Reasoning from the Scriptures Book Review – “The Return of Christ”
In this study we will be investigating the Watchtower Societies (W.B.T.S.) unique teaching on the “Return of Christ”. I will begin with a brief introduction to Watchtower doctrinal history concerning this subject, followed by a critique of the WT publication, viz “Reasoning from the Scriptures”. This publication is the practical ministry tool used by Watchtower members. If you are a JW or still hold to JW theology I invite you to candidly review the societies doctrines in light of the plain reading of scripture.
By way of introduction the Jehovah’s witnesses understand Christ return occurs in two phases, both of which are “invisible” and only discernable by those with “eyes to see”. The original date of Christ invisible presence was set at 1874:
“But now we are in the end of the Gospel age, and the Kingdom is being established or set up. Our Lord the appointed king, is now present, since October 1874 A.D., according to the testimony of the prophets, to those who have ears to hear it” 
However after the death of C.T Russell and his failed apocalyptic prophecy of 1914, the “invisible” presence of Christ was moved to the year 1914. This date is propped up by a chronological system based upon interpretations of Daniel 4:16, 23, 25, 32 Consequently the modern day Jehovah’s Witness believes Jesus Christ returned “invisibly” in 1914. This invisible presence is said to culminate with Armageddon when Jesus will execute Judgment upon the earth. However Jesus himself, according to Watchtower theology, will never return to earth physically, but remain “invisible”.
This Gnostic style teaching is antithetical to biblical Christianity wherein the eschatological physical return of Christ is axiomatic. No serious bible believing Christian would deny the physical second coming of Christ to earth. The physical return of Christ is the “blessed hope” of all Christians:
Titus 2:13 “waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing (epiphaneia manifestation) of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”
Yet the literal return of Christ, which Christians have accepted and anticipated since the ascension, is re-worked, adapted and changed in Watchtower Theology. A series of half-truths are used to lead people astray from the plain reading of scripture. As we uncover WT doctrine keep in mind the importance of terminology because while a JW will agree with a Christian that “Christ will return” the interpretations and expectations are far different.
The Return of Christ.
Let us begin by looking at the Watchtower Publication “Reasoning from the Scriptures” page 340. The society defines the “Return of Christ” thus:
“Definition: Before leaving the earth, Jesus Christ promised to return. Thrilling events in connection with God’s Kingdom are associated with that promise. It should be noted that there is a difference between coming and presence. Thus, while a person’s coming (associated with his arrival or return) occurs at a given time, his presence may thereafter extend over a period of years. In the Bible the Greek word er’kho·mai (meaning “to come”) is also used with reference to Jesus’ directing his attention to an important task at a specific time during his presence, namely, to his work as Jehovah’s executioner at the war of the great day of God the Almighty.”
In the above definition we can isolate the following points:
1) Christ return is associated with God’s Kingdom
2) A supposid semantic difference exists between the words “coming” and “presence”
3) Jesus task is to execute Judgment on behalf of Jehovah
The topic of Gods Kingdom (point 1) lies outside the scope of this study. Suffice to say the Watchtower’s understanding of Gods Kingdom is dualistic. JW’s believe that a select group of humans viz. 144,00 will form a heavenly Government, which will rule over the earth. Following Jehovah’s/Jesus’ battle of Armageddon, planet earth will be transformed into a paradise earth (restorationism) inhabited by Armageddon survivors and resurrected humans. Thus the Kingdom of God is an earth bound theocracy administered by a heavenly Government. 
The Watchtower Society rightly identifies that Jesus did promise to return. However the Society denies this to be a physical return, in fact they claim (point 2) that Christ returns invisibly (parousia) over an extended period of time (Matthew 24:37-39) which culminates in Jesus coming (erkhomenon) as Jehovah’s executioner at Armageddon (point 3). Both words are explained in terms of invisibility; hence neither of Christ “appearances” is thought to be physical. We will explore the semantics of these words more fully later. (See page 341 Reasoning book).
Assumptions are thus made and proof text employed in order to solidify their interpretation. For example on page 341-342 the “Reasoning book” says:
John 14:19: “A little longer and the world will behold me no more, but you [Jesus’ faithful apostles] will behold me, because I live and you will live.” (Jesus had promised his apostles that he would come again and take them to heaven to be with him. They could see him because they would be spirit creatures as he is. But the world would not see him again. Compare 1 Timothy 6:16.)
