Monday, 6 October 2008

How is Jesus present?

Dear Readers!

Here is a reply to a question raised by one of my friends. The question is: “How was or is Jesus ‘present’”

I do have a problem with the concept of an "invisible presence" of Jesus from 1914 onwards. I'm sorry, but I don't think this is logical. There is nothing like an "invisible presence" or at least this is not special, Jesus was present all the time, invisible to humans...

20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded YOU. And, look! I am with YOU all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew18).

Clearly Jesus promised to be always "with them". That is an "invisible presence". I mean, where was Jesus between 33CE and 1914 if he became "present" invisibly in heaven in that year? Was he on holiday? Did he sleep?

Surely he has been with Jehovah in heaven...

17 Jesus said to her: “Stop clinging to me. For I have not yet ascended to the Father. But be on your way to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and YOUR Father and to my God and YOUR God.’ (John20)

This is where he was all the time. That did not change in 1914!

In fact, I agree on that point with Gordon. The way Jesus is "present" on earth is through his "wife", his flesh, his fiancée. The second presence started with the anointing of Russell and his faithful friends years before 1914. This was the continuation call into the New Covenant. These faithful man where chosen to be the future bride of Christ and it was through them that he was "present" again on earth.

True, the Gentile Times ended in 1914. Now how did they end? Well, by virtue of Jesus' "flesh" being around on earth again. Before that year, the saints like Russell where part of Jesus' bride and made up his flesh but they were still under the kingship malediction of the Gentile Times!

But as soon as the Gentile Times ended, Jesus inherited the throne of David. He was Jehovah's vassal king in heaven and by virtue of the New Covenant, his anointed brothers were his flesh. Now actually Russell being the head and leader of the International Bible Students became Jesus' earthly vassal king over God's people. He didn't have to be enthroned etc., because Jesus was in heaven and Russell shared this authority by virtue of being the head of Jesus’ body on earth.

I would appreciate comments and ideas on that topic.



Ronald said...

The Parousia of Christ is connected with the kingdom. Initially, Christ comes as a thief in the night, "The kingdom of God doesn't come with observation." (Luke 17:20, World English Bible translation) "nor will they say, `Look, here it is!' or, `There it is!' For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst." (Luke 17:21, NASB translation) Then Jesus states, as recorded in Matthew 24:27:

Matt 24:27 "For just as the lightning (Greek, astrape: light, bright shining) comes from the east and flashes [Greek, phaino: shines] even to the west, so will the coming [Greek, Parousia: presence] of the Son of Man be. (NAS)

Lightning does not generally come from the east and shine even to the west, but the sun does. The word "lightning" is a poor translation of the Greek word "astrape," which signifies "bright shining" (as given in Luke 11:36 in the KJV), and really refers here, as the context indicates, to the sunlight which shines always from the east even to the west, while on the other hand, lightning flashes in a variety of directions, wherever the electrical forces producing it may be discharged. A flash of lightning would only luminate the sky for a split second, which is not a good illustration of Jesus' return.

When the word parousia is understood as "presence" rather than simply "coming," the statement is seen to declare that the presence of Christ will be like the sunlight, gradually illuminating the world. It is not split second of time, in which all the world sees and recognizes Jesus, as some have seemingly assumed.

Those who are awake and watching, the children of the light, are the first to discern and rejoice in His presence. The children of the night and of the darkness will awake when the Sun of Righteousness will arise in His full glory, and all the sin-sick will rejoice in the healing to be gained through the influence of His rays. Therefore, Jesus uses here the illustration of how the sun brings light as it comes up the east and goes to the west. This well depicts the sun of righteousness who arises with healing in his wings. (Malachi 4:2) The shining is not confined to any one place, but its effect is different in different places. The bright shining (verse 27) means truths and knowledge greatly increases, especially during the time that Christ is returning. That this shining is visible from the east to the west, refers to the fact that our Lord's presence reveals truth that not only is seen now, but even unto the west, the end of the Millennium, even as the sun gradually moves across the sky from east to west. (Revelation 21:23-24). When the sun first rises in the east, it is not especially bright, but the rays of light can be seen gleaming through the sky. As it continues its journey, the shining gets brighter and brighter.

The sun shine of this new day, however, is different from a normal day, for the prophecy says that the bright shining is darkened by the clouds. (Isaiah 5:30; Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15) The clouds we understand to mean obscurity -- darkness and trouble on earth. (Isaiah 8:22) It is a unique day, different from what we have known before, for we are told that at evening time, rather than darkness coming, there will be light. (Zechariah 14:7) Thus seen, we can see that this day endures on into the millennial rule, when the world will be instructed in the ways of Yahweh, and the knowledge of Yahweh will fill the earth. -- Isaiah 2:2-4; 6:11.

