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All There Is About Parousia

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by John of Japan, Nov 13, 2017.

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  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I'll be honest, these posts from "I believe we've debunked preterism" ticked me off:

    In the first place, we had just had a thread on the results of Christ's 2nd Coming with plenty of Scripture that had been ignored by the preterists.

    Secondly, asterisktom saying that I put "'parousia' as antithetical to Scripture" is a direct attack on my character and Christianity. I doubt if he'll apologize for it. "Antithesis" means "the exact opposite" (antithesis Definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary). So asterisktom is saying that I oppose Scripture with my view of parousia.

    In light of those two issues, I am going to mention and discuss every single mention of the Greek word parousia in the NT, the LXX, and maybe even other sources.

    First of all, just to simplify things, there are three glosses given for the word in the lexicons: presence, arrival, and coming. There are 24 mentions of the word in the TR Greek NT. Of those 24, only 2 are "presence" (2 Cor. 10:10 and Phil. 2:12), both of them referring to Paul's physical presence. The KJV translates parousia as "physical presence" only these two times. However, there are 5 verses where the word is translated as referring to the physical "coming" of individuals: Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus (1 Cor. 16:17), Titus (2 Cor. 7:6-7), and Paul himself (Phil. 1:26), and (arguably) antichrist (2 Thess. 2:12).

    So note, there are 7 references to the physical presence of human beings, translated either "presence" or "coming." There are no provable references to some kind of "spiritual" coming.

    More to come.
     
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  2. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Well I am glad he ticked you off...because now you will turn loose some of the good study material to consider. Then it will be up to those who disagree to respond to the most solid material and put up or shut up.:Cautious;)
     
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  3. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    A very key verse in the interpretation of the NT usage of parousia is 1Thess. 2:19--"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?"

    This is a key passage because parousia is "coming," but a different word is used for "presence," the preposition emprosthen, usually meaning "before" but often "presence" with the genitive case. In other words, the word used most often for "presence" in the Greek NT is not parousia, but emprosthen. This is contra the asterisktom insistence on parousia as meaning "presence' in the NT, even when everyone else translates it as "coming."

    More to come.
     
    #3 John of Japan, Nov 13, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2017
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  4. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    TC,
    Is Ladd your main go to guy, or do you just sort of lay back and just see rom8:22-27 being a main reason for a future physical restoration of this earth, before the final eternal state?
    How does your view interact with this OP as far as the ;
     
  5. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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  6. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Now, in regards to the quotes in my OP, note that there are 17 times out of the 24 total where parousia is used to refer to Christ. Not a single one of these mentions are translated "presence" in the KJV or in the ESV. (I checked.) Every single time it is "coming." So, it is up to the preterist to tell us:
    (1) Why should any of those verses be translated "presence"?
    (2) Even if we translate "presence" for those verses, how do we know it means "spiritual" presence as opposed to a physical presence of the Lord Jesus Christ, since the word usually means a physical presence when translated as "presence"? For your convenience, here are the 17 verses where parousia refers to Christ's coming. (I don't like to do long lists of verses on the BB, but this should be a help.)

    Mt 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what [shall be] the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

    Mt 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    Mt 24:37 But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    Mt 24:39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

    1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

    1Th 2:19 For what [is] our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? [Are] not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

    1Th 3:13 To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

    1Th 4:15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

    1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, (see the context)

    2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

    Jas 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming 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.

    Jas 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

    2Pe 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

    2Pe 3:4 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.

    2Pe 3:12 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?

    1Jo 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    I'm going to post one more resource here, then I have to grade some Greek tests. Maybe tomorrow I can deal one by one with the above references using parousia for Christ's 2nd Coming. The opposition, meanwhile, must prove that parousia must mean a spiritual presence of some kind in each of those cases. If one single time it means a physical coming, they've lost their case.

    Here are the 4 usages of parousia in the Septuagint (LXX), accessed by a search with Bibloi 8 Bible software. Note that every single one of these 4 occasions, a human, physical arrival or presence is mandatory. (Sorry, I was unable to get the Bibloi Greek font to work on the BB.)

