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Coming in Like Manner

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Preterism Debate
Frost vs. Warner

Round I
Two Jerusalems

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Round II
The Resurrection

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Round III
Ezekiel's Temple

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PFRS Home > Doctrinal Studies > Preterism

Preterism
Time Texts in the New Testament - Part I
Copyright© Tim Warner - 12/2003



The place to begin with the so called "time texts," on which preterism rests, is the Great Temple Discourse (Luke 21) and the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24, Mark 13). These are the passages where Jesus expounded His second coming in greatest detail, the time delay between his first and second comings, and the reasons for the delay. He also instructed his followers HOW to "watch" for His coming. Once we understand these passages as the disciples would have understood them, we can next see if the rest of the New Testament conforms to Jesus' instructions. In other words, we need to lay out the historical foundation of Jesus' teachings on which all of the "soon" statements made by the Apostles were based.

The Great Temple Discourse (Luke 21)
Jesus and His disciples were walking atop the Temple mount on the Tuesday before His crucifixion. Jesus had just finished delivering a stinging rebuke and denouncement to the religious leaders in the full hearing of the crowds and his disciples (cf. Matt. 23 & Luke 20). The chief priests were furious with Him, and were conspiring to put Him to death. As Jesus and His disciples made their way across the paved Temple courts towards one of the Temple Mount exits, the disciples began to point out the beautiful architecture of the huge Temple complex, with all its elaborate buildings. Jesus then delivered "The Great Temple Discourse" while still on the Temple grounds. This discourse is recorded in Luke 21.

In this discourse, Jesus began to speak of the events leading up to the end of the age. He spoke of wars, earthquakes, famines, and signs in the heavens (vss. 8-11). But, in verse 12, Jesus interrupted His discourse on the end of the age (still future), and began to speak about what would occur in the immediate future, BEFORE the events of the end of the age. The words, "but before all this..." (vs. 12) indicate that BEFORE the earthquakes, famines, wars, etc., just described by Jesus, something else was going to occur. In verses 12-24, Jesus described these parenthetical events. They included the persecution of His disciples and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (which the disciples had been admiring). The result of the coming war, according to Jesus, would be the Jews' being dispersed to all the nations for a period of time BEFORE the end of the age. In other words, the dispersion of the Jews to all nations (which would take a considerable amount of time) would intervene between the destruction of Jerusalem and the "end of the age" with its attending cosmic signs and coming of Christ. The coming of Christ cannot be the destruction of Jerusalem because the dispersion of the Jews and the "times of the Gentiles" would intervene between the destruction of Jerusalem and second coming of Christ.

In verse 24, Jesus ended the parenthetical portion of this discourse. In verse 25 He picked back up where He left off in vs. 11. (Note the cosmic signs in both vss. 11 & 25. This indicates His picking up the timeline in verse 25 where He left off in vs. 11 ). Note also the statement, "but before all this..." in vs. 12. This indicates that verses 12-24 are parenthetical. In other words, Jesus interrupted the timeline of His discourse on the end of the age, and made a parenthetical statement in verses 12-24 referring to the imminent persecution of the Apostles and the destruction of Jerusalem. Verses 25ff then focus again on the "end of the age" (future), and Christ's coming attended by the cosmic signs. Below is the entire discourse illustrating the parenthetical part.

It is critical that we understand the chronology of this discourse in order to place the events in their proper order. In the table below, I have duplicated the discourse in two columns. The left column includes the discourse in the verbal sequence given by Christ. The second column separates the parenthetical portion that Jesus said would occur "before these things" (mentioned in vss. 8-11).
 
The Great Temple Discourse Luke 21
Verbal Sequence as Delivered

8 And He said: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them.
9 "But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately."
10 Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
11 "And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
12 "But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.
13 "But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.
14 "Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;
15 "for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
16 "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.
17 "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake.
18 "But not a hair of your head shall be lost.
19 "By your patience possess your souls.
20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.
21 "Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.
22 "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.
24 "And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
26 "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.
27 "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."
29 Then He spoke to them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
30 "When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
31 "So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.
33 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
35 "For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
37 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet.
(NKJ)

Logical Sequence Demanded

I. Persecution of Jesus' Disciples
12 "But before all these things [the things mentioned in verses 8-11], they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake.
13 "But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.
14 "Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer;
15 "for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.
16 "You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.
17 "And you will be hated by all for My name's sake.
18 "But not a hair of your head shall be lost.
19 "By your patience possess your souls.

II. Destruction of Jerusalem
20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near.
21 "Then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her.
22 "For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
23 "But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people.
24 "And they will fall by the edge of the sword,

III. Diaspora of the Jews & Jerusalem in Foreign Hands Until the End of the Age
and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

IV. Necessary Events Before Christ Returns
8 And He said: "Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time has drawn near.' Therefore do not go after them.
9 "But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately."
10 Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
11 "And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences;

V. Signs of Christ's Coming
(vs. 11 continued) and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. 
[vss. 12-24 "but before all these" parenthetical portion moved above]
25 "And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring;
26 "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.
27 "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 "Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near."

Exhortations on Watching
29 Then He spoke to them a parable: "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.
30 "When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.
31 "So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.
32 "Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.
33 "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
35 "For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
36 "Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man."
37 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet.
(NKJ)

Notice the text highlighted in green in both columns. This illustrates that Jesus picked up the discourse precisely where He left off after dealing with the parenthetical portion (in red). Notice that the last statement before the parenthetical portion, and the first statement afterward, deal with the cosmic signs.

The Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24 & Mark 13)
After His discourse on the Temple mount ended, Jesus and His disciples made their way across the Kidron valley up to the Mt. of Olives. As they sat atop the Mt. of Olives, four of His disciples (Peter, James, John, and Andrew) came to Him privately (cf. Mark 13:3), and asked Him, "when shall these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?"

Preterists have assumed that the discourses in Luke 21 and Matt. 24/Mark 13 are all parallel accounts. They have missed the fact that the Great Temple Discourse recorded in Luke 21 actually took place BEFORE the Olivet Discourse (cf. Luke 21:1-7,37 & Matt. 24:3 / Mark 13:3). And the disciples' question at the beginning of the Olivet Discourse was in response to what Jesus had already told them just a hour or so before while they were on the Temple Mount. They wanted more information regarding His coming.

No doubt the disciples had been talking among themselves about Jesus' discourse on the Temple Mount during their walk up the Mt. of Olives. Later that afternoon, while sitting on the Mt. of Olives overlooking the Temple, the four disciples got up enough nerve to go and privately ask Jesus for further clarification on His previous discourse. While no doubt they were interested in the destruction of the Temple, their primary concern was Jesus' establishing of His Kingdom (ie, His coming and the end of the age, cf. Acts 1:4-8). The Great Temple discourse, while explaining a lot of events that must occur first, said little about the specific signs that would signal when Jesus' coming was actually imminent.

In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus focussed on their specific question, which concerned His coming and the end of the age, and not on the destruction of Jerusalem or dispersion of the Jewish nation among all the nations He had formerly spoken about in Luke 21:12-24. The disciples accepted that all that would take place. But, as His followers, and heirs of His Kingdom, they wanted to know when all this would come to an end with the setting up of Christ's Kingdom on earth. Notice that in the following passage from Luke 21, these final events take place AFTER the destruction of Jerusalem, AFTER the Jews are dispersed to all the nations, AFTER the "times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled.

Luke 21:25-31
25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
29 And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
(KJV)

This is what the disciples were mostly interested in. It was their hope as the followers of the Jewish Messiah, to reign with Him in His Kingdom.

Jesus elaborated on this in His Olivet Discourse, focussing on the end of the age and NOT on the destruction of Jerusalem. The events of the Olivet Discourse, the wars, famines, earthquakes, etc. (Matt. 24:6-8), occur before the end of the age in Matt. 24, but AFTER the destruction of Jerusalem in Luke 21. There is therefore a period of time between the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. And Luke 21 tells us what intervenes during this period a second "Diaspora" of the Jewish nation, and the culmination of the "times of the Gentiles," with Jerusalem under foreign control for the entire interval between the destruction of Jerusalem and Christ's coming.

