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pastedgraphic-2Today’s post is part 3 of a 3 part series on why Jesus didn’t come back soon as he said he would—or in technical terms, why the parousia is delayed.

The posts are co-written by Christopher M. Hays and C. A. Strine and based on the recent book edited by Hays, When the Son of Man Didn’t Come: A Constructive Proposal on the Delay of the Parousia(You can go to the first post for more information on our authors.)

The gist of the first post, written by New Testament scholar Hays, was that, indeed, Jesus told his disciples that he would come back soon but then didn’t. Yesterday’s post, written by Old Testament scholar Strine, lays out the conditional nature of Old Testament prophecy. In today’s post, Hays shows us that the New Testament follows right along with the Old.

Post 3: The New Testament Tells Us Why Jesus Hasn’t Come Back (by Christopher M. Hays)

As we discussed in our first post, one of the biggest problems with Christian belief is the fact that Jesus prophesied that he would come back sometime in the first century, and he didn’t.

But in our second post, Casey Strine, pointed out that in ancient Jewish literature, prophecy was not a fixed prognostication of what would invariably go down in the future; rather, the outcomes of prophecies depended on the responses of the addressees: if they were righteous, they might avert the destruction foretold by the prophet, but if they were rebellious, they might not inherit the restoration promised by God’s messenger.

Why not take this same stance towards the Gospel texts prophesying the return of Jesus in the first century? Intriguingly, this is precisely the approach taken by some New Testament texts. For example, check out 2 Peter.

The second epistle of Peter is famed for deferring the eschaton nigh interminably by averring that “one day is as a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet 3.8). Here, the author (we’ll just call him “Peter”) denies that God is concerned with the chronologies that so occupy human attention, and is often rejected out of hand as just so much special pleading.

Out of context, it does seem like Peter is moving the goalposts. But in fact, he is simply following what we saw in the previous post about the conditional nature of biblical prophecy.

The trick is not to overlook the next verse: “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (2 Pet 3.9).

Peter explicitly affirms that the delay of the parousia is God’s response to human behavior: God defers his final judgment in order to allow more people to come to repentance. In other words, Peter affirms the conditional character of the timing in which the parousia was prophesied to occur. And given when Casey argued in our last post, that’s kind of a big deal.

This does not mean that Peter has written off the second coming. Instead, he reasserts the certainty of the eschatological judgment, and uses that very eschatological certainty to motivate Christian ethics.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness (2 Pet 3.10-11).

Eschatology stimulates ethics.

But note that Peter does not conclude with an injunction to holiness. Rather, he says, “Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Pet 3.11-12).

Peter proclaims that lives of holiness and godliness can actually expedite the Day of the Lord.

Thus, eschatology not only stimulates ethics, but ethics stimulate eschatology; the two are mutually reinforcing.

And this makes good sense. If Peter believes that the end is delayed so that people can repent from wickedness, it stands to reason that lives of holiness would expedite the eschaton.

The Kingdom has not been fulfilled, as Peter explains, because people dropped the ball. Therefore, everyone should bust their butts to speed up the arrival of the Kingdom of God.

This is kind of a trip for 21st century believers, because we tend to think of the Second Coming of Christ as being firmly scheduled on the celestial calendar. But that’s definitely not what New Testament authors all claimed.

For example, in Peter’s Temple sermon in Acts 3, he tells his audience:

Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that [Greek hopōs an] times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and [so that] he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus, who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets. (Acts 3:19-21, NRSV with minor adjustment by the author)

Peter urges the Jerusalemites to repent in order that (hopōs an) the eschatological consummation might come to pass.

Repentance is a precondition of the second coming of Christ.

Peter specifically states that, after the Jews repent and are forgiven their sins, “times of refreshing” will come, and God will sendhays-book Jesus back. Until that time, Jesus remains in heaven; but when he returns he will bring about the “universal restoration” the prophets had long foretold.

In other words, the eschatological consummation was delayed until the second coming of the Messiah, this time to a penitent and righteous people.

Let me give one more example to show that even Jesus—who did prophesy about coming back during the lives of the first generation of disciples—recognized that the timing of his second coming could be flexible.

In the Lord’s Prayer itself Jesus tells his disciples to pray, “May your kingdom come (elthetō) and may your will be done (genēthētō) on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10; cf. Luke 11:2).

On the face of it, this line seems frivolous; Jesus had already been making it perfectly clear that he was bringing about the Kingdom…so why does he say “may” it come or be done (the Greek is a form of a command)?

The answer is simple. The prayer “May your kingdom come and may your will be done” pertains to the consummation of the Kingdom. Jesus is asking for God to do it sooner rather than later.

Jesus himself recognizes that the timing of the Kingdom’s consummation is not set in stone…and so he urges his disciples to set themselves to the task of hastening the day.

Obviously, this raises some questions.

  • Is this just a new invention of resourceful biblical scholars? (Nope. You can totally find this eschatology in the Church Fathers, and throughout the histories of the three major Christian traditions.)
  • How does this square with divine sovereignty? (Just dandy, actually.)
  • Does this impact the life of the Church? (Yup!)

So, we figured that it was worth writing a the book to flesh this out. But the basic pay-off is this: the delay of the parousia does not falsify Christian hope.

You can be a critical scholar, an honest reader of Scripture, and still pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

More in this series:

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.

120 Comments

  • Lewis says:

    How many have to be Holy first and exactly how Holy must they be.
    Does soon mean in the distant future?
    I must admit I struggle with this.
    Blessings.

    • Gary says:

      Will offer my 2 cents.

      How many have to be Holy? As many as want and can.

      Exactly how Holy must they be? As holy as they want and can.

      “Soon?” Usually “soon” means coming up here pretty quick, but for these texts at hand, “soon” has meant everything under the sun across the centuries.

      And consider leaving the struggle at the side of the road. Seriously. Be as Holy as you want and can.

      Or not.

      Help create whatever world you want to be. Join this struggle.

    • Christopher Hays says:

      At least 637 million people must be at least 93% holy. Distant future means more than 37 years.
      Just kidding. I have no freaking idea. 🙂

      • Lewis says:

        Thanks Christopher,
        I thought you had some inside track for a second there.
        My point is; there needs to be a new definition of holiness and for all to exhibit it for this view to hold water.
        I am hopeful.
        Blessings.

  • Lewis says:

    How many have to be Holy first and exactly how Holy must they be.
    Does soon mean in the distant future?
    I must admit I struggle with this.
    Blessings.

    • Gary says:

      Will offer my 2 cents.

      How many have to be Holy? As many as want and can.

      Exactly how Holy must they be? As holy as they want and can.

      “Soon?” Usually “soon” means coming up here pretty quick, but for these texts at hand, “soon” has meant everything under the sun across the centuries.

      And consider leaving the struggle at the side of the road. Seriously. Be as Holy as you want and can.

      Or not.

      Help create whatever world you want to be. Join this struggle.

    • Christopher Hays says:

      At least 637 million people must be at least 93% holy. Distant future means more than 37 years.
      Just kidding. I have no freaking idea. 🙂

      • Lewis says:

        Thanks Christopher,
        I thought you had some inside track for a second there.
        My point is; there needs to be a new definition of holiness and for all to exhibit it for this view to hold water.
        I am hopeful.
        Blessings.

