Archive for the ‘Preterism’ Category

In reviewing the many threads on here where the issue of dispensationalism seems to always end up  being a side discussion, I figured I’d start a thread on the 3 major eschatological theories that are gaining popularity that seem to have at least one thing in common, disdain or disregard for dispensationalism and futurism, particularly where it comes to the rapture of the church, and the place and role of Israel in the Bible. The 3 views are Preterism,Historicism and Covenant Theology (which I will commonly refer to as the “3 views” even though some may overlap).

I do not wish to list the differences between all 3, but the problem that I have with all 3 views in what they have in common:

*That the book of Revelation was written prior to AD 70

*That Daniel and the majority of the book of Revelation was fulfilled in AD 70 when Titus attacked Jerusalem

*That the church has replaced Israel

I have more objections to all 3 views than I have room to write on here so my explanations will not be exhaustive.

The Date of the Book of Revelation

Of the many objections I have against the 3 views, the early dating of the book of Revelation seems to me a blatantly dishonest and inconsistent interpretation of history and the Bible’s internal evidence for a late date (i.e. AD 95). Preterists such as Hank Haneggraff cherry-pick historians in that the “early fathers” are useful in supporting some of their apologetic claims for the validity of the Bible and early developed doctrines, but disgard them as reliable when their writings are in contradistinction to their eschatology.

If Revelation was written after AD 70, that destroys all eschatological views that view Daniels 70th week, Jesus Olivet discourse in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, and Revelation 1-19 as having been fulfilled in AD 70 and demonstrates that all of Revelation is yet future.

Evidence For the Late Date of  Revelation

*Iraneus (AD 120-202)who was a disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John. Iraneus holds that John wrote Revelation during the end of the reign of Domitian who did not begin his reign until 81 AD and was killed in AD 96.

*Clement of Alexandria (AD 150-215), Tertullian (AD 160-220), Victorinus (AD 304), Eusibius (AD 260-340), Jerome (AD 340-419).

Although these men were not always doctrinally correct, their citations of John writing Revelation while on the Isle of Patmos under Domitians reign is a matter of recorded history not doctrinal exegesis.

*The Laodiceans are prospersous in Rev 3:17. Laodecea was destroyed by an earthquake in AD 61, it is highly unlikely that they recovered to such economic prosperity in only 9 years.

*The church of Smyrna was not in existence prior to AD 70. It is only mentioned by John in Rev 1:11 and 2:8.

The Prophecies of Daniel and Revelation Were Not Fulfilled in AD 70

Preterists in particular lay heavy emphasis on the term “shortly come to pass” in Matthew 24 and Revelation 1:1 that shows the events described by Christ and John would have an immediate fulfillment. However, they are inconsistent in their application of these passages as Revelation 22:6, the counterpart to Rev 1:1 also states that the events the 3 views DO believe are yet future will also come to pass shortly. Furthermore, Paul states in Romans 16 that Satan would be bruised under our feet “shortly”. That has obviously not occurred. Therefore “shortly” is clearly not used to define an immediate fulfillment, at least from man’s perspective, but is a statement of an expecation of immanency.

Much of the futurist view and those who hold to a future fulfillment of Daniel’s 70th week are objected to by the other views as being fulfilled in Titus. It is almost a blasphemous interpretation of Daniel 9:26-27 where the text is clear that the “prince to come” is referring to the antichrist, and not Jesus (Not only is this fact clear in the text of Daniel 9, but also in Daniel 11:16-32). The other views attempt to squeeze Jesus baptism (which is not mentioned in Daniel), His ministry and crucifixion all in the final week of Daniel. However, Daniel makes it clear that the Messiah is “cut off” (crucified) BEFORE the one week is confirmed.

The other views attempt to allegorize the text claiming that Jesus rendered the oblations and sacrifices ineffective instead of as the text says, the prince would cause to cease. It is clear that the oblations and sacrifices did not cease until 40 years after Christ ascended, but their interpretation would require them to have ceased at Christ’s crucifixion if said event was the culmination of Daniel’s 70th week.

