QUESTION: How could Jehovahs Witnesses or the Governing Body misunderstand a simple, plain reading verse, such as Acts 1:11? New International Version: “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
To be anything other than Jesus setting foot on this earth at his return? or at the very least he will be visible in a human or human like form 99% of professed Christians or anyone that can read English for that matter can understand this verse no problem. In fact, I have showed it to a family member before and he said “it’s not literal”
ANSWER: That’s a good question. And the simple answer is they are blind. They have been blinded by their “invisible parousia” dogma. As an indication, the biblical words “revelation” and “apocalypse” signify that something hidden will be revealed, unveiled. Jehovah’s Witnesses, though, believe that Christ was unveiled sitting upon his throne back in 1914. And they have their little chronological formula to prove it.
However, and this is a fairly big deal, unbeknownst to Jehovah’s Witnesses the Governing Body has already repudiated their own 1914 doctrine – although, perhaps inadvertently. Whether through sheer blunder or not, the Watchtower’s latest “adjustment” regarding when it is the master comes to inspect his slaves as to their faithfulness in carrying out their duties to feed the domestics has nullified their teaching that an invisible parousia began in 1914. How so?
Because the coming of the master to judge his slaves occurs concurrent with the beginning of the presence of Christ. That is evident from any sober-minded consideration of what Jesus said in prefacing his parable of the faithful and discreet slave, as recorded in the 12 chapter of the gospel according to Luke.
Here is verses 35-40: “Be dressed and ready and have your lamps burning, and you should be like men waiting for their master to return from the marriage, so when he comes and knocks, they may at once open to him. Happy are those slaves whom the master on coming finds watching! Truly I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at the table and will come alongside and minister to them. And if he comes in the second watch, even if in the third, and finds them ready, happy are they! But know this, if the householder had known at what hour the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also, keep ready, because at an hour that you do not think likely, the Son of man is coming.”
Essentially, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in two comings of Christ. They believe that Jesus came in 1914, but that he is also coming again in the future, at an hour no one knows. But according to Jesus’ illustration his coming as a thief results in his coming alongside his faithful disciples in order to minister to them. (Interestingly, the new NWT has Jesus getting dressed for service.)
Now, according to Jesus’ parting words to his disciples he would be with them all the days until the conclusion of the system of things. So, Jesus’ dressing himself for service as a minister of his disciples and coming alongside and reclining with them, is something extraordinary – far beyond the Lord merely being with them all the days since his departure.
According to the Watchtower’s definition of the Greek word “parousia” it means literally to come alongside. Sober individuals might inquire as to what evidence can be produced to indicate that Jesus came alongside the International Bible Students in 1914. Was there a marked difference in their relationship with Jesus from 1913 to 1914? If so, in what way? As I have pointed out many times, the Bible Students back then believed that the parousia began in 1874 and they continued to embrace that delusion for a couple of decades beyond the time when the real parousia was supposed to have begun. Obviously, if Jesus had actually begun to minister to them and recline with them he surely would have disabused them of their foolish notion that the parousia had begun in 1874.
And besides that, all of those Bible Students who were alive in 1914 have passed away. Since then thousands of other anointed persons have come and gone too. Is there any evidence that Jesus came alongside any of them to minister to them in any noteworthy way? Or can any Christian alive now give testimony to such a thing? Surely, every honest-reasoning person knows the answer.
Jehovah’s Witnesses have been hoodwinked into believing that there cannot be another world war and pestilence and food shortages in the future that might actually serve as the sign of the beginning of the conclusion. That blindness is even more stark in view of the fact that certain dark powers are obviously hell-bent on igniting a global conflagration. Chatter about World War Three and the Prepper Movement also belies the blindness of Jehovah’s Witnesses. But according to the seers of Bethel the next event on the prophetic calendar is the destruction of Babylon the Great and if any of Jehovah’s Witnesses were to raise questions about the Watchtower’s wild speculation they would be pilloried as an apostate.
But as already stated, by their having reset the coming of the master to inspect his slaves to a point in the future the Society has repudiated the notion that the Lord has already come alongside his disciples. So, we may also expect the signs associated with the coming of Christ to be displayed in full in the future as well. That means World War Three. It means the other horsemen of the apocalypse are going to bring death upon a quarter of the world. And it means the stupid prophets of Bethel are going to be exposed for what they are.
Now as regards Jesus coming again in the manner in which he left. It must be kept in mind that Jesus was resurrected as a spirit. He was not a man. He merely materialized flesh in order to convince is doubting disciples that he had been resurrected. And he always appeared in different bodies – none appearing as Jesus appeared before his death. And in order to convince his disciples that he was actually returning to heaven he appeared in a human body that was levitated up into the sky. Had he not walked his disciples through that they would have never believed he had ascended to heaven. But, obviously, once he was obscured behind the cloud he dissolved his flesh.
Not coincidently, after his resurrection Jesus appeared to two of his disciples and rebuked them for their senselessness and slowness of heart to believe all the things the prophets spoke. We may be certain that rebuke is actually intended for those whom Christ will come alongside in the future.
But the point is, when Jesus ascended to heaven he was a spirit. His return in the same manner must therefore be as a spirit. There is no reason for Jesus to ever become flesh or to even materialize flesh again.
Also, it is noteworthy that during the 40 days after he was resurrected, but before his ascension, Jesus appeared exclusively to believers. No unbelieving Jews ever saw Jesus after his resurrection. (Saul/Paul is the exception) So, the coming presence and manifestation of Jesus will take place only in connection with those who are called to be with Jesus in heaven. And they will not see Jesus as he appeared in human form. That is evident from what Paul wrote concerning his close encounter with the supernatural Christ after his ascension. Paul did not see a man. He was actually blinded for three days by the glory of the sight. And later Paul explained that he was born prematurely; in other words, he saw Jesus as all of the chosen ones will see him when he returns.
The apostle John confirms for us that anointed Christians will see him, not merely when they are joined with him in heaven, but during his manifestation. John wrote: “Beloved ones, we are now children of God, but it has not yet been made manifest what we will be. We do know that when he is made manifest we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is.”
Obviously Jesus has always been manifest in heaven. His manifestation, his presence and revelation are all virtually interchangeable words. And suffice to say, Jesus has not in any manner been revealed or manifest yet, nor has he come alongside Jehovah’s chosen ones. But, he is coming!