We are continuing our study of 1 John this morning. Unlike the Gospel of John that was written to bring people to faith in Christ, this epistle is written to those who have already trusted Christ. John’s purpose in this epistle is to instruct his readers on how to have fellowship with Yeshua and the Father.
We ended our last study with the following verse:
And this is the promise that he made to us—eternal life. 1 John 2:25 ESV
The antichrists were denying that Yeshua was the Christ (verse 22). But the promise of eternal life is only made to those who believe that Yeshua is the Christ. And it was this very promise that was called into question by the doctrine of the antichrists. So, John reassures his readers that this promise is valid for them.
I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 1 John 2:26 ESV
John concludes his attack on the false teachers in verses 26-27 with a warning and a word of encouragement for his followers. The words “trying to” are not in the Greek but are probably justified. The readers have not yet been deceived by the false teachers.
“I write these things”—the “these things” here is a reference to everything he has written concerning the opponents in the present letter.
“To you about those who are trying to deceive you”—this is the first time in this letter that John makes it clear that the readers are being targeted by the antichrists/secessionists in order to deceive them. This reference to “deceivers,” immediately following verse 25, shows that the antichrists were teaching a doctrine of salvation that was different than the one the readers had “heard from the beginning” (verse 24). They denied that Yeshua was the Christ—a belief necessary for eternal life:
but these are written so that you may believe that Yeshua is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. John 20:31 ESV
To deny that Yeshua is the Christ is to not have eternal life. One of the author’s primary purposes in writing 1 John is to protect his faithful followers from the false Christological teaching of the opponents.
The “you” in verse 26 indicates that it is possible for believers to be deceived by false teaching. John doesn’t want them to be deceived and lose their fellowship with Yahweh. They can’t have fellowship with Yahweh while walking in the darkness of false doctrine.
If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 1 John 1:6 ESV
Paul warned Timothy of this same danger in 2 Timothy 3.
while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 2 Timothy 3:13 ESV
He goes on to exhort Timothy.
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it. 2 Timothy 3:14 ESV
The word “continue” here is meno. It is the same word used by John for abide. Timothy was to abide in the Word (the sacred writings, the Scripture) that he had learned from the beginning.
Paul is saying the same thing that John is—we must abide in the Word if we are going to abide in Christ. We need to read the Word over and over. We are to know it so well that we can instantly spot deviations from it. We are to be at home in the Word and let the Word be at home in our lives. We must apply it to every area of life. To avoid spiritual deception, we need to develop discernment by abiding in the Word, especially with regard to the truth of the gospel.
But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. 1 John 2:27 ESV
“But the anointing that you received from him”—“But” here is contrasting the believing readers with the antichrists. The false teachers were most likely claiming a special revelation from God (i.e., special anointing).
John asserts that all believers already have the true anointing. "That you received"—is an aorist active indicative which points to some completed past act. As we saw in verse 20, the "anointing" is the Holy Spirit that they received at salvation.
This term “anointing” is chrisma in Greek and is etymologically related to the term "Messiah" (Christos). Here it refers to the Holy Spirit's ministry of enlightening the heart and mind to the gospel. This anointing is not the private property of a few special Christians. All Christians have the presence of God’s Spirit within them.
“And you have no need that anyone should teach you”—this is similar to what he said in verse 20, “you all have knowledge.” Christians have used this verse to argue that we do not need human teachers. John is not denying the need for godly teachers to instruct the flock. If that were his meaning, he would invalidate the abundance of teaching in this entire letter!
John means that they do not need the elite gnosis of the false teachers to let them in on God’s “secret truth.” Rather, every Christian has the indwelling Holy Spirit to enable him or her to understand and interpret Scripture.