Sadly the plain reading of scripture viz. that Jesus and his disciples will meet again in glory, is here ignored. Rather notice the WT reasoning; Jesus becomes a “spirit creature” and the disciples too will become “spirit creatures” – this term “spirit creature” is in itself a serious misunderstanding of resurrection and glorification. I will discuss this bizarre doctrine shortly. However, the thrust of the societies argument here, is that Jesus disciples will “see him again” not because that is their God ordained destiny by way of faith, but because they are part of the 144,000 heavenly elite. This understanding of John 14:19 limits Jesus words to an elite heavenly class.  A concept alien to the NT revelation.
Next on page 342, John 6:51 is employed as a proof text to explain Jesus invisible return;
John 6:51: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; and, for a fact, the bread that I shall give is my flesh in behalf of the life of the world.” (Having given it, Jesus does not take it back again. He does not thereby deprive mankind of the benefits of the sacrifice of his perfect human life.)
Here again the assumption is that Jesus came down from heaven to complete a task, viz. Jesus offered his “body” as the sacrifice for sin. While a truism I might add that the WT understands the atonement in a fundamentally different way to Christians. Hence primed with presuppositions the Watchtower applies logic and concludes that Jesus cannot become human again otherwise he would take back that “once for all time sacrifice” and consequently cancel out the atonement.
To unravel this strange reasoning we must define the meaning and nature of resurrection. Much of the confusion over the second coming (return of Christ) lies in the Watchtowers interpretation of Jesus resurrection. The Society teaches that Christ did NOT rise from the dead in his PHYSICAL body, but was resurrected in a spiritual body (spirit creature). This term is somewhat ambiguous and the Society does not elaborate on the nature of this “spirit” body, other than to say it is of the same substance as Angels. Consequently the Society re-writes the resurrection narrative and asserts that Jehovah dissolved the physical body of Jesus and resurrected him as a “spirit creature” aka the Archangel Michael. In this “spirit body” Jesus materializes at will and takes on different forms. However is this a correct understanding of resurrection? We will investigate this shortly, first another proof text. On page 342 of the Reasoning book the Society sates:
Acts 13:34: “He [God] resurrected him [Jesus] from the dead destined no more to return to corruption.” (Human bodies are by nature corruptible. That is why 1 Corinthians 15:42, 44 uses the word “corruption” in parallel construction with “physical body.” Jesus will never again have such a body.)
This is woeful interpretation. While we can agree that because of being descendants of Adam human bodies are by nature “corrupt”, Jesus was categorically different, he was of divine origin; he was a perfect sinless human. Otherwise he would not have been able to take upon himself the sins of the world! Jesus death was far more than equivalency!
1Pe 1:18-19 “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
The Watchtower links the word “corruption” with “decay of the human body” which occurs at death. However this interpretation has no bearing on Jesus resurrection body. The scriptures clearly indicate Jesus was raised in the same physical body, but one which was now glorified, that is, Jesus physical body had been transfigured into a body no longer bound by material or spatial limitations. Jesus could appear and disappear at will. However glorification was not phantasmal as the Watchtower Society claims but material.
It should be noted that due to insipient Docetism, we find in the Gospels of Luke and John great emphasis placed on the physical reality of Christ glorified body. Thus we read Jesus described as being “touched”, the disciples are said to have “handled his scars” and Jesus body was capable of receiving food (Luke 24:39-43; John 20:20, 27, 29a, 21:12-13; Acts 1:9, 10:41; Matthew 28:9). This is a very important point to remember when speaking to JW’s, always emphasize to them that Jesus body was glorified not dissolved.
So what can we conclude thus far? Simply this: the Watchtower Society parallels corruption with a “physical body” and thus wrongly concludes 1) Jesus was not resurrected physically and 2) Jesus can never again come to earth. However the scriptures listed above clearly debunk this view by showing that Jesus resurrection was neither resuscitation to physical life or to a phantasmal existence but resurrection marked Christ transfiguration into a “Spiritual body” which was both immaterial and invisible and yet capable of interaction with the world of time and space. This does not mean Jesus became pure “spirit” or a “spirit creature” as the Watchtowers proclaims, rather Jesus resurrection body was the same physical body but one which now formed a corporeality in which the spirit is supreme, unfettered by time and space. It is this reality that is wonderful to ponder, for Christians are ALL promised to receive a “body like his”
“As was the earthly man [Adam], so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven [Christ], so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:48-49).
1Co 15:53 “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.”
1Co 13:12 “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
Paul was emphatic about the bodily resurrection of Christ. The Corinthian Church had begun to teach that there was no “physical resurrection body” adopting a platonic view of body/soul. Thus Paul in his corrective letter to the Corinthians warned:
1Co 15:12, 14 “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?” And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”
Here Paul links Christ bodily resurrection with our bodily resurrection. If Christ was not raised bodily then neither can we be raised. Sadly the WT has followed the Corinthian error denying Christ bodily resurrection and thus they unwittingly deny their own!
