If the Apostles didn’t know Jesus was going to die, how could they understand Jesus’ coming at the Parousia? And does this imply that many of these imminent “comings” mentioned in the NT may have referred to something other than the Parousia?
Futurists sometimes argue that frequent statements made by Jesus concerning His return would not have been understood by the disciples as referring to His second coming as Jesus’ disciples did not even know that He was expected to die (Luke 18:31-34). And if they did not know Jesus was going to die, how could they understand Jesus’ statements concerning His return at the Parousia? This argument suggests that Jesus may have often spoken about more imminent, mundane comings often mistaken for the Parousia as it is assumed that He would not likely say something to His disciples if He knew they would not understand Him. This assumption is certainly false. Jesus knew the disciples often did not understand Him and yet still spoke anyway. In fact, prior to the reception of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the disciples understood surprisingly little of anything Jesus spoke and did (Mark 4:13; 8:14-21; 9:32; Luke 24:44-45; John 12:16; 16:25). Thus the fact that the disciples may not have understood statements concerning the Parousia during Jesus’ earthly ministry cannot be used as evidence that these statements were intended by Jesus to refer to earlier comings other than the Parousia as the disciples frequently did not understand many, many things Jesus taught and that never prevented Jesus from speaking concerning a given topic.