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J.S. Russell's Position on the Millennium, the Neglected Third Way of Preterism
Duncan McKenzie

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EARLY CHURCH

Ambrose
Ambrose, Pseudo
Andreas
Arethas
Aphrahat
Athanasius
Augustine
Barnabus
BarSerapion
Baruch, Pseudo
Bede
Chrysostom
Chrysostom, Pseudo
Clement, Alexandria
Clement, Rome
Clement, Pseudo
Cyprian
Ephraem
Epiphanes
Eusebius
Gregory
Hegesippus
Hippolytus
Ignatius
Irenaeus
Isidore
James
Jerome
King Jesus
Apostle John
Lactantius
Luke
Mark
Justin Martyr
Mathetes
Matthew
Melito
Oecumenius
Origen
Apostle Paul
Apostle Peter
Maurus Rabanus
Remigius
"Solomon"
Severus
St. Symeon
Tertullian
Theophylact
Victorinus

HISTORICAL PRETERISM
(Minor Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation in Past)

Joseph Addison
Oswald T. Allis
Thomas Aquinas
Karl Auberlen
Augustine
Albert Barnes
Karl Barth
G.K. Beale
Beasley-Murray
John Bengel
Wilhelm Bousset
John A. Broadus

David Brown
"Haddington Brown"
F.F. Bruce

Augustin Calmut
John Calvin
B.H. Carroll
Johannes Cocceius
Vern Crisler
Thomas Dekker
Wilhelm De Wette
Philip Doddridge
Isaak Dorner
Dutch Annotators
Alfred Edersheim
Jonathan Edwards

E.B. Elliott
Heinrich Ewald
Patrick Fairbairn
Js. Farquharson
A.R. Fausset
Robert Fleming
Hermann Gebhardt
Geneva Bible
Charles Homer Giblin
John Gill
William Gilpin
W.B. Godbey
Ezra Gould
Hank Hanegraaff
Hengstenberg
Matthew Henry
G.A. Henty
George Holford
Johann von Hug
William Hurte
J, F, and Brown
B.W. Johnson
John Jortin
Benjamin Keach
K.F. Keil
Henry Kett
Richard Knatchbull
Johann Lange

Cornelius Lapide
Nathaniel Lardner
Jean Le Clerc
Peter Leithart
Jack P. Lewis
Abiel Livermore
John Locke
Martin Luther

James MacDonald
James MacKnight
Dave MacPherson
Keith Mathison
Philip Mauro
Thomas Manton
Heinrich Meyer
J.D. Michaelis
Johann Neander
Sir Isaac Newton
Thomas Newton
Stafford North
Dr. John Owen
 Blaise Pascal
William W. Patton
Arthur Pink

Thomas Pyle
Maurus Rabanus
St. Remigius

Anne Rice
Kim Riddlebarger
J.C. Robertson
Edward Robinson
Andrew Sandlin
Johann Schabalie
Philip Schaff
Thomas Scott
C.J. Seraiah
Daniel Smith
Dr. John Smith
C.H. Spurgeon

Rudolph E. Stier
A.H. Strong
St. Symeon
Theophylact
Friedrich Tholuck
George Townsend
James Ussher
Wm. Warburton
Benjamin Warfield

Noah Webster
John Wesley
B.F. Westcott
William Whiston
Herman Witsius
N.T. Wright

John Wycliffe
Richard Wynne
C.F.J. Zullig

MODERN PRETERISTS
(Major Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation in Past)

Firmin Abauzit
Jay Adams
Luis Alcazar
Greg Bahnsen
Beausobre, L'Enfant
Jacques Bousset
John L. Bray
David Brewster
Dr. John Brown
Thomas Brown
Newcombe Cappe
David Chilton
Adam Clarke

Henry Cowles
Ephraim Currier
R.W. Dale
Gary DeMar
P.S. Desprez
Johann Eichhorn
Heneage Elsley
F.W. Farrar
Samuel Frost
Kenneth Gentry
Steve Gregg
Hugo Grotius
Francis X. Gumerlock
Henry Hammond
Hampden-Cook
Friedrich Hartwig
Adolph Hausrath
Thomas Hayne
J.G. Herder
Timothy Kenrick
J. Marcellus Kik
Samuel Lee
Peter Leithart
John Lightfoot
Benjamin Marshall
F.D. Maurice
Marion Morris
Ovid Need, Jr
Wm. Newcombe
N.A. Nisbett
Gary North
Randall Otto
Zachary Pearce
Andrew Perriman
Beilby Porteus
Ernst Renan
Gregory Sharpe
Fr. Spadafora
R.C. Sproul
Moses Stuart
Milton S. Terry
Herbert Thorndike
C. Vanderwaal
Foy Wallace
Israel P. Warren
Chas Wellbeloved
J.J. Wetstein
Richard Weymouth
Daniel Whitby
George Wilkins
E.P. Woodward
 

FUTURISTS
(Virtually No Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 & Revelation in 1st C. - Types Only ; Also Included are "Higher Critics" Not Associated With Any Particular Eschatology)

Henry Alford
G.C. Berkower
Alan Patrick Boyd
John Bradford
Wm. Burkitt
George Caird
Conybeare/ Howson
John Crossan
John N. Darby
C.H. Dodd
E.B. Elliott
G.S. Faber
Jerry Falwell
Charles G. Finney
J.P. Green Sr.
Murray Harris
Thomas Ice

Benjamin Jowett
John N.D. Kelly

Hal Lindsey
John MacArthur
William Miller
Robert Mounce

Eduard Reuss

J.A.T. Robinson
George Rosenmuller
D.S. Russell
George Sandison
C.I. Scofield
Dr. John Smith

Norman Snaith
"Televangelists"
Thomas Torrance
Jack/Rex VanImpe
John Walvoord

Quakers : George Fox | Margaret Fell (Fox) | Isaac Penington


PRETERIST UNIVERSALISM | MODERN PRETERISM | PRETERIST IDEALISM

James Stuart Russell
(1816 - 1895)

Nonmillenarian

AUTHOR OF:
The Parousia

A careful look at the New Testament doctrine of our Lord's Second Coming


Church-State Relations and the Book of Revelation
By Todd Dennis, Curator

INTERACTS WITH: ALFORD, BENGEL, CONYBEARE/HOWSON, JOWETT, HENGSTENBERG, LANGE, MAURICE, MICHAELIS, MEYER, REUSS, STIER, STUART, THOLUCK, WARBURTON


NOT ADVOCATING FULL PRETERISM:

(Revelation 20:5-10 Still Unfulfilled) "It is evident that the prediction of what is to take place at the close of a thousand years does not come within what we have ventured to call ‘apocalyptic limits.’ These limits, as we are again and again warned in the book itself, are rigidly confined within a very narrow compass; the things shown are ‘shortly to come to pass.’ It would have been an abuse of language to say that the events at the distance of a thousand years were to come to pass shortly; we are therefore compelled to regard this prediction as lying outside the apocalyptic limits altogether.