I have labored this section because by identifying the nature of Christ resurrection body we can debunk the Watchtowers teaching that Christ cannot return to earth “physically”. Likewise we can show that Jesus return to earth in glory in no way depreciates or negates the work of the cross.
The next argument against Christ physical return is found on page 342 of the Reasoning book under “What is the meaning of Jesus’ coming “in the same manner” as he ascended to heaven?
Acts 1:9-11: “While they [Jesus’ apostles] were looking on, he was lifted up and a cloud caught him up from their vision. And as they were gazing into the sky while he was on his way, also, look! two men in white garments stood alongside them, and they said: ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was received up from you into the sky will come thus in the same manner as you have beheld him going into the sky.’” (Notice that this says “the same manner,” not the same body. What was the “manner” of his ascent? As Ac 1 verse 9 shows, he disappeared from view, his departure being observed only by his disciples. The world in general was not aware of what happened. The same would be true of Christ’s return.)
Again the WT clamors upon semantics to try and give weight to their argument viz. Jesus returns invisibly. The WT reasoning is that Christ “disappeared” at his ascension” and thus if he returns in the same “manner” it MUST BE INVISIBLE. Such an infantile assumption runs contrary to NT revelation. What did the two men (angels) really announce to the disciples? Firstly, that the Jesus they had known had entered into His heavenly abode, and the Jesus they had known would return to the earth. Jesus ascended in a cloud personally, bodily, visibly, and gloriously, and He will return the same way (Dan. 7:13; Matt. 24:30; Mark 13:26; 14:62; Luke 24:50-51; Rev. 1:7) He will also return to the same place, the Mount of Olives (Zech. 14:4). Jesus’ own descriptions of His return to the earth appear in Matthew 24:30; 26:64; Mark 13:26; 14:62; and Luke 21:27.
Hence over and over the apostles refer to the physical return of Christ. Before proceeding we must quickly return to the Greek words “parousia” and “erkhomenon”. Is the “parousia” an extended period of time as the Watchtower claims? What exactly do these words mean?
Strong’s Concordance defines this word as:
“From the present participle of G3918; a being near, that is, advent (often, return; specifically of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked); (by implication) physical aspect: – coming, presence.”
Parousia occurs some 24 times in the New Testament and the way it is used is very significant. Many of the instances refer to the same event mentioned in Matthew, the return of the Lord. Others, however, refer to the coming of people to particular places in a particular time and these are very significant because they show HOW New Testament writers used the word. Please take the time to look at 1 Corinthians 16:7, 2 Corinthians 7:6-7; 10:10, Philippians 1:26, 2; 12. Each one of these references shows clearly that the person came to a particular place and was physically present in that place. In other words they were clearly visible.
Conclusion: There is therefore no Biblical justification for saying that the word parousia signifies an invisible presence. The very word itself comes from two Greek words, “para” which means ‘with’ and “ouisa” which means ‘being’ and so literally, ‘with being’. It denotes both an arrival and a consequent presence with.
Likewise the Greek word erkhomenon similarly conveys being physically present:
to come or go (in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively): – accompany, appear, bring, come enter.
The below pericope employ the Greek word Parousia, decide for yourself if the writers are talking about an invisible presence or a physical return:
1 Cor 15:23 “But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming (Parousia) those who belong to Christ”
1 Thess. 2:19 “For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming (Parousia)?”
1Thess. 3:13 “so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming (Parousia) of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”
1 Thess 4:15 “For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming (Parousia) of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.”
1 Thess. 5:23 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming (Parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Thess. 2:1 “Now concerning the coming (Parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers”
2 Thess. 2:8 “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming (Parousia).”
Thus “Parousia” cannot be associated with an invisible presence, which occurs over a prolonged period of time. Rather Christ return to earth is manifestly PHYSICAL and apparent to all humanity.
Yet the Reasoning Book continues its rhetoric. On page 342 under the heading “What is meant by his “coming on the clouds” and “every eye seeing him” The Society uses several scriptures to convince its readers that Christ return is invisible. I quote one example below:
Rev. 1:7: “Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief because of him.” (Also Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27)
What is indicated by “clouds”? Invisibility. When an airplane is in a thick cloud or above the clouds, people on the ground usually cannot see it, although they may hear the roar of the engines. Jehovah told Moses: “I am coming to you in a dark cloud.” Moses did not see God, but that cloud indicated Jehovah’s invisible presence. (Ex. 19:9; see also Leviticus 16:2; Numbers 11:25.) If Christ were to appear visibly in the heavens, it is obvious that not “every eye” would see him. If he appeared over Australia, for example, he would not be visible in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, would he?
