Recently, Mr. William Vincent, an opponent of Full Preterist thought, posted what he posited as “Unanswered challenges to Full Preterism”. I will assert that much of what he challenged was either based upon problems drawn up by his own presuppositions (or) have indeed been responded to before. I believe I make that clear in my response to his questions below. As I said years ago, “Full Preterism has answers”.
1.) Why does the ascension not play any role in any of the imminent expectations of the Gospels?
Not quite sure I understand this question. The “end of the age” was imminent as demonstrated through time-statements all throughout the Gospels. Part and parcel of the “end of the age” is not only the ‘sign of Jonah’ to that generation (cf. Matthew 12:40) but also the fulfillment of all that was written (i.e., the hope of Israel) (cf. Luke 21:22). In order for the “hope of Israel” to be fulfilled, the Messiah would have to die, ascend, come in glory, and resurrect the dead ones – all of this is explained throughout the epistles, but unfortunately many “ignorant and unstable” people distorted and continue to distort those things (cf. 2 Peter 3:16).
2.) What would 70AD have added to the already glorified Son of Man that He did not already receive in His glorification?
In putting together the framework of fulfilled Bible prophecy it is vital to understand the “already but not yet” progression of events that happened in the first century. When Christ ascended in Acts 1:9-11 it was promised that He could come in the same manner He left (“hidden in the clouds” – which also correlates with what Christ said in Luke 17:20 about the Kingdom not coming with observation). The Parousia of Christ in AD 70 was the inauguration of the Kingdom.
It’s not what did AD 70 add to the Son of Man, but rather, in His coming in AD 70 what did the Son of Man supply to those who eagerly awaited Him? Faithfulness to His Word (cf. Matthew 16:27-28), complete salvation (Hebrews 9:28), and most notable, His demonstrated presence in and through His saints (His Temple) – which was the goal of prophecy (cf. Colossians 1:27). That also explains why the saints proclaimed “His death” until He would come (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:26 ), now we declare His life in and through us.
3.) Why was the Kingdom already preached as a reality before 70AD, if the point of 70AD is initiating the Kingdom?
As I mentioned in response to the last question, in putting together the framework of fulfilled Bible prophecy it is vital to understand the “already but not yet” progression of events that happened in the first century. Yes, Jesus Christ said the Kingdom was “at hand” and was in the midst of the people of God prior to AD 70 (cf. Matthew 3:2; Luke 17:21). However, even the Futurist, or especially the Futurist acknowledges that there is more to come (obviously to fulfill the details of the “end times”). Just like understanding the progressive effect of salvation and God’s presence, so it is the same with the Kingdom, and more and more was revealed as the “jots and the tittles” of the Old Covenant, or “all things that were written” were finding their fulfillment.
The real problem is that the Futurist has sought to stretch the progressive fulfillment of these prophecies, the “already but not yet” to be more than 2,000 years. The Preterist asserts that the things which were “not yet” would find their fulfilment within the generation of some of those who were alive at the time of Christ’s earthly existence (cf. Matthew 16:27-28; Matthew 24:34).
Here are two links by popular Full Preterist teachers, Ward Fenley, and Mike Sullivan, regarding “the already but not yet” and the “inauguration of the Kingdom” in AD 70.
4.) Why were Christians already “raised with Christ” spiritually before 70AD, if the resurrection itself was only being raised spiritually? (Also what did 70AD have to do with this?)
In Colossians 3:1, we read “you then being risen with Christ”, which demonstrates that the living saints could experience ‘resurrection power’ before AD 70 (not only did Jesus say this in John 11:25-26, the Apostle John writes in in 1 John 3:14, and said power as the church’s reality is explained by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians chapter 1). Simply put, the living saints could experience the “synergio Christos” by living in faith. But…the “hope of Israel” made known through the Law and the Prophets highlight that generations before the first century would experience “resurrection” as well – this is what the writer of Hebrews is getting at in Hebrews 11:39-40. Neither the living saints of the 1st century or those who had “fallen asleep in Christ” would experience the fulness of salvation until the dead ones were raised.
The “resurrection of the dead” is different than “being raised with Christ”. The “anastasis nekroi” is the standing again of the dead ones, and demonstrated the promise of fulfillment being extended to the Old Covenant saints – those who could not put their faith in Christ in the 1st century. This “standing again” would take place at the coming of the Lord and the destruction of the Temple (cf. Daniel chapter 12 and 1 Corinthians chapter 15).
