrinal teachings of Paul move toward and through this encounter with the anti-God government of the earth. All the Covenants God has made with man from the time of Adam require that this encounter take place. It is in this encounter the evil one will make his last great thrust—only to be rendered powerless when Christ makes His parousía. He shall come to his end; and none shall help him—Daniel 11:45.
God's People Are Undergoing Preparation for
... Their Place In God's Eternal Kingdom
I Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming (parousía) of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our condition on the Day of the Lord will have bearing on our condition and function in the eternal Kingdom. Paul had no higher desire for those to whom he ministered than that they come to the parousía of the Lord Jesus whole. This meant the salvation he proclaimed must enter every part of their being—spirit, soul and body.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming (parousía):
9 Even him, whose coming (parousía) is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish: because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved.
Note how the word parousía occurs in this passage twice. Once with reference to the Lord Jesus; once with reference to the man of sin. Perhaps no passage of Scripture demands an understanding born of the Holy Spirit more than this one. At the most spectacular moment in history, the Lord Jesus will make His parousía upon the world scene and render powerless that man of sin. The last satanic feat of the age will be an attempted coup d' etat against the Christ of God. Energized by Satan, the anti-Christ will make a grand and prideful move to gain the holy of holies, the innermost sanctum of the Kingdom …yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him—Daniel 11:45b.
There Will Be an Outpouring of the Holy Spirit before
...the Parousía of the Lord Jesus
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming (parousía) of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming (parousía) of the Lord draweth nigh.
It is significant that James, another minister of the early church, held the parousía of Jesus as something much anticipated. He connected it with the early and latter rain, prophetic language speaking of the movings of the Holy Spirit in the earth in the last days.
Just as Scripture teaches there will be a time of trouble before the parousía, so it also teaches there will be an unusual moving of the Holy Spirit—exceeding any outpouring of the Spirit ever known before. We will not face the terrible Day of the Lord in our own strength, but in the power of God's Spirit.
There are some great and powerful prophetic Scriptures having to do with the latter rain. Since early in this century, they have been quickened to many ministries who have seen them relating to the days in which we now live. They point to an outpouring of the Spirit leading to an ingathering of souls. Two of the most significant passages are Hosea 6:3 and Joel 2:23-32—coupled with Acts 2:14-20 and Acts 3:19-26. The verses in Acts do not mention the latter rain, but the prophetic insight in them relates to the same gracious and powerful movement.
We could ask a question regarding James's statement in James 5:8. He said the parousía of the Lord draweth nigh. Was he wrong in believing the it was imminent in his day? Immediately it would appear he was; But let us understand the early men of the Gospel saw how we are at war with the anti-Christ system. Ever encouraging their souls was the triumphant parousía of Jesus when anti-Christ would be rendered powerless. Whether it took place in their lifetime or millenniums away, they were, and are, still part of God's eternal Kingdom and will share in the glorious parousía. Its hope was ever with them. It became a great part of their reason for being. Thus, it was always nigh.
Paul lets us know how they who lived in ages past will share in the parousía at the consummation of the ages. All who have known Christ, but have died, will be raised up.
At the Parousía
... Everything on Earth Will be Judged by Fire
3 Realizing this first of all: there will come in the last days mockers making a joke of the whole thing. These live only according to their own base desires,
4 continually saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming (parousía)? Ever since early Christians died, all things continue as they have been from the beginning of creation.’
5 These people are deliberately closing their minds to what they know. They know there were heavens long ago and an earth formed out of water by the Word of God. 6 It was through the deluge of water that the world which then was perished. 7 And the present heavens and the earth, by the same Word are kept in store for fire, being reserved for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
8 But let no one of you be ignorant of this matter, beloved, because one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some apparently think he is, but He is long-suffering toward us, not resolving that any be destroyed but that all move on to repentance.
10 For the Day of the Lord will come as suddenly as a thief at night. In that Day the heavens will vanish with a terrible hissing noise, and the elements burning with intense heat will disintegrate, and the earth and the works that are in it will be discovered for what they are worth.
11 Since all these things will thus disintegrate, what manner of persons you ought to be in holy living and godliness,
12 looking for and eagerly expecting the coming (parousía) of the Day of the Lord, in which the heavens being on fire will disintegrate and all basic elements will be liquefied through intense heat.
13 But we are expecting new heavens and a new earth according to His promise, in which righteousness dwells.
14 Therefore, beloved, as you are expecting these things, give diligence to be found in Him in peace without spot and blameless.15 And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is our salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul according to the wisdom given him, has written...
I have interpreted this passage in II Peter from the Greek, not to give any deep or mystic translation, but simply to allow its words to flow out as they have to me. I trust the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart through them. There may be points in the passage we don't yet understand. With these we can trust the Lord, looking to a day of greater understanding. The passage speaks of fire in the day of the Lord. Knowing Him, we need not fear this. There are many kinds of fire. Even our God is a consuming fire—Hebrews 12:29.
God's Covenant Promise In Psalms 2 assures us
...He will make His Parousía in Triumph.
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power (dúnamis) and the coming (parousía) of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 17:5).
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy (Psalms 2:8,9); whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.
Peter was there when the Father spoke from the heavens regarding Jesus: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him—Matthew 17:5. Hearing the Father assured Peter that Jesus would make His Parousía.
The more sure word about which Peter told is the decree recorded in Psalm 2:7-9 where the Father promised the Son His inheritance.
7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen (nations) for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Jesus heard this word from the Father before the world began. This is the word most hated by Satan, the decree he cannot bear, the statute most abhorred. It is the word that sustained Christ in His death. It is the word that brought Him to His throne. It is the word that assures His triumphant parousía.
A Final Word from the Apostle John
I John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him in His coming (parousía). Amen!
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