The Second Time Christ Appears

//The Second Time Christ Appears

Hebrews 9:28, speaking of Christ, says “… and the second time he appears…” How can Christ APPEAR a second time if he will not have a visible return to earth? Stumper Question #43

Of all the so-called “stumper questions” this one actually is a stumper for Jehovah’s Witnesses and the leadership of the Watchtower. That is because from the very beginning the Watchtower has proclaimed that Christ’s return and his presence among his followers will be unseen by human eyes.

One of the very first writings of Charles Russell, entitled The Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return (1877), explained the manner of Jesus’ return and presence (parousia) as being invisible. In that pamphlet Russell stated:

“We believe the scriptures to teach, that, at His coming and for a time after He has come, He will remain invisible; afterward manifesting or showing Himself in judgments and various forms, so that ‘every eye shall see Him.’”

While it is surely true that Jesus will not be literally manifest to the world, what is the purpose of his being present if his presence is no different than his absence? Or, expressed another way, since Jesus assured his followers that he would be with them all the days until the conclusion of the system of things, shouldn’t we expect that during the conclusion Jesus will be with them in an extraordinary way?

Originally it was believed that Jesus returned in 1874. Then in 1930 the date for the return of Christ and his parousia was reset from 1874 to 1914. That in itself should cause Jehovah’s Witnesses to question the entire doctrine. After all, if Christ had been invisibly present among the Bible Students beginning in 1914 would they not be aware of that fact? And if the parousia began in 1914 why would Jesus wait for 15 years to publicize his presence? It simply doesn’t add up.

And the fact that the Watchtower had undeniably promoted a false parousia from 1874 up until the adjustment in 1930 stands as a testimony that the overriding compulsion is to justify placing the coming of Christ in the past, whether 1874 or 1914.

One of the key passages upon which the notion of an invisible presence is based is taken from the account in the opening chapter of Acts regarding the ascension, which reads: “After he had said these things, while they were looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud caught him up from their sight. And as they were gazing into the sky while he was on his way, suddenly two men in white garments stood beside them and said: ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was taken up from you into the sky will come in the same manner as you have seen him going into the sky.”’

The reasoning of Pastor Russell, which remains the basis for the Watchtower’s teaching to this day, is that after his resurrection Jesus did not reveal himself to anyone but his disciples. That is in keeping with what Jesus told his followers, that the world would behold him no more.

While that is surely true, the fact remains that Jesus not only visibly appeared to many of his disciples after his resurrection, but they literally saw him lifted up into the sky. And he was only concealed from their view as he ascended into a cloud. It was at that moment the two angels appeared in their midst and told them that Jesus “will come in the same manner as you have seen him.”

The question for Jehovah’s Witnesses to consider is this: Did the disciples see Jesus ascend into the sky? Of course, the answer is yes. Jesus was quite visible to their eyes until he became obscured behind a cloud. Not coincidently, the prophecy of Daniel depicts the Son of man coming upon the clouds of heaven —the same manner in which he departed.

But the important point of differentiation is that Jesus revealed himself to his followers, while his post-resurrection presence and ascension was concealed from non-believers. Not only that, but he appeared to his disciples individually, beginning with Mary and Martha first and then the male disciples. Lastly, he appeared to Saul after his ascension.

In a perverse way the Watchtower’s 1914 doctrine has served a vital function. It has insured that the coming of Christ will be at an hour you do not think likely. And as in the first century, Christ’s future presence will result in individuals seeing him over a period of time, while others will not be privy to his presence. This is what Jesus was alluding to when he said: “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. Wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

In other words, only the “eagles” will see Christ the second time he appears. 

Related articles: The Visible Presence of Jesus Christ

The Parousia

2016-12-08T15:10:21+00:00 May 18th, 2016|Answers|17 Comments
  • Bobby 6343

    Most of these “stumpers” questions have help me immensely. This one by far has sealed for me that the 1914 doctrine is absolutely false; “the Bible Students beginning in 1914 would they not be aware of that fact?” This paragraph says it all!

    They have not been personally aware of this fact! None of the publication that I have read for years ever stated that, not one of them can conclusively say that any of them have had personal experience of seeing him (Christ), hence being “eagles” themselves.

    Another treasure!

  • Basavaraj Of North Karnataka

    TO Brother Robert King
    Brother I really did not understand what you say that In other words, only the “eagles” will see Christ the second time he appears. Can u reply me in detail?

    • Song of Hannah

      Yes, this question has my vote too. Esp my husband expressed curiousity about it.

    • Christian Obadiah

      If I’m not mistaken, the “eagles” symbolize the anointed ones.

    • ewatchman

      Hello Basavaraj

      Instead of commenting here let me write an article on the topic. That way it will be more accessible and permanent. I’ll try to knock one out today, although I slept late, for reasons I won’t go into

      • Basavaraj Of North Karnataka

        Thank You Brother that is nice to hear.

  • Bklyn Kevin

    Excerpt from What is the sign of Christ’s presence?
    Jesus also warned against being deceived by false prophets and false christs, but then said the presence of the Son of man will be like the lightening that lights up the whole sky from east to west and that the eagles will be gathered to the carcass; meaning,
    that the chosen ones will discern the meaning of events and where Christ is, because he will reveal himself to them
    It will not be necessary to go to a specific location, such as the wilderness or the inner rooms.
    So, Christ’s presence and its accompanying sign, or signs to be more accurate, will accomplish the final gathering of the chosen ones, at which point the judgment of the nations begins.

