by Luther Cronrath
Most Christians believe and look for the second coming of Jesus. We are moving into a new season in which the Holy Spirit is faithfully placing within us a desire to see Jesus, not only when we go to heaven, but in this life.
The great hope within those who have a personal relationship with the Lord, is His coming again. Our problem is that we have a mind-set concerning this, as there are many opinions as to the time, purpose, and the way in which Jesus will return.
“But of that day and hour, no one knows….” Matthew 24:36
One thing is certain. Jesus is coming, and He is coming soon. The Scripture tells us:
“This same Jesus who is taken up from you into Heaven, will come in the way you have seen Him going into Heaven.” Acts 1:11
“But when the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He shall sit on the throne of His glory….” Matthew 25:31
“For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. And so we shall ever be with the Lord.” I Thessalonians 4:16-17
“For you yourselves know accurately that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night.” I Thessalonians 5:2
“Therefore watch; for you do not know what hour your Lord comes.” Matthew 24:42
Each of these Scriptures deal with the Greek word “Parousia,” which is a compound word, or two words made into one – “Para,” a preposition; and “ousia,” a verbal participle.
“Para” means to come alongside of, to come and surround, or to come and fill the atmosphere with one’s presence. It is interesting that the writer chose “para” when there are at least 20 other prepositions in the Greek language.
“Para” was used because it reveals the “position” which we will have with Jesus at His Parousia. Therefore, there is something that happens, which positionally is more than just His “coming.” If a man is surrounded by people, he is in a position to talk and relate to them.
When three men came from Corinth to visit Paul, he used the word “Parousia.”
“I am glad at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, for these supplied your lack.” I Corinthians 16:17
This was more than the fact that they came from Corinth to visit Paul. Their coming brought them into communion and oneness with him.
The last part of this word, “ousia,” is a participle. A participle in English is a word that ends in “ing.” It describes what is coming. In the case of the men who came to Paul, it tells us that they personally came into his presence.
“Ousia” comes from a basic verb, “to be.” In every language, this verb is the most important, yet the simplest action word in the entire vocabulary. In Hebrew, the importance of the word “to be” can be seen in the experience of Moses. While herding his father-in-law’s sheep, Moses came to a burning bush (Exodus 3:1-15). When he turned aside to see what this strange phenomena was, the Lord spoke from the bush, saying:
“Moses, Moses… put off your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground.”
This was holy ground because a Person by the name of “Yahweh” was present. When Moses was told by the Lord to return to Egypt and loose his people from bondage, he said “Whom do I say sent me?” and the Lord responded, “Yahweh.”
This is “I AM that I AM,” the simplest form of an active verb, or action word in the Hebrew language. It became so sacred that all through the Old Testament, the scribes would not write “Yahweh.” Rather, they wrote “Adonai,” which is “Lord.” Thus, our Bible says, “The LORD God.”
In the Gospel of John, Jesus identified Himself as “Yahweh.” After He had fed the 5,000, they again sought Him for another meal. In the course of their conversation, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). The word here is “Ego eimi” which is the Greek translation of Yahweh. He is saying, “Yahweh, the Bread of life.”
In another place He said, “I am the light of the world;” or, “Yahweh, the light of the world.” “I am the Door;” or, “Yahweh, the door.” “I am the good Shepherd;” or, “Yahweh, the good Shepherd.”
“Yahweh” is a powerful word. When six hundred soldiers came to the Garden of Gethsemane with Judas Iscariot to arrest Jesus, He asked who they were looking for. They said, “We are looking for Jesus,” and He said, “Yahweh.” At this word, all six hundred soldiers went over, flat on their backs.
The reason for our looking at “I AM” is because the word Parousia (ousia) contains this grammatical form. It tells us that there is a coming, but this is only a small part of it. The “ousia,” the “I AM” is coming to stand with and surround us, to fill our atmosphere with His presence. He is coming to talk to us, to lead us, to take us through those things we need to be taken through, during this “Parousia.”
