Revelation Chapter 1: The Parousia

By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

Many have been following along in this series and the response I have been getting is enthusiastic.  I have been arguing that the “parousia” (advent) of the “son of man” is presented in the NT as a perpetual image of his advent to heaven, his “appearance” before the Father as son of man (the Ascension).  Thus, the main imagery of this event is found in Daniel 7,13-14: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came (erchomai) one like a son of man, and he came (pareimi-parousia) to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”

This image is conjoined with Psalm 110.1, “The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”  And, as we have noted, this psalm is the most quoted psalm in the NT.  Jesus himself conflates these two verses in Matthew 26.64, ‘Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”‘  There is no getting around the fact that Daniel depicts the son of man as coming to the Ancient of Days, not from (see past blogs on this subject).

Now, reading John’s revelation with this understanding – that Jesus’ ascension to the right hand of the Father was a “coming on the clouds of heaven” – further confirms the testimony of Scripture.  Revelation 1.1-8 forms an Introduction to the whole book.  That is, it was penned after John had seen the visions, and had recorded the dictation of Jesus to the seven congregations in Asia Minor (Revelation 2-3).  Let us quote in full the verses: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. 4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is coming, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

The above words in bold highlight the shared image in Daniel.  Jesus is not “going to be” Ruler of the kings on earth.  He is.  Jesus is not “going to” make his people a kingdom.  He did.  Jesus is not “going to” receive all power, glory and dominion.  He did.  He does.  At the time John wrote this  Jesus was in heaven, coming on the clouds of heaven, and received all power, glory, dominion and honor.  When this is seen for what it is, this “coming on the clouds” is not something going to happen.  It is happening, and is the perpetual state of the exaltation of the son of man in heaven.  His parousia.

Further, in 1.9 John begins to recount where he was when this vision of Jesus, the First Vision, appeared to him.  When he saw Jesus, he adds that he saw him “in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man.”  This is an obvious echo of Daniel 7.13.  Thus, Jesus is depicted here as one “who is coming on the clouds of heaven…one like a son of man” – and when we emphasize that Daniel is depicting his ascension to the Ancient of Days, we can see that this was not something going to happen.  It was happening.

Further confirming this testimony is Daniel’s description of the Ancient of Days: “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of days took his seat; his clothing was white as snow, and the hair of his head like pure wool; his throne was fiery flames; its wheels were burning fire. A stream of fire issued and came out from before him; a thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened” (Daniel 7.9-10).  Now, read what John “saw”: “The hairs of his head were white like wool, as white as snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and his feet like unto burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace; and his voice as the voice of many waters” (1.14-15).  Jesus, having ascended to the Father, the Ancient of Days, is in the glory of his Father, depicted in the same description as his Father.   in case you missed it, John wrote, “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is coming, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ….”  The phrase, “who is coming” is present, not future.  “Behold he is coming with the clouds” is present, not future.  The son of man is before the throne of the Ancient of Days, coming on the clouds of heaven before Him, beholding his Glory, is in the same glory of the Father.  Jesus came in the glory of his Father, in heaven, in the clouds, to the right hand.

Thus, John is told to “write the things that you are seeing, those that are…” (1.19).  The First Vision is a vision of Christ – who is – who was – who is now coming on the clouds as son of man before the throne of the Father.  In this First Vision Jesus dictates to John seven letters to congregations in Asia Minor, which are representative churches of all the congregations.  What the “Spirit says” is “to the churches” (plural).  Then “after these things” (4.1), that is, after he saw these things (the First Vision), he is then told, “I will show you things that must take place after these things“.  “These things” is what he would now show John.  The First Vision is the present things, the things that are when John first saw the visions.  Then Jesus states that he going to show him things will take place after he shows him what we see in chapter 4,5.  The scene in 4-5 is the Ancient of Days with the accompanying, “myriads upon myriads of angels” (compare 5.11 with Daniel 7.10).  And they praised the Lamb of God, who appeared as one slain, with “Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might and honor, and glory, and blessing” (5.12).  We saw this in Daniel 7.14: “And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”  Where did this scene take place?  In heaven.  When did this scene take place? When the son of man ascended to the glory of the Ancient of Days, his Father.  The Lamb reaches to the “right hand” of the throne….Psalm 110.1.  Is this a one time scene?  Is the Lamb, the son of man, exalted just for a few moments?  No.  The Lamb remains exalted, remains as the one coming on the clouds of the heaven in heavenly glory with the angels in his kingdom.  The son of man came in his kingdom with the glory of the Father and the myriads and myriads of angels before him in power and glory.  When I personally “see” this vision in my imagination, my worship LIGHTS UP!  Blessed is He that is coming on the clouds of heaven, who is at the right hand of the Father, the Lamb of God, the son of man, who was dead and has been risen bodily from the dead and has ascended to heaven!

The following scene (chapter 6) shows Jesus breaking the “Seven Seals” at his command, and “giving power” to the principalities that are “sent” by him.  This is meant to show that all things are in his power and command and sent at his word.  These are the powers of life and death, famine and warfare, plague and economic power – things that affect us everyday.  However, it is not my intention to go any further at this point.