  • Gary says:

    Good luck getting Christians oriented toward bringing this about.

  • Gary says:

    Good luck getting Christians oriented toward bringing this about.

  • Anthony says:

    A lot of confusion could have been avoided if Jesus simply used conditional language when speaking of the eschaton. He seems perfectly capable of doing so (“unless you repent, you too will all perish…”, etc.), but chose not to when speaking of the end times. I find it difficult to believe that there is an implied conditional in the statement “I tell you the truth, this generation shall not pass until all these things takes place.” Why wouldn’t Jesus just put an “if” in there?

    It also seems to me that the early Christian community put a lot of stock into the “face value” of Jesus’ words. Did Paul, for instance, understand Jesus’ statements as being conditional when he told Christians not to get married because the end was near (1 Cor 7)? It seems that Paul should have a pretty good understanding of the nature of Hebrew prophecy, and he appears to be “all in” on the nearness of the parousia.

    • Pete E. says:

      Paul also thought that Jewish and Gentile Christians would eventually come together (soon, not in 2000 years) and act like the one people of God Paul is writing about in Romans, but that didn’t happen. The two parted ways fully by the 2nd century and the rest, as they say, is history.

      • Gary says:

        Typically when folks debate “The Resurrection,” they’re debating a [mostly] biological claim concerning one organism a couple millennia ago.

        Yet, a couple millennia ago, when people typically referred to “The Resurrection,” they had something grander in mind–something of cultural, human, cosmic, and/or existential proportions.

        First coming or second coming, Concerning the key question with regard to any exclusivity claim or meaningful address of the doctrine of the incarnation or Christology, I personally think something had to have changed reality’s timeline trajectory.

        Personally, the only way I see this to be feasible whatsoever is with a high ecclesiology and that the followers of Jesus have been, are, and will be so substantially (and even subtly) differentiated from the “way of the world” that they can bring forth a new creation’s consummation.

        Frankly, I find the claim’s grandness irreconcilable with Christianity’s past and present typical-humanity-at-best. The exegesis here shifts a hermeneutical burden that reality cannot bear.

  • Anthony says:

    A lot of confusion could have been avoided if Jesus simply used conditional language when speaking of the eschaton. He seems perfectly capable of doing so (“unless you repent, you too will all perish…”, etc.), but chose not to when speaking of the end times. I find it difficult to believe that there is an implied conditional in the statement “I tell you the truth, this generation shall not pass until all these things takes place.” Why wouldn’t Jesus just put an “if” in there?

    It also seems to me that the early Christian community put a lot of stock into the “face value” of Jesus’ words. Did Paul, for instance, understand Jesus’ statements as being conditional when he told Christians not to get married because the end was near (1 Cor 7)? It seems that Paul should have a pretty good understanding of the nature of Hebrew prophecy, and he appears to be “all in” on the nearness of the parousia.

    • Pete E. says:

      Paul also thought that Jewish and Gentile Christians would eventually come together (soon, not in 2000 years) and act like the one people of God Paul is writing about in Romans, but that didn’t happen. The two parted ways fully by the 2nd century and the rest, as they say, is history.

      • Gary says:

        Typically when folks debate “The Resurrection,” they’re debating a [mostly] biological claim concerning one organism a couple millennia ago.

        Yet, a couple millennia ago, when people typically referred to “The Resurrection,” they had something grander in mind–something of cultural, human, cosmic, and/or existential proportions.

        First coming or second coming, Concerning the key question with regard to any exclusivity claim or meaningful address of the doctrine of the incarnation or Christology, I personally think something had to have changed reality’s timeline trajectory.

        Personally, the only way I see this to be feasible whatsoever is with a high ecclesiology and that the followers of Jesus have been, are, and will be so substantially (and even subtly) differentiated from the “way of the world” that they can bring forth a new creation’s consummation.

        Frankly, I find the claim’s grandness irreconcilable with Christianity’s past and present typical-humanity-at-best. The exegesis here shifts a hermeneutical burden that reality cannot bear.

  • Beau Quilter says:

    Most of the references in this third part are taken from Second Peter, which most scholars consider pseudepigraphical. I take it our scholars still consider the theological principles sound, even if they’re taken from an author that falsely claims to be Peter?

    The OT examples of God changing his mind after a prophecy seem to be examples of God changing his mind positively in favor of repentant sinners. I guess a delayed parousia could be seen as positive for Christians born in the past 2000 years (gives them time to be born, much less repent!), but it still seems a bit cruel for Jesus to hand out false hope to his contemporary disciples: “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

    In the meantime, maybe it’s us atheists that are holding back the second coming. Sorry for delaying the parousia, ya’ll!

    • Pete E. says:

      The author of the post agrees with you about 2 Peter (read a tad between the lines).

      • Beau Quilter says:

        Yes, he says “(we’ll just call him “Peter”)”. There’s also the implicit sense that 2nd Peter seems to be a later writing, given that Christians are worrying over the long delay of the second coming. It’s funny to think of Christians worrying about a delayed second coming in the late first century. Two thousand years later …

    • Christopher Hays says:

      Thanks for the note, Beau. I do think 2 Peter is pseudonymous, and I am still happy to affirm its theological views. I’m still pretty traditional about canonicity.
      As to Jesus holding out false hope, I actually think that the crucial piece of prophetic conditionality is that the hope is not false, it’s a real possibility, but not a guarantee. So prophecy entails a genuine hortatory dimension.
      As to your delaying the parousia, I will happily forgive you. I sorely hope to finish “House of Cards” before the Second Coming, so I appreciate you giving me some extra time. 😀

  • Beau Quilter says:

    Most of the references in this third part are taken from Second Peter, which most scholars consider pseudepigraphical. I take it our scholars still consider the theological principles sound, even if they’re taken from an author that falsely claims to be Peter?

    The OT examples of God changing his mind after a prophecy seem to be examples of God changing his mind positively in favor of repentant sinners. I guess a delayed parousia could be seen as positive for Christians born in the past 2000 years (gives them time to be born, much less repent!), but it still seems a bit cruel for Jesus to hand out false hope to his contemporary disciples: “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

    In the meantime, maybe it’s us atheists that are holding back the second coming. Sorry for delaying the parousia, ya’ll!

    • Pete E. says:

      The author of the post agrees with you about 2 Peter (read a tad between the lines).

      • Beau Quilter says:

        Yes, he says “(we’ll just call him “Peter”)”. There’s also the implicit sense that 2nd Peter seems to be a later writing, given that Christians are worrying over the long delay of the second coming. It’s funny to think of Christians worrying about a delayed second coming in the late first century. Two thousand years later …

    • Christopher Hays says:

      Thanks for the note, Beau. I do think 2 Peter is pseudonymous, and I am still happy to affirm its theological views. I’m still pretty traditional about canonicity.
      As to Jesus holding out false hope, I actually think that the crucial piece of prophetic conditionality is that the hope is not false, it’s a real possibility, but not a guarantee. So prophecy entails a genuine hortatory dimension.
      As to your delaying the parousia, I will happily forgive you. I sorely hope to finish “House of Cards” before the Second Coming, so I appreciate you giving me some extra time. 😀

  • Ken Orton says:

    Any theological position like this that is at all dependent upon what man does is, I believe, incorrect. Simply put, it is at odds with the omniscient, omnipresent, etc. God of Scripture. Now if you choose to throw out the writings altogether and start from scratch I understand. But, to take the God of the First Testament and turn Him into a helpless One waiting patiently on man to repent (or whatever) is just not understandable or acceptable to me.

