“Presence” is over a period of time and “coming” is an instant in time?

The Greek word rendered “coming” in Mat 24:30 differs from the Greek word in Mat 24:3 rendered “presence/coming.”


YLT Mat 24:3 And when he is sitting on the mount of the Olives, the disciples came near to him by himself, saying, 'Tell us, when shall these be? and what is the sign of thy presence, and of the full end of the age?'

KJV Mat 24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

GNT Mat 24:3 καθημενου δε αυτου επι του ορους των ελαιων προσηλθον αυτω οι μαθηται κατ ιδιαν λεγοντες ειπε ημιν ποτε ταυτα εσται και τι το σημειον της σης παρουσιας και της συντελειας του αιωνος


YLT Mat 24:30 and then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in the heaven; and then shall all the tribes of the earth smite the breast, and they shall see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of the heaven, with power and much glory;

KJV Mat 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

GNT Mat 24:30 και τοτε φανησεται το σημειον του υιου του ανθρωπου εν τω ουρανω και τοτε κοψονται πασαι αι φυλαι της γης και οψονται τον υιον του ανθρωπου ερχομενον επι των νεφελων του ουρανου μετα δυναμεως και δοξης πολλης

2 Answers 2


BDAG list two principal meanings with numerous example which I will summarise below.

1. The state of being present at a place, presence Examples include (with my translations):

  • Cor 16:17 - I rejoice over the presence of Stephanus and Furtunatus and Archaicus who made up for the you absence
  • Phil 2:12 - … as always you have not always obeyed me in my presence but also more so in my absence

2. Arrival as the first stage in presence coming, advent Examples include (my translations again):

  • (of humans) 2 Cor 7:6, 7 - but God who encourages the lowly encouraged us by the arrival of Titus, and not only by his arrival

  • (of Christ and nearly always of His Messianic Advent in glory to judge the world at the end of the age) Matt 24:3 - what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?

  • 1 Cor 15:23 - each one in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ.

  • 2 Thess 2:8 - and then will be revealed the lawless one whom the Lord Jesus will consume by the breath of His mouth and will destroy by the appearance of His coming.

  • See also 2 Peter 3:4, 1 John 2:28, Matt 24:27, 37, 39 which all speak of Jesus' Advent/coming as a spectacular event that cannot be missed by anyone. Similarly with 1 Thess 2:19, 3:13, 4:15, James 5:7, which all discuss the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ as an event to be anticipated.

The word παρουσια, etymologically, is more that either "coming" or "presence" as BDAG points out. It is a combination of the two and any emphasis of one to the detriment of the other robs the NT writers of their intent. The closest English word is "advent" which means "the arrival to be with". Some NT references certainly emphasis the arrival aspect more but the presence cannot be eliminated.

Thus, Jesus' "Parousia" is his coming - a spectacular event that will begin a new era of His permanent presence with the saints - one could say it is the Advent of Jesus!

  • @ Dr Peter McGowen Your 1 Cor 16:17 & Phil 2:12 leaves me with the impression that Presence is long term as it is contrasted with absence which is also long term whereas Arrival & (coming (to come) is still in an instant of time or very short? Thanks
    – user26950
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 17:03
  • See my conclusion above
    – user25930
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 19:43

The literal meaning of παρουσία is “presence,” or “being beside.”1 It is composed of παρά, “a preposition indicating close proximity”2 (i.e., by, beside, with),

Thayer, p. 476, παρά

and οὐσία, “being,” a noun derived from the present participle of the verb εἰμί, “to be.” The verb πάρειμι means “to be by...to be present.”3

Thayer, p. 487, πάρειμι

However, conjugations of the verb πάρειμι are used in the “Sept[uagint] chiefly for [the Hebrew verb] בּוא [“to come”].”4 Other Greek words equivalent to the English participle “coming” would be, depending on the syntax, the infinitive ἐλθεῖν,5 the noun ἔλευσις,6 or a declension of the participle ἐρχόμενος.7

All that being said, one’s παρουσία (“presence”) is so intrinsically connected with their arrival that “coming” is a suitable translation. Hence, Thayer:8

Thayer, p. 490, παρουσία


1 Smalley, p. 208
2 Thayer, p. 476
3 Thayer, p. 487
4 ibidem
5 Mal. 4:5 LXX
6 Acts 7:52
7 Matt. 24:30
8 Thayer, p. 490


Smalley, Stephen S. Word Biblical Commentary: 1, 2, 3 John, Volume 51. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.

Wilke, Christian Gottlob. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Being Grimm Wilke’s Clavis Novi Testamenti. Trans. Thayer, Joseph Henry.Ed. Grimm, Carl Ludwig Wilibald. Rev. ed. New York: American Book, 1889.

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