Preterism, Hebrews, and the Catholic Epistles

This portion of our study shall be relatively short, as there is little to consider that we have not already covered; what is left is a matter of application. Since as we have determined the Olivet Discourse was fulfilled in 70 AD, it is obvious that some references (as in Paul) can be resolved on that basis. But let's look at cites individually.

Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds...

"Last days" -- but of what? As shown in our Olivet essay, most likely that "last days" of the age of the law, ushering in the age of the Messiah. This fits in of course with Hebrews' theme of the superiority of the new covenant. This is confirmed in our next cite:

Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

As in the Olivet Discourse, the word "world" in "end of the world" is aion, or age -- a period of time, in other words, the age of the law vs. the age of the Messiah. ("World" in "foundation of the world" however is kosmos, the created order.)

Hebrews 10:37 For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

As noted in previous essays, the events of 70 AD constituted a "coming" -- Hebrews clearly anticipates this.

James 5:8 Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

"Coming" here is parousia, the word used by Matthew to refer to events of 70 AD. It is interesting that James, who shows affinities with Matthew's gospel and the Sermon on the Mount as recorded there, also uses the same term. Indeed, it is used in the works of James, John and Peter, the Jewish "inner circle" -- but not in Hebrews, which may have been written by Luke. (Hebrews uses erchomai above; a common word, but it is the one Luke uses also.)

1 Peter 1:20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you...

Last times -- of what? Again, the age of the law.

1 Peter 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

All things? Does this mean the end of the world and reality? If it does, then what's the point in being sober and watching?

The phrase "all things" is used 171 times in the KJV NT, and I challenge anyone to find a place where it clearly would not have "exceptions". This is a phrase that clearly and contextually means, "all that is relevant in this context."

If it meant the end of the created order, what do we make of Mark 4:34? "But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples." All things? Including for example the mating habits of sea slugs? If so, the disciples are still sitting there now.

2 Peter 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

The word here too is parousia, and this fits in nicely with Jewish scoffers in the 50s and early 60s, within the predicted "generation," figuring that with the Romans still wagging their tails there isn't much to worry about where Jesus' predictions were concerned. (Parousia is also used in 2 Pet. 1:16.)

2 Peter 3:10, 12 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up...Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

Problem here? No more so than it was in Olivet when we hear of the moon turning to blood and such. This is just the usual Jewish apocalyptic hyperbole, representing the refashioning of the social and political order -- not a literal description of history as it shall happen.

1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.(cf. 4:3)

The last time, or hour -- of what? Once again, of the age of the law -- and this fits in very well with Jesus' Olivet prediction of false Christs.

1 John 2:28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

This one also fits 70 AD; the word "coming" is parousia.

Since we have laid our groundwork elsewhere, little else needs be said in conclusion. Hebrews and the Catholic epistles provide no grounds for supposing an erroneous view of a "soon return" of Christ in the way critics think.