“AS IN THE DAY’S OF NOAH” —–Luke 17:26
For close to two thousand years Christians have been looking with great anticipation for the so- called “second coming” of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There are many ideas as to the precise manner and object of this second advent. Some look forward to it with fear, while others envision this grand event as the object of their longings. There have been many unfulfilled predictions by those attempting to pin- point the very day that this might occur. Many look for a literal appearance of Christ in the flesh being lowered down to earth on a cloud with all of his angels at his side. On this day the billions who are dead will be brought out of their graves, while at the same time those who are still alive will be given their judgment. On this literal twenty four hour day, billions will either be cast into a lake of literal fire to be tortured around the clock forever or, if they have become Christians, they will be taken up into heaven to live in regal splendor alongside God forever. Other good Christian people are not sure what to believe when it comes to this matter. Many have been taught that they are taken to their judgment within seconds of their death. However, many realize this view contradicts other scriptures speaking of a future day of judgment.
Could it be that many of the Lord’s people have been looking for the wrong thing all of these centuries when it comes to the day Christ returns? Please consider the following thoughts with a wide open mind and you might come away with an all new understanding of the “day of the Lord.”
THE GREEK WORD PAROUSIA
Most Bible students when searching the scriptures for the promise of Jesus’ second advent look upon the gospel of Matthew, the 24th chapter. This is when Jesus sat upon the Mount of Olives and a few of his followers came to him inquiring, “When will these things be? What will be the signs of your “Parousia” and the end of the age?” Matthew 24:3. In several Bibles the translators interpret the word “parousia” as coming. The Greek word parousia in its proper interpretation should read “presence” or possibly “arrival.” Several literal translations properly use the word “presence” for Parousia. Among these are The Rotherham Emphasized Bible, The Young’s Literal Translation of Holy Scripture, The Emphatic Diaglot, and several others. It is crucial when examining critical doctrines such as the second advent that we take a look at several translations before drawing our conclusions.
Let us now read the passage in Matthew 24 when the word parousia is properly translated presence. “Tell us, when will these things be? What will be the signs of your presence and the end of the age?” As you can see this alters the concept in a most dramatic fashion. In Matthew 24 Jesus speaks of a series of events that will occur before he will return. However, when speaking of his return he says in verse 37 “But as in the day’s of Noah, so also will be the parousia of the Son of Man.” Since Jesus refers to the days of Noah as an example of the events surrounding his second advent, what does this tell us? In Noah’s day the people were “eating, and drinking, marrying, and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark.” Verse 39 tells us that these people did not know “until the flood came.” Ask yourself; was Noah not present during that time period! The scriptures tell us that it took Noah one hundred and twenty years to build the ark. Mankind had become corrupt and the earth was filled with violence. Genesis 6:1-22. Noah did not just suddenly come upon the scene with his great big ship at the end of the “one hundred and twenty years” that God gave the human inhabitants before the flood destroyed them all. Now consider the account in Luke’s gospel of the very same second advent spoken of by Jesus. “As in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man.” Notice here that the words, presence or coming do not appear in this verse. This lends further credence to the argument that Christ will be present during the events surrounding the end of the age.
“AS IN THE DAY’S OF LOT” —–Luke 18:28
In Luke the 17th chapter verse 28, Jesus goes on to compare his presence to the “days of Lot.” Lot was an Old Testament character who God found to be righteous in the land of Sodom. Sodom was a place where gross immorality was occurring in the eyes of God. The people of Sodom didn’t fear God as they went about their business of sin and degradation. They were unaware of the destruction about to engulf them. Lot through the Lord’s guidance was instructed to get out of Sodom before he destroyed it. Once again we ask, what was it about Lot’s days that caused Jesus to compare his second advent to them? Not only was it the rampant evil but, it was the fact that Lot was present in Sodom in those days.