In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus focused entirely on the events leading up to the second coming and establishing of His Kingdom on earth. These events include the major apostasy of the Church (vss. 9-13 & 2 Thess. 2:3) with the greater part of Christians falling away from the Faith.

Matt 24:9-13
9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations on account of My name.
10 "And at that time many will fall away and will deliver up one another and hate one another.
11 "And many false prophets will arise, and will mislead many.
12 "And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold.
13 "But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved.
(NASB)

The next major event is the completion of the Great Commission, the preaching of the Gospel to all nations, "the uttermost parts of the earth" (Acts 1:8).

Matt 24:14
14 "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
(NKJ)

Keep in mind that Jesus had formerly sent His disciples out to preach to the cities of Israel ahead of Him (Matt. 10). Yet, when commissioning them as His Apostles to Israel, He forbid them from preaching to the Gentiles (cf. Matt. 10:5-6). This first commission was a precursor to the second (Great) commission, because it foretold the persecution in Acts and beyond. Yet, while Jesus allowed them to begin their task of world evangelism in Matt. 10 (beginning in the cities of Israel), He expressly held them back from the Gentiles because it was necessary that the Jews be offered the Gospel first, and that they reject Him, so that the crucifixion could occur. After His resurrection, Jesus lifted the restriction regarding the Samaritans and Gentiles, and told them explicitly to CONTINUE their evangelization of Israel, as well as the Samaritans and the Gentiles. (They never finished their evangelization of the cities of Israel, and this too must be completed before Jesus returns. [1]

In Matt. 24:14, Jesus let them know that He was going to expand their commission given to them in ch. 10, to all the nations (which He did explicitly in Matt. 28:19-20).

One critical observation we should make from the Olivet Discourse is that Jesus told them explicitly that certain things MUST occur before He returns. The wars, famines, earthquakes, etc., would occur, but these should NOT be taken as signs of His coming. He said, "be not troubled, for the end is not yet." However, Jesus pointed to certain major events that would signal His return, the "abomination of desolation" (Matt. 24:15) and the cosmic signs (Matt. 24:29-30). He also pointed to the one thing that would delay His coming the completion of the Great Commission (Matt. 24:14). 

Of course, the "abomination of desolation" and cosmic signs were things the disciples had absolutely no control over. They would occur according to God's sovereignty and in His timing. However, the completion of the Great Commission was something within the power of the disciples and those they trained to help them to complete. Notice, after the resurrection, when the disciples asked Jesus again about His Kingdom and the restoration of Israel, Jesus again reminded them of this passage and their responsibility to finish the Great Commission before they could expect His coming. That is, the thing that would delay His coming.

Acts 1:6-8
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
(KJV)

Jesus reminded them of what He said earlier in the Olivet Discourse. 
1. The TIME was known by none, including Jesus Himself.
2. The task of preaching the Gospel to all nations must be completed before Israel was restored and Christ's Kingdom comes to earth.

The second sign concerned the "abomination of desolation" prophesied by Daniel. Daniel explicitly prophesied the number of days between the "abomination of desolation" and the resurrection and Daniel's receiving His allotted inheritance, being 1290 days, (Dan. 12:11-13).

Therefore, when Jesus referred to the "abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet," and when He said, "let the reader understand," He meant let the reader of Daniel understand that within 1290 days of the "abomination of desolation" Jesus would return, the resurrection prophesied by Daniel would occur, and the allotted inheritance in the Kingdom will have been realized by those "many" (Dan. 12:2) who are resurrected at that time. Therefore, the "abomination of desolation" is THE time indicator for the second coming, being 3.5 years before Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom on earth.

