Larry Wishon

The Guiding Principle
The best interpreter of the Bible is the Bible itself. The New Testament is the only infallible interpreter of the Old Testament. Therefore, the New Testament writings contain “both the principles and methods of a sound, trustworthy exegesis.” Jesus and His Apostles are our only divinely inspired interpreters to sound prophetic understanding. Where the New Testament speaks to and interprets Old Testament prophecy, it is to be accepted above all other voices. One cannot claim to be a true New Testament believer, while rejecting the plain and clear New Testament interpretation.

Parousia

A Coming or Presence?

Part Two
 

The Sign of Your Parousia

If we understand parousia as presence, what could the disciples have meant by asking, “what is the sign of your presence?” Was He not present with them right then? Of course He was, but this is not the kind of presence they were referring to. They meant His full Messianic, King of Israel, sitting on the throne of David Presence. This was the age that was to come.

Remember just before He ascended into heaven forty days after His resurrection? What question did the disciples ask Him at that time?
“Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

This question belies the fact that they were still under the influence of the leaven of the Pharisees. The Pharisaical idea of the Messianic Kingdom was an earthly kingdom in which the Messiah was a Warrior King ruling from Jerusalem, who would subdue the nations to the authority of Israel. In essence, they held that the coming of the Messiah would catapult Israel to the head of the nations, and they, the Jews, would rule the world. The modern Pharisees still believe this, work toward this, and have deceived many Christians to assist them with this plan.

When asked this question, Jesus did not try to correct their understanding. Well, actually He did. He didn’t confront their misconception, but redirected their attention. He responded,
“It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

He essentially told them that some things were above their pay grade, but instead they should focus on preaching the good news of Christ to all nations, even the uttermost part of the earth. By doing so, they would be helping to fulfill Messianic Prophecy. For the Lord had promised His Messiah, His Son, “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

By preaching the Gospel of Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth, they would be expanding the Messianic Kingdom. By the Gospel, they would be bringing the heathen for an inheritance and possessing the uttermost parts of the earth. They would be expanding the reach of the Messianic Kingdom. They would be restoring the Kingdom of Israel as God intended, not as the Pharisees envisioned.

It will be helpful in trying to understand what the disciples meant when they asked about His Parousia, if we look at who is asking the questions. We are told by Mark, that it was Peter, James, John and Andrew who came privately to Jesus to enquire about His comments concerning the temple. It would be important for us to notice that three of these four disciples, Peter, James and John, were with Jesus when He was transfigured.

As we have already seen, when Peter describes this transfiguration event, he describes its as a demonstration of the “power and presence” of Jesus Christ, presence being our word, parousia. Peter also understood this power and presence to represent His Majesty. What appears to be on the minds of the disciples when asking Jesus about the sign of His Parousia, is they were enquiring what sign would He give when He was about to assume the throne of His father, David.

The Parousia, or Presence the disciples were asking about was His majestic presence as the Messiah, King of Israel. This is what was revealed to them on that holy mount of transfiguration. They were given a glimpse of His Kingly Majesty, His Power and Presence. They were asking what sign might He give when He had ascended His Throne.

Did Jesus answer and tell them what the sign would be? Indeed He did! He told them He would not reveal His Presence (parousia) out in the desert or in the secret chambers. His Presence would be publicly seen, "As the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming [parousia] of the Son of man be."

His Parousia, His Kingly Majesty will not be revealed in secret or hidden away in the desert, but it will be a sight available for all to see. Lightning cannot be hidden when it strikes. It makes its presence known to the righteous and unrighteous alike. Lightning is also a prophetic image of the judgment of God. Lightning are the arrows of judgment God shoots at His enemies.
Psalm 144:6 Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.

So what was the sign that Jesus gave the disciples of His Majestic Presence?

Matt. 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

After this described cosmic upheaval,

Matt. 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

It is important to see that it is not the sign that appears in heaven, such as a star or flaming cross, or some such thing. No, the sign given is to signify that the Son of Man is in Heaven. If He is in heaven, then He is ruling upon the throne of His Father David, sitting at the right hand of God. This sign that the Messiah, the Son of man, is in heaven will be after the aforementioned cosmic downfall. Is this cosmic chaos literal or is it the language of the prophets to describe the downfall and divine judgment upon the enemies of God?