I had participated in a public discussion with Ed Stevens, a Full Preterist who disagrees with what has come to be known as the “Corporate Body View”. In that debate I explained and demonstrated the “change” spoken of in 1 Corinthians 15:51. You can view that debate at the following link, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7zaUtNfLC0&t=501s
5.) Why did Christ promised to be mystically with the Church and never leave her, if he would not return mystically to her until 70AD? (Also what did 70AD have to do with that?)
This is a rather confusing question and reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the ‘telos’/ the goal of the Biblical narrative. God was “mystically” (to borrow the term Mr. Vincent used) present with Old Covenant Israel in the cloud and fire (and later the Ark of the Covenant) and that was based upon their obedience to the Law of Moses. The Old Testament reveals this is problematic, as innate wickedness continually led Israel into disobedience. But God promised….Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, comes to do to the work of fulfillment of the Law and thus rendering it obsolete as the standard of God’s presence (cf. Matthew 5:17-18; Hebrews 8:10). Thus removing “the death” that plagued the people of God by the work of Jesus Christ.
All of that said, Jesus Christ came in the flesh to fulfill necessary aspects of sacrifice, raised in glory to demonstrate His being the power of God (which is what is meant by “seated at the right hand of God”) and thus provided the Church with the Holy Spirit to discern the things of the Spirit, and then came in glory to have His life in His Body, the Church (much of this seems to be demonstrated in John chapter 14). The destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem in AD 70 demonstrated the truth and faithfulness of God through Jesus Christ (this is the very basics of Full Preterism). It demonstrated where God’s presence was to be found. Even the 1st century Jewish historian, Josephus, took note that the burning of the Temple and the signs that followed, were representative of God’s presence departing that Temple and system (“Heaven and Earth”).
A beautiful resource regarding the contemporary application of what God “mystically” did for the saints, the “change of mind” (Gr. Word alasso used in 1 Corinthians 15:51) that was provided, can be found at the following link titled, “Remember Pella”, https://www.preteristarchive.com/Idealism/2005_dubois_pella.html
6.) Why is Christ shown as “in the midst” of the Seven Churches at the opening of the Revelation, if the Revelation is about 70AD and Christ was to only ever be present mystically; and this at 70AD?
Another confusing question which demonstrates Mr. Vincent’s presuppositional desire to impose a different presence of Christ upon the nature of fulfillment. In the beginning chapters of the Book of Revelation we read a vision given to the Apostle John regarding Christ’s declaration to the 7 Churches of Asia Minor (cf. Revelation 1:9 -11, 13, and so on…). The details of Revelation are about things which were, things which are, and things which will come, which again makes it necessary to understand the “already but not yet” of Christ’s presence with His people through the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Not even the Futurist denies this progressive demonstration of Christ’s presence with His people through the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
In AD 70, the “end of the age” (cf. Matthew 24:3), the details of Revelation chapters 21-22 were fulfilled in that the fullness of the New Covenant was revealed (the “New Jerusalem” of Revelation 21:2 and Galatians 4:23-26), God’s presence and tabernacling among His people was demonstrated (cf. Revelation 21:3), and the “burning up” of the Temple (or the “elements” as Peter mentioned in 2 Peter 3:10) gave evidence to the crying, mourning, and death revealed through the “old order of things” had passed away (cf. Revelation 21:4).
7.) In other words, if every single aspect that FPs allow about the return of Christ and resurrection was a reality BEFORE 70AD, then how did 70AD add anything to that and why were the Apostles yet preaching that Christ would return from heaven at the restitution of all things?
Mr. Vincent’s use of “In other words” demonstrates that all of his other questions, which I believe I have sufficiently and Scripturally responded to, led up to the point of what does AD 70 add. As I explained through the various responses I gave that Mr. Vincent fails to grasp the progressive nature of fulfillment being demonstrated through the “already but not yet”. Author and Bible teacher Tony Denton mentions the concept of “prolepsis” as necessary to understand the fulfillment of Bible prophecy and the things of salvation, the Kingdom, and God’s presence. The book of Proverbs mentions the blessing of “a hope fulfilled”, which is what the Preterist asserts happened in AD 70 at the coming of the Lord Jesus, it says it is a “tree of life” (cf. Proverbs 13:12). It offers eternal life. That is demonstrated through a life that has moved from “hoping to having” as author Glenn Hill has mentioned. Point being? This question has been responded to again and again in the Full Preterist community.
Source: Power of Preterism