"We must consequently regard this prediction of the loosing of Satan, and the events that follow, as still future, and therefore unfulfilled. We know of nothing recorded in history which can be adduced as in any way a probably fulfillment of this prophecy. Wetstein has hazarded the hypothesis that possibly it may symbolise the Jewish revolt under Barcochebas, in the reign of Hadrian; but the suggestion is too extravagant to be entertained for a moment."  (p. 523)

“Some interpreters indeed attempt to get over the difficulty by supposing that the thousand years, being a symbolic number, may represent a period of very short duration, and so bring the whole within the prescribed apocalyptic limits; but this method of interpretation appears to us so violent and unnatural that we cannot hesitate to reject it. The act of binding and shutting up the dragon does indeed come within the ’shortly’ of the apocalyptic statement, for it is coincident, or nearly so with the judgment of the harlot and the beast; but the term of the dragon’s imprisonment is distinctly stated to be for a thousand years, and thus must necessarily pass entirely beyond the field of vision so strictly and constantly limited by the book itself.” (p. 514)


AWAITING FULFILLMENT ACCORDING TO RUSSELL'S VIEW*:

5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.  7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

* JSR never advocated a "view"


(Full Preterist Millennium "violent and unnatural") "Some interpreters indeed attempt to get over the difficulty by supposing that the thousand years, being a symbolic number, may represent a period of very short duration, and so bring the whole within the prescribed apocalyptic limits; but this method of interpretation appears to us so violent and unnatural that we cannot hesitate to reject it. " (p. 514)

"The result of the whole is, that we must consider the passage which treats of the thousand years, from ver. 5 to ver. 10, as an intercalation or parenthesis. The seer, having begun to relate the judgment of the dragon, passes in ver. 7 out of the apocalyptic limits to conclude what he had to say respecting the final punishment of ‘the old serpent,’ and the fate that awaited him at the close of a lengthened period called ‘a thousand years.’ This we believe to be the sole instance in the whole book of an excursion into distant futurity; and we are disposed to regard the whole parenthesis as relating to matters still future and unfulfilled. The broken continuity of the narration is joined again at ver. 11, where the Seer resumes the account of what he beheld in vision, introducing it by the familiar formula ‘And I saw.’"  (p. 523)


OTHER CONSIDERATIONS:


"The Parousia was written by Congregationalist minister James Stuart Russell and published anonymously in 1878. It was later published with Russell's authorship acknowledged in 1887, eight years before his death in 1895.  Russell was never disciplined or excommunicated for The Parousia.

Russell was active in the Evangelical Alliance ( http://www.eauk.org/about/ ) from its inception in 1846 to his death in 1895. The Evangelical Alliance never thought that Russell had placed himself outside Evangelicalism with The Parousia.

The Parousia teaches that Christ's Second Coming took place in A. D. 70, at which time the dead saints were resurrected and caught-up to Heaven, and the living saints were bodily caught-up to Heaven. The Parousia also teaches that Revelation 20:5-10 (unlike the rest of Revelation) is still unfulfilled.

In short, The Parousia does not deny the Second Coming or the physical reality of the general resurrection. It simply claims that those wonders (like Christ's resurrection and the parting of the Red Sea, for example) actually happened in biblical days. Neither does The Parousia teach that evil and suffering will last forever. Revelation 20:5-10 still hasn't happened.

Granted, some (perhaps many) "full preterists" are outside the bounds of Evangelicalism, but then again so are some Christians who believe that the Second Coming and the general resurrection are still future. But Russell's The Parousia is within the bounds of Evangelicalism.

Many contemporary full preterists fall into one or both of the following heretical errors:

1. They deny the physicality of the resurrection body.

2. They deny that sin and suffering will one day come to an end.

James Stuart Russell's The Parousia makes neither of those heretical errors.

The book clearly teaches the physicality of the resurrection body (whether Christ's body or the body of a resurrected saint).

The book also teaches that Revelation 20:5-10 still hasn't been fulfilled. Therefore, The Parousia isn't stuck with teaching that our sinful and suffering Earth will always remain full of sin and suffering.

In short, I think we need to distinguish between Evangelical full preterism (as taught by Russell in The Parousia) on the one hand, and heretical full preterism (as taught by those denying a physical resurrection body and/or who deny that sin and suffering will someday cease) on the other.
"  (Why is Russell not considered Orthodox?)

 


(On Malachi 4:6)
"The meaning of this passage (Mal. iv. 6) is obscured by the unfortunate translation earth instead of land. The Hebrew ch,a, like the Greek gh/, is very frequently employed in a restricted sense. The allusion in the text plainly is to the land of Israel. " (footnote, p. 8)

(On Matthew 10:23)
"In this passage we find the earliest distinct mention of that great event which we shall find so frequently alluded to henceforth by our Lord and His apostles, viz., His coming again, or the Parousia. It may indeed be a question, as we shall presently see, whether this passage properly belongs to this portion of the gospel history. But waiving for the moment this question, let us inquire what the coming here spoken of is. Can it mean, as Lange suggests, that Jesus was to follow so quickly on the heels of His messengers in their evangelistic circuit as to overtake them before it was completed? Or does it refer, as Stier and Alford think, to two different comings, separated from each other by thousands of years: the one comparatively near, the other indefinitely remote? Or shall we, with Michaelis and Meyer, accept the plain and obvious meaning which the words themselves suggest? The interpretation of Lange is surely inadmissible. Who can doubt that 'the coming of the Son of man' is here, what it is everywhere else, the formula by which the Parousia, the second coming of Christ, is expressed? This phrase has a definite and constant signification, as much as His crucifixion, or His resurrection, and admits of no other interpretation in this place. But may it not have a double reference: first, to the impending judgment of Jerusalem; and, secondly, to the final destruction of the world,- the former being regarded as symbolical of the latter? Alford contends for the double meaning, and is severe upon those who hesitate to accept it. He tells us what He thinks Christ meant; but on the other hand we have to consider what He said. Are the advocates of a double sense sure that He meant more than He said? Look at His words. 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 if we are to be told that this is not the meaning, nor the half of it, and that it includes another coming, to other evangelists, in other ages, and in other lands - a coming which, after eighteen centuries, is still future, and perhaps remote,- then the question arises: What may not Scripture mean? The grammatical sense of words no longer suffices for interpretation; Scripture is a conundrum to be guessed- an oracle that utters ambiguous responses; and no man can be sure, without a special revelation, that he understands what he reads. We are disposed, therefore, to agree with Meyer, that this twofold reference is 'nothing but a forced and unnatural evasion,' and the words simply mean what they' say - that before the apostles completed their life-work of evangelizing the land of Israel, the coming of the Lord should take place." (
The Parousia)

(On Matthew 24:29)
"What, then, is the great catastrophe symbolically represented as the shaking of the earth and heavens? No doubt it is the overthrow and abolition of the Mosaic dispensation, or old covenant; the destruction of the Jewish church and state, together with all the institutions and ordinances connected therewith. There were 'heavenly things' belonging to the dispensation: the laws, and statutes, and ordinances, which were divine in their origin, and might be properly called the 'spiritualia' of Judaism - these were the heavens, which were to be shaken and removed. There were also 'earthly things:' the literal Jerusalem, the material temple, the land of Canaan - these were the earth, which was in like manner to be shaken and removed. The symbols are, in fact, equivalent to those employed by our Lord when predicting the doom of Israel. 'Immediately after the tribulation of those days (the horrors of the siege of Jerusalem) shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken' (Matt 24:29). Both passages refer to the same catastrophe and employ very similar figures; besides which we have the authority of our Lord for fixing the event and the period of which He speaks within the limits of the generation then in existence: that is to say, the reference can only be to the judgment of the Jewish nation and the abrogation of the Mosaic economy at the Parousia." (p. 289-290).