At first, only those who are spiritually awake recognize this presence, (1 Thessalonians 5:4-6) but after Satan is abyssed, all men will become aware of his presence. (Revelation 20:3; Isaiah 25:7; Revelation 1:7) To the watchers in Zion, this light is now seen in the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies, as well as a flood of knowledge that causes understanding of many spiritual truths that were hidden in the darkness of the wilderness for over a thousand years. Thus to them it has a special meaning. But to the world the light first brings a time of trouble, as never seen before in history, for poor humanity, still being out of harmony with God and truth, cannot properly control the increase of knowledge that has so gradually filled the world since 1799. (Daniel 12:1,4) Yet they are ever learning, but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7) God's kingdom is in their midst, but they do not recognize it. -- Luke 17:21.

Thus seen, in agreement with other scriptures, Christ's parousia, covers a period of time, in which many things occur. Yes, Jesus does arrive at the beginning of his parousia, his presense as King, and thus remains present. The Greek word parousia means more than just his arrival, but it also includes the things prophesied to happen during his parousia.
See my study on this at:

W. E. Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words: Parousia, literally, a presence, para, with, and ousia, being.denotes both n arrival and a consequent presence with. Robert Young's Analytical Concordance to the Bible: Parousia, a being alongside, presence.

Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary of the Greek Testament Foreword: "Parousia, as applied to the return of the Lord, is simply the anglicizing of the Greek word which literally means 'presence.'

One way of showing that the parousia is a period of time can be seen by comparing two scritpures:

Matthew 24:37-39 - As the days of Noah, so will be the coming [parousia -- kingly presence] of the Son of Man. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they didn't know until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming [parousia - Kingly presence] of the Son of [the] Man
Luke 17:26 - As it happened in the days of Noah, even so will it be also in the days [parallels with "parousia" of Matthew 24:37] of the Son of Man.

Thus the world in general is carrying on these affairs in the days of Jesus' parousia, that is, his parousia is not known to them. It is not until after the resurrection, that even those who pierced him will be brought back to life so that they may "see" him, and thus "They also who err in spirit shall come to understanding, and those who murmur shall receive instruction." -- Revelation 1:7; Isaiah 29:24.

For more on this, see:

Christian love,

Ronald said...

While do I believe that Charles Taze Russell was especially used by God, I do not believe that he was appointed head over Jesus' body on earth. Russell never believed that he was such a head.

Russell, of course, believed Christ's parousia began in 1874, not 1914.

One of the things connected with Jesus' parousia is a harvest work -- the end of the age, which I believe began in 1874 and will continued until Satan, the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), is abyssed. (Revelation 20:3) I do not, however, view the harvest as a physical separation delineating one as belonging to this or that religious group or organization.

Christian love,

Faith Love Hope said...

Hi Ronald!

Thanks for your comment and your explanation! I agree with most of what you say in the essay you copied, although my undestanding seems to suggest that this light "dawned" not from 1799 but more from 1870/80 onwards. But in fact, that is a technical point only.

As regards Russell, I have studied his "Studies in the Scriptures" and much of his work. I appreciate that brother Russell never claimed to be a "king" or someone special.

In fact, it was his wife that suggested that he himself is the "faithful and dicreet slave" of Matthew24:45.

While Russell expected the dawn of the Millenium in 1874 he understood that there is a 40 years "wilderness period" prior to Jesus taking over world goverment and the universal king. Of course, Russells understanding was progressive and changed until his death in 1916.

As regards the separation work, I believe that we have seem a biblical pattern for a continuation of the "Gentile call" into the New Covenant in the late 19th century.

For every covenant there must be one ecclesia ("called out") and around Russell a new "ecclesia" was founded to be the church of the continuation of the call into the New Covenant in the 19th and 20th century.

Historically I appreciate that Rutherford took power in the IBSA tha Russell founded and the split resulted in the IBSA, the Watchtower org and many minor groups. But most of the remaining members of Christ's body were called before 1925.

Now that all those members are sealed (probably since 2008Tishri1) there is no advantage anymore for any of those groups that resulted from Russell's work.

I myself believe that from October 2001 onwards we see the Scripture of Acts2 fulfilled where Peter quotes Joel saying that in the "last days" God will pour out his spirit on all sorts of flesh. The Holy Spirit currently freely distributes ideas, understandings and keys to the Scriptures and it is our duty and joy to humbly seek those gems and collect them together for the faithful believers during the "Great Tribulation".

May God bless your faith and your work for him,