The Second "Parousia" Of Christ
-- Re-Examined

The thought of Jesus making a "return,"

a second "coming" in the 1st century is completely foreign to the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It would be extremely difficult to reconcile these views with those previously taught by the Watchtower Society to them.

FIRST CENTURY "PAROUSIA" OF JESUS -- COULD IT HAVE HAPPENED?

The thought of Jesus making a "return," a second "coming" in the 1st century is completely foreign to the minds of Jehovah’s Witnesses. It would be extremely difficult to reconcile these views with those previously taught by the Watchtower Society to them.

But, sometimes, when the "facts" are examined...we must re-open our minds, to ideas that were previous to now, very foreign, strange to us...and the facts speak for themselves...Jesus did return in the first century. But much proof needs to be presented to make such an assertion to one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Still, there are very powerful scriptural passages that do more than "suggest" this idea...but point blank PROVE IT!

 

Now, before we go any farther, someone, a well-informed Jehovah’s Witness will say:

"You think Jesus is not coming back again...in our 21st century…what about the teachings in the book of Revelation...the 1,000 year reign, the abyssing of Satan...these things haven't occurred...Jesus has to carry these things out, right?"

Again, the answer is Yes…this is correct...and I do agree...

But, but, but, Jesus can accomplish all of the above and yet this NOT be considered as an official “Second Coming,” Why?

Actually, what we, as Jehovah's Witnesses, weren't aware of, yes, didn't know, is that neither Paul, nor first century Christians, as a congregation,
EVER REFER to such magnificent events referred to above, such glorious activity of Christ stated above, as being the "second coming of Christ," or shall we say the "parousia," of Christ. They did not think this as being those events at all.

First Century Christians did not think in terms of this being the second
parousia [or erchomai] of Christ at all, when Jesus would indeed do away with the governments of man and usher in the 1,000 year reign of peace.


No, they didn't.

Now, how can we prove this?

Now, how can we prove this?

Let's look at
1 Corinthians 15:23, 24 which says:

"But each one in his own rank: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who belong to the Christ during his presence/coming [
parousia]. Next, the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power."

Paul, as we know, is describing the different "resurrections" that God is to perform, and has performed...he gives proof that God does purpose to "resurrect" many back to life. He describes three (3) resurrections. He gives us the time when these "resurrections" are performed.

1. Christ's Personal resurrection – obviously occurred in the 1st century

2. "Christians" at his second "parousia" or second coming – thus far an undefined period of time.

3. The "END" -- when the final resurrection is performed by Christ...the graves are emptied.

Three different "resurrections" at three different times periods. Now, we’re not really focusing on the resurrections that much in this discussion as we’re basically seeking to establish how first century Christians THOUGHT of such matters…the second “coming” of Christ.

Did you notice that Paul says one "resurrection" was to occur at Jesus’
"parousia," and one during the "end"? Did you notice that?

Yes, one resurrection at Christ's "parousia," and one at the "end," ...one at the "end." So, then the "parousia" of Christ and the "end"
ARE NOT THE SAME...simple

At least, in the mind of the inspired writer here, Paul...and evidently not in the minds of the first century Christians AT CORINTH...

Now, there is a lot that can be said here...but my point is that Paul does not call the "end" period a "coming" or "parousia" of Christ...no not at all.

He did not think of this as being such.

But remember, the Watchtower Society does.

So, first century Christians PLACED the second coming of Christ, the second "parousia," the "return" of Christ...BEFORE the "end"...much even before the "end." In other words, TO FIRST CENTURY CHRISTIANS, Paul and others, Christ actually had his “second coming” BEFORE he brings about what the Bible calls,
"THE END” … That’s BEFORE he brings about "THE END," of this wicked system of things on earth.

Sure, we know positively Christ indeed brings about the “end” too, but this is not considered to be his “second coming,” at least not to those of the first century.

Now, the Watchtower Society is completely out of their league here...their insights on the scriptures are exhausted here, at this point...

