The apostles and the disciples anticipated Jesus' return of course, in their generation.But you answered nothing about what the Scriptures say about the actual "presence" of the Lord Jesus when He will return to earth:
The disciples of the Lord Jesus certainly believed that He would return, as evidenced by their question to Him here:
"And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming (parousia), and of the end of the age?" (Mt.24:3).
The Greek word parousia is translated "coming" and its meaning is "presence, the presence of one coming" (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon).
In fact, Peter told the Jews that if they would repent that the Father would send back the Lord Jesus so that they could enjoy His presence:
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, that the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you" (Acts 3:19-20).
The preterist say that the Lord Jesus did return in 70AD but they have yet to prove that every eye saw Him in 70AD:
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him" (Rev.1:7).
I think Pastor Curtis (full preterist) interprets the Text for us:
"Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:19 NASB)
The word for "refreshing" is from the Greek word anapsuxis, which means: "to revive, refresh, a recovery of breath." This spiritual refreshing was symbolized in the prophets by the picture of rain pouring down and bringing life and fruitfulness and of rivers of life giving water (Isaiah 32:1-4, 15-18; 44:1-5; 55.10-13; Ezekiel 36:25-26; 47:1-12; Psalm 36:8; 46.4). It was symbolized in terms of receiving a refreshing drink in the hottest and driest of conditions (Isaiah 55:1-3). It was symbolized by the shadow of a great rock in a hot and weary land (Isaiah 32:1-4).
Israel will be redeemed, her sins will be forgiven, and times of refreshing will come when she turns in faith to her Messiah Jesus. Now notice what else Peter says here:
and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, (Acts 3:20 NASB)
The NKJV and others have "preached" instead of "appointed." But according to Vincent's Word Studies, "The best texts read prokeceirismenon (appointed). This Greek word is only used by Luke (22:14; 26:16). The verb originally means: "at hand, to take into one's hands, to choose." It is not "Jesus Christ" here nor "Christ Jesus," but "Jesus the Messiah," identifying Jesus with the Messiah. Jesus the Messiah, chosen for you.
The reference is naturally to the second coming of Christ as verse 21 shows:
whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. (Acts 3:21 NASB)
"The period of restoration of all things" the word "restoration" here is from the Greek word anapsukseows. This word speaks of the redemption of Israel. This word is one of the key words used in the LXX when God predicted the restoration of Israel under the Messiah. Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament says of this word, "Here only in the N.T., though common in late writers. In papyri and inscriptions for repairs to temples and this phrase occurs in Jewish apocalyptic writings, something like the new heaven and the new earth of Revelation 21:1. The verb apokatisthmi is used by Jesus of the spiritual and moral restoration wrought by the Baptist as Elijah (Matthew 17:11; Mark 9:12) and by the disciples to Jesus in Acts 1:6. Josephus uses the word of the return from captivity and Philo of the restitution of inheritances in the year of jubilee. As a technical medical term it means complete restoration to health."
So Peter is saying, "If they will trust Jesus, they [Israel] will be redeemed, their sins will be forgiven and times of refreshing will come, and when Jesus returns to reward those who trust Him and destroy those who reject Him, they will be safe":
"And the nations were enraged, and Thy wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to Thy bond-servants the prophets and to the saints and to those who fear Thy name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:18 NASB)