Parousia ("Presence" [NWT] or "Coming" [Numerous translations])
Listing of Occurrences
A list of Scriptures referring to the word "presence" or parousia (Strong's # 3952) can be found here. There are some instances where parousia is used in reference to someone other than Jesus (1Co 16:17; 2Co 7:6, 7; 10:10; Php 1:26; 2:12; 2Th 2:9). Those instances are not the focus of this post; only the ones used in reference to Jesus (and God in 2Pe 3:12). Here is the complete listing of parousia for reference:
The word occurs 24x in the NT: Mt 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1Co 15:23; 16:17 (of several disciples); 2Co 7:6, 7 (of Titus); 2Co 10:10 (of Paul); Php 1:26 (of Paul); Php 2:12 (of Paul); 1Th 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2Th 2:1, 8, 9 (of the lawless one); Jas 5:7, 8; 2Pe 1:16; 3:4, 12 (of God); 1Jn 2:28.
Removing the occurrences that do not involve Christ or God leaves us with this listing: Mt 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1Co 15:23; 1Th 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2Th 2:1, 8; Jas 5:7, 8; 2Pe 1:16; 3:4, 12 ("parousia of God"); 1Jn 2:28.
Meaning of Parousia and Erchomai
Before proceeding, a word is in order about the meaning of parousia and the Greek word erchomai:
The HELPS Word Studies at BibleHub (linked above) defines parousia this way:
3952 parousía (from parōn, "be present, arrive to enter into a situation") – properly, coming, especially the arrival of the owner who alone can deal with a situation (cf. LS). 3952 (parousía) is a "technical term with reference to the visit of a king or some other official, 'a royal visit' " (Souter) – "hence, in the NT, specifically of the Advent or Parousia of Christ" (A-S).
[3952 (parousía) is "used in the east as a technical expression for the royal visit of a king, or emperor. The word means literally 'the being beside,' thus, 'the personal presence' " (K. Wuest, 3, Bypaths, 33).]
It is important to note that parousia is a noun. Therefore, it is a thing. Erchomai (Strong's # 2064; to come or go) is a verb, a word describing action. It is also a fairly common verb (637x in the NT). It refers to movement (both towards and away from).
In the NT, the parousia of Jesus is described as an epochal event (a noun or thing). Many translations render parousia as Jesus' "coming," where they use the verb "come," but turn it into a noun (i.e. "the coming"; turning a verb into a noun is called nominalization). This is similar to how we might use the word "visit." "Visit" is a verb. So we might say we "will visit" someone (verbal use). But we can also turn the word into a noun. We might then talk to someone about "our visit" or "the visit" (noun). This is what many translations have done with the noun parousia and the verb erchomai. The result is that the two words can get used within the same context. But by carefully noting how the words are used we can distinguish between them.
A good example of this is in Matthew 24:36-44 ESV:
36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming (parousia - noun) of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came (erchomai - verb) and swept them all away, so will be the coming (parousia - noun) of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming (erchomai - verb). 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming (erchomai - verb), he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming (erchomai - verb) at an hour you do not expect.
From this example, a careful reading of the words allows us to distinguish between the noun parousia and the common verb erchomai, even when translations render both words with forms of the word "come." (For additional on the meaning of parousia, see the William Barclay quote at the end of the next sub-section.)
For an analysis of the word ἐπιφανείᾳ (epiphany or manifestation), and its relationship with parousia, see this post.
Analysis of the Usage of Parousia
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 "the 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 arrival of the flood itself)? The WT takes parousia to refer to both the 'the days leading up to and also the destructive end. (See 2Pe 3:4 below. Also 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 [Christ's] 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 (i.e. 2Pe 3:4) 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 God" ("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.
(New Testament Words by William Barclay, p. 223)“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.”
1. On when Jesus' disciples begin ruling with Jesus, and who specifically that will include, see this post.
2. For reference purposes, here is Tim Lawson's thread on Apokalupsis, Epiphania and Parousia.
3. See post # 57 for a link to a post with research on Mt 24:39 and the phrase, "and they took no note" (NWT).
4. The WT maintains that the start of the parousia (which to them, corresponds with Jesus being crowned as king of God's Kingdom in 1914) also marks the beginning of "the last days." But see this thread which analyses every occurrence of "last days" terminology in the NT as to when "the last days began.
5. See the next post below for discussion of what the NT indicates regarding when Jesus began to rule.