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STUDY 5: THE MANNER OF OUR LORD’S RETURN

 

Scriptures are cited from the King James (Authorized) Version, unless stated otherwise.

 

ACCORDING to the creeds, our Lord is to return visibly to the natural eyes of men, riding upon

a literal cloud, blowing a literal trumpet, shining with a dazzling light and blasting the literal

universe into atoms. This view, however, contradicts the Scriptural principle of interpretation;

for it interprets figurative passages, such as parables, symbols, and dark sayings literally.

Furthermore, it defies logical analysis; for example, in view of the roundness of the earth, how

could everyone see Him coming at the same time? A literal trumpet, blowing loud enough to be

heard all over the earth, would burst the eardrums of all within 12,000 miles of it. And if the

light from the glorified body of Christ should appear to the natural eyes of men, they would be

instantly blinded, as was Saul on the way to Tarsus.

 

A candid, reverent and careful study of the Scriptures reveals the fact that our Lord’s Return is to

be invisible to men’s natural sight, but visible to their mental sight, their eyes of understanding.

We will now present nine additional lines of Biblical evidence proving this point.

 

Direct Statements of the Bible

 

(2.) The Bible directly teaches that Jesus will no more be seen by human beings. “Yet a little

while, and the world seeth me no more” (John 14: 19). The Lord’s Church will see Him, but only

when they are changed and made like Him (1 John 3: 2). St. Paul also wrote about our glorified

Lord: “Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom

[in His glorified condition] no man hath seen, nor can see” (1 Timothy 6: 16).

 

“As a Thief in the Night”

 

(3.) The Scriptures teach that His Return would be thief-like in its manner

(1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6) (2 Peter 3: 10) (Revelation 16: 15). When a thief comes to break into a

house, he does so quietly. Our Lord comes in a similar manner, unknown to the world. But as a

thief’s presence may be known by his accomplices by certain signs, so the Lord promised to

make His presence known, after His Return, to His faithful watching people, by certain signs and

proofs (Matthew 24: 3, 30-33).

 

“The Kingdom of God is in your Midst”

 

(4.) The invisibility of the heavenly phase (Jesus and the Church) of God’s Millennial Kingdom,

implies that our Lord’s Return would be invisible; because He is the chief member of that

Kingdom. Luke 17: 20, 21 reads, “The kingdom of God cometh not with observation [men will

not be able to see Christ and His Saints when They come to rule]: Neither shall they say, Lo

here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God [which you will be unable to point out] is

[shall be] within you [in your midst, invisible].”

 

“As the Days of Noah were”

 

(5.) In Matthew 24: 37-39 Jesus proves that mankind would not see Him in His Second Advent:

“As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming [presence] of the Son of man be. For as in

the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in

marriage. . . . And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the

coming [presence] of the Son of man be.” Jesus here shows that the activities of the people and

their ignorance of the impending trouble just before the flood correspond to the activities and

ignorance of the people during His Second Presence just before the Great Tribulation.

 

“As the Lightning cometh out of the East”

 

(6.) Jesus declares that as the natural sun manifests its presence by the natural light which it

gives out, so He would manifest His Second Presence by the symbolic light, Truth, that He

would give out at that time. This is shown in Matthew 24: 27: “For as the lightning [bright

shining – sun] cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming

[presence] of the Son of man be.”

 

“Every Eye shall see Him”

 

(7.) The invisibility of our Lord at His Return to men’s natural eyes is implied by the passages

which show that all mankind, including Israel, will see the Lord in His Second Advent, when we

harmonize such passages with those which teach that in His present condition no man hath seen

nor can see Him (1 Timothy 6: 16), and that after His glorification the world would no more see

Him (John 14: 19). One example is Revelation 1: 7: “Behold, he cometh with clouds [of trouble

in the Great Tribulation]; and every eye shall see him [with their eyes of understanding], and

they also which pierced him.”

 

“In like Manner as ye have seen Him go”

 

(8.) Acts 1: 11: “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like

manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” This passage is usually interpreted as though the

comparison were His being seen going and His being seen coming again, whereas the passage

says nothing whatever about His being seen coming again. The point of comparison in this

passage is between the manner of His going and the manner of His coming again. And from the

manner in which He went away we learn certain things respecting the manner of His Return: (1)

He went away secretly so far as the world was concerned, none but His disciples knowing of it at

the time; so He comes again secretly so far as the world is concerned, none but His Faithful

knowing of it in its first stages; (2) He went away quietly and unostentatiously; hence He returns

quietly and unostentatiously; (3) He went away blessing those whom He left; hence He returns,

blessing first His waiting Church and later the world of mankind; and (4) concerning His Divine

body, He was invisible to the natural eyes of human beings in His going away, though manifest

to His disciples as going by suitable accompanying works; hence on returning He is invisible to

the natural eyes of mankind, though He is manifested as present by suitable accompanying

works.