Of course, the disciples had absolutely no control over the abomination of desolation. It was entirely up to the timing of God Almighty. However, the fulfillment of all of the end-time events were to be DELAYED until the Gospel was preached to all nations. This WAS something within the control of the disciples of Christ, and those who would join them in this task of world evangelism. And it was something OUT of the direct control of God (assuming that man has a free will). In other words, the delay in Christ's return was something God had taken out of his own power of control and given that power to His Church. This is why in Acts 1, Jesus referred them back to what He said in the Olivet Discourse. They were a little too anxious for His Kingdom to arrive. So, Jesus reminded them that all this was contingent on their completing the task assigned them. And that the power of the Holy Spirit was being given to them to aid them in completing this task. Therefore, while Christ was ready to return without delay within a very short time (only time enough for the other prophesied events to take place, within the 3.5 years mentioned by Daniel), the entire end-time scenario was put on hold until the followers of Christ finished the task of world evangelization. Heaven is ready, Jesus has been "standing at the door" (metaphorically speaking - see Jas. 5:9), His Kingdom is "at hand," but He is being delayed by the failure of His Church to complete her assigned task.

Peter's Explanation of the Delay
In support of the above understanding of Christ's Olivet Discourse and His Great Commission to His Apostles, I would like to offer the following explanation from 2 Peter 3. Here, Peter dealt with the delay in Christ's coming several decades after Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, and after most if not all of Paul's Epistles were written. [2]

2 Pet 3:1-9
1 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:
2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:
3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
(KJV)

Peter began this chapter telling his readers that his purpose was to remind them of two things:
1. the words of the prophets (about the coming Kingdom, new heaven and new earth, etc.)
2. the commandment (singular) of Jesus Christ via the Apostles. The Greek text reads, "entolhV tou Kuriou kai SwthroV" ("commandment of the Lord and Savior"). That Peter had a specific "commandment" in mind is proven from the singular articular noun. Furthermore, that he meant the Great Commission is proven from the fact that having said he was reminding them of these two things, Peter then went on to talk about BOTH (the prophecies in the OT of the Day of the Lord & world evangelism) in the following verses.

His statement that there would come "in the last days" scoffers, denying the coming of Christ, indicates a future time. Of course, preterists think this time was present. But, if that was so, Peter would not have spoken of the "last days" in the future tense. He wrote this only a year or so before the armies of the Romans marched on Jerusalem. Peter's statement seems to foresee a more distant time. 

In verses 3-6, Peter used a parallel example of the flood, and God's delaying His judgment on the ungodly for 1500 years. The parallel drawn by Peter between the pre-flood delay and the current delay is striking. In verse 8 Peter's reference to a day being as a thousand years seems to be meant to allow for the entire pre-flood period, which lasted 1500 years. The future scoffers will say that everything has continued uninterrupted since the creation. Yet, Peter's point is that things were NOT uninterrupted "since the creation" because God destroyed the world with a flood 1500 years after the creation. And only His WORD kept His judgment in check for those 1500 years.

In verse 7, Peter applied that principle to the present "heaven and earth." While the first (pre-flood) "heaven and earth" was destroyed by water, the present "heaven and earth" will be destroyed by fire. Two important points should be noted here.

1. There is clearly a parallel between the "water" and the "fire," as being the judgments of God. That "water" is clearly literal, implies that the "fire" will also be literal. Preterists are forced to make the first literal and the last symbolic.
2. That the WHOLE WORLD received the wrath and judgment of God at the time of the flood, is paralleled by Peter with the WHOLE WORLD being judged by fire at the revelation of Jesus Christ. If Peter meant only the destruction of Jerusalem, he picked a very poor parallel. He should have used the former destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar as his parallel, if that is what he meant. That Peter chose the ONLY other UNIVERSAL judgment of the whole earth to draw his parallel indicates that Peter clearly had in mind here a UNIVERSAL judgment of the present earth by fire (which he described in more detail in vss. 10-12).