    But then Jesus spoke of another sign. Not the sign of his presence that his disciples will discern, but “the sign of the Son of man,” which will appear in heaven. The sign of the Son of man apparently appears at the end of the conclusion of the system and will be some heavenly display that will cause the “tribes of the earth” to finally realize they have rejected Christ and are doomed.

    Revelation 19:1-21
    9 And he tells me, “Write: Happy are those invited to the evening meal of the Lamb’s marriage.” Also, he tells me: “These are the true sayings of God.”

    17 I saw also an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice and said to all the birds that fly in mid heaven: “Come here, be gathered together to the great evening meal of God,

    18 so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of military commanders and the flesh of strong men and the flesh of horses and of those seated on them, and the flesh of all, of freemen as well as of slaves and of small ones and great.”

    19 And I saw the wild beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the one seated on the horse and against his army.

    20 And the wild beast was caught, and along with it the false prophet that performed in front of it the signs with which he misled those who received the mark of the wild beast and those who worship its image.+ While still alive, they both were hurled into the fiery lake that burns with sulfur.

    21 But the rest were killed off with the long sword that proceeded out of the mouth of the one seated on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh..

    • Brian

      “The sign of the Son of man apparently appears at the end of the
      conclusion of the system and will be some heavenly display that will
      cause the “tribes of the earth” to finally realize they have rejected
      and are doomed.” Hi Kevin, agreed that it would indicative of a sign
      to the nations that their rule has come to and end but not necessarily
      it is an indication of their impending doom at that point. In Daniel
      7:12 he states: “But as for the rest of the beasts, their ruler-ships
      were taken away, and their lives were prolonged for a time and a
      season.” This could be indeed a period of reflection for those that up
      until that point that had not given over to the Kingdom. Of course, as
      it is written there will be many that turn up to Armageddon for the
      finale, but I should imagine that, as God desires all to be saved he
      will give more than one chance just Lot had petitioned to do so. I am
      not suggesting that the opportunity for another chance is in perpetuity
      but out of the confusion that will be upon the earth in the “great
      tribulation”, maybe he desires at least a little time for those with a
      heart driven conscience to reflect and accept.

      • Bklyn Kevin

        Excerpt from Abaddon – The Terminator.
        After the opening of the seventh seal there is no more salvation available any longer. By then those who are to receive salvation are in one camp and those who are doomed to destruction are in another camp. Apparently, Abaddon’s warriors vigorously proclaim the doom and destruction that is coming with the blowing up the sixth trumpet heralding the second woe coming upon those dwelling on the earth. Revelation 9:
        Read more>

        • Brian

          Yes Kevin, but putting those events described into the stream of time concerning the opening of the seals is somewhat more difficult than we can imagine. I am simply referring to the scripture in Daniel, and as it is a scripture, it must have a meaning, I don’t imagine Jehovah has had it stated for no reason. I would go out on a Limb here and say that he does not say this to intimidate, scourge or humiliate those that are in limbo in that period of time of the “time and season”. After that period of time when they have had time to digest what has just happened and make the decision to “join or stay with the world”, those that continue to think that man can “fix and restore all” for mankind will be going on their march toward Armageddon.

          • Bklyn Kevin

            The scripture in Daniel 7:12 does have a meaning and it simply means just what it SAYS, take note.

            After the arrogant horns demise in verse 11 Daniel goes on to tell us in verse 12 that the rest of the beasts rulerships were simply taken away, and than Daniel goes on to say that their lives were just prolonged for a time and a season or 15 months a time being a year and a season being three months.
            now although their lives were extended / prolonged for 15 months it does not say they were forgiving and their lives were giving back to them, so it is obvious that their ultimate doom is inevitable and will be final after 15 months has lapsed and also please keep in mind these events would have occurred after the final witness

            It is in the aftermath of the trampling of the chosen ones that Jesus acts. That is what is portrayed in the 9th chapter of Revelation, which reads: “The fifth angel blew his trumpet. And I saw a star that had fallen from heaven to the earth, and the key to the shaft of the abyss was given to him. He opened the shaft of the abyss, and smoke ascended out of the shaft like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun was darkened, also the air, by the smoke of the shaft. And locusts came out of the smoke onto the earth, and authority was given to them, the same authority that the scorpions of the earth have. They were told not to harm the vegetation of the earth or any green plant or any tree, but only those people who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. And it was granted the locusts, not to kill them, but to torment them five months, and their torment was like torment by a scorpion when it strikes a person. In those days people will seek death but will by no means find it, and they will long to die, but death will flee from them. And in appearance the locusts resembled horses prepared for battle; on their heads were what seemed to be crowns of gold, and their faces were like human faces, but they had hair like women’s hair. And their teeth were like those of lions, and they had breastplates like iron breastplates. And the sound of their wings was like the sound of horse-drawn chariots rushing into battle. Also, they have tails with stingers like scorpions, and in their tails is their authority to hurt the people for five months. They have over them a king, the angel of the abyss. In Hebrew his name is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon.”


      • thats why Jehovah said not to harm the oil & wine

  • Bklyn Kevin
    • The Raven

      This is excellent. I really liked the explanation given to the soldier about things the wt went beyond scripture on and the other about those of us outside but still faithful to Jehovah. I read this in Robert’s articles before but its nice to hear him speak and cite scriptures referred to as well. The essays are great but his replies to people’s questions add so much more to this.
      Thanks, Kevin.

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