In this discussion, Don is objecting to my position on the Second Coming. I believe it occurred long ago as I have made clear in Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again. Don holds to the evangelical Christian view that Jesus’ Second Coming is still in the future.
Don and I went to high school together a little over forty years ago, and we’ve interacted only sporadically since then. This dialogue originally took place as a comment exchange last month. If you want see it in its original context, see All the Promises of the Bible Have Been Kept. I’ve done only minor editing here, and that for the sake of readability.
Mike: There are no prophecies in the Bible which are awaiting fulfillment. They have all been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. This does not make the Bible less relevant to our lives – it makes it more relevant…and more trustworthy. You can believe that God will keep all His promises to you because everything He promised in the Bible to do, He did.
For more on this topic, see All Bible Prophecy Has Been Fulfilled .
Don: The Second Coming has not occurred.
Mike: Should I believe you or the Bible?
Don: Well, the Bible of course. I don’t hold to a Dispensational view as so many evangelicals do concerning the second coming, but I don’t see how you say the second advent has already occurred. Do you hold to a more Seventh Day Adventist view that the second coming was not an earthly return and Jesus entered into the heavenly sanctuary?
Mike: I’m told that Adventists believe in an imminent physical return of Jesus as is common among evangelicals. Beyond that, I’m not knowledgeable about all the various beliefs that churches hold.
I say that it’s already occurred because of having read the Bible. That is, when you read the New Testament it is clear that the apostles saw the event as imminent in their age, and insisted that it would not be delayed. To say otherwise is to say that the New Testament is wrong. How can we believe the Bible regarding Jesus’ first coming but not regarding His second? Rest assured that we can believe the Bible regarding everything it says. Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again explains the issue. At the end of that post, there is a link to a book-length biblical case where I go into detail with discussion of specific relevant passages.
Don: What about 2 Peter 3:8-10, “But, beloved do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works of it will be burned up.”
This creates problems to your thoughts. One is that if the scriptures say these things will happen soon, we need to consider how the Lord views time. Two is that there is something that has not been fulfilled.
Mike: 1) Your interpretation of Peter’s words “with the Lord one day is as…” would mean that all the other New Testament instructions about the timing of the event were misleading. Peter, however, was not breaking rank as you suggest. He was reinforcing the idea that Jesus had laid down: no one would know the day or the hour, but as to the general timeframe everyone should be aware.
2) To be precise about it, the New Testament nowhere proclaims that the Second Coming had occurred – only that it was about to occur. Therefore, if it was imminent for them almost two thousand years ago, it must be past tense for us today. Of course, the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. was the key historical event confirming the truth of the prophecies. Nonetheless, the Second Coming itself was just as Peter said: “like a thief in the night.” Otherwise, “if the owner of the house had known what day or hour to expect the thief, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into.”
As to these two points, see also the post Do Not Withhold Good.