The Watchtower has used many printed pages defending the doctrine that Jesus’ return is invisible, but can find only a few scriptures that seem to support this doctrine and only by the misapplication of scripture. However, when reading the Watchtower publications one can find much human reasoning to try to support Jesus’ invisible return, even quoting Sir Isaac Newton as an authority on this subject and perhaps the father of the teaching. (See Watchtower July 15 1906 page 229 and Kingdom Proclaimers book chapter 5 page 46 footnote)
Let’s take a moment to look at the evidence. In Matthew 24:30 Jesus said,
“And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in lamentation, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.”
The Watchtower’s reasoning book responds to this scripture on page 341;
‘Will Christ return in a manner visible to human eyes?
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.”
By misapplying John 14:19 The Watchtower says Jesus will not be seen. But, what do other scriptures say? Notice the following Scriptures.
Daniel 7:13; “I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! With the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming; and to the Ancient of Days he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One.”
Matthew 24:27; “For just as the lightning comes out of eastern parts and shines over to western parts, so the presence of the Son of man will be”
Matthew 26:64; “Jesus said to him: “You yourself said [it]. Yet I say to YOU men, from henceforth YOU will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Mark 13:26; “And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”
Mark 14:62; “Then Jesus said: “I am; and YOU persons will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Luke 21:27; “And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16; “Because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a commanding call, with an archangel’s voice and with God’s trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first.”
Hebrews 9:28; “So also the Christ was offered once for all time to bear the sins of many; and the second time that he appears it will be apart from sin and to those earnestly looking for him for [their] salvation.”
Acts 1:11; “And they said: Men of Gal´i·lee, 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.”
Revelation 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. Yes, Amen.”
The reasoning book page 342 asks and answers;
“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 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.)”
Regarding Revelation 1:7 the reasoning book says;
“What is meant by his ‘coming on the clouds’ and ‘every eye seeing him’?
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? In what sense will ‘every eye see him’? They will discern from events on earth that he is invisibly present. Also referring to sight that is not physical, John 9:41 reports: “Jesus said to [the Pharisees]: ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin. But now you say, “We see.” Your sin remains.’” (Compare Romans 1:20.) Following Christ’s return, some persons show faith; they recognize the sign of his presence. Others reject the evidence, but when Christ goes into action as God’s executioner of the wicked, even they will discern from the manifestation of his power that the destruction is not from men but from heaven. They will know what is happening because they were warned in advance. Because of what is overtaking them, they will “beat themselves in grief.” 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.”
When we consider all of this explanation for two very simple passages it saddens me. First of all in Acts 1:11 the phrase, “in the same manner” when translated from the original language literally means “the same way.” Secondly, Scripture does not say that every eye will see Him at the same time. Even so, for any organization to say that Jesus could not appear to everyone at the same time, they are limiting Jehovah and using human reasoning. After all even man has the technology to beam TV broadcasts instantaneously and simultaneously all around the globe with satellites for all to see. Jehovah’s ability is much, much greater than this or than we can even imagine. (2Chronicles 2:6, 1Corinthians 2:9)
Concerning those who pierced him the Watchtower seems to have overlooked the fact that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. (John 5:28-29, Acts 24:15) Does this exclude those who pierced him? NO! They have to fall into one of these two categories, either righteous or unrighteous. According to the Philippians 2:10-11 every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord! This shows that ALL in the graves will HAVE to be resurrected. John 5:28-29 says;
“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves shall hear His voice and come forth, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have practiced evil to the resurrection of condemnation.” (NKJV)
When using God’s Word the Bible, the weight of preponderance clearly says that Jesus’ return is visible, it’s audible and it will be literal! There are hundreds of prophecies regarding Jesus that have been fulfilled, and they have been fulfilled literally. In Mark 13:26 Jesus said,
Since Jesus Himself said these words, why does the Watchtower insist that this is not true? When comparing Scriptures that say Jesus’ return is literal to those that may appear to say it is not, there is much more Bible evidence to support the truth of Jesus being visible upon his return. Yes, every eye will see Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory!