Recall that while Jesus has said that the signs He has given will indicate that His coming is as near and certain as is summer following the signs of spring, still, the exact day or hour is unknown except to the Father. What exactly is meant by His coming? Notice that the Greek word translated as Jesus’ coming is parousia that means literally presence, as it is translated by the NAS in 2Co 10:10 and Phil 2:12; see also 1Co 16:17, 1Th 2:19, 3:13, 2Th 2:1,8,9, 1Jo 2:28 where the NAS text note indicates that the word may also be translated as presence. Hence, inherent to the word’s meaning is more than just some instantaneous, singular arrival that will happen sometime in the future as Christ’s coming is popularly understood, but a manifestation of His presence as the creative power of His word establishes His kingdom in the hearts of His people even while it is at the same time bringing into judgment all the wickedness and sin of His enemies; cf. Jam 5:7-8 and think: in what sense was the coming of the Lord at hand in one of the first NT books to be written, that the brother of Jesus could encourage his readers to be patient in waiting for it as a farmer who waits for the precious produce of the field to be brought forth? Cf. Mat 3:2, Luk 10:9-11. In this analogy, what is the seed that is sown that with patience bears the fruit of righteousness that we associate with the coming of Christ? See Mat 13:3-9,18-23, 24:35, Col 3:16, 1Pe 1:23. In what way is patience also necessary in regard to the destruction of Christ’s enemies at His coming? See Mat 13:24-30; cf. 1Ti 2:4, 2Pe 3:9.
What does this better understanding of the Lord’s coming / presence remind us about one of the most oft-repeated promises of God to His people throughout Scripture? See Exo 25:8, 29:45-46, Lev 26:11, Num 5:3, 35:34, 1Ki 6:12-13, Eze 37:26-28, 43:7-9, Zec 2:10-11, 8:3. In what way did that promise begin to be fulfilled at Christ’s first coming? See Joh 1:14. In what way was it fulfilled even further in the pouring out of His Holy Spirit? See Joh 14:16-17, Eph 3:16-17. In what way do we expect that promise to find a complete fulfillment at the final restoration of all things (Act 3:21)? See Rev 21:3-4.
What is the inseparable importance of love and obedience and being led by the Holy Spirit into righteousness and holiness for the complete fulfillment of God’s promise to abide with His people, so that whenever and wherever Christ comes to make manifest His presence, all but the righteous who have been sanctified from their sins must be excluded? See Joh 14:23, Rom 8:9-11, 2Co 6:16-7:1, Heb 12:14, Jam 4:8, 1Jo 2:24, 4:15-16, Rev 21:5-8, 22-27, 22:12-15. Are we then “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2Co 7:1), “so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming (parousia)” (1Jo 2:28)? Or are we deceived, thinking lightly of the riches of God’s kindness, not knowing that His kindness leads us to repentance, so that because of our stubborn and unrepentant hearts we are storing up wrath for ourselves in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God (Rom 2:4-5)?