    • Pete E. says:

      Ken, with all due respect, I think you have misunderstood the authors’ point. Also, God is consistently described in the Bible (esp. the OT) not as an omnipresent and omnipotent being, but much more (uncomfortably) anthropomorphically. That dominant characterization is what allows for the recurring back-and-forth between God and Israel.

      • Gary says:

        Personally, I find Christianity’s God-belief more deeply rooted in Greek thought than the tradition of the prophets’ revelation of YHWH or Jesus of Nazareth’s first coming of their anticipated Messiah. You just have to beat the square pegs into round holes and grin and nod and sing another refrain.

        Unfortunately, this just isn’t a faith about enlivening the cosmos through God’s presence in us.

      • Christopher Hays says:

        Pete is right about this. We are in no way saying that everything is dependent on humans. Rather, we are arguing that there is a genuine interaction/cooperation/back-and-forth dynamic between God and God’s people. As such, God generally chooses not to act by fiat and overwhelm human free will, but instead cooperates with us in the transformation of our will, history, and world. (In other words…sanctification.)

        • Gary says:

          Key technical point: You’re actually arguing that there *ought* be genuine interaction/cooperation/back-and-forth dynamic between “God and God’s people.” To say that there has/is/will be is a *much* larger statement as well as greater clarity of such as who is and isn’t “God’s people.”

    • Stuart Blessman says:

      Isn’t literally everything in the history of Scriptures dependent upon what man does? From eating a fruit to building a boat to offering sacrifices to kneeling at a cross? Literally everything is dependent on man, unless you want to do a sleight of hand that it was really God influencing/forcing/making us to do things.

  • Ken Orton says:

    Any theological position like this that is at all dependent upon what man does is, I believe, incorrect. Simply put, it is at odds with the omniscient, omnipresent, etc. God of Scripture. Now if you choose to throw out the writings altogether and start from scratch I understand. But, to take the God of the First Testament and turn Him into a helpless One waiting patiently on man to repent (or whatever) is just not understandable or acceptable to me.

    • Pete E. says:

      Ken, with all due respect, I think you have misunderstood the authors’ point. Also, God is consistently described in the Bible (esp. the OT) not as an omnipresent and omnipotent being, but much more (uncomfortably) anthropomorphically. That dominant characterization is what allows for the recurring back-and-forth between God and Israel.

      • Gary says:

        Personally, I find Christianity’s God-belief more deeply rooted in Greek thought than the tradition of the prophets’ revelation of YHWH or Jesus of Nazareth’s first coming of their anticipated Messiah. You just have to beat the square pegs into round holes and grin and nod and sing another refrain.

        Unfortunately, this just isn’t a faith about enlivening the cosmos through God’s presence in us.

      • Christopher Hays says:

        Pete is right about this. We are in no way saying that everything is dependent on humans. Rather, we are arguing that there is a genuine interaction/cooperation/back-and-forth dynamic between God and God’s people. As such, God generally chooses not to act by fiat and overwhelm human free will, but instead cooperates with us in the transformation of our will, history, and world. (In other words…sanctification.)

        • Gary says:

          Key technical point: You’re actually arguing that there *ought* be genuine interaction/cooperation/back-and-forth dynamic between “God and God’s people.” To say that there has/is/will be is a *much* larger statement as well as greater clarity of such as who is and isn’t “God’s people.”

    • Stuart Blessman says:

      Isn’t literally everything in the history of Scriptures dependent upon what man does? From eating a fruit to building a boat to offering sacrifices to kneeling at a cross? Literally everything is dependent on man, unless you want to do a sleight of hand that it was really God influencing/forcing/making us to do things.

  • Eric Weiss says:

    Acts 1:11 seems to be counter to the Preterist idea that Jesus’ return/2nd Coming was the 70 AD judgment on Jerusalem.

    The NT authors’ belief that Jesus would be returning in the imminent or very near future doesn’t seem to be expressed in “if you/we do this” conditional language.

    If the behavior of the church is what’s holding Christ back, then a look at church history would suggest that the longer Christ delays, the longer he will postpone his return. It’s like the universe expanding at an ever-increasing rate. In other words, salvation is farther away from us now than when we became believers (Romans 13:11).

    That Jesus and the NT authors were wrong on the time and possibly even the fact of Jesus’ return still seems to be the most straightforward explanation, even if that raises troubling questions re: the truth(fullness) of other things they wrote or said. I am not sure that these blog posts (and hence the book?) are adequate rebuttals to this explanation for Jesus’ non-return.

    καὶ πάλιν ἐρχόμενον μετὰ δόξης κρῖναι ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς,… προσδοκῶμεν ἀνάστασιν νεκρῶν, καὶ ζωὴν τοῦ μέλλοντος αἰῶνος becomes harder and harder to confess.

    • Peter Bach says:

      A few things about Acts 1:11…
      1) “in like manner as” does not mean exact in every detail, otherwise the return would only be witnessed by a handful of people, “in like manner as” he left.
      2) He was to return “in like manner as he went “into Heaven” and How did Jesus enter Heaven? “Hidden from their Eyes by a cloud” Acts 1:9
      3) Acts 1:11 may very well not be a prophesy about the Parousia but about the various post ascension appearances of Christ such as when he appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus and when He appeared to Stephen at His stoning.

      Nothing in Acts 1:11 necessarily negates the preterist view, and since the NT has over 100 passages affirming it, I’m inclined to believe the weight of 100 over the weight of 1

  • Deane says:

    There is so much energy expended in these apologetic shenanigans. Think of what Hays and Strine and others could achieve if they didn’t waste their time with thinking up logically possible but implausible interpretations – solely for the benefit of maintaining evangelical faith. They could contribute to something like, oh, I don’t know… critical scholarship.

    It is fitting, though, that their own tendentious explanation would rely primarily on 2 Peter 3 – because that passage is itself a desperate scramble for possible explanations for the delayed Parousia, responding to skeptics of the time who justifiably doubt Christian claims, and made about 100 years after the expectation of an imminent End had failed (“ah, maybe God’s sense of timing is different from human measurements, you know… and, oh, maybe he’s just being nice, letting a few more into Heaven or something….”) And then they make the interesting, but utterly unconvincing, move of reading parts of Acts 3 and the Lord’s Prayer in light of this second-century work. It’s quite the concerted effort, especially in light of the more straightforward declarations by Jesus that the Parousia would occur in his generation, and that “some standing here right now [while Jesus was speaking] will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom”.

    But I shouldn’t be surprised. Apologetics simply has different goals than critical biblical interpretation. Despite the biases and critical shortcomings inherent to critical biblical scholarship, these are no match for the methodological tendentiousness of the apologetic approach, which begins with pre-established conclusions and proceeds towards possible explanations irrespective of their plausibility.

    • Pete E. says:

      Deane, could you try–for me–not to be a complete dick when you post comments? Cause that’d be great. Plus you might get people to hear what you’re saying.

    • Peter Bach says:

      Deane = “made about 100 years after the expectation of an imminent End had failed”
      Peter= what if I told you it didn’t fail?

