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(The act of arrival and The subsequent Presence )
The word Parousia was used by the Greeks to show not only the arrival but the actual stay or subsequent presence. The focus then is not upon arrival, but the events which follow the arrival. Author, Israel P. Warren DD of Portland Maine, wrote in His book [The Parousia] 1879 in pp. 12-15 "We often speak of the second advent, the second coming, etc., but the Scriptures never speak of a second Parousia.. Whatever was to be it's nature, it was something peculiar, having never occurred before and being never to occur again. It was to be a Presence differing from and superior to all other manifestations of Himself to men, so that It's designation should properly stand by Itself, without any qualifying Epithet other than the article, "The Presence".
2"From this view of the word it is evident, that neither the English word coming, nor the Latin Advent, is the best representative of the word. They do not conform to It's etymology; they do not correspond to the idea of the verb from which It is derived; nor could they appropriately be substituted for the more exact word, "Presence". In the cases where the translators used the latter, nor is the radical
3"Coming" and "Advent" give most prominently the conception of an approach to us, motion toward us; "Parousia" That of being with us, without reference as to how it began. The force of coming or advent ends with arrival; that of Presence begins with the arrival. Coming and advent are words of motion whereas Presence shows rest. The space of time covered by the action of coming or advent is limited, it may be momentary; that of Presence is unlimited. Had our translators done with this technical word "Parousia" as they did with "Baptisma" transferring it unchanged, or if translated using It's exact etymological equivalent, "Presence" and had It been well understood, as It then would have been, that there is no such thing as a second "Presence,"' I believe that the entire doctrine would have been different from what it now is. The phrases, "second advent," and "Second coming," would never have been heard. The church would have been taught to speak of the "Presence" of the Lord, as that from which It's hopes were to be realized, whether in the future or at the remotest period, that under which the world was to be made new, A resurrection both Spiritual and corporeal should be attained, and justice and everlasting awards administered,"
As we examine the scriptural usage of this word Parousia, we shall take all 23 scriptures where this word appears and show the relevancy to the word presence and how the scripture applies to this hour. After all, brother Branham said in [Shalom pp. 223, "All the New Testament speaks of this hour."
4[Matt 24:3] "And as He sat in 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 Parousia ( presence) and of the end of the world?" The question asked was what shall be the sign of thy presence. They did not know of a first coming much less a second coming. They were asking when shall your presence be made openly known? When will you come forth and manifest your presence to men? This is the very same question that Jesus' own brothers asked Him in [John 7:1-13] but Jesus refused to answer them for they didn't believe Him anyway. He told them to go to the feast by themselves, He then later went secretly, not wanting to show Himself openly.
Brother Branham said in his message entitled: [Revelation of Jesus Christ] pp. 106 12-04-60 "Oh, how the last age and the coming of the Lord was covered up to the apostles! They asked the question, but only one lived to have the revelation; and still he didn't understand it, because the history was not yet made." So as you can see, it is essential to see the Word manifested in order to receive the correct interpretation of it. Author J. B. Rotherham of Cincinnati, Ohio, wrote a Bible translation called [The Emphasized Bible]. In his translation he noted the following , "In this edition the word Parousia is uniformly rendered "Presence" ("Coming," as a representative of this word being set aside.)"
5He continued "The Parousia,... is still in the future, and may therefore be enshrouded in a measure of obscurity which only fulfillment can clear away: It may in fine be both a period, more or less extended, during which certain things shall happen, an event, coming on and passing away as one of a series of Divine interposition's." Brother Branham also said, "God is His own interpreter and He interprets His Word by bringing it to pass." And since we have had a prophet come in this Hour with "Thus Saith the Lord" and has declared the presence of Christ among us, we can rest in knowing we have the correct interpretation of the Word.
6[Matt 24:27] " For as the Lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the parousia of the son of man be." We see here presence and not coming. Lightning that cometh is but a flash, but in this example he says it will lighten the whole earth. Not just a quick flash off in the horizon but from east to west representing total enlightenment. The lightning that comes from east to west encompasses space and time, as presence shows not only arrival but a space of time that deals with His presence. In fact the word cometh here is a word that signifies to spread abroad. Not just a flitter, but a full encompassing light. Brother Branham said, " My ministry is to declare Him, that He is here." So we are looking at 2 things; a declaration of Christ and notification that He is here.
7This scripture also tells us that Christ's Great Presence will bring forth great light that will lighten the whole earth. In the Gospel of [John 1:4-5], we read: "In Him was Life; and the Life was the Light of men.. And the Light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. "So we see that the Presence of Christ at His first coming brought forth illumination, and if, "He is the same Yesterday, Today and forever", then the sign of His glorious presence here among us again will have to be truly vindicated by an illumination that will be received by those whom it was meant for and rejected by those in darkness.
