Parousia and When Jesus Begins Ruling

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Parousia and When Jesus Begins Ruling

#1 Post by Bobcat » 5 years ago

This is some research I posted on another board that I wanted to also make available here. It will take 2 or 3 posts to include it all and keep it sorted.

Parousia ("Presence" - NWT)

Here is a list of Scriptures referring to Jesus' "presence" or parousia (Strong's # 3952). There are a few instances where parousia is used in reference to someone else (e.g. Php 2:12). They are not listed here; only the ones used in reference to Jesus.

The connection with this thread's topic is that the WT holds that Jesus' "presence" or parousia begins with his crowning as king.

So the question considered here is:
Does the context of the verses referring to Jesus' "presence" give any indication that it is connected with when Jesus becomes king?

What follows are the verses in the NT that use the term parousia in connection with Jesus:
Mt 24:3 Disciples question leading to Olivet Discourse. Note that in the disciples minds the parousia was related to destruction of the temple and the "conclusion of the system of things" (or "the end of the age"). For a survey of all the occurrences of the phrase "conclusion of the system of things" and what it means, see this post.

Mt 24:27 The parousia would be something universally recognized, not something seen only by a select few.

Mt 24:37, 39 Parousia illustrated with comparison to "days of Noah" (leading up to the flood) and with destruction by the flood. And with Jesus' "coming" that the disciples had to be ready for. Thus, the question, would the disciples have to be on the watch for 'the last days' (compared to the days before the flood') or with Jesus' coming (compared with the flood itself)? The WT takes parousia to refer to both the 'the days leading up to and also the destructive end. (See post # 53 in this thread for a discussion of Mt 24:37, 39 and how it relates to 2Pe 3:3-4, 10.)

1 Cor 15:23 Described as the time of the resurrection.

1 Th 2:19 Related to Jesus' "coming" and the disciples being vindicated.

1 Th 3:13 Described as a time when the disciples would hopefully be rewarded for their faithfulness.

1 Th 4:15 Described as a time of being rewarded and the resurrection of dead Christians.

1 Th 5:23 Described as a time when the disciples would hopefully have been found faithful.

2 Th 2:1 As a time for being 'gathered to our Lord Jesus' (implying resurrection)

2 Th 2:8 The "manifestation of his presence." A time for 'doing away with the man of lawlessness.'

Jas 5:7, 8 The context indicates it is a time when Christians can expect to be rewarded for their "patience."

2 Pet 1:16 Linked with Jesus' "power" and the fulfillment of prophecy.

2 Pet 3:4 The context links it with a coming destruction by God (compared with flood of Noah). Compare this with Mt 24:37-39. Peter was present at the Olivet Discourse. So this verse here would give an indication of how Peter understood Jesus in Matthew 24:37-39. Here (in 2Pet 3:4), Peter connects Jesus' parousia with the flood, not the time leading up to the flood. (2Pe 3:5, 6, 7)

2 Pet 3:12 "presence of the day of the lord" (or Jehovah - NWT) in which the heavens will pass away . . . Note again Peter linking parousia with a coming destruction, not the time leading up to it.

1 Jn 2:28 Linked with a coming judgement and being rewarded if found faithful.

In all of these verses, the idea that Jesus begins ruling or is crowned at or during his parousia is missing, or has to be read into the verses.

Incidentally, William Barclay gives a very interesting definition of the Greek word parousia, with the intention of showing the real flavor of the word as a 1st century reader would have perceived it. (I copied this from the Beroean Pickets website; with thanks to Eric Wilson):

Bible scholar, William Barclay, has this to say about one ancient use of the word parousia.
“Further, one of the commonest things is that provinces dated a new era from the parousia of the emperor. Cos dated a new era from the parousia of Gaius Caesar in A.D. 4, as did Greece from the parousia of Hadrian in A.D. 24. A new section of time emerged with the coming of the king.

Another common practice was to strike new coins to commemorate the visitation of the king. Hadrian’s travels can be followed by the coins which were struck to commemorate his visits. When Nero visited Corinth coins were struck to commemorate his adventus, advent, which is the Latin equivalent of the Greek parousia. It was as if with the coming of the king a new set of values had emerged.

Parousia is sometimes used of the ‘invasion’ of a province by a general. It is so used of the invasion of Asia by Mithradates. It describes the entrance on the scene by a new and conquering power.”
(New Testament Words by William Barclay, p. 223)

For reference purposes, here is Tim Lawson's thread on Apokalupsis, Epiphania and Parousia.


