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Monday, 2 April 2018


        There are those who believe, with some variation, that the rapture, resurrection, second coming of Christ and other events in the Bible were fulfilled in Jerusalem during the 70 AD period.

     This theological system is called preterism and it comes from the Latin word "praeter" which means "past" or "beyond."

     Incredibly, preterists have difficulty explaining how GLOBAL end-time disasters in the book of Revelation etc. can be compressed and affect only the Jerusalem area. Did "all the tribes of the earth...see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven" (Matt. 24:30) in 70 AD? Was Jerusalem the only recipient of Revelation's vials? Was Satan bound then?  If so, who has been behind all the evil during the present age?

     Preterist thinking is hardly new and is condemned in II Tim. 2:17-18 which states: "...of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some."

     Scholars generally agree that Luis del Alcazar, a Spanish Jesuit theologian, produced the first major work on preterism in 1614.

     There are mainly two kinds of preterists: (1) Full (extreme or hyper); and (2) Partial (moderate).

     Full preterists hold that ALL of Bible prophecy has been fulfilled including the great tribulation, the second coming and anything related to the "rapture," the resurrection of all true believers, and also the great white throne judgment! And they also believe that we are now in a "millennium" or in the "new heaven" (Rev. 21:1). But they can quietly cover up the fact that the "new heaven" is sunless and moonless (Isa. 60:19, 20; Rev. 21:23) - a foolish decision on their part since even they can see the sun and moon shining at the present time!

     Partial preterists agree with Full preterists that Christ has already come back, and that He came back as Judge during 70 AD in a "spiritual" sense and that the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem was the evidence of His return then. Partial preterists do have some disagreements with Full preterists, however; unlike the Full group, the Partial group does believe that Christ will return some time in the future in a physical, literal manner.

     I should add that those who wish to dig deeply into all aspects of preterism can find abundant material on the internet.

     Amazingly, NONE of the early Church Fathers who lived during and shortly after 70 AD believed that key end-time events in Matthew, Revelation etc. (such as the Antichrist and second coming) were fulfilled literally or even "spiritually" at that time, and the following quotes are evidence that they were STILL expecting and looking for Antichrist and the great tribulation:

     The first century writing titled Didache (also known as "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles"):  "Watch for your life's sake....for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if ye be not made perfect in the last time....then shall appear the world-deceiver [Antichrist] as Son of God....but they that endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself" (chap. 16).

     Hermas (40-140): Hermas, who lived 70 years after 70 AD, spoke of "the great tribulation that is coming"....and also referred to "the great tribulation that is yet to come" (Pastor of Hermas, Fourth Vision).

     Justin Martyr (100-168): "The man of apostasy [Antichrist] .... shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians..." (Dialogue with Trypho, 110).

     Irenaeus (140-202): "And they [the ten kings who shall arise] ...shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the church to flight" (Against Heresies, V, 26).

     Hippolytus (160-240): "...the one thousand two hundred and three score days (the half of the week) during which the tyrant is to reign and persecute the Church..." (Treatise on Christ  and Antichrist, 61).

     (The above quotes from Church Fathers are part of my lengthy article "Famous Rapture Watchers" which was aired on Treena's "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing" blog in March of 2017.  My object then was to show that no pre-1830 scholar including the Fathers ever found a pretrib rapture in the Bible; my object here is to show that none of the Fathers expressed any sort of preterist view.)

     Preterists often employ Matt. 24:34 ("This generation will not pass....") in an attempt to prove a 70 AD fulfillment of "Antichrist." Since many of them can see "these" (Matt. 25:46) fulfilled in the future in Rev. 20, why can't they apply futurism as easily to Matt. 24:34? After all, the word "this" is the singular form of "these"!

     One final word: As I see it, being prepared for any future event is the safe "spare tire" approach.

     Preterists can drive cars with spare tires - spare tires good for flats that happen only in the PAST and never good for any flats that can happen in the FUTURE!


Pat said...

Great article. I realized something while I was reading this. The pastor of the church we came out of, at one time claimed he was pre-wrath but when he went full tilt into the teachings of Bethel/Bill Johnson he flipped to preterist, he always blew in the wind. I now see where their teaching of the Seven Mountains/Kingdom living plays into this, especially the partial preterists, since they will "rise up" and take over the corporations and governments/nations so that Christ can return. Wow, man centered doctrine, we do live in scary times.

colin said...

Pat makes some very salient observations.
It is my sincerely held belief that there are now a great many so-called 'pastors' that are currently preaching in churches up and down the length and breadth of this once great Christian nation that have absolutely NO real eschatological convictions one way or the other. Pat says that they "blow in the wind" And so they do!

Futurism is what the Scriptures plainly teach. How bizarre it would be to put our hope in the past? Yes, the cross of Christ is history, but His Second Coming is yet future! The patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) have not yet set foot in the promised land; Deuteronomy 1.8, 2.12, 10.11, 11.9 etc.
God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

Yes partial preterism is YET ANOTHER false teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation. Pat makes some very good points as you say Colin. Futurism is the plain teaching of the scriptures. God bless.

colin said...

On Christ's premillennial future Coming and His Messianic Kingdom, Adolph Saphir writes:

No doctrine, not even the fundamental doctrine of justification by faith, has assigned to it in the inspired word so large a place as the doctrine of the Second Coming of Christ and His kingdom. It is not confined to a few-isolated passages, it is not the subject of one or two books of Scripture, but it pervades the whole Bible. When we are asked, "Where is it spoken of?" we are tempted to reply, Ask rather, where is it not spoken of?

Acts 3.20-21; Scripture, though it be never silent, is not always heard.

God bless.

Irv said...

After going over this nugget of knowledge, I'm thinking of equipping my hatchback with four spare tires; one cannot be too careful!

Monopode said...

I only heard about this preterist view a couple of years ago. I certainly never came away with that belief from reading the scriptures. What Pat said about Seven mountains and all that dominionist stuff icertainly is scary. I see those deceived into it becoming very militant and angry towards simple bible belief and believers in the future.