So far, I have covered seven points in my case against John Owen’s preterist view of 2 Peter 3. Let me add another argument in this post. Here is my eighth objection to Owen’s exegesis.
The Conclusive Case against Owen’s Interpretation Continued
The whole Olivet Discourse speaks (according to Owen) only of the coming of Jesus for the destruction of Jerusalem. Peter’s words allude to Matthew 24. We have repeatedly noted the insistence of Owen on this fact.
My objection is that this straightforwardly and directly implies that the account of the judgment found in Matthew 25:31-46 must refer to the coming of Jesus at the destruction of Jerusalem. There is a seamless web of references to Christ’s coming between Matthew 24 and 25. Thus, Matthew 25:31-46 must refer to the coming of Jesus at the destruction of Jerusalem. But this requires a preterist understanding of the words of Matthew 25:31-32: “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” It also requires that Matthew 25:46 be a reference to an event that happened at the destruction of Jerusalem: “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Not only is such an understanding of Matthew 25:31-46 unlikely to the point of impossibility, it is also dangerous in a broader way
Upon Owen’s interpretation, what are we to think of the other references to the coming of Christ throughout 1 and 2 Peter? Must they not be thought of as references to the coming of Christ at the destruction of Jerusalem? It would seem so. Thus, for instance, are we to take a preterist interpretation on 1 Peter 5:4? “And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”
This brings us, then, to the most serious challenge and difficulty for orthodox preterists like Owen. They have to show how their views can be held without leading directly down a slippery slope to Hyper-preterism? Upon Owen’s interpretation, it seems to me, it is difficult to find any clear text in the New Testament that teaches the Second Coming of Christ in glory at the end of the age.
Dr. Sam Waldron is the Academic Dean of CBTS and professor of Systematic Theology. He is also one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY. Dr. Waldron received a B.A. from Cornerstone University, an M.Div. from Trinity Ministerial Academy, a Th.M. from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. From 1977 to 2001 he was a pastor of the Reformed Baptist Church of Grand Rapids, MI. Dr. Waldron is the author of numerous books including A Modern Exposition of the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, The End Times Made Simple, Baptist Roots in America, To Be Continued?, and MacArthur’s Millennial Manifesto: A Friendly Response.