  • Deane says:

    There is so much energy expended in these apologetic shenanigans. Think of what Hays and Strine and others could achieve if they didn’t waste their time with thinking up logically possible but implausible interpretations – solely for the benefit of maintaining evangelical faith. They could contribute to something like, oh, I don’t know… critical scholarship.

    It is fitting, though, that their own tendentious explanation would rely primarily on 2 Peter 3 – because that passage is itself a desperate scramble for possible explanations for the delayed Parousia, responding to skeptics of the time who justifiably doubt Christian claims, and made about 100 years after the expectation of an imminent End had failed (“ah, maybe God’s sense of timing is different from human measurements, you know… and, oh, maybe he’s just being nice, letting a few more into Heaven or something….”) And then they make the interesting, but utterly unconvincing, move of reading parts of Acts 3 and the Lord’s Prayer in light of this second-century work. It’s quite the concerted effort, especially in light of the more straightforward declarations by Jesus that the Parousia would occur in his generation, and that “some standing here right now [while Jesus was speaking] will not die before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom”.

    But I shouldn’t be surprised. Apologetics simply has different goals than critical biblical interpretation. Despite the biases and critical shortcomings inherent to critical biblical scholarship, these are no match for the methodological tendentiousness of the apologetic approach, which begins with pre-established conclusions and proceeds towards possible explanations irrespective of their plausibility.

    • Pete E. says:

      Deane, could you try–for me–not to be a complete dick when you post comments? Cause that’d be great. Plus you might get people to hear what you’re saying.

    • Peter Bach says:

      Deane = “made about 100 years after the expectation of an imminent End had failed”
      Peter= what if I told you it didn’t fail?

  • James Pate says:

    But there are biblical passages that seem to depict Jesus coming back, even when many people are not repentant. Matthew 24 and parallels present Jesus returning after the destruction of Jerusalem. The Book of Revelation depicts people cursing God when Jesus comes back. Or is the condition for Christ’s return that the church, or Israel, would repent?

    • Peter Bach says:

      This is the crux of what I’ve been saying… The parousia of Jesus Christ is NOT A CONDITIONAL EVENT. According to scripture, the parousia of Jesus Christ was to take place on a pre determined day fixed in time (Acts 17:31) and would come to pass on that day irrespective of whether some repented and others did not — in fact, scripture fully and uniformly teaches that some would be faithful and others unfaithful
      (Romans 2:5-9; Mt 25:1-13; Lk 13:24-30; 1 Cor 3:12-15). As the angel also plainly states:

      Revelation 22:10-11
      And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

  • James Pate says:

    But there are biblical passages that seem to depict Jesus coming back, even when many people are not repentant. Matthew 24 and parallels present Jesus returning after the destruction of Jerusalem. The Book of Revelation depicts people cursing God when Jesus comes back. Or is the condition for Christ’s return that the church, or Israel, would repent?

    • Peter Bach says:

      This is the crux of what I’ve been saying… The parousia of Jesus Christ is NOT A CONDITIONAL EVENT. According to scripture, the parousia of Jesus Christ was to take place on a pre determined day fixed in time (Acts 17:31) and would come to pass on that day irrespective of whether some repented and others did not — in fact, scripture fully and uniformly teaches that some would be faithful and others unfaithful
      (Romans 2:5-9; Mt 25:1-13; Lk 13:24-30; 1 Cor 3:12-15). As the angel also plainly states:

      Revelation 22:10-11
      And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.”

  • Peter Bach says:

    My problem with this approach continues to be the fact that we are to interpret the less clear scriptures in light of whats clearly taught elsewhere. There are over 100 NT passages that pin apostolic expectation of the parousia to the 1st century, so 3 or 4 (or even 10 or more) slightly ambiguous ones that could indicate the apostles maybe left some wiggle room for an open ended delay doesn’t provide enough weight for me to ignore the scores of others cementing it to the apostolic generation. On yesterdays post I fully addresses why I believe scripture uniformly teaches that the timing of the parousia is NOT conditional upon the actions of men… Today’s citing of 2 Peter 3 has some interesting points, namely that Christ would come as a thief… in Revelation 3:3 we see the Glorified Jesus, from heaven, Cementing that thief’s coming to first century peoples…Was He somehow ignorant of the “delay” that Peter taught?….. also, in the relative few passages that speak of delay, especially the parables of the master who departs to a far country leaving his servants to tend his land, even when the master is said to be gone a “long time” in every example, the master indeed returns to the very servants He left, within their lifetime… not to their children or great grandchildren or some generation of descendants thousands of years removed., but back to those he left…If Jesus told you “I’m Coming back in this generation” and 30, 35, 40 years had passed since He told you that and He still hadn’t come back, I guarantee you’d say “He’s been gone a LONG time”….. no, I do not believe Scripture teaches any delay beyond the apostolic generation at all. Jesus Christ did indeed return within the apostolic generation, exactly as He promised He would.

  • Peter Bach says:

    My problem with this approach continues to be the fact that we are to interpret the less clear scriptures in light of whats clearly taught elsewhere. There are over 100 NT passages that pin apostolic expectation of the parousia to the 1st century, so 3 or 4 (or even 10 or more) slightly ambiguous ones that could indicate the apostles maybe left some wiggle room for an open ended delay doesn’t provide enough weight for me to ignore the scores of others cementing it to the apostolic generation. On yesterdays post I fully addresses why I believe scripture uniformly teaches that the timing of the parousia is NOT conditional upon the actions of men… Today’s citing of 2 Peter 3 has some interesting points, namely that Christ would come as a thief… in Revelation 3:3 we see the Glorified Jesus, from heaven, Cementing that thief’s coming to first century peoples…Was He somehow ignorant of the “delay” that Peter taught?….. also, in the relative few passages that speak of delay, especially the parables of the master who departs to a far country leaving his servants to tend his land, even when the master is said to be gone a “long time” in every example, the master indeed returns to the very servants He left, within their lifetime… not to their children or great grandchildren or some generation of descendants thousands of years removed., but back to those he left…If Jesus told you “I’m Coming back in this generation” and 30, 35, 40 years had passed since He told you that and He still hadn’t come back, I guarantee you’d say “He’s been gone a LONG time”….. no, I do not believe Scripture teaches any delay beyond the apostolic generation at all. Jesus Christ did indeed return within the apostolic generation, exactly as He promised He would.

  • Stephen Caldwell says:

    Jesus did return right away, for 40 days and was seen by many, in fact over 500 witnesses. What about the Millennium kingdom, that’s 2000 years as spoken in Revelations, one must read Ezekiel 38: 2 and know, Gog and magog are Iran amd russia, tubal is turkey and meshech is moscow according to “ancient bible names with their current names”, and look at our proxy war in Syria. Also read Isaiah chapters 32-60, what was in the beginning will also be in the end, also study the dead sea scrolls. THE RAPTURE IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN..!

  • Stephen Caldwell says:

    Jesus did return right away, for 40 days and was seen by many, in fact over 500 witnesses. What about the Millennium kingdom, that’s 2000 years as spoken in Revelations, one must read Ezekiel 38: 2 and know, Gog and magog are Iran amd russia, tubal is turkey and meshech is moscow according to “ancient bible names with their current names”, and look at our proxy war in Syria. Also read Isaiah chapters 32-60, what was in the beginning will also be in the end, also study the dead sea scrolls. THE RAPTURE IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN..!

