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THE PAROUSIA IN THE APOSTLOTIC EPISTLES
THE PAROUSIA IN THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS.
In none of St. Paul’s Epistles do we find less a direct mention of the Parousia, and yet it may be said there is none which is more pervaded by the idea of that event. The thought of it underlies almost every expression of the apostle; it is implied in ‘the hope which is laid up for you in heaven;’ ‘the inheritance of the saints in light;’ ‘the kingdom of his dear Son;’ ‘the reconciliation of all things to God;’ ‘the presentation of his people holy, and unblameable, and unreprovable in his sight.’
But there is a least one very distinct allusion to the Parousia in which the apostle speaks of the expected comsummation.
THE APPROACHING MANIFESTATION OF CHRIST.
We find here a distinct allusion to the same event and the same period as in Rom. viii. 19, viz. ‘the manifestation of the sons of God.’ In both passages it is evidently conceived to be near. In Rom viii. 19, indeed, it is expressly affirmed to be so; the glory is ‘about to be revealed;’ while here the Colossian disciples are represented as ‘dead,’ and waiting for the life and glory which would be brought to them at the revelation of Jesus Christ, i.e. at the Parousia. It is incnceivable that the apostle could speak in such terms of a far-off event; its nearness is evidently one of the elements in his exhortation that they should ‘set their heart on things above, and not on things on the earth.’ Are we to suppose that they are still in a state of death---that their life is still hidden? Yet their life and glory are represented as contingent on the ‘manifestation of Jesus Christ.’
THE COMING WRATH.
The foregoing conclusion (respecting the nearness of the coming glory) is confirmed by the apostle’s reference to the nearness of the coming wrath. The clause ‘on the children of disobedience’ is not found in some of the most ancient MSS. and is omitted by Alford. It has probably been added from Ephes. v. 6. Taking the passage as thus read, there is something very suggestive as well as emphatic in its declaration, ‘The wrath of God is coming.’ There is an unmistakeable contrast between ‘the coming glory of the people of God’ and ‘the coming wrath’ upon His enemies. No less distinct is the allusion to ‘the coming wrath’ predicted by John the Baptist, and so frequently referred to by our Lord and His apostles. Both the glory and the wrath are ‘about to be revealed;’ they were coincident with the Parousia of Christ; and of the speedy manifestation of both the apostolic churches were in constant expectation.
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