Dr. Israel Perkins Warren
Congregationalist Editor of “The Christian Mirror”
1814-1892. Author and journalist.
The Parousia, A Critical Study of the Scripture Doctrines of Christ’s Second Coming | The Book of Revelation, Following Stuart
The Seaman’s Cause; embracing the history, results, and present condition of the efforts for the moral improvement of seamen. By Israel P. Warren, secretary of the New York American Seaman’s Friend Society. New York: S. Hallet, Printer, No. 107 Fulton Street, n. d. 8vo. pp. 55. [10,287 Contains an account of Sailors’ Home, Portland, and engraving of the building.
Poem. 1879. See Maine Press Association.
The Parousia. A critical study of the Scripture doctrines of Christ’s second coming; his reign as king; the resurrection of the dead and the judgment. By Rev. Israel P. Warren, D. D. Portland: 1879. 12mo. pp. 311. [10,298 The same. Second edition. Revised and enlarged. 1884. 12mo. pp. 394. [10,299
Our Father’s Book: or, the divine origin and authority of the Bible. By Israel P. Warren, D. D. Boston: Congregational Sunday School and Publishing Society. Congregational House. 1885. 12mo. pp. 155. [10,300
The Book of Revelation: an exposition based on the principles of Professor Stuart’s Commentary, and designed to familiarize those principles to the minds of non-professional readers. Portland: Thurston & Co. 1885. 12mo. pp. 300. [10,301 The same. Funk & Wagnalls. New York. 1885. [10,802
Rev. Josiah Litch (Millerite) Christ Yet to Come: A Review of I.P. Warren’s Parousia (1880) “There is ” the end of the age ” which came at the destruction of Jerusalem — the termination of the Jewish economy ; and there is “the end of the age ” which is the harvest, when ” the Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend,” etc. — the termination of the Christian economy. It seems to us that these are so clearly distinguished and so distinctly separated, that it is utterly impossible to confound them. All our ordinances, all our commissions, all our endowments as the Church of Christ, are timed and terminated by the end of the age and the return of our Lord. If the end of the age has come, and if Christ’s advent has really taken place, then these commissions have run out, and these endowments are outlawed.”
“Christ’s judgment seat, the accuser, the evidence, the law, and the verdict, are all in man’s own heart.” (p. 378)
“Of the doctrine thus presented, I desire to remark in review: 1. That it is to be regarded neither as a praeterist nor a futurist view ; rather does it include both. If it be affirmed that the Parousia began at the ascension, it is not meant that it is not also a fact of all time coming ages. If it be spoken of as the object of future expectation, it is not meant that it has not also begun to be enjoyed already. I ask especially that I may not be represented as saying that the resurrection is “past already,” or that the day of judgment occurred at the destruction of Jerusalem. The Parousia, including under it Christ’s reign as King, Life-giver, and Judge, is not an event, but a dispensation.. The past, present, and future meet in one grand whole.”
“The Church would have been taught to speak of THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD as that from which its hopes were to be realized.. There would have been no difficulty in conceiving that that presence began to be near at the time when, in that primitive age, it was expected, and was enjoyed, in fact, before that existing generation passed away, and would continue long enough for every thing to happen under it which prophecy connects with it.” (“The Parousia”, Quoted in Baptist Review)
“This recital of the familiar truths involved in the revealed plan of Redemption will if I mistake not, lead us to the true idea of the Parousia. It is the presence of Christ in this world in the exercise of his mediatorial office. In this view, it is the complement and the contrast of the first advent, when he came in the flesh. It is the completion of the work which he then hegan. It is for the harvesting of the seed then sown.” (Parousia, p. 20.)
“This presence, it may further he remarked, I understand to be a literal one. The expression, ‘ Christ’s literal presence,’ or ‘ coming,’ is often taken as meaning nothing less than a material and visible one. So that the denial of such a coming is thought to be a rejection of the doctrine of his literal coming. This is wholly unwarranted. It might as well be said that to deny that God is a material and visible being is to deny his literal existence. The Parousia is a literal presence, as truly as when Christ says, ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ It is not a figurative one, not one existing constructively, or an object of thought, bat a true, actual presence, as real, though not under the same conditions, as when he was here in the flesh.” (Parousia, p. 21.)