“AT THAT TIME SHALL MICHAEL STAND UP” ——Daniel 12:1
There are several Old Testament references to the return of Messiah and the “time of the end.” Open your Bible to Daniel chapter 12 and consider the passages related to the “time of the end.” In verse 1 Daniel writes, “At that time Michael shall stand up. The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never since there was a nation.” The name Michael has a literal meaning of “Who as God.” Careful study of scriptures reveals that Michael the Archangel was none other than Jesus Christ in his pre-human condition. Roman Catholic tradition teaches that the angel Gabriel was an archangel. However, scriptures only speak of one archangel. Jesus Christ being the highly exalted archangel is wholly consistent with the thought that he was not God the Heavenly Father, but the Father’s special and only direct creation. He was the “beginning of the creation of God” Revelation 3:14. Michael under the title of “who as God” served as the Father’s great General or “holy arm.” All things were ordered to be created by the Father; all things were actually created by the Logos. Jesus Christ in his pre-human existence.
Daniel speaks of a series of events that would occur at the time Michael stands up. “And at that time your people (Daniel’s people) shall be delivered.” Daniel’s people, of course, are the Jewish people. Daniel’s people were delivered in 1948 when their nation Israel was restored to them. Israel was wiped off the map in the year AD 70 when the Roman armies pillaged Jerusalem. From that time until 1948 the Jews were forced to dwell in foreign lands in persecution including the most horrible genocide in the history of the world at the hands of the Nazi regime in Germany. Six million men, women, and children were killed in the name of “a master race.” Millions more were killed in Russia under the regime of Stalin. Following this, The United Nations decreed Israel as a nation once again! Just as the prophet Daniel wrote, they were delivered! Since 1948 there have been many attempts by Israel’s enemies to destroy her. The Lord will never again let this happen to Daniel’s people. The greatest attempt to destroy Israel came in 1967 when armies from several surrounding nations attempted to “drive Israel into the sea.” The Israeli army to the astonishment of the entire world drove back these enemies and had them on their knees in just six days.
“MANY WILL RUN TO AND FRO, AND KNOWLEDGE SHALL INCREASE” —–Daniel 12:4
The next thing Daniel predicted for the time when Michael would stand up was people running “to and fro” upon the face of the earth. (Verse 4) Since the invention of railroads and faster ships in the 1800’s mankind has been traveling over the face of the earth as never before. Prior to this few people traveled out of the small area in which they were born. As the years have gone by transportation has become much faster than previous generations ever dreamed of. Today we have jet airliners that can move hundreds of people from one end of the planet to the other in just a few hours. We have automobiles that can take us hundreds of miles in a short time. The space program has given us a space shuttle that can orbit the earth many times in just one day! In this century, we have seen men walk on the moon having been brought there on a craft traveling at thousands of miles per hour. High speed train systems move millions of people every single day all over the world. In today’s world many people travel more miles back and forth to work every single day than Jesus traveled in his entire human life.
The next sign to look for as mentioned by the prophet in verse 4 is an increase of knowledge. What better describes the events of this century? We have seen technology advance at such a rapid rate that it would confound previous generations. Due to high tech equipment, farmers are able to harvest more food in one day than farmers a hundred years ago could harvest in an entire season. Structures that once took years to erect now can be completed in a matter of weeks. Millions upon millions of books are printed every single day on high speed printing presses providing additional knowledge to the masses. More people have been given access to higher education in our day than at any other time. The medical advancements of the past one hundred years are astounding. People can recover from major operations such as open heart surgery in a matter of a few weeks. Women dying during child birth were common place just a hundred years ago. Today they can elect to not even feel pain through modern pain killing drugs. Cures for many plagues that haunted people for thousands of years have been solved due to this increase of knowledge. Treatments for killers like polio, small pox, tuberculosis, cancer, and much more have saved the lives of millions human beings. While we have not found a cure to everything, we have made HUGE advancements. People dying from pneumonia, influenza, staph infections, etc. was once common place. Today we have antibiotic drugs that can most of the time make short order of these types of ailments. All of this is another sign that Jesus Christ or Michael has stood up. Millions of people now have computers in their homes that can figure out perplexing problems, send out electronic mail to the ends of the world, in just seconds. We have super computers that can fly aircraft, operate power plants, and receive information from orbiting satellites. We have instant television transmissions from all over our world and even from outer space. All of this tells us that Michael has indeed stood up!
