Part 2 of 3: “The Second Coming (Parousia) Begins with the Rapture”
Part 3 of 3: “The Day of the Lord Begins with the Rapture”
Addendum to the three-part series: “Does the ‘Day of Christ’ and the ‘Day of the Lord’ Refer to the Same Event?”
This is Part 1 of 3
The Co-reference between the Parousia and the Day of the Lord
When the Bible, especially the New Testament, addresses Christ’s return, two of the most common expressions to denote this event are, to use the Greek term, parousia and the day of the Lord (the Greek phrase behind the latter is hēmera kyriou). When we examine and compare passages that include these terms, it is clear that the NT writers understand these two descriptors as co-referential for Jesus’s unified coming. They are not therefore two separate events but one and the same. To be sure, each expression possesses its own connotation depending on the context, where the day of the Lord generally expresses a negative-judgment aspect of our Lord’s return, and Parousia generally expresses a positive-redemptive aspect of our Lord’s return. In the following, I will address six biblical topics that establishes the NT authors interchangeably using the terms parousia and the day of the Lord.
Destruction at the day of the Lord / Parousia
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief; when it comes, the heavens will disappear with a horrific noise, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze, and the earth and every deed done on it will be laid bare. Since all these things are to melt away in this manner, what sort of people must we be, conducting our lives in holiness and godliness, while waiting for and hastening the coming [parousia] of the day of God? Because of this day, the heavens will be burned up and dissolve, and the celestial bodies will melt away in a blaze! (2 Pet 3:10–12)
Exhortation to be blameless at the day of the Lord / Parousia
He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:8). “. . . so that you can decide what is best, and thus be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ [i.e. Lord]” (Phil 1:10)
So that your hearts are strengthened in holiness to be blameless before our God and Father at the coming [parousia] of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. (1 Thess 3:13, cf. 5:23)
Salvation will occur at the day of the Lord / Parousia
[T]urn this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Cor 5:5). “For I am sure of this very thing, that the one who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil 1:6)
But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes [parousia], those who belong to him. (1 Cor 15:23)
Boasting in labor will occur at the day of the Lord / Parousia
“. . . as you have understood us in part, you will come to understand fully that you can boast of us just as we will boast of you in the day of the Lord Jesus” (2 Cor 1:14).[B]y holding on to the word of life so that on the day of Christ I will have a reason to boast that I did not run in vain nor labor in vain. (Phil 2:16)
For who is our hope or joy or crown to boast of before our Lord Jesus at his coming? [parousia]. Is it not of course you?” (1 Thess 2:19)
Antichrist and apostasy will occur before the day of the Lord / Parousia
Now regarding the arrival [parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to be easily shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction” (2 Thess 2:1–3).
Back-to-back rapture and judgment at the day of the Lord / Parousia
For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming [parousia] of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night. (1 Thess 4:15–5:2)
|Parousia (Second Coming)||Day of the Lord|
|Antichrist and Apostasy Before||Antichrist and Apostasy Before|
|Rapture and Judgment||Rapture and Judgment|
In summary, this analysis establishes that the terms parousia and the day of the Lord denote the same period of the unified coming of Christ.
 It is unfortunate that this passage is disrupted by a chapter break. The discourse describes the single, unified return of Jesus as back-to-back deliverance and judgment. Placing a chapter break at chapter 5:1 breaks up the unity and coherence on the topic of the return of Christ. There will be a single return with different consequent effects.
 The term parousia is also used with synonymous terms for the day of the Lord that describe eschatological judgment in James 5:8–9 (“parousia” and “the judge stands before the gates”), Matt 24:37, 39 (“parousia” and “just like the days of Noah”), and 2 Thess 2:8 (“parousia” and “the Lord will slay”).