What about the spiritual gift of teaching? Do we still have spiritual gifts in the church? Most believers would say “yes.” If spiritual gifts are manifestations of the Spirit, then when the Spirit manifests Himself in teaching, that teaching would always be true, accurate and unchanging. Does that make sense? Yahweh never changes, so the Spirit's teaching could never alter. If I had the gift of teaching, would I teach Arminianism at one point in my life and then later teach Calvinism, believing both to be true? Without changing my perspective, would I teach Futurism and then later teach Preterism as though both were equally legitimate? If teaching is a manifestation of the Spirit, the person with the gift would never change what he taught. Those in the first century never changed what they taught. Just as the manna ended when the exodus ended and Israel entered the land, so the miraculous gifts ended when the second exodus ended and the Church arrived at the New Heavens and Earth in A.D. 70.
What event ended the first exodus period? The destruction of Jericho. Jericho stood at the entrance to the Promised Land. It was a fortified city that represented a serious challenge to Israel's claim to the land. Its fall telegraphed a message to all the world that God was the Lord of this people.
What marked the end of the second exodus? The destruction of Jerusalem. Old Covenant Judaism was a major problem for those early believers. Nothing represented the old system better than the Temple. Here was where the presence of God had dwelt. His presence there had assured Israel that they were His people. But forty years after the Cross, in A.D. 70, believers fled the city of Jerusalem before the walls fell and the city was destroyed and burned. And when the forty-year exodus ended, so did the spiritual gifts.
“But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie”—the reference “about everything” here needs to be understood in the context. The subject under discussion is the denial that Yeshua is the Christ.
Yeshua called Him “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17) which establishes John’s words here that He “is true and is no lie.” This means that the truth of the gospel is not a subjective matter of personal interpretation. It is not something that I see one way and you see it another way. Both approaches cannot be right. Rather, The gospel message is objectively and absolutely true in every culture and every age. You must believe it to be saved and any contradiction of the gospel is a lie.
So, the Holy Spirit is our teacher, but we must remember that He uses the Word of God as His Textbook. The Spirit always works in conjunction with the Word. He does not give direct revelation today on a par with Scripture.
John concludes this section by saying, “Just as it has taught you, abide in him”—"abiding in him” appears to refer to abiding in the anointing (grammatically this is possible). However, the exhortation to abide in him is repeated in the next verse where abiding in Yeshua is clearly meant. This suggests that the same understanding is intended in this verse.
The verb meno (abide) can be conveyed here as either in the indicative mood (“you abide in him,” as ASV, NASB, NET Bible), reflecting a statement of fact. However, it can also be seen as in the imperative mood (“abide in him,” As NIV, NRSV, NLT, ESV) by which it conveys an exhortation or command. The same verb is found in the following verse, 2:28, but the address to the readers there seems to indicate clearly an imperative. An indicative is slightly more likely here on contextual grounds. Up to this point the thrust of the author has been reassurance rather than exhortation, and an indicative here (“…you abide in him”) makes more sense.
John uses “abide” five times in verses 24 and 27. As we have seen, he uses this term for fellowship—maintaining a warm, close relationship with the Lord. Let the Holy Spirit be at home in every area of your life, and you be at home in every area of His Word.
There is some disagreement among commentators concerning where a new paragraph should begin. Should it be verse 28, 29, or 3:1? It is hard to know whether 2:28 is best seen as the conclusion of the previous section or as the beginning of this one.
We are going to take 2:28 as beginning of a new conept. The warning against the antichrists is now finished. This section (2:28—4:19) constitutes the body of the letter. That it is a unit is clear from the structural inclusio. In literature, inclusio is a literary device based on a concentric principle. It is also known as bracketing or as an envelope structure which consists of creating a frame by placing similar material at the beginning and end of a section. Note the statements in 2:28 (“. . . may have confidence . . . at His coming.”
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. 1 John 2:28 ESV
We see the same statements in 4:17 (“. . . we may have confidence in the day of judgment”).
By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. 1 John 4:17 ESV
The second coming and the judgment are synchronous events. So having confidence at the second coming brackets the unit.
Some see verse 28 as a janus that looks in two directions—backward to summarize the preceding section, and forward to introduce the following section. "Janus" was the Roman god of beginnings and endings who supposedly guarded portals. He had two faces—one on the front of his head and the other on the back. The month of January gets its name from him. It is the month in which we look backward on the past year and forward to the new year.
