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Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
An Introduction to The Parousia: A Careful Look at the New Testament Doctrine of the Lord's Second Coming
by James Stuart Russell (1878) // Written by
Todd Dennis, Curator
 


Russell's Parousia

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The Parousia

By James Stuart Russell


THE PAROUSIA IN THE APOSTLOTIC EPISTLES


THE PAROUSIA IN THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS.

THE DAY OF CHRIST.

Phil. i. 6.---‘He which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.’

Phil. i. 10.---‘That ye may be sincere and without offence until the day of Christ.’

The day of Christ is evidently regarded by the apostle as the consummation of the moral discipline and probation of believers. There can be no doubt that he has in view the day of the Lord’s coming, when He would ‘render to every man according to his works.’ On the supposition that the day of Christ is still future, it follows that the moral discipline of the Philippians is not yet completed; that their probation is not finished; and that the good work begun in them is not yet perfected.

Alford’s note on this passage (chap. i. 6.) deserves notice. ‘The assumes the nearness of the coming of the Lord. Here, as elsewhere, commentators have endeavoured to escape from this inference,’ etc. This is just; but Alford’s own inference, that St. Paul was mistaken, is equally untenable.

 

THE EXPECTATION OF THE PAROUSIA.

Phil. iii. 20, 21.---‘For our conversation is in heaven, from whence also we look for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body,’ etc.

These words bear decisive testimony to the expectation cherished by the apostle, and the Christians of his time, of the speedy coming of the Lord. It was not death they looked for, and waited for, as we do; but that which would swallow up death in victory: the change which would supersede the necessity of dying. Alford’s notes on this passage is as follows:---

‘The words assume, as St. Paul always does when speaking incidentally, his surviving to witness the coming of the Lord. The change from the dust of death in the resurrection, however we may accommodate the expression to it, was not originally contemplated by it.’

 

NEARNESS OF THE PAROUSIA.

Phil. iv. 5.---‘The Lord is at hand.’

Here the apostle repeats the well-known watchword of the early church, ‘The Lord is at hand:’---equivalent to the ‘Maran-atha’ of 1 Cor. xvi. 22. To doubt his full conviction of the nearness of Christ’s coming is incompatible with a due respect for the plain meaning of words; to set down this conviction as a mistake is incompatible with a due respect for his apostolic authority and inspiration.

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