THE ETERNAL JOURNEY VI:
The Parousaic Revelation
As the Risen One, God has been present with, for and to all humanity and all Creation for the last 2,000 years (Matthew 28:20). Nevertheless, his presence has encountered profound misrepresentation and corruption of the immeasurable good that he accomplished in his earthly incarnation. He suffered and died to terminate the attributes of dictated command, possession and power, which are contrary to the freedom of human relationships. Yet his gracious gift of covenantal relationality — faith, hope and loving compassion toward others — has largely been misinterpreted as the right of command, possession and power over others. This has led to inquisitions, crusades, genocides, and other forms of exclusion.
Jesus Christ, the divine Author of human relationality, never possesses us but, as the Risen Spirit, is relationally present with, for and to us to enlighten “every man that cometh into the world” (John 1:9). Yet, in this postmodern age, the pervasive Gnostic belief in internal divinity is in opposition to and “in place of” (anti-) the True Author(ity) (Christ) because of its narcissistic claim that human beings possess divine authority within themselves. This possessional focus of our age on “me, myself and I” instead of a relational focus that embraces all “others” is thus a tragic perversion of what God accomplished by the unfathomable gift of himself to all humanity and all Creation.
The Parousia and Humanity
Just as God as Jesus Christ appeared over 2,000 years ago at the very time humanity was increasingly claiming its own divinity, so we can anticipate that Jesus Christ, “the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9), will again reveal his presence in this age of resurgent Gnosticism (James 5:8; cf. Matthew 24:27).
In this imminent Parousia (Second Coming), God as Jesus Christ will “come in like manner” as he was “taken up . . . into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Upon this occasion God will appear as the covenantal Judge and as the ultimate Judgment (John 5:22, 27; 12:31; Hebrews 12:23).1
As God reveals his presence, he will assemble all who are alive upon the Earth together with all who have died (Matthew 25:31, 32; John 12:32; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17) and then convene his judgment (Matthew 24:27; James 5:8). This will give him the unique opportunity to reveal what he accomplished through creation and in his incarnation and how he has patiently anticipated Creation’s response.
In view of the reciprocal human relationality inaugurated at his First Coming (John 15:15), we can conclude that at the Parousia God will enlighten humanity about —
1. His necessary use of command, possession and power in the initial Creation, even though these attributes are contrary to the freedom of human relationality.2
2. His gift of bicamerality to humanity along with its subsequent withdrawal in order to confer human self-consciousness.3
3. His birth, life, sufferings, death and resurrection, designed to terminate dictated command, possession and power and replace them with the relational gifts of faith, hope and loving compassion.4
4. His intention that his divinity and attributes are not to be possessed but, rather, that his attributes are to be conveyed as gifts to be acknowledged, received, appreciated, and returned to him by sharing them with all others. For this is the ultimate expression of Creation’s interactive relationality.5
“New Heavens and a New Earth”
The imminent Parousaic proceedings of judgment and transformation will overturn nihilism (nihilo = “nothingness”)6 and marvelously advance the eternal journey for God and for all Creation. For as promised, the universal appearance of his relational presence will involve the creation of “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness” (2 Peter 3:13; cf. 2 Timothy 4:8). Oh, that all who stand before God’s final judgment will understand and accept him and his attributes — such as faith, hope, love, truth and life — as the ultimate gifts to be received and returned to him by sharing them with all others (Matthew 25:40; James 1:17)!
Then let us “[r]est in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: . . . and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:7, 4).
The Lord bless thee, and keep thee:
The Lord make his face shine upon thee,
And be gracious unto thee:
The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee,
And give thee peace.
— Numbers 6:24-26.
In his human revelation as Jesus Christ, the One-and-Only True God suffered and died to terminate the attributes of dictated command, possession and power, which are contrary to the freedom of human relationality. Moreover, he is soon to reveal his relational presence and overturn all hierarchical power structures, which employ domination, submission, creeds, liturgies and rituals in the vain attempt to assure ultimate divinity for their adherents. Now the Risen One, who is present with all humanity, earnestly invites us to likewise abandon those attributes that are contrary to the freedom of human relationality and all delusional efforts to assume divinity. “Behold, [he says,] I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20).
Then let us respond to God’s gracious invitation by receiving his relational gifts of faith, hope and loving compassion and returning them to him by sharing them with all others. As the Lord declares in the parable of the final judgment, “ . . . [Inasmuch] as you did it [acts of human compassion] to one of the least of these [the disadvantaged and oppressed, the poor and vulnerable] my brethren [and sisters], you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40, RSV). Irrespective of locale, culture or religion, it is this concrete witness to God’s universal presence that embodies the words of the Revelator, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). Thus, as we respond to God’s cosmic purpose and, together with him, advance history and leaven society with active faith, hope and love toward all others, we can confidently anticipate an eternally human future of “new heavens and a new earth” (2 Peter 3:13). For the “gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
If you long for the appearance of the Risen One (Parousia or Second Coming) and the transformation of all Creation, we invite you to forward this statement, with or without your comments, to as many loved ones, friends, neighbors and acquaintances as you find appropriate — and invite them to do likewise. This can easily be done by using the “send this article to a friend” feature in the website sidebar next to this article.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee . . . — Zechariah 9:9.
. . . I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also. — John 14:3.
. . . [H]enceforth there is laid up . . . a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give . . . unto all . . . [who] love his appearing. — 2 Timothy 4:8.
- See “God as the Judgment,” Outlook (August 2008). (go back)
- See “The Gospel for the Postmodern World III: The ‘Other Side’ of God,” Outlook (January 2008); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ III: Command,” Outlook (December 2009); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ IV: Possession,” Outlook (January 2010); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ VI: Empowerment,” Outlook (March 2010). (go back)
- See “The Eternal Journey I: Prologue,” Outlook (March/April 2012); “The Eternal Journey II: The Garden of Eden,” Outlook (May/June 2012); “The Eternal Journey III: The Origin of Consciousness,” Outlook (July/August 2012). (go back)
- See “The Eternal Journey IV: Paying the Price,” Outlook (September/October 2012). (go back)
- See “The Gospel for the Postmodern World IV: The Gift of God,” Outlook (February 2008); “The Gospel for the Postmodern World V: The Gift Abused,” Outlook (March 2008). (go back)
- See “The Eternal Journey V: “The Emerging Crisis,” Outlook (November/December 2012). (go back)