“THE CHARIOTS RAGE IN THE STREETS” —-Nahum 2:4
The period we now live in is the very “day of his (Jesus’) preparation” mentioned by the prophet Nahum in the Old Testament. Chapter 1 verse 5 tells us “The mountains quake before him. The hills melt. And the earth heaves at his presence.” In chapter 2 verses 3 and 4 we read, “The shields of his mighty men are made red, the valiant men are in scarlet. The chariots come with flaming torches, in the day of his preparation. And the spears are brandished. 4-“The chariots rage in the streets. They jostle one another in the broad roads. They seem like torches. They run like lightening.” Those chariots raging in the streets jostling one another are the prophet’s vision of our day. The chariots are automobiles! Another sign that Jesus Christ has begun his second advent.
“A TIME OF TROUBLE NOT SINCE THERE WAS A NATION” —–Daniel 12:1
Perhaps the most obvious sign of the Lord Jesus’ second advent is described by Daniel in chapter 12:1 “At that time Michael (Christ) shall stand up. The great prince who stands watch over your people. And there will be a TIME OF TROUBLE as never since there was a nation.” What better describes our twentieth century? While in many ways the world has been blessed by the rapid increase in knowledge, we have also been cursed. Modern technology has made our world smaller and allowed almost everyone to know what others are doing. As a result a greater threat of hostility has commenced. Under Satan’s deception human beings have used technological gains to conspire evil against each other. Instead of using it to “beat our swords into plowshares” as mentioned by the prophet Isaiah, we have created more sophisticated tools for destroying each other. Warfare in the twentieth century has taken the lives of over one hundred million people. This “time of trouble” began in the year 1914 AD and has been going on ever since. Certain Bible scholars foretold 1914 as a marked year some forty years before. While they were not correct in all of their expectations for the year they were correct in predicting that an unprecedented time of trouble would begin. For the first time ever a war affecting the destiny of the entire world broke out with WWI. World War I changed forever the concept of the “divine right of kings” to govern nations in Europe.” It was the shattering to pieces the last remnants of the Roman Empire. Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the International Bible Students (mistakenly confused with the later Jehovah’s Witnesses) wrote in his second book, “The Time Is At Hand” published in 1889, that this very “day of wrath” would begin in 1914. He turned out to be incorrect about the length of this trouble. However, he was correct about the date! Since 1914 we have had two world wars, hundreds of large regional conflicts, and revolutions all over the planet. World War II alone took the lives of close to fifty million human beings. Then in 1945 the world was changed forever with the dropping of the first atomic bomb. This was in direct fulfillment of Jesus Christ’s description of his presence in Matthew 24 “unless those days were shortened no flesh would remain.” The world in this century has endured problems that never before had to be addressed, not at least on any large scale. We are threatened by pollution, over- population, starvation, and destruction on a much larger scale than ever before. All of this is a sign that “Michael” has stood up!
We can rejoice in knowing that the Lord will shorten these days before the human race destroys itself. After mankind has learned the lesson of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, Jesus Christ and his saints will set up the earthly phase of his Father’s kingdom. It will begin with the “restitution of all things” mentioned in Acts 3:21. This is the one thousand year period in which the earth will be rebuilt; mankind will receive the chance to live forever on a perfect earth. The book of Isaiah the 25th and 35th chapters beautifully describes this very kingdom.
