Simple question: many Christians believe that the Parousia (aka the Second Coming of Christ) hasn't happened yet (as of 2021). Why? What is the biblical and historical basis? What are the strongest arguments, based on Scripture and history, for ruling out any possibility that the Second Coming of Christ has already happened?
The Second Coming of Christ won't be hidden. The whole world will see it.
24 For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other. (Luke 17:24)
The coming of Christ is associated symbolically with a trumpet call:
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. (Matthew 24:30-31)
Revelation speaks of seven trumpets. This is the seventh and final trumpet:
15 The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said:
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.”
16 And the twenty-four elders, who were seated on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying:
“We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. 18 The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small— and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”
19 Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm. (Revelation 11)
The trumpet call is specifically associated with the dead rising:
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thessalonians 4)
The changing of both living and dead is specifically associated with the last trumpet, not any other of the seven trumpets.
52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:52)
The rapture, resurrection of the dead and return of the Lord, and blowing of the seventh and final trumpet will happen on the same day. This follows other prophesied actions which have not yet occurred. Therefore, Christ has not yet returned.
How far can the lightning travel?
One commenter challenges the fitness of the analogy of lightning for an event that can be seen everywhere. Let us consider what God said in Job:
Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? (Job 38:35)
I believe that this is a prophetic word to the world about the development of telecommunications based on lightning - electricity. If that is so, then surely telecommunication systems - lightning - can send messages that reach the whole world, via undersea cables, transmission lines, and now fiber optics.
"What hath God wrought", was the official first Morse code message transmitted in the US on May 24, 1844, to officially open the Baltimore–Washington telegraph line.
"World record longest lightning flash of 440 miles confirmed" https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/06/25/lightning-world-record-records-set-duration-length-strikes/3259577001/
Matthew 24 Jesus talks about his second coming and mentions several signs that will happen before his coming, and since not all of them have occurred yet, his 2nd coming hasn't occurred. One of Jesus' main points is his 2nd coming will be obvious, all people will know when he comes.
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. ...
19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. ...
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. ...
all emphasis added by me
What is the biblical and historical basis for the belief that the Second Coming of Christ hasn't happened yet (as of 2021)?
The short answer is that no one can claim without a reasonable doubt that Christ has already returned.
What conditions are needed before Christ to return on earth?
For example, Jesus characterized the mental state of the world just before His return. He said there would be “upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity” (Luke 21:25). To be distressed is to be under pressure; perplexity means bewilderment. In other words, He said the generation before His return would be under such severe pressure from every point of view that there would be no apparent way out.
Another example has to do with the moral state of the world. Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage” (Luke 17:26‐27). This indi cates a breakdown of the home and extremely loose morals.
His prediction concerning war would be another example. He said, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars . . . for nation shall rise against na tion” (Matthew 24:67). The Bible indi cates that towards the end of the age wars will become more widespread, more devastating and more frequent. These wars will all culminate in what is called “the battle of Armageddon.”
And then there Is the great emphasis on the word “peace.” The Apostle Paul said, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruc tion cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (I Thessalonians 5:3). Never has there been so much talk of peace.
Another example is when Jesus said, “And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14). Today by radio, television and the printed page the Gospel is being proclaimed around the world for the first time in history.
However, the greatest sign of all are the signs transpiring in the Middle East. For over three thousand years the Bible has said that the final events of history and the Second Coming of Christ would center around the nation of Israel. Until May 14, 1948, there was no nation of Israel. Jesus pre dicted, in Luke 21:24, that “Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be ful filled.” There are hundreds of passages in the. Bible that indicate that Israel will once again occupy center stage in world affairs.
