We get tons of emails, and I occasionally like to share some of those with our visitors who express the same concerns and questions. I received the following question about how to share and teach Covenant Eschatology to a group of people who hold to the traditional views. I have withheld the name of the poster for confidentiality.
I hope you are doing well. I would like some advice on how to organize my studies on preterism, especially in regards to teaching the full preterest view. I attend a traditional church of Christ in which most members hold to a partial fulfillment view. I would like advice on how to organize my research to teach. Any advice will help. Thanks, and God bless.
Here is my response:
…., it is good to hear from you. I am sad to say that you face an uphill battle in trying to share Covenant Eschatology with your church.
I would keep it as basic as possible.
I would focus on the problem of the time statements and to lay the groundwork for that, I would focus on the statements concerning the kingdom being near in Matthew 3 / Mark etc..
All c of C folks admit to the true imminence in those texts. You can then show where the identical words to describe the nearness of the kingdom are used to speak of the parousia (e.g. James 5:6-10). The question therefore becomes, do time statements about the nearness of the kingdom mean near, but, time statements concerning the parousia not mean near? Where is the hermeneutic for that?
One good way to approach this is to also note that historically in the c of C, Matthew 24:29-34 it is almost universally admitted that this applied to AD 70.
This admission lays the groundwork for several things.
Examination of the time issue.
Understanding the nature of prophetic language.
Understanding that Jesus did come in AD 70.
Understanding that the judgment of AD 70 was “universal” at least from God’s perspective – Matthew 23:29-37 / Luke 21:25f.
One of the fundamental misunderstandings in the c of C (and wider Christianity) is whether the disciples were confused or wrong in their questions in v. 3. You might check out my discussion of this critical issue in my book We Shall Meet Him In The Air. I discuss this issue extensively proving definitively that the disciples were not confused or wrong to link the judgment on Jerusalem with the end of the age and coming of the Lord.
Also fundamental to the traditional understanding of eschatology is that Matthew 24 does speak of two comings, one “spiritual” the other at “the end of time.” This is based on Matthew 24:36 “but of that day and hour” which is supposedly a contrast between AD 70 and the final coming of the Lord. In the book I just mentioned I completely dispel this false claim. There is no justification for this at all. It ignores the entire context and grammar of the Discourse. See my discussion of this in my recent written debate with Olan Hicks. That debate is found on my websites.
Hope this helps just a bit.