CONFLICTING SCRIPTURES ON CHRIST’S RETURN
To those unwilling to open their minds to ideas other than what they have “always believed” the idea that Jesus Christ has already returned will be discounted without much examination. Once again like with many scriptures the inability to distinguish between symbolic scriptures and literal scriptures has caused a great deal of misunderstanding on this matter. We know from the Lord’s own words that he will return to the earth as a thief. Revelation 3:3 and 16:15. Meaning that he will return in a manner in which the world will not be expecting. The Apostle Peter confirms the same thing in 2 Peter 3:10 “The Lord will come as a thief in the night.” The Apostle is speaking symbolically in order to illustrate the manner of the Lord’s return. A thief in the night comes upon his crime scene quietly. His victims do not realize he has been there until after they have been victimized by him. The same can be said for the world of mankind with Christ’s second advent. They will not be aware of it until they start seeing the outward manifestations of his reign. When Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees he told them “the Kingdom of God cometh not with outward show.” However, based upon this premise, does this not contradict other scriptures that indicate Jesus Christ’s return will be seen by everyone as he comes down out of the heavens? The scriptures do not contradict when one obtains a proper understanding of them.
“IN LIKE MANNER” —–Acts 1:10
Many Bible scholars use the account in the book of Acts of Jesus’ ascension into heaven where those present are told by two messengers, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw him go into heaven.” On the surface this appears to give the impression that Jesus will descend from the heavens upon a literal cloud that can be seen by everyone. However, keep in mind that Jesus did not appear to the general world of mankind after his resurrection from the dead. He only appeared to his believers. The same can be said for his departure to be with his Father in heaven. According to scripture “about five hundred” saw him depart from the earth. The general world of mankind did not see him leave. So if this is an in like manner then common sense tells us that only those who are watching for him will recognize the signs of the second (parousia) or presence.
“IN A LITTLE WHILE THE WORLD WILL SEE ME NO MORE” —–John 14:19
As he began to prepare his apostles for his coming death, Jesus said the following “A little while and the world will see me NO MORE, but you will see me because I live, you will live also.” Here we see that only his true followers will see him again in his physical body. Jesus Christ will never again be seen in the flesh by the world of mankind. They will only discern his works on their behalf.
“EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM” —–Revelation 1:7
If in one part of the Bible Jesus say’s “In a little while the world sees me no more,” and then later John the Revelator say’s “Behold, he is coming with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also who pierced him” does this not cause a giant contradiction? On the surface it would appear to, until you consider the meaning of the word “see” in Revelation 1:7. The proper context of this word “see” in this scripture means to discern or recognize mentally. If this be the case it is in perfect harmony with Jesus’ claim that “in a little while the world will see me no more.” Every eye shall discern the presence of Jesus Christ during the establishment of the earthly phase of his kingdom. The clouds here are symbolic with the “time of trouble” mentioned by Daniel, or the “great tribulation” mentioned by Jesus. The 97th Psalm describes what occurs when the Lord takes up his reign, “The Lord reigns; Let the earth rejoice. Let the mountains of the isles be glad! Though clouds and darkness surround him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. A FIRE goes before him, and burns up his enemies round about. His lightning’s light the world. The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax at the PRESENCE of the Lord.” Psalm 97:1-4. It is after this great time of trouble and the Lord’s intervention on behalf of mankind that the general world of mankind will recognize his presence. When they see the dead being restored to life, the earth being made perfect, and the opportunity to obtain eternal life. This is when “every eye shall see him.” The only people who will behold him face to face are his true saints, the “little flock,” the pure at heart. That is when they receive their spiritual reward in heaven.
“HE DESCENDS FROM HEAVEN WITH A SHOUT” —–1 Thessalonians 4:16
Once again many take this symbolic scripture and attempt to make it literal. If this is a literal scripture then Jesus will ascend from heaven shouting loud enough for everyone in the world to hear him at the same time. Instead, might this be simply a picture of this future event using figurative language? Yes, upon his second presence he does come with a shout. However, that “shout” is the monumental changes in the world during the time period in which he returns. Those changes coincide with the “clouds” mentioned earlier in this article. The great time of trouble, the increase in knowledge, the restoration of Israel, and all the other signs. At first the world will see the grand events of Christ’s presence, but will not know what they mean.
