Answer: These questions can be answered by looking at Old Testament examples of God “coming” in judgment. The Old Testament “comings” include: (1) judgment due to following false gods and not keeping God’s covenant. (2) a specific generation said to receive this judgment. (3) a heathen army acting as God’s sword of vengeance. This criterion is also found in the New Testament “coming” of Jesus Christ. By comparing these Old and New Testament accounts, I propose that Jesus did “come again” during His generation, and did so in exactly the same manner as He did in the Old Testament.
One of these “comings” is found in Nebuchadnezzar’s conquering of Judah (see Jer 25:8-13). The Bible describes the King of Babylon as God’s “servant” and as His agent of judgment (see Jer 43:10). In this account, God is described as the One bringing the judgment. He did this through Nebuchadnezzar. His judgment was to come against a specifically named generation and was done by using the Babylonian army. Just like this 586 BC “coming,” Jesus also pronounced judgment against a generation who followed false gods and disobeyed His covenant. Regard this generation, Jesus said He would come and destroy their city, burn their temple, and scatter their remnant throughout the known world.
We first see the warning of this “coming” when John the Baptist asked, “O GENERATION of vipers, who hath WARNED YOU TO FLEE FROM THE WRATH TO COME?” (Mat 3:7-12). Notice, “the wrath TO COME.” This would make no sense if it was for a generation 2,000 plus years later. So it is evident John was warning that generation of his day. This warning was reiterated on the Day of Pentecost when Peter warned: “save yourselves from THIS untoward GENERATION” (Act 2:40). Peter singled out that generation then as being more wicked because he knew it was the generation that would see God “coming” in judgment. Jesus also singled out this same generation as being the one to receive His coming judgment when He said, “Verily I say unto you, THIS GENERATION SHALL NOT PASS, TILL ALL THESE THINGS BE FULFILLED” (Mat 24:34). That First Century generation being the one chosen to see Jesus’ coming in judgment is also found in other passages.
The disciples expected the same type “coming” as found in the Old Testament, and just like those “comings” literally mentioned a specific generation, the New Testament believers expected the time language for their New Testament “coming” to be taken literally also. The Bible prophesied a three and one-half year (42 month/1260 day) siege against Jerusalem. In 66 AD Roman Emperor Nero commanded the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple. Titus began this around April, 70 AD. This was forty years (one generation) to the week from the crucifixion of Christ. The Temple was burnt August 10, 70 AD (the Jewish Ninth of AV, which is the exact day and month on which Babylon burnt Solomon’s Temple in 586 BC). The Roman army ended the Jewish resistance on September 26, 70 AD, thus fulfilling God’s prophesied judgment.
The Old Testament plainly describes an invisible God bringing judgment against Jerusalem and her temple through a heathen army. Thus, it should not be considered unbiblical to believe a similar “coming” in the New Testament. The Bible clearly prophesied the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem and her temple. This “coming” was done exactly like those in the Old Testament, which is an invisible God using a heathen army to bring judgment against His people’s rebellion.
1. Jer 2:31, Jer 4:1-31, Jer 7:29, Jer 21:1-6, Jer 22:1-7, Jer 22:25-26, Jer 27:5-6; 2 Chr 36:15-20; Ezr 5:12; 2 Kings 24:18-20; 2 Kings 25:1-2
2. Mat 12:39-42, Mat 23:29-38; Mark 8:38, Mark 13:30; Luk 3:7, Luk 11:29-32, Luk 11:50-51, Luk 17:25, Luk 21:32; Heb 10:25, Heb 10:37; 1 Cor 10:11; 1 The 2:14-16
3. Mat 24:1-34; Mark 13; Luke 21
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