(On Matthew 13:39)
"We find in the passages here quoted an example of one of those erroneous renderings which have done much to confuse and mislead the ordinary readers of our English version. It is probable, that ninety-nine in every hundred understand by the phrase, 'the end of the world,' the close of human history, and the destruction of the material earth. They would not imagine that the ' world ' in ver. 38 and the 'world' in ver. 39 40, are totally different words, with totally different meanings. Yet such is the fact. Koinos in ver. 38 is rightly translated world, and refers to the world of men, but aeon in ver. 39, 40, refers to a period of time, and should be rendered age or epoch. Lange translates it aeon. It is of the greatest importance to understand correctly the two meaning of this word, and of the phrase 'the end of the aeon, or age.' aion is, as we have said, a period of time, or an age. It is exactly equivalent to the Latin word aevum, which is merely aion in a Latin dress; and the phrase, (Greek- coming), translated in our English version, 'the end of the world,' should be, 'the close of the age.' Tittman observes: (Greek - coming), as it occurs in the New Testament, does not denote the end, but rather the consummation, of the aeon, which is to be followed by a new age. So in Matt. xiii. 39, 40, 49; xxiv. 3; which last passage, it is to be feared, may be misunderstood in applying it to the destruction of the world.' (8) It was the belief of the Jews that the Messiah would introduce a new aeon: and this new aeon, or age, they called 'the kingdom of heaven.' The existing aeon: therefore, was the Jewish dispensation, which was now drawing to its close; and how it would terminate our Lord impressively shows in these parables. It is indeed surprising that expositors should have failed to recognize in these solemn predictions the reproduction and reiteration of the words of Malachi and of John the Baptist." (p.21)

(On The Double Fulfillment Theory of Matthew 24)
"There is not a scintilla of evidence that the apostles and primitive Christians had any suspicion of a twofold reference in the predictions of Jesus concerning the end." (p. 545)

"We have thus endeavoured to rescue this great prophecy from the loose and uncritical method of interpretation by which it has been so much obscured and perplexed; to let it speak the same distinct and definite meaning to us as it did to the disciples. Reverence for the Word of God, and due regard to the principles of interpretation, forbid us to impose non-natural constructions and double senses, which in effect would be 'to add to the words of this prophecy.' We dare not play fast and loose with the express and precise statements of Christ. We find but one Parousia; one end of the age; one impending catastrophe; one terminus ad quem, -- 'this generation.' We protest against the exegesis which handles the Word of God in such free fashion as commends itself to many. 'The Lord,' it is said, 'is always coming to those who look for His appearing. We see His coming on a large scale in every crisis of the great human story. In revolutions, in reformations, and in the crises of our individual history. For each one of us there is an advent of the Lord, as often as new and larger views of truth are presented to us, or we are called to enter on new and perchance more laborious and exciting duties.'  In this way it might be difficult to say what is not a 'coming of the Lord.' But by making it anything and everything we make it nothing. It is evacuated -of all precision and reality. There is no reason why the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection should not Similarly become common and everyday transactions as well as the Parousia. It is one thing to say that the principles of the divine government are eternal and immutable, and therefore what God does to one people, or to one age, He will do in similar circumstances to other nations and other ages ; and it is quite another thing to say that this prophecy has two meanings: one for Jerusalem and Israel, and another for the world and the final consummation of all things. We hold, with Neander, that 'the words of Christ, like His works, contain within them the germ of an infinite development, reserved for future ages to unfold.'  But this does not imply that prophecy is anything that an ingenious fancy can devise, or hag occult and ulterior senses underlying the apparent and natural signification of the language. The duty of the interpreter and student of Scripture is not to try what Scripture may be made to say, but to submit his understanding to 'the true sayings of God,' which are usually as simple as they are profound."

(On Mark 10:32)
"To have specified the day and the hour, to have said, 'In the seven and thirtieth year, in the sixth month and the eighth day of the month, the city shall be taken and the temple burnt with fire,' would not only have been inconsistent with the manner of prophecy, but would have taken away one of the strongest inducements to constant watchfulness and prayer-- the uncertainty of the precise time." (The Parousia, p. 90

(On Acts 1:11)
"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." (The Parousia)

(On Hebrews 12:22-23 and Revelation 14:5)
"The points of resemblance are so marked and so numerous that it cannot possibly be accidental. The scene is the same – Mount Zion; the dranatis personae are the same – ‘the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven,’ corresponding with the hundred and forty and four thousand who bear the seal of God. In the epistle they are called ‘the church of the first-born’; the vision explains the title – they are ‘the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb’; the first converts to the faith of Christ in the Land of Judea. In the epistle they are designated ‘the spirits of just men made perfect’; in the vision they are ‘virgins undefiled, in whose mouth was found no guile; for they are without fault before the throne of God.’ Both in the vision and the epistle we find ‘the innumerable company of angels’ and ‘the Lamb,’ by whom redemption was achieved. In short, it is placed beyond all reason-able doubt that since the author of the Apocalypse cannot be supposed to have drawn his description from the epistle, the writer of the epistle must have derived his ideas and imagery from the Apocalypse." (p. 469f)

(On Revelation 9:14)
"That river (Euphrates) formed the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire, and we know as a matter of fact that it was kept by four legions, which were regularly stationed there (Conybeare and Howson, chap. xxii). These four legions we conceive to be symbolised by the four angels bound at, or on, the river. The 'loosing of the angels' is equivalent to the mobilising of the legions, and we cannot but think the symbol as poetical, as it is historically truthful." (Russell,
The Parousia, p. 415)

(on the Nature of Christ's Return)
"It is possible to believe in the fulfillment of predictions which take effect in the visible order of things, because we have historical evidence of that fulfillment; but how can we be expected to believe in fulfillments which are said to have taken place in the region of the spiritual and invisible when we have no witnesses to depose to the facts? We implicitly believe in the accomplishment of all that was predicted respecting the horrors of the siege of Jerusalem, the burning of the temple, and the demolition of the city, because we have the testimony of Josephus to the facts; but how can we believe in a coming of the Son of man, in a resurrection of the dead, in an act of judgment, when we have nothing but the word of prophecy to rely upon, and no Josephus to vouch for the historical accuracy of the facts? "To this it can only be said in reply that the demand for human testimony to events in the region of the unseen is not altogether reasonable. If we receive them at all it must be on the word of Him who declared that all these things would assuredly take place before that generation passed away. But, after all, is the demand upon our faith in this matter so very excessive ? A large portion of these predictions we know to have been literally and punctually fulfilled; we recognise in that accomplishment a remarkable proof of the truth of the word of God and the superhuman prescience that foresaw and foretold the future. Could any thing have been less probable at the time when our Lord delivered his prophetic discourse than the total destruction of the temple, the razing of the city, and the ruin of the nation in the lifetime of the existing generation ? What can be more minute and particular than the signs of the end enumerated by our Lord ? What can be more precise and literal than the fulfillment of them?