    Judith 10:18 There was great excitement in the whole camp, for her arrival (parousia) was reported from tent to tent, and they came and stood around her as she waited outside the tent of Holofernes while they told him about her. RSV

    2Ma 8:12 Word came to Judas concerning Nicanor's invasion; and when he told his companions of the arrival (parousia) of the army, RSV

    2Ma 15:21 Maccabeus, perceiving the hosts that were before (parousia) him and the varied supply of arms and the savagery of the elephants, stretched out his hands toward heaven and called upon the Lord who works wonders; for he knew that it is not by arms, but as the Lord decides, that he gains the victory for those who deserve it. RSV

    3Ma 3:17 They accepted our presence (parousia) by word, but insincerely by deed, because when we proposed to enter their inner temple and honor it with magnificent and most beautiful offerings, RSV
     
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  8. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    FOR WHO IS OUR HOPE OR JOY OR CROWN OF EXULTATION? IS IT NOT EVEN YOU, IN THE PRESENCE OF OUR LORD JESUS AT HIS COMING: tis gar hemon elpis e chara e stephanos kaucheseos e ouchi kai humeis emprosthen tou kuriou hemon Iesou en te autou parousia: (2Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 2:16; 4:1) (Proverbs 4:9; 12:4; 16:13; 17:6; Isaiah 62:3; 1Peter 5:4; Revelation 4:10,11) (1Th 2:20; Romans 15:16, 17, 18, 19) (1Th 3:13; 5:23; 1Corinthians 4:5; 15:23; 2Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 2:16; 4:1; 2Thessalonians 1:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12; 2:1; 1Timothy 6:14,15; 2Timothy 4:1,2; Titus 2:13; 1John 2:28) (Jude 1:24 ) (Revelation 1:7; 22:12)
    Wiersbe comments that…

    Paul did not look back and give in to regret and remorse. Instead, he looked ahead and rejoiced. For the Christian, the best is yet to come. Paul looked ahead by faith and saw his friends in the presence of Jesus Christ in glory. In times of trouble and testing, it is important that we take the long view of things. Paul lived in the future tense, as well as in the present. His actions were governed by what God would do in the future. He knew that Jesus Christ would return and reward him for his faithful ministry; and on that day, the saints from Thessalonica would bring glory to God and joy to Paul’s heart. As the familiar song says, “It will be worth it all, when we see Jesus.” The fact that we shall one day stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see bema) ought to motivate us to be faithful in spite of difficulties. We must remember that faithfulness is the important thing (1Cor. 4:2). At the Judgment Seat of Christ, our works will be judged and rewards will be given (Ro 14:10, 11, 12-note; 1Cor. 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 2Cor 5:9-note, 2Co 5:10-note). (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor orLogos)
     
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  9. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Here is a part of another article he wrote on the parousia;

    The chief positions of the work admit of being briefly set before the reader.

    The author argues with great force that our Lord declared that his coming in his kingdom would take place during the lifetime of the generation which heard his words; and that this Parousia of his was coincident with the destruction of Jerusalem, in A.D. 70,—an event which brought the Old-Testament Dispensation to a termination.



    Further, that according to the testimony of every writing in the New Testament, the entire Apostolic Church considered this Parousia as imminent, that they looked on it as the realisation of all their hopes, and that their great fear was lest they should be excluded by death from a participation in its blessings.


    Also, according to the author’s views, the Parousia of the New Testament is a single, definite event, viz., the presence of our Lord in his human personality; and that to speak of it as a spiritual presence, or a coming in the events of history,

    is to assign to it a meaning wholly different from the one intended by the sacred writers.

    Does this in part agree with the language of 1thess 2:19? or am I misreading it?



    No less opposed is he to the idea, so widely adopted by commentators, that it admits of being viewed as realised from time to time in a lower or partial seuse in certain great catastrophes of history, but that it will receive its complete realisation in a personal coming of Christ at the end of the present Dispensation. The author has nowhere laid down his own theory of Inspiration, but one of a very decided character (which we think erroneous) colours the reasonings of the entire work. In conformity with it, and we may say in consequence of it, he maintains that it is impossible that the Apostolic Church could have been mistaken in its anticipations of the speedy coming of our Lord and of its realisation within a short interval of all blessings which are spoken of in connection with it, and he lays down in very strong language that the contrary opinion is subversive of the claims of the Apostles to be received as authoritative teachers of the truths of Christianity. This brings us to the startling positions of the book. Assuming the truth of the above points, the author proceeds to lay down that the Second Coming of Christ in his human personality is not a future, but a past event, and that it was coincident with the destruction of Jerusalem; that at that period of time, all the dead saints were raised, and all the living ones changed, and caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and that the judgment on the wicked actually took place. Further, as all the events which then occurred constitute the great victory of Christ over his enemies, he has already, in conformity with the assertion of St. Paul, resigned his Messianic kingdom (which he seems to consider to form a part of the Jewish Dispensation) to the Father; and God has “become all in all,”—of which, if we understand him rightly, the present state of the Church is the realisation. The author is fully aware that to these positions an objection may be adduced, which most people will pronounce conclusive,—viz., that these most stupendous events have not left a single trace in the history of the past.


