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LET GOD BE TRUE



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CHAPTER XV

THE LORD'S RETURN

THE Lord's return is clearly taught by many scriptures. To the apostle John, Jesus said, "Surely I come quickly." And that disciple prayerfully replied, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus." (Revelation 22:20) Paul wrote: "He that shall come will come, and will not tarry." (Hebrews 10:37) Also Peter spoke of the revelation of Jesus Christ. — 1 Peter 1:13.

2 Christ Jesus comes, not as a human, but as a glorious spirit creature. He is now the brightness of God's glory, the express image of His person, and is seated on the right hand of the Majesty on high. Christ has been exalted above the angels, so that when the Father again brings him into the world he says: "Let all the angels of God worship him." (Hebrews 1:2-6, A.S.V.) He comes, therefore, this time, not in humiliation, not in the likeness of men, but in his glory, and all the angels with him.  — Matthew 25:31.

3 Some have wrong expectations regarding the King's return. Reading the promise of the angel to Mary that Jesus, the Son of the Highest, would be given the throne of his father


1. What are some scriptures proving that Christ would return?
2. What is his present station compared with that at his first coming?
3. Why will he not sit on an earthly throne?
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David, they conclude that he will sit upon a literal earthly throne. (Luke 1:32) However, the throne of David was only typical or pictorial of the throne of Jehovah's King. Thus Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord Jehovah as king instead of David his father. (1 Chronicles 29:23) If Jesus were to sit as a man on an earthly throne, then he would be lower in station than the angels, even as man is lower than the angels. (Psalm 8:4,5) The task of judgment and rulership assigned to him can be done only by a mighty spirit king, one that is higher than, and not like, the kings of the earth.  — Psalm 89: 27; Revelation 3: 21.

4 Some wrongfully expect a literal fulfillment of the symbolic statements of the Bible. Such hope to see the glorified Jesus coming seated on a white cloud where every human eye will see him. They overlook the Lord's words before he left: "Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more." (John 14:19) Since no earthly men have ever seen the Father, whom no man hath seen, nor can see, neither will they see the glorified Son. — Exodus 33: 20; 1 Timothy 6:16.

5 Some may cite the words of the angels: "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11) But note, this text does not say that he shall come in like appearance, or in like body, but merely in like manner. The manner of his going


4. What proves he will not be seen with human vision?
5. What is meant by his coming in like manner as he went?
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was quiet, thief-like, without sound of trumpet or public display, but with the message 'Ye shall be my witnesses unto the uttermost part of the earth' ringing in the disciples' ears. (Acts 1:8) His witnesses alone saw his departure. Logically, only his faithful witnesses would promptly recognize his return.

HOW SEEN

6 That return is recognized by the eyes of one's understanding, such eyes being enlightened by God's unfolding Word. Christ's arrival and presence are not discerned because of his physical nearness, but by the light of his acts of judgment and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. This light spreads from east to west and everywhere. Those who are far-sighted as the eagle perceive the judgment truths and gather to the body of spiritual food which the Lord provides. — Matthew 24: 26-28.

7 In the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew the Greek word parousía at verses 3,27,37,39 is translated by the word "coming". It is rendered "presence" in The Emphatic Diaglott and in Rotherham and Young and in footnotes of the American Standard Version Bible. Moffatt's modern version translates it by the word "arrival". The meaning of parousía is more exact than that commonly contained in the English word "coming". It does not mean that he is on the way, or has promised to come, but that he


6. How is Christ's return recognized?
7. What is the meaning of the Greek word parousía frequently translated "coming"?
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has already arrived and is present. Parousía is translated by "presence" in Philippians 2:12, which reads, "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence [parousía] only, but now much more in my absence [apousía], work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." — Also in 2 Corinthians 10, verse 10.

8 It is not necessary for Christ to be visible at his presence, even as his Father is not visible to human sight. Jehovah's presence was with his people as they journeyed out of Egypt to the Promised Land, yet he was not visible. On his death-bed Joseph said: "I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." (Genesis 50:24) Nor was he visible on any of the occasions where the Bible says he visited his people. — Ruth 1:6; Luke 19:44.

