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PAROUSIA – Jesus’ Second COMING or PRESENCE?

The-Parousia-BannerWhat does the Greek word PAROUSIA mean.  It is used to refer to Jesus second PRESENCE.  Or should it be second COMING?  Let’s take a look.

VINE’S EXPOSITIY DICTIONARY
COMING (NOUN)
3. parousia ^3952^, lit., “a presence,” para, “with,” and ousia, “being” (from eimi, “to be”), denotes both an “arrival” and a consequent “presence with.” For instance, in a papyrus letter a lady speaks of the necessity of her parousia in a place in order to attend to matters relating to her property there. Paul speaks of his parousia in Philippi, <Phil. 2:12> (in contrast to his apousia, “his absence”; see ABSENCE). Other words denote “the arrival” (see eisodos and eleusis, above). Parousia is used to describe the presence of Christ with His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, <2 Pet. 1:16>. When used of the return of Christ, at the rapture of the church, it signifies, not merely His momentary “coming” for His saints, but His presence with them from that moment until His revelation and manifestation to the world. In some passages the word gives prominence to the beginning of that period, the course of the period being implied, <1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thes. 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thes. 2:1; Jas. 5:7-8; 2 Pet. 3:4>. In some, the course is prominent, <Matt. 24:3, 37; 1 Thes. 3:13; 1 John 2:28>; in others the conclusion of the period, <Matt. 24:27; 2 Thes. 2:8>.
(from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words)
(Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Notice how Vines says that the word Parousia “denotes both an ‘arrival’ and a consequent ‘presence with.’” If someone has “arrived,” they are “present.” The word “arrival” does not denote “coming” as in the statement “I am coming.” It denotes the beginning of a presence as in the statement “I have arrived.”

Vines clarifies this point by stating that “In some passages the word gives prominence to the beginning of that period, the course of the period being implied

Quoting from page 271 of Rotherham’s Appendix it says, “In this edition the word parousia is uniformly rendered ‘presence’ (‘coming,’ as a representative of this word, being set aside). The original term occurs twenty-four times in the N.T…The sense of ‘presence’ is so plainly shown by the contrast with ‘absence’ (implied in 2 Cor. 10:10, and expressed in Phil. 2:12) that the question naturally arises, – Why not always so render it? The more so, inasmuch as there is in 2 Peter 1:16 also, a peculiar fitness in our English word ‘presence.’ This passage, it will be remembered, relates to our Lord’s transformation upon the Mount. The wonderful manifestation there made was a display and sample of ‘presence’ rather than of ‘coming.’ The Lord was already there; and, being there, he was transformed (cp. Matt. 17:2,n.) and the ‘majesty’ of his glorified person was then disclosed. His bodily ‘presence’ was one which implied and exerted ‘power’; so that ‘power and presence’ go excellently well together – the ‘power’ befitting such a ‘presence’; and the three favoured disciples were at one and the same moment witnesses of both.”

Harry Rimmer (D.D., Sc.D.), who was styled “Fundamentalism’s outstanding spokesman” until his death, admitted that the word parousia meant personal presence. In his book, The Coming King, he observed that the Greek word parousia is used 13 time in describing the return of Christ and not once does it have the thought of “coming.”

There are many times when the word parousia is used in the New Testament, but there are only six times when it does not refer to Christ’s 2nd Presence. Notice in every verse quoted, only presence makes sense, not coming. Even if you use the word “Arrival” it means it in the sense of “already having arrived,” not “on the way.”

1 Corinthians 16:17 (KJV) “I am glad of the coming [presence] of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied.”

2 Corinthians 7:6 (KJV) “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming [presence] of Titus;”

2 Corinthians 10:10 (KJV) “For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible.”

Philippians 1:26 (KJV) “That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. [In other words, you will rejoice when I am present with you again.]”

Philippians 2:12 (KJV) “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. (KJV) [Contrast of “presence” and “absence” is clear]”

2 Peter 1:16-18 (KJV) “16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming [presence] of our Lord Jesus Christ [on the Mount of Transfiguration], but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour 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.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.”

In every case here the word parousia means “presence,” not “coming” (as in “on the way”). Try putting the thought of “on the way” and “not yet present” in any of the verses above and it does not work.

Taking the Bible’s usage of the word parousia to establish its meaning, It would be difficult to honestly translate this word any other way than “presence.”

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