“37 For yet A LITTLE WHILE, And He who is coming WILL COME and WILL NOT TARRY.” (Heb. 10:37).
“8You also be patient Establish your hearts, for THE COMING OF THE LORD IS AT HAND.” (James 5:8).
“3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will COME AGAIN and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” (John 14:3).
“28so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him HE WILL APPEAR A SECOND TIME, apart from sin, for salvation.” (Heb. 9:28).
The SECOND COMING of Christ was His “Parousia” in AD 66-70. It is a critical teaching of Preterism. It is one of the most talked about events in the New Testament. It was expected by the first century saints. They eagerly waited for Christ’s “Parousia.“
This Greek word is “coming” 一 “Parousia” – Strong’s #3952 = a presence, a coming, an arrival and continuing presence. This is both visibly and also spiritually. The New Testament writers and the Lord Himself repeatedly said that His SECOND COMING was to be soon, shortly, near, at hand, quickly, and about to (“mello“) occur.
Christ’s SECOND COMING Parousia lasted for approximately three and one-half years between AD 66-70. It ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. It included the rapture of the living saints; the resurrection of the just and unjust; His final judgments; the removal of the Old Heavens and Earth cosmological order, conjoined with the passing away of the Old Covenant Jewish religious system, the fulfilled and obsolete Law, and the nation of Israel as His chosen people; and the consummation of the New Heavens and Earth cosmological order based on the blood and redemptive work of Christ.
Christ fully established His eternal New Covenant spiritual, gospel Kingdom, consisting only of true Christians (i.e. believing Jews and believing Gentiles), based solely on a gospel of grace, which in Christ had fulfilled and superseded the obsolete old types and shadows of the old Mosaic Law of circumcision, sacrifices, ceremonies, feasts, and days.
The eternal Kingdom will continue growing and spreading throughout the SEEN realm on earth forever, but it will never reach perfection here on earth (seen realm). Perfection is only found in heaven (unseen realm). The earth is where the visible church has its activity. The Cross and the Parousia were two world-changing events, which forever and irreversibly affected both the seen and unseen realms.
Earthly realm aspect:
The earthly Kingdom’s realm existence is in the church. This earthly realm aspect is much like Isaiah was prophesying about in Isaiah 65:20-25, 66:18-24. This also corresponds to the earthly life in the Kingdom as spoken of in Ezekiel 47 where the river of life will grow and bring life wherever it goes, but that there will always be the evil and darkness around us (swamps and marshland) (Ezek. 47:11).
The visible realm of this one Eternal Kingdom is made up of the believers in Christ in the church. Their sins are all forgiven. They are justified in the eyes of God. Unrighteousness continually ruled among the Old Covenant Hebrew kingdom people in the old heavens and earth world order, but now righteousness dwells among the New Covenant people. The Old Covenant system required continual sacrifices for the people in order to temporarily atone/cover their sins. The New Covenant people of God have been forgiven forever through Christ’s “once at the end of the ages” physical blood sacrifice on the cross, and no further sacrifices are needed – ever.
This aspect of the Kingdom is speaking about us as true members of Christ’s body in the church à we have free unhindered entrance into the earthly aspects of the Kingdom city, God dwells with us, we are blessed with His Holy Spirit living with and guiding us, and we have the guarantee of the inheritance of eternal life in the heavenly city once we leave this earthly life. No “unsaved” person can truly enter the body of Christ in the earthly church, nor have these rights or access to the Tree of eternal Life in the heavenly city upon physical death (they must first be born again. John 3:5). (Outside of the gates of the earthly church body are the “dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolater, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”)
Heavenly realm aspect:
The New Jerusalem is in the heavenly unseen realm where God dwells. The Tree of Life is in this heavenly city. Jesus brought this heavenly city down with Him when He returned at His Parousia. At His Parousia He raised the dead righteous souls in the unseen realm out of Hades/Sheol, changed the living righteous into the unseen realm, and gave them all new immortal heavenly individual bodies, and they inherited their eternal life and entrance through the gates into the heavenly Jerusalem with access to the Tree of Life.
It is in the heavenly afterlife aspect of the New Jerusalem where the Tree of Life is. And like Jesus prayed in His model prayer, the Kingdom has both earthly and heavenly aspects: “May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It is NOT an either/or situation, but rather a both/and situation.
And this dual aspect to the New Jerusalem and Kingdom is even more clearly seen when we consider the audience relevance of Rev 21 – 22 to those first century saints. Recall that the “overcomers” (Rev. 3:12, 21, 21:7) and faithful saints (Rev. 22:14) have the right to enter into the city. Those “overcomers” were already Christians long before they overcame the trials of the great tribulation. And it was their faithfulness unto death which made them overcomers and enabled them to enter into the Heavenly City. They did not enter into it until after they died. Therefore, entry into the gates of the New Jerusalem is not talking about becoming Christians. It is instead talking about faithful Christians dying and leaving this earthly life and then entering into the heavenly Jerusalem.
Do we see what this would have meant to those faithful first century Christians in the middle of the Neronic persecution, when so many of the lukewarm Christians were “cowardly” and apostatizing and lying and ending up in the Lake of Fire? Those saints who remained faithful unto death were overcomers who then exercised their right to enter into the gates of the Heavenly City. It was one thing for them to be an “heir” and to have the “rights” to eternal life which they had promised to them during their lives, but totally another thing to now after death be able to finally “inherit” and take possession of that eternal life in the heavenly city in the “face to face” presence of God. (Outside of the gates of the heavenly city (in another separate realm of The Lake of Fire) are the “dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolater, and whoever loves and practices a lie.”)