The other views point to the Olivet discourse where Jesus states “when ye see the armies compass Jerusalem about, flee into the mountains”. That never occured in AD 70. Titus surrounded Jerusalem and nobody was permitted exit from the city. What did happen in AD 70 after Titus regrouped was that the Jews were scattered throughout the world (“The Diaspora”), that is not quite the same as fleeing to the mountains “where the woman hath a place prepared of God that they shoud feed her a thousand two hundred and threescore days” Rev 12:6.

Other events that never occurred are as follows:

*Jesus never returned to the earth in VISIBLE fashion. Rev 1:7 (“every eye shall see him”).

*Nobody was subjected to the mark of the beast, or the number of his name. Although the other views attempt to ascribe this to Nero, 2 Thess makes it clear that the antichrist is destroyed by the brightness of Jesus’ coming, Nero committed suicide. Nero could only be considered a type of antichrist, but does not meet the requirements to be THE antichrist of Revelation 13, and Nero never had an image made that was to be worshipped and given life to (Rev 13:15). There is no historical evidence that anyone under Nero or Titus was prevented from buying or selling unless they had the mark of the beast or the number of his name, and there is no evidence that anyone was martyred because of rejecting such (Rev 15:1-3).

*The mount of olives did not split in two. Zechariah 14:4. Also, Revelation 6:14-15 states that every mountain and island were moved out of their places, and the heaven departed as a scroll.

*The Euphrates river was not dried up. Rev 9:14-15Rev 16:12

*The number of the armies in Rev 9:16 (200 million) far exceeds any amount of any army in existence at the time of Nero. Even today, the only army that could possibly fit that number would be China which fits Daniel and Revelation’s claim that this army comes from the East. This also brings up another fact that the armies gathered against Israel partly come from the East, Rome is WEST of Jerusalem. Therefore Titus and Nero could not possibly have fulfilled Daniel or Revelation.

*In AD 70, only ONE army attacked Jerusalem (Rome). Scripture indicates that God gathers ALL NATIONS against Jerusalem. Zech 12:314:2.

*The amount of the world’s population that is killed by the judgments never occurred in AD 70. Rev 6:8Rev 8:11Rev 9:15-20.

*The amount of physical destruction to the earth never occurred in AD 70. Rev 8:8-12.

Not only did these events not occur in AD 70, they have never occurred at any time since then. Historicists and some Covenanters attempt to explain they gradually occurred  through out history, but that is not only a gross interpretation of Scripture, but it defies all of the timelines given in Revelation that make it clear all of these events occur within a 7 year period. Rev 8:111:312:61413:5.

There are many more examples, but these should be enough to prove that the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation (among others) were not fulfilled in AD 70, nor at any other time in history to date.

The Church Has Not Replaced Israel

The claim that the church has inherited all of the promises of the covenants to Israel and thus has replaced Israel is probably the most popular that unites all 3 views. All 3 views deny that God will restore the literal nation of Israel in the end times. The historicists and preterists even go so far as to blame the  dispensationalist view of those who believe in the literal restoration of Israel  on a Jesuit priest named Ribera in the 1500s. The claim is that the Catholic church (RCC) need a response to the claims that Revelation pointed to the RCC as the whore of Babylon, and thus Ribera created futurism which was then later passed on to John Darby, then to Scofield and Larkin.

Not only is that claim historically absurd due to the early church “fathers” that also held to a futuristic view, but Ribera’s commentary was never translated from Latin and there is no evidence that Darby ever read his works and he never referenced them. Furthermore, Ribera’s only similarity from what I have read is that there will be a future kingdom, there is nothing remotely similar about Ribera’s writings and the pre-millenial views. Moreover, the RCC has never believed in pre-millenialism or a pre-tribulation rapture, and those who hold to those views still identify the RCC as the beast and the antichrist so whatever views are attributed to Ribera, do not look like the scheme worked even if it were true.

This subject has had entire volumes written about it so I won’t do much justice to the subject here, but just a few short observations from Romans 9-11 which is a death blow to all 3 views regarding Israel:

*Paul argues that “hath God cast away his people that he foreknew?” Romans 11:1-2. So clearly, the contention is that someone had been cast away due to the dispensation of grace. If the church had replaced Israel, this question would not even be up for debate with Paul. If the church replaced Israel, why would the question be asked if God cast away His church which He foreknew? Who was Paul referring to that was cast away and that God foreknew? Surely Paul is talking about the literal Hebrews, and he answers the question with a resounding NO.