    To this he has a ready answer,— that the Parousia, the Resurrection, the Judgment, Ac, are events which have taken place in the invisible world.

    his answer is, that our Lord and his Apostles have distinctly affirmed that they would happen in connection with his Parousia, that this Parousia was to occur during the life-time of the existing generation, and that the exact fulfilment of our Lord’s predictions respecting the destruction of Jerusalem,
    and the divine judgments which were to be poured out on the apostate Jewish nation—events which have indubitably taken place on the visible sphere of things—are a sufficient guarantee of the fulfilment of the remainder; and consequently, that these events, respecting which history is silent, have taken place in the “Unseen World.” Such is the author’s theory.


    I cannot embrace this position and do not see it as viable. It leaves too much unaccounted for.
     
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  10. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast Well-Known Member
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    Although I reject the other portion of that article, this portion zeroes in on the concerns the language presents;

    We shall now, as far as our space will permit, notice a few of its most important positions. We consider that the author has the Synoptic Gospels, our Lord declared that a Parousia,—or manifestation of his presence,—would take place during the lifetime of the existing generation; and we concur with him in the opinion afforded the strongest proof that, according to the affirmations of that the habitual rendering of such expressions as in our Version, by the “end of the world,” instead of, what they manifestly mean the “end of the age,” or dispensation, has involved the whole subject in hopeless confusion. We are anxious to pee whether those who are engaged in the Revision of the New Testament will have the courage to make this necessary correction, for its absence will greatly shake our faith in the value of the Revisers’ labours. We think also that he has successfully made out that expressions such as “the last times,” “the end,” and other kindred ones, which so frequently occur in the New Testament were, for the most part, intended to refer not to the end of the world, but to the last period of the Jewish Dispensation.
    It will be impossible for us to put the reader in possession of the mass of evidence by which these positions are supported. We must content ourselves with giving a few brief illustrations of the author’s line of reasoning. Both John the Baptist and our Lord commenced their respective ministries by the proclamation that ” the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand.” Such a declaration must have been intended to convey a definite meaning to those to whom it was addressed. As all these persons were eagerly expecting the speedy manifestation of the Kingdom of the Messiah, to them these words could have conveyed only one meaning,—that this Messianic kingdom was going to be immediately set up. This idea runs throughout the whole of the Synoptic Gospels, the contents of which may l>e briefly described as an explanation of its nature, an enunciation of its laws, and a correction of the popular errors which were entertained respecting it, united to an account of those actions of our Lord which, in the opinion of the writers, established his claim to lie its King.

    This character he directly claimed at the termination of his ministry, and his doing so was the ground on which he was condemned by the authorities of the Jewish nation, whom, while in the act of condemning him, he assured that, “from that time” (not “hereafter,” as in our Version), ” they should see him sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven,” these words could have been only understood by those that heard him as affirming a Parousia of some kind, which his adversaries would live to behold. So completely does the idea of this kingdom underlie the New Testament that Christianity may be correctly described as the proclamation of a kingdom, rather than the institution of a religion, or, to adopt the words of St. Mark, it is ” the Gospel of the Kingdom.” Taking therefore, the Gospels as a whole, we fully concur with the author that the only natural meaning which the hearers of our Lord could attach to his teaching, was that the Kingdom of Heaven was going to be set up as a visible institution within a short interval of time.

    Our space will only allow us to adduce one or two striking proofs of this position. All three Synoptics concur in affirming that six days before Christ’s Transfiguration, our Lord made the following solemn affirmation :—” Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom,” or, as St. Mark has it, ” till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.” This, and other kindred declarations which are scattered throughout the Gospels, such as, ” Verily, I say unto you, ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel until the Son of Man be come,”

    t
    he author truly argues, could only have conveyed to those to whom they were addressed the idea that the Son of man would come in his kingdom during the life-time of some of those who were then present; and we think that the last of them is a deliberate affirmation, that he would thus come before the greater part of those who heard him would have passed away from this earthly scene. Several attempts have been made to get rid of the natural meaning of such language by referring it to the Transfiguration, which occurred six days afterwards.

    We have carefully weighed the reasons by which such an interpretation has been attempted to be supported, and we confess that we think them wholly unsatisfactory. Is it credible, we ask, that our Lord introduced such an announcement as that some of the persons then present would be alive to witness an event which was to occur only six days after, by a solemn, ” Verily, I say unto you?” But further, in no natural sense of the words did ” the Son of man come in his kingdom,” or did “the kingdom of God come with power” at the Transfiguration; in fact, our Lord afterwards repeatedly spoke of the coming of the kingdom of God as an event yet future.


