Jesus said in his so-called Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21) that he would come after the destruction of the Second Temple, and several times he taught that his return will be in the generation of his disciples. The temple was destroyed, and the catastrophe described in the Gospels took place. However, Jesus did not come back. 2 Peter 3 notes this and answers the questioners, whom he calls scoffers:
”They will say, ’Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.’
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.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” - 2 Peter 3:4-9
Okay, for an answer, Peter first gives an exposition of something that is not clearly related to the question at all. Then he appeals to God’s perspective of events, and God’s patience.
Are these valid arguments, or pious excuses for a prophecy early believers desperately wanted to be true? And what about the fact that Jesus has been coming ”soon” for two thousand years.
The case seems to me more like what Deuteronomy has to say about prophets. Immediately after the ”Prophet like Moses” passage often identified as a prophecy about Jesus, it says the following:
”But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’
And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’-
when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.” - Deuteronomy 18:20-22
I want to put my doubts to a test and hear your thoughts about this.