THE MAN OF SIN MUST BE REVEALED FIRST —–2 Thessalonians 2:3-4
In the Apostle Paul’s day members of the church were wrongly expecting the return of Christ in their lifetime. Paul corrected the Thessalonians on this when he referred to the “Man of Sin” who must be revealed before Jesus Christ can return. This man of sin, the “antichrist,” has been revealed in the form of the Roman Catholic Pope, not the man, but the system of papacy that polluted the Christian church with evil and false doctrines. It is the system that allowed one claiming to hold the office of “Vicar of The Son of God” to torture, murder, and persecute all who did not agree with Roman Catholic dogma.
This man of sin has been slowly exposed for the past two hundred years by various reformers of the true Christian church. The antichrist has been destroyed by the “brightness of his (Christ’s) presence” 2 Thessalonians 2:8. While he still holds a symbolic office as “head of the church,” the papacy has no civil power to speak of outside a small area known as Vatican City. This “Mother of Harlots” Revelation 17:5, once held absolute authority over the kings of the most powerful nations on earth. Thankfully this great apostate system has been revealed and is absolute proof that Jesus Christ has returned.
PARALLEL BETWEEN CHRISTIANDOM AND THE PHARISEES
The fact that so many members of the Christian church of today are unaware of the fact that the Lord has returned should be of no great surprise to anyone. Due to the falling away mentioned by the Apostle Paul, many Christians have fallen asleep and simply stopped watching for the Lord’s second advent. While others are looking for the wrong thing at the right time, instead of recognizing Christ’s second presence, they look for it to occur very soon.
In the times of Jesus’ first advent the conventional religious rulers in Israel were in one way in “expectation of Messiah” however, they did not know what to look for. They were expecting a great king to come down out of heaven and destroy all of their enemies. They looked for Messiah to drive the Roman army out of Palestine. They only saw the promise of God’s kingdom for themselves and no other peoples. Today we have the same type of thing going on in Christian churches. Many are proclaiming “Jesus is coming soon.” You see these sentiments on bumper stickers and church television programs constantly. However, much like the Pharisees they have become self-righteous in assuming that they are the only ones worthy of God’s blessing. These sentiments can be found in almost every denomination. Almost all nominal churches believe that you must become a Christian now or else you are lost forever. They ignore the scriptures speaking of God’s great plan of salvation through Christ and his saints, which will occur at the start of the millennial age. The one thousand year period mentioned in Revelation chapter 20. Just like the Pharisees did not recognize the first advent of Jesus Christ, the nominal Christian church fails to see the second. The day of the Lord has overtaken them as a “thief.”
It is the view of the writer of this page and a number of Bible students around the world that Jesus Christ has returned invisibly.
The scriptural proofs are indisputable:
- Our days like the “Days of Noah and Lot.”
- The Greek word (Parousia) often translated “coming” actually means “presence”
- The signs of Christ Second Advent given in Daniel 12:1-4 have all been fulfilled:
- A time of trouble such as never was
- An increase of knowledge
- Many running to and fro
- Israel restored as a nation
- Scriptures that seem to say Christ’s return will be visible worldwide are better understood to be symbolic of the mental discernment of his invisble presence by faithful watchers
- The prophetic “Man of Sin” has already been revealed
His second advent work at this point is one of destroying the present evil systems of government and false religion. The final members of his “little flock” the “one hundred and forty four thousand” are being sealed. Once the final member of this body meets Christ in the air “Jacob’s trouble” will commence. Revelations 7:3.
To those watching for these signs this is not a fearful time. Serious Christians look forward to the time in which God’s kingdom is fully set up upon the earth as it is in heaven. This is the time in which the Lord will “put all enemies under his feet.” The final enemy to be destroyed is death, (1 Corinthians 15:25-28) during this time every man, women, and child who has ever lived will have the opportunity to benefit from Christ’s great ransom sacrifice mentioned in 1st Timothy 2:6. How joyful will we be when we are reunited with our loved ones who have been resurrected from the dead? This is the time when God’s promise to Abraham given so many thousands of years ago will be at last fulfilled. “I WILL BLESS THOSE WHO BLESS YOU, AND WILL CURSE HIM WHO CURSES YOU; AND IN YOUR SEED (CHRIST) ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH WILL BE BLESSED.” Genesis 12:3