    The Transfiguration was in reality a very transient event, and our Lord deliberately rejected Peter’s proposal to make it a permanent one. We by no means wish to deny that it was intended to be a foreshadowing of Christ’s future glories; but, to our mind, it is clear that in no event which occurred prior to his Resurrection can it be truly said that the Kingdom of God came with power.
     
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  11. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Now, I am willing to admit that some of the verses where parousia is usually translated "coming" might be translated "presence." I will list those. However, notice that in every single time so far when we are sure between a physical or "spiritual" presence, the data points to a physical presence. Therefore, these verses must indicate a physical presence until asterisktom or someone else can give a clear usage of parousia being a non-corporeal (physical) presence.

    Here are the verses where I think parousia might possibly be translated "presence" when referring to Christ (though I would not translate them that way):

    1Co 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

    1Th 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    2Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, (see the context)

    2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

    2Pe 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
     
  12. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Folks, just so we're clear, this thread is not about parousia when it is used as a synonym for the 2nd Coming of Christ, but about the actual usage of the word in the NT and elsewhere.
     
  13. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    John, I am exercised in the statement that “parousia” can be other than physical and spiritual presence not one or the other.

    The only other use I recall is the announcement or anticipation of the presence arriving.

    There is a nudge in the back of my mind about some ownership of land, rings, garments, that would stand in for or have authority as if the ruler was present, but there is nothing other than a flicker of that memory.

    Comments?
     
  14. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    There is no meaning like this in the NT or LXX for the word.
    I checked the largest Greek lexicon I have, BAGD, and found no such usage. I don't rule out a usage like that in classical Greek, but there is nothing similar in Koine Greek that I know of.
     
  15. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    RE: The reference of parousia in Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament is Volume 8, pages 858-871 (parousia, pareimi).

    A.The General Meaning 1. Presence e.g the presence of troops; 2. Appearing e.g The visit of a dignitary (pg 859).

    There are a plethora of Greek documents (far to many to site) concerning these words
    (Reading Kittel's works as a sleeping pill for me).

    The usage of parousia in Hellenistic literature is exactly the same as in the NT (An appearing or the actual presence of an entity or person).

    Of interest to us would be pg 862, The Coming of the Messiah.

    Apparently some Hellenistic documents (commentaries?) exist which make an allusion to parousia regarding the passages below
    Under the title 4. The Coming of the Messiah pg 862. which might be of interest to us:

    Genesis 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
    Zechariah 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
    Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

    I only had one semester of German over 50 years ago so I am mostly at a loss as to the document references.
    example - reference 17:
    :...Acc. to L, Durr. Upsprang u. ausbau der isr .-jud. Heilandserwartung (1925)...

    HankD
     
  16. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    Poorly worded post may have been confusing.

    But, are you saying that the anticipated arrival of one who is to arrive as anticipated is not a use of parousia?

    But of course there is. :)

    As I have been pondering this, I wonder if I am thinking of the "promise of his coming" (2 Peter 3:4) and that until then the believers carry that promise in them, despite the mocking.

    But I agree that the use assigned to some symbol of authority (ring, robe, scepter) that a ruler may send to signify his presence may only be found in the classical and not koine.
     
  17. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Thanks for taking us to TDNT. Hopefully I can look at the source more tomorrow myself. It is worth noting, though, that the OT verses you gleaned from that section are all with the Hebrew word bow', not the Greek from the LXX. TDNT sometimes ranges far afield.

    I probably can't post any more today, or at least any detailed posts, since I have to finish grading a Greek test and also teach 2 1/2 hours of Church History.
     
    #17 John of Japan, Nov 14, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
  18. HankD

    HankD Well-Known Member
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    Yes the Hebrew word BOW was the point they made as an allusion to the Greek word parousia and one would have to have and be able to read the German reference documents pointing to the Hellenistic documents to determine how they came to that conclusion.

    Also concerning the meaning of the word parousia

    1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming (parousia)?
    1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming (parousia).

    parousia indeed has multiple meanings (presence, appearance,coming).

    But the two passages above prove that the meaning of parousia is given to "coming" because in each case the meaning of parousia as "coming" is used in contradistinction to the other nuances (IMO).

    HankD
     
  19. agedman

    agedman Well-Known Member
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    I wonder if the “coming” is the issue or if it is the presence that is the issue.

    As I’ve been working along in this, and just can’t come up with any use that excludes an actual physical being present in relation to the use of coming.

    I can’t find any time presence is stated as spiritual or imagined; rather, all statements indicate an actual body is in attendance. Sort of like the teacher taking role, expects the body present to respond as, “Here”, rather than a ghost, ”Oooooo.”
     
  20. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    what passage in the NT connects the coming/appearing/returning of jesus other than in a physical sense? That is what preterists need to locate, as i cannot find any!
     
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