"But the part which confessedly has been fulfilled, and which is vouched for by uninspired history, is inseparably bound up with another portion which is not so vouched for. Nothing but a violent disruption can detach the one part of this prophecy from the other. It is one from beginning to end- a complete whole. The finest instrument cannot draw a line separating one portion which relates to that generation from another portion which relates to a different and distant period. Every part of it rests on the same foundation, and the whole is so linked and concatenated that all must stand or fall together. We are justified, therefore, in holding that the exact accomplishment of so much of the prophecy as comes within the cognizance of the senses, and is capable of being vouched for by human testimony, is a presumption and guarantee in favour of the exact fulfilment of that portion which lies within the region of the invisible and spiritual, and which cannot, in the nature of things, be attested by human evidence. This is not credulity, but reasonable faith, such as men fearlessly exercise in all their worldly transactions.

"We conclude, therefore, that all the parts of our Lord's prediction refer to the same period and the same event; that the whole prophecy is one and indivisible, resting upon the same foundation of divine authority. Farther, that all that was cognizable by the human senses is proved to have been fulfilled, and, therefore, we are not only warranted, but bound to assume the fulfilment of the remainder as not only credible, but certain." ( The Parousia pp. 547, 648.)

(On Matthew 13:36 and the "End of the Age")
"Nothing can be more misleading to the English reader, than the rendering, 'the end of the world;' which inevitably suggests the close of human history, the end of time, and the destruction of the earth -- a meaning which the words will not bear. . . . What can be more evident than that the promise of Christ to be with his disciples to the close of the age implies that they were to live to the close of the age ? That great consummation was not far off ; the Lord had often spoken of it, and always as an approaching event, one which some of them would live to lice. It was the winding up of the Mosaic dispensation; the end of the long probation of the theocratic nation; when the whole frame and fabric of the Jewish polity were to be swept away, and the kingdom of God to come with power. This great event, our Lord declared, was to fall within the limit of the existing generation." (The Parousia, p. 121.)


(On Nero, The Man of Sin)
"It is with great satisfaction that he finds himself in substantial agreement with the distinguished ecclesiastical historian and theologian, Dr. Dollinger, of Munich, in his interpretation of St. Paul's prediction in 2 Thessalonians. (1) Dr. Dollinger distinctly identifies the "Man of Sin" with Nero, a conclusion now so generally accepted by the highest authorities, that it may be regarded as a settled point. (2) He clearly distinguishes between the "Man of Sin" and "the Apostasy," so frequently confounded by the mass of interpreters.  Dollinger shows that the former is a person, the latter a heresy. (3) He recognizes "the Beast" of the Apocalypse as the Emperor, and therefore identical with the "Man of Sin." (4) The miracles wrought by the "Second Beast" (the Beast from the earth) he regards as a representation derived from our Lord's prophecy on the Mount of Olives." (The Parousia,
afterword.)

(Unfulfilled Prophecy)
"The result of the whole is, that we must consider the passage which treats of the thousand years, from ver. 5 to ver. 10, as an intercalation or parenthesis. The seer, having begun to relate the judgment of the dragon, passes in ver. 7 out of the apocalyptic limits to conclude what he had to say respecting the final punishment of ‘the old serpent,’ and the fate that awaited him at the close of a lengthened period called ‘a thousand years.’ This we believe to be the sole instance in the whole book of an excursion into distant futurity; and we are disposed to regard the whole parenthesis as relating to matters still future and unfulfilled. The broken continuity of the narration is joined again at ver. 11, where the Seer resumes the account of what he beheld in vision, introducing it by the familiar formula ‘And I saw.’" (p. 523)

(Thousand Years Not Fulfilled in AD70)
"Some interpreters indeed attempt to get over the difficulty by supposing that the thousand years, being a symbolic number, may represent a period of very short duration, and so bring the whole within the prescribed apocalyptic limits; but this method of interpretation appears to us so violent and unnatural that we cannot hesitate to reject it. The act of binding and shutting up the dragon does indeed come within the 'shortly' of the apocalyptic statement, for it is coincident or nearly so, with the judgment of the harlot and the beast; but the term of the dragon's imprisonment is distinctly stated to be for a thousand years, and thus must necessarily pass entirely beyond the field of vision so strictly and constantly limited by the book itself. We believe, however, that this is the solitary example which the whole book contains of this excursion beyond the limits of 'shortly'." (pg. 514)

 

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID

Jay Adams
"Yet when Russell comes to the great commission, because of his desire to fit all of the pieces, he must interpret the word "nations" as "tribes" in Palestine!  There is no warrant for doing this other than to save his view from being shattered by a passage that really doesn't fit into it." (Preterism: Orthodox or Unorthodox?, p. 6)

Keith Mathison (2003)
"J. Stuart Russell devotes very little space to Acts 1:9–11 in his lengthy book
The Parousia, and he does not offer any substantial exegetical arguments in support of his hyper-preterist interpretation of this text. His main argument is that it is not credible to suggest the apostles would have returned to Jerusalem rejoicing (cf, Luke 24:52–53) if they understood that Jesus’ return would not occur very soon. This, however, is not really so much an argument as it is a statement about what Russell considers to be possible. The reason the apostles returned to Jerusalem rejoicing has to do not merely with the promise of his return but also with the meaning of the ascension itself. The ascension is Jesus’ answer to their question about the kingdom. It is evident in the following chapters of Acts and in the other books of the New Testament that the apostles now clearly understood that Jesus had been seated at the right hand of God and made both Lord and Christ (e.g., Peter’s sermon in Acts 2). They now understood clearly that his kingdom had been inaugurated. They also apparently understood that the promised outpouring of the Spirit was now imminent. These are all perfectly comprehensible reasons for rejoicing." (Acts 1:9-11 and the Hyper-Preterist Debate Page)

Duncan McKenzie
"What Russell was saying was that those who were trying to fit the millennium in before AD 70 were very wrong. Current day full preterism is trying to do just that. The usual full preterist solution for the 1,000-year reign is to try and make it the 40 year period from AD 30 to AD 70. The fact that Russell considered this interpretation "violent and unnatural" should have full preterists examining their position closely. Probably no one more than Russell would have liked to fit the millennium into the things that were about to happen (AD 70). Russell of course saw the millennium as about to happen in terms of it beginning at AD 70 not ending at that time. J.S. Russell was as motivated as one could be to fit the millennium in before AD 70. Six verses, Revelation 20:5-10 (the millennium, the loosing of Satan for a season, the Gog and Magog invasion, and subsequent banishment of Satan to the lake of fire) out of the whole book of Revelation that he could not in good conscience fit in between AD 30 and AD 70. For Russell to fit the millennium in before AD 70 may have put all his ducks in a row, but apparently he thought it would have been the wrong row! Russell's refusal to crunch the millennium in before AD 70 and his denouncement of the method of those who do, are reason enough to reconsider the "all fulfilled by AD 70" rule of full preterism.

The fact that J.S. Russell saw the millennium beginning at AD 70 and extending into the future means that he would not be a full preterist by today's standards. This brings up a very important point. Current day full preterism, (with its hermeneutic that all the prophecy in the Bible was fulfilled by AD 70) is a relatively recent development. " Was All The Prophecy in the Bible Fulfilled by A.D.70?

