Only One - Second Coming
In the New Testament Greek Christ’s Second Coming is called the appearing, the coming or revelation. Below are the three Greek words used to describe the return of Christ and their definitions (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, 2000).
Epiphaneia – an appearing, appearance. Often used by the Greeks of a glorious manifestation of the Gods, and especially of their advent to help.
Parousia – presence, the presence of one coming, hence the coming arrival, advent. In the NT of the advent, i.e. the future, visible, return from heaven of Jesus, the Messiah, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God.
Apokalupsis – an uncovering, a disclosure, a revealing, a manifestation, an appearance.
These NT passages address the Church and refer to the Second Coming.
keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing (epiphaneia) of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time--God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, (1 Timothy 6:14-15)
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing (epiphaneia) and his kingdom, (2 Timothy 4:1)
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (epiphaneia) (2 Timothy 4:8)
In 2 Thessalonians we find both epiphaneia and parousia used in conjunction with each other to describe the Second Coming. In this case, describing Christ’s defeat of the Antichrist at His return.
And then the lawless one [Antichrist] will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation (epiphaneia) of his coming (parousia). (2 Thessalonians 2:8 NRSV)
The Coming “parousia”
The coming (parousia) is first used in Scripture when Christ’s disciples asked Him for a sign to His return at the end of the age.
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming (parousia) and of the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3)
Jesus’ response also records parousia to describe His return.
For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:27).
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:37).
That is how it will be at the coming (parousia) of the Son of Man (Matthew 24:39).
Paul wrote often of the Second Coming, using parousia.
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes (parousia), those who belong to him (1 Corinthians 15:22-23).
According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming (parousia) of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Concerning the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, … Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, … so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).
They will say, "Where is this 'coming' (parousia) he promised? (2 Peter 3:4)
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed (apokalupsis) (1 Corinthians 1:7).
God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed (apokalupsis) from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels (2 Thessalonians 1:6-7).
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed (apokalupsis) (1 Peter 1:13).
On careful examination it is clear that all these references are speaking to the Church about when she will be delivered and rewarded by Christ. There is nothing in any of these passages to support a two part Second Coming or a Second and Third Coming. There will be Only One Second Coming!
Richard H Perry