“It is also a personal presence. The same unwarranted restriction of meaning is often given to this phrase, as if Christ could not be personally present unless subject to the senses of sight and touch. How often after his resurrection did he render himself invisible to his disciples while he was with them. By a personal presence, I mean that Christ is here himself in propria persona, not merely by the official work of the Spirit, nor by any representative whatever.” (Parousia.p. 21.)
“The only conceivable sense, then, in which Christ, in his divine offices of King, Life-giver, and Judge, can. come to men, is that of manifestation.” (Paousia, p. 23.)
(On the Man of Sin)
“The man of sin,’ ‘ that wicked.’ In attempting to show whom Paul meant by these appellations I would speak with becoming diffidence where the ablest commentators of every age have been so much puzzled. Apart from that fact, however, I confess it does not seem to be such an unresolvable mystery, Three things, I think, ought to concur in the solution : 1, the man of sin must be a person ; 2, he must be one in such position, and holding such relation to the Thessalonians as to be an object of apprehension to them personally . . . ; 3, he must be, nevertheless, one whom, for some reason, it would be unsafe to name more definitely. . . . Taking these, then, as our clew, we are conducted at once to the emperor Nero as the monster in whom all the probabilities of the case meet.” (Parousia, pp. 69, 70)
WARREN’S 1872 SUNDAY SCHOOL COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 24 & 25
Sunday School Commentary : Gospel & Acts
(On Matthew 22:7)
“7. His armies. All earthly forces belong to God ; the Roman armies as well as the hosts of his angels. This is a fearful prediction of the approaching destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish state.” (Commentary, in loc.)
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
J.R. Baums (1879)
“There can be no doubt that we must hereafter make more allowance for Oriental forms of thought in our Bibles than we have hitherto done. It has universal adaptations, but it is a Jewish book after all. And this fact, more carefully weighed than has been our wont, may enable us to accept the estimate which Dr. Warren puts upon the destruction of Jerusalem. He regards that event as the fulfillment of much of the language which describes the second coming of our Lord, and marking the date of the commencement of his presence.” (Baptist Review, No.2, p. 310)
“It is far from likely that his novel interpretations of Scripture will prove universally acceptable ; but, on the other hand, it can not be doubted that he will severely shake the confidence of many millenarians and that of not a few who have rested on the more commonly accepted interpretation. For ourselves, we are free to confess that if the Scriptures could be shown to harmonize with the doctrine of an immediate resurrection, we should be glad to accept it.” (p. 311)
THE ANDOVER REVIEW
THE PAROUSIA. A Critical Study of the Scripture Doctrines of Christ’s Second
Coming ; His Reign as King : The Resurrection of the Dead and the General
Judgment. Second edition. By ISRAEL P. WARREN, D. D. Portland, Me. : Hoyt, Fogg & Dunham.
This book is an endeavor to recast the church doctrine of our Lord’s second coming. The author claims that this doctrine has grown out of a mistranslation of parousia, which should always be rendered ” presence.” Christ’s parousia meant to the Apostles his spiritual presence on the earth. ” It is not an event but a dispensation.” The adoption of this conception of the parousia, it is claimed, would remove the great difficulties presented under the ordinary view by Christ’s predictions, ” Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here who shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom,” and, ” Verily I say unto you this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.” Those parts of Christ’s parousia-discourse which have been supposed to predict great cosmic phenomena attending our Lord’s second coming are a symbolic representation of the significance which his spiritual presence has for the human race. The reign which the parousia ushers in is Christ’s dominion in the hearts of his people. The resurrection takes place at death, and is the investiture of the pneuma with a spiritual corporeity. Its being spoken of as taking place in immediate connection with the parousia means that one consequence of Christ’s being raised from the grave to be the mediatorial king is that he will take Christian believers at death directly into heaven to be forever there with him. The judgment is not a future event, but a continuous process, the separation of the evil from the good which is an inevitable consequence of Christ’s redeeming presence in the world.