“And now, little children”—“now” recognizes that this is the last hour (see 2:18).
“Little children”—is from the Greek word, teknia, which literally means “offspring of any age.” When John speaks of children, he does not mean “little infants” or even adolescents. He is not speaking about age or experience but is rather conveying a generic sense of how we are the offspring of God no matter what age we are. In other words, this term indicates those who have been regenerated by the Spirit—those who have been made partakers of the new nature through the new birth.
John tells these believers to “Abide in him”—this is just what we saw in John 15:3-4 last week: “You are clean”—“abide.” He is telling believers (teknia) to "abide in Him." This is a present active imperative. Believers are commanded to abide and it is different from believing. It is a call to discipleship—to be a follower of Yeshua and to live in fellowship with Yahweh.
The fact that believers are commanded to abide in Him implies that we must be active. What exactly does abiding involve? As we saw last week it involves the Word of God. In John 15:4 Yeshua said:
Abide in me, and I in you… John 15:4 ESV
Then in verse 7 He said:
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you… John 15:7 ESV
So, in verse 7 the phrase, "My words abide in you" is substituted for the phrase in verse 4, "I in you." So, we could say that for Christ to abide in us is for His Word to abide in us. That is why it is so important for us to spend time in the Word of God. You cannot abide in Christ if His Word does not abide in you. Did you get that? You cannot ignore the Word and abide in Christ. When his words are abiding in us, he is abiding in us. That is so significant for the Christian life.
Earlier in the Fourth Gospel Yeshua said:
Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. John 6:56 ESV
We feed upon him by going to the Word of God and making it part of our life; and as we feed upon the Word of God, reflect upon the things that are found in it, and enjoy the communion and fellowship that we have with him, he abides in us. One of the problems of the Church today is that we have lost that art of meditation. When is the last time you meditated on a passage of Scripture?
Yeshua goes on to say,
If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. John 15:10 ESV
The very practical indication of abiding in Christ is living in obedience to His commands.
So, abiding in Him is spending time in the Word, obeying His commands, and living as Christ lived. This is reflected in the following:
whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:6 ESV
If you claim to be abiding in Christ, then you ought to walk in such a way that demonstrates that reality. You can say that you believe the gospel, but if there is no manifestation of that, all I have to go on is your word. I cannot see your faith. But if you tell me that you abide in Christ, I should be able to clearly see that reality because abiding is abundantly evident.
Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 1 John 2:10 ESV
So, abiding in Him involves spending time in the Word, obeying His commands, living as Christ lived, and loving our brothers and sisters in Christ. Abiding in Him is the same thing as what is called in other places as "walking in the Spirit" or as having "fellowship with Christ." It is what Jude calls, “Keeping yourselves in the love of God.”
John says that “children” (believers) are to abide in Him “so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.” He is telling the believers to abide in Him “so that” (hina purpose clause) at the second coming they would have confidence and not be ashamed. It is the future appearing of Yeshua that John has in mind when he urges his readers to abide in him.
“So that when he appears…at his coming”—this is a reference to the second coming of Christ. “When He appears” in Greek is literally “if He appears.” This is a third class conditional sentence. But the uncertainty is not about the fact of His coming but rather about the exact time of it.
The word “appears” comes from the Greek word phaneroō. Phaneroō, the appearing or the arrival, is used of the incarnation (the birth of Christ). It is used of the resurrection as well in the New Testament. But here it clearly refers to the return of Yeshua in the future—in the lifetime of John’s first-century readers. Paul uses this same word in Colossians:
When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:4 ESV
This verse is eschatological. The futurist of our time looks at this verse and says, "When the Lord returns some day in the future, we will be revealed with Him in glory." The problem with this is that the Lord has already returned, so whatever this is talking about, it has already happened!
