SPECIAL TOPIC: TERMS FOR THE SECOND COMING

There are several terms and phrases that refer to Jesus' return.

1. parousia" (i.e., James 5:7), which means "presence," was used of a royal visit (cf. Matt. 24:3,27,37,39; 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2 Thess. 2:1,8; 2 Pet. 1:16; 3:4,12; 1 John 2:28)

2. epiphaneia, "face to face appearing" (i.e., 1 Tim. 6:14; 2 Tim. 1:10; 4:1,8; Titus 2:13)

3. apokalupis, "unveiling" or "revealing" (i.e., 1 Cor. 1:7; 2 Thess.1:7; 1 Pet. 1:5,13; 4:13; 5:1)

4. "the Day of the Lord" and the variations of this phrase (see Special Topic: The Day of the Lord)

The NT as a whole is written within the worldview of the OT, which asserted

1. a current evil, rebellious age

2. a coming new age of righteousness

3. this would be brought about by the Spirit's agency through the work of the Messiah (Anointed One; see Special Topic: Messiah))

 

The theological assumption of progressive revelation is required because the NT authors slightly modify Israel's expectation.  Instead of a military, nationalistic-focused (Israel) coming of the Messiah, there are two comings.  The first coming was the incarnation of deity in the conception and birth of Jesus of Nazareth.  He came as the non-military, non-judicial "suffering servant" of Isaiah 53; also the mild rider on the colt of a donkey (not a war horse or kingly mule), of Zech. 9:9.  The first coming inaugurated the New Messianic Age, the Kingdom of God on earth (see Special Topic: The Kingdom of God).  In one sense the Kingdom is here, but of course, in another it is still far off.  It is this tension between the two comings of the Messiah which, in a sense, is the over-lapping of the two Jewish ages that was unseen, or at least unclear, from the OT (see Special Topic: This Age and the Age to Come).  In reality, this dual coming emphasizes YHWH's commitment to redeem all humanity (cf. Gen. 3:15; 12:3; Exod. 19:5 and the preaching of the prophets, especially Isaiah and Jonah; see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan).

The church is not waiting for the fulfillment of OT prophecy because most prophecies refer to the first coming (cf. How to Read the Bible For All Its Worth, pp. 165-166).  What believers do anticipate is the glorious coming of the resurrected King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the expected historical fulfillment of the new age of righteousness on earth as it is in heaven (cf. Matt. 6:10).  The OT presentations were not inaccurate, but incomplete.  He will come again just as the prophets predicted, in the power and authority of YHWH (see Special Topic: Why Do OT Covenant Promises Seem So Different from NT Covenant Promises?).

The Second Coming is not a biblical term, but the concept forms the worldview and framework of the entire NT.  God will set it all straight.  Fellowship between God and mankind made in His image will be restored (cf. Revelation 21-22).  Evil will be judged and removed (cf. Rev. 20:11-15).  God's purposes will not, cannot, fail!

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