“In speaking of the sun and moon going dark, and stars falling (Matt. 24:29), Jesus describes the nation of Israel under judgment. Here is how one writer depicts it: ‘The signs in the heavens, the darkening sun and the falling stars, refer to the falling Jewish dignitaries, casting down of authorities and powers, long established, and signifies the darkness that settled upon the Jewish state. The sun of the Hebrew temple was darkened, the moon of the Jewish commonwealth was as blood, the stars of the Sanhedrin fell from their high seats of Authority.’ Remember, Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem because He foresaw it destruction (Matt. 23:37-39)”
[DeMar, Gary. Last Days Madness, Obsession of the Modern Church. Powder Springs, GA, American Vision, 1999. 147]

The destruction of Jerusalem, its temple and the whole of the Jewish nation, was the sign that Jesus the Messiah, the Son of man, was indeed ruling in heaven with power and great might. The destruction of Jerusalem was the sign of His Parousia, His Ruling Presence.

 

Where Is The Promise of His Parousia?

2 Peter 3:3-13
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

Many have relegated this passage to prophecy to be fulfilled just prior to the “Second Coming” of Christ. However, I believe this is removing it from its proper context.

We first need to understanding what Peter meant by last days. Through the influence of dispensationalism, we have been trained to think of this term as meaning the days prior to Christ physical return. However, I don’t believe this is how Peter is using it. The writer of Hebrews says that it is in “these last days” that God has spoken by His Son(Heb. 1:2). He is speaking like he is living in those same last days. He also notes that Jesus came “in the end of the age”(Heb. 9:26). The word here, "end" is the same word used by the disciples in Matthew 24:3, sunteleia sunteleia, meaning consummation. Jesus appeared at the consummation of the age.

Peter is also the apostle who announced the beginning of the last days. On the day of Pentecost, AD 30, about fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, the Spirit of God came and filled the temple and all the disciples in it. The disciples began to speak in other languages that were not their own. This happened so that all the Jews present, who were “out of every nation under heaven,” could hear the gospel of Christ in their own tongue. Some were amazed by this, while others mocked. The mockers accused them of being full of new wine.

However, Peter stood up and said that they were not drunk, “as ye suppose,” but this is that which the prophet Joel spoke of.

Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

Peter said this is the fulfillment of the Outpouring of the Spirit that was to happen in the last days. Peter was saying that what they were witnessing was a sign of the last days. The last days of what? Peter answers this as he continues to quote the prophecy of Joel.

19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

This language sounds very much like what Jesus said to them on the mount of Olives. It is the language of the prophet announcing the doom of the nation. By inspiration of the Spirit, Peter was announcing that this event was a sign, a signal that the nation had entered its last days. These last days last 40 years, until AD 70. As gracious as the Lord is, He gave Peter not just the prophetic voice of judgment but the evangelistic voice of salvation, “that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

The “last days” as announced here by Peter were days of judgment or salvation for the Jews. Hence, Peter ended his message with a call to salvation to those Jews present.

39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

In agreement with the opinion of his Lord, Peter called that generation of men, an “untoward generation” or a crooked, perverse generation. The word used here is, skolios, from which we get our medical term, scoliosis of the spine.

Once a Bible passage, phrase or word, such as last days, is untethered from is original mooring, it is set adrift into the rough seas of men’s opinions and prone to being, “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind” of interpretation. When we read the phrase last days in the Bible, it is more important for us to understand what the writer meant by the term, than how we understand it in our own day. We can easily find ourselves reading our theology or eschatology back into the Scriptures, instead of letting the meaning stand as the writer intended.

We have already established that Jesus and His disciples understood there were two ages, this age and the age to come. From our understanding of the questions that the disciples asked concerning the destruction of the temple, we know that Jesus was prophesying the end of the then current age (Mosaic Age, represented by the temple) and the beginning of the next (Messianic Age). According to Jesus’ words, the parousia was the dividing line between the two.

Peter is instructing the Community of Faith that in the last days of the age in which the temple was still standing, there will be scoffers who will cast doubt upon the validity or reality of the parousia. We have these mockers even today. However, the mocking is based upon a wrong assumption.

