Resuming our rebuttal of an article which alleged that the apostle Paul rejected the AD70 teaching.
We will now look into the second point of that article which is herein reproduced for you.
“Preterism Refuted by Paul in 10 Points
B. Regardless of source, Christ’s return was not close. Paul listed dangers then
present of a false spirit, teachers, or fraudulent epistle indicating otherwise.
1. Here is one issue – no matter what futurists or preterists say – Christ’s second coming.
2. He besought these believers to disregard any source of information to the contrary (2:2).
3. There was no reason to be soon anxious about this event, for it was definitely not at hand.
4. Paul had taught this church about the second coming in each chapter of the first epistle.
5. Paul had told them in person (referred to in 5:1-2) that the timing was quite uncertain.
6. He had used pronouns for the purpose of comfort that could be construed as imminent, but here he sets the matter straight – the second coming of Jesus Christ was not at hand.”
The above is the 2nd point which raises to support the author’s allegation that Paul refuted Preterism.
1. In summary point B states that Jesus’s return was not imminent to his audiences the Thessalonians and that it was far away.
2. Before we reply to point B in general, let us consider the scripture he employed to support his cause.
2 Thessalonians 2:2
not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord HAS COME.
3. Now let us deal with the issue here. Paul is not speaking about people being alarmed that the coming was imminent or near. They were alarmed because they were told that the second coming had actually taken place.
2 Timothy 2:16-18
But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness,
and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,
who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.
4. So. It is not true that Paul told them that the coming was not imminent in his time.
Let’s look at the other verses he quotes.
5. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have NO NEED to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
5b. You must understand Paul was not saying that the coming is not within their lifetime. Paul was saying the Thessalonians actually knew when he was returning and it is within their generation.
6. What he was doing was to compare those who were still in the old covenant and those in the new.
7. 1 Thessalonians 5:3-4
While PEOPLE ARE saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon THEM as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and THEY WILL NOT ESCAPE. But YOU are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.
7b. What Paul was actually saying was that the new covenant believers would be spared when destruction came upon those who chose to remain in the old covenant.
Notice this line.
1 Thessalonians 5:3
While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
So the destruction and the “coming” was still imminent at their time.
8. Now I have already told you in my last note how 1 Thessalonians actually states without a doubt that the coming was in their generation.
Let’s look at 2nd Thessalonians.
1. The letter was addressed to those who were currently suffering not us. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-6 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
2. As such Paul says that they will actually see their reward in that lifetime.
3. As such when they mentioned verse 7:
2 Thessalonians 1:7-8
and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
It’s speaking to Paul’s audience at that time. It is their reward not ours.
4. We have also dealt with chapter 2 of 2nd Thessalonians to state that the man of sin and the rebellion in which Paul spoke about was about John Levi and how these events actually happened from AD68-70.
5. Note the letter speaks about people who were already perishing during that time.
2 Thessalonians 2:10
and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
6. 2 Thessalonians 2:11
Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
This strong delusion was that the Jews actually thought that John Levi would actually be able to lead them to victory.
7. Again you can see the letter was targeted on the audience at that time.
2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the FIRST FRUITS to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.
We are not the first fruits.
8. So. The question beckons why then write a letter to these people about something that will never happen in their lifetime?
9. Now has Paul written about the end being imminent in other epistles?
I will save that for another day. Here is a snippet.
1 Corinthians 7:31
For this world in its present form is PASSING AWAY.
1 Thessalonians 2:16
In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them AT LAST.
1 Corinthians 15:23-24
But each in turn: Christ, the FIRST FRUITS; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then THE END will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.
Notice the correlation of “first-fruits” here with 2 Thessalonians. Clearly the end would include the first- fruits.
2 Corinthians 3:13
We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the END of what was PASSING AWAY.
This is a reference to the end of the age of Moses.
The 2nd point of the article which states “Christ’s return was not close” is not true and is in total contradiction to what Paul himself says in his other writings.