Dr. Warren presents the conception we have imperfectly outlined as better than the old because the result of a sounder exegesis. His book claims to be “a critical study.” When the test suggested by this claim is applied to it, its fatal defect is found to be that it bases the theory advanced chiefly upon an interpretation claimed for a single word, and one which plays an unimportant part in those predictions of Christ which are the kernel of the New Testament doctrine in question. Every satisfactory discussion of the subject must begin by an examination of our Saviour’s predictions as to his coming (for he uses the word again and again) in their connection with the rest of his teaching and with the Old Testament Scriptures. Such examination cannot, of course, be entered upon here. It may be said, however, that as Christ puts his coming in temporal connections, describing the events which go before it and find their consummation in it, it is more natural to regard it as an “event” than a ” dispensation.” One of the leading features of the parousia-discourse as given by Matthew and Mark is the pains taken in it to show the position which the parousia occupies in the historical connection of events. The discourse evidently purposes to be a narration, moving on a temporal line. Its account of the second coming of Christ cannot, therefore, be ruled by the meaning of parousia. Nor can that assigned to the word in this book be established. ” What shall be the sign of thy parousia, and of the end of the age ? ” An event is evidently meant which shall close the Christian dispensation. ” We that are left unto the parousia of the Lord.” The preposition eis shows that the earthly existence of those spoken of is conceived as stretching on until it meets the parousia. If it were the spiritual presence already enjoyed, the prediction would be without out meaning. ” God comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not by his coming only, but also by the comfort wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your longing, your zeal,” etc., that is, Titus’ coming and bringing a good report from the Church in Corinth comforted Paul’s heart.
Dr. Warren in the following sentences rather strangely claims the authority of the Revisers of the English New Testament for his interpretation of parousia : ” It is in the highest degree confirmatory of this conclusion, that the Revised Version in every instance where it does not put presence into the text as the representative of parousia, inserts the marginal note, ‘ Gr. presence,’ thus affirming that such is its real meaning. Why the Revisers did not themselves place it in the text where it belongs they do not inform us.” This is perhaps the severest charge yet brought against the unhappy Revisers, that of both knowingly perverting the meaning of the text and stultifying themselves by proclaiming the fact. But if Dr. Warren had only learned from their preface what they meant to “affirm ” by the marginal readings in question, he would not have preferred it. These readings evidently belong to the “notes indicating the exact rendering of words to which for the sake of English idiom we were obliged to give a less exact rendering in the text.” ”
Coming ” is used for ” presence,” then, because the latter would make an unidiomatic sentence. Let us take one of the sentences in which the substitution is made. ” I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas.”
The “rejoice at” stands of course as the Revisers’ declaration as to what of joy occasioned by something that has taken place. When they say, then, that the sentence strictly construed means, ” I rejoice at the presence of Stephanas,” they evidently intend by “presence,” not a presence regarded as Dr. Warren claims, in its continuance, but in its inception, ” becoming present.” So in general, where they claim the right to substitute ” coming ” for ” presence ” as the translation of parousia they assume that parousia means not, as Dr. Warren says, ” being with us,” without reference to how it began, but ” beginning to be with us.” Where the word has the former meaning they insert the ” presence” in the text, as in Phil. i. 26.
Perhaps the Revisers should be censured for not taking pains to show that they meant by the ” presence,” for which they substitute ” coming,” presence viewed in its beginning. But those who admit that they could presume that their critics would accredit them with a respectable knowledge of Greek lexicography will exonerate them. Dr. Warren seems to find the conduct of the English translators as mysterious as that of the Revisers. ” Why,” he says, “the translators always gave it to this comparatively infrequent signification (at) in this connection (with 7 irapovtr’tq) does not appear.” Why, for example, they should have said ” before our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming ” instead of ” in his coming ” is indeed a sad mystery. I can hardly help thinking that, though he is too reverent to say it, our author is even more tried by the Apostle Paul’s use of language. Why a rational being, not to say an inspired Apostle, should write ” The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel and with the trump of God,” when he meant that Christ was about to set up his spiritual kingdom on the earth, is a problem from which he must often have had to wrench his mind away. A suggestion of the struggles which the contemplation of it must have caused a mind to undergo which, clings to a high theory of inspiration is given in words of our author used in another connection : ” Do not the brethren see that this is a violation of the fundamental meaning of words ? ”
Edward Y. Hincks. (Andover Review, VOL. III.— JANUARY/JIUNE.— 1885 pp. 88-90)
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- 05 Oct 2004
I Need information on another writing of Warfield’s: Evolution, Science, and Scritpure; Selected writings. I don’t know if you can help me but that would be sweet. Thanks email@example.com
Date: 05 Oct 2005
I find the above to be very informative and intriguing. However, I’m not completely persuaded that Israel is the restraining force. I believe that it may be the power of the Holy Spirit spoken of in scripture. -Pastor David Hernandez
Date: 25 Oct 2006
Wonderfully simple and pragmatic.
Bob, Pelham, N.C.