I do not know the hour, the day, the month of the year. It is wrong and un-Biblical to try to set the date of Christ's return. God alone knows when He will come. Yet the Bible says that He will come back to this earth. What we see happening today may well be a preparation for God's inter vention in human affairs, with the coming of Jesus Christ and the setting up of a new social order. Thus the future does not belong to Communism! The future does not belong to capi talism! The future belongs to God! - When Is Christ Coming? - The Twenty Signs Of the Bible Give Us a Clue
In fact many have claimed that the Second Coming of Christ would be fulfilled on quite specific dates. But there is no reasonable proof that such predictions came true!
When will Prophecy be Fulfilled?
What is preterism? Before I explain that in more detail, I want to orient you to the four views that people hold in relation to the timing of prophetic fulfillment. The four views are simple in the sense that they reflect the only four possible ways that one can relate to time: past, present, future, and timeless. When speaking of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy these four timing possibilities are called preterism, historicism, futurism, and idealism.
The preterist (Latin for “past”) believes that most, if not all prophecy has already been fulfilled, usually in relation to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The historicist (present) sees much of the current church age as equal to the tribulation period. Thus, prophecy has been and will be fulfilled during the current church age. Futurists (future) usually believe that almost no prophetic events are occurring in the current church age, but will take place in the following future events: the tribulation of seven years, the second coming, the 1,000 year millennium, and the eternal state. This is the view that I and those who are dispensationalists hold to. The idealist (timeless) does not believe either that the Bible indicates the timing of events or that we can determine their timing in advance. Therefore, idealists see prophetic passages as teaching great truths about God to be applied to our present lives.
Preterism Vs. Futurism
Idealism, as an approach to Bible prophecy, is rarely followed outside of liberal scholarship and thus is not a significant factor in the mainstream of current evangelicaldebate over when prophecy will be fulfilled. Historicism, once the dominate view of Protestants from the Reformation until the middle of last century, appears to exert little attraction as a system of prophetic interpretation to conservative Christians, outside of Seventh-Day Adventist circles. However, it must be noted that most historicists take a preterist view of the Olivet Discourse, but disassociate it from the tribulation as found in Revelation and some New Testament Epistles. During the last 150 years, within evangelicalism, futurism has grown to dominate and overcome historicism. At the turn of the millennium, we see an attempt to challenge futurism arising from evangelical preterism. We must await the next millennium to see where this development will lead. But the last five to ten years have seen an increase in the ranks of preterism, from hundreds to thousands, as someone as well-known as R.C. Sproul has adopted this view.
What is Preterism
Preterists argue that major prophetic portions of Scripture such as the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation were fulfilled in events surrounding the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Preterists believe that they are compelled to take such a view because Matthew 24:34 and its parallel passages say that “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” This means it had to take place in the first century, they argue. Revelation, they advocate, says something similar in the passages that say Christ is coming “quickly” or that His return is “at hand.” Having settled in their mind that these prophecies had to take place in the first century, they believe they are justified in making the rest of the language fit into a local (Jerusalem), instead of a worldwide fulfillment. Most preterists believe that we are currently living in at least an inaugurated new heavens and new earth, since all the Book of Revelation had to have a first century fulfillment.
Three Kinds of Preterism
There are at least three kinds of preterism. For lack of better terms we will call them mild, moderate, and extreme.
• Mild preterism teaches that the Book of Revelation was fulfilled during the first three centuries as God waged war on the two early enemies of the church: Israel and Rome. The first half of Revelation teaches that Israel was defeated in A.D. 70, while the last half of Revelation is about God’s conquest of Rome in the fourth century when Constantine declared the Roman Empire Christian. Thus, this earliest form of preterism teaches that Revelation was fulfilled in the first 300 years of the church’s history.
• Moderate preterits believe that almost all prophecy was fulfilled in the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. They do believe that a few passages still teach a yet future second coming (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and the resurrection of believers at Christ’s bodily return.
• Extreme preterits, or consistent preterists, as they prefer to be known as, hold that all future Bible prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. If there is a future second coming, they say, the Bible does not talk about it. Extreme preterists believe that there is no future bodily resurrection, which place them outside the realm of Christian orthodoxy.
