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Preterism Refutation (Part 07) - The Last Time and Last Days

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IX. Addressing verses that speak of the last time, last times, last days, etc.

1. There are several verses in the Bible that identify the 1st century when the apostles wrote as the last days, last time, last times, etc. (1Jo 2:18; Heb 1:2; etc.).
A. Preterists claim that this is proof that Christ returned in 70AD.
B. They believe these verses teach that the coming of Christ was imminent.
C. These verse teach no such thing.

2. Time is divided into three major sections.
A. 1st period - Adam to Moses (pre-OT law) (Rom 5:13-14).
B. 2nd period - Moses to John the Baptist (OT Law) (Luk 16:16).
C. 3rd period - Christ to the end of time (NT) (Luk 16:16).
D. Jesus Christ made His first appearance in the last time period which is called the last time/days (1Jo 2:18; Heb 1:2; Heb 9:26; 1Pe 1:20).

3. Peter said that "the end of all things is at hand" (1Pe 4:7) and that Christ was manifested "in these last times" (1Pe 1:20), John said "it is the last time" (1Jo 2:18), Paul said that God had spoken to us by His son "in these last days" (Heb 1:2), and James said that wicked rich men had "heaped treasure together for the last days" (Jam 5:3).
4. Why did the apostles refer to the days in which they were living as the last days when the world would continue for nearly another 2000 years or more?
A. The apostles (including Paul, Peter, James, & John) did not know when the second coming was going to happen (Mat 24:36; 1Th 5:1-2; 2Pe 3:10).
B. They knew they were living in the last days and the last time, but they didn't know how long that time would last.
C. Jesus gave indications in scripture that His coming was not imminent.
i. He could come in the second or third watch (Luk 12:38).
ii. The bridegroom tarried (Mat 25:5).
iii. He would go into a far country (Luk 19:12; Mat 25:14)
iv. He would not return for a long time (Mat 25:19).
a. Jesus came the first time when the fullness of the time was come (Gal 4:4).
b. The first prophecy of the coming of Christ was made in the garden of Eden (Gen 3:15).
c. Therefore, it took 4,000 years for the fullness of time to come for Christ's first advent.
d. It should be no surprise then that prophecies of Christ's second coming would not be fulfilled for 2000+ years after they were made.
e. To be consistent, the preteristic interpretation of Gen 3:15 would have to be that the seed of the woman (Jesus Christ) came in Eve's lifetime.
D. Peter knew that for God to wait a thousand years to return would be tantamount to Him waiting one day as God reckons time (2Pe 3:8), so for the last days to last a long time (even thousands of years) would be no surprise or contradiction.
E. The end of all things was "at hand" because they were in the last period of time and there was no other intervening period of time between their day and the second coming of Christ.
F. For all they knew, Christ could return in the near future and they were ready and anticipating it (Php 3:20; 1Th 5:6), as we still are today.

5. Paul said that "the ends of the world are come" upon Christians in the first century (1Co 10:11).
A. It's interesting to note that in 1Co 10:11 the ends of the world were said to have come upon the church that Paul was writing to, not upon the nation of Israel that he had been referring to.
B. If the ends of the world refers to the end of the nation of Israel (as some preterists claim), why would Paul say that it had come upon the church rather than Israel?
C. Also, it's a contradiction of terms to say that the "last time" and "last days" ended in 70AD, nearly 2000 years ago.
i. Last - A. adj. Following all others; coming at the end. 1. a. Following all the others in a series, succession, order, or enumeration; subsequent to all others in occurrence, existence, etc.
ii. By definition, there can be no time nor days after the LAST TIME and the LAST DAYS because nothing comes after the last thing.
iii. If the "last days" and the "last time" ended in 70AD, then have the past 1,949 years been the laster than last days and the laster than last time?
D. The reason Paul said that "the ends of the world" were come on Christians in the 1st century was given above (Section IX,4).

X. Addressing verses where the apostles appear to be saying that the return of Christ would happen in their lifetimes.

1. 1Th 4:17
A. Paul said "we which are alive and remain" at the return of Christ.
B. The Preterists claim that Paul was saying that he and the brethren in Thessalonica would be alive at the second coming of Christ.
C. First of all, Paul didn't know when Christ would return, but was watching and waiting and was prepared for His return (see Section IX).
D. Secondly, Paul's instruction to local churches was not limited to the specific church he wrote to, but was applicable to other churches (Col 4:16).
i. Some of Paul's epistles were addressed to the saints in a particular church as well as "the faithful in Christ Jesus" (Eph 1:1) and were also applicable to "all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord" (1Co 1:2).
ii. If Paul's writings were applicable to other churches and other Christians at that time, then it stands to reason that they were applicable to other churches and Christians in the future.
iii. If not, then is the rest of the information in those epistles not applicable to us today either?
iv. His instruction about the second coming was addressed to the saints in Thessalonica, but it was applicable to all saints throughout all time because he didn't know when Christ would return.

2. Joh 21:20-22
A. The Preterists claim that Jesus was saying that John would live to see the second coming.
B. Jesus was essentially telling Peter to mind his own business and bear his own cross (Joh 21:18-19) and not worry about what the fate of the others would be.
C. Jesus did not say that John would tarry until He returned, but that IF Jesus willed that John did, it was none of Peter's business (Joh 21:23).

3. 2Th 1:6-10
A. The same argument holds true with this verse as with 1Th 4:17.
B. Paul's comforting words were written to the Thessalonians who were being persecuted for their faith, but they are applicable to all churches and Christians throughout all time.
C. The second coming of Christ was the hope of the Thessalonians and has been and will be the hope of Christians throughout time who have been persecuted for their faith.
D. When Christ returns, the wicked that persecuted the saints will be punished in the lake of fire (2Th 1:9 c/w Mat 25:41, 46).
E. This will be the time that all of the wicked who have persecuted the saints for the last 2,000 years will be punished.

4. Near the end of their lives at least some of the apostles knew that they were not going to live to see the second coming of Christ.
A. Paul knew that he was going to die before the 2nd coming of Christ (2Ti 4:6).
i. History says that Paul died in either 64AD or 67AD (Paul the Apostle, Wikipedia, 5-14-19).
ii. Paul prophesied of a time after his death when heretics would arise in the church (Act 20:29-30).
iii. Not long before his death, Paul instructed Titus to ordain elders in every city, indicating that the coming of Christ was not imminent and therefore those churches would need pastors (Tit 1:5).
B. Peter also knew that he was going to die before the 2nd coming (2Pe 1:14-15).
C. History says that Peter died between 64-68AD (Saint Peter, Wikipedia, 5-14-19).