Curious About Second Coming & Preterists?
I’m not nearly the Biblical scholar many of my radio callers are but in recent days some of the Preterists have raised my curiosity. They believe Jesus returned in 70 A.D. as Jerusalem was crushed by the Romans. The Preterists therefore discount any current apocalyptic talk.
In light of what they were explaining I passed their thoughts along to some friends who’ve a better grounding in scripture than I do. It appears a few who take the Bible literally have an issue with the Preterist camp. While Paul believed the Gospel had been spread to the entire world (and Preterists believe this is a pre-condition for the Second Coming) the known world was a bit limited at the time. In Paul’s time the Word of God hadn’t reached the Western hemisphere and likely hadn’t crossed beyond the Sahara Desert and the Hindu lands in Asia. Two, Paul spoke of a return of the living Christ, that is, a bodily representation.
Now, I may not be expert when it comes to quoting chapter and verse but I’ve read the book a few times and given great thought to the stories (and I’m not quite the literalist you would find among my Protestant friends). As Saul was headed to Damascus he got blown away (almost literally) by the Lord. If history is any guide Saul, who became Paul, was chosen for a very specific reason. He had the force of personality to take the faith to the heart of the empire. With the seeds planted and sprouting the Roman Legions eventually greatly helped with the spread of Christianity. This leads me to believe Paul had a very special place when it came to hearing the Almighty. Much like the Old Testament prophets he often channeled the Lord, spoke for the Lord and assisted Peter in pouring the foundation of the Church (in a figurative sense).
Paul then expected the Second Coming in corporeal form, which hasn’t happened. Then how do we explain, “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus,” Revelation 22:20 (New American Standard). Quickly in human terms being within a few short years. Whether you believe the universe is 6,000 years old or 6 billion years old both numbers are quite long from a human perspective. From the view of the Creator soon could be a long, long wait in human terms.
One of my callers criticized the efforts of some to plot an actual date for the end of times but human nature likes certainty. Paul makes it clear we aren’t granted the insight. “For yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord shall so come, as a thief in the night.” 1 Thessalonians 5:2 (Douay-Rheims). From the standpoint of a parent with some past teaching experience I can tell you surprise is a great tool when working to instill discipline. In other words, behave yourselves because you may not have time otherwise to correct your mistakes! God may have thought about the same thing long before I came along, although. I came along and will go in the blink of a celestial eye. For more details on Preterists I include a few links.