It has long been assumed by many that the apostles believed and taught that Jesus would physically return during their lifetime. I do not believe this to be the case. They certainly did seem to teach that Jesus would come in judgment against the rebellious Jewish nation, but not that He would return physically. This is the problem with confusing the coming of the Son of man with what we have called, the Second Coming. They are not the same and confusing the two is the cause of many a wrong conclusion. (See study called, "Coming of the Son of Man")

Peter says these scoffers, who walk after their own lusts, also make a wrong assumption. Scoffers always do. They make the claim that, “all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” The promise of the Parousia is a promise of great change in the life of the Jewish people and nation. They have heard the apostolic warnings and preaching of the coming judgment. It has been preached in their synagogues throughout the world. But where is it? We don’t see any judgment. In fact, things have hardly been better!

Peter says their assumption that things have continued as they were from the beginning, is based upon willful ignorance. He continues,

5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Peter’s argument against these mockers goes back to the days of Noah. The men of Noah’s generation heard the same message that the men of the apostles’ day were hearing, the message of impending judgment. They heard the message for 120 years. Noah was building the ark for the 120 years that God had allowed man to continue. Man had a 120 year window granted for repentance. In Peter’s day, God had granted the people a 40 year window for repentance. Once the ark was finished, and all those who would be saved were sealed inside, the judgment began to fall. The judgment fell in the form of water. Essentially what God did, was hit the reset button back to the time when the earth was covered by water [Gen. 1:2].

Peter’s use of the Noah imagery, is a clear reminder of the words of Jesus, which He spoke on the mount of Olives.

Matthew 24:37-39
37 But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming [parousia] of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming[parousia] of the Son of man be.

The message of Jesus in this parable, seems to be very similar to what Peter is saying. That generation believed that life was going on as it always had. They were marrying, eating and drinking, in the face of the standing witness against them, the ark. Everything was normal for the scoffers, “until the day that Noe entered the ark.” For Peter’s generation of scoffers, everything will appear normal, until the day when the righteous are removed from the scene of judgment. Having been forewarned by Jesus,

20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. [Luke 21:20-22]

When the righteous have been removed from the scene of judgment, things will drastically change. Judgment will begin to fall in the form of fire. The city and the temple will be destroyed and burned to the ground.

This time of judgment is called the Day of the Lord.

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

We should not think of the elements that will melt as being those found on the periodic table. No, the term elements is used to point to the fundamental principles of a thing. The word, "melt" is the Greek word, λύω luō, meaning to loose, destroy, break or to unravel one who is bound. It is referencing untethering His People from the old system, to make them free to participate in the new. This is part of the consummation of the age. This day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. The Apostle Paul gives us a good understanding what this phrase, thief in the night, means. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5,

1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

Here Paul also teaches that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night. Then he says, “when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them.” The picture of the thief in the night is you are under the delusion of having “peace and safety,” not knowing that sudden destruction is waiting, from which you cannot escape. However, only those who ignore the warnings are caught by the suddenness of the day of the Lord. Believers were not in darkness, that the day of the Lord should overtake them. They knew it was coming and they had been given signs of when it should occur.

Peter describes this day of the Lord as,

the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up

This seeming cosmic destruction is very common in prophetic language. It is in a similar way that Jesus described the downfall of Judea and Jerusalem.

Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

Here Jesus describes the whole kosmos of Judea being brought down. The sun, moon and stars are deprived of their proper function and power. This is the language of the OT prophets to describe judgment falling upon nations, cities or peoples. Peter uses the same language with the same intent.

For those who hold this language to be literal, in that they expect the physical heavens and its elements to “melt with fervent heat, and the earth also and the words that are therein” to be burned up, this is not the message of Jesus or the apostles. As stated before, this is the language of the prophets to describe the judgment of God upon those who rebel and stand against Him. It is a language that his readers would easily understand. We must work a little harder at it.

In describing the judgment of God against Idumea(Edom), Isaiah says,
All the powers of the heavens shall be melted, and the heaven shall be rolled up like a scroll.—And her land shall be on fire like pitch, night and day, and shall not be extinguished for ever. (Isaiah 34:4, 9-10)

Back in the day when God brought judgment upon Edom (Idumea), were the heavens rolled up like a scroll? Was the land set on fire like pitch, forever, night and day? No, neither occurred in the material, natural realm. However, the kingdom of Edom, the heaven and earth or the kosmos of Edom, was judged and destroyed.

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. (Ps. 46:6)

Did the earth actually melt? If it did, we would not be here, would we? This is the language of the prophets to denote how God had moved(removed, shook) kingdoms with His Voice.