Thus, Parousia is not a “snap of the fingers” event, and then everything is here. When we see this, we suddenly discover that there are things about the Parousia which are profound.
In classical Greek, “Parousia” was always a word that was reserved for nobility, or someone of importance. When they came into the room and took their seat, whether it was a throne or a position of authority, whatever they did from that position was the “Parousia.” It took in everything that involved the presence of that individual.
We see the evidence of His coming and manifest presence from the beginning of creation. There are a number of passages in Genesis, Chapters one through three, which reveal that He was present.
“…And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2
“God is a Spirit” (John 4:24). When God moved upon the face of the waters, He was present in the presence (face) of the waters (the creation at that moment).
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” Genesis 2:7
God formed man and injected some of Himself into man, by breathing into him “spirit life.”
“And the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Genesis 2:15
It is evident that at this moment, God is with man in the garden of Eden. He came and “presenced” Himself in the creation of the world, and with the man whom He had created “in Our image, after Our likeness.” (Genesis 1:26-27)
After this “presencing” of Himself in His creation, and with man, He evaluated all of this creative activity.
“And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good….” Genesis 1:31
This means that He could come (presence Himself) and be completely comfortable. This includes His being with man. It is obvious that this work of creation was the fulfillment of a desire that God had, has, and will yet have, that He might have fellowship with man, both physically and spiritually.
Let us look at an event that will further reveal God’s presence on the earth.
“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. And Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God in the middle of the trees of the Garden.” Genesis 3:8
Note that Adam and Eve hid themselves from the “presence” of the Lord God. The man who had been created in the image of God has, by hiding, rejected the presence of the Lord God. Immediately, the Lord began to restore this “presencing” of Himself with man.
The dictionary contains the word, “presence,” but not “presencing.” I added the “e–n–c–i–n–g” because it describes the action. Let us look at this word, “Parousia,” and see how it is used in the second coming, or the “presencing of the Lord,” which is again about to take place.
In Matthew 24:3b, the disciples came to Jesus and asked a question, “What will be the sign of Your coming (presence)?” Some Bibles place the word “presence” in the margin, but it is usually translated, “coming.” The disciples were asking, “When are You coming to be present with us again?”
There is an added understanding that the Lord desires to work in us, which illustrates the fact that Jesus is coming, just as He came the first time. It is that a series of events will equal His coming.
When Jesus came the first time, He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, grew up in a carpenter shop in Nazareth, and at thirty years of age, began His ministry. Everything that took place from His conception to the cross and the grave; to His resurrection and ascension back to heaven, was His first coming; His first Parousia.
His second Parousia will not be any less mysterious. When He comes again, He will not merely come down, grab a bunch of us, and take us up into the clouds.
Jesus is coming back, soon. As a part of this, He will begin to personally appear to many people. As a result of these personal appearances, many things will begin to happen. There will be a substantial increase in the amount and quality of worship, and of the prophetic. This will be the result of an increase and elevation in His anointing and presence within us, and in our meetings.
Also, there will be an enlarging of our ability to understand the Word, as we never before saw it. This is because He is coming to equip, or make ready, a people who will perform His end-time work on the earth.
There are two things that we are to be aware of in this study of the “Parousia.”
The first is that the Parousia is not a single event, but a series of interventions, which will lead to the ultimate purpose of God for the entire creation, and especially for His people.
It is of vital importance that we grasp the idea that these interventions will bring into clear view the purpose of the Lord in the closing out of the Church Age, and the establishing of the Millennial Kingdom Age. If we were raptured, we would lose our opportunity to have a part in the outworking of this “end-time purpose” of the Lord.
The second is that the original intention of the Lord, when He created Adam and placed him in the Garden of Eden, was to be present with him.
Our understanding of these will be opened, step by step, as the Lord prepares us for this new day.