Eschatology

 

 

The Second Coming of Christ has already taken place

 

 

The New Church, which is a sect which bases its teachings and practices on the writings of spiritist Emmanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), teaches that the second coming of Jesus has already taken place. They say that Jesus never said that He would come again in person, but He said that He would come as the Spirit of truth (cf. John 16:13). And His second coming was fulfilled when God ‘revealed’ the spiritual sense of the Word to Emmanuel Swedenborg (so it took place in the eighteenth century). For the Writings of Swedenborg are the Spirit of truth the Lord Jesus spoke of. Willard D. Pendleton in his book God, Christ and the Second Coming affirms: ‘For the Writings are not, as is generally supposed, an enlightened commentary upon the Scriptures; neither are they the works of Emanuel Swedenborg, a man. They are, on their own testimony, that Spirit of truth of whom the Lord spoke to His disciples, saying, "When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth." (John 16: 13) …. Hence it is said in the Scriptures that the Lord would come "with power and great glory" (Matthew 24: 30); that is, in the full power of His Word. (TCR 776) Yet at this day who is prepared to believe that the Writings are what they claim to be? Who, men ask, was Emanuel Swedenborg, that he should speak for God? But the Writings solemnly affirm that "this second coming of the Lord is effected by means of a man to whom the Lord has manifested Himself in person, and whom He has filled with His Spirit, that He may teach the doctrines of the New Church from the Lord by means of the Word." (TCR 779) …. When we speak of the integrity of doctrine, therefore, we have reference to the acknowledgment that the Lord is the Word, and that it is He who has come again as the Divine doctrine. For it is by means of the Divine doctrine, and in no other way, that the Lord's Divine Human is made visible to the sight of the understanding. Hence it is said in the Writings that "this New Church is the crown of all the churches that have hitherto existed on the earth, because it is to worship one visible God." (TCR 787) Let us have no illusions, therefore, in regard to the New Church. It is a doctrinal church, and it cannot be otherwise. Because the Lord has come as the Divine doctrine, it is essential to the establishment and growth of the New Church that these doctrines be understood. …. But what men fail to perceive is that without the idea of a God who is good, and whose Word is the truth, they have no standard of authority, no point of reference, no basis of judgment whereby they may distinguish between right and wrong, and good and evil. That is why the Lord has come again into the world, not as to His person, but in, and as, the Human which He made Divine, that is, as the Divine doctrine. When seen for what they are, and when rightly understood, it cannot be said that the Writings lack relevance. For what is truth but a form of good; that is, the form in which good appears to the sight of the understanding. …..One thing, however, is certain: a small beginning has been made, and feeble as it may be, it is nevertheless founded upon the firm acknowledgment that the Writings are what they purport to be, namely, the Word of the Lord in His second coming. For, as clearly stated in the work, The True Christian Religion: "The Second Coming of the Lord is not a coming in person, but in the Word which is from Him, and is Himself." (TCR 776) Nothing could be more explicit than this. As promised in the Scriptures, therefore, the Son of Man has come "with power and great glory," (Matthew 24: 30) that is, in the glory of the spiritual sense and in the full power of His Word. (TCR 776: 1).

I would like to point out that even some people who claim to be Evangelical affirm that Jesus has already come back. For instance, Waldensian theologian Giovanni Luzzi (1856-1948) in his book La religione cristiana secondo la sua fonte originaria [The christian religion according to its original source], wrote that Jesus predicted that He would come again during the life of the generation among which He was, and in fact – according to him - His second coming took place at Pentecost; therefore His second coming was invisible and spiritual (cf. La religione cristiana secondo la sua fonte originaria, Roma 1939, pages 338, 339, 340, 342, 343, 344), and the late Pentecostal preacher Francesco Aiuppa, who lived in the U.S.A, wrote that Jesus Christ came back in the first century after Christ (cf. Francesco Aiuppa, Il Regno di Dio: presente o futuro? [The Kingdom of God: present or future?, 2001, pages 20-21).

 

Confutation

 

The Holy Scripture teaches that Jesus Christ will come personally and visibly on the clouds of heaven with glory and power.

In the book of the Acts of the apostles it is written: “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? 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 1:9-11). As you can see, those angels who appeared to the disciples of the Lord, as Jesus was going into heaven, affirmed that the same Jesus who was taken up into heaven before their eyes will come in like manner as they saw Him go into heaven. However, keep in mind that while at His ascension only a few people saw Him go into heaven, at His return everybody will see Him come back from heaven, as it is written: “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7 – NKJV). That Jesus Christ, the Son of God, will come back in person and visibly is evident also from the following biblical passages: “Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Mt. 24:30 – NKJV); “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

Furthermore, the Holy Scripture teaches that when Jesus comes the dead in Christ will rise first, then we who are alive and remain will be transformed and caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). After the resurrection of the just, the Millennium – which is a thousand-year reign - will be established on the earth by the Lord Jesus Christ. During this earthly reign Satan will not be able to deceive the nations for at the coming of Christ he will be bound and thrown into the Abyss, where he will be kept until the end of the millennium.

In the light of what the Scripture teaches on the second coming of Christ, therefore, I affirm that Jesus Christ has not yet returned, and I urge you, beloved, to beware of all those who deny that the coming of Jesus will be personal and visible, for they lie against the truth. Let none of them deceive you with empty words. Rebuke them and stop their mouth.

 

 

 

 

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