*Paul describes the nation of Israel as his brothers “according to the flesh”. Rom 9:3. The church are not Paul’s brothers according to the flesh, church members are made family by adoption through the Holy Spirit, not by promise of covenants with Israel. Rom 8:23. Thus Paul sets the entire tone of Romans chs 9-11 by identifying his discourse about Israel as being his physical lineage, not about promises given to the church by transference.

*The other view often cite Luke 13 where Jesus cursed the fig tree as evidence that Israel will never be restored. However, Rom 11:15clearly shows that God will raise Israel as a nation “from the dead”. Therefore Luke 13 can only be temporary as is confirmed by Paul in Romans 11:25.

*Paul repeatedly makes distinctions between the Jews and Greeks (gentiles) throughout Scripture (Rom 1:16Acts 28:29 which you will only find in a KJV). In Rom 11:13, Paul confirms that he is the apostle to the Gentiles and makes the distinction between his office over the Gentiles, and those who are of his flesh (v 14).

*Revelation 7:4-8 clearly shows that during the tribulation, 144,000 Jews will be sealed. If those who profess that the church replaced Israel, then let me ask to which of the twelve tribes listed in Rev 7:5-8 do you belong to?

*It is obvious from Daniel 9:25-272 Thess 2:1-12, and Rev 11:1-2 that there will be temple rites practiced again during the tribulation, such as would not be practiced by the church. Furthermore, saints saved during the tribulation are said to “sing the song of Moses and of the Lamb”. The church would not be singing the song of Moses, that is a clear indication that there will be literal, physical blood-line Jews present during the tribulation that are saved in accordance to God’s promises to them in the OT and Paul’s statement in Romans 11:26.

*In Rev 2:22:9, and 3:9, Jesus praises the Jewish churches for identify false Jews. First thing to note, is that in order to identifying a false Jew, there needs to be a true Jew as a standard of comparison. Secondly, there is nowhere in the epistles to the church where a Gentile believer is admonished to “try them which say they are Jews and are not”. During the dispensation of grace, there is neither “Jew nor Greek” (Gal 3:27-28), but in Revelation 2-3, the emphasis is back on the Jew.

Another thing to note about Romans 11:26 where Paul says “all Israel will be saved”, if that was a reference to the church, would that not be redundant? The church is sealed right now (Eph 4:301:13), there is no possible loss of that salvation so why would Paul make a reference to a future salvation of the church? That makes it obvious that Paul is referring to a future salvation of Israel as a nation, and not to a future salvation that is made up of Gentile believers.

*If the church replaced Israel, why would Paul bother writing an entire book to HEBREWS, and James write a book “to the twelve tribes scattered abroad”?

This is, again, by no means an exhaustive approach, but is a very short analysis I have offered that demonstrates some serious flaws with Preterism, Historicism and Covenant Theology. I’ll spell check it later, so if there are critics who adhere to spell-checker-onlyism (the view that a discourse is only valid if everything contains perfect grammatical structure), you will be greatly disappointed.

 

 

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  • By Charlie H. Campbell

    What is preterism?

    Preterism is the belief that the prophecies of Matthew 24 (spoken of by Jesus on the ) and the prophecies contained in the Book of Revelation were largely or completely fulfilled in the past, particularly in the events leading up to, and surrounding the destruction of  by the Romans in A.D. 70.

    For those of you that are new to Bible study, Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation largely have to do with the tumultuous events leading up to Christ’s second coming.

    Those who adhere to preterism, refer to themselves as “preterists.”

    The word “preterism” is based on the Latin word preter, which means:

    “past”

    And that’s what preterists believe.

    Preterists believe that those things that you and I would consider future events on the prophetic calendar…

    –the Rapture

    –the Abomination of Desolation

    –the Tribulation

    …are all things of the past.

    Preterists believe that these things were fulfilled in the turmoil and political upheaval that ensued when  was sacked by  and most of its inhabitants were slaughtered in A.D. 70.

    –Preterists even believe that Jesus came back in A.D. 70!!

    (Some preterists say He came back spiritually and invisibly in an act of judgment against the Jews in , and some say physically.)

