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Originally published in "The Lord's Coming Herald & Wesleyan Bible Prophecy Advocate," Spring Edition 1999

One More Reason Why The Second Coming Did Not Occur In 70 A.D.

    One of the purposes of this ministry is to refute the theory known as radical preterism, which, in it's full-blown form, would tell us that the second coming of Jesus Christ, the rapture of the saints, the resurrection of the dead—the whole nine yards of biblical apocalypticism and biblical eschatology—was completely accomplished in the first Christian century, at the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A. D.

The above theory called "radical preterism" is thought necessitated by certain New Testament proof-texts that admit of difficult interpretation. We intend, over time, and at our convenience, to take up these several proof-texts one by one, and in so doing, prove that the radical preterist theory does indeed miss the mark of sound, accurate biblical interpretation.

    Our text for today is John 21:22: "If I will that he tarry till! cone, what is that to thee? follow thou me."

   Now it is held by radical preterists that the John 21:22 text necessitates the parousia (i.e., second coming) of Jesus Christ to have happened in the first century, during the lifetime of Christ's contemporaries. A careful examination of John 21:22 and it's context, however, upholds the traditional view, and proves the exact opposite of what the radical preterists have claimed.

    Note with me, if you will, that, as a result of Jesus' statement to Peter concerning John, a rumor spread that Jesus had said that John "should not die" (verse 23a). John, the writer of the fourth gospel, challenges that rumor concerning himself, however, by adding in verse 23b that: "Jesus said not unto him. He shall not die, but. If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee"

    Now the question for radical preterism becomes this: why should the rumor have spread that John must not die before the parousia, if indeed the disciples had understood from Jesus Himself that he would return in their generation?

    Of course John would not die before the parousia! And neither would many of the rest of the disciples, either, if that had truly been the case! The rumor that John would not die before the parousia, if that were the case, would be superfluous, an unnecessary redundancy—no rumor at all—but a priory understood fact. Yet John treated Jesus' assessment of it as an unfounded rumor: "Jesus said not unto him he shall not die, but if I will that I tarry he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?"

    That Jesus had hedgingly pre-distanced himself from the later rumor that John would not die before the parousia, indicates the distinction that He intended to place between the normal life expectancy of His disciples and his own eschatological return. If Jesus willed that John should tarry until the parousia, indeed he would, for Christ alone is sovereign and can make anything happen.  But that, quite logically, was not to be the case, for John intimates the probability that he SHOULD die before the parousia, by disavowing the rumor that Christ had said he wouldn't!

    Thus, Jesus does not here teach that His parousia and the expectant lifetime of the disciples would be co-dependent at all! He only said  that his own sovereign will does overrule all other causes and effects. He is Lord of life and death! Our business now, as was Peter's then, is to focus on following him.

     Are you truly, honestly, sincerely, "following Jesus?"

Related Article Links

An Open Letter To A Radical Preterist
On Avoiding Extremes Regarding The Second Coming Of Jesus Christ