DOBBS’ 4TH RESPONSE
My opponent claims Paul taught persecuted saints in Thessalonica would be "relieved" from tribulation in A. D. 70. He disregards the facts of history, which tell us the persecution of the church continued long after A.D. 70.
Preston says this means the very people who were persecuted and the very people who did the persecuting would, (1) in their earthly lifetime, (2) in Thessalonica, (3) be afflicted while on earth. But that is not what Paul said.
Paul wrote, "and to you that are afflicted rest with us, at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with the angels of his power in flaming fire, rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus: who shall suffer punishment, (even) eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be marvelled at in all them that believed (because our testimony unto you was believed) in that day" (2 Thess 1:7-10)..
There is nothing in Paul’s statement requiring punishment within the earthly lifetime of the afflicted. Nothing!
Preston claimed Paul quoted directly from Isaiah, but refused to document his statement. His response was, "Everybody knows that."
2 Peter 3:8-12
Preston brushed off our arguments on 2 Peter 3, saying, "I answered that in a booklet I wrote some time ago."
The stubborn fact is: sun, moon, stars, earth, and night are still here. Jesus has not returned the ultimate time for the simple reason that infallible revelation tells us all these things will cease when Jesus literally comes the last time Y and "there shall be no night" (Rev 21:25).
Jesus Olivet discourse (Matt 24) begins when the disciples of Jesus came to him with two questions: (1) When will Jerusalem be destroyed (2) what will be the sign of thy coming and the end of the world (Matt 24:2-3).
Jesus answered the first question, saying, wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, persecution of the godly, and false teachers would continue as long as the world stands (Matt 24:-6-13). They are signs of nothing. "The end is not yet" (v. 6).
The end of what?
"The end," in scripture, can refer to the end of (1) Edenic bliss, (2) the world compacted out of water and amidst water, (3) authority of Mosaic Law, (4) end of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, (5) end of all things material and termination of time, sun, stars, and night.
When you see a reference to the "end," you must ask, "What end?"
Jesus speaks of the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel standing in the Holy Place (Matt 24:14-15).
Jesus told his disciples to get out of Jerusalem taking only the clothes on their backs (Matt 24:16-22).
When they saw the "abomination of desolation" standing in the Holy Place (Jerusalem compassed with armies" — Luke 21:20), "then shall the end come" (Matt 24:14). What end? Not the end of the universe because the birds still fly, the sun still shines, and there is still night. It was the end of something Y Since it was not the end of the universe, it must have been the fulfillment of Jesus prophecy that the time would come when the great building blocks of the Jewish Temple would be cast down (Matt 24:2).
Now, here is the deathblow to "realized" eschatology.
Jesus said at the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70 by Titus’ army, if any one says to you that this signifies the ultimate return of Jesus "believe him not."
Here are the exact words of Jesus:
"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, Here; believe it not.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
Behold, I have told you beforehand.
If therefore they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the wilderness; go not forth: Behold, he is in the inner chambers; believe it not" (Matt 24:23-26).
Jesus warned his disciples that lying prophets would attempt to deceive them; claiming Jesus made a literal and ultimate return to earth in A. D. 70.
When Don Preston, 2,000 years later, makes the claim that Jesus returned to earth when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in A. D. 70, should we believe him?