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Tuesday
Dec022014

Theological Term of the Week

parousia
Another term for the second coming of Christ, from the Greek word parousia meaning “coming” or “presence.”

  • In scripture (four texts from 1 Thessalonians): 

    For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? For you are our glory and joy. (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 ESV)

    … and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 ESV)

    For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:15 ESV)

    Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV)

    Clearly Christ’s second coming meant a great deal to the New Testament writers. Paul, for example, mentions it in most of his letters. He makes a good deal of use of the word parousia [ Philippians 2:12 ) and thus a “coming to be present” (other ways of referring to the coming see it as an apokalypsis [ἀποκάλυψις ], “a revelation, ” or as an epiphaneia [ ἐπιφάνεια ], “an appearing”; it is not infrequently referred to as “the day” or “the great day”). It was used of the “coming” of a king or emperor visiting a province and, in some religions, of the manifestation of the deity. In the New Testament it came to be used as a technical term for the second coming of a King. That Jesus first came in lowliness, despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, was important for those early believers. But that he would in due course come back in triumphant majesty was just as important.

Learn more:

  1. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: Parousia; What is the Second Coming of Christ?
  2. Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology: Second Coming of Christ

Related terms:

Filed under Last Things

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on Theological Terms in the navigation bar above will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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