 

COULD CHRIST HAVE HAD A FIRST CENTURY "RETURN"?

As you may know by now, the word “parousia,” (translated “presence” in the NWT) can mean “presence”, but can also mean a “coming,” the same as does echomai, and eltho. In fact, these words all mean the same thing – a “coming.”

It was the Watchtower Society that made a "mess" of things and complicated the matter by trying to say (using the
Emphatic Diaglott) that the word "parousia," means something different...a presence...an invisible presence. But even they have had to admit that the Greek word, "parousia," can indeed mean a "coming" too...depending upon the context. So, the word can go either way...depending upon how the disciples of Jesus and first century Christians understood the way the word was used by the inspired Bible writers of their time.

So, the Watchtower Society divided these words up to mean totally different things, translated them to mean three different things ... namely, ”Presence,” “coming,” and “arrival.” These words were translated as either Presence [parousia], coming [echomai] or arrival [eltho] in the New World Translation. And somehow, split up to mean totally different things.

The Watchtower Society has the “presence” starting in 1914; the “coming” at the “end” just before Armageddon...and finally they used the word translated “arrival,” Christ’s “arrival,” INTERCHANGEABLY…in both instances, as at 1914 and at Armageddon…just depends upon the circumstances and the particular point they wanted to emphasize… NEW WORLD TRANSLATION’S USE OF “ARRIVAL” [GREEK: “ELTHO”] The "interchangeable" word used in multiple senses...


For example, the memorial is supposed to be celebrated until Christ “arrives.” (1 Corinthians 11:26) The problem is, … when is that? 1914 or Armageddon, which?


According to the Watchtower Society, the word "arrived" can mean both periods...both periods...at least it did up to 1995.

Prior to 1995 and the
October 15th, 1995 issue of the Watchtower magazine, if you asked a Jehovah’s Witness when did Jesus “arrive” to separate the sheep and the goats…he would confidently say…

“Jesus ARRIVED in 1914…to start the separating of the Sheep and the Goats…” And would quickly cite Matthew 25: 31, 32, …Jesus “arrives” in all of his glory and all nations are gathered before him, and he begins separating the “sheep” and the “goats,” …the verse does show this. This would have been considered a correct answer, according to the Watchtower Society. And all of this began happening in 1914.

However, the same person could have turned around after this answer was given and asked the same Jehovah’s Witness “how long were they (Christians) supposed to celebrate the Memorial of Jesus’ death?”

Now, the brother would then have to reply…

“Well…we do this until Christ ARRIVES…and that would be at “Armageddon.”

Yes, now, the brother has to turn around and cite 1 Corinthians 11:26 which surely does say, we do this …“we proclaim the Lord’s death until he [Christ] ARRIVES.”…

Do you get it…do you see how stupid we, as Jehovah’s Witnesses would sound then?

First you told the person that Jesus “arrived,” in 1914, and then cited the scripture at Matthew 25:31, 32, as your proof. And sure enough, it says Jesus “arrived” to separate the sheep and the goats,” at this time…which you have explained to be in 1914…Jesus arrived in 1914.. Then, you turn around in the next breath…and say the memorial has to be celebrated until Christ arrives…but this time … Christ “arrives” at Armageddon…that’s at Armageddon, at the “end” of this system…and, of course, we cite 1 Corinthians 11:26 in the NWT as the proof.

Two completely different time periods…completely unreasonable on the Watchtower Society’s part…

Recently, the Watchtower Society saw the need for serious re-thinking and “adjustments,” quickly, before the brothers in general began to re-evaluate this teaching. Thus we have the need for an article in the October 15, 1995 Watchtower magazine which attempted to address this situation.

First Century "Parousia"/"Coming" Of Jesus -- Scriptural Proof

If we, as serious Bible students, take into account the fact that if Christ has already “arrived” in the first century...then, we are really opening things up a bit...right?

As we engage in this discussion, we must remember, to the layman Jehovah’s Witnesses, rank and file, he is lost because he does not know when the “arrival” of Christ was REALLY TO TAKE PLACE. He has been "crippled," he has been taught wrong by the Watchtower Society.

