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Ques. Are there any other papers than the TOWER which teach as it does that Jesus is now present?
Ans. We know of none other which teaches the personal presence of Christ Jesus. Most of those whose attention has been given to the subject of the second advent, fail to see the distinction between the human nature which Jesus laid down in death as our ransom, and the new nature given him by the Father as a reward for so doing. (Phil. 2:9.) Therefore, such generally expect that Jesus will be a human or fleshly being at his second coming. But though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now, henceforth, know we him no more after the flesh but as a spiritual being—the express image of the Father’s person, and consequently as invisible to human eyes (without a miracle) as the angels, and as the Father „whom no man hath seen nor can see.” (2 Cor. 5:16; Heb. 1:3; 1 Tim. 6:16.)
The fact is, that to be consistent with their theories, none could teach Christ Jesus’ presence who do not recognize the distinction and total difference between the perfect human and the divine natures. (Study very carefully the Chart and its explanation in „Food,” p. 105.) If Jesus is now merely a glorified man, then when he comes he would be seen by the natural eye, and there would be no special necessity for taking heed to the sure word of prophecy; nor would those Scriptures be true, which represent his presence to be „as a thief,” discernable only by those watching. If he is now merely a perfect, glorified man, then those who claim this, to be consistent, should also claim that at his first advent, before he was „highly exalted,”
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he was an imperfect man. But, on the contrary, Scripture teaches that at the first advent, Jesus was undefiled, sinless, perfect—a man FIT to be a ransom for other men—and at his resurrection perfected as a new creature and again a spiritual being.
If change of nature is impossible, as some seem to claim, how did Jesus change from a form of God (a spiritual form) and become a form of flesh, or a human being? And if he changed thus to take our lower nature (Phil. 2:7), why should any deny that he could be given a nature, not only higher than men (the human), but higher than that he laid aside to become a man. If any have theories that would compel Jesus forever to be a man, we think such theories had better be sacrificed than the Scriptures which teach that human and spiritual beings are dissimilar, though on certain conditions some during this age are offered a change of nature.
From the standpoint of those who recognize the distinction between human and spiritual beings, the invisible, personal presence of Christ is not unreasonable. Such realize that, „Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” after the flesh. The human being, restored, will be a glorious and perfect man; while the „new creature,” perfected, will be entirely different—a perfect spiritual being—and it doth not yet appear what such shall be like. Of Jesus we read that he is now „the express image of the Father’s person, whom no MAN hath seen NOR CAN SEE. He was put to death in the flesh (as a man) and quickened in spirit (as a new creature).
It is this Jesus, raised in glory and power, a spiritual body and not an animal or human body—perfect as a new creature—that we teach is present, and whose power and presence is now exercising so marked an effect upon the affairs of both the Church and the world. It is his glorious presence as a reaper (Rev. 14:14) of his ripening harvest, whose sharp sickle of truth is now separating the true from the false, and the matured from the immature wheat. Yes, the Lord has come to make up his chosen and polished jewels. We are living even now in the presence of the invisible Lord, whose lightning flashes of truth are even now enlightening the world (Matt. 24:27; Psa. 97:4). The first flashes are bringing terror and dismay to the world, disclosing also the gigantic proportions of evil and oppression; but shortly the full glory, the bright shining of his presence, will be recognized by all (seen by the eye of their understanding) and will bring healing and blessing.
The present, invisible, spiritual prince of this world (Satan—John 14:30) will then be fully cast out, when the new, invisible, spiritual Prince (Christ) shall fully take to himself his great power and dominion.
— October, 1883 —