Recently someone posted an article which alleged that the apostle Paul was a futurist and never taught about AD70.
The article is extremely long, convoluted and self contradictory.
To make it beneficial for you readers I will take on the article point by point.
Here is the first point reproduced for you.
“Preterism Refuted by Paul in 10 Points
A. Paul directly refuted Preterism (II Thes 2:1-3). In response to Thessalonian
concerns about the imminency of Jesus Christ’s return, Paul declared it far off.
1. By his epistles, Paul had taught the Thessalonians more about Christ’s Second Coming
than other churches (I Thess 1:10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-18; 5:5:1-11,23; II Thess 1:7-10).
2. The Thessalonians had heard preterist rumors and anticipated the Lord’s imminent return.
3. Paul emphatically and expressly told them it was still far off, and he proved his response
by reminding them of two major prerequisite events that were also both still future.
4. If preterists had not already made up their minds to defend their 70 A.D. agenda at all
costs, they could read this prophecy and know they greatly err from Pauline eschatology.
5. Knowledge of Daniel 7 is very useful here, as the man of sin is the little horn of Rome.””
In summary this person argues that there would be two major events that would take place before the second coming. The first concentrates on the coming of the man of sin.
First let me deal with sub point no. 1 and no. 2.
1. Let us clarify a simple point. There are no preterist at the time of writing when 2 Thessalonians was written. Preterism believes all major prophecy were fulfilled in AD70.
2. The letter was written in 52 AD. As such the allegation “preterist rumours” clearly denotes lack of knowledge, bias and prejudice of the author.
3. Now let us consider the verses quoted by the author in relation to 1 Thessalonians in point no. 1.
Let us consider what 1 Thessalonians says.
4. 1 Thessalonians 1:10
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
4b. The wrath was already coming at the time when the book was written.
5. 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.
They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
5b. The wrath of God was coming upon them “at last”. This means it’s “around the corner”. It is however not directed towards the whole world but just the Jews who oppose the gospel from being taught to the Gentiles. Hence it could not have been directed to the whole world but the Jews.
6. There is no major events of holocaust surrounding the period in which this letter was written except AD70.
7. 1 Thessalonians 3:3-4
so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.
7b. Paul tells the listeners to his letter who was addressed to that they were destined for this. Not our generation but theirs.
8. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4
Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
8b. This tells us that the Thessalonians had at that time already know when the “thief in the night” was coming. There was no need for Paul to tell them when he was coming.
9. In others words, the whole letter tells us the events mentioned in the whole book was about to take place at that time.
So I have a question.
10. How can the following verses be interpreted to be events that have yet to happen until today?
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever?
11. The only logical conclusion therefore would be, this is talking about what would happen in their future but our past in AD70.
12. Let me produce the verse he first quotes. This would dispel sub points No. 3-5.
Let us begin with sub points No. 3-5. This concerns the man of sin and this rebellion.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter —asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
13. Now the question we should be asking is this. If Paul in 1 Thessalonians was speaking about the sins of the Jews at his time, why do we associate the man of sin to a person living today?
14. Also why would be speaking about a falling away which involve Gentiles?
15. The problem with many Christians today is that they don’t understand the concept of Messiah is completely different then as compare to now.
16. When one speaks about false Messiah now, they would name pastors. When people speak about false Messiahs then, they would be speaking about freedom fighters and rebels against Rome.
17. So dear friends, the context of the man of sin cannot be in ours but that of the Jews in the AD70 period.
18. Through historical facts there is a clear indicator of who could be the “man of sin.”
19. There must be this indicators;
a. It would have to be a person who would have physically been able to stand in the Temple and proclaim himself God.
b. This would require a person who was living before AD 70, when the Temple was destroyed, because at NO TIME since AD 70 has there BEEN A TEMPLE for the man of sin to stand in.
(*Also, there is NO New Testament verse, NOT even one, that predicts a rebuilt Jewish Temple.*)
c. So the Temple had to be standing for the man of lawlessness to stand in it. The main rebel who caused the destruction of Jerusalem was John Levi of Gischala. He very REBELLIOUS.
20. These are some of his deeds recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus wrote of how John Levi was a selfish, unscrupulous man with persuasive powers who convinced many that he was sent by God to liberate them.
21. Further, John Levi took over the Temple, set himself up in the Temple as the Jewish savior (as God), looted the vessels of the Temple for their gold, and caused the daily animal sacrifices to cease.
22. He also plundered the people, even burning their storehouses of food and causing the great famine that starved tens of thousands to death, and he enlisted aid from the Idumeans, who killed 8,500 of the Jews, including the priests.
23. Second Thessalonians 2:9 speaks of counterfeit signs, the main one being that John Levi declared that he was God and would deliver the people from the Romans.
24. He commanded the storehouses of food to be burned in faith that He would miraculously deliver them from their enemies. Instead they starved to death.)
25. Even when the Roman General Titus pleaded that John Levi leave the Temple, so that it wouldn’t be destroyed in battle, John flatly refused.
26. John Levi caused the Temple to be destroyed; without him, the Temple might have been spared, considering that it was one of the wonders of the ancient world.
28. Paul goes on to explain more about the man of lawlessness:
Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? And now you know what is holding him back [Ananus], so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back [Ananus] will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:5-7).
29. Many people have wrongly taught that what holds the man of lawlessness is the Holy Spirit. But that is inaccurate.
30. The holding back was chief priest called Ananus.
John was not only a rebel leader, but also a false messiah. He claimed godhood by taking over the temple, and the only person who stood in his way was the Jewish Chief Priest, Ananus.
31. Ananus had tremendous diplomatic skills and had been able to negotiate peace treaties with Rome many times before.
32. Ananus was literally able to restrain the full-scale rebellion that John Levi was aiming to accomplish. That is why Paul referred to the one who restrained, who must be taken out of the way.
33. Even Josephus noted that once Ananus (the one who restrains) was killed, then the destruction of Jerusalem began: I should not mistake if I said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city, and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and the ruin of her affairs.
34. As Josephus recorded, this happened exactly as the apostle Paul laid out for the Thessalonians: And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
35. When the “coming of the Lord” occurred with the destruction of Jerusalem, John Levi was finally dealt with.
36. He was the cause of the rebellion, which led to the attack by the Romans, which led to John burning all the storehouses of food and declaring that they didn’t need the food because he was God and would provide for them!
37. Then John Levi set up his militia in the Temple, murdered all the priests, and caused not only all of Jerusalem to be destroyed, but even the temple, which the Romans didn’t want to harm. John Levi was so evil it boggles the mind.
38. This event is not in your future. It is past. And there is NO temple in Jerusalem now. Stop expecting a man of sin in the future. For the is no Jewish temple for such a person to stand in.
(I have to thank Jonathan Kenneth’s excellent notes on the man of sin for points 19-38. For further reading kindly read the complete works of Josephus).
39. As such Paul was speaking about AD70, as these events occurred around the period of AD66-AD70.
There goes point no. 1 of the poorly researched article. I will be dealing with point no. 2 of article shortly.
Thank you for your time.