“At his coming”—the word “coming” here is parousia. While it is used extensively elsewhere in the New Testament, it appears only here in the Johannine writings. The term parousia occurs in the New Testament in a non-technical sense to refer to someone’s arrival in general:
I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence. 1 Corinthians 16:17 ESV
It is used of Yeshua’s incarnate presence (2 Peter 1:16), of the future coming of the lawless one (2 Thess 2:9), and of the coming of the Day of God (2 Pet 3:12). But by far the most frequent use in the New Testament is in reference to the future coming of Christ.
As has already been stated, this is the only occurrence of the word parousia in the Johannine writings, but its use here is probably explained by the wordplay between parrhēsia (“confidence”) and parousia, (“coming”).
The literal meaning is "until the Parousia, and it denotes the "presence" of a royal visitor. To John’s readers, the "parousia" of the Son of Man signified the full manifestation of His Messiahship and His glorious appearing in power. William Barclay defines “parousia” as “the regular word for the arrival of a governor into his province or for the coming of a king to his subjects. It regularly describes a coming in authority and in power." Parousia is a technical term in theological language for the return or Second Coming of Yeshua. This second coming is a major subject of Scripture.
James Boice writes that in the New Testament
“… one verse in twenty-five deals with the Lord’s return. It is mentioned 318 times in the 260 chapters of the New Testament. It is mentioned in every one of the New Testament books, with the exception of Galatians, which deals with a particular doctrinal problem, and the very short books such as 2 and 3 John and Philemon.” [The Epistles of John (Zondervan), p. 96]
Ray Steadman writes: “Perhaps you have recognized in reading your Bible that this is the most frequently mentioned truth in all of the New Testament. This great hope of the appearing again of Jesus Christ underlies every other truth in the New Testament. It is found on almost every page of our New Testament.”
So, the second coming of Christ is a very important subject. It is something that we should understand. Yet it is a subject that Michael Heiser says he doesn’t care about. How can we ignore something that is mentioned so often in the New Testament? How can we not care to understand something that addressed 318 times in the 260 chapters of the New Testament?
Here is John MacArthur’s view of the second coming. I want to share this with you because MacArthur is a very popular teacher who has written much, and his view represents most of Christendom. He writes:
This is a future event which will culminate all of human history, the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, manifestly, visibly to reveal Himself to His people, to make His people like Him and to bring His people into eternal glory.
Now, there are four elements to His appearing and I just want to kind of spread those out before you for a little bit so you’ll understand them. First of all, He will come for His saints. This is what is called in Scripture the catching away, or the rapture of the church.
The second phase of it is He will appear with His saints. We believe that the Bible tells us that after He has come for His saints and taken us out of the world, all who are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ will leave in that wonderful event. On the earth, after we’re gone there will be a time of tribulation, a time of great tribulation.”
But the end of that period called tribulation, the Lord will return this time with His saints. The saints that He already came for, He comes back with. Matthew 24 describes that feature of His appearing, Matthew 24:21. [https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/62-23/the-purifying-hope-part-2]
From this quote, I see two comings of Christ—He comes for His saints (rapture). There is, then, a seven-year tribulation, after which He comes yet again with his saints. If Christ comes again following His Second Coming, is that not, then, a third coming of Christ?
MacArthur goes on to say:
So He comes for His saints, with His saints, to reign through His saints. And then forever spends eternity among His saints. Now all of that is the coming or the revealing of Jesus Christ and there are four elements to it, four features, four aspects. The rapture of the church, the return in judgment, the establishment of the millennial kingdom and the creation of the eternal state, the new heaven and the new earth. And we live in the light of this.
This is the next event on God’s calendar. This is the next event in prophecy. There is no prophecy that needs to come to pass before the Lord comes for His saints. That’s why we say His coming is imminent. It could happen at any time. It’s the next event. There are no signs leading up to the rapture of the church. It is a sign-less event. It happens when we don’t expect it. We live in the light of it. And then it initiates and inaugurates all of those features of His glorious revealing.
How can Christ’s coming be imminent when Matthew 24 talks about the coming of Christ in the destruction of Jerusalem? The disciples connected the fall of the Temple, the end of the age, and the Parousia. How could the destruction of the temple be imminent today when there is no temple to destroy?
