Preterists claim that most of Mt 24, such as where it speaks of the stars falling from the sky is figures of speech or symbols. The preterists read Mt 24:34 where it says “these things” were to happen in “this generation” and assume Jesus refers to the generation then living. The preterist position has some difficulties, and I have two questions for their consideration:
1) Isn’t “these things” referring to what Jesus said before, rather that what He says after?
2) What generation is under discussion?
If the preterists are going to use “this generation” in Mt 24:34 the preterists have to show:
1) “These things” in verse 34 include the things after verse 34 when there are some “buts” in there (v36, 37), and Jesus’ statement in verse 34 appears to be a summary statement of what He said before rather than an introduction to new material that follows.
2) “This generation” referred to the people to whom Jesus spoke rather than the generation that was to be living when the fig tree of Israel recovered from its dormancy and had “green leaves” as a nation again.
Then if the preterists can establish that (they can’t), then the preterists have a further need to establish that “sun into darkness and moon into blood” is a figure of speech, and the preterists need to show that they know what the supposed figure of the stars falling from the sky means. Since none of the above things can be established, the preterists have no grounds to object to the idea that the “last days” includes the days in the last 2000 out of 6000 years of the earth.
My “last days” of 2000 years is only 1/3 of the days of the earth, less than half. Since when does “last” have to mean “an itsy bitsy bit”? Last means that which is at the end. It doesn’t specify how much. The preterists acknowledge that lots of Joel’s prophecy did not happen on Pentecost and therefore the last days did not end at Pentecost, but Isaiah promised that when God spoke, none of the prophecies that God made would “lack its mate” of an event that fulfilled it (Isa 34:16). Therefore, should we not look for an end of the last days at the time when none of Joel’s prophecy’s is lacking its mate? What possible reason would anybody have for ending Joel’s last days at the destruction of Jerusalem (DOJ) when none of the stuff Joel mentioned happened then, and most certainly “the great and glorious day of the Lord” did not come then.
It would be interesting to know what day at the DOJ was supposed to be “the” day, “THE great and glorious day of the Lord”, because every one of Joel’s promises was supposed to be fulfilled BEFORE that day. Was it the day that the temple was looted and Jerusalem was burned? Every one of Joel’s prophecies happened before that day? Can the preterists prove it? If not, then we can still look for their fulfillment, for not one of Joel’s prophecies will lack its mate.
If the sackcloth sun and the bloody moon are just hyperbole describing an awful time of God’s wrath on a disobedient people, how is this hyperbole supposed to all be fulfilled BEFORE the worst day of all? But that’s what the text requires. All of Joel’s stuff is to happen BEFORE the temple is looted and the city burned. So the siege where people ate their own dung and drank their urine and barbequed their babies is the sackcloth sun and the bloody moon, but the really great and glorious day is the sack of God’s temple, the murder of all His priests, the destruction of the nation of Israel, and burning the city? This is a ludicrous theory.
Peter said “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” on the day of Pentecost in AD 33. Peter’s statement therefore marks at least the beginning of the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, but not everything Joel said was fulfilled on the Peter announced that the fulfillment of Joel 2 had begin. My view has all of Joel’s prophecy fulfilled in the last days, exactly as Joel specified. There is nothing postponed if all of Joel’s prophecies happen in the last days. Furthermore, the preterists can’t prove that even ONE of the things Joel specified actually happened at the DOJ though the preterists agree with me that we can tell that some of them did happen on Pentecost. How can the preterists tell that they happened at the DOJ? What is the preteristsr evidence? All of Joel’s prophecies have to come true before the DOJ. Can the preterists prove that old men dreamed dreams and there was fire and blood and vapor of smoke in the heavens, etc before the great and glorious day of burning of God’s temple and killing His priests occurred?