  • Dorothea says:

    While we keep loosing the ball, the world at large is “dying”, brilliant plan! What appears to me as even more absurd, ist the argument, that the time given is to protect humanity from perishing – I can see why it made sense to Peter, but over the 2000 years we have now had plenty more opportunities to perish, kill each other and the world we live in, curtesy of us dropping the ball. I have to say I struggle with that too. Does God have some responsibility in the whole mess? I am back once more struggling to believe but trusting God, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end…

  • Dorothea says:

    While we keep loosing the ball, the world at large is “dying”, brilliant plan! What appears to me as even more absurd, ist the argument, that the time given is to protect humanity from perishing – I can see why it made sense to Peter, but over the 2000 years we have now had plenty more opportunities to perish, kill each other and the world we live in, curtesy of us dropping the ball. I have to say I struggle with that too. Does God have some responsibility in the whole mess? I am back once more struggling to believe but trusting God, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end…

  • Chris and C.A., terrific series! Much enjoyed it.

    As a non-Christian Jew, I find much of what I find here to be good Jewish thinking. Some Jews in our day DO think that the Messiah would come immediately if only we modernist Jews would see things their way and get our acts together. Coupled with this thought is the idea that the Messiah WILL eventually come, whether we deserve it or not … but perhaps we could make this happen sooner if we were all a bit better. This makes sense to me on a certain level. God hopes for us all to be blessed. Of course.

    Maybe it’s just my Jewish perspective, but I DO see some problems with the thesis set forth here. While the two ideas are related, there IS a difference between (1) saying we can hasten Jesus’ second coming with our goodness, and (2) saying we can delay this second coming with our badness. Idea number one says that we can bring about something good with our goodness. What’s not to like there? But idea number two says we can delay negative judgment (and attendant teeth gnashing) by avoiding repentance, belief and the other good things God desires of us. This makes less sense. If the idea behind the Second Coming is to judge the righteous and the wicked, there’s a certain illogic in allowing rampant wickedness to delay the judgment.

    A good argument back against mine is that God wants to give us the maximum time to repent. But since Jesus’ day, countless generations have come and gone; they’ve all had the maximum time to repent. Logic has it that the Second Coming HAS to happen during the lifetime of our or some future generation. Whatever generation it is, it won’t have the maximum time to repent–some standing in that generation will not have tasted death before Jesus’ return. This would argue that now is just as good a time as any for the Second Coming.

    Another problem: I’m not a theologian, but presumably the longer the Second Coming is delayed, the more generations of people are born, increasing the number of people who eventually will be condemned when Jesus comes back. If what God wants is to save as many people as possible, then for certain it made sense to delay Jesus’ return for a few years, to give Jesus’ generation a little extra time to join the side of the blessed. But it doesn’t necessarily make sense to delay Jesus’ coming for 2,000 years, so that many more people will be condemned than if Jesus returned a few weeks after his death.

    As a Jewish friend of Christianity, I’m inclined to chalk up these problems to the Department of Eternal Mystery. It’s not up to God to make it make sense to me.

    • Christopher Hays says:

      Great comments, Larry. Thanks! You are right that this is good Jewish thinking; in fact, in our book we show how the same logic appears in the post-biblical Jewish literature and in rabbinic material. But then again, it is hardly surprising that Christian Jews would use Jewish argumentation!

      On the philosophical front: I agree that 2 Peter’s argument leaves me with lots of philosophical questions. Conceived in pure statistical terms, it is inadequate to say that more time equals a higher percentage success rate (although surely the ratio of Christians to non-Christians is higher today than it was in the first century).

      Speaking candidly, I think that with 2 Peter as a Christian I can say “This is part of the argument of the Christian Scripture, which has been largely overlooked in these conversations”. And with you, I am left with questions and wanting a more complete answer. I just think this incomplete answer is much more complete that the incomplete answer I had before!

      Thanks for the interaction, Larry.

      • Hill Roberts says:

        Just wondering. Since how “we’ve” classically seen Biblical prophecies needs a little tweaking maybe in the manners proposed by Hays/Strine, wondering if somewhat in the same manner all the damnation-for-most language likewise also needs some tweaking. Almost certainly such language, even on Jesus’ tongue, must be placed in the cultural context of folks’ understanding/context in the day. As for me, I wouldn’t be surprised if when it happens we don’t find that God’s damn-it-to-hell retribution wrt ultimate judgment/sentencing doesn’t look a lot like restoration. (Which seems much more worthy of the God I am drawn to.) And that makes the “patience” arguments herein have a great deal more force. (Isn’t it funny how theology is just a big knit sweater – pulling on any one thread eventually pulls out the others wrapped around with it.)

      • Chris, you wrote: “I just think this incomplete answer is much more complete that the incomplete answer I had before!”

        Yup! Not only do I think you might be right (I should read your book first), but I am impressed as I can be that you’ve put it this way.

  • Chris and C.A., terrific series! Much enjoyed it.

    As a non-Christian Jew, I find much of what I find here to be good Jewish thinking. Some Jews in our day DO think that the Messiah would come immediately if only we modernist Jews would see things their way and get our acts together. Coupled with this thought is the idea that the Messiah WILL eventually come, whether we deserve it or not … but perhaps we could make this happen sooner if we were all a bit better. This makes sense to me on a certain level. God hopes for us all to be blessed. Of course.

    Maybe it’s just my Jewish perspective, but I DO see some problems with the thesis set forth here. While the two ideas are related, there IS a difference between (1) saying we can hasten Jesus’ second coming with our goodness, and (2) saying we can delay this second coming with our badness. Idea number one encourages and rewards goodness. What’s not to like there? But idea number two makes less sense. If the idea behind the Second Coming is to judge the righteous and the wicked, there’s a certain illogic in allowing rampant wickedness to delay the judgment.

    A good argument back against mine is that God wants to give us the maximum time to repent. But since Jesus’ day, countless generations have come and gone; they’ve all had the maximum time to repent. Logic has it that the Second Coming HAS to happen during the lifetime of our or some future generation. Whatever generation it is, it won’t have the maximum time to repent–some standing in that generation will not have tasted death before Jesus’ return. This would argue that now is just as good a time as any for the Second Coming.

    Another problem: I’m not a theologian, but presumably the longer the Second Coming is delayed, the more generations of people are born, increasing the number of people who eventually will be condemned when Jesus comes back. If God is delaying hoping not to condemn too many of us, then for certain it made sense to delay Jesus’ return for a few years, to give Jesus’ generation a little extra time to join the side of the blessed. But by delaying 2,000 years, a lot more generations were born and died … and since none of those generations (per the above theory) were righteous enough to allow for Jesus’ second coming, it would follow that a considerable percentage of each of these generations is (eventually) going to face harsh judgment. So if God is delaying hoping to avoid condemning too many of us, this plan doesn’t seem to be working.

    As a Jewish friend of Christianity, I’m inclined to chalk up these problems to the Department of Eternal Mystery. It’s not up to God to make it make sense to me. Plus, the Chris-C.A. thesis makes a lot of sense in places. I just don’t think it’s a complete answer.

    • Christopher Hays says:

      Great comments, Larry. Thanks! You are right that this is good Jewish thinking; in fact, in our book we show how the same logic appears in the post-biblical Jewish literature and in rabbinic material. But then again, it is hardly surprising that Christian Jews would use Jewish argumentation!

