I tend to take our Lord’s predictions in the literal sense, if that sense makes sense. Matthew 24 seems to be the preterist “stronghold.” But I have major problems with assigning the events therein described, to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple around 70 A.D.
For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (Matthew 24: 27-31 ESV)
Did the coming of the Son of Man occur around 70 A.D.? Did He gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other? Was the sun darkened? Did the moon not give its light? Did the stars fall from heaven?
I don’t know why translators render the word “αστραπη” as “lightning.” It should be translated as “lighting.” It refers to the lighting of the sun that appears to come from the east (at sunrise) and shines to the west (later in the day). Everyone sees the sunrise and the sunset. So it will be when Christ returns. Everyone will see Him. Jesus Himself warned against those who claim a secret coming.
So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lighting [of the sun] comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:26,27)
The fact that everyone will see Him at his coming is also verified in Revelation:
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. (Revelation 1:7 ESV)
Thus we can be sure that when Jesus returns, everyone will know it. But no one knew of any coming of Christ in 70 A.D. Josephus who wrote in detail of the events concerning the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple around 70 A.D. never referred to that coming. The Christians of the second century never mentioned it, and there is no historical record of it. So if He came in 70 A.D. one may say that “no eye ever saw Him.”