    We’ll talk more about that in a couple of minutes.

    The Growth of Preterism

    Preterism, as a way of viewing Bible prophecy, has been growing very quickly, and it only seems to be gaining momentum.

    Why is that?

    There has been a tremendous increase in persuasive books, pamphlets, tapes, and websites by preterists.

    A very influential Christian author and teacher by the name of R.C. Sproul adopted a preteristic view of the end times [eschatology] back in the 1990’s, and released a book, “The Last Days According to Jesus,” outlining Sproul’s preteristic views regarding Bible prophecy.

    Hank Hanegraaff, who is a big fan of R.C. Sproul, and the president of The Christian Research Institute [C.R.I.] has just released the first of a series of fictional books about the Book of Revelation.

    The first book in this series is called: The Last Disciple

    In this book, Hank officially announces that he too, the “Bible Answer Man,” has adopted this preteristic view.

    This book, “The Last Disciple” (and the others that will follow), tell the story of Christians living through the events spoken of in Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation as though they already took place in the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

    Hank’s desire, with this book, is to change the way people view Bible prophecy.

    This is an excerpt from a letter Hank, sent out to supporters of the C.R.I. ministry, shortly before the release of his book.

    Hank said…

    “Indeed, this initial novel is intended to be the first “shot” in a debate that I believe will produce a paradigm shift — a change in the way many in the church look at the end times… Indeed, in The Last Disciple book (and series), you will understand what the Bible really teaches regarding the end times.”

    Q. Did you catch that?

    Hank is hoping that his book produces “a paradigm shift — a change in the way many in the church look at the end times.”

    Advertisements for the book on C.R.I.’s website have said…

    “What if the prophecies of Revelation have already been fulfilled?…Discover the “code” of Revelation and get a whole new understanding of this powerful book.”

    Here is a copy of a recent edition of the Christian Research Journal, a C.R.I. publication.

    On the back cover is an advertisement for his book. It says in big letters:

    “What if everything you’ve read about the Rapture is wrong?”

    According to preterists, everything you’ve learned or heard about the rapture is wrong.

    –According to preterists, there will be no rapture!

    –And there is no coming time of Tribulation, that unbelievers need fear

    –There is no coming Antichrist, or mark of the beast.

    None of that.

    These things, they say, are false teachings or have already taken place.

    So, as you can imagine, with the release of Hank’s book, Christians are going to be facing some challenging questions about preterism and the end times in the months ahead.

    There are two kinds of preterism that are popular today.

    1. Full preterism

    2. Partial preterism

    1. Full Preterism

    Adherents to full preterism believe that all Biblical prophecy has been fulfilled, including…

    –the Great Tribulation

    –the Second Coming of Jesus

    –the bodily resurrection of believers

    –and the Great White Throne Judgment.

    Some preterists are even so bold as to say that the rapture occurred in A.D. 66 [J. Stuart Russell] and that we are living in an inaugurated new heavens and the new earth (talked about in Revelation 21-22)

    Of course, they have to spiritualize away numerous verses to try and explain what John really meant when he said there would be no more death, or mourning, or crying, pain, etc. (in Revelation 21:4).

    So that is the view of full preterism.

    Hank Hanegraaff and R.C. Sproul believe that this radical form of preterism is heretical.

    2. Partial Preterism

    Adherents to partial preterism (such as Hank Hanegraaff and R.C. Sproul) believe that Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation have only largely been fulfilled.

    Partial preterists (in contrast to full preterists) believe that Jesus only came back spiritually to judge Israel in A.D. 70, through the acts of the Roman army who destroyed the temple and killed a multitude of the Jews.

    Partial preterists believe there are some verses like Acts 1:9-11 that require Jesus to come back again in a physical and visible manner.

    (Other verses preterists believe point to a physical return would be:  1 Corinthians 15:51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 do speak of the future).

    What I’d like to do in our time together tonight is point out to you three passages that preterists point to that they believe support their view, after which I will make some comments.

    And then I will spend the rest of our time giving you reasons why the preterist view should be rejected.

    And I understand that many of you realize that the preterist position is not true, even now, and will be further convinced just a few minutes into our study. So it may sound redundant and even unnecessary that I go on with reason after reason why preterism should be rejected.

