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101 Timing Passages

"The great service preterism performs is to focus attention on two major issues. The first is the time-frame references of the New Testament regarding eschatological prophecy. The preterist is a sentinel standing guard against frivolous and superficial attempts to downplay or explain away the force of these references. The second major issue is the destruction of Jerusalem." (R. C. Sproul, The Last Days according to Jesus) pp 202-203

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101 Timing Passages regarding the Second Coming, Resurrection, and Judgment

[The original list of these timing passages was compiled by David Green in an article titled “Preterism 101” and has been modified over the years.]

Many Christians are unaware of just how many time statements there are in the New Testament which refer to the Second Coming, The Resurrection, and/or The Judgment. Because we often only encounter one or two of these texts at a time, it can be easy to “explain them away.” However, when they are compiled in a list such as the following, the message is unmistakable: Jesus and the New Testament authors taught and expected Christ to return in their generation! Furthermore, opponents of preterism often accuse preterists of building their eschatology on only one or two texts. John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, chancellor of The Master’s University and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry. His book The Second Coming is an attempt to refute full (hyper)-preterism. MacArthur writes:

“hyper-preterists build their whole theology on a misunderstanding of Christ’s words in Matthew 24:34: ‘Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” (p 10)

Keith Mathison holds an M.A. from Reformed Theological Seminary and a Ph. D from Whitefield Theological Seminary. He is the director of curriculum development and assistant editor of Tabletalk magazine at Ligonier Ministries. He is the editor of and contributor to When Shall These Things Be? A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism. He writes:

“The foundational thesis of all forms of hyper-preterism is the idea that the second coming of Jesus Christ occurred in or around A.D. 70. Hyper-preterists have attempted to defend this thesis by appealing to certain eschatological ‘time texts’ within the New Testament.” (p 212.)

While MacArthur accuses (hyper) preterists of building our theology on a single passage, Mathison claims that we appeal to “certain” New Testament texts. Mathison doesn’t quantify exactly how many texts make up these “certain” eschatological time texts, but his repeated use of similar statements (“a few isolated verses” p 157, “a few isolated time texts” p 168, “a handful of biblical texts” p 210) surely implies that preterists are cherry-picking only some of the time texts while ignoring others. However, nothing could be further from the truth! Full preterists (whom MacArthur and Mathison pejoratively label “hyper-preterists”) build their theology on every New Testament time text. However, because these texts are scattered throughout the New Testament, we typically encounter them one at a time, which makes dismissing their apparent meaning much easier. It also makes the accusations MacArthur and Mathison have made against full preterism sound plausible. Once Bible students are confronted with a comprehensive list of time statements, it becomes quite apparent that full preterism is not built upon only “certain” New Testament texts, let alone a single passage. As you will see, the list is quite substantial. Furthermore, this list contains only the most direct time statements; there are also numerous indirect time statements, but those will be addressed in a separate article.

Some acknowledge this sense of imminency regarding eschatological events and argue that God wants all saints of all ages to have a spirit of expectation. But if that’s the case, why were no Old Testament prophets told that the kingdom was “at hand” or coming “soon”? When John the Baptist announced that the kingdom of God was at hand, he didn’t have to define the kingdom. The kingdom had been foretold by the Old Testament prophets for centuries. Yet if God wants His people to always be expecting the fulfillment of these prophecies, why did the Old Testament prophets use nonspecific language like “it shall come to pass” and “the latter days” instead of “at hand” or soon”?

It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and shall be lifted up above the hills;
and all the nations shall flow to it
. . . . (Isaiah 2:2)

Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days . . . . (Hosea 3:5)

In the following texts the personal pronouns (you, we, us, our, etc.) and the events are underlined to help the reader see that the original audience, either listeners or readers, were the ones expecting these events. Never was this New Testament audience told that any of these events were “far off” or for the distant future. On the contrary, every New Testament time passage indicates that they expected them within their lifetime. Naturally, older saints might have been expected to die before these events occurred, but not every New Testament saint would expect to pass away prior to their fulfillment. As Jesus told His disciples, “there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