John’s depiction of the First Vision (1.9-3.22), the risen son of man, who was dead and is now alive, and holds the keys of “the Death and the Grave” (1.18 – the same “the Death and the Grave” of the Fourth Seal, inferring that when John saw Jesus, this Seal was already broken) matches to a tee the vision of his brother, Daniel, seen 500 years before.  Daniel’s vision of the “son of man” appears in that Prophet as enigmatic in several ways.  But, in John’s vision, the revelation of Jesus Christ, we now know who this son of man is, the one who comes on the clouds of the heavens in glory and power, and who appears as one before the throne in the same image of the Glory of the One Who Sits on the Throne!  “Holy, Holy, Holy!  Blessed Trinity!”

Author: Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.

Samuel M. Frost has gained the recognition of his family, peers, colleagues, church members, and local community as a teacher and leader.  Samuel was raised in the Foursquare Gospel tradition and continued in the rising Charismatic Movement of the early 1980’s.  While serving in local congregations he was admitted to Liberty Christian College in Pensacola, Florida where he lived on campus for four years earning his Bachelor’s of Theology degree.  It was there under the tutelage of Dr. Dow Robinson (Summer Institutes of Linguistics), and Dr. Frank Longino (Dallas Theological Seminary) that he was motivated to pursue a career in Theology.  Dr. Robinson wrote two books on Linguistics, Workbook on Phonological Analysis (SIL, 1970) and Manuel for Bilingual Dictionaries: Textbook (SIL, 1969).  It was under these teachers’ guidance that Frost entered into his Master’s studies, being granted a scholarship for Greek I and II at Pentecostal Theological Seminary, accredited, in Cleveland, Tennessee (adjunct of Lee University).  Frost completed his study under Dr. French Arrington, who used the text of J. Gresham Machen, New Testament Greek for Beginners. Frost studied Hebrew for two years under Dr. Mark Futato (author, Beginning Biblical Hebrew, Eisenbrauns, 2003) and Dr. Bruce K. Waltke (author, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Eisenbrauns, 1990) at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, Florida. With combined credits from PTS and RTS, Samuel completed his Master of Arts in Christian Studies and Master of Arts in Religion from Whitefield Theological Seminary in Lakeland, Florida under the direct tutelage of Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, co-author of the well reviewed work, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism (Whitefield Media, 2005) with Dr. Gary Crampton (and Foreword by the late, Dr. D. James Kennedy).  Dr. Talbot also oversaw Samuel’s Dissertation, From the First Adam to the Second and Last Adam (2012) earning him the Magister Theologiae (Th.M.) degree.  He also helped put together A Student’s Hebrew Primer for WTS and graded exams in Hebrew. Samuel’s studies lead him into an issue in the field of Eschatology where his scholarship and unique approach in Hermeneutics garnered him recognition.  Because of the controversial nature of some of his conclusions, scholars were sharp in their disagreement with him.  Frost’s initial work, Misplaced Hope: The Origins of First and Second Century Eschatology (2002, Second Edition, 2006 Bi-Millennial Publishing), sold over four thousand units.  While arguing for the Reformation understanding of sola Scriptura as defined by the Westminster Confession of Faith, Frost’s book launched a heavily footnoted argument for a total reassessment of the doctrine known as the Second Coming of Christ.  The conclusion was that the events of the war of the Jewish nation against their Roman overlords in 66-70 C.E. formed the New Testament authors’ eschatological outlook, and went no further than their own first century generation; a view otherwise known as “full” or "hyper" Preterism.  Internationally recognized Evangelical author and speaker Steve Wohlberg remarked, ‘On the “preterist” side today…we have such influential leaders as Gary DeMar, Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., David Chilton, R.C. Sproul, Max King, James Stuart Russell, Samuel M. Frost, and John Noe.  To these scholars…the beast is not on the horizon, he’s dead” (Italics, his)” (End Time Delusions, Destiny Image Publishers, 2004, page 133).  It should be noted that only Noe, King and Frost supported the “full” Preterist position. Thomas Ice and co-author of the best selling Left Behind series, Tim LaHaye, quote Frost’s work, Misplaced Hope, as well in their book, The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming under Attack (Harvest House Publishers, 2003, page 40).  Dr. Jay E. Adams, who single handedly launched “a revolution” in Christian Counseling with his work, Competent to Counsel: An Introduction to Nouthetic Counseling, (1970, Zondervan), also wrote an analysis of Frost’s work in Preterism: Orthodox or Unorthodox? (Ministry Monographs for Modern Times, INS Publishing, 2004).  Dr. Charles E. Hill, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, wrote of Misplaced Hope that Frost, “attacks the problem of the early church in a much more thoroughgoing way than I have seen” (When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper Preterism, Ed. Keith Mathison, Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing, 2003, ‘Eschatology in the Wake of Jerusalem’s Fall’ p. 110-ff.).  There were several other works as well that took the scholarship of Frost seriously, like Ergun Caner in The Return of Christ: A Premillennial Perspective, Eds., Steve W. Lemke and David L. Allen (B&H Publishing, 2011). Because of the controversial nature of Frost’s conclusions on these matters, it was difficult to find a denomination within the Church-at-Large to work in terms of pastoral ministry.  That situation changed when Samuel was called by a Bible study group in Saint Petersburg, Florida to found a congregation.  