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Luke 21:20-22 ESV
Christ is talking to real people in the first century. This is referring to the coming of Christ as we see in verse 27:
And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:27-28 ESV
The coming of the Son of man and the destruction of the Temple happen together. So, then, how is it imminent when there is no temple today to be destroyed? Does not the Temple have to be rebuilt so it can be destroyed? But there is a problem. The Temple site is now occupied by the Mosque of Omar (the Dome of the Rock). It is the center of the Muslim worship (the third holiest place in Islam after Mecca and Medina). There is going to have to be a huge Muslim-Israelite war which the Israelites must win. Then they will have to tear down the Mosque in order to rebuild the Temple. Considering the long timeframe such events would require, how can His return be considered imminent?
John MacArthur says:
It always bothers me that you can talk to people who are very precise about their understanding of the Bible, very precise about their understanding of theology. When you ask them a question about eschatology – that’s from eschatos, which means the end or the last – when you ask them about the last things and how the story ends, they don’t have a clue.
It’s seriously disturbing to me that so many don’t care about how the story ends. Why do you think the whole book of Revelation was written? So that you could know how the story ends and so that you can join in the praise that is going on in heaven in Revelation 4 and 5. I’m glad I know how God ends the story and I can praise Him for what is coming.
He talks about the book of Revelation, written to first-century believers about things that were soon to come to pass. In Revelation 1:1, John specifically states that the prophecies of Revelation would begin to take place in a very SHORT TIME. He emphasized this truth in a variety of ways through language. He carefully varies the manner of his expressions as if to avoid any potential confusion on the matter. The Greek word translated "shortly" in Revelation 1:1 is tachos. According to the Arndt and Gingich Lexicon, tachos is used in the LXX and certain non-canonical writings to mean "speed, quickness, swiftness, haste." John uses the same word in Revelation 2:16; 3:11; 22:6, 7, 12, and 20. John also uses the Greek word engus, which is translated "at hand" in Revelation 1:3 and 22:10. This term speaks of temporal nearness, and John uses it to bracket the book.
The third Greek word is mello. It is translated "about to" in Revelation 1:19 and 3:10. The phrase in 1:19 ("those that are to take place after this") is literally "the things which are about to occur." In 3:10 John writes: "that is coming on the whole world." This is literally: "is about to come upon the whole world." If we apply the principle of audience relevance, what would the original readers have thought when they read this? John strategically places these words at the introduction and conclusion of the book. John was telling the seven churches to expect these things at any moment. These events are not in our future; they are ancient history to us.
John MacArthur goes on to say
But lately, there have been some traditionally conservative professedly Bible-believing Christians that have attacked the doctrine of Christ’s return, the appearing. This view is gaining tremendous momentum. It is called preterism or hyper-preterism, or realized eschatology. And I’m amazed to see some of the names of people who are lining up with this. This hyper-preterism, this realized eschatology bases itself on one verse in the Bible, Matthew 24:34. In Matthew 24;34 Jesus said, “Assuredly I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” Now Jesus had been talking about future things, He had been talking about prophetic things. And then He said, “This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”
So, John says, “This hyper-preterism, this realized eschatology bases itself on one verse in the Bible, Matthew 24:34.” Really? Preterism is based on one verse? This is such a joke. Almost every time the Bible talks about the second coming, it talks about the time of the coming. But let’s look at what MacArthur said:
“Now Jesus had been talking about future things, He had been talking about prophetic things. And then He said, ‘This generation will not pass away until all these things take place.’”
Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Matthew 24:34 ESV
If you look at the way Yeshua used the word "generation," I think it will be abundantly clear that it ALWAYS refers to His contemporaries, the Jewish people of His own period. Yeshua here, very plainly and very clearly, tells HIS DISCIPLES—"I say to you,” that ALL of the things He had mentioned would come to pass in THEIR GENERATION. This includes the preaching of the Gospel in all the world, the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation, and the Coming of the Son of man. This is so clear that it greatly troubles those who hold to a Futuristic eschatology.