Ovid Need
"
I am thankful to the man who brought this book to my attention, and I can readily recommend it to any interested in serious study of Scripture. "
Parousia" is an excellent book for those disillusioned by "date setting." (Prophecy)


M.A., D.Div., (1816-1895) was a pastor and author of The Parousia. The book was originally published in 1878 with the title, The Parousia: A Critical Inquiry into the New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord's Second Coming. A second edition followed in 1887. A reprint of this edition by Baker Books is available today with the title, The Parousia: The New Testament Doctrine of Our Lord's Second Coming.

James Stuart Russell, the son of a pious Scotsman, was born at Elgin, Morayshire, on November 28, 1816. He entered King's College, Aberdeen, at the age of twelve and when eighteen he completed his M.A. degree. His religious decision dates from about his sixteenth year under the influence of his older brother. For a time he served in a law office. Then to prepare for a Christian ministry he studied in the Theological Halls of Edinburgh and Glasgow, ultimately finding his way to Chesthunt College.

In June 1843 Russell became an assistant minister at the Congregational Church in Great Yarmouth before taking over as minister. In 1857 Russell transferred to the Congregational Church in Tottenham and Edmonton. While holding this position, Russell visited Belfast to observe the working of the great Irish Revival and came under its influence. On his return a similar awakening occurred in his own church.

After a stay of five years in his second church, Russell was attracted to a new church in the rapidly growing Bayswater, whose chapel in Lancaster Road was built in 1866. Here he continued to serve until his years and failing health led to retirement near the end of 1888.

Russell was not only an able preacher, but also a man of kindly deportment. He was gifted with winning personal characteristics, which secured for him a devoted following. His pleasant manners and genial spirit, his native humor and genuine wit, his extensive reading and wide knowledge and most retentive memory, made conversations with him agreeable and profitable.

Russell's fervor stretched beyond the limits of his own pastorate. He was present, in 1843, at the formation of the Evangelical Alliance, with whose aim and operations he remained in warm and active sympathy to the last. He had an ever deepening sense of the importance of the temperance movement, and he was the first chairman of the Congregational Total Abstinence Association. Both the National Temperance League and the United Kingdom Alliance counted him among their members. His advocacy of the good cause was in frequent demand for meetings in London and the suburbs.

But it is as an author that Russell is most widely known and will be longest remembered. He had held the doctrine of the past second Advent for many years before writing or even speaking on the subject. He used to describe how the matter came to him as a sort of revelation. On discovering the key to the mystery, the whole theme gradually unfolded. It was to him a source of constant delight to see one point after another fall into harmony with what he believed to be the central truth. Accordingly, in 1878, he published anonymously his now celebrated, The Parousia, containing an elaborate exegesis on these lines of New Testament teaching concerning the second coming of Jesus Christ. Another edition followed with the author's name attached.

This work, a rare specimen of serious exposition and logical acumen, drew much attention to the subject on both sides of the Atlantic. The University of Aberdeen soon signalled its appreciation of the book by conferring on the author a well earned diploma in divinity, which he valued all the more highly because it came from his alma mater.

The argument of this consummate piece of Biblical criticism has had the effect of leading many to believe that Christ's second advent actually took place in the first century of the Christian era. Often Russell would have joy from the open adherence of one person after another to the views set forth in his work. His masterly disquisition must hold its own as an authority in its particular department, which all who propose to explore the same field are bound to consult. To his independent yet reverent pen the Church at large stands indebted for a valuable contribution to the range of Scripture study and sacred thought.


The Last Things

By Joseph Agar Beet

CLICK HERE FOR PDF FILE OF ENTIRE BOOK

Note B, on p. 89.—In a work entitled Parousia, J. Stuart Russell endeavours to prove that all the prophecies in the New Testament about the Second Coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the judgment of all men, and the dissolution of nature, were fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

On p. 82, in a note on Matt. xxiv. 29-31, he says, " We may go further than this, and affirm that it is not only appropriate as applied to the destruction of Jerusalem, but that this is its true and exclusive application. We find no vestige of an intimation that our Lord had any ulterior and occult signification in view." His argument is that Christ foretold that He would come during the lifetime of some of His hearers; that no other event in that generation, except the fall of Jerusalem, can be identified with His coming; and that therefore unless He referred to this event His solemn words have fallen to the ground.

So on p. 548, in a summary of the work: "As the result of the investigation we are landed in this dilemma: either the whole group of predictions, comprehending the destruction of Jerusalem, the coming of the Lord, the resurrection of the dead, and the rewarding of the faithful, did take place before the passing away of that generation, as predicted by Christ, taught by the apostles, and expected by the whole Church; or, else, the hope of the Church was a delusion, the teaching of the apostles an error, the predictions of Jesus a dream." This argument, he repeats again and again throughout the whole work.

The destruction of Jerusalem was undoubtedly "a day of Jehovah" in the sense in which, as we saw in Lect. III., that phrase is used in Joel ii. 1 and elsewhere frequently in the Old Testament. For this great catastrophe was a conspicuous punishment, after much longsuffering, of the nation which had consummated previous disobedience by the murder of Christ. But nowhere else is the abundant and definite teaching of the New Testament about the Second Coming of Christ placed in relation to the destruction of Jerusalem except in Matt. xxiv. and its parallels in Mark and Luke. And even here the two events are easily distinguished. In Matt. xxiv. 3 the disciples ask Christ about the time of the destruction of the temple and about the sign of His coming and of the completion of the age. But this question does not imply that the fall of Jerusalem was identical with the coming of Christ. The two events are clearly distinguished in v. 29, where Christ says that "immediately after the affliction of those days" shall be the darkening of the sun and moon, His own appearance coming on the clouds, and the gathering together by the angels of His chosen ones from one end of heaven to the other. For this immediate sequence by no means implies identity. And nothing happened at the capture of Jerusalem which can, by the wildest stretch of imagination, be described by language used in vv. 29-31.

The only passage in which there seems to be any actual blending of the fall of Jerusalem with the coming of Christ is Matt. xxiv. 27, where Christ supports an exhortation about the earlier event by a reference to the latter. But this reference is found only in the First Gospel, where the early return of Christ is much more conspicuous than elsewhere in the New Testament.

The vision of judgment in Matt. xxv. 31-46 contains no reference whatever to the destruction of Jerusalem, and has nothing in common with it. But it is forced into the iron shoe which Mr. Russell has invented. He understands (on p. 105) "all the nations" to mean "all the nations of Palestine, or all the tribes of the land." And, stranger still, he gives the same meaning to the same phrase in Matt. xxviii. 19, "make disciples of all the nations." He supposes (see p. 112) that the terrible words "depart ye cursed into everlasting fire" were heard only in the unseen world unheeded by the nations of the earth and unrecorded by human historians. And, while we wonder at this strange exegesis, our author falls upon us, as with a sledgehammer, and says, on p. 113: "We are placed, therefore, in this dilemma—either the words of Jesus have failed, and the hopes of His disciples have been falsified; or else these words and hopes have been fulfilled, and the prophecy in all its parts has been fully accomplished. One thing is certain, the veracity of our Lord is committed to the assertion that the whole and every part of the events contained in this prophecy were to take place before the close of the existing generation."

