Summary: This brief but unique description of the Lord’s Coming emphasizes the three words used in the Greek New Testament, parousia, epiphaneia and apokalupsis
The People of the Apocalypse
“The Nature of the Lord’s Second Coming”
After the Lord Jesus arose from the dead, he appeared on numerous occasions to His disciples and other followers. He was seen on the road to Emmaus by “two of them” (Luke 24:13) and spoke with them and broke bread. The Lord eventually “vanished out of their sight” (Luke 24:31) returning to heaven.
Mary Magdalene on resurrection morning, while visiting the sepulcher where Jesus was buried “saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus” (John 20:14). After the Lord called her name she recognized Him and the Lord said, “Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father” (John 20:17) indicating that He had not yet ascended to heaven after His resurrection.
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and said unto them, Peace be unto you.”
He then showed His followers His hands and His side but one of His disciples, Thomas, was absent. He eventually left them and returned to heaven. Eight days later He appeared unto them again, Thomas included, and showed His wounds to Thomas:
“And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and My God. Jesus said unto Him, Thomas, because thou has seen Me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:28,29). The Lord once again returned to heaven.
“After these things Jesus showed Himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed He Himself.” (John 21:1)
The account continues with the Lord and the disciples on the seaside and the Lord calls them to “come and dine” (John 21:12), followed by the account of the Lord’s conversation with Peter concerning feeding His sheep.
Mark 16:9-20 also tells of these appearances of the Lord after His resurrection, to Mary Magdalene, to the two on the road to Emmaus, and to the eleven as they sat eating, eventually ascending into heaven. After each of His post-resurrection appearances He returned to heaven, now being exalted at the right hand of the Father.
However, He was in His glorified resurrection body and was able to appear on earth at one moment and then vanish, returning to heaven the next. While there are no specific texts indicating exactly where the Lord went when He disappeared during His post-resurrection ministry, it is logical to assume that during the time between appearances He went to His home in heaven where all of those with glorified bodies like His will spend eternity.
So it will be with His Second Coming. He will appear and fulfill what has been written and then return to heaven until the entire work of His Second Coming is complete and He comes to physically rule and reign upon earth for 1,000 years which is also known as the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-4). His Second Coming will unfold in these three major appearances:
1.The Glorious Rapture/Reception
2.The Grand Redemption
3.The Great Retribution
These three appearances will occur when the Lord Jesus Christ physically intervenes on earth and brings a close to the following events:
1.The Glorious Rapture/Reception will end the Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-31)
2.The Grand Redemption will end the 70th Week of Daniel
3.The Great Retribution will end the Day of the Lord
When God’s plan is accomplished, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth ending these major series of events and in the process He will complete God’s ultimate purpose for each of them:
1.The Great Tribulation prepares the Church for:
2.The 70th Week of Daniel prepares all Israel for:
3.The Day of the Lord prepares the Gentiles for:
The following Greek words are used in the New Testament to describe and define the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ:
Parousia, Epiphaneia and Apokalupsis
Jerome’s Latin translation called the Vulgate (5th Century A. D.) was translated from the Greek New Testament and the Greek Old Testament called the Septuagint. The Latin Vulgate was the first translation to use the terms rapture and advent.
-rapture: To seize (Lat.) from the Greek harpazo: To catch away
-advent: Arrival (Lat.) from the Greek parousia: An arrival and continuing presence
These two Latin words are not adequate to describe in English the true meaning of the Greek words for they lack the Biblical precision necessary to completely convey the truth. This inadequacy has contributed greatly to the confusion surrounding the return of Christ, its timing and events associated with His coming.