Here the “logic” of Watchtower theology kicks in. Airplanes? Thick cloud? Invisibility? I hope by now you can see how infantile and shallow WT reasoning is? They build up straw men, create smoke screens and appeal to logic to buttress their crooked theology. However perhaps they have at least one good question; how can Jesus “appear” to the whole world at the same time?
We have established that Jesus Christ will return physically to earth as He ascended into heaven. The Second Coming is a public gradual manifestation so that “Every eye” of those alive at His second coming will see Him (Matt. 24:30; cf. Num. 11:25; Ps. 104:3; Isa. 19:1; Dan. 7:13; Zech. 12:10-14).
Rev 1:7 “Behold, he (Jesus) is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.”
This great and wonderful text announces the climactic event of history, namely, the return of Jesus Christ to the earth at His second coming (Rev. 19:11-16).
On page 343 the Reasoning book continues its argumentation, we read:
Who are “those who pierced him”? Literally, Roman soldiers did this at the time of Jesus’ execution. But they have long been dead. So this must refer to people who similarly mistreat, or ‘pierce,’ Christ’s true followers during “the last days.”—Matt. 25:40, 45.
Here we have the Watchtower claiming that they themselves are “Christ true followers” who are “pierced” during the “last days”. Tagged to the end of the statement is a proof text, viz. Matt. 25:40, 45, which reads:
Mat 25:40, 45 “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”
Hermeneutically the text can be interpreted along two main theological paths. From a dispensational perspective the brothers of Jesus refer to His faithful disciples who fulfill His will by preaching the gospel of the kingdom during the Tribulation (cf. 12:48-49; 28:10; Isa. 58:7). Most of these will be Jews, including the 144,000, though some may be Gentile converts as well (cf. Rev. 7:1-8; 14:1-5). They will have become believers following the Rapture since all believers alive on the earth when the Rapture happens will go to be with Jesus then. From a reformed, Amillennial perspective, these brothers of Jesus refer to faithful Christians. Whichever position you hold the fact is the scriptures are NOT referring to the cult of Jehovah’s Witnesses! The Watchtower and its members are not friends of the Lord Jesus.
The Reasoning books final attempt to convince readers that Jesus can be “invisibly present” is by way of appeal to various OT text. We read on page 343 under the sub-heading. “Can it really be said that a person has ‘come’ or that he is ‘present’ if he is not visible?”
The apostle Paul spoke of his being “absent in body but present in spirit” with the congregation in Corinth —1 Cor. 5:3.
Firstly the text quoted has nothing to do with the return of Christ! Once again the Watchtower cobbles together some apparently paradoxical text and uses these to prove that Jesus can be present and yet not visible. In a sense Jesus can be present and yet absent, for example the Holy Spirit indwells the saved believer, in this way Christ is “present” with the believer and yet physically absent. However the NT revelation of Christ return cannot be re-packaged as being “invisible” A simple reading of the NT shows clearly that Jesus would return to planet earth physically. So don’t get lead astray by the endless red herring’s!
Here’s another one for you! The Reasoning book continues on page 343:
Jehovah spoke of his ‘going down’ to confuse the language of the builders of the tower of Babel. (Gen. 11:7) He also said that he would “go down” to deliver Israel from bondage to Egypt. And God assured Moses, “My own person will go along” to lead Israel to the Promised Land. (Ex. 3:8; 33:14) But no human ever saw God.—Ex. 33:20; John 1:18.
Here we see great ignorance concerning the nature of God. While we can concur with the WT that the Father “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16) The Watchtower fails to apply “analogia fidei” the analogy of faith which demands we allow scripture to interpret scripture. The result is any idea of divine visitation is deemed irreconcilable. Interestingly the Reasoning book lists John 1:18 as one of its proof text, which we can use to debunk the Watchtowers position.
John 1:18 “No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.”
This verse is the book-end to John 1:1 and clearly reveals that while God “no one has ever seen – the only God (the Son), who is at the Fathers side, he (the Son) has made him (the Father) known”
This mind-blowing revelation of the kenosis of God the Son has led many Christian scholars to understand the OT visitations of Yahweh as “Christophanies” i.e. pre-incarnate manifestations of the Son. We do not have time to delve into all the text, but suffice to say this truth exposes the hermeneutical errors of WT theology. Yahweh can and has made visitations of his people in and through the divine Son, thus the second person of the triune God has literally been present on earth prior to the incarnation!
