Monday, May 6, 2013

KJV vs. JST: The Second and Third Comings of Christ, Luke 12:37-38

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KJV:
37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:
verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself,
and make them to sit down to meat,
and will come forth and serve them.
38 And if he shall come in the second watch,
or come in the third watch,
and find them so,
blessed are those servants.
(Luke 12:37-38)
JST:
41 For, behold, he cometh in the first watch of the night,
and he shall also come in the second watch,
and again he shall come in the third watch.
42 And verily I say unto you, He hath already come, as it is written of him;
and again when he shall come in the second watch,
or come in the third watch,
blessed are those servants when he cometh,
that he shall find so doing;
(JST Luke 12:41-42)
In the KJV, the second and third watches are spoken of as a range of possible times that Christ could appear in the sense that if He comes in one, He won’t come in the other.  If you notice, it is the “or” that makes us think this.

However, the JST shows us pretty plainly that the second and third watches are both times when the Savior will return.  We are shown that Jesus’ mortal ministry is the first watch.  The second watch must then be the second coming of Christ.. and then what is the third watch?  It is a third coming of Christ.  When?  It is the post-Millennial visit of Christ to cleanse the earth once again of the evil that springs up at the end of the Millennium, which evil is written of in Revelation 20:1-4, 7-10.

One might argue that the second watch is the visit the Lord made to the earth when the gospel was restored, but I don’t think that can be it because Christ speaks of certain blessed servants who will be watching for that visit, implying that there must be full priesthood authority on the earth at the time of those second and third watches.

If we read as it is to be understood, we can extrapolate that when Christ comes again, He will teach and set all in order and reign, but at some point He will ascend again and depart.  Oh, He will still continue to reign, for if He is obeyed by everyone even when He is absent, He is definitely King.  And for a long time Satan will be bound, as all resist temptation.  But when the time comes again that people begin to yield to temptation, Satan will be loosed and then we will see the tragedy of 4 Nephi played out again until Christ comes again to make everything right.  Then will all the dead be resurrected and judged, the earth will be celestialized, and Heavenly Father will live with us!

Knowing there is a third coming of Christ means that we must read the scriptures carefully to try to discern which promises of Christ’s coming refer to His second coming and which apply to His third.  The Jews were confused by Christ’s mortal coming because they were panting for His second and overlooked the scriptures about His first coming.  This leads me to wonder if maybe we might get into trouble if we think the scriptures about Christ’s third coming are about his second.  For instance, Revelation 20 says Gog and Magog are dangers before the third coming, so we shouldn’t look for them before the second.  But there may also be elements that are similar across both second and third comings, so we have to notice these too.