The Parousia and Acts 1:11

By William H. Bell Jr.

“One can make a time-prophecy teach anything and anytime of fulfillment by such tactics.”

     It is quite astounding that some will retreat to the haven of every passage they can find that does not explicitly mention or include a time reference in order to escape the preponderance of evidence of an imminent return in “coming again” passages which show the Parousia as being at hand (engus), and coming in the lifetime of the first-century generation. (Matt.10:2316:27,2824:3,14,3426:64Rom.13:11-1216:201 Cor.1:7-810:11Phil.4:5Heb.10:37Jas.5:7-81 John 2:17-18Rev.1:1-322:6,10,12). Many who do this seem totally unaware that such is a desperate effort to avoid, evade, and escape the issue. They apparently reason that using a scripture that does not have an explicit time reference cancels out the passages that include it. This is the same error the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” make on their interpretation of Adam’s death, Gen.2:16,173:65:5); that the Jews made on the raising of the temple of Christ’s body (Matt.27:40John 2:19-21); and that the premillenialists make on the establishment of the kingdom (Mk.1:14-15Lk.21:32). In every case noted above, the failure to honor God’s time statements forces an erroneous interpretation and application.

     One can make a time-prophecy teach anything and anytime of fulfillment by such tactics. For example, if one were to fail to consider the time statements and facts found in other passages, the kingdom could be taught as yet future. Jesus taught the disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come” (Matt.6:10). At the time those words were spoken, the kingdom was clearly future and therefore the propriety of praying for its arrival. Now would it not be very inexcusable exegesis to camp out on this text and make the assertion that the kingdom is yet future? Sure, this seems quite elementary, but it is exactly the reasoning and methods resorted to on “coming again” passages. Remember, one and one is two; belief and baptism equal salvation; and in time prophecies, the time and manner equals fulfillment. In the words of the Psalmist, “The sum of Thy word is truth…” (Psa.119:160, ASV). The late and eminent Foy E. Wallace, Jr. stated this principle in the following words. “The fulfillment of prophecy cannot be separated from TIME AND CIRCUMSTANCES (emp. mine, WHB) stated by the prophet.” God’s Prophetic Word, p.165.

     One text where this obvious fallacy of reasoning is evident is in the misuse and abuse of Acts 1:11 as an “answer”? or objection to coming again passages which show an imminent return of Christ. The attempt to array Acts 1:11 over against Heb.10:37, “FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY,” and Jas.5:8, “You too be patient; strengthen your hearts, for the coming (parousia) of the Lord is at hand,” staggers the imagination. The aim of this writing is to demonstrate that Acts 1:11 is in harmony with all the other time passages and that the interpretations argued for “in like manner,” to circumvent such teachings raise insurmountable difficulties.

     First, it is agreed by all that Acts 1:11, “…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,” refers to the Parousia. Jesus used the term “parousia,” (presence) four times in Matthew 24, speaking of his return. Two of those references, verses 3 and 27, are before verse 34 (that mysteriously invisible and so-called “continental dividing line”). “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled.” Most agree that all coming before verse 34 is the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.. Therefore, they are led to the inescapable conclusion that the “parousia” of verses 3 and 27 occurred in 70 A.D., within that first-century generation.

     In addition, Jesus used the term “parousia” in two verses following verse 34, in 37 and 39. Are there two “parousias”? Is there no significance in the use of that definite article “the” in the Greek? Which “the” parousia is “THE” parousia? Which “the” parousia is the fall of Jerusalem, and which “the” parousia is the “second coming”? Inspiration anticipated this erroneous reasoning by placing the events before verse 34, which undeniably describe the fall of Jerusalem (Matt.24:15-17), in the same time as the day when the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26-32), which is undeniably Christ’s “parousia.” It follows therefore, that Matthew 24 is one harmonious delineation of the fall of Jerusalem and parousia of Christ in 70 A.D..

     Harmony Of The Parousia In The Epistles

     Second, there is no distinction of “comings” in the epistles that justify two “parousias” taught in Matthew 24. (l Cor.15:23; 1 Thess.2:193:134:152 Thess.2:1,8Jas.5:7,82 Pet.1:163:4,121 Jn.2:18). Again, God in His infinite wisdom anticipated the errors of those who would teach that “the Lord delayeth his parousia” or did not keep his promise (2 Pet.3:4), by placing a time reference in the epistles in connection with the parousia just as He did in Matthew 24.

All these things shall come upon this [1st century] generation.”
The “parousia” is included in these things, vv.3-34 (vv.3,27).
Therefore the “parousia” occurred in that [1st century] generation.

     Parousia “At Hand”

     The parousia was said to be at hand (engus) or near in respect to time, when James wrote in or about A.D.60, just 10 years before the demise of Jerusalem and the Jewish state. “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming (parousia) of the Lord. Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming (parousia) of the Lord draweth nigh,” (is at hand, engus). Berry’s interlinear literally translates, “…has drawn near” (Jas.5:7,8).

     Acts 1:11

     Now, if one considers the fact that Acts 1:11 is speaking of the parousia (though the word “parousia” is not used in the text), then we have: (1) Jesus saying that Acts 1:11 would occur, be fulfilled, in “this (first century) generation,” and (2) James saying that Acts 1:11 is at hand in respect to time about A.D.60. What further proof is needed to show that the parousia (Acts 1:11) was at hand than a direct scriptural reference that uses both terms, “parousia” and “engus” in the same text? Any interpretation of Acts 1:11 that fails to honor the time limitations for the parousia is not “exegesis” but “eisegesis”! The only escape is to deny that Acts 1:11 is speaking of the parousia. Are we ready for that?

     In conclusion, it has been noted that the basic error of using passages which do not expressly mention time statements to refute those which do is a scriptural miscalculation and misuse of sound Biblical principles. Foy E. Wallace, Jr., in the reference noted, demolished the claims of premillenialism on the “postponement” and not-yet-come kingdom theories by using the principle of “time and circumstances” to arrive at the truth on time prophecies. This principle is catastrophic to the not-yet-come parousia theories traditionally embedded into the hearts of many today. The subject of the “parousia” in Matthew 24 is one and the same, agreeing time-wise with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.. That was the only parousia or return of Christ in the New Testament and which James said was “at hand” (Jas.5:7,8). Acts 1:11 must mark “time” with it or find itself court-martialed out of the ranks of the “parousia” or “coming again” passages.

What do YOU think ?

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Date:04 Jan 2004Time:08:17:54


I find you start to open many doors in the mysterys of our SAVIOUR , things the apostles were well aware of , of which they taught in the scriptures. I believe that many of us are just beginning to awake to the truth , and only have just begun to come to the full knowledge of the FATHER ” JAH ” . I strongly believe that even in our understanding of the revelations we are beginning to hear and comprehend we are still only drinking milk , even though we boast of being fed meat . I could be mistaking , but even JESUS said this to His followers , and those filled with the SPIRIT of JAH also refered to the same when talking to the believers in the WORD . Until we are full in the TRUTH we still are learning , and should realize that what we understand now could be only a small piece of the whole we are being led to learn . We are told to search all things , and hold on to what is the truth . Let us all edify and show patience with one another , for not just one or two of us holds the whole picture . I thank you so very much for your insight and indepth learned studies in the WORD. Question ??? Paul repeatedly says, “He is a prisoner of CHRIST” , also refers to being in the SPIRIT in another place as well as knowing there are many doors or mansions in the FATHERS house , as JESUS said , also saying something about what is happening or going on in ZION . If the question or comment does not seem clear , then I ask you to please just see for yourself if there is any depth or if these things are related with one another , if so please contact this servant of JAH and share any understanding in this you might have . Don Falconer Thats JAHS truth not mine

02 Feb 2005


I just have one question, don’t you think that if Jesus returned in 70AD that this would have been mentioned with great joy and furvor in the scriptures themselves. Many of the the writings of the letters of both the desciples and Paul were written after 70AD. How could they not mention that Jesus had already come back?

07 Feb 2005


If Christ’s parousia has already taken place, then why are we living in such a wicked world? Abortion, homosexuality, murder, child molestation among many other things are running rampant. We are told in Revelation 21 that Christ Himself would dwell among the people, that there will be no more tears, no more death or pain for all the former things have passed away! THis world is full of pain, suffering, tears and death. Tell the millions of people affected by the Tsunami that Christ has already come, when they have been ravaged by destruction, pain, tears and death!

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