New Heavens and Earth “Seen and Unseen” realm to the New Covenant Kingdom:
- A key thing to remember is that the “new heavens and earth Eternal kingdom” is a new arrangement of the universe, both in the unseen realm of heaven and in the seen realm on earth. The invisible realities of His Kingdom emanates in the unseen realm from heaven, and manifests itself on earth through the visible Church. The New Heavens and Earth is a new government (Kingdom) and new world order of things both in the SEEN and UNSEEN realms, based on the blood and redemptive work of Christ. The old arrangement of the world, which was based on the sacrificial system (instituted since the fall in the garden where the Lord Himself slayed the first animal to cloth Adam and Eve), passed away, and Christ’s new world order (kosmos) or administration (oikonomia) was established.
This creation of “a new heaven and a new earth” is not the creation of a new planet with a new sun, moon and stars, as many materialistic sects would have us believe. What John sees in Revelation chapters 21 and 22 is the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies which described the New Testament order as a new heaven and a new earth. The expression denotes a change in the spiritual and heavenly order of things (cosmological change). The old cosmological heaven and earth since the time of Adam was instituted by God in the garden through animal sacrifice (Gen. 3:21) (typological of the true sacrifice who was to come – Christ), and was codified and ratified into an Old Covenant through Israel at Mount Sinai (Deut. 5:1-22; Isa. 51:15-16). Isaiah’s chapter 65 and 66 new heaven and earth was preceded by his portrayal of ancient Jerusalem’s destruction and followed by the creation of a new and different Jerusalem (Isa. 65:15-66:24).
Observe the essentials of the change in the cosmological spiritual order. The Old Testament order of worship (Deut.6:1-25) consisted of service to God, Elohim (v.4), by fleshly Israel (v.3; cf.5:1-5), through the Law of Moses (vs.1-2; cf. 5:1-5); the temple service being performed at first in the tabernacle and finally in Jerusalem (Deut.12:1-4). This order of service prevailed for 1,500 years under Israel’s the Old Covenant until Jesus by His death on the cross changed things cosmologically by fulfilling the requirements of the Law.
Under the new cosmological order service is directed to God (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, (Matt.28:19-20; Acts 2) by spiritual (True) Israel (Rom.9:6-11; Gal.3:26-29; 6:15-16; 1 Pet.2:1-10), under the law of Christ (John 1:17; 1 Cor.9:21; Gal.6:2). The temple service is performed in the visible part of the eternal new Jerusalem on earth by all true believers who are now priests in the church of Christ (Rev. 1:6, 5:10, 21:2-4, 22; 1 Cor.3:16; Eph.2:19-22; Heb.8:1-6; 1 Pet.2:5). The spiritual service performed by Christians under the law of Christ is so new and different that it is a new creation –> a “new heaven and a new earth” (complete cosmological change in the relationship between the seen earthly and unseen heavenly realms of the Eternal Kingdom).
**Additional note: John in Revelation 21-22 is referring to the one and only same “new heavens and earth” as Isaiah is speaking in Isaiah 65-66. What is critical for us to always remember is that both are mentioned as the new creation: the “heavens” and “earth.” The seen and unseen realm. In Revelation 21-22 John is seeing a predominant vision of the “heavenly realm,” while Isaiah was given a vision of predominantly the “earthly realm.” The two together give us a more clear picture of the totality of these “new heavens and new earth.” The ONE ETERNAL KINGDOM.
Christ’s SECOND COMING was continually promised to be in the first century generation by Him, and His apostles, not for us 2000 years later. Those particular saints among all generations of mankind were to be diligent and faithful because the SECOND COMING was at hand in their lifetimes. They would have to go through the extreme persecutions of the Great Tribulation that were “such as has not been since the beginning of the world, no, nor ever shall be” again (Matt. 24:21).
“23When they persecute YOU in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to YOU, YOU will not have gone through the cities of Israel BEFORE THE SON OF MAN COMES.” (Matt 10:23).
“28Assuredly, I say to YOU, there are SOME STANDING HERE who shall not taste death till THEY see the Son of Man COMING IN HIS KINGDOM.” (Matt 16:23).
“33So YOU also, when YOU see all these things, know that IT IS NEAR—AT THE DOORS!” (Matt. 24:33).
“34Assuredly, I say to YOU, this GENERATION will BY NO MEANS PASS AWAY till ALL THESE THINGS TAKE PLACE.”(Matt 24:34).
“20And the God of peace will crush Satan under YOUR feet SHORTLY. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with YOU. Amen. ” (Rom. 16:20).
“13In that He says, ‘A new covenant,’ He has made the FIRST OBSOLETE. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is READY TO VANISH AWAY.” (Heb. 8:13).
“1I charge YOU therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who is ABOUT TO (“mello”) JUDGE the living and the dead at HIS APPEARING and His kingdom.” (2 Tim, 4:1).
“7But the end of all things is AT HAND; therefore be serious and watchful in YOUR prayers.” (1 Pet 4:7).
“1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants— THINGS WHICH MUST SHORTLY TAKE PLACE.” (Rev. 1:1).
“3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; FOR THE TIME IS NEAR.” (Rev. 1:3).
“11Behold, I AM COMING QUICKLY! Hold fast what YOU have, that no one may take YOUR crown.” (Rev. 3:11).
“10And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND.” (Rev. 22:10).
“12And behold, I AM COMING QUICKLY, and My reward is with Me, to give to EVERY ONE according to his work.” (Rev. 22:12).
See also related “Topic Studies & Terms”:
Related full “Study Series” (available upon request if not hyperlinked):
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 3b”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 9 Rev. Chapter 21”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 10 Rev. Chapter 22”]