Yes, as mentioned above, sometimes the Watchtower says it is Armageddon and sometimes they say it is 1914. It simply depends upon how they want to teach the point…that’s it.

Now, we are opening our minds to NEW IDEAS, new concepts...so we must, must keep in mind, the possibility does exist for “parousia” to mean “presence” … that fact must be recognized...so we are not disputing this fact. But all we are saying is that the word ...can, can, can mean "coming", a simple "coming" of a person. Yes, it can under certain circumstances and certain conditions… the context of the scriptures would dictate the outcome, the real meaning.

So why don't we let the Bible speak for itself...is it a "coming" or a "presence?" -- Which?

IMPORTANT POINT: As we go along in our discussion, gradually, that point will become quite apparent, that the Greek word "parousia" actually meant "coming" to first century Christians and NOT PRESENCE, an invisible presence, as extrapolated, extracted and concocted by the WTS' use of the Emphatic Diaglott (Benjamin Wilson), even to the most pre-conditioned WTS-indoctrinated Jehovah's Witnesses. This, indeed, is the truth of the matter -- a Biblically, established fact.

Let us proceed to prove this in “Beroean” fashion. -- Acts 17:11

When we examine what the Bible teaches in context, “parousia” in context, we realize the plain and indisputable fact that the Bible writers just used the word “parousia” as a simple “coming” or return of our master, Jesus Christ. Nothing complicated about this at all.

So then, there is no such thing as an “invisible presence” – an invisible “parousia,” an invisible “presence” taught in the scriptures at all. There is just the “coming”, the “coming,” the second “coming” of Christ…that the Bible teaches…The Watchtower Society just made up the whole affair, when you boil it all down…that’s the long and short of it. And this can be easily proven from the scriptures.

Let’s re-examine the situation for ourselves.

The "Coming One" -- "Comes" In the First Century...Twice! -- Matthew 11:2, 3

We remember Jesus Christ made an initial visit, or had a FIRST coming, to inspect the temple for God, as the “messenger of the Covenant.” This is his first visit or coming. He is thus referred to in the scriptures as the “Coming One.”

That’s the “Coming One,” and not the “Present One, or the One who is Present.” And of course, this is referring to his first coming.
Matt. 11:2, 3 says of Jesus:

“But John, having heard in jail about the works of the Christ, sent by means of his own disciples and said to him “Are you the COMING ONE or are we to expect a different one?”

Yes, Jesus was the “Coming One.” And as the "Coming One," he logically has a first "coming" and a second "coming." Therefore the true emphasis is upon his "coming" and not a so-called "presence" of his...that's what everyone expected of him. Therefore, we need to be CONSISTENT with this thought...a "coming"...he was thought to be the "Coming One." Thus we find the Greek words
parousia, and erchomai, actually can mean the same thing, which could call attention to his first “coming” or visit for inspection of the nation of Israel, and second one, based upon him being thought of as the true "Coming One." -- Matthew 11:2, 3

Of course we remember, the nation of Israel "did not discern the time of their inspection” as Jesus said and thus failed the test because of not being prepared. They forfeited their unique opportunity before God to become a “royal nation,” a “priestly nation” to all of the other nations of the earth. – Exodus 19:5, 6; Luke 19:44

But Jesus did make the visit, the initial visit, his first visit, as the word “parousia" actually means…or his “coming.”

He "visited" the nation of Israel for "inspection" as the "
Coming One." That was his job as "messenger of Covenant." And as Jesus came to the end of his first visit, his first “coming” or his “parousia,” while still on earth, Jesus spoke often of his “return” or SECOND “coming.” He spoke of this to his disciples often. That is to his first century disciples.

But when was this to occur? This has been a mystery, his second “coming” or return for many, many years. Because this is precisely the time that Jesus promised he would "return" to "gather" his disciples, his church, and take them back to heaven to be with him.