9 Today the evidence of Christ's presence is all about us, and yet so-called "Christendom" does not see it. How, then, is he manifest to his true followers and not to the world? To them he gave the marvelous promise: "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh [elthón] shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them." (Luke 12: 37) The Lord Jesus is the provider of this spiritual food,


8. What fact about Jehovah's presence helps to understand that of Christ?
9. How does the returned Lord serve his people?
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meat in due season, through a visible instrument or agency on earth used to publish it.

SERVANT APPOINTED ON HIS RETURN

10 The agency which the Lord uses to distribute or dispense his truth is called his "faithful and wise servant". "Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh [elthón] shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods." (Matthew 24:45-47) This clearly shows that the Lord would use one organization, and not a multitude of diverse and conflicting sects to distribute his message. The "faithful and wise servant" is a company following the example of their Leader. That "servant" is the remnant of Christ's spiritual brethren. God's prophet identifies them, saying: "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen." — Isaiah 43:10.

11 From and after A.D. 1918 this "servant" class have delivered God's message to blinded "Christendom" still feeding on the religious traditions of men. The truth so proclaimed does a dividing work, as foretold, the ones accepting the truth being taken to the Lord's side, and the others left. Those who have been favored to comprehend what is taking place, and who have


10. What agency is used by the Lord to serve spiritual food?
11. How extensive is the proclamation of the truth, and in what does it result?
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taken their stand for The Theocracy, now have unspeakable joy. The light of God's truth is not confined to a small place, or one corner of the globe. Its proclamation is world-wide. In the twenty-seven years from 1919 to 1945 inclusive Jehovah's witnesses have distributed more than 470 million books and booklets, hundreds of millions of magazines and leaflets, and millions of oral testimonies, in 88 languages. Only by God's spirit and power could this witness have been given in the face of world-wide opposition and persecution; and the witness still continues and increases.

12 Jesus said: "But as the days of No'e were, so shall also the coming [parousía] of the Son of man be." Not only is the likeness true in respect to men's total devotion to eating, drinking, marrying, building, and ignorance of the times in which they live, but it also holds true with respect to the Kingdom witness that is being given. Noah was a preacher of righteousness before the deluge then, and Jehovah's witnesses are such now, before the coming destruction of this world at Armageddon. Peter says: "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night [hence quietly and unseen]; in the which the heavens [Satan's invisible organization] shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth [Satan's visible organization] also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."  — 2 Peter 3:10.


12. How are the present days like the days of Noah?
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13 For many years prior to 1914 earnest Bible students understood that the year 1914 marked the end of the Gentile times. That date marked the end of Satan's uninterrupted rule, and therefore the time when Christ the rightful ruler of the world received control. (Ezekiel 21:27) The fulfillment of prophecies there begun continues in unbroken succession, showing that "the kingdom of the world [the new world] is become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ". The heavenly host gave thanks, saying: "We give thee thanks, 0 Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who wast; because thou hast taken thy great power, and didst reign."  — Revelation 11:15, 17, A.S.V.

14 Jehovah's time to assert his universal domination has arrived. Jehovah has become king. God's kingdom, pictured by a man-child, was born in 1914. The existing organization of the Devil sought to swallow up the new-born government. War in heaven followed. The Devil and his angels were cast down to the earth. Then the victorious angels announced: "Now is come the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ." — Revelation 12:10, A.S.V.

COMING TO THE TEMPLE

15 But no one on earth then knew that the Lord would 'shortly come to his temple'. Jeho-


13. How is the year 1914 marked, and what is the angels' testimony?
14. What followed the birth of God's kingdom in heaven?
15. (a) How was the Lord's coming to the temple marked? (b) What is the order of the resurrection of the spirit-begotten class?
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vah, through Malachi, had foretold his sudden appearance at the temple, adding: "But who can abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap." (Malachi 3:1, 2, A.S.V.) As Jesus cleansed the temple in Jerusalem three and a half years after his anointing with God's spirit to be King, so three and a half years after he took kingly control in the fall of 1914, he came to the spiritual temple and began to cleanse it. This occurred in the spring of 1918. That marked the beginning of the period of judgment and inspection of his consecrated followers. Paul wrote: "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick [living] and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom." (2 Timothy 4:1) The dead Christians sleeping in the graves were then raised with spirit bodies to join him at the temple. The living anointed Christians on earth could not precede those who had fallen asleep in death, but must continue to maintain integrity until their own death. When these, brought to unity at the temple, die, they do not have to sleep awaiting their Lord's return, but receive an immediate change to spirit life. They cease their earthly labor, but their service without weariness continues. — 1 Thessalonians 4:15, A.S.V.; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; Revelation 14:13.