Next, in verses 8-9, Peter got to the heart of the matter, the CAUSE of the present delay in Christ's coming. First, Peter says in no uncertain terms that God's time is not our time. In other words, what may be short or long to us is relative. God is an eternal being. He is not limited to a lifetime of say 70 years. Our perspectives and perception of time are colored by our experience. "Soon" to us, whose entire lives are but a speck on the whole timeline of human history, is not "soon" to God. To God, the whole existence of man on earth, from creation to the flood, was but a day and a half! Likewise, we can extrapolate from this that the time between Christ's ascension until our day is but 2 days to God! Therefore, since Peter was discussing this difference in how God views time and how we view time in the very context which is meant to explain the delay in His coming, this principle MUST be applied to ALL "time" texts in the NT.

In verse 9, Peter finally told them the real reason for the delay. It is the same thing Jesus told them in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:14), and what He reminded them of just before His ascension (Acts 1:6-8). The Lord is not slow to keep His promise. He is WAITING FOR SOMETHING. God is "longsuffering to US, not willing that any should perish." That something is for US to finish the job of taking the Gospel to all the nations, to the "uttermost part of the earth." Notice, he did not say the Lord is longsuffering to the LOST. He said, the Lord is longsuffering to US, BECAUSE He wishes all to come to repentance. Well, 2000 years has proven the great longsuffering of God.

Conclusion:
It is plain that Paul and perhaps other writers hoped that they would live to see Jesus' coming. That much can be inferred from such statements as, "we which are alive and remain," etc.. Yet, NOWHERE did Paul or any other Apostle indicate that Jesus MUST come in their lifetimes. Hope and expectation is one thing. Teaching is another. Jesus taught His disciples in such a way that THEY themselves would be looking for the signs of His coming, as they launched out to obey His Commission. Jesus also told them to teach ALL of the new converts to "observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matt. 24:20). That means reproducing in them the same HOPE and EXPECTATION. But, this hope and expectation MUST be tempered with the knowledge that we have a job to finish before Jesus will return. Jesus WOULD have come in the first century IF the Church had finished the job. He WOULD have come in the second century IF the Church had finished the job. Ditto for every generation since. The entire New Testament was written in such a way that every generation of Christians SHOULD be motivated, by the soon coming of Christ, to finish the work Jesus gave us to do, and to expect Jesus to come in their lifetimes. Each generation has had in its power the ABILITY to HASTEN the coming of Christ in THAT VERY GENERATION.

2 Pet 3:12
12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?
(NKJ)

The antecedent for the ones "looking for" and "hastening" the Day of God, is "you" in the previous verse (Peter's audience). Peter made a very profound statement here, by telling his readers that THEY are not only looking for the Day of God, but they are also HASTENING its arrival! In other words, the TIMING of His coming is IN OUR POWER to hasten! Therefore, the long delay is also OUR FAULT, despite the fact that Jesus has been ready to return for almost 2000 years!

According to Peter's reckoning, only two days have now elapsed since Jesus ascended into heaven, and the angels told the disciples, "this SAME Jesus which is taken up from you shall so come IN LIKE MANNER as you have seen Him go into heaven."

Whenever the New Testament writers used terms like "at hand," "standing before the door," "soon," "quickly," etc., they did so with the knowledge of all these things. Jesus has been READY to return, being seated at the Father's right hand WAITING (Heb. 10:13). He WILL come "quickly" provided we get busy and finish the job he has given us to do. So, when Paul wrote, "He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry" (Heb. 10:37) he meant that Jesus will not of His own will delay His own coming. But, as you can see, such a passage does not mean that He will come BEFORE we have finished the job. To "not tarry" means not to purposely delay when it is in His power to come. But, since the stipulation for His returning is in OUR power, what Paul meant is that any delay is NOT on His part. He will not tarry, though our "tarrying" in completing the job He assigned us forces Him to wait for us.


[1] In fact, the Gospel began in JUDEA (southern Israel) and has traveled westward (following the path of the sun) around most of the world already. Only the Moslem nations are left for the focus of evangelism. Then, lastly, the focus will again be on Israel before Jesus returns, with the 2 witnesses prophesying for 1260 days in Jerusalem.

[2] We know that 2 Peter was written just before Peter's martyrdom along with Paul around AD66-67, because of Peter's reference to his imminent decease in 2 Pet. 1:13-15.
 

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