What function does the parousia (second advent or return of Christ) have in sections of the NT? I am convinced that it is not simply an encourgement for people to buy fire insurance so that they will spend eternity playing volley ball on the clouds with the angels in heaven. It is about the consummation of God's justice in a world that is brutal and dark. It is an encourgement to the oppressed and downtrodden. It is an exhortation to discipleship and perseverance. Consider these two exhortations from two different writers:
"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. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words." (1 Thess. 4.16-18)
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Heb. 10.24-25).
I wonder how the parousia fits into a view of Christian discipleship and ethics without lapsing into a Left-Behindesque fiasco?