Email Exchanges

Email Exchange on Acts 1 and Other Topics

We recently received some excellent questions from “Eric.” These questions are very common but important issues, so we decided to share some of our thoughts with our visitors.
Don K
<<Hi Don,
Let me first say how much I appreciate your work.  I’m fairly new to Preterism – been studying it now for only a couple of months.  It is answering a lot of questions I’ve always had, and I’m nearly convinced, but still have some questions.  Mostly at this point, I guess I’m trying to find any points where it seems inconsistent with the Bible and come to understand how it may not be.
I’ve read the FAQs on your website, but wanted clarification on something.  The toughest question for me is “Why don’t we have any writings or other evidence from the early church and Christians about Jesus’ 2nd coming in 70 AD?”. 
Response: I deal with this a good bit in my upcoming book that I just mentioned. But let me say a thing or two here:
1.) I do think we have a divine record of fulfillment, and it is called the book of Revelation! I see Revelation (written before the fact to be sure), as John being projected into the future to witness the events. He saw history take place before it took place! When a person takes note of the Greek tenses I think that this makes the best sense. So, while John wrote the Apocalypse before the events it describes took place, his record of those events was “prophetic history” if I may call it that.
2.) Why do we not have record in the patristics? That is very perplexing but I do deal with it in my book.
3.) The predicted and fulfilled apostasy has something to do with this.
4.) The Hellenization of the church– leading to a literalization of the apocalyptic language of the prophets– had something to do with it.
5.) Along with #4 was the anti-Jewish, anti-Old Covenant sentiment that grew in the church at an early time (See Romans 11 for instance).
So, I think that all of these elements contributed to the silence concerning the true meaning of A.D. 70.
I can see your points in the answers you gave to that question in your FAQs online.  But at the same time, Acts 1:11 seems to clearly say He would physically return the same way they saw Him go into heaven.  So it is just hard to believe that occured in 70 AD and there was no one to share that story with anyone who could write it down for us.
Response: I am not at all convinced that Jesus’ physical body is the focus of Acts 1.
1.) Are we to believe that Jesus currently has the identical body that he had when he ascended?
2.) If so, then did his physical body enter heaven? Some claim that Jesus’ post resurrection, pre-ascension body was his glorified, immortal body. I think this is false, and in my book Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory, I discuss this at length. It seems to me that Jesus and the Biblical writers went out of their way to show that his post resurrection, pre-ascension body was exactly the same body that went into the tomb.
3.) Consider the Transfiguration. What the disciples saw on the mount was a vision of Christ’s parousia (2 Peter 1:16f). But, does Jesus’ “physical” appearance on the Mount in anyway whatsoever resemble the “in like manner” physical appearance of Jesus as he ascended? No comparison at all!
4.) Likewise, consider Revelation 19 and the description of Christ’s coming. Does that description in any way whatsoever resemble a “in like manner” physical description of Acts 1?  Not even close!
In fact, when a person begins comparing what happened in Acts 1, from a physical perspective, there is nothing “in like manner” to what the modern church claims will happen at his Second Coming! There is a huge disparity between the traditional description and the demand for a “in like manner” coming. There is clearly something more at work in Acts 1 than physical appearance.
Is it your belief that a physical return of Christ did happen in 70 AD? 
Response: No, I do not believe Jesus returned physically in A.D. 70. I believe he returned “in the glory of the Father” (Matthew 16:27), just as he promised! His promise to return “in the glory of the Father” meant that he was going to come as his father had come many times in the past. The Father had never literally, bodily, visibly come out of heaven before. But He did manifest Himself through His Sovereign actions of judgment. And this is precisely what Jesus promised to do. He said that as he had seen the Father judge, he would now judge, because the Father had committed all judgment to him.
I develop these concepts fully in my book Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory. It is available from this website. It is one of the most comprehensive discussions of the nature of the parousia that is available.
If so, then is it your belief that everyone who witnessed it then either faced judgement and wrath and death at that point, or were immediately taken up to heaven with Jesus, and so maybe that is why we have no one to tell us about it? 
Or is there some other way to interpret Acts 1:11 other than a physical return as it seems.  Just curious how you answer questions about Acts 1:11 in particular.
Response: I believe that part of the key of Acts 1 is to be found in the concept of “Glory and triumph.” Jesus had overcome death, and he was now going away to sit at the right hand of the Father, to rule in the midst of his enemies until his enemies were made his footstool. At the right time, he would manifest his sovereignty, as his Father had manifested His sovereignty and Deity in the past.
Jesus would never again be manifested in the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16f). Romans 8 says that he was o
nce manifested in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3f), but Hebrews says that He would appear “apart from sin.” (Hebrews 9:28).
So, Jesus was not to be manifested as a 5’5″ Jewish man coming out of the sky. He was to manifested as King of kings and Lord of lords. He was to be revealed as Sovereign Son of God.
God is spirit, man is flesh.
Jesus was not to be revealed as man.
He was to be– and was– revealed as the Divine Son of God.
I hope this helps just a bit.
For His Truth, and in His Grace,
Don K. Preston

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