THE FALSE PAROUSIA
One of the pillars of the argument that the JWs are the only Christians used & approved by Jehovah – who alone have any hope of surviving into Christ’s Millennial Reign – is that they uniquely fulfill the prophecy of 2 Thess 2 by believing & teaching “the lie” that Christ’s parousia has already begun.
But whilst that is factually incorrect since Preterists, for example, have taught since the late 1500s that ALL prophecy has been fulfilled and Rastafarians have taught since the mid-1930s that Christ came again in the form of Emperor Haile Selassie I, there is actually a far more compelling reason to question that teaching; that being: Jesus clearly foretold that there will actually be a “false parousia” during the Great Tribulation.
“[F]or then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will perform great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. Look! I have forewarned you. Therefore, if people say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For just as the lightning comes out of the east and shines over to the west, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” Matt 24:21-27 NWT
“[F]or those days will be days of a tribulation such as has not occurred from the beginning of the creation that God created until that time, and will not occur again. In fact, unless Jehovah had cut short the days, no flesh would be saved. But on account of the chosen ones whom he has chosen, he has cut short the days. Then, too, if anyone says to you, ‘See! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘See! There he is,’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the chosen ones. You, then, watch out. I have told you all things beforehand. But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling out of heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then he will send out the angels and will gather his chosen ones together from the four winds, from earth’s extremity to heaven’s extremity.” Mark 13:19-27 NWT
(Note that the word translated “then” (τότε) in Matt 24:23 and Mark 13:21 can also be translated as “at that time”; compare NIV.)
In the scriptures above, Jesus indicates that the Great Tribulation will begin and then, “at that time” (τότε), some will declare “Look! Here is the Christ”, or “See! There he is”. Or, in other words: “Christ is here; Christ is present; Christ’s parousia has begun”.
Notice, also, that he said there would be multiple “false Christs and false prophets”. This is in keeping with the fact that there are multiple Christian denominations.
Ultimately, it seems that we may expect every professing Christian, regardless of denomination, to be tested by a false parousia foisted upon them by (some of) the trusted, respected and seemingly holy leadership of their own organisations/congregations (2 Thess 2:2) – and that this will occur during the Great Tribulation, at a crucial time when they will be desperately seeking a “saviour” from their distress.
(Ironically, this places readers of e-watchman in a peculiar situation: many here believe that the “false parousia” is an historic (past) event that is “localised” to JWs, which means they may in fact be caught unaware/unprepared when the “great false parousia” occurs.)
I believe it’s also worth mentioning that genuine Christians ought to be able to identify these antichrists and false prophets:
“Beloved ones, do not believe every inspired statement, but test the inspired statements to see whether they originate with God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you know that the inspired statement is from God: Every inspired statement that acknowledges Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God. But every inspired statement that does not acknowledge Jesus does not originate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspired statement that you have heard was coming, and now it is already in the world. You originate with God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in union with you is greater than the one who is in union with the world. They originate with the world; that is why they speak what originates with the world and the world listens to them.” 1 John 4:1-5 NWT
“My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 NWT