 

St. Paul’s Logical Argument

 

(9.) St. Paul’s logical argument to the Thessalonians that Christ’s Return had not yet set in; an

argument that would have been quite clumsy were His Return visible to the natural eyes of men

(2 Thessalonians 2: 1-9). The Thessalonians had mistakenly inferred from St. Paul’s first epistle

to them, that the Lord’s Second Advent had set in; therefore, the Apostle wrote the second epistle

to them, among other things, to correct this mistaken impression. If St. Paul had taught the

Thessalonians that our Lord’s Return is to be visible to the natural eye, accompanied by other

outward demonstrations, undoubtedly, he would have used that argument to refute the error of

the Thessalonians. But the fact that he did not use that argument is strong evidence that St. Paul

had never taught them to believe that our Lord’s Return would be visible, nor did they

themselves believe that. On the contrary, St. Paul’s argument was that certain predicted but

unfulfilled signs must precede the Second Advent.

 

Jesus now a Spirit Being

 

(10.) Our tenth line of Scriptural evidence proving that our Lord’s Return is invisible to men’s

natural sight, though visible to their mental eyes, is that our Lord since His resurrection is no

more a human, but is a spirit being, with a body that is invisible to our natural sight. Hence the

manner of his Coming must be invisible. Let us now prove this fact from the Bible.

 

Direct Bible Statements

 

(1.) God directly tells us that Jesus is now a spirit being. 1 Corinthians 15: 45 reads, “The first

man Adam [Genesis 2: 7] was made a living soul [a human being with a human body]; the last

[Jesus, the Second (v. 47)] Adam was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit.” Hence as the

Adam of the garden of Eden was made a human being, so the Adam from heaven (Jesus in His

resurrection) was made a spirit being. In v. 46 St. Paul tells us that the Adam of the garden of

Eden was not a spirit, but a human being. St. Paul proves this by showing in v. 47 that the first

Adam had a body made “of the earth,” of material substances, while the Second Adam, our Lord,

has a body “from heaven,” of spiritual substances. Other passages also teach that our Lord since

His resurrection is a spirit being (2 Corinthians 3: 17) (2 Corinthians 5: 16) (1 Peter 3: 18).

 

Jesus’ Joint-Heirs to be Spirit Beings

 

(2.) The Scriptures infer that our Lord is now a spirit being by declaring that the saints in their

resurrection receive spirit bodies, and that they thereby receive bodies like His body. Hence His

body must be a spirit body. That the saints were promised spirit bodies we see from

1 Corinthians 15: 42, 44: “So also is the resurrection of the dead [the first resurrection

(Revelation 20: 4, 6)]. It is sown in corruption [material beings are corruptible]; it is raised in

incorruption [spirit beings are incorruptible]. It is sown a natural [material, earthly] body; it is

raised a spiritual [immaterial, heavenly] body.” This passage proves that the saints receive spirit

bodies, and thus are spirit beings in the resurrection, as during their earthly lifetime they have

had human bodies, and hence have been human beings. Other passages also prove that the saints

are changed from human to spirit beings in the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15: 51-54)

(1 John 3: 2) (1 Corinthians 15: 48, 49) (Philippians 3: 21).

 

Jesus’ Inheriting Kingdom Proves He is a Spirit

 

(3.) Jesus has inherited the kingdom of heaven, which a human being cannot inherit, unless he

gives up his humanity and becomes a spirit being. St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15: 50 that

“flesh and blood [a human being as such (Hebrews 2: 14)] cannot inherit the kingdom of God;

neither doth corruption inherit incorruption [material bodies are not made spiritual bodies].” To

gain the heavenly resurrection, the members of the Church had to be changed from human nature

to a spiritual nature without their bodies being converted into that of another nature

(1Corinthians 15: 50-54). Jesus taught this same truth to Nicodemus (John 3: 5-8).

 

Jesus Higher than the Angels

 

(4.) The fact that Jesus is now higher than the angels proves that our Lord, since His

resurrection, is a spirit being. While He was in the flesh He was lower than the angles, as St.

Paul declares in Hebrews 2: 9: “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for

the suffering of death.” When Jesus was in the flesh, a human being, He was a little lower than

the angles, but the Bible teaches that since His resurrection He is higher than the angles – even a

Divine being (Hebrews 1: 3-5) (Ephesians 1: 20-22) (Philippians 2: 9-11).

 

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