    But I plan on hitting this false teaching from many angles by unleashing an arsenal of truth on this topic.

    I do that for the sake of the preterist perhaps in our midst and for your sake. If a preterist brushes off or disagrees with one of my points, they will still have 8 or 9 others to consider.

    Matthew 24

    Turn with me to Matthew 24.

    The verse that we will be looking at is hands down the chief cornerstone, if you will, in the preterists’ defense of their view.

    Here in this chapter Jesus talks about the signs that will take place in the days leading up to His Second Coming in the clouds.

    He mentions, if you’ll notice…

    –in v. 15, the “Abomination of Desolation” [that time when the Antichrist will set himself up in the temple of God and declare himself to be God, 2 Thess. 2]

    –in v. 21, He mentions the time of the “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever shall.” NAS

    –in v. 29, He mentions the sun and moon being darkened

    –and then in v. 30, He mentions “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky” NAS

    And then notice, v.34.

    This is the most popular proof text that preterists point to, there in v. 34, where Jesus says…

    Matthew 24:34

    34  “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” NKJV

    “Ahh…you see,” the preterists says, “Jesus promised that ‘this generation’—the generation that was alive at His time would by no means pass away until all of these things (the Abomination of Desolation, the great tribulation, the coming of the Son of Man) will have taken place.”

    Preterists insist, because of this verse, and a couple of others [that we’ll look at] that all of the things spoken about in this chapter, as well as…

    –the Tribulation events (spoken of in the Book of Revelation)

    –and Jesus’ second coming (mentioned here in Matt. 24 and in Revelation 19)…

    …had to have occurred before the generation of the people living at the time Jesus spoke, died off.

    Why? Well because, “Notice,” they say v. 34, “Jesus said…

    Matthew 24:34

    34  “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” NKJV

    Ahhhh…but what “generation” was Jesus talking about?

    A. Some have suggested that perhaps Jesus was not talking about the generation alive in His day, but about the Jewish race.

    But if you plug that interpretation into the text and reread the verse, it’s easy to see that this can’t be what Jesus meant.

    Let’s try plugging the words “Jewish people” into v. 34 where Jesus says “this generation.”

    Look there at v. 34…

    Matthew 24:34

    34  “Assuredly, I say to you, [the Jewish people] will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” NKJV

    Q. Could that have been what Jesus was saying?

    No.

    Jesus couldn’t have been saying that the Jewish people will by no means pass away until His second coming.

    The Jewish people are not going to pass away after Christ’s second coming.

    After His coming they will be present on the earth to go on to enjoy the unconditional promises that God made them in the Old Testament during Christ’s 1,000 year reign on the earth.

    It is during the Millennial reign of Christ that Jesus’ original disciples are going to rule over the 12 tribes of .

    Matthew 19:28

    28  So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, [this is an earthly scene according to Matthew 25:31 that happens after He returns to the earth] you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of [WHO?] Israel.” NKJV

    The nation of Israel will not pass away, even after Christ’s second coming.

    Q. So then, who was Jesus talking about when He said…

    Matthew 24:34

    34  “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” NKJV

    Jesus was looking into the future and talking about the generation of people who will be alive during the events that He just described: During the time of Tribulation unlike the world has ever seen, i.e. the Tribulation generation.

    There is good support contextually for this interpretation, and that is why numerous commentators including John Walvoord and John MacArthur adhere to this view as well.

    Notice the verse immediately preceding this one, v. 33.

    Jesus said…

    Matthew 24:33-34

    33 “even so you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I say to you, this generation [What generation? the generation who in v.33, sees all those things.] will not pass away until all these things take place.”

    What things?

    Things like…

    –The Abomination of Desolation (v.15)

    –The time of great tribulation (v. 21)

    –The sun and moon being darkened (v. 29)

    That generation (the Tribulation generation) will not pass away without also seeing the coming of the Son of Man come to the earth (mentioned in v. 30).

    Those “things” will indicate that Jesus is near, even “right at the door” just as a budding fig tree [v.32] indicates that summer, the harvest time, is near.

    These verses will be a great encouragement to the Jewish people and others who come to faith in Christ during the Tribulation.

