Parousia denotes "an arrival and subsequent presence with" (Vine). Pretribulationism states that the parousia is the secret coming of Christ for the Church, at which time Christians are glorified and removed to heaven during the seven-year Tribulation. However, there is no mention of a secret coming in these or any other verses of Scripture; it must always be assumed into the verse being considered. Some pretribulationists say that parousia and apokalypsis may be used indiscriminately to refer to either Christ's "secret coming" or His "revelation." But what Scriptural foundation is there to determine whether a particular verse is distinguished as referring to the first or second part of His second advent? There is none.
The following verses are those describing Christ's Parousia in an irrefutable posttribulational setting. They all complement those verses that use Apokalypsis. All of these Scriptures simply present different, non-contradictory views of the single return of Christ to the earth to take up His millennial reign. In posttribulationism, parousia says, "He will come, he will return, He will arrive, He will be present." Apokalypsis says, "His coming, His arrival, His presence will be visible to the naked eye."
As you read through this section on the Parousia scriptures, it is important to recall that the time of the hope of the Christian has been established in the first part of this article: The hope of the Christian is vitally connected to the apokalypsis and will be fulfilled when Christ is revealed at the end of the Tribulation. Since the time of our fulfilled hope has been established, we will point these Parousia scriptures to that same time period. This should show that there is only one return of Christ to this world - in His revelation or uncovering after the Tribulation to both the world and the Church.
Matthew 24 - 3: . . . Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming(parousia), and of the end of the world? . . . 27: For 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. . . . 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: 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. . . . 37: But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming (parousia) of the Son of man be. . . . 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.
Jesus says that His Parousia (Coming vv. 3,27,37,39) follows "immediately after the tribulation of those days" and it will be accompanied by cataclysmic signs in the universe: "the sun [shall] 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" (Matt. 24:29). These verses definitely don't refer to a "secret parousia." We know the revelation (apokalypsis) of Christ occurs at the end of the Tribulation; here Christ Himself says His parousia is in the same posttribulational setting: "immediately after" the Tribulation. The Parousia and the Revelation, then, are the same, for the same signs that appear in Matthew 24:29 are described in Revelation 6 which describes His revelation to the world in judgement (Revelation 6:12-17). This breaks the pretribulationist's separation of parousia (rapture) and revelation (uncovering) into two separate advents.
2 Thessalonians 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 (parousia)."
If the devil is overthrown by Jesus at His parousia, which is the word used in this verse, and one goes by Jack van Impe's teaching, then Jesus overthrows the devil at the beginning of the Tribulation! Van Impe teaches that the parousia occurs at the beginning of the Tribulation, while the Revelation is when Christ comes at the end of the age. Because pretribulationists divide our Lord's coming this way, they have to randomly select where they place verses using parousia and apokalypsis (the revelation) without any standard. What results is free reign in interpreting the second coming verses. The parousia is after the tribulation. The verses in Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonians state that clearly. There is nothing in the verses using parousia to support a secret coming before the Tribulation period.
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).
The words "when he shall appear" places the scenario after the Tribulation; "appears" is used in Matthew 24:29,30, a posttribulational setting, and complements this verse: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days . . . shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn" (Matt. 24). There is nothing mentioned here about a pretribulational parousia.
2 Peter 1 - 16: For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
The mention of "power and coming (parousia) [and] . . . majesty" parallels
Jesus' own description of His parousia in Matt. 24:29-32: " . . . they
shall see the Son of man coming (parousia) in the clouds of heaven with
power and great glory." Here Peter compares the glorious Transfiguration to
the appearance of Jesus in glory at His coming (parousia). These verses
don't contradict the posttribulational parousia in Mathew. Only the
pretribulational scenario runs into snags in trying to separate these two
verses into two separate comings.
As we've seen in 1 Corinthians 1:7 and 1 Peter 1:5,13, the Church is to set its hope of salvation on a posttribulational revelation of Christ to the world. The following verses, then, have to do with the salvation to be revealed when Christ gathers the Church to Himself at the time of His revelation, giving them a true posttribulational setting. Applying these verses to the posttribulational setting causes no confusion. That only occurs when they are applied to the pretribulational scenario.
1 Corinthians 15 - 23: But every man [will be raised from the dead] in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming (parousia).
Our resurrection is part of the Church's one hope that Peter said would be completed at the revelation (apokalypsis) of Christ (see 1 Peter 1:5,13). Because we only have one hope fulfilled at the time of Christ's revelation, this verse has to be posttribulational, not pretribulational, or we are given another or second hope of glory.
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)?
There is no hint here of a pretribulational secret coming of Christ. The Lord can come for the Church only once, which ties this verse to Matthew 24:29-39. This occurs after the Tribulation. The hope refers to the Church's hope of salvation to be received when Christ is revealed.
1 Thessalonians 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.
The "coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints" refers to the spirits of the dead saints in heaven with Him, who return to earth with Jesus. These verses complement Revelation 19:14, which is definitely a posttribulationl setting. It cannot be pretribulational.
1 Thessalonians 4 - 15: For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming (parousia) of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16: . . . the dead in Christ shall rise first.
". . . the coming of the Lord" is the parousia of the Lord mentioned in Matthew 24:29-39. The raising and changing of the saints complements the gathering in Matthew 24. The resurrection is part of the hope of salvation that Peter said extends to the day when Christ is revealed (1 Peter 1:5,13). There is no problem with this as a posttribulational scene because we only have ONE HOPE. Because of 1 Peter 1:5,13, the pretribulationists will have a problem placing this verse in a pretribulational rapture scenario.
1 Thessalonians 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 (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ.
A blameless Church is gathered to Christ when He comes (Eph. 5:27), which is part of the posttribulational hope of salvation (1 Peter 1:5,13). "Be preserved," points to the Church going through the Tribulation and reaching the end of it to see Him come.
2 Thessalonians 2 - 1: Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2: That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3: Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
See my notes above for 1 Corinthians 15:23, 1 Thessalonians 3:13, and 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Notice also that "by our gathering together unto Him" relates to 1 Peter 1:5,13, and complements Matthew 24, a posttribulational Parousia. This can only be a posttribulational scenario.
James 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. 8: Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming (parousia) of the Lord draweth nigh.
Since there is no other Parousia mentioned by Jesus but that which He mentioned in Matthew 24:29-39, James here must be talking about the same parousia, which is posttribulational. This verse fits in well with the file we did on the two which come after the Tribulation.
Except for the following verse, we have now studied EVERY VERSE in Strong's Concordance that contains the words apokalypsus and parousia. There is no mention IN ANY OF THEM of a pretribulation rapture of the Church. The doctrine began only 150 years ago with Margaret Macdonald. From then on it became a matter of trying to form a sensible doctrine upheld by Scripture. But Scripture only shows it to be erroneous. This attempt produced the unscriptural dividing of the second coming into two parts: one before the Tribulation (said to be the parousia) and another after, called the revelation. In reality, the parousia and the apokalypsis are the same posttribulational event.
2 Peter 3 - 4: And saying, Where is the promise of his coming (parousia)? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
If the "last days" here include the Tribulation, and they must, and if, according to pretribulationism, the Church is raptured before the Tribulation begins, resulting in millions of people suddenly disappearing, why would the scoffers still be saying, "Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation"? Even if the rapture had been explained away by New Agers, the scoffers would surely be convinced that everything had NOT gone on as it had since the beginning.
We believe we can honestly say in His Name, that Jesus' Parousia is after the seven-year tribulation that draws closer every day. It is when we see His coming as one event at the end of the age that our true hope is restored and our eyes behold the glorious coming of the Lamb of God, slain and risen and coming one more time.