8For more on this illumination please see the Epiphanaea section.
[Matt 24:37] " But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the Parousia of the Son of Man be. By using the plural "days", he's telling you it will be a period of time more or less extended. Not just the instant of arrival. What took place in Noah's day that will repeat again? A message of salvation and judgment went forth. Salvation for those who will enter in, and judgment to those who will not.
9[Matt 24:39] " And knew it not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the Parousia of the Son of Man be." Again we see by this example of the floods coming upon the people and the washing away. This washing away was the result of the forty day period of rain which washing away did not happen at the first sign of rain or the first rain drop. This also tells us that they knew it not until it was too late. We know that God had a prophet on the scene preaching a message of [Warning then Judgment] for nearly 120 years, but which was rejected by all except a few, leaving nothing but judgment for those who refused that message.
10[I Cor 15:23] " But every man in his own order: Christ the first-fruits; afterwards they that are Christ's at His Parousia." Here he is speaking of order, the first will be last and the last first. A coming forth by an order. Therefore, it is not instantaneous but is brought forth through a process of time whether concentrated or extended. Order also signifies authority and headship which are certainly indicated here by this scripture.
11We know also that the Parousia involves a shout, a voice and a trumpet. And we are told by brother Branham in the Rapture message that the voice is the resurrection. And brother Branham taught us that their will be an order to the resurrection. From the [Seven Church Ages] 5/11/54 he said, "He that was first will be last. ..That's the order of the resurrection. I won't know nobody in the generation before me or the generation after me. I'll know those in the generation with me. Every generation will come successively as it went down."
12[I Thes 2:19] " For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the sight of our Lord Jesus Christ at His parousia." If this scripture means only that we come into His sight, then we must ask ourselves, "At what point do we enter into His sight? Does not "sight indicate presence?"
13Now, Presence is not determined in inches or feet, but in "view of." I do not have to be touching to be in the presence of, but merely in reach of whether by viewing or hearing. As we come closer together, our sight becomes clearer and clearer and our understanding of what we see becomes more defined. Then from what point does the act of arrival become presence? Either way, deals with space and time.
14[I Thes 3:13] " To the end He may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints." Does the establishing of our hearts have to wait for his 2nd coming, when we meet Him bodily in the air? Or is there to be a ministry that will make ready a prepared people for the Lord. Do we wait for His 2nd coming to become a holy people or is the process in operation now. If we must wait until the meeting in the air, then we will already have a glorified body before this condition of holy and blameless can occur? If the scripture speaks of our hearts being established, then how can we wait until the meeting in the air. Brother Branham taught us that we take the condition of our hearts here, into that other dimension. So our hearts have got to be changed on this side of the resurrection. After all, if this scripture places the establishing of the hearts at the time we meet Christ in the air, then we must also place Malachi 4 where the hearts of the children are established, at the same time.
15Does one become established in a moment in the twinkling of an eye? Or is it a process? Then being a process it involves a space of time. [Ephesians 1:4-5] tells us that "we were chosen in Him to be holy and without blame in His presence." Then it tells us that in order for this to happen He predestinated us to it. In other words, He selected us to it and then prepared the way for it to happen.
16The whole process of our predestination deals with a space of time which we do not know the length or span. We see Him as He is, and we begin to see ourselves for who we really are. The transforming power of the Light will always bring seed into manifestation of what it Truly is. [For more detail on how this process develops, please refer to the section on the Phaneroo]
17[I Thes 4:15] " For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the Parousia of the Lord shall not hinder them which are asleep." Now if we take this verse by itself, we leave a big question. How can we hinder those which are asleep. But verse 16 answers our question when it says, "For the Lord Himself shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Arch Angel, (Chief Messenger), and with the trump of God." Then the dead shall be raised.
Therefore, the dead are not brought with Him but are raised as a result of the "voice" as brother Branham said in the [Rapture] message. There are three things that happen with His descent. 1: The Shout which is the Message. 2: the Voice which is the resurrection. 3: The Trump which is the catching away.
18[I Thes 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 Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ." Just until His act of arrival? Or unto His presence. The word unto here is used the same as into and signifies a preservation that last's right up to and including the time of the very Presence of Jesus Christ. "Until" would signify that it takes you up to the point of and you go no further, whereas "unto" involves not only up to, but "in to". So we shall always remain holy and blameless in His presence.
19[II Thes 2:1] " Now we beseech you, brethren, by the Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him." He must arrive and be present in order for this scripture to make sense. How do we gather unto Him if He is not here. This does not say that we gather together and then He comes. He must first be here and then we gather to Him, otherwise we would be gathering together unto someone or something else and not unto Him.