      On the philosophical front: I agree that 2 Peter’s argument leaves me with lots of philosophical questions. Conceived in pure statistical terms, it is inadequate to say that more time equals a higher percentage success rate (although surely the ratio of Christians to non-Christians is higher today than it was in the first century).

      Speaking candidly, I think that with 2 Peter as a Christian I can say “This is part of the argument of the Christian Scripture, which has been largely overlooked in these conversations”. And with you, I am left with questions and wanting a more complete answer. I just think this incomplete answer is much more complete that the incomplete answer I had before!

      Thanks for the interaction, Larry.

      • Hill Roberts says:

        Just wondering. Since how “we’ve” classically seen Biblical prophecies needs a little tweaking maybe in the manners proposed by Hays/Strine, wondering if somewhat in the same manner all the damnation-for-most language likewise also needs some tweaking. Almost certainly such language, even on Jesus’ tongue, must be placed in the cultural context of folks’ understanding/context in the day. As for me, I wouldn’t be surprised if when it happens we don’t find that God’s damn-it-to-hell retribution wrt ultimate judgment/sentencing doesn’t look a lot like restoration. (Which seems much more worthy of the God I am drawn to.) And that makes the “patience” arguments herein have a great deal more force. (Isn’t it funny how theology is just a big knit sweater – pulling on any one thread eventually pulls out the others wrapped around with it.)

  • Tim says:

    I fail to see where the big surprise is in this prophecy followed by the supposed “changing of God’s mind.” Was it that Christianity in that first generation wasn’t successful enough? Too successful maybe?

    Maybe there weren’t enough Jews who converted to Christianity and God “changed his mind” and decided to wait for them? Maybe there were too many gentiles converting and God was overtaken by a sudden optimism and felt like, “hey, let’s see how this thing plays out…give it more time.” Maybe you could read either in light of 2nd Peter 3?

    The point is, you can always find something. Sure, there’s the Biblical precedent for God changing his mind when a people he promised benefits to suddenly steered off the path and he reversed course. Or a reversal of punishment when a wicked people suddenly repent. 180 degree alterations in course. But did how Christianity grew in that first generation really fit that pattern? A reversal? Jesus asked his followers to persist and wait for the Kingdom of God to “fully manifest,” and instead they all so abandoned the project that God said, “well, on second thought…”? Or was it really the saving of others from Judgement? The full manifestation of the Kingdom of God would have (assuming the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles true on this point) resulted in a world where later billions upon billions wouldn’t have been born into existence just to end up in “judgement” when they die. Postponing the parousia damns far more souls than it would otherwise had it unfolded the way Jesus promised.

    There is always a reason that can be given for failed prophecies. To assert that they aren’t really “failed” at all. But to those first generation Christians who were told to persevere (kind of the point of Eschatological prophecies) because the full manifestation of the Kingdom of God was just around the corner…within that same generation, that probably didn’t mean much. Because they trusted that what Jesus told them was true. And it didn’t happen. And they didn’t do anything wrong. And neither did the billions upon billions of other non-Christians who were born into this world afterwards for whom (if Christianity were to be true), didn’t really benefit from 2nd Peter 3 either. So is this a moving of the goal posts? In “context”? Yes. I think so. But if anyone can demonstrate a single failed prophecy to any devout of any religious faith, then that would be something wouldn’t it. The opportunity for rationalizations may be one of the few inexhaustible resources still left to man.

  • Gregory Klug says:

    Few thoughts:
    (1) I would like to hear bible scholars discuss how we are to imagine Christ’s return, if we are to imagine it. May be wrapped in mystery, but what about ‘behold he cometh with clouds’ and ‘in the same way that you have seen him ascend he will return..’? Seems inconsistent with our modern rationalism. Will Jesus descend from the sky as from a parachute?

    (2) the repentance the authors speak of pertains to the Jews. ‘You will not see me till you (Jerusalem) say “blessed is he who comes in name of Lord”‘. Totally contingent. Has entirely to do w Jewish nation. That’s best biblical interpretation. Authors here seem to imply it. Readers shouldn’t overlook it.

    (3) in part 2 of series they say OT prophecies were contingent. Ok, but Nineveh did perish, only in later generations. So did Jerusalem, only much later than Micah. Prophetic words come true eventually.

    • Christopher Hays says:

      All good thoughts, Gregory. My comments:

      1) Parachuting is possible. I expect that there will be sky-writing too, and probably fireworks. (JK; I have no idea!)

      2) Yes. You are dead right.

      3) Also dead right. And that is part of our argument re: Jesus’ return. Contingent in timing, but it will indeed occur.

      Thanks for the good interaction!

      • Gary says:

        If it “will indeed occur” perhaps now would be a good time to get Christians on the project. Otherwise come one of these millennia, it might start looking a bit suspect.

      • Gary says:

        I personally find “it will indeed occur” incredulous. Perhaps there’s one exception though. But that would require Christianity to be unrecognizably different from its first two millennia, perhaps so different that it wouldn’t be just to consider it the same religion.

        Frankly, I don’t know many Christians with interest in this kind of transformation. Parachuting, sky-writing, and fireworks might be a bit paranormal but yet seem more straightforward than the audacity of this claim.

      • Gregory Klug says:

        Haha! Maybe “he is coming with clouds” can be reinterpreted in light of cloud technology, as in “he is coming with iClouds”…”And every iPhone user shall see him!”

        Thanks for the posts on this important subject!

  • Gregory Klug says:

    Few thoughts:
    (1) I would like to hear bible scholars discuss how we are to imagine Christ’s return, if we are to imagine it. May be wrapped in mystery, but what about ‘behold he cometh with clouds’ and ‘in the same way that you have seen him ascend he will return..’? Seems inconsistent with our modern rationalism. Will Jesus descend from the sky as from a parachute?

    (2) the repentance the authors speak of pertains to the Jews. ‘You will not see me till you (Jerusalem) say “blessed is he who comes in name of Lord”‘. Totally contingent. Has entirely to do w Jewish nation. That’s best biblical interpretation. Authors here seem to imply it. Readers shouldn’t overlook it.

    (3) in part 2 of series they say OT prophecies were contingent. Ok, but Nineveh did perish, only in later generations. So did Jerusalem, only much later than Micah. Prophetic words come true eventually.

    • Christopher Hays says:

      All good thoughts, Gregory. My comments:

      1) Parachuting is possible. I expect that there will be sky-writing too, and probably fireworks. (JK; I have no idea!)

      2) Yes. You are dead right.

      3) Also dead right. And that is part of our argument re: Jesus’ return. Contingent in timing, but it will indeed occur.

      Thanks for the good interaction!

      • Gary says:

        If it “will indeed occur” perhaps now would be a good time to get Christians on the project. Otherwise come one of these millennia, it might start looking a bit suspect.

      • Gary says:

        I personally find “it will indeed occur” incredulous. Perhaps there’s one exception though. But that would require Christianity to be unrecognizably different from its first two millennia, perhaps so different that it wouldn’t be just to consider it the same religion.

        Frankly, I don’t know many Christians with interest in this kind of transformation. Parachuting, sky-writing, and fireworks might be a bit paranormal but yet seem more straightforward than the audacity of this claim.