In reference to John v. 28, 29, vi. 39, 40, 44, xi. 24, xii. 48, Mr. Russell says, on p. 126: "Since our Lord Himself distinctly and frequently places that event within the limits of the existing generation, we conclude that the Parousia, the resurrection, the judgment, and the last day, all belong to the period of the destruction of Jerusalem."

The same treatment is extended to 1 Thess. i. 10, ii. 19, iii. 13, iv. 15-18, v. 2-11, 2 Thess. i. 6-10, ii. 1, 8. He supposes that Paul comforts the mourners at Thessalonica by reminding them that a catastrophe is at hand which will submerge the Jewish state, and that then, in some invisible manner, the dead in Christ will rise and His living servants be caught up to meet Him in the air. Since this resurrection is in 1 Thess. iv. 14 compared to that of Christ, we ask whether after the fall of Jerusalem the graves of the dead Christians were found empty as was His grave on the third day; and how it was that the rapture to heaven of all the followers of Christ in Macedonia, Greece, Rome, and elsewhere, including the Apostle John, made no break in the continuous history of the Church on earth.

The same method is applied to 1 Cor. xv. The description of the bodies of the risen ones given in vv. 35-49 is scarcely referred to. But Mr. Russell supposes [v. 51) that the " last trumpet" sounded 1800 years ago. Unfortunately, so far as we know, no one heard it. All hesitation is banished (on p. 211) by the familiar argument: "Right or wrong, the apostle is committed to this representation of the coming of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and the transmutation of the living saints, within the natural lifetime of the Corinthians and himself. We are placed therefore in this dilemma —1. Either the apostle was guided by the Spirit of God, and the events which he predicted came to pass; or 2. The apostle was mistaken in this belief, and these things never took place."

The teaching in Rev. xx. 1-10 about the Millennium is a serious difficulty to our author. For he is compelled to say on p. 523: "The result of the whole is, that we must consider the passage which treats of the thousand years, from v. 5 to v. 10, as an intercalation or parenthesis. The Seer, having begun to relate the judgment of the dragon, passes in v. 7 out of the apocalyptic limits to conclude what he had to say respecting the final punishment of 'the old serpent,' and the fate that awaited him at the close of a lengthened period called 'a thousand years.' This we believe to be the sole instance in the whole book of an excursion into distant futurity; and we are disposed to regard the whole parenthesis as relating to matters still future and unfulfilled." This confirms my statement on p. 69 that Rev. xx. 1-6 contains teaching not found elsewhere in the Bible.

After dropping out of the consecutive order vv. 5-IO, Mr. Russell joins on, at the close of v. 4, the tremendous vision of judgment in vv. 11-15. But, strange to say, he supposes that this judgment has already taken place, i.e. that earth and heaven have already fled from the face of Him who sits on the throne. On p. 525 he writes: "If the judgment scene described in this passage be identical with that in Matt. xxv., it follows that it is not 'the end of the world' in the sense of its being the dissolution of the material fabric of the globe and the close of human history, but that which is so frequently predicted as accompanying the end of the age, or termination of the Jewish dispensation."

In other words, our author asks us to believe that the great event for which the early Christians were waiting, and for which we still wait as the goal of our highest hopes, took place in A.D. 70 in some sort of invisible connection with the fall of the Jewish state. He does this because only thus can he interpret a few passages in the Synoptist Gospels, and especially in the First Gospel, which seem to assert or imply that Christ would return to judge the world during the lifetime of some of His hearers. Like Mr. Guinness, but with much greater violence, he sacrifices the abundant and plain teaching of the New Testament to a small portion of it.

NOTE C, on p. 89.—The same exposition is given by Prof. E. P. Gould, D.D., in the International Critical Commentary on St. Mark, pp. 241-253. But since Matt. xxv. 31-46, John v. 28, 29, 1 Thess. iv. 15-18, 2 Thess. i. 6-10, Rev. xx. 11-15 have no parallels in the Second Gospel, he is not compelled to face the difficulties involved in the position he has taken up. Relying on parallels in the Old Testament, and especially on Dan. vii. 13, he supposes that the words in Mark xiii. 26, "then shall they see the Son of Man coming in clouds," were fulfilled at the taking of Jerusalem. Much safer would it be to interpret Dan. vii. 13, "there came with the clouds of heaven one like a son of man," as an Old Testament anticipation of the Second Coming of Christ which occupies so large a place in the prophecy of the New Testament; and to expound such passages as Isa. xiii. 10, xxxiv. 4, Joel ii. 30 as distinct and dim anticipations of a catastrophe which some day will overwhelm the whole material universe.

The exposition of any one passage in the New Testament needs the light afforded by all others on the same subject. But, in dealing with a very difficult eschatological passage, Prof. Gould has scarcely referred to the eschatology of the rest of the New Testament.

 

NOTE D, on p. 89.—The same teaching, with exceptions in details, is given by the Rev. Alex. Brown in a book entitled The Great Day of the Lord. Nearly two-thirds of this volume are given to the Book of Revelation, leaving only one-third for the important eschatology of the Synoptist Gospels and of Paul.

The writer emphasises the statement in Rev. i. 1, xxii. 6, 7, 12, 20 that the prophecy speaks of " things which must need take place shortly ;" but asserts that we are now living in the Millennium, thus giving to the visions of the book an extension to our own time. He accepts Mr. Russell's suggestion that the Millennium is an intercalation, and that Rev. xx. 11 must be joined on to v. 4. So on p. 223: "John's glance forward a 1000 years is no part of his original purpose, but only an interjected note of needful warning which breaks the continuity of his leading course of thought. Again we say, what John does not see, but is only told and tells again to us, lies out of the direct line of his teaching, and is to be understood as parenthetical. We must, therefore, as the method of the book demands take the vision of v. 11, and link it on to the vision of v. 4, because the right concatenation of John's thought lies along the line of what is made visible to the seer, and not along the explanatory by-paths into which he may digress."

The prediction of judgment in John v. 28, 29, and the prophetic vision in Rev. xx. 11-15, Mr. Brown supposes to have been fulfilled in the unseen world at the fall of Jerusalem. Touching the solemn words "from whose face fled the earth and the heaven, and place was not found for them," he says, on p. 227, "one can only smile when expositors gravely find here a destruction of heaven and earth. John merely tells us, in a touch of unparalleled sublimity, that from his sight the old familiar earth has disappeared; and even the accustomed heaven is gone." In a reference to Matt. xxv. 31-46 he says, on p. 319, "In view of the demands of faithful exegesis, this judgment scene must take its beginning in the period immediately succeeding the downfall of Jerusalem."

Mr. Brown finds insuperable difficulty in Mr. Russell's suggestion that the announcement, in 1 Thess. iv. 17, that at the coming of Christ His surviving servants will be caught up to meet Him in the air has already been fulfilled in the unseen world. He asks, on p. 349f, "Is it possible that at a time when the Church is confessedly weak the Lord is going to deplete it of its richest blood and either destroy it or leave it helpless? ... In short, this idea of 'rapture,' though fondly held by multitudes, involves Paul's teaching on 'last things' in the most flagrant inconsistencies, and makes a science of eschatology on any understanding quite impossible. . . . Surely the second-rate Christians who were left after the 'rapture' to rule the Church were competent enough to chronicle so startling an event as the sudden disappearance of the more illustrious leaders." It would have been more to the point to say that Paul's words in 1 Cor. xv. 51f imply that all the servants of Christ who survive His coming will be at once caught up, leaving only the godless behind.