16 Many of the Lord's kingdom truths were spoken in parables. In the parable of the


16. Briefly, what do the parables of the pounds and talents show?
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pounds and of the talents, Christ is shown entrusting kingdom interests to his bond-servants on earth before departing to a far country, heaven, to receive kingdom authority. Returning after a long time, he judges his servants on earth. To the faithful he gives greater privileges and the joy of the Lord. The unfaithful are cast into outer darkness. The citizens of this world hate the King of the new world who overthrows Satan the Devil, and hence are due for slaughter. — Luke 19:12-27; Matthew 25:14-30.

17 The testing of God's people continues as prophesied. "The LORD [Jehovah] is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men." (Psalm 11: 4) Some Christians who selfishly expected to be at the marriage feast have been left out, as pictured by the five foolish virgins, because they lacked understanding and the joy of the Lord and hence did not let the light shine. (Matthew 25:1-13) Others who gained entrance to the feast have been put out because of not keeping on the identifying garment of a faithful Kingdom witness. (Matthew 22:1-14) Christ has received his own faithful followers into the temple condition as worshipers and servants of God, and approves their continued presence there.

18 The testing by the great Judge continues and will take in all nations. While present on the throne of his glory, as Jehovah's represent-


17. How is the unworthiness of some for Kingdom truth shown?
18. What further scripture shows that the King's presence is a testing time, and what two classes are manifest?
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ative at the temple, Christ Jesus separates the people into two classes, called sheep and goats. That separation is now going on, though many are not aware of it. Their attitude toward Jehovah's witnesses and the message of his Theocratic government reveals their attitude toward the King. The persecutors, opposers, and indifferent, who identify themselves as goats, are doomed to a destruction that will last forever; whereas the meek, righteously disposed persons of good-will toward the Lord, his "sheep", are in line for life eternal. — Matthew 25: 31-46.

REVELATION

19 The destiny of all people living will shortly be determined. "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works." (Matthew 16:27) The final revelation of the King draws near. The disaster of Armageddon, greater than that which befell Sodom and Gomorrah, is at the door. "But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." (Luke 17: 29, 30) That revelation of his unseen presence by the execution of judgments is not for their blessing, but for their destruction. "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of


19. In what does the final rev-elation of the King result?
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our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."  — 2 Thessalonians 1: 7-9.

20 The nearness of that event is causing the selfish fearful ones to band together and hide themselves in human organizations for protection. It will avail them nothing. (Revelation 6:15-17) Anticipating an early end, they lament for fear of losing their ill-gotten gains and their worldly privileged position. Their eyes discern his presence in the clouds of trouble surrounding him. (Revelation 1:7) Acceptance of the despised King and his kingdom is the only security for anyone. Jesus warned, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." — Luke 21: 36.

21 Today persons of good-will from all nations are taking their stand for The Theocracy. This great flock of the Lord's "other sheep" by engaging in the Kingdom proclamation are welcoming the new King, even as the multitude welcomed Jesus at his entrance into Jerusalem. (Luke 19:37-40; Revelation 7:9,10) Just as the Pharisees then wanted the multitude rebuked, so the religionists today endeavor to silence and suppress the message. Their efforts have failed and will fail.


20. What source of protection will prove unavailing?
21. How do the people of good-will welcome the King?
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22 Christ comes before his thousand-year undisturbed reign to put all enemies under his feet. He lays hold of the old serpent, the Devil, and binds him a thousand years. By clearing out religion, by restoring true worship, and by re-establishing the Divine government toward earth, he reveals his kingly power of which he proved worthy at his first coming. He becomes the new world's Judge, the Leader and Commander of the people. (1 Corinthians 15: 25, 26; Revelation 20:1-3; Isaiah 55:4) The vindication of his Father's name and sovereignty is his greatest joy, and also that of all those who are not ashamed at his presence. — John 17:1; 1 John 2: 28, Diaglott and Rotherham.


22. What is the purpose of Christ's coming, and how is that accomplished?


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