And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Revelation 21:4).
Our futuristically minded neighbors agreed with us that this is a description of heaven. A place of no more tears and no more sorrow. So we went on to discuss some other passages which identify the tears and the sorrow, and what removed them…we discussed the cross and the nature of our redemption. We discussed the "Revelation of Jesus Christ" and how it was not about the history of our planet, but the history of our redemption in Him, the restoration of innocence and presence with God. It struck me that while much "food for thought" had been brought to the table, the same question was still being asked, and the query remained pretty much unsatisfied: "Is this all there is?"
This is all very related to discussions even among "preterists" who acknowledge with their lips a completed redemption and yet in their hearts are far from experiencing the full impact of forgiveness. Could this be why the preterist view fails to be convincing to futurists? That often times those who present it focus on proving something that happened in the past, and have still not even experienced the impact of what they are "proving" for themselves? I am speaking of the power of the cross.
What we need, preterists and futurists alike, is revelation: The Revelation of Forgiveness. Because forgiveness *is* heaven. Forgiveness *is* home. Our futurist friends look forward to "going home" someday. So many of our preterist friends do too. No wonder we have nothing to offer to those who are seeking (regardless of their perceptions or paradigms) ultimate satisfaction and eternal comfort and rest.
As I was contemplating my neighbor's responses afterwards to our discussion of "heaven", it was very apparent that no "time statement argument" of what happened empirically in 70 AD was going to reveal forgiveness to her. And it is only *that* revelation which will answer the longing in her heart for her heavenly home. If the Bible equates forgiveness with heaven, and even supposed believers in heaven fulfilled are not acknowledging that *all* of their sin has been forgiven, then doesn't it stand to reason that this is where our focus as preterists needs to be?
Fulfilled eschatology = fulfilled redemption. I get really perplexed when people say they want to focus on soteriology rather than eschatology. The two cannot be separated, because either eschatology is fulfilled, or neither is our salvation. I just think there are a lot of "preterists" out there who have not really grasped the impact or the context of the forgiveness of sin and until they do, their "AD 70 message" is going to fall flat.
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy; At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.