Finally on page 344-345 of the Reasoning book under the heading “What are some of the events with which the Bible associates the presence of Christ” the Society endeavors to rally and marry text from Dan 7:13-14, 1 Thess. 4:15-16, Matthew 25:31-33, 2 Thess. 1:7-9 and Luke 23:42-43 to buttress its previous interpretations that Jesus is indeed “invisibly present” since 1914. If you candidly read these texts you will not be able to draw such conclusions. Only by erroneously reading into the text an idea alien to the original authorial intent can you arrive at WT doctrine. We call this eisegesis – imbuing the text with extra biblical ideas.
What have we learned? Firstly the WT doctrine that Christ returned “invisibly” in 1914 and will “invisibly” execute Judgment at some future point in History is an alien concept to biblical revelation and as such is heretical and dangerous.
The WT in its rich oratory always claims its interpretations are “new light” from Jehovah. However honest open critique of these doctrines alongside a plain reading of scripture exposes these ideas as the brain-child of a man – C.T. Russell. This man did not receive “new light” but was heavily influenced by Seventh Day Adventism and caught up in eschatological speculation. I do not doubt his sincerity but in hindsight we must reject his conclusions and that of his progeny the Watchtower society.
We need not get confused over Christ return. He is coming back! Hallelujah! The Gospel is simple. Jesus our LORD and Savior, died for our sins was buried and rose on the third day BODILY as the first fruits of a new creation. (1 Cor. 15:23)
John 2:19, 21-22 “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.”
What a glorious revelation! The disciples saw the risen Christ and believed and consequently proclaimed the Kerygma (Good news) But good news of what? Was the message they heralded “Jehovah had dissolved the body of Jesus and recreated him as a spirit creature?” Or was the cry from the apostle’s mouths “Jesus is coming back invisibly?” NO! these are ludicrous statements. The disciple’s kerygma concerned the BODILY resurrection of Christ and announced the BODILY RETURN of Christ their Savior.
Dear reader the divine plan is not found in Watchtower literature but in the simple plain words of scripture. Open your mind and soul to the illumination of the Holy Spirit and see what God can show you! Truly any honest hearted person can read these truths for themselves and understand that Jesus will return as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. He will once again stand on Mount Zion and the world will bow to the glorified Son of God.
2Th 1:6-8 “since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.”
Mat 23:39 “For I (Jesus) tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”
Zechariah 14:3-4, 9 “Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward….Then the LORD my God will come, and all the holy ones with him…And the LORD will be king over all the earth. On that day the LORD will be one and his name one.
Wow! What a day that will be! Until then let us continue to pray for those trapped in Watchtower theology. This includes many hundreds of thousands of ex-JW’s that continue to hold to JW theology long after they stop attending the Kingdom Hall. Likewise remember in your prayers those that because of WT theology are led into similar branches of pseudo-Christianity such as Unitarianism, the Christadelphians, and Bible Students. We want to see people set completely free from all error and bask in the glorious light of the risen glorified Christ. Keep praying! Keep working!
Until he comes….
 Terms: Watchtower, W.B.T.S., Society, Organisation are all synonyms of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
 C.T. Russell “The Battle of Armageddon” page 621.
 For a detailed investigation of this date please see the book “The Gentile Times Reconsidered by Carl O. Jonsson” http://www.watchtowerlies.com/linked/the-gentile-times-reconsidered.pdf
 For an in-depth study of the Watchtower’s 144,000 doctrine and being “born again” see the following article:
 The two natures of Christ are not only united without affecting the respective attributes of the two natures, but they are combined in one person. This union should not be defined as deity possessing humanity as this would deny true humanity its rightful place. It is not, on the other hand, humanity merely indwelt by deity. Christ did not differ from other men simply in degree of divine influence as sometimes advanced by modern liberals. In His unique personality He possessed two natures, one eternal and divine, the other human and generated in time. The union of these two natures was not one of sympathy alone nor merely a harmony of will and operation. Orthodox theology regards this union as personal and constitutional. As Charles Hodge put it: “The Son of God did not unite Himself with a human person, but with a human nature.”
 Dr Thomas L. Constable, Notes on Acts, page 12.
 For those who accept the doctrine of the rapture, Jesus will come for his bride the Church prior to his appearance on earth (1 Thess. 4:17). As Christians we need not quibble over the exact sequence. Suffice to say Jesus will come back to earth physically at some point in future history.
 Dr Thomas L Constable Notes on Revelation page 11.