Yeshua uses the near demonstrative "this" generation. Every time "this" is used in the New Testament it always refers to something that is near in terms of time or distance. Yeshua doesn't say, “that” generation, which would make sense if He were referring to a different generation from the one that He was speaking to. But "this generation" is the very people to whom He was speaking.
So, this verse very strongly supports preterism, but it is only one of hundreds of verses that place the second coming in the first century.
MacArthur goes on to say,
This is a very increasingly popular view. They renounce the plain meaning of Scripture. They renounce every creed, every doctrinal standard ever affirmed by any significant church council, denomination or theologian in the entire history of the church when they deny that Christ will come back to earth. Position is so bizarre you wonder if it should be considered. But it has to be considered because this is how people think.
No, John we don’t renounce the plain meaning of Scripture. Soon means soon not thousands of years. Is that plain enough for you?
This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven,” – how did He go up, by the way? Physically? Bodily? In full view – “This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will come in just the same way as you’ve watched Him go into heaven.
How do you get around that? The way He left is the way He’s coming back; clouds and He’s visible and He’s real and He appears. He ascended in a physical, bodily form. He’ll return from heaven in just the same way as you watched Him go into heaven. How do they get around that? They deny that He actually ascended into heaven in bodily form.”
No, John we do not deny a bodily ascension. Since you asked let me answer your question about Acts 1.
And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Yeshua, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:9-11 ESV
His ascension was physical and visible, so won't His return be also? It says He will come "in the same way." The words "in the same way" are the Greek phrase "hon tropon." By examining the usage of "hon tropon" in the New Testament, it is clear that this phrase does not mean "exactly the same in every detail" but has the idea of "similar in some fashion." For example, look at how this phrase is used in the following verse:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a (hon tropon) hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! Luke 13:34 ESV
Did Yeshua want to gather Jerusalem in exactly the same manner as (hon tropon) a hen gathers her chicks? I don't think so. Likewise, in the phrase "in the same way" doesn't mean "in exactly the same manner." That His coming was not to be "exactly" as He left (Acts 1:11) is made clear by comparing Scripture with Scripture. Notice what Matthew says about His coming:
For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:27 ESV
This is obviously different than what Acts 1:11 describes. So which way is it? Is it visibly in a cloud or is it like lightning? Paul describes Christ's coming this way:
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 ESV
This is not "in the same way" as Luke describes in Acts. And what about the following:
and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Yeshua 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 Yeshua. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 ESV
This is also different from Acts 1:11. Here we have angels and flaming fire dealing out retribution. We do not see this in Acts. Notice what John says in Revelation 19:
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. Revelation 19:11 ESV
John has Yeshua coming on a horse, not a cloud. So how can anyone say that Yeshua is going to come exactly how He left when they read Acts 1:11? When you compare Scripture with Scripture, it just doesn't add up.
The emphasis of Acts 1:11 is that Christ's coming would be a cloud coming. Just as He left in a cloud, so He would come in the clouds. This is an apocalyptic symbol for coming in judgment. Now that fits all the other Scriptures that we looked at about His coming. When Luke says that Yeshua was taken up, and "a cloud received Him out of their sight," He was not telling us what the weather was like that day but was rather conveying the part that the Father played in the ascension of Yeshua.
There is no Scripture that explicitly teaches that Yeshua would return in a physical, bodily fashion. An understanding of the language of Scripture will help us see that His coming was not to be physical.
Earlier I quoted John MacArthur as saying,
But lately, there have been some traditionally conservative professedly Bible-believing Christians that have attacked the doctrine of Christ’s return, the appearing. This view is gaining tremendous momentum. It is called preterism or hyper-preterism, or realized eschatology.
No, John preterists are not attacking the doctrine of the second coming. All Christians believe in the Second Coming of Christ. To deny the fact of the Second Coming is to deny the inspiration of Scripture. All Christians believe in the Second Coming, but they do not all agree on the timing or nature of the Second Coming. But something you need to understand, John, is that to deny the time statements that the Bible gives of the Second Coming is also to deny inspiration.