Parousia and Eschaton in the New Testament - Essay Prowess

Parousia and Eschaton in the New Testament

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Parousia and Eschaton in the New Testament

Parousia is a term used to refer to the coming of Jesus Christ. The term’s usage in the East is during the arrival of a king. In the biblical context, it refers to the coming of Jesus Christ to his chosen ones. Christ himself encourages his followers to look forward to this day when He comes back to them. Eschaton is used to describe the end of time. The believers look forward to this day of consolation and redemption. The eschaton and Parousia are interconnected. They both happen on the same timeline. The New Testament presents unanimity on when the Parousia and eschaton would happen. These events are portrayed differently by different authors. Others see it as just imminent, while others give a timeline.

In the New Testament, there is a clear exposition on Parousia and eschaton. There is sufficient evidence to support the happening of these events. In John 14:3 (The New King James Version), John quotes the words of Jesus Christ, “I will come again.” which asserts the fact that Jesus Himself looked forward to this day of His coming. Mathew records Christ in Mathew 25: 44 (The New King James Version), encouraging His followers to be always ready as they don’t know the day when the son of man will come. John as well in the apocalyptic book of Revelation ascertains this as a fact when he states, “Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” (The New King James Version, Revelation 1:7).

In the book of Mathew, Jesus makes a parable of wheat and tares. He talks of a time of harvesting, “the harvest is the end of the world.” (The New King James Version, Mathew 13:39). These words establish the assurance of an eschaton. The New Testament is clear that the eschaton and Parousia will happen. The question that we have is whether there is unanimity on when these events will take place.

Mathew chapter 24 and 25 are chapters where we find an exposition of these events. In chapter 24:5-6, in answer to a question by His disciples, Christ speaks of events that would happen in the last days. Then He tells His disciples not to be faint-hearted. “See that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (The New King James Version, Mathew 24:6). From this record, it is clear that is a timeline on activities that would happen before the coming of Christ and the end of the world. Then in verses 30 and 31, he said, “ Immediately after the tribulation of those days ….. and then shall appear the sign of the son of man in heaven.”  So from the book of Mathew, it is clear that the coming of Christ has chronological order of events associated with it.

Paul also writes about the coming of Jesus Christ in 2 Thessalonians. In chapter 2, he records, “… be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first …” (The New King James Version, 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3). From paul’s counsel, there is a clear outline of the happening of these events. The counsel discourages the notion of imminence and establishes an eschatological approach. He affirms that there are activities that happen before the coming of Christ.

Also, other New Testament authors like Luke, James, and Peter record the coming of Christ and the end of the world. Luke records that there shall be signs in the sun, the moon, the stars, troubles of nations, and fear among men. After which they shall “… see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (The New King James Version, Luke 21:27). According to James, Christians should exercise patience. He states, “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord.” He likens the Christian to a farmer who patiently waits for his produce to ripen. In Peter’s answer to scoffers, he gives a different understanding of imminence. He exhorts thus, “… be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” Therefore, calling for Christians to patience.

There are texts in the New Testament which seemingly advocate for the imminent return of Jesus. For instance, the book of Revelation says, “Behold, I am coming quickly…” (The New King James Version, Revelation 22:12). Then Paul’s letter to Philippians that states, “The Lord is near.” These verses and others seem to advocate for the imminent coming of Christ. They don’t show any events that are associated with the coming and the end of the world. However, when understood clearly, they speak of the imminence in advocating for the preparation for the event and not the actual happening.

In conclusion, the New Testament espouses only one belief on Parousia and eschaton. Taking the text out of context is what confuses. The authors were clear on the activities that precede the coming of Christ and the end of the world. Therefore, we should seek to understand the message that the author was trying to convey to avoid confusion.

Work Cited

The Bible. New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1975.

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