Also of note is the Greek term “mello” (root form: μελλω). Here is an article from Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old & New Testament Words [Note that some of the quotations in this article are from Bible versions other than the ESV, so they will not match with the reference pop-ups, all of which are ESV]:

Verb: μέλλω (mellō), GK 3516 (S 3195), 109×. mellō is generally translated “about to, going to, intend to,” as in Mt 20:17, “As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside by themselves” (NASB). In Jn 6:15, the Jewish people “were intending to” make Jesus their king. It is important to note, however, that for the most part, mellō speaks of events that are inevitable. Whenever the term is used, there is a notion of certainty accompanying it; for example, both Paul and Peter use mellō when speaking of “the glory that is about to be revealed” (Rom 8:18; 1 Pet. 5:1). John writes in Rev 17:8, “The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction.” Paul says in 1 Thess. 3:4, “In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted.”

The above examples demonstrate that mellō communicates true intention or inevitability rather than wishful thinking. This is especially true concerning the fulfillment of prophecy in the gospels and Acts. When the disciples ask Jesus about future events that are to be fulfilled, there is no doubt that they will occur (Mk 13:4, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to be fulfilled?”). Matthew quotes Jesus as saying, “In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands” (Mt 17:12; see also 17:22; Lk 9:44). The suffering of the Messiah was prophesied in the OT; therefore, Jesus and the disciples use mellō when speaking of the certainty of his suffering, as in Acts 26:22–23, “I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen—that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

[All italic emphasis in the original. Because the italic font may not be as distinct on the webpage as it is in print, we have added bolding to these italicized terms to make the reader aware of the Mounce’s emphases. Although Mounce states that “mellō communicates true intention or inevitability rather than wishful thinking,” we note that he cites several verses in which mellō is translated about to]

Mello appears 109 times in the English Standard Version (ESV). While it does have other senses than “about to,” it is interesting how translators apply—or, more accurately—don’t apply the “about to” sense in the context of eschatology. Mello is found thirteen times in the book of Revelation, of which over half (seven) are translated as “about to.” Presumably, the translators were comfortable translating these events as about to occur because they take place in a vision, and the entire vision can be viewed as being in the future. Therefore, from the perspective of the characters in the vision the events were about to take place. Curiously, the one time mello is used to describe to John's original audience when the events of the vision would take place it is translated not as are about to, simply as are to:

Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. (Rev 1:19)

Outside of Revelation, when Jesus or the New Testament authors referred to eschatological events (judgment, resurrection, the coming age, etc.), of the fifteen occurrences of mello only twice is it translated as about to. Could it be that the New Testament translators were uncomfortable with translating eschatological events as being about to occur during the lifetime of the original audience? To help point out this inconsistency, in the passages using mello (or its derivatives) we have also included Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) for comparison.

1. . . . the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 3:2 ESV)

2. Who warned you to flee from the wrath [Gk root form: mello—about] to come? (Matthew 3:7 ESV) (YLT “the coming wrath?”)

3. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees (Matthew 3:10 ESV)

4. His winnowing fork is in his hand . . . (Matthew 3:12 ESV)

5. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 4:17 ESV)

6. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matthew 10:7 ESV)

7. . . . you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:23 ESV)

8. . . . the age [Gk root form: mello—about] to come. (Matthew 12:32 ESV) (YLT “that which is coming.”)

9. For the Son of Man is going [Gk root form: mello—about] to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. (Matthew 16:27 ESV) (YLT “is about to come”)

10. Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. (Matthew 16:28 ESV; cf. Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27)

11. When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:

‘The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
this was the Lord’s doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them
. (Matthew 21:40-45 ESV) [Note that while Jesus predicts that the kingdom would be taken from the Jews, He never prophecies it would be returned to them.]

12. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? 34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:33-36 ESV; 1 Thess 2:14-16; Rev 18:20-24) [The argument can be made that because the Jews to whom Jesus was speaking did not in fact kill Abel and Zechariah, He was therefore using “you” in a collective sense, referring to the Jewish race. Thus, the argument goes, the audience relevance of the other instances of “you” in this passage are voided and Jesus was not implicating His contemporaries, but the Jews in general. However, the entire chapter (Matt 23) is a record of Jesus addressing His contemporaries. All of these uses of “you” serve to demonstrate that Jesus’ contemporaries were of the same spirit of those who murdered Abel and Zechariah. Thus, the collective “you” is used to add the sins of Jesus’ contemporaries to those of previous apostates. Jesus’ generation of apostates would be the one to “fill up the measure” of sin and bring judgment. Jesus then nails down the timeframe of the coming judgment by using the term “this generation.”]

13. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (Matthew 24:34 ESV)

14. But I tell you, from now on you [Gk is plural, indicating not just Caiaphas, but all present], will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven. (Matthew 26:64 ESV; cf Mark 14:62, Luke 22:69)

15. The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. (Mark 1:15 ESV)

16. What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants and give the vineyard to others. . . . they perceived that he had told the parable against them. (Mark 12:9, 12 ESV)

17. This generation will not pass away until all these things take place. (Mark 13:30 ESV)

18. Who warned you to flee from the wrath [Gk root form: mello—about] to come? (Luke 3:7 ESV) (YLT “the coming wrath?”)

19. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. (Luke 3:9 ESV)

20. His winnowing fork is in his hand. (Luke 3:17 ESV)

21. The kingdom of God has come near to you. (Luke 10:9 ESV)

22. . . . the kingdom of God has come near. (Luke 10:11 ESV)

23. “What therefore will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” . . . The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them. (Luke 20:15, 19 ESV)

24. But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are the days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. (Luke 21:20-22 ESV; cf. Matt 23:37-38; Dan 12:6-7)

25. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. (Luke 21:32 ESV)

26. But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’” (Luke 23:28-30 ESV; cf. Rev 6:14-17)

27.But we had hoped that he was the one [Gk root form: mello—about] to redeem Israel. (Luke 24:21 ESV) (YLT “about to redeem Israel”)

28. If it is my will that he [John the apostle] remain until I come, what is that to you? (John 21:22; cf. Matt 16:27-28 ESV)

We now transition from the gospels, which were largely Jesus’ eschatological time statements, to the remainder of the New Testament, which contains the apostles’ eschatological time statements. Note that these time statements were given after the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost. This fact is important because of Jesus’ proclamation of one of the Holy Spirit’s roles:

I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (John 16:12-13)

As you read the following time statements, keep in mind that the Holy Spirit inspired these statements regarding the timing of the things that were to come in the apostles' future.

29. But this [Pentecost] is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: “And it shall be in the last days . . . . (Acts 2:16-17 ESV) [Some believe that the “last days” began in the first century and are still ongoing. But if the last days have been ongoing for nearly 2,000 years, what would they be the last days of? It is more reasonable to understand the last days as the transition period of ca. AD 30-70, when the old covenant transitioned to the new covenant. Jesus announced the new covenant in His ministry (Luke 22:20) and the author of Hebrews claimed that the old covenant was about to pass away in the late AD 60s (Heb 8:13). The New Testament saints were in the last days of the old covenant.]

30. . . . because he has fixed a day on which he will [Gk root form: mello—about] judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; (Acts 17:31 ESV) (YLT “He is about to judge the world”)

31. . . . that there will [Gk root form: mello—about] be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust. (Acts 24:15 ESV) (YLT “is about to be a rising again of the dead”)

32. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming [Gk root form: mello—about] judgment, Felix was alarmed . . . . (Acts 24:25 ESV) (YLT “judgment that is about to be”)

33. But the words “it was counted to him [Abraham]” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will [Gk root form: mello—about] be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord . . . . (Romans 4:23-24 ESV) (YLT “to whom it is about to be reckoned”)

34. For if you live according to the flesh you will [Gk root form: mello—about] die . . . . (Romans 8:13 ESV) (YLT “ye are about to die”)

35. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is [Gk root form: mello—about] to be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18 ESV) (YLT “about to be revealed in us”)

36. Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11 ESV; cf. Heb 9:28)

37. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. (Romans 16:20 ESV)

38. This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. (1 Corinthians 7:29 ESV)

39. For the present form of this world is passing away. (1 Corinthians 7:31 ESV)

40. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. (1 Corinthians 10:11 ESV)

41. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ESV)

42. I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms. Now he is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else—not only in this world but also in the world [Gk root form: mello—about] to come. (Ephesians 1:21 ESV) (YLT “in the coming one”)

43. The Lord is at hand. (Philippians 4:5 ESV)

44. . . . the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven. (Colossians 1:23 ESV; cf. Matthew 24:14; Romans 10:18, 16:26; Colossians 1:5-6; 2 Timothy 4:17; Revelation 14:6-7)

45. These are a shadow of the things [Gk root form: mello—about] to come. (Colossians 2:17 ESV) (YLT “of the coming things”)

46. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:15 ESV)

47. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. (1 Thessalonians 5:4 ESV)

48. . . . may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23 ESV)

49. . . . since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire . . . . (2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 ESV)

50. . . . godliness . . . holds promise for the present life and also for the life [Gk root form: mello—about] to come. (1 Timothy 4:8 ESV) (YLT “and of that which is coming”)

51. I charge you . . . to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Timothy 6:13-14 ESV)

52. . . . thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the [Gk root form: mello—about] future . . . . (1 Timothy 6:19 ESV) (YLT “the time to come”)

53. But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant . . . Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:1-5 ESV)

54. I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is [Gk root form: mello—about] to judge the living and the dead . . . . (2 Timothy 4:1 ESV) (YLT “who is about to judge”)

55. Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son . . . . (Hebrews 1:1-2 ESV)

56. Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are [Gk root form: mello—about] to inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14 ESV) (YLT “those about to inherit salvation?”)

57. For it was not to angels that God subjected the world [Gk root form: mello—about] to come, of which we are speaking. (Hebrews 2:5 ESV) (YLT “subject the coming world”)

58. . . . and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age [Gk root form: mello—about] to come . . . . (Hebrews 6:5 ESV) (YLT “powers of the coming age”)

59. For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned (Hebrews 6:7-8 ESV)

60. In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. (Hebrews 8:13 ESV) [The Temple, which was the focal point of the Old Covenant system, was destroyed in AD 70 by the Romans, thus making it impossible to observe the Old Covenant sacrificial system. Cf. Matthew 5:18]

61. By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing (which is symbolic for the present age). According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of the reformation. (Hebrews 9:8-10; cf. Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 2:21-22, 3:17, 4:13)

62. But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things [Gk root form: mello—about] to come . . . . (Hebrews 9:11 ESV) (YLT “the coming good things”)

63. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26 ESV)

64. For since the law has but a shadow of the good things [Gk root form: mello—about] to come . . . . (Hebrews 10:1 ESV) (YLT “the coming good things”)

65. . . . but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:25 ESV)

66. . . . but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will [Gk root form: mello—about] consume the adversaries. (Hebrews 10:27 ESV) (YLT “about to devour the opposers”)

67. For “Yet a little [Gk. hoson, hoson, micron very, very little] while, and the coming one will come and not delay . . . .” (Hebrews 10:37 ESV) (YLT for yet a very very little, He who is coming will come, and will not tarry)

68. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is [Gk root form: mello—about] to come. (Hebrews 13:14 ESV) (YLT “but the coming one we seek”) [The city that was not “lasting” was physical Jerusalem, which was destroyed in AD 70. The city “to come” was the heavenly Jerusalem; cf. Galatians 4:21-31; Hebrews 12:22-24]

69. So speak and so act as those who are [Gk root form: mello—about] to be judged under the law of liberty. (James 2:12 ESV) (YLT “as about by a law of liberty to be judged”)

70. Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. . . You have laid up treasures in the last days. (James 5:1, 3 ESV)

71. Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. (James 5:7 ESV)

72. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:8 ESV)

73. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV)

74. Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:10-13)

75. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last time for the sake of you . . . . (1 Peter 1:20 ESV)

