Second Coming Bible Study

I have noticed that most of the various opinions about Bible prophecy are based more on presupposition or hearsay than on serious exegesis. This study is designed to help one begin to evaluate what the Bible actually says about timing of the so-called “Second Coming.” As you look up the passages from God’s Word below, it will become evident that many of them have time-statements that tell when or to whom these “end time” events would befall—specifically, to those living in the first century. Some do not have time-limiting statements, but to read thousands of years in the future into them is reading something into the text that is not there. Check off which passages you think were fulfilled in the past, and which, if any, are yet to be fulfilled. I recommend letting the context rule, rather than your pre-suppositions—allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture. (This is an excellent project for a group Bible study and can serve as a launching pad for more in-depth study and discussion.)

It is generally agreed by scholars that the “Second Coming” (Greek Parousia) was to occur at the end of the last days/end times, thus the end of the age (Matthew 24:3, 29-34; etc.). Even though Jesus appeared to people after his Ascension (Acts 7:55-56; Acts 9:3-6), most scholars agree that there is only ONE Parousia. The preterist view is that this was a “presence in judgment,” similar to how YHWH “came down” or intervened on earth often on clouds and disruptions of the created order. (Examples include: 2 Samuel 22:8-15; Isaiah 13:10-13; 19:1-22; Nahum 1:2-6; etc.) Nobody actually saw Him in these “comings,” but witnessed the effects of his judgment. The language is not to be taken literally, but is metaphoric Hebraic apocalyptic language. It is noteworthy that Parousia is consistently translated with a definite article (the, his, or your). The preterist view is that this judgment was not an end-of-the-world judgment, but rather, the judgment against Old Covenant Israel in AD 70. As you look up these passages, ask yourself whether Jesus and the writers of the New Testament taught that the Second Coming would culminate during the lifetimes of many of those living in the first century. Were their teachings inconsistent, confused, or even wrong? How would you have understood Jesus’ words (Matthew 24, Luke 21; etc.) if you were living in the 1st century?

Here’s an explanation of some terms: The main Greek verbs used in the New Testament for Jesus’ “Second Coming” is Erchomai (meaning “to come” or “to appear”). The main Greek noun used for the “Second Coming” is Parousia (meaning “presence”). The “last days” (“end times” or “end of the age”) seem self-explanatory. But, were these the last days of the Old Covenant age, which ended in AD 70 when the temple was destroyed, or is this about the end of time, the universe, and history itself? Again, keep original audience relevance in mind as you study. Remember: The Bible was written for us, but notto us. Also, try to reconcile the passages so that there are no contradictions.

Erchomai Passages

PASSAGESFULFILLED PASTFULFILLED FUTURE
Matthew 10:23 (ref. Mt. 10:15, 22; 3:7-12; Lk. 3:3-9)  
Matthew 16:27-28  
Matthew 21:40 (ref. Mt. 21:43-45; 22:7)  
Matthew 23:39 (ref. Mt. 23:29-38)  
Matthew 24:30, 42, 44, 46, 48-50 (ref. Mt. 24:34)  
Matthew 25:10, 19, 27, 31  
Matthew 26:64 (ref. Mt. 23:29-39; Acts 6:14)  
Mark 13:26, 35, 36 (ref. Mk. 13:30; Lk. 21:27)  
John 14:2-3; 21:22  
Acts 1:9-11 (ref. Is. 19:1-4; Jn. 14:18-20; Mk. 16:19; Lk. 24:50-51; Mat. 24:30, 34)  
2 Thessalonians 1:10 (ref. 2 Thes. 1:5-9)  
Revelation 1:7 (ref. Rev. 1:1, 3; Jn. 14:18-20)  
Revelation 22:7, 12, 20 (ref. Rev. 22:6, 10)  

Parousia Passages:

PASSAGEFULFILLED PASTFULFILLED FUTURE
Matthew 24:3, 27, 37, 39 (ref. Mat. 24:34; Luke 21:20-28, 32, 36 see literal translation YLT)  
1 Corinthians 15:23 (ref. 1 Cor. 1:6-8; 15:51)  
1 Thessalonians 2:19 (ref. 1 Thes. 1:9-10)  
1 Thessalonians 3:13 (ref. Rom. 13:11-12)  
1 Thessalonians 4:15; 5:23 (ref. 1 Thes. 5:4-8)  
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, 7-8  
James 5:7-9 (ref. James 5:3-6)  
2 Peter 3:3-4, 12 (ref. Peter’s last days above)  
1 John 2:28 (ref. 1 Jn. 2:17-18)  

Other Passages*

PASSAGEFULFILLED PASTFULFILLED FUTURE
1 Timothy 6:14  
Hebrews 9:28 (ref. Mt. 1:21; Lk. 21:28; Rom. 5:9; 11:25-27; 13:11; 1 Cor. 5:5; Ph. 1:5-6; 1 Thes. 5:2-9; 1 Pet. 1:3-9)  
Hebrews 10:37 (note: “very” appears twice in the Greek)  

*The Greek word in 1 Timothy 6:14 is Epiphaneia (“appearing”). In Hebrews 9:28 (see also Acts 9:17) it is Optanomai (“to appear”). In Hebrews 10:37, both Heko (“to be present”) and Erchomai are used together.

Question: Can “soon,” “near,” “about to,” “a little while,” “this generation,” “quickly,” etc. mean thousands of years later? I hope you will want to study this and dig more deeply. Start with my website:

http://prophecyquestions.com.

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