    It will be an encouragement to them to know that these things in the great time of tribulation are not going to go on forever.

    There is going to be an end. Jesus is going to come back, and look…

    Matthew 24:31

    31  “And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” NKJV

    We know that the “generation” Jesus was talking about in v. 34 could NOT have been the generation alive at the time He was speaking because that generation never saw “all” those things that would immediately precede His second coming.

    More could be said about this, but for time’s sake, let’s move on.

    Matthew 10

    Secondly, let’s turn to Matthew, chapter 10:23 a second proof text for the preterist position.

    Jesus said to his disciples…

    Matthew 10:23

    23 When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” NKJV

    “Ahhh, you see” the preterist says, “Jesus was saying that He would come again before His disciples would finish evangelizing the cities of Israel.”

    Is that what Jesus said there?

    No.

    He said (look at it again)…

    Matthew 10:23b

    “…you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

    And that is exactly what happened, the disciples never did complete their preaching ministry in .

    Why?

    Because , to a large degree, would not receive their message.

    Jesus, even alludes to that (this unreceptivity) in the first part of the verse, Notice again there, v. 23…

    Matthew 10:23

    “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. [That was going to be the response. Then Jesus says…] For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of  before the Son of Man comes.” NKJV

    Persecution and a prevailing Jewish unreceptivity to the Gospel prevented the disciples from going through all the cities of Israel!

    And so what did the disciples do?

    Acts 13:46, 18:6 (and other verses in the New Testament) tell us that they turned to the Gentiles.

    And thus Jesus’ prophecy was fulfilled. He said…

    Matthew 10:23

    “…you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” NKJV

    Even R.C. Sproul, a preterist, who believes that Jesus came back in A.D. 70 in the judgment of Israel, says in The New Geneva Study Bible [of which he is the General Editor] that this passage (Matthew 10:23) refers to, a future second coming of Christ to judge the earth.

    The Book of Revelation

    Thirdly, preterists point to several verses in the Book of Revelation that they say support their view.

    Some of the verses they point to are…

    Revelation 1:1

    “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly shortly (táchos) take place.”

    Revelation 2:16

    “…I am coming to you quickly (Gk. tachús).” –JESUS

    Revelation 11:14

    “The third woe is coming quickly (tachús).”

    Revelation 22:12

    “Behold, I am coming quickly (tachús).” –JESUS

    And preterists say, “See! Jesus said, ‘I am coming to you quickly.’ The events spoken about here in the Book of Revelation had to have been fulfilled quickly, within a generation of Christ’s death.”

    Was Jesus saying that He would come back quickly, as in soon after John heard Him say these words?

    No.

    The Greek word translated “shortly,” or “quickly,” here in these passages in the Book of Revelation is the Greek word “tachús.”

    This word does not refer to a soon event but a swift event.

    The Arndt and Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

    (p. 814) says this word means:

    “quick, swift,” or “speedy.”

    Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (p. 616) agrees, saying that the word tachu means:

    “quickly, speedily.”

    Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament Words (p. 913) also agrees saying that it means:

    “swift, quick…quickly.”

    John is not describing when the events will occur, but rather, he is describing the manner in which they will take place when they occur.

    He was saying that when these events took place, they would unfold suddenly, quickly, with great swiftness, even coming upon the world unexpectedly (like a thief in the night) [1 Thessalonians 5:2].

    Now, not only do these favorite verses of preterists (Matthew 24:34, Matthew 10:23, etc.) fail to support the preterist’s position, there are a multitude of other reasons why the preteristic view should be rejected.

    Some reasons why preterism should be rejected

    The first reason to reject the preterist interpretation is this…

    1.     None of the church fathers mentioned Christ’s second coming as having already occurred.

    When we speak of church fathers we are talking about the leaders in the first three centuries of the church following the original disciples.

    There is zero indication, from known writings of the Church Fathers, that anyone understood the New Testament prophecies from a preterist perspective.

    There are no early church writings that teach that Jesus returned in the first century.

    None!

    If we, as God’s people, are supposed to understand the prophecies of the New Testament according to the preteristic view, you would think that the Holy Spirit would have left at least one written record of this.

    The idea that Jesus came back in A.D. 70 was a foreign idea during the first five centuries of the church and then only mentioned sporadically after that until about 400 years ago.