76. . . . but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. (1 Peter 4:5 ESV)

77. The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. (1 Peter 4:7 ESV)

78. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God . . . . (1 Peter 4:17 ESV)

79. So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going [Gk root form: mello—about] to be revealed . . . . (1 Peter 5:1 ESV) (YLT “glory about to be revealed”)

80. And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts . . . . (2 Peter 1:19 ESV)

81. But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3 ESV - false teachers existed in the NT generation)

82. . . . knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing . . . . For they deliberately overlook this fact that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:3, 5-7 ESV)

[The physical heavens and earth were not destroyed by Noah’s flood. Rather, wicked men were destroyed. Likewise, the heavens and earth that “now” existed for Peter’s audience was not the physical heavens and earth, but the corrupt religious system of Judaism. Peter states that the purpose of the judgment was the “destruction of the ungodly,” not the destruction of the physical universe. The Israelites considered the Tabernacle/Temple, the focal point of the Old Covenant system, as representing the heavens and earth:

“However, this proportion of the measures of the tabernacle proved to be an imitation of the system of the world: for that third part thereof which was within the four pillars, to which the priests were not admitted, is, as it were, a Heaven peculiar to God; but the space of the twenty cubits, is, as it were, sea and land, on which men live, and so this part is peculiar to the priests only.” (Josephus, Antiquity of the Jews, 3.123).

The Temple was destroyed by fire in AD 70; cf. 2 Peter 3:10-12 below.]

83. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies [NKJV, NIV, NASB, elements] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies [NKJV, NIV, NASB, elements] will melt as they burn! (2 Peter 3:10-12 ESV)

[Note: According to Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, the Greek word for heavenly bodies/elements—stoicheion—is used seven times in the New Testament. In five of those seven occurrences the meaning is “an element or rudiment of any intellectual or religious system, Gal 4:3, 9; Col 2:8, 20; Heb 5:12.” Strangely, only in the two occurrences in 2 Peter is stoicheion described as meaning “an element; an element of the natural universe.” Given Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem (Matt 24), and His declaration that “until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matt 5:18), it seems more natural to understand the heavenly bodies/elements that Peter had in view were the elements or rudiments of the Old Covenant Jewish religious system. That system was destroyed by fire in AD 70; see 2 Peter 3:7 above.]

84. . . . the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. (1 John 2:8 ESV)

85. And the world is passing away . . . . (1 John 2:17 ESV)

86. Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. (1 John 2:18 ESV) [The “children” are John’s first-century audience, not present-day readers. John tells his readers that it is the last hour and that many antichrists are currently on the scene. Cf. Matthew 24:23-34 ESV]

87. . . . and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. (1 John 4:3; cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:7 ESV)

88. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation . . . . It was about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones . . . .” (Jude 4, 14-15 ESV)

89. But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions . . . . (Jude 17-19 ESV) [Note that Jude states there will be scoffers in the last days, and then uses the present tense, claiming “it is these who cause divisions.” Thus, the scoffers were present when Jude wrote.]

90. The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. (Revelation 1:1 ESV)

91. . . . for the time is near. (Revelation 1:3 ESV)

92. Only hold fast what you have until I come. (Revelation 2:25 ESV)

93. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming [Gk root form: mello—about] on the whole world. (Revelation 3:10 ESV) (YLT “that is about to come upon all the world”)

94. I am coming soon. (Revelation 3:11 ESV)

95. She gave birth to a male child, one who is [Gk root form: mello—about] to rule the nations with a rod of iron . . . . (Revelation 12:5 ESV) (YLT “who is about to rule all the nations”)

96. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth. (Revelation 18:24 ESV; cf. Matthew 23:35-36; Luke 11:50-51; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16)

97. . . . has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place. (Revelation 22:6 ESV)

98. And behold, I am coming soon. (Revelation 22:7 ESV)

99. Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. (Revelation 22:10 ESV; cf. Dan 12:4)

100. Behold, I am coming soon. (Revelation 22:12 ESV)

101. Surely I am coming soon. (Revelation 22:20 ESV)