This difficulty, Mr. Brown endeavours to evade by finding fault with the rendering given both in AV. and RV. to the Greek adverb a/ia, which they translate "together with them." He says, on p. 351, "This rendering inevitably suggests identity as to time. But while the word may have this temporal reference, it never carries it in the writings of St. Paul, but some other identity, of place, quality, or manner." It never denotes identity of manner; but always close companionship, this involving, if the idea of time be present, coincidence in time. The words here used, afia ai>v avroU, can only mean that two sets of people, the risen ones and the survivors, shall be together caught up to meet Christ.

Mr. Brown also endeavours to weaken the definiteness of the teaching of the New Testament about the Second Coming of Christ by giving to the word irapovala the meaning presence. But, as I have shown on p. 25, this looser meaning cannot be allowed.

Without the slightest reason Mr. Brown translates, on p. 370, Paul's words recorded in Acts xxiv. 15, "having hope in God that there IS SOON TO BE

a resurrection both of the just and the unjust;" and, resting upon these words and "the coming judgment" in v. 25, he says, " it is evident that he (Paul) was still strong in the expectation of a parousia close at hand." But of the nearness of the resurrection and judgment, Paul's words in these two passages convey no hint. They simply note futurity.

The theory now before us is an attempt to remove a real difficulty in the New Testament, viz. the expectation expressed in a few passages that the return of Christ for which His early followers were waiting would take place during the lifetime of some of His contemporaries. But the explanation suggested is impossible. For it involves a violence to the plain grammatical meaning of a great part of the New Testament which would destroy the meaning of language and throw open to doubt the most definite assertions. Relief from an acknowledged difficulty cannot be purchased at this price.

NOTE E, on p. 89.—Very different from the above is a scholarly volume by Dr. Milligan on The Revelation of St. John, in which, after calling attention to the difficulties which make impossible the theory of a premillennial advent, he suggests that "the thousand years," and the "little time" which follows them, do not denote duration in time but only the idea of completeness. He interprets these periods as simultaneous, and as each co-extensive with the whole Christian dispensation, during which he supposes that, in reference to the saints, Satan will be completely bound, but in reference to others in some measure free. So on p. 210: "The fundamental principle to be kept clearly and resolutely in view is this, that the thousand years express no period of time. Like so many other expressions of the Apocalypse, their real is different from their apparent meaning. They are not to be taken literally. They embody an idea; and that idea, whether applied to the subjugation of Satan or to the triumph of the saints, is the idea of completeness. Satan is bound for a thousand years—i.e. he is completely bound. The saints reign for a thousand years— i.e. they are introduced into a state of perfect and glorious victory."

On p. 213, when expounding Rev. xx. 3, "after these things (Satan) must needs be loosed a little time," Dr. Milligan calls attention to ch. vi. 11, "they should rest yet for a little time, until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, which should be killed even as they were, should be fulfilled." This "little time" he correctly understands to be " the whole Christian age ;" and then goes on to give to the same phrase the same extension of time in ch. xx. 3. He says, "when it is said Satan shall be loosed 'for a little time,' the meaning is that he shall be loosed for the whole Christian age." In other words, two periods of time, one called "a thousand years" and the other "a little time," which are expressly said to be consecutive, and are contrasted, Dr. Milligan takes as simultaneous, each embracing the whole Christian age; and, with strange inconsistency, as denoting not periods of time but only the idea of completeness.

It is quite true that symbols must not be interpreted literally. But, unless there be definite relation between the objects symbolised and the symbols, these last are useless. Unless the phrases before us denote periods of time, they are meaningless. The only examples in support of his strange and unlikely method of interpretation which Dr. Milligan brings are Ezek. xxxix. 9, where we read that, after the destruction of Magog, the inhabitants of the cities of Israel will for seven years burn the weapons of the conquered and will need no other fuel; and v. 12, where we are told that the house of Israel will be for seven months burying the slain of Gog and purifying the land from the presence of their corpses. These examples are no proof whatever that in symbolic language longer or shorter periods of time may denote merely greater or less completeness. For in this case the greatness of the overthrow is proved by the length of time during which the captured weapons lasted for fuel and the length of time required to bury the dead. On these easily explained examples, in one chapter of the Old Testament, Dr. Milligan builds up a most incongruous method of exposition.

Moreover, to say that Satan is bound, " in order that he may not deceive the nations any more until the thousand years are completed," as we read in Rev. xx. 3, and then to say, as we read in v. 8, that at the same time he will "go forth to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth " is flat contradiction.

The great difficulties involved in the interpretation of the Millennium given in this book of mine, I admit; and shall welcome a better solution. But I prefer to leave unexplained these ten verses of the most difficult book of the Bible rather than admit principles of interpretation which would leave open to doubt the plainest assertions of Holy Scripture.


The Parousia

By James Stuart Russell

Reviewed by Noted Theologians

C.H. Spurgeon | R.C. Sproul | Ovid Need Jr.


C.H. Spurgeon

The Sword and the Trowel
October 1879, Page 553

"The second coming of Christ according to this volume had its fulfillment in the destruction of Jerusalem and the establishment of the gospel dispensation. That the parables and predictions of our Lord had a more direct and exclusive reference to that period than is generally supposed, we readily admit; but we were not prepared for the assignment of all references to a second coming in the New Testament, and even in the Apocalypse itself, to so early a fulfillment. All that could be said has been said in support of this theory, and much more than ought to have been said. In this the reasoning fails. In order to concentrate the whole prophecies of the Book of Revelation upon the period of the destruction of Jerusalem it was needful to assume this book to have been written prior to that event, although the earliest ecclesiastical historians agree that John was banished to the isle of Patmos, where the book was written, by Domitian, who reigned after Titus, by whom Jerusalem was destroyed. Apart from this consideration, the compression of all the Apocalyptic visions and prophecies into so narrow a space requires more ingenuity and strength than that of men and angels combined. Too much stress is laid upon such phrases as 'The time is at hand,' 'Behold I come quickly,' whereas many prophecies of Scripture are delivered as present or past, as 'unto us a child IS born,' &c., and 'Surely he HATH borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.' Amidst the many comings of Christ spoken of in the New Testament that which is spoken of as a second, must, we think, be personal, and thus similar to the first; and such too must be the meaning of 'his appearing.' Though the author's theory is carried too far, it has so much of truth in it, and throws so much new light upon obscure portions of the Scriptures, and is accompanied with so much critical research and close reasoning, that it can be injurious to none and may be profitable to all."

For a closer look at Spurgeon's Preterist statements, please see : 

Commentary Excerpts: Charles H. Spurgeon

Also by Spurgeon:

     "The Kingly Prophet foretold the time of the end: "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation." It was before that generation had passed away that Jerusalem was besieged and destroyed. There was a sufficient interval for the full proclamation of the gospel by the apostles and evangelists of the early Christian Church, and for the gathering out of those who recognized the crucified Christ as their true Messiah. Then came the awful end, which the Savior foresaw and foretold, and the prospect of which wrung from his lips and heart the sorrowful lament that followed his prophecy of the doom awaiting his guilty capital." (A popular exposition of the Gospel according to Matthew, in loc.)