It is true that no one can know the date or hour of Christ’s return. But I still find it unsettling that the year 2021 is so close to the second millennium anniversary of Christ’s ministry here on earth. For those who hold to a young earth theory, it could seems a little more than scary! The following is not a prediction on my part, but simply food for thought:
Will the Antichrist try to imitate Jesus in some manner in the very near future?
The 2,000 year anniversary of Christ’s public ministry is not far off: 2026, 2027-2027! Food for thought, to say the least.
A chronology of Jesus typically has the date of the start of his ministry September 11 26AD, others have estimated at around AD 27–29 and the end in the range AD 30–36.
Years of preaching
The reign of Tiberius Caesar began on the death of his predecessor Augustus Caesar in September AD 14, implying that the ministry of John the Baptist began in late AD 28 or early AD 29. Riesner's alternative suggestion is that John the Baptist began his ministry in AD 26 or 27, because Tiberius ruled together with Augustus for two years before becoming the sole ruler. If so, the fifteenth year of Tiberius' reign would be counted from AD 12. Riesner's suggestion is however considered less likely, as all the major Roman historians who calculate the years of Tiberius' rule – namely Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio – count from AD 14 – the year of Augustus' death. In addition, coin evidence shows that Tiberius started to reign in AD 14.
Scholarly debate on the hour, day, and year of death
The crucifixion year of Jesus can then be calculated by asking the question in which of the two astronomically possible years of AD 30 and AD 33 is there a time gap between the last supper and the crucifixion which is compatible with the gospel timeline of Jesus' last 6 days. The astronomical calculations show that a hypothetical AD 30 date would require an incompatible Monday Last Supper, while AD 33 offers a compatible Last Supper on Wednesday, 1 April AD 33, followed by a compatible crucifixion on Friday, 3 April AD 33. - Chronology of Jesus
As Jesus preached for about three (3) years of public ministry (estimated at around AD 27–29); the Antichrist seems is going to be allowed at some future date to rule for some three and a half (3.5) years.
The future is not ours to see!
The disciples of Jesus ask Him a very specific question at Matthew 24:3. "Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age/world."
Jesus then from Matthew 24:4-15 describes what is going to happen which by the way is happening today. At vs15 Jesus gives us a "tip off," "Therefore when you see the Abomination of Desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place, (let the reader understand,
Jesus then explains what will take place from verses 16-28. At vs28 Jesus says, "But immediately the tribulation of those days the Sun will be darkened, and the Moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken, vs30, and then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.
Verse 31, "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."
Now, I can say with a pretty good amount of certainty that these things have not happened in the fullest sense. Turning to the Apostle Paul he says at 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7, "For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you. Vs7, "and to give you "RELIEF/REST" to you who are afflicted "WHEN" the Lord Jesus shall be revealed form heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire."
Follow the context! Verse 8, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. Verse 9, And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."
Verse 10, "when He comes to be glorified in His saints ON THAT DAY, and to be marveled at among all who have believed--for our testimony to you was believed."
Notice what Paul says at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 where He backs up what Jesus said at Matthew 24. Verse 3, "Let no one in any deceive you for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction."
Verse 4, "who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his SEAT IN THE TEMPLE (Jesus said "standing in the Holy place,) displaying himself as being God."
Remember to that Jesus said, "to be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect." Matthew 24:42. Paul says at 1 Thessalonians 4:18, "Therefor comfort one another with these words." Referring to the previous verses of 1 Thessalonians 14-17.
The point being is that these words of encouragement are meant for those living presently. The Apostle John at 1 John 2:18 basically says the same thing to those who are living in the present when he says the following.
"Children, it is the last hour and just as you heard that antichrist is coming and even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know it is the last hour." The Apostle John is telling them to look out for the "antichrist" (singular) and be aware there are other antichrist.
So to answer your question, would all of this scriptural proof be prove or evidence that the second coming has not happened yet in the year of our Lord 2021? Even so come quickly Lord Jesus!