December 2, 2011

Glory & Honor Forever To The King of Kings!

Nowadays, when we say parousia/παρουσία in Christian circles it conjures up and image of Jesus Christ coming on a white horse to save His own given to Him by the Father. There is nothing wrong with this image. At the time of its usage in the Bible it denoted a technical expression for the royal visit of a king or an emperor. The word means literally "the being near to” or “at hand” from the present participle of πάρειμι/pareimi; advent, to return (by implication) physically. We see the description of a physical personal presence of a King/king.

A parousia/παρουσία in an empire of a king would’ve been well known to the people. Why? There would’ve been financial implications to the vassal members of the empire under the king. Special payments and taxes were usually leveed to defray the cost of the festivities during these occasions. All over the empire, advent-coins were struck after a parousia/παρουσία of an emperor. Ancient papyrus manuscripts mention contributions given for a crown of gold that was presented to the king at his parousia/παρουσία. Another Egyptian papyrus found among the wrappings of the mummy tell of the requisition of corn to help defray the expenses of the parausia/παρουσία of a king which was collected from the peasants by headman and elders.

The parausiai/παρουσίαί were extraordinarily in there eloquence. Grandiose proclamations were made at the parousia of a king. So-called new eras were rung in during these festivities. There were newly minted coins with the word "advent" (Latin for parousia) became official coinage of the empire during these time periods. There were sacrifices made, monuments built and the day of the visit was designated a “holy day." Within this backdrop we see the Christian system and its three parousiai of the Jesus Christ: twice to the earth, and once between these events, into the air. The Christians of the 1st century would’ve understood perfectly the idea of the parousia of the sovereign and therefore would’ve understood the grandiose nature of the parousia of Christ. Christ’s return in the Rapture is the King’s visit to the air close the ground to receive His Church to Himself and to take her Home.

The Lord will return to earth and it will be the royal visit of the Almighty, the King above all kings and He will dethrone Antichrist and establish the throne of David. In terms of Antichrist, it will be the coming of the θηρίον/therion or wild beast of Revelation 13 as a king and it appears he will claim absolute authority in a dictatorial fashion literally occupying Satan's throne for a brief space of seven years.

As the royal visits of earthly emperors and kings were elaborate festivities, so too our blessed Lord's parousia, He will be accompanied by a divine glory that will far surpass worldly kings. Just as the festivities of earthly parousia brought in a new era, so too the first advent of our Lord ushered in a new era, so too His second will also. The advent coinage minted for the parousia also has an earthly counterpart (at least in the United States). Instead of advent being stamped on the coins of the United States, we stamp a date that is based in the origin of the first advent of our true King. The dates on our coinage are based off the birth date of our sovereign. We also have the image of the sacrifice. For earthly kings the sacrifice was offered in front of the king, for the king. Jesus Christ the King was the sacrifice during His first advent!

Early Christians had to have seen the parallel between the parousia of an earthly sovereign and the parousia of the Lord Jesus. It is at this juncture that they would’ve seen the discontinuity also. There cannot be two kings. No man can serve two masters. Having come to these types of conclusions then and coming to them now we are forced to make a decision. In which King/king does our allegiance rest? If it lies in the earthly sovereign it will end up lying in the antichrist and damnation. If it lies in the Divine sovereign it lies in salvation.

1 comment:

Dean Spencer said...

This is a really good post. I haven't made a connection to the visits of earthly kings to Jesus' return. It's always interesting to get the background to what the writers in Scripture were thinking when they penned their letters.

Thanks for this insightful post.

God bless!
Dean

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