      • Gregory Klug says:

        Haha! Maybe “he is coming with clouds” can be reinterpreted in light of cloud technology, as in “he is coming with iClouds”…”And every iPhone user shall see him!”

        Thanks for the posts on this important subject!

  • BMillhollon says:

    Prophecy, as a spiritual gift, is flesh and blood mortals “hearing” what God is saying about the times they are living in and possible about things to come. It seems to me that from an appocoliptic perspective, the period leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem was huge and any spiritually gifted person at that time would be “hearing” a great deal. Hearing and tyring to understand what it all means. To say that Jesus could hear and understand everything perfectily about those troubled times would imply that he was infallible and not fully human. I can imagine Jesus discerning the coming cataclysm and saying with great conviction that the people alive at that time would witness the end. In his understanding (human) this was an appocoliptic end which would bring to mind “coming with clouds of glory” and judgment. I would also imagine that Paul and other NT writers were also “hearing” and tyring to understand in the context of the extrodinary period of history they were living in. The spiritual diserining was accurate but the interpretation limited because humans are by nature limited when it comes to knowing spiritual things.

  • BMillhollon says:

    Prophecy, as a spiritual gift, is flesh-and-blood mortals “hearing” what God is saying about the times they are living in and possible about things to come. It seems to me that from an appocoliptic perspective, the period leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem was huge and any spiritually gifted person at that time would be “hearing” a great deal. Hearing and tyring to understand what it all means. To say that Jesus could hear and understand everything perfectily about those troubled times would imply that he was infallible and not fully human. I can imagine Jesus discerning the coming cataclysm and saying with great conviction that the people alive at that time would witness the end. In his understanding (human) this was an appocoliptic end which would bring to mind “coming with clouds of glory” and judgment. I would also imagine that Paul and other NT writers were also “hearing” and tyring to understand in the context of the extrodinary period of history they were living in. The spiritual diserining was accurate but the interpretation limited because humans are by nature limited when it comes to knowing spiritual things.

  • Marshall says:

    Does anybody think of parousia in connection with Pentecost? Clouds of glory tongues of fire. Jesus about never did things in the way popularly expected. Whatever existed from the beginning, it wasn’t the corpus that was created by Mary. It is the spirit that descended that we wait on, not the body. The Kingdom is like leavening put in the dough, not a loaf of bread. Like the coin you can’t find. In John, the promise is of the Good Counselor. Jesus said, I in you and you in me and you will be where I am. … So here we are?

  • Marshall says:

    Does anybody think of parousia in connection with Pentecost? Clouds of glory tongues of fire. Jesus about never did things in the way popularly expected. Whatever existed from the beginning, it wasn’t the corpus that was created by Mary. It is the spirit that descended that we wait on, not the body. The Kingdom is like leavening put in the dough, not a loaf of bread. Like the coin you can’t find. In John, the promise is of the Good Counselor. Jesus said, I in you and you in me and you will be where I am. … So here we are?

  • Darrin Hunter says:

    And behold, Android users shall be sent strong delusion that they all might be condemned.

  • Justin Smith says:

    Jesus is alive, he came back to earth and he’s one of the Super Best Friends on South Park.

  • Justin Smith says:

    Jesus is alive, he came back to earth and he’s one of the Super Best Friends on South Park.

  • Stewart Felker says:

    Hey Peter! Just wanted to give you a heads up (in case my own post gets any traction — though I doubt it) that I responded to this series over at Patheos. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/atheology/2016/09/why-jesus-really-hasnt-come-back-yet/

  • Stewart Felker says:

    Hey Peter! Just wanted to give you a heads up (in case my own post gets any traction — though I doubt it) that I responded to this series over at Patheos. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/atheology/2016/09/why-jesus-really-hasnt-come-back-yet/

  • Frank says:

    Why does the book cost $50.00?

  • Frank says:

    Why does the book cost $50.00?

  • Peter clearly refers to Jesus’ promise to come In judgement. Please, let’s be clear: Peter isnot acknowledging a delay of any kind. The judaisers are mocking the promise of a coming judgement within their generation. Peters appeal to a day/ 1000 years is simply say this: If Jesus had say’d a day, he’d come in a day; if he say’d a 1000 years, it’d be that. Peter isn’t equivocating here. A generation means a generation. Jesus say’d he’s coming to judge this generation and his promise to do that stands, so buckle up!
    Again, if you think a literal destruction of the cosmos is meant, that is a false premise.

    Dr Hays, with your focus on the OT background, what about Isa 13, 25 & Ps 102? These passages clearly show the language the NT uses to understand how to discern the nature of the judgement on Israel via the temple.
    Revelation is the fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse. It happened just like Jesus say’d it would.

    • Also, consider Deut 32:
      “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”

      Matt 23 clearly, clearly declares Jesus’ “putting paid” on that generation. And Revelation shows just as clearly that it fulfills that motif:

      Rev 6:9; 16:6; 17:6; 18:24

      The Law of blood atonement is the reason Jerusalem fell!!

      “Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people’s land.” – Deuteronomy 32:43

  • Peter clearly refers to Jesus’ promise to come In judgement. Please, let’s be clear: Peter isnot acknowledging a delay of any kind. The judaisers are mocking the promise of a coming judgement within their generation. Peters appeal to a day/ 1000 years is simply say this: If Jesus had say’d a day, he’d come in a day; if he say’d a 1000 years, it’d be that. Peter isn’t equivocating here. A generation means a generation. Jesus say’d he’s coming to judge this generation and his promise to do that stands, so buckle up!
    Again, if you think a literal destruction of the cosmos is meant, that is a false premise.

    Dr Hays, with your focus on the OT background, what about Isa 13, 25 & Ps 102? These passages clearly show the language the NT uses to understand how to discern the nature of the judgement on Israel via the temple.
    Revelation is the fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse. It happened just like Jesus say’d it would.

    • Also, consider Deut 32:
      “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And render vengeance to His adversaries; He will provide atonement for His land and His people.”

      Matt 23 clearly, clearly declares Jesus’ “putting paid” on that generation. And Revelation shows just as clearly that it fulfills that motif:

      Rev 6:9; 16:6; 17:6; 18:24

      The Law of blood atonement is the reason Jerusalem fell!!

      “Rejoice with him, O heavens; bow down to him, all gods, for he avenges the blood of his children and takes vengeance on his adversaries. He repays those who hate him and cleanses his people’s land.” – Deuteronomy 32:43

  • Peter’s call in Acts is for their participation in the times of refreshing, not to anticipate any delay whatsoever. Jesus remained in heaven until the appointed time wherein Abraham’s hope was accomplished.

  • Peter’s call in Acts is for their participation in the times of refreshing, not to anticipate any delay whatsoever. Jesus remained in heaven until the appointed time wherein Abraham’s hope was accomplished.

