Sunday, August 19, 2012

Parousia by J. Stuart Russell

These are thoughts on Parousia by James Stuart Russell.  This is only for the first chapter and the only chapter that I will comment.  He gives some good preterist eschatology.  For some reason, however, he is convinced that Christ came back in 70 when the temple fell.  This cannot be.  We'd know about it and not be here at the moment.  However, I do believe that pretty much everything in Revelation happened up until 70 and that now we live in the millennium waiting for Christ to finally finish Satan.

Matthew 22:38-46
Russell notes that Jesus said “this generation” and that he did not necessarily mean the Jews for all time.  They would all pass away and the temple would be destroyed because they rejected God’s obvious truth and salvation in Christ.

“Neander gives a luminous explanation of its true import: 'As the fruitless tree, failing to realize the aim of its being, was destroyed, so the theocratic nation, for the same reason, was to be overtaken, after long forbearance, by the judgments of God, and shut out from His kingdom.'”

Concerning the Parable of the Wheat and Tares in Matthew 13:36-47, Russell notes that the word for “world” in verse 38 is different than the word for “world” in verses 39-40.  The former is koinos, the world of men.  The latter is aeon, which means time.  So Jesus calls the field the world.  The end of the world, however, is the end of the age.  That means when a certain period of time has expired. 

Therefore, Jesus has in view the temple’s destruction and the end of Judaism as a legit theocracy.
Parousia means the return of Christ. “Can anything be more specific and definite as to persons, place, time, and circumstance, than this prediction of our Lord? It is to the twelve that he speaks; it is the cities of Israel which they are to evangelize; the subject is His own speedy coming; and the time so near, that before their work is complete His coming will take place.”  But he notes that at his writing, it had been 18 centuries since this time and Christ has not physically returned.  Which is why I believe that the millennium is the whole Church age.  At this point, Russell had not known the anti-Christian horrors that abound in 2012 even in developed nations such as America.  It is my personal belief that Satan is unbound and wreaking havoc on the world now, and that he had been doing so ever since the Church kept splitting up in 1521.  His havoc has been subtle and taken 500 more years, but it is there.

“The very form of the expression shows that the event spoken of could not be within the space of a few months, or even a few years: it is a mode of speech which suggests that not all present will live to see the event spoken of; that not many will do so; but that some will. It is exactly such a way of speaking as would suit an interval of thirty or forty years, when the majority of the persons then present would have passed away, but some would survive and witness the event referred to.”  Clearly, the temple was not destroyed in the next year, but it did happen 40 years after Christ’s death and resurrection, 40 years being considered a whole generation to Judaism.

In conclusion: I agree with Russell that everything in Matthew 24 and most of Revelation only concern things that happened before the temple's destruction.  However, Russell does not take into account the millennium prophesied, nor the reality that Christ has not come back to reign as this world still suffers from sin.  In my amillennial beliefs, Christ destroyed the first Church who rejected him, namely Israel and the Jewish religion.  They rejected their Messiah, so he destroyed the temple and gave his salvation to the Gentiles.  Now we must wait for him to do the same thing to the wicked in the world who have rejected Christ and terrorized his people.

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