Jesus’ return/Parousia would consummate the second exodus bringing His saints back with Him to Heaven to the heavenly Promised Land where they would literally see God “Face to face,” fulfilling what Paul wrote about in:
- “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then Face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:9-12. NASB.)
“The Perfect” here is a reference to the antitype consummation of the New Covenant eternal Kingdom at the return of Christ. “Face to face” is to be in heaven in the very presence of God. When Christ ascended He was glorified with the glory He had from before He was incarnate (John 17:5; Phil. 2:6-8). In Philippians 3:20-21 Paul states this new glorified personal body Christ is what Jesus had after He returned to heaven. Christ is God the Son, and upon His ascension was then fully glorified with the glory He had from all eternity (1 Tim. 3:16). When Christ returned at His second coming He returned from out of the heavenly Holy of Holies and descended with the heavenly Kingdom, bringing it to reunite heaven (the unseen realm where God and the heavenly beings dwell) and earth (the seen realm where man dwells) (Eph. 1:10).
At the Parousia in the Spring of AD 66 Jesus descended from heaven into the “aer” and “raised the dead righteous souls” from out of Hades/Sheol in the unseen realm where they were, and “then changed the living righteous” into the unseen realm. They were all given their new immortal heavenly bodies and caught into His presence and literally saw Him “Face to face.” Those saints then “knew as they were known.” (1 Cor. 13:12; cf. Isa. 52:8). Christ had ascended in AD 30 and gone away to receive His Kingdom from the Father (Luke 19:1-4), and now He returned at His Parousia bringing that eternal Kingdom and heaven down with Him, fully consummating it in AD 70 after the completion of the pouring out of His wrath, where now heaven and earth (unseen and seen realms of the one eternal Kingdom) were reunited and God would from then forevermore dwell among men (Ezek. 37:26-28).
Perfection will never be obtained here in this earthly seen realm. Perfection is only experienced once the believer physically dies and leaves this life to instantly be clothed with his/her individual, perfect, immortal, spiritual body and then enters the “perfection of the heavenly Jerusalem Kingdom.”
[Also see: “Church (New Beginning – “First Believers” after AD 70)” also “Spiritual Gifts”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 8 Lesson 2 God’s Festal Calendar (Fall Feasts)”]