Stephen Whitsett BA
Larry Siegel stated,
“Covenant Eschatology understands the word “Parousia” to mean both presence and the arrival associated with it, in conjunction with the “end of the age” (Matt. 24:3) in 70 CE.”
This statement becomes very deceptive as the term Parousia is narrowly defined from personal opinion and not from biblical examples as most full Preterist demands this “presence” and arrival is invisible. Presence to them is a "felt" presence not a physical presence. Parousia is used 24 times in the new testament, 16 of those concern Christ. Once (2 Thess 2:9) speaks of the Parousia of the lawless one. The rest speak of a person who was absent, including Paul, is now arrived and is physically bodily present. In 2 Cor 10:10 Parousia is even translated as “bodily presence”. The technical term Parousia was used to describe the arrival of a Caesar to a place to deal with a situation he alone can deal with, “A Royal visit of a God”. The Greek Septuagint uses it only one time in the book of Maccabees, to describe an army who arrives at God’s behest to inflict judgment. Josephus used the word to describe God’s coming in judgment in the Old Testament. Mathew 24 uses the word in the same sense as Don Preston supports.
It was also used in the Roman world with the arrival of the King, who returned with his army after a war, back to their home city. The army would send notice ahead of his coming (Math 21:5). Upon hearing the news, the towns people would empty out of the city and meet (apantesis, I Thess 4:17) the army on the road. (Math 21:8-10) and escorted them into the city. This is the same picture painted by Paul in his description of the return in I Thessalonians 4. The meeting place is in the air and the destination is Jerusalem. Don Preston chronicles the same thing in his book “We Shall Meet Him in the Air”.
In John 12:12-13 we have a picture of the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, which is in the same fashion.
The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”
The word meet, (apantesis) is the same word Paul uses in I Thessalonians 4 where we meet him in the air. It paints the exact same picture yet Hitchcock states in opposition to the post- trib view the word does not necessarily mean there had to be an immediate return to earth. He quotes Moo a post tribulationist as saying the word does not necessarily require an immediate return to earth. Yet the example of Parousia, meeting the returning king on the road in triumphant entry is the exact picture describe in his Second Coming.
Don Preston states that a Preterism foundation is that “timing dictates the nature” which become the telling self-indictment. What he means by timing is that the claim of the Parousia being 70 AD there is no historical record that provides the empirical evidence of his return in a visible realm, yet that is exactly what was promised by Paul. Therefore, the Full Preterist must demand the return, despite the biblical evidence, was an invisible return.
When Paul taught about the nature, which means the “how he comes”, of the second appearing he used two technical terms to describe this event based on common Roman life. The first is “Parousia” as I mentioned above and secondly “appearing” the Greek word “epiphaneia” (noun) which means, epiphaneia: appearance: appearing, manifestation, glorious display (2 Thess 2:8 …by the appearance [epiphaneia] of his coming [Parousia].) The word is used only six times and refers to the second coming except in I Timothy 1 10. “and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” in which this refers to his first appearing.
Interesting enough is that the writer of Hebrews 9:28 states “…so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time,” Common reasoning dictates that if Christ appeared the first time to die on a cross then he is to appear at his second coming. This intensified when in Act 1 the angel states, “this same Jesus will come...” I John 3:2 states, “when he appears, we shall see him as he is…” Paul in I Thess 4 states, “Jesus himself will descend…”
While Preterist accept the literal meaning of “this Generation” and allegorize other phrases that should be literal, and then accuse “futurist” of ignoring these words we then accuse the Preterist of not accepting the literal terms of “appearing”.
The second word “appearing” which Paul used as a noun to describe the event of his Second Coming, Don ignores. Both terms are used in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9. Yet Don states,
“Therefore if the spiritual realm of the “the prince of the power of the air” was the unseen realm, and Christ was to come “in the air”, in triumph, upon what bases does one posit a visible appearance of Christ.” (emphasis mine)
“epiphaneia, “manifestation” means to be made visible!
In Hebrews 9:28 the common word for “appearing” is used (ophthesetai) which means “I see”. And so from above we established his second coming is an appearing as “every eye will see” To answer Don’s question. Jesus appeared the first time unlike God in the Old testament, breaking the pattern. I have yet found one preterist answer for Epiphaneia not even from Don Preston. Other than to argue the clouds were seen since he came on clouds.
“Listen! Your watchmen lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the LORD returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.” NIV
Rev 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
More of the Second Coming
Giving an orthodox apologetic answer for Eschatology