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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

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"In Like Manner" - Not Always Interpreted in Like Manner as you May Think...

By Not Deceived


A classic work - perhaps the classic work - of preterism is J. Stuart Russell's The Parousia. We're going to tackle this book in the coming months, point by point. From what we can tell, this book is to preterism as the Scofield Reference Bible is to pretribulationalism.

"In Like Manner" - How Jesus Is Coming Back
This is a quote from Russell's book, published in 1878, which shows his view on Jesus coming "in like manner" as described in Acts 1:11.

ACTS i. 11. -' This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go unto heaven.'

     THE last conversation of Jesus with His disciples before His crucifixion was concerning His coming to them again, and the last word left with them at His ascension was the promise of His coming again.

     The expression 'in like manner' must not be pressed too far. There are obvious points of difference between the manner of the Ascension and the Parousia. He departed alone, and without visible splendour; He was to return in glory with His angels. The words, however, imply that His coming was to be visible and personal, which would exclude the interpretation which regards it as providential, or spiritual. The visibility of the Parousia is supported by the uniform teaching of the apostles and the belief of the early Christians: 'Every eye shall see him' (Rev. i. 7).

     There is no indication of time in this parting promise, but it is only reasonable to suppose that the disciples would regard it as addressed to them, and that they would cherish the hope of soon seeing Him again, according to His own saying, 'A little while, and ye shall see me.' This belief sent them back to Jerusalem with great joy. Is it credible that they could have felt this elation if they had conceived that His coming would not take place for eighteen centuries ? Or can we suppose that their joy rested upon a delusion ? There is no conclusion possible but that which holds the belief of the disciples to have been well founded, and the Parousia nigh at hand.

J. Stuart Russell (The Parousia pp. 147-148)

Russell opens up his discussion of Acts 1:11 by immediately stating that the "expression 'in like manner' must not be pressed too far." He then goes on to point out the expectation of the disciples: "the hope of soon seeing Him again." How is it that these two aspects of His parousia, which preterists claimed to have occurred in 70 A.D. at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, did not happen? Incredibly, Russell even stated: "The visibility of the Parousia is supported by the uniform teaching of the apostles and the belief of the early Christians: 'Every eye shall see him' (Rev. i. 7)." These disciples were not armchair theologians. They did not expect anything other than to see Jesus coming back.

There are two points that can not be overemphasized. (1) The disciples were told that Jesus was coming back "in like manner." Russell says that should not be "pressed too far." That alone would seem to refute preterism, because Jesus has not yet come back "in like manner." (2) Even Russell admits that the disciples expect to see Jesus coming back. They expected to see Him visibly. This never happened. That preterism survives as a doctrinal teaching is evidence that any system of eschatology that selectively spiritualizes that which is literal and literalizes that which is spiritual is apparently more popular than the truth. The truth is that Jesus is coming back, and has not yet come back in any way, shape, or form. He won't come back spiritually, quietly, in a pretrib rapture, or in any other way. He is coming back "after the tribulation of those days" just like He said. Since He has not yet come back, then it appears that we're not yet in the tribulation of those days, or we're just not at the end of them yet.

Now, what if in another place in The Parousia Russell said that the phrase "in like manner" was important? Would not such a contradiction show the inconsistent interpretation that marks not only preterism, but also pretribulationalism as well? Well, let's look at such a place. We need not look far. It's in the first few pages of the book.

"In Like Manner" - How They Would Perish
This is a quote from Russell's book which shows how people would perish, just as the Galileans had perished at the hands of Pilate.


Luke xiii. 1-9: 'There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.'

     How vividly our Lord apprehended the approaching calamities of the nation, and how clear and distinct His warnings were, may be inferred from this passage. The massacre of some Galileans who had gone up to Jerusalem to the feast of the Passover, either by the command, or with the connivance of the Roman governor; and the sudden destruction of eighteen persons by the fall of a tower near the pool of Siloam, were incidents which formed the topics of conversation among the people at the time. Our Lord declares that the victims of these calamities were not exceptionally wicked, but that a like fate would overtake the very persons now talking about them, unless they repented. The point of His observation, which is often overlooked, lies in the similarity of the threatened destruction. It is not 'ye also shall all perish,' but, 'ye shall all perish in 'the same manner'. That our Lord had in view the final ruin, which was about to overwhelm Jerusalem and the nation, can hardly be doubted. The analogy between the cases is real and striking. It was at the feast of the Passover that the population of Judea had crowded into Jerusalem, and were there cooped in by the legions of Titus. Josephus tells us how, in the final agony of the siege, the blood of the officiating priests was shed at the altar of sacrifice. The Roman soldiers were the executioners of the divine judgment; and as temple and tower fell to the ground, they buried in their ruins many a hapless victim of impenitence and unbelief. It is satisfactory to find both Alford and Stier recognising the historical allusion in this passage. The former remarks: the force of which is lost in the English version "likewise," should be rendered "in like manner," as indeed the Jewish people did perish by the sword of the Romans.'

J. Stuart Russell The Parousia pp. 20-21 ../Books/russell_parousia_01b.html#FA Incredibly, in discussing Luke 13:1-9, Russell makes much of the phrase "in like manner." He is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, which according to his book is concurrent with "the parousia" - the coming of the Lord. How is it that in discussing Acts 1:11 we are told we shouldn't be overly concerned about the phrase "in like manner" but here it is the singular most important point he discusses?

When speaking of something happening "in like manner" in Acts 1:11, we are told by Russell that this "must not be pressed too far." But in Luke 13:1-9, the same phrase - "in like manner" - is used to defend the belief that the parousia of Jesus Christ occurred in 70 A.D. The inconsistency of this is almost too much to believe.


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