R.C. Sproul

"Russell's book has forced me to take the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem far more seriously than before, to open my eyes to the radical significance of this event in redemptive history.  It vindicates the apostolic hope and prediction of our Lord's close-at-hand coming in judgment.  My view on these matters remains in transition, as I have spelled out in The Last Days According to Jesus.  But for me one thing is certain:  I can never read the New Testament again the same way I read it before reading The Parousia.  I hope better scholars than I will continue to analyze and evaluate the content of J. Stuart Russell's important work." ("Forward," in The Parousia (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999)


Ovid Need Jr.

     First, "The Parousia, A careful look at the New Testament doctrine of our Lord's Second Coming," by James Stuart Russell (1816-1895). It contains 561 pages, soft-bound. I miss an index not being in it, but it does have a comprehensive Table of Contents. He "served as pastor of the Congregational Church in Bayswater, England during the years 1862-1888. He earned his M.A. degree from King's College, University of Aberdeen. Then after this book was published, they honoured him with a D.D. degree. Two editions were published, the first in 1878 and the second in 1887, both in London. This is the most popular introduction to and defense of the preterist view of Bible Prophecy in print today. It is a 1996 reprint by Kingdom Publications, 122 Seaward Ave, Bradford, PA 16701. $17.00 post paid from Kingdom Publishers" toll-free, (888) 257-7023, and they accept MasterCard and VISA.

     Mr. Russell convincingly presents the Preterist view from the many New Testaments - from Malachi and Matthew through the Revelation - passages we hear used in "Prophetic" teaching today. (It appears to me that most prophetic teachers fail to realize that prophecy is from the time the passages are written, not from the time they are read.) Though Russell goes further in some areas than I would (spiritualizing some things I would not), I must admit that he deals with the many New Testament "Prophetic" passages in the most consistent manner I have encountered: His arguments concerning the "Prophetic" passages are hard, if not impossible, to refute by those of us who accept Scripture as the final authority - that is, who use Scripture rather than history to interpret Scripture. An usual point I found about Mr. Russell, not often found in Bible teachers, is that when he encounters a passage he cannot answer, he tells us he has no answer. Many teachers seem to think that when they admit they do not have all the answers, they have lost their ability to teach.

     I am thankful to the man who brought this book to my attention, and I can readily recommend it to any interested in serious study of Scripture. "Parousia" is an excellent book for those disillusioned by "date setting."

     I suppose that Mr. Russell wrote "Parousia" to counter the then rising tide of dispensational millennialism that started gaining worldwide momentum after about 1850.

 

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Date:
04 Sep 2003
Time:
10:08:19

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-- The Incredible Scofield and His Book. If your library does not have this book it is uninformed on events that are turning the world upside down today. You may have heard of C I Scofield but what do you know about him? Who promoted him? The Incredible Scofield and His Book by Joseph M. Canfield explains how the cultural disease of The Rapture, Millennialism, Dispensationalism, Christ's Return and the end of the world has changed the course of history through the influence of Scofield Reference Bible. Joseph Canfield spent 10 years researching Scofield and found one of the biggest coverups and frauds in history. I have a few new copies but there will be no more when these are gone as the book is out of print. Check the web for the book to see that what I say is true then order it before it is sold out. This book is so rare it is selling for as much as $150.00 if you can find it. For more information. http://www.ciscofield.biz This book is no longer in print. $21.50 Shipping will be $3.50. New, 314 Pages 8vo 6 1/4 x 9 1/4, HB, DJ. Ross House 1988. First Printing and the First Edition. Wrapped in clear plastic. To find out how this disease has infected Christianity read this history of Millenniumalism http://www.eskimo.com/%7Eralphj/dispensat.html/Millennium.html



Date:
11 Sep 2003
Time:
07:08:08
Comments

I apreciate if you will translate al the website in romanian langueg becouse many young romanin people are interesting at this website but dont understending language good bless You


Date:
26 Oct 2003
Time:
14:23:00
Comments
 

May I have the definition of Parousia? Thank you.

[para = with ; ousia = essence]



Date:
18 Feb 2004
Time:
05:10:06
Comments

I am thankful for the opportunity to ask a question. My disposition, I believe, is liquid at this time. The dating of Revelation seems to be critical. There is a dispute, before 70 or after. Here is my question the Geek according to the Zondervan parallel Greek/English NT the word for 'Lord's" is 'Imperial', Rev. 1:10, in conjunction with 'the Lord's Day'. So to my limited understanding this would mean that John had the visions on the 'Imperial Day', which in turn points to Domitian. As far as I understand he installed the Dominus et Deus which later the Christians took over as their day of worship in place of 'the first day of the week'. No where did I find even a hint to this point. Is Zondervan wrong by translating the word 'Imperial' or what does it then mean? Please give me a hinter or a brief explanation to this question. My e-mail address is - hopsob@hotmail.com. Thanks and may our wonderful LORD keep and bless you. Dietrich Sobottka


Date:

18 Feb 2004

Time:

05:10:09

Comments

I am thankful for the opportunity to ask a question. My disposition, I believe, is liquid at this time. The dating of Revelation seems to be critical. There is a dispute, before 70 or after. Here is my question the Geek according to the Zondervan parallel Greek/English NT the word for 'Lord's" is 'Imperial', Rev. 1:10, in conjunction with 'the Lord's Day'. So to my limited understanding this would mean that John had the visions on the 'Imperial Day', which in turn points to Domitian. As far as I understand he installed the Dominus et Deus which later the Christians took over as their day of worship in place of 'the first day of the week'. No where did I find even a hint to this point. Is Zondervan wrong by translating the word 'Imperial' or what does it then mean? Please give me a hinter or a brief explanation to this question. My e-mail address is - hopsob@hotmail.com. Thanks and may our wonderful LORD keep and bless you. Dietrich Sobottka


Date: 27 Jul 2005
Time: 11:02:25

Comments:

I am truly amazed that anyone with even a small amount of biblical knowledge and a firm belief in sola scriptura can claim that preterism is based on a faulty hermenutic. How much more plain can the Lord Jesus be than to assert "this generation?" To try to say the word generation either refers to the jewish race or that it means the generation that sees the "fig leaf bloom" is a willful and deliberate twisting of scripture. The Olivet discourse of our Saviour was Judea specific. It does not tell some imaginary future genteration to flee to the mountains or not come down from the roof. I've heard Dr. Tommy Ice, Dave Hunt and others argue their ill conceived eisegetical concepts and am not convinced. Dave Hunt prattles endlessly about Jesus reining from the Literal throne of David in Jerusalem. Evidently he and his ilk either fail to read or choose to ignore the clear teaching of Peter on the day of Pentecost when he tells us that David was speaking of the ressurection. As to the heres


Rev. Richard Leo Jackson richardLjackson5@aol.com


Date: 17 Apr 2010
Time: 01:49:56

Your Comments:

It was pure pleasure to me to read "The Parousia". It displays lucid and logical thought patterns of the author as he transports you through all the pertinent scriptures concerning the parousia. I read it at least once a year. Just a great book, and I believe it is honoring to our Lord.

 

 

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