First century Christians were definitely aware of this teaching, since every one of them were anxiously awaiting this "return" of their Lord and Savior. They were not mixed up about his "return," his "second coming" under NO CIRCUMSTANCES...they knew he was returning and they expected, depended upon this, totally. And they had a definite "doctrine" or teaching they disseminated, or published, on this subject. They were not "in the dark" about such a return or second "coming" of Jesus...as we are today.

Actually, until very recently, no one on earth could really say they completely understood this, this return, or second coming of Jesus. No one could because it was NOT Jehovah’s time to reveal to his people, his prophets His “confidential matters.” – Amos 3:7

But that time was sure to come.

Daniel 12:4 shows that it would be in the time of the end that the book of Daniel would be “unsealed.” The “time of the end.” The book of Daniel would remain “sealed up” until then.

The following information can be considered as Biblical proof that Jesus Christ did return, did “come,” did make his second
parousia, second erchomai his second eltho IN THE FIRST CENTURY, as the first century Christians, and inspired Bible writers and apostles EXPECTED…

A VERY POWERFUL CLUE PROVIDED BY JESUS

Luke 19:11-27 has to be considered one of the most powerful & irrefutable Biblical texts available which clearly demonstrate the ACTUAL TIMING of Jesus' second "coming" or "return" as described in God's Own Word. In these verses it mentions Jesus' going to "secure kingly power for himself and to Return" to reward his slaves -- all of them, good, faithful and unfaithful. He also discusses certain "enemies" of his, who "did not want him to become king" at all. He has all of them "slaughtered before him."

All of this happens at the same time...at
The SAME TIME.

Thus, it becomes a relatively simple matter to fixate the timing of the complete destruction of Jesus' enemies...70 c.e. when Jehovah and Jesus allowed the Roman Army under General Titus to devastate the city of Jerusalem, by killing over 1,100,000 Jews and leading off 97,000 in captivity. This clearly represented the "slaughter" before Jesus that he spoke of...the nation that "did not want him to become king," and subsequently rejected him as "king."


Easy to figure out...the timing...70 c.e.

Thus, it was at this same time, at the time of the "slaughter" of Jesus' enemies, the nation of Israel, that Jesus also dealt with his disciples too. He rewarded some, the faithful to heavenly life, and "abandoned" others, the unfaithful, to themselves on earth, bringing the Christian church in the years after 70 c.e. TO A QUICK NOSE DIVE IN DEBAUCHERY.

 

This is exactly as Matt. 24:40, 41 said it would be,

"Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken along and the other BE ABANDONED; two women will be grinding at the hand mill, one will be taken along and the other BE ABANDONED."

One is "taken along" to heaven, and one is "abandoned" upon the earth, after Jesus makes his Second Return, in 70 c.e.

Yes, in the first century, during his second "parousia," the Bible teaches that Jesus did, indeed, gather those first century faithful and took them to heaven in 70 C.E. And the bible account at Luke 19:11-27 is a big help in that regard.

Thus, the Bible teaches the official "second coming," the "second parousia," of Christ, as UNDERSTOOD BY FIRST CENTURY CHRISTIANS, would occur, they expected it, IN THEIR LIFETIMES. That's how they understood the situation.

However let’s keep in mind, when we speak of the "abyssing of Satan" and the destruction of all human governments, the resurrection of human dead, emptying the graves (sheol/hades) and ushering mankind into a 1,000 millennium of peace, all of these things Jesus will do, even in our lifetime. There is no question about that. But the Bible shows that first century Christians considered this to be "THE END" -- THE END, and not the "second parousia" of Christ.

So then, based upon the scriptural evidence we have at hand, we must conclude something perhaps that Jehovah's Witnesses previously thought to be impossible, unthinkable. Yes, we must scripturally conclude that Jesus Christ did indeed "return," yes have his "second coming", second parousia, in the first century, in
70 C.E., when he actually carried out what he promised he would do in Luke 19:11-27.