  • Here is my response to Dr. Hays’s principal drawn from Jeremiah on predictive prophecy.

    https://youtu.be/qcWD72OCAKU

  • Here is my response to Dr. Hays’s principal drawn from Jeremiah on predictive prophecy.

    https://youtu.be/qcWD72OCAKU

  • ISTM, the burden of proof falls to you all to argue that the cosmological deconstructing language utilised by the prophets (and which ought to help us understand what Jesus and Peter mean by what they both say) stops meaning what it’s meant heretofore. That is, when Isa refers to the sun, moon, and stars ceasing to function and we read of Babylon’s being destroyed,; why, when Jesus uses that same language for Israel/the temple, it no longer means the same thing: God is judging his people?
    There is no reason to infer that “heavens and earth” means something else than it does here:
    The land is utterly broken, the land is split apart, the land is violently shaken.
    The land staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again.
    On that day Yahweh will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the rulers of the land, on the land. They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for Yahweh of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders. – Isaiah 24:19-23

  • ISTM, the burden of proof falls to you all to argue that the cosmological deconstructing language utilised by the prophets (and which ought to help us understand what Jesus and Peter mean by what they both say) stops meaning what it’s meant heretofore. That is, when Isa refers to the sun, moon, and stars ceasing to function and we read of Babylon’s being destroyed,; why, when Jesus uses that same language for Israel/the temple, it no longer means the same thing: God is judging his people?
    There is no reason to infer that “heavens and earth” means something else than it does here:
    The land is utterly broken, the land is split apart, the land is violently shaken.
    The land staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again.
    On that day Yahweh will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the rulers of the land, on the land. They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for Yahweh of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders. – Isaiah 24:19-23

  • SoonerSooie says:

    Peter, I posted a note earlier in the day, suggesting a formal debate between us, or, between myself and Dr. Hays on the “non occurrence” of the parousia. I cannot find that post. Was it removed?
    Don K. Preston
    President
    Preterist Research Institute

    • Pete E. says:

      No. Not sure what happened. But take this off line somewhere. I don’t want you cowboys slinging guns all over the place.

      • SoonerSooie says:

        Cowboys? Slinging guns? All I have done is to offer, with respect, to engage in serious discussion of the issues being discussed. Not sure why that would elicit this kind of response.

        • Dre'as Sanchez says:

          He’s Just being funny and poetic. ;)Personifying ideas as agent’s that shoot guns.
          I laughed.

        • Stewart Felker says:

          I’m not as big a heavy-hitter as Christopher Hays, et al., but I’d take that debate challenge. (I’d prefer a written debate over other formats, but I’m certainly open to the latter.)

  • SoonerSooie says:

    Peter, I posted a note earlier in the day, suggesting a formal debate between us, or, between myself and Dr. Hays on the “non occurrence” of the parousia. I cannot find that post. Was it removed?
    Don K. Preston
    President
    Preterist Research Institute

    • Pete E. says:

      No. Not sure what happened. But take this off line somewhere. I don’t want you cowboys slinging guns all over the place.

      • SoonerSooie says:

        Cowboys? Slinging guns? All I have done is to offer, with respect, to engage in serious discussion of the issues being discussed. Not sure why that would elicit this kind of response.

        • Dre'as Sanchez says:

          He’s Just being funny and poetic. ;)Personifying ideas as agent’s that shoot guns.
          I laughed.

        • Stewart Felker says:

          I’m not as big a heavy-hitter as Christopher Hays, et al., but I’d take that debate challenge. (I’d prefer a written debate over other formats, but I’m certainly open to the latter.)

  • Andrew Dowling says:

    The parousia was an idea pre-Jesus; it meant the deliverance of Israel from bondage-this time Roman bondage. Parousia is a very human expression of seeking divine intervention to correct injustice. In this way, the authors are correct; human action is neccessary. But this requires a change in the tradition notion of “God” . . if God is a omnipotent Being “out there” moving the chess pieces, this falls apart, (but then again a lot of things fall apart with this conception). But if God is more of a transcendent force that is at once beyond and within creation, then things begin to make more logical sense.

    There is a whole inter-Higher Criticism debate about whether the historical Jesus was as apocalyptically-minded as Mark illustrates-I happen to think he was not. But regardless, the expressions of coming judgement and deliverance in the NT are the expressions of a repressed people seeking justice-you see this in biblical exegesis of black slaves in the Americas, in indigenous music in the Andes, and in Irish poetry lamenting the oppression of the English. It’s not a “prediction of the future.” And the answer isn’t Preterism, unless you think of the Roman armies brutally massacring hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in Jerusalem fits your concept of divine judgment.

    Jesus showed everyone the keys to “bringing him back” in the Sermon on the Mount/Plain and the Beatitudes. But way too many are looking for escapist fool’s gold; the divine pot of gold at the end of the biblical rainbow. You won’t find it that way, and no Christian has for 2000 years and counting.

  • Andrew Dowling says:

    The parousia was an idea pre-Jesus; it meant the deliverance of Israel from bondage-this time Roman bondage. Parousia is a very human expression of seeking divine intervention to correct injustice. In this way, the authors are correct; human action is neccessary. But this requires a change in the tradition notion of “God” . . if God is a omnipotent Being “out there” moving the chess pieces, this falls apart, (but then again a lot of things fall apart with this conception). But if God is more of a transcendent force that is at once beyond and within creation, then things begin to make more logical sense.

    There is a whole inter-Higher Criticism debate about whether the historical Jesus was as apocalyptically-minded as Mark illustrates-I happen to think he was not. But regardless, the expressions of coming judgement and deliverance in the NT are the expressions of a repressed people seeking justice-you see this in biblical exegesis of black slaves in the Americas, in indigenous music in the Andes, and in Irish poetry lamenting the oppression of the English. It’s not a “prediction of the future.” And the answer isn’t Preterism, unless you think of the Roman armies brutally massacring hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in Jerusalem fits your concept of divine judgment.

    Jesus showed everyone the keys to “bringing him back” in the Sermon on the Mount/Plain and the Beatitudes. But way too many are looking for escapist fool’s gold; the divine pot of gold at the end of the biblical rainbow. You won’t find it that way, and no Christian has for 2000 years and counting.

  • Luke Lindon says:

    I’ve always wondered about the second coming.
    1. Christmas, first coming of Christ into the world.
    2. Died.
    3. Easter, second coming of Christ into the world.

    Maybe I’m just really bad at math. And scripture. That wouldn’t me a surprise. Always seemed to me we’re waiting for the coming of the beloved community in it’s fullness. The third and final, where we find Christ in ourselves and our neighbors and we live as such.

  • Luke Lindon says:

    I’ve always wondered about the second coming.
    1. Christmas, first coming of Christ into the world.
    2. Died.
    3. Easter, second coming of Christ into the world.

    Maybe I’m just really bad at math. And scripture. That wouldn’t me a surprise. Always seemed to me we’re waiting for the coming of the beloved community in it’s fullness. The third and final, where we find Christ in ourselves and our neighbors and we live as such.

  • Jon Paul says:

    Hi Pete,

    You make a good case about the delay in the Parousia and that according to Jeremiah, God can change his mind. But have you ever found any evidence that God can break his oaths? If he gives an oath, can he change his mind about that?

    If not, how do you explain:
    Revelation 10:6 And he swore by him who lives for ever and ever, who created the heavens and all that is in them, the earth and all that is in it, and the sea and all that is in it, and said, “There will be no more delay!

    Was God swearing an oath not to delay his return?

    The second question I want to ask is, how do we know he didn’t return as promised in that generation? Could we be reading our own assumptions into apocalyptic literature and have overblown expectations? Like if someone 1,000 years from now reads our literature, they may say, “I can’t believe it used to rain cats and dogs back then!” But we today all know it’s an expression.

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