20It is not dealing with His act of arrival but his presence and one of the characteristics of His presence. We do not do the gathering. [Malachi 3:17 and Matthew 3:12] tells us that He will do the gathering. There is to be a gathering to Him. [ Q & A #4] pg. 243 - 244 "The Bride won't be gathered from one place, it'll be gathered from all over the world." So one of the identifiable characteristics of His Parousia is this gathering. Then where will this gathering together be? Into His presence. And He is the Vindicated Word.
21[II Thes 2: 8-9] " And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His Parousia. Even him, whose Parousia is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders," It is not just the act of arrival that destroys the workings of Satan, but it is the Word of God that defeats him always. Jesus showed this in the wilderness experience where he was tempted by Satan but defeated Satan by the Word. So it is not just the arrival or second coming that does this but The Word of God which renders Satan impotent. As in nature, most life forms that are parasitic in nature can not take direct light.
22Direct sunlight will destroy fungi, bacteria and all sorts of parasitic life forms. Even amongst cancer patients use light or radiation treatment to kill whole areas of infection. Satan is the greatest parasite of all. He does not create but has only perverted down through the ages.
23[II Peter 3:4] " And saying, where is the promise of His Parousia for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." The very fact that this speaks that "all things continue" shows it is dealing with a period of time. Another point to consider is that this speaks of a promise that is associated or brought about by the Parousia. Not specifically that the Parousia is "the" promise, though we know that it is. But just as Paul say's in [Galatians 2:20] that we "live by the faith (of) the Son of God." So, too, we see here that the scripture says that the scoffers will say, "where is the promise (of) His Parousia. There are definitely promises associated with and are brought about by the Parousia of our Lord Jesus Christ. We shall examine these more in detail in the Doxa section.
24[James 5: 7-8] " Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the Parousia of our 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. Be ye patient; stablish your hearts: for the Parousia of the Lord draweth nigh."
25Here the scripture is dealing with a harvest condition and speaks of the Lord's personal presence as that of a husbandman waiting for the fruit to mature. Now the question is this, if the husbandman is waiting for the fruit to get ripe, why does it yet speak of His presence as something that must take place in the future. The answer is very simple, as husbandman you tend the fruit, but you also harvest it. He's here to harvest his crop of children, His wheat, and with patience which in itself indicates a period of time more or less extended.)
26[I John 2:28] " And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He shall Appear, we shall have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His Parousia." The Appearing has to do with this presence. This Appearing is a Word which means a great shining forth or a revealing of that which has not been revealed. Hence a Presence bringing forth a disclosure, not merely an act of arrival. You will also notice that this great disclosure brings us into a condition of confidence without shame. Now confidence is something that must build up, it does not come by some magical hocus pocus, but by trial and victory, trial and victory. Character is not gift, character is a victory. So too confidence must be learned which again signifies enlightenment and time.
27[Phil 2:12] " Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my Parousia only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Notice the application here. Paul is contrasting his presence with his absence. This scripture shows examples of Parousia as presence so plainly that one would really have to grasp at straws to make the word Parousia anything other than presence.
28[II Peter 3:12] " Looking for and hasting unto the Parousia of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, And the elements shall melt with fervent heat?" Again this is dealing with a series of events which constitute more than a mere act of arrival, but a presence bringing forth a series of events. And remember, when the people spurn mercy, there is nothing left but judgment. From [ Will the Church go Through the Tribulation] 1-9-58 he said, "He has come now in mercy, revealing Himself to the church. It's being laughed at and scoffed at. The next time He reveals Himself, It'll be in judgment on the world and the nations that forgot God and sinned their day of grace away."
30Simply put; Peter, James and John when brought up to the mount with Jesus where Jesus was transfigured before their very eyes, were not witnesses of a coming but of a presence. And this also shows that power [to vindicate] and presence, go hand in hand when concerning the Lord Himself.
31[I Cor 16:17] " I am glad of the Parousia of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied." Now if he is speaking of their arrival only, what did their arrival supply the people? It was the efforts made while they were there that was able to supply or help the people and minister to their needs. The parousia or presence of the Lord on it's own will not do one thing for you. It is the manifestation or unveiling of Himself that "Supplies all our needs." Over 5 Billion people are on earth today, and what is Gods' presence doing for them? It is no different than at His first coming where He was in the world and the world was made by Him and the world knew him not. They grow more ungodly as each day passes.
32[II Cor 7: 6-7] " Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the Parousia of Titus. And not by his Parousia only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your morning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more." Again we see here that it was not Titus arrival but his presence to the people and His ministry to them while there. In fact Paul said, It is not his presence that brought this comfort but what he did while being present.
33[II Cor 10:10] " For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; But his bodily Parousia is weak, and his speech contemptible." Paul is saying that His bodily presence may be weak, but if language means anything, how could his bodily coming be weak? That would not make any sense.
34[Phil 1:26] " That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my Parousia to you again." Again, is Paul speaking about his act of arrival only? Or is He speaking of his presence with the people and what takes place while he is there.