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Re: Parousia and When Jesus Begins Ruling

#2 Post by Bobcat » 5 years ago

When Jesus Began to Rule

Scriptures indicating that Jesus was a king long before 1914:

Psalm 110:1 - Cited here because it is quoted several times by NT writers in connection with Jesus. Note also Ps 110:2 which describes God as 'extending' the Lord's dominion beyond "Zion." This implies that "sitting at God's right hand" in Ps 110:1 is referring to a position of rulership, not merely waiting to rule. This is also reminiscent of Rev 6:2 where the rider is 'crowned' and then 'goes forth to conquer.' The following NT verses quote or allude to Ps 110:1:
Heb 10:12-13 - Alludes to Ps 110:1 and speaks of Jesus already (at the time the book of Hebrews was written) sitting at God's right hand awaiting the all of his enemies to be placed under his feet (like a footstool). (Compare also Lu 22:69)

1 Cor 15:24-26 - Alludes also to Ps 110:1 but says Jesus must "rule as king" (instead of 'sit at God's right hand') until God places all of his enemies under his feet. Thus, "ruling as king" in 1Co 15:24-26 is the equivalent to "sitting at God's right hand" in Heb 10:12-13.

Eph 1:20, 21 - Also alludes to Ps 110:1, and says Jesus is (already at the time of writing of Ephesians) above every government in this age.

Mt 3:17 At Jesus' baptism God speaks and says, "You are my son." This is understood to be an allusion or quote from Ps 2:7. Ps 2:6 has God saying that He has installed His king on Mt Zion. Then Ps 2:7 has the installed king saying that God will say he is His son. (Compare Ps 2:7 NET) Additionally,the context that follows encourages the kings of the earth to be obedient to God's installed king. Thus showing that Jesus becomes king while the national rulers still have the option of obeying him or choosing not to. (Ps 2:8-9, 10-12)

Mt 21:1-11 The account of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem presents Jesus as a king, and quotes from Zech 9:9 in support of this. (Lu 19:37, 38; Mk 11:9, 10)

Mt 28:18 - Jesus has already been granted (33 AD) 'all authority in heaven and on earth.' So the question could be asked, What more authority could he yet gain?

Lu 22:29 NET Where Jesus tells his apostles, "Thus I grant [present tense verb] to you a kingdom, just as my Father granted [aorist verb - already done] to me." This is why Jesus could tell Pilate he was a king in Jn 18:36, 37 (see next). It might also be used to say that Jesus became a king when he became the Messiah at his baptism.

Jn 18:37 Where Pilate asks Jesus if he is a king. Jesus replies, "You say that I am a king." Regarding this reply, Constables Notes says:
Pilate did not understand the distinctions between Jesus’ kingdom and his own that Jesus was making [in Jn 18:36]. He did understand that Jesus was claiming to have a kingdom. Consequently he next tried to get Jesus to claim unequivocally that He was a king. Jesus admitted that He was a king, but He needed to say more about His reign if Pilate was to understand the nature of His kingship. Jesus had defined His kingdom negatively (Jn 18:36). Now He defined His mission as a king positively. [End of quote]
Compare Lu 22:70-71 where Jesus uses a similar reply ("You say that I am ...") as in Jn 18:37 and it is taken as a positive answer to their question. Matthew 26:63-65 has Jesus answering in the same way ("You have said it yourself") as in Lu 22:70-71. But compare Mark's version of this same account where Mark's account of this same incident has Jesus answering directly in the affirmative ("I am"), showing that Mark understood Jesus answer ("You say that I am") as an affirmative answer. (Mk 14:61-63)

Php 2:9-11 Speaks of Jesus already having the 'name above every other in heaven and earth.' This parallels well with Mt 28:18.

Col 1:13; 2:10 "The kingdom of the Son . . ." which Christians were already being transferred into in Paul's day. And thus, if the Son has a kingdom, it would imply that he was also a king or ruler.

1 Tim 6:15, 16 (If applicable to Son) says he is now (at time of writing in 1st century) a king. (See w05 9/1 p.27 for Society view.) But see the discussion in this thread where it is more likely that these verses are a doxology to the Father.

Heb 2:9 The writer of Hebrews says "we see ... [Jesus] crowned [verb perfect - meaning completed action] with glory and honor."

