Claim that 2nd coming has already happened


Has there been a heresy that claims that the 2nd coming of Christ already happened? Particularly, that it happened during the 1st or 2nd century of the church? I would like to know if there is or has been a Catholic response to this claim.



Check 1st Thessalonians. It covers this in the early church.


Sort of a tricky question. In today’s world, people who claim this position are called “full preterists”–they claim the Second Coming occurred when Jesus returned in judgment against Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The Catholic Church does not believe this. However, the CC does allow for “partial preterism” (I am one myself). In this view, the Lord returned in judgment in 70, and this is predicted in the N.T., just as many “comings of the Lord in judgment” against cities and countries are described in the Bible. However, the actual Second Coming, what is mentioned in the Creeds, is still in the future. So partial preterism equals: (1) in fulfillment of much N.T. prophecy, Jesus returned in a sense in the year 70, BUT (2) He is coming again in the Second Coming, still in the future. As I said, I’m pretty sure the CC does allow for this position, just not the more extreme one.


I recall hearing or reading that in the early years, it was expected that Christ would come again within a generation or two, but I don’t know of any specific early heresies propounding this point. In our modern era however, there are the pre-millenialists, who don’t necessarily fit into your model, but both can be answered by pointing out that Jesus will only come a second time, not a third.


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