In the original Greek New Testament are six different words and phrases that have been translated as the “coming” of the Lord or the so called “second coming” of Christ. Ignoring the diverse meanings of these words has led to much of Christ’s coming being misunderstood. The apostles spoke and wrote a language called he koine dialectos. This form of Greek is a more precise language than English.
1. PAROUSIA occurs twenty-four times in the New Testament. It comes from the verb PAREMI meaning “at hand,” “to be present.” The noun is “presence.” The verb emphasizes the actual personal presence of the one who comes.
“Be patient to the coming (presence) of the Lord” (James 5:7).
Parousia never indicates the act of coming or the arrival of a person, but means the presence of one who has already arrived. (read more?)
2. APOKALUPSIS comes from the verb apokalupto meaning “to uncover, “unveil,” and stresses the appearing or revelation of an individual by means of an uncovering or unveiling. It is the disclosure of one who has been hidden under cover.
“Be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation(unveiling) of Jesus Christ” (I Pet.).
3. EPIPHANEIA is found six times in the New Testament. From a verb which signifies “to shine upon,” “bring to light,” “to appear,” “to manifest.” The noun is “manifestation,” “brightness.” An appearance out of darkness as with a star that is there all day unseen and unperceived manifesting suddenly at night. This word is used in the sense of the glory or majesty that is revealed by the appearing of the Lord.
4.PHANEROO means to render apparent or make manifest, not necessarily a visible presence, but a perception.
“When He shall appear (becomes apparent), we shall be like Him” (I Jn. 3:2).
5. ERCHOMAI is used to indicate the actual act of coming, not, as with parousia, the presence of one who has arrived, but the event of coming.
“Behold, He comes (is in the act of coming) with clouds” (Rev. 1:7).
6. HEKO stresses the point of arrival at a certain place.
“I am here.” “Hold fast till I come (to you)” (Rev. 2:25).
These distinctions clarify the text’s meanings as to His presence, His abiding presence, the revelation or unveiling of His presence and the manifestation or out-raying of the glory and majesty of His presence. The words do not have identical meanings.
Both the words EPIPHANEIA and PAROUSIA for example occur in this verse:
“Then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming parousia (II Thes. 2:8). Literally the verse reads: “The manifestation of His presence.”
“Do you believe in the coming of the Lord?” should provoke the answer, “Do you mean His PAROUSIA, or His APOKALUPSIS, or His EPIPHANEIA, or do you mean His PHANAROO, or His ERCHOMAI, or perhaps you mean His HEKO?” For these are all His comings and facets of His coming.