Defending The Faith: Why Proper Eschatology Is Important
Perhaps the biggest challenge against Christians from skeptics, Jews, Muslims, and others is that the prophecies of Jesus and the writers of the New Testament failed. So, if Jesus and his followers were false prophets, Christianity falls. Consider these quotes:
“Say what you like, we shall be told, the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things are done.’ And He was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else. It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible [ref. Matthew 10:23; 16:27-28; 24:34; etc.]” (C. S. Lewis, Christian apologist)
“He [Jesus] certainly thought that his second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time. There are a great many texts that prove that. And there are a lot of places where it is quite clear that He believed that his second coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living.” (Bertrand Russell, philosopher)
“No amount of Christian theological acrobatics will ever solve the problems engendered by the historical reality that a promised imminent fulfillment made two thousand years ago did not occur as expected by the New Testament. Simply stated, Jesus is never coming back, not then, not now, not ever.” (Jews for Judaism)
“Messianic apocalyptic eschatology . . . has a 100% failure rate. . . . The prophecies of Jesus and his followers all came to nothing.” (Professor of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina)
The preterist view is that at least some of the Second Coming passages in Scripture are about Jesus coming “in judgment” against apostate Old Covenant Israel in AD 70, similar to how YHWH came “in judgment” against various nations in the Old Testament. Only with the preterist view do Jesus and the New Testament writers emerge from the pages of Scripture as true prophets, answering the critics of Christianity.
Book CHRISTIAN HOPE through FULFILLED PROPHECY by Charles S. Meek, pgs. 17-20