Christ Covenant Church was established in 2002 operating under the principles outlined by Presbyterian historian James Bannerman’s work, The Church of Christ: A Treatise on the Nature, Powers, Ordinances, Discipline, and Government of the Christian Church (Banner of Truth Trust, 1974, original, 1869).  By-Laws and a Constitution were drawn up in the strictest manner for what was considered an “Independent” establishment of a Presbyterian Church, granted that a “call” was received and recognized by Presiding Elders duly ordained from existing and recognized denominations.  Two Elders, one ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Mike Delores), and another ordained in the Presbyterian Church of America (Dr. Kelly N. Birks, now deceased) tested and reviewed the call, ordaining Samuel on October 20th, 2002, the Twenty Second Sunday after Trinity.  Proper forms were submitted to Tallahassee, Florida with the stamp of a Notary Public Witness.  Christ Covenant Church (CCC) functioned as a local church for five years with a congregation as large as 30 members.  Frost was gaining recognition after Misplaced Hope had been published in January of that year, and conferences were hosted that included debates with another prominent "full" Preterist educator, Don K. Preston.  CCC hosted best-selling authors, Thomas Ice, and Mark Hitchcock from Dallas Theological Seminary; and Dr. James B. Jordan (Westminster Theological Seminary), well-known author/pastor in Reformed theological circles.  Frost was invited for the next several years to speak at over 25 conferences nation-wide, was featured in articles and an appearance on local news in Tampa for one of CCC’s conferences.  The Evangelical Theological Society also invited Samuel to speak at the Philadelphia conference (Frost is currently a Member of ETS as well as Society of Biblical Literature). During this time Samuel had submitted one more book, Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead (TruthVoice, 2008; repr. JaDon Publishing, 2010); and co-wrote, House Divided: A Reformed Response to When Shall These Things Be? (Vision International, 2010).  Frost also wrote several Forewords for up and coming authors who were influenced by his teaching materials, as well as cited many times in books, lectures and academic papers.  However, because of certain aspects of Hermeneutics and Frost’s undaunted commitment to scholarship (with always a strong emphasis on the personal nature of devotional living to Christ), several challenges to the "hyper" Preterist view he espoused finally gave way, largely due to the unwavering commitment to Samuel by the Dean of Whitefield Theological Seminary, Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot, who continually challenged him.  In what shocked the "hyper" Preterist world, Samuel announced after the Summer of 2010 that he was in serious error, and departed the movement as a whole, along with Jason Bradfield, Assistant Pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church, Lakeland, Florida .  Christ Covenant Church had dissolved after 2007 while Samuel continued as a public speaker and writer, largely due to reasons that would unravel Frost’s commitment to "hyper" Preterism as a whole. The documentation of Frost’s departure was published by American Vision’s Founder, Gary DeMar, with a Foreword by Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry.  Why I Left Full Preterism (AV Publishing, 2012) quickly sold out its first run.  The book was later republished under the arm of Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry and is sold today (GoodBirth Ministries Publishing, 2019).  Dr. Keith Mathison, Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformation Bible College in Sanford, Florida, endorsed the book as well.  Samuel has gone on to write, Daniel: Unplugged (Kindle/Amazon, 2019); The Parousia of the Son of Man (Lulu Publishing, 2019); God: As Bill Wilson Understood Him, A Theological Analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous (Lulu Publishing, 2017).  He is also active as a certified Chaplain with the Henry County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana, and enrolled with ICAADA (Indiana Counselor’s Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse) working directly under Dr. Dennis Greene, Founder of Christian Counseling and Addictions Services, Inc.  Frost’s passion is in the education of the local church on various issues and occasionally works Pastor Alan McCraine with the First Presbyterian Church in Lewisville, Indiana where he periodically is called upon to give the sermon.  He also is working with Redemption Life Bible Church with Pastor Tyler Jackson in New Castle, Indiana.  Samuel, with his wife, Kimberly, helped to establish Heaven’s Bread Basket food pantry that donates food items to local families in need once a month – a ministry of the Session of First Presbyterian Church. Samuel has four children, one step-son, ages sixteen to twenty-eight and has worked part time at Ace Hardware in New Castle, Indiana for over five years.  He has a solid reputation in the community, and has performed marriages and funerals.  He also sits on the Board of the Historical Preservation Committee in New Castle.

2 thoughts on “Revelation Chapter 1: The Parousia”

  1. Penny,

    Imagine – rather, think biblically – if this reign of Christ which is above the heavens, and of all things on earth, were to manifest itself in its fullness. If, in one second, the veil between things seen and things unseen was literally lifted so that all could see the Reign of the Son of Man, the Cosmos filling, all filling Reign and Rule. What would happen if this were made manifest in the universe – where it was now “seen” – Death would disappear. Imagine the manifestation of heaven itself on earth. That’s the Lord’s Prayer.

    Liked by 1 person

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