We must never forget that we are dealing with the literature and language of the covenant people of God. When we ignore the genre of literature in which they were known to write, we will end up completely misunderstanding their writings, which we have done. Israel Warren makes this point quite clear.

“We should not forget that both the author of this epistle and those to whom it was addressed were Jews, whose conceptions of the earth and its history were derived from the Old Testament Scriptures. To the Jews, this was the one Book,—we might almost say the only book of instruction on all subjects whatever. It was their manual, not only of theology and morals, but of history and science and law and poetry. They read and taught it to their children (2 Tim. 3: 14, 15) ; they heard it read in the synagogues every Sabbath day. Luke 4:16; Acts 13: 27; 2 Cor. 8:15. Its language, its figures of speech, its way of conceiving and representing things, were imbibed with their mother's milk, and were as familiar as their own vernacular speech.”
[Warren, Israel P. The Parousia. Hoyt, Fogg & Donham, Portland. 1884, p.249]

If we read our own understanding into the words of these prophets [conduct eisegisis], we will not understand their true meaning. We will wind up in a ditch. It doesn't matter which ditch you fall into, the left or the right. A ditch is a ditch. We must seek to understand what they meant by their use of their own language. We must allow the Bible to interpret the Bible [conduct exegisis]. As already noted, the key to understanding Peter’s imagery here, is to look to the same imagery we find coming from the mouth of the Lord Himself and the writings of those many OT prophets.

If we read Peter’s words carefully, we can easily see he is not speaking of the destruction of the material world.

6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: 7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

Peter is comparing “the world that then was” with “the heavens and earth, which are now.” The world, or kosmos, that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. The word, perished, means to destroy fully. Was the world that existed then fully destroyed? Yes, it was, but not the physical earth itself. The term, world (kosmos) means the ordered, structured system which operated upon the earth. The world (kosmos) can be utterly destroyed without destroying the physical earth (the dirt, rocks, stones, etc).

Peter then states that the heavens and earth which are now, i.e., the current kosmos, is kept by the same word, reserved for fire. The same Word that brought the judgment of water upon the previous kosmos, will bring the judgment of fire upon the then present kosmos (heavens and earth).

Peter is admonishing the believing Community, that just as judgment came upon the world of old by water, judgment would come upon the present kosmos by fire. Considering this judgment was about to fall, Peter asks his readers,

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

Since you know all these things shall be dissolved or destroyed, how should that govern your life? Also,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Peter tells his people that they should be, “Looking for and hasting unto the coming [parousia] of the day of God.” It is something that they should be anticipating and earnestly desiring. Here, Peter describes the Parousia as the day of God. He tells them they should be anticipating and earnestly desiring the Presence of this judgment, this day of God. Why? Because the believers in Christ have been taught to look for a new kosmos, a new heaven and new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.

Peter is proclaiming that the heavens and earth that then was, the present world (kosmos) would be destroyed by fire, but afterwards we are to look for the fulfilling of the promise of a new Kosmos, a new heavens and a new earth, which is dominated by righteousness.

Peter’s concern here for the believing community, is that they understand that the Lord’s words are true and His promises are sure. No matter how many scoffers mock, or mockers scoff at His word, it is sure and steadfast. The world of the Jews, their kosmos, their heaven and earth, was about to be destroyed by fire. Therefore, Peter admonishes the believers to be “found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” He encourages them to remain in Christ, who is their Ark of comfort and safety, from the coming fiery judgment.

They should not give heed to these mockers, because they “are unlearned and unstable.” They wrest or torture the Scriptures to their own destruction. Beware of these, lest you find yourselves being led away by the error of the wicked, falling from your own stability. Theses scoffers and mockers, who are unlearned and unstable, following their own lusts, twist and torture the Scripture so as to throw doubt upon the holy words of Christ and His Apostles. They did so in Peter’s day, and they do so today.

 

The Parousia of the Lord Draweth Nigh

James 5:7-8
7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming [parousia] of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. 8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming [parousia] of the Lord draweth nigh.

This is another instance where it is apparent that one of the leaders of the first century Church believed that the parousia would occur in the first century, even within their own lifetime. Many have ridiculed the apostolic teaching concerning this, saying that they didn’t know what they were talking about.