Heb 6:20 "Jesus ... having become [aorist verb indicating completed action] a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." The writer of Hebrews goes on to show what the difference is between being a high priest like Aaron and a high priest like Melchizedek. (Heb 7:1, 2, 11) The difference is that Melchizedek was both a priest and a king. (See also Heb 5:6, 10)

1Pe 3:21-22 Peter links Jesus' having "angels, authorities and powers" made subject to him after having been raised from the dead and sitting at God's right hand. "Sitting at God's right hand" is not merely like being in a waiting room, but is a position of rulership. "Sitting at God's right hand" is another allusion to Ps 110:1.

Rev 1:4, 5 Jesus claims to be (note present tense) the 'ruler of the kings of the earth' (told to John, c. 96 AD; quoting/alluding to Ps 89:27)

Rev 2:26, 27 Jesus promises to give followers "authority over the nations" "just as I have received (perfect, indicative, active verb) from my Father" (Again, note Jesus describing what he already had.)

Rev 3:7 Jesus already had "the key of David" (Present tense, alluding to authority involving the Davidic rulership covenant)

Rev 3:21 'Sat down with my Father on his throne.' (aorist, indicative, active verbs indicating it was something he had already done, in the message to the seven (1st century) congregations.) Regarding this verse and the verb tenses used within it:
The context of Rev 3:21 makes it pretty clear how the aorist verbs in this verse are being used.
Rev 3:21 NET: "I will grant (future indicative) the one who conquers (present participle) permission to sit (aorist infinitive) with me on my throne, just as I too conquered (aorist indicative) and sat down (aorist indicative) with my Father on his throne."
Regarding the indicative mood and what it indicates: See here.The indicative mood basically indicates a statement of fact or intention.

Jesus uses the future tense to describe what he will do in the future if they presently "conquer." They will "sit," which is aorist. (Although the aorist tense often is used as the equivalent to the English past tense, it can also be used of the present or future. It views the action as a whole and/or in summary fashion. The context is used by translators to decide in which English tense to render it.)

Then, Jesus points out that what will happen with them is what has already happened to him. He 'conquered (aorist tense) AND sat down (also aorist tense) ...' Now, consider this: Who would argue that Jesus' conquering did not have reference to his experience during his 1st advent, which was several decades previous to when John received this message to give to the Laodiceans? The aorist tense (along with the conjunction "and") is being used in these two verbs to describe the fact that Jesus both 'conquered AND sat down ... '

It is fairly obvious that in this verse, and with those two verbs in particular ('conquered and sat down'), the aorist tense is being used in the same way as a past tense in English would be used. And every translation I have seen understands it this way.
Rev 17:14 "''. . . is Lord of lords and King of kings." (Note present tense of "is")

Some verses that one might use to object:
Dan 2:44 'God sets up Kingdom in the days of those kings.' Note the context (Daniel talking with Nebuchadnezzar). "In the days of THOSE kings" could refer to any point in time during the earthly kingdoms that follow Nebuchadnezzar's. Saying it has to be during the time of the feet would be forcing it to say something precise, when it isn't.

Mt 6:9, 10 "Let your kingdom come." This more probably refers to the Kingdom taking action, not the crowning of the King of the kingdom.

Luke 19:11-27 The parable of the minas. Some use this parable to say that it would be a long time before Jesus receives his kingdom. But note several points about the parable:
1. It's purpose was to address the audience's idea that "the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately." (Lu 19:11) The crowd's idea was not concerning when "Jesus" would be crowned, but when "the kingdom of God" would "appear." (Greek anaphainó; Strong's 398) The people expecting the kingdom to "appear immediately" were wanting "the kingdom of God" to begin manifesting itself in behalf of Israel. (Cmp. Acts 1:6)

2. In the parable the "nobleman" (representing Jesus) "went to a distant land (representing heaven) to receive for himself a kingdom and then return." (Lu 19:12 NET) Luke 19:15 says, "When he returned, having received the kingdom . . ." (ESV) The NWT has, "When he eventually got back after having secured the kingly power . . ." The verse does not say how long the nobleman had to wait at "the distant land" to 'receive the kingdom.' It only implies that it took awhile for the nobleman to return.