    It wasn’t until the early 17th century—when preterist thinking was applied by the Jesuit Catholic scholar named Alcazar to the book of Revelation—that it was given very serious consideration.

    So this is reason number one to reject preterism:  None of the church fathers mentioned Christ’s second coming as having already occurred.

    The second reason to reject the preterist interpretation is this…

    2.     The Christians alive during A.D. 70, as well as the church fathers, believed the Second Coming was a future event.

    Not only did the early church not refer to the second coming as a past event, but over and over they referred to it as a future event.

    The oldest extra-Biblical Christian document known to exist is a document called:

    The Didache (pronounced DID-ah-kay).

    It is a simple distillation of Bible doctrine from the early church.

    Most scholars believe it was written near the close of the first century, most likely around A.D. 80.

    It was used and cited by many of the church fathers, as well as by the historian Eusebius (Church History ), so it’s early existence is well documented.

    The full text of The Didache was rediscovered in  in 1873.

    The interesting thing that this document proves [see 16:3-8] is that those who actually lived through the events of A.D. 70 regarded Matthew 24:29-31—and the entire Olivet Discourse—as yet to be fulfilled prophecy [See p. 123-24 in John MacArthur’s book: The Second Coming]

    This early church document mentions…

    –the antichrist

    –the great tribulation

    –and the second coming of Christ as events that were yet to come.

    The Didache is a good piece of evidence from the very believers who lived through the events surrounding A.D. 70, that the preterist view is incorrect.

    Early church leaders, who stated in their writings, post A.D. 70, that they were looking forward to Christ’s Second Coming include…

    -Papias

    -Clement of

    -Ignatius

    -Polycarp

    -Justin Martyr

    Q. Who would know better as to whether Jesus came back in A.D. 70…

    –modern day preterists

    –or those who were alive in A.D. 70, and the years immediately following?

    I’ll trust those that were alive at the time.

    That is reason number two the preterist view should be rejected:

    2. The Christians alive during A.D. 70, as well as the Church Fathers, believed the Second Coming was a future event.

    The third reason to reject preterism is this…

    3.     The Book of Revelation was not even written until approximately A.D. 95.

    Preterists believe that the Book of Revelation was a prophecy written by the apostle John as a description of the things that would shortly come upon  and the Jewish people as their city would be destroyed by the Romans.

    There is compelling evidence however, in the writings of the church fathers, that the Book of Revelation was written by the apostle John, approximately 25 years after the events surrounding the destruction of  in A.D. 70.

    A. Irenaeus

    Irenaeus was the bishop in the city of  in modern day  and lived from A.D. 120 – 202. He was a disciple of Polycarp [the bishop of ], who was a disciple of the apostle John. His credibility as a witness is considered to be outstanding.

    In Irenaeus’ work entitled, “Against Heresies” chapter 13:18, Irenaeus tells us when John had his apocalyptic vision.

    He says:

    “We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; [that’s interesting, even Irenaeus believed that the Antichrist had not been revealed long after the destruction of !] for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him [i.e. John] who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that [speaking of John’s vision] was seen not very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian’s reign.”

    Irenaeus says John had his vision of the apocalypse “towards the end of Domitian’s reign.”

    Who was Domitian?

    Domitian was a Roman Emperor in the first century, whose reign did not even begin until A.D. 81!!

    His reign ended with his assassination on .

    Irenaeus places the date of the authorship of Book of Revelation long after the events of A.D. 70 and the destruction of .

    Probably around A.D. 95.

    B. Clement of

    Clement of , who lived from about A.D. 150 to 215 also testifies to a late date for the writing of the book of Revelation, when he mentions that John was exiled to the isle of  until, QUOTE:

    “after the death of the tyrant,” another reference to Domitian.

    C. Tertullian

    Tertullian, who lived from about A.D. 160 – 220, also placed John’s exile under Domitian.

    D. Victorinus

    Victorinus, the bishop of Pettau, who suffered martyrdom around A.D. 304, in his commentary on the Book of Revelation states that John had his vision of the apocalypse under the reign of Domitian.

    E. Eusebius

    Eusebius, known as “the father of church history” due to his classic work Ecclesiastical History, lived from A.D. 260 – 340.

