Preterism's Primary Proof Textby Steve Wohlberg
"Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Matthew 24:34.
This verse is Preterism's "proof text" for their theory that Jesus Christ actually came (His Second Coming) in 70 AD when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. According to Preterists, because Matthew 24 refers to both the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the Second Coming, ALL of this must have happened at the same time because Jesus literally said, "This generation (meaning the people who lived in the first century) shall not pass, till ALL these things be fulfilled."
Preterists use Matthew 24:34 as Exhibit A that the Second Coming occurred in 70 AD.
But does it really say this? Let's take a closer look.
- Matthew 24:1 - The disciples came to show Jesus the buildings of the temple.
- Matthew 24:2 - Jesus said the temple would be destroyed.
- Matthew 24:3 - The disciples asked when "these things" and the Second Coming would occur.
- Matthew 24:4-31 - Jesus then listed many signs of the destruction of the temple and also described His Second Coming.
- Matthew 24:33 - In reference to the signs, Jesus said, "when you see all these things (the signs), know that it (the Second Coming) is near, even at the doors." Thus the signs ("all these things") are clearly different from the Second Coming. Look again: "When you see all these things (the signs), know that it (the Second Coming) is near, even at the doors." Thus "all these things" must be different from the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and must precede His coming.
- Matthew 24:34 - "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
Preterists contend that "all these things" include the Second Coming and that all must have occurred "before that generation" passed away, that is, in 70 AD.
But this is not EXACTLY what Jesus Christ said. He said that before that generation passed, "all these things" (referring to the destruction of the temple in 70 AD) must occur. We have clearly shown that "all these things" DO NOT INCLUDE THE SECOND COMING.
Thus when Preterists argue that "all these things" INCLUDE the Second Coming and must have occurred in 70 AD, they are not sticking closely enough to the actual words of Jesus Christ.
The truth is, "all these things" (relating to the destruction of the temple) did occur in 70 AD before that generation passed, just like Jesus Christ said.
In the same way, what Jesus Christ said about His Second Coming will also be literally fulfilled. Jesus Himself will "appear" "in the clouds" "with power and great glory" and "all the tribes of the earth" (not just in Jerusalem) will "see" His return. There will be a "great sound of a trumpet" as Jesus descends with billions of shiny "angels" to gather His elect from all over the world. Matthew 24:30,31.
Preterists say we should take verses 33 and 34 literally. I agree. Literally, "all these things" PRECEDE the Second Coming. In the same way, we should also take verses 30 and 31 literally. Jesus Christ said He would come on the clouds, with power and glory, for the whole world to see, accompanied by billions of shiny angels, to gather His elect from all over the globe.
We should take verses 30 and 31 literally by believing in a real, visible, future, all-glorious Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
That's what Jesus Christ literally taught in Matthew 24:30,31.