Yes, Jesus would "return," and at "his arrival" or when he "comes", Jesus would reward his faithful slaves, first century Christians, the ones he gave the "minas" to "do business" for him. But he also reminded those disciples that at his "arrival," he would also do something else...something very profound.
Luke 19:27 shows he would have "all his enemies that did not want him to become king," those non believers of the Jewish Nation, disbelieving "Israel," ... yes he would have them all destroyed, "slaughtered before him."

And when did this happen?

As mentioned above, without a doubt, this occurred in 70 C.E., when General Titus killed 1.1 million Jews and took another 97,000 captive. Again, this is the clear fulfillment of what Jesus promised when he said, the Biblical account found at
Luke 19:11-27 where it mentions:

(a) "a certain man of noble birth traveled to a distant land to secure kingly power for himself." -- Luke 19:12

(b) ...And "to return" to reward his faithful slaves, who were given the spiritual "minas" to "do business with...TILL I COME [Greek: Erchomai]." -- Luke 19:13

(c) He "returns" only, AFTER he has "secured kingly power" for himself. -- Luke 19:15

(d) this second "coming" of Jesus is also called his "ARRIVAL". -- Luke 19:23

Thus, in these verses, Luke 19:11-27, Jesus describes his going off to "secure kingly power for himself," and what follows for inspection of his disciples as his second "coming," his "arrival," and his "return".

To back this position up,
Romans 1:4 says:

"but who with power was
DECLARED GOD'S SON according to the spirit of holiness by means of resurrection from the dead -- yes, Jesus Christ our Lord."

Thus, Jesus Christ was "DECLARED GOD'S SON" at his resurrection from the dead, in the first century. He was "declared God's Son" at that time.

Psalms 2:6, 7 says in connection with the above thought,

"...I even I, have INSTALLED MY KING upon Zion, my holy mountain. Let me refer to the decree of Jehovah; He has said to me, "You are my Son; I, TODAY, I have become your father."

Yes, Jehovah said, "I TODAY, have become your father," -- at Jesus' resurrection to heavenly life, -- on that "DAY," did Jesus become Jehovah's Son, and Jehovah, on that same said "DAY", did become Jesus' Father...on that "day," the day of his "resurrection," as Romans 1:4 shows.

Thus, at
Revelation 3:21, in the first century, Jesus could well make the following statement as Ruling King, and "Installed King," of the first century:

"To the one that conquers I will grant to sit down with me on my throne, even as I conquered and sat down with my Father on His Throne."

Yes, Jesus "conquered" and "sat down" on His Father's throne, in the first century, at his resurrection to heavenly life. He has been ruling, since his resurrection to heavenly life, sitting upon God's throne and will continue to rule till it is His Father's time to dismantle all humans governments and restore perfect human life to all obedient humanity...to bring all things under "subjection" to the Father.
Hebrews 2:8 says:

"All things you subjected under his feet for in that he subjected all things to him [God] left nothing that is not subject to him [Jesus]. Now, though, we do not yet see all things in subjection to him."

Yes, all things are in "subjection" to Jesus Christ, yet, "we do not yet see all things in subjection to him," as of now. That fact only becomes apparent when Jesus takes the actions described in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, where he brings all things into subjection under the Father's Mighty Hand...including death itself, also brought into "subjection" too. When this happens, Jesus rule will be complete, and all things will be restored to the Father as they should be, as it was in the beginning. After this, Jesus will "hand the kingdom over to his God and Father," when he has accomplished what God set out for him to accomplish..."at the end."

Therefore, on this basis, giving a close examination of all of the scriptural evidence we have at our disposal, yes, we must conclude, we must concede that Jesus did indeed Return, have his "second coming," yes, in the fateful year of 70 C.E. And why do we say this?

...because the Bible says so.

Now we will consider

15 Scriptural Examples

showing first century Christians expected the imminent return of Jesus

in their own lifetimes … in PART 3 of …

 

The Second "Parousia" Of Christ
-- Re-Examined

Part 2

© 1994 - 2017  Donald C. Burney

Written By Donald C. Burney

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