3. On how long it took Jesus to travel from earth to heaven, see post # 30 in this thread.

The parable shows that it would be awhile before "the kingdom of God" would "appear" or take visible action. When Jesus would actually receive his 'kingship' before returning is not addressed in the parable. Using this parable to say that Jesus had to wait a long time to receive his kingship is a misapplication of the parable. And such a view would also contradict the many verses cited above. (Also, compare the parables of the mustard seed and the leaven which describe the kingdom as having small beginnings and 'hidden' effects before it fully manifests itself. - Mt 13:31-32, 33)

Mt 16:28; 17:2 The Transfiguration. (See also Mk 9:1-3; Lu 9:27, 29; 2Pe 1:17, 19) Does the transfiguration indicate Jesus begins ruling in a still future time? See post # 49 in this thread for a discussion of this.

Some additional points I wanted to link to this post:
1. Concerning the kingdom in the Lord's Prayer: See here and the ensuing discussion to the end of the thread.

2. This thread discusses the possible difference between "the kingdom of heaven" (singular) and "the kingdom of the heavens" (plural). There is also some discussion about the 'now and yet future' aspect of the kingdom (sometimes referred to as "inaugurated eschatology").

3. See post # 5 in this thread for a discussion of the phrase, "the kingdom of God/heaven has drawn near" from Mt 3:1.

4. Posts # 13, 15, 17 (starting here) discuss, in part, the subject of "Inaugurated Eschatology." This is the idea of the "now and yet future" aspect of God's Kingdom. The Kingdom starts in a small way, affecting individuals, but in time, intervenes into the affairs of all mankind. (Compare Mt 13:31, 32, 33) See also this post, and this post towards the bottom of it.

5. For a listing of verses showing when Jesus becomes the Messiah or Christ (that is, while on earth): See this post.

6. On Heb 5:9 see post # 3 below in this thread.

7. On the so-called "composite sign" (WT's phrasing) of Mt 24, Mk 13 & Lu 21, see post # 16 of this thread for links to discussions of each part.

8. On whether 1914 CE is a significant point in time regarding the Divine scheme of things, see this thread.

9. On when Satan was cast out of heaven, see this thread. This is significant because in Rev 12, the war and casting out of Satan (Rev 12:7-10) occurs after the "child," "who is to rule all the nations," is 'caught away to God's throne.' (Rev 12:5) So if Satan's being cast out of heaven can be located in time, then, the 'child's being caught away to God's throne' would have to be before that time.


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Re: Parousia and When Jesus Begins Ruling

#3 Post by leaving_quietly » 5 years ago

I'm going to add Hebrews 5:9 to your list of verses showing that the Christ was ruling long before 1914. But, you need to look at Rbi8 for this one.

and after he had been made perfect he became responsible for everlasting salvation to all those obeying him,

Note the footnote on the word "perfect".
Or, “after he had been inaugurated (installed; empowered; consecrated to office).” Gr., te·lei·o·theisʹ. See Le 21:10 ftn. Compare Le 8:33 ftn.

It's good to follow the footnotes in Leviticus, too, to see the corresponding Hebrew word and what source they get these from.

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Re: Parousia and When Jesus Begins Ruling

#4 Post by Bobcat » 5 years ago


Very interesting. Thank you for adding that.


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Re: Parousia and When Jesus Begins Ruling

#5 Post by Bobcat » 5 years ago

"The Kingdom of the Heavens Has Drawn Near"

An interesting discussion in the NICNT-Matthew commentary (R. T. France, p.103-04) concerning the phrase, "the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near." (Mt 3:2 NWT 1984-2013; Compare other translations here.):

But John (and Jesus) do not simply echo this [prevailing Jewish] hope of God's rule coming soon. It has already arrived; literally, it "has come near." There has been extensive debate over the significance of the choice of the verb engizo [Strong's # 1448, "neared"], and of especially its perfect tense. The present tense, engizei, would have conveyed the standard eschatological hope, it "is coming near," but the perfect [tense] engiken [found in Mt 3:2] suggests something more actual. That which has completed the process of "coming near" is already present, not simply still on the way. There is a suggestive parallel use of the perfect tense of the same verb in Matthew 26:45-46, where Jesus' declaration "the time has come near" is paralleled with the statement that the Son of Man is being betrayed (present tense), while the following declaration that the betrayer "has come near" leads into the statement that "while he was still speaking" Judas arrived. This is not the language of an event still in the future but of one now in the process of happening. In Mark 1:15 the same phrase summarizing Jesus' proclamation is balanced by the declaration (also in the perfect tense) that "the time has been fulfilled," which surely makes the sense of present reality unmistakable. But even without that supplement [i.e. Mk 1:15] Matthew's phrase is clear enough, and is further supported by the language of Mt 3:10; the ax is already placed at the root of the trees. The time of God's effective sovereignty has arrived [i.e. in John's & Jesus' day], and now is the time for decisive action in response.

