2 Peter and AD 70

In his book, The Promise of His Appearing, as Peter Leithart unpacks 2 Peter, he gives five "Knock-Down Arguments" for seeing the entire letter as about Jesus' prophecy concerning the coming crisis of Jerusalem and Judaism in A.D. 70 (cf. Mark 13):

1. Peter wrote his second letter on the theme of the coming of Jesus, which he says was also a theme of his first letter, which is 1 Peter. Since 1 Peter's teaching about the "coming" of Jesus highlights its imminence, 2 Peter must be dealing with the same looming event.

2. Peter defends the reliability of the promised coming of Jesus by reference to the Transfiguration. In each of the Synoptics, this event is connected  immediately with a prophecy of Jesus' "coming" within the lifetime of some of His disciples, a prophecy filled out in the Olivet Discourse. Peter's argument from the Transfiguration makes best sense if he is using it to support this prophecy. Thus the "coming" that Peter insists will happen is an event that Jesus said would take place in the first century.

3. Peter says explicitly that the destruction of false teachers is coming "soon." Their destruction is the same event as the destruction of the present heavens and earth, the "day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men" (3:7). If the destruction of false teachers was near when Peter wrote, so also was the destruction of the heavens and earth and the coming of a new heavens and earth.

4. Peter responds to mockers who doubt the promise of Jesus' coming because time has passed without any sign of the Parousia. If there were no time limit on the original prophecy, then the mockers would have no grounds for their mockery and no way to attract converts to their skeptical views. Therefore, the original prophecy must have included a time limit, a terminus ad quem, and that time limit must have been the lifetime of the apostles.

5. For the mockers, the passing of the "fathers," the apostles and their associates, casts doubt on the truth of Jesus' promise to come in power. This objection has weight only if Jesus had in fact promised to come before the "fathers" passed from the scene. Thus the prophecy in dispute in 2 Peter 3 promised a "coming" within the apostolic generation. The prophecy Peter says will be fulfilled is a prophecy about Jesus' coming within the generation.