The problem with this argument is that the apostles got this idea from Jesus Himself. So this would imply that Jesus didn’t know what He was talking about. Jesus told them “no man knows the day or hour,” but He also told them that all the things He prophesied to them on the mount of Olives, would happen within that generation. This included His Parousia.

So if Jesus made a mistake about the timing of His Parousia, then naturally the apostles would make the same mistake. However, consider this, if Jesus was wrong about this, what else was He wrong about? If He could be wrong, then by association, His apostles could be wrong also. All of a sudden, the whole of NT Truth and Doctrine is called into question. If He was wrong about that, how can we trust anything that He said? We would now find ourselves cast back into the garden, hearing the hissing voice of the tempter, “Hath God truly said?”

We must be willing to humble ourselves and admit that maybe, just maybe we don’t know as much as we think we do. Just because we cannot make certain sayings of Jesus fit into the doctrinal mold we have created, maybe we should take a step back and admit we’ve been wrong. Remember, He is God and we are not. Let’s start there. We might discover that Jesus knew exactly what He was talking about, and so did His apostles. We need to not only pay attention to what they said, but how they said it.

James begins this portion of his letter with a denunciation of the rich, not because they are rich, but because they used their wealth to abuse the poor. He warns them that this abuse of their wealth will only serve to testify against them in the day of judgment.

3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. 5 Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.

James then encourages the brethren to be patient. Judgment is coming against those who have robbed and abused them. The Lord is waiting for the time of harvest.

7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming [parousia] of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

He encourages patient because the Lord is still bringing in fruit from the gospel harvest. He uses the illustration of the early and latter rain.

“The receiving of the early and latter rains is not to be understood as the object of his hope, but the harvest for which those rains are the necessary preliminary. The early rain fell at sowing time, about November or December; the latter rain, about March or April, to mature the grain for harvest. The latter rain that shall precede the coming spiritual harvest, will probably be another Pentecost-like effusion of the Holy Ghost.”
[Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary]

James assures the brethren that not only is the judgment coming upon those who have heaped their wealth upon themselves and abused the poor among them, but that the Lord has “long patience” for the harvest He has been preparing. If the Lord has this patience for a gospel harvest, then he encourages them to have patience also.

In the context that James lays out, the parousia of the Lord is both a judgment and a harvest. A judgment upon those who have abused their wealth, and a harvest that the Lord patiently waits for. He encourages them to not hold grudges or murmur against each other.

9 Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. 10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. 11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

The judge is standing at the door, so be patient, knowing that the end, the goal or ultimate result of the Lord is pity and tender mercy.

 

Conclusion on Parousia

When the disciples heard the words of Jesus, that “not one stone shall be left upon another,” with regard to the temple, they knew that their world was about to change. The world of the Jew was never going to be the same. They knew that the destruction of the temple meant that all it represented would be dissolved. It’s the end of the world, as they knew it. It was going to be the end of an age.

With the end of the Age of the Temple [Levitical Age], another age would begin. This other age, this age to come would be the Messianic Age. Since they believed Jesus to be the Messiah, it would only be appropriate for them to ask when He intended ascending the throne of His father, David. This ascension to the throne, i.e., taking His rightful kingly authority, was what they referred to as Parousia. However, His Parousia, His Presence on the throne, would not be as they expected nor imagined.

So their questions would be quite expected. When would the destruction of the temple happen? In connection with this, what sign would there be of His Parousia (ascension to the throne of David, His official enthronement as the King of Israel) and also what sign of the consummation of the current age? His Parousia is wherever He is acting as the King of Israel. It is His right as king to bring judgment to those who rebel against His rule.

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, [Ps. 2:2-3, 9-12]

This is exactly what He did in AD 70. This is why parousia is closely associated with the destruction of Jerusalem. It is an act of His Presence in Judgment, which was as visible to be seen as lightning is when it flashes across one end of the heaven to the other. It cannot be said that He did not warn that generation of this judgment.

Matthew 21:40-41,43
40 When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41 They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons. 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

However, the Parousia is not just about bringing judgment, but also about the expansion of His Kingdom,

Acts 1:6-8
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

James 5:7
“. . . Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it.”

Parousia refers to the current reign of Jesus, as the King of Israel on the throne of His father David, sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on High. And He must continue to reign, “till he hath put all enemies under his feet.”

END