In the world of Eschatology there can be much confusion about what Jesus prophesied about and when those prophesies would be fulfilled. Most of this confusion can be eliminated, in my opinion, if we recognize that Jesus prophesied about two different events, and then look at the time indicators Jesus gave when talking about those events.
The two events Jesus prophesied about were: #1) The Son of Man’s coronation as king (coming into His kingdom) and the destruction of the temple (which was a sign that Jesus is now King); #2) The Last Day, which includes the final resurrection and the final judgement.
Prophesy #1 was fulfilled by AD70. Jesus gave time indicators to prove this. Prophesy #2 is still future. Jesus spoke of the final judgment and resurrection as something in the future, but He gave no specific time indicators as to when these events would take place. Some would argue that all the prophesies of Jesus were fulfilled by AD70 (full preterism), and others would argue that all these events are still future (futurism), but I disagree with both those positions. Partial preterism seems to be the correct position. The time indicators Jesus gave concerning these prophesies suggest that #1 has been fulfilled, while #2 has not yet.
Below is a chart showing all the relevant passages from the four gospels concerning these prophesies…
* Matt. 13:47-50 — This passage seems to be best fulfilled at the final judgement, however there is a sense in which the separating of the wicked and the just began in the first century and continues on through history to be culminated at the last judgement.
** Matt. 19:28-30 — Jesus used the term “regeneration” here, which I don’t believe refers to the final resurrection, but rather the spiritual regeneration all believers experience when they first believe. It is what Jesus described in John 5:24-27. Compare this passage to Mark 10:29-31 and Luke 18:29-30 where Jesus contrasted “in this present time” to “the age to come.” There is an “already/soon” and a “not yet” condition here, but concerning “the Son of Man sitting on the throne of His glory” this passage was fulfilled in the first century.
*** Matt. 24 — There is a lot going on in Matt. 24, but I am convinced this entire chapter is about the events leading up to and including AD70 when the temple was destroyed.
vs 14 — This gospel will be preached in all the world. The word “world” here in the Greek is oikoumene, which refers to the Roman world, not planet earth (compare to the Gr. kosmos used in John 3:16). The gospel would be preached, to the scattered Jews first and then to the gentiles, then the end of the old world order would come, signified by the destruction of the temple.
vs 15 — The “abomination of desolation” mentioned in Matthew is replaced with “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near” in Luke (21:20ff) — most certainly referring to AD70. There are some ancient sources which say that Christians knew to flee Jerusalem when the time of its destruction had come.
vs 29 — The sun, moon, and stars going dark and falling is apocalyptic language of God’s judgement on a nation. See Isaiah 13; Ezekiel 32; Jeremiah 4:19ff. It is de-creation language and is not to be taken as a literal physical thing happening.
vs 30 — The Son of Man coming on the clouds — Compare this to Matthew 26:64. This is not referring to Christ’s second coming, but rather His coronation — see Psalm 110 and Daniel 7:13-14.
vs 34 — “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” Jesus was speaking to His own generation, not about some future generation.
**** It is in Matthew 25, in my opinion, that things shift from a first century fulfillment to an end time fulfillment, though that shift is not abrupt, but rather a fading out of one and a fading in of the other. Vss. 1-29, the parables of the ten virgins and the talents, seem to first be a warning to the Jews to be ready for their coming Messiah, but secondly become a warning to all nations as the gospel goes out. Then in vss. 31-46 we see all the nations being judged, culminating in the Last Day.
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