[All material in "[]" is Bobcat's for clarity]

The argument presented by R. T. France supports the idea that Jesus' rule began in the 1st century and that it was at that time that God had "set up" His kingdom in line with Dan 2:44.


The idea of Jesus beginning his rule after returning to heaven (or, conversely, after finishing his earthly mission as a human), would have an interesting effect on the explanation in Revelation of the four horseman.

If Jesus is pictured by the rider on the white horse (and some contend with that), but assuming he is, this would locate the 'giving of the crown to the white horse rider' in or around 33 C.E. The opening of the first five seals of Revelation chapter 6 would stretch out from then until sometime in the future when the events of Rev 6:12-17 (the sixth seal) take place.

The red horse and rider, being given a "great sword" would picture warfare over many centuries, and would include many developments in warfare, including the development of gun powder and various other war technologies. The "black plague" (and numerous other plagues of past centuries) would be included in the description of the pale horse. (Compare here.)

The fifth seal (Rev 6:9-11) would explain why the wait for the end stretches out. And it would parallel the description of the 144,000 in chapter seven explaining why the end had to wait. Rev 7:1-4 would effectively add detail that was missing from Rev 6:9-11.

The whole vision would have just as much meaning to the seven churches it was written to, as to any future churches. The 'wars, famines, and pestilences of Revelation chapter 6 would have a similar intent as those same things in Matthew 24 (Although, contextually, Matthew 24:3-8 is describing events leading to the demise of the Jewish nation, whereas, Rev 6 would have a much bigger and longer range view). In Matthew 24 Jesus said that the wars, famines, plagues and earthquakes were NOT an indication that the end had arrived for the Jewish system. Similarly, from the time Jesus begins ruling (about 33 AD) the various wars, plagues, and famines that took place in the following centuries, would also not be an indication that Jesus' parousia had arrived, even though people (at any given time) would tend to view those things as an indication of a soon to come judgment by God. (For example, notice how the souls who speak in Rev 6:9-11 ask about when judgment will arrive. To them, the previous seals 2 thru 4 are not an indication of when that judgment will come.)


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Re: Parousia and When Jesus Begins Ruling

#7 Post by Bobcat » 5 years ago

Do you really believe that the rulers of this world have been serving Christ during the
past 2000 years, butchers like Stalin and Mao?
I would give Ps 110:1, 2 and Heb 2:8, 9 as answers.

You should really learn to state your position without assigning motives or beliefs to others in the process. (See here.) You'll find you get a much better response to your posts.


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Re: Parousia and When Jesus Begins Ruling

#8 Post by Bobcat » 5 years ago

Well, Daniel 7 tells us that the ‘peoples, national groups and languages’ would all serve even
Him when He starts His rule. (Underlining is Bobcat's)

IMO, the underlined part of the quote is not part of what Dan 7:14 says. As listed in the citations in the post above, Ps 110:1-2, 1Co 15:24-26, Heb 2:8, 9 specifically describe Jesus as either ruling or crowned already, yet there are still "enemies" to overcome. (Cmp also Rev 6:1-2 - but I did not include that in the list above since not everyone would agree with the rider of the horse being Jesus.)


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Re: Parousia and When Jesus Begins Ruling

#10 Post by Bobcat » 5 years ago

J-A-T said:

without your reaction I would not have known that your motives were at issue, since my reply
only questioned the LOGIC of your interpretation. Heb 4:12
You questioned the LOGIC of my interpretation? Really? I beg to differ with you. Here is what you said:
the question is really over whom and what Jesus was to rule when given the kingdom?

Well, Daniel 7 tells us that the ‘peoples, national groups and languages’ would all serve even
Him when He starts His rule.

Do you really believe that the rulers of this world have been serving Christ during the
past 2000 years, butchers like Stalin and Mao?
It wasn't my LOGIC that you questioned. You raised your own LOGIC, and then questioned me in relation to that. This is why I referenced the "Straw Man" form of argumentation. This is what a 'straw man' argument is like.

At any rate, you are certainly free to believe what you want.


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