    Several times in his writings he also dates the Book of Revelation to

    the reign of Domitian.

    One of the reasons why his witness is especially weighty is because he had a wealth of early Christian literature at his disposal.

    F. Jerome

    Jerome, the one who translated the Scriptures into Latin, a work we known as the Vulgate, lived from 340 to 419.

    He states clearly in two places, that John was banished under Domitian, and that that is when he wrote the Apocalypse.

    These statements from some of the greatest, most reliable names in church history, build a strong and compelling case that the Book of Revelation was written many years after A.D. 70, and the events surrounding the destruction of .

    I believe this evidence alone sends the whole preterist theory up in smoke.

    But there are other evidences, besides the writings of these men, that the Book of Revelation was completed late in the first century.

    For instance…

    1.

    appears as a prosperous city in Revelation 3:17.

    That’s interesting, because  was destroyed by an earthquake around A.D. 61, during Nero’s reign.

    How could  have recovered so quickly as to become prosperous by the time John wrote the Book of Revelation if indeed he did write the book in the early A.D. 60’s as Preterists claim?

    2. Polycarp’s To the Philippians

    Another evidence that the Book of Revelation was written after the destruction of  is something that Polycarp said.

    Polycarp was a disciple of the apostle John, and the bishop of the church in . He served the Lord for eighty-six years, before he was martyred for his faith about A.D. 155.

    In his letter called To the Philippians (paragraph 11:3) he reveals that his church, the church in  was not even in existence in the days of the apostle Paul, leading up to the destruction of . [It is interesting that Symrna is never mentioned in the Book of Acts, or in any other New Testament epistle.]

    That’s interesting, because the church at  was around at the time John wrote the Book of Revelation. It is one of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation  (and again in 2:8).

    3. The Condition of the Church

    Another evidence for a late date for the completion of the Book of Revelation is the condition of the churches at the time John wrote.

    –The church at  had lost its first love (Rev. 2:4).

    –And others like  (Rev. 3:14f) had fallen from the Faith.

    These are better explained by a late date than an early one.

    If the Book of Revelation was written anytime after A.D. 70, then it could not have been a prophecy about the destruction of  as preterists claim.

    A fourth blow to the preterist position is…

    4.     The Roman emperor Nero could not possibly have been the Antichrist as preterists suggest.

    Because Preterists believe that the Book of Revelation is a prophetic account about things that have already been fulfilled, they search high and low through historical records of the first century [primarily Josephus’ writings] in an attempt to find historical details that could possibly be the fulfillment of the prophecies contained in the Book of Revelation.

    One of their widely held beliefs is that the Antichrist, also referred to as “the beast” in the Book of Revelation, was actually the Roman Emperor Nero.

    Could this be?

    Could those passages about the Antichrist, the beast, the lawless one (2 Thess. 2:9) be a reference, not to a coming world ruler, but a reference to the Roman Emperor Nero?

    Not at all.

    Why do we know that?

    Well, look with me at 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

    2 Thessalonians 2:8

    “And then the lawless one [that is one of the titles given to the Antichrist] will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” NKJV

    Q. How does the Bible say this lawless one, the Antichrist, will be brought to an end?

    A. By Christ.

    Q. When will that happen? Notice the verse again.

    2 Thessalonians 2:8

    “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” NKJV

    The Bible teaches that this lawless one, the Antichrist, will be brought to an end by the Lord Himself at Christ’s “coming.”

    Well, this verse poses some serious problems for preterists.

    How so?

    A. This was not how Nero died.

    For those of you who may be familiar with first century history, you know that Nero committed suicide at the age of 31, by cutting his own throat. [Source: “he drove a dagger into his throat” –Suetonius (c.69 – c.140) The Lives of the Twelve Caesars]

    Far from being consumed by the breath of Christ at his coming, Nero actually took his own life.

    That’s not all…

    B. Nero committed suicide two years before preterists say that Christ came back.

    Preterists (including partial preterists) believe that Jesus’ prophesy about coming back in Matthew 24, was fulfilled spiritually in A.D. 70.

    But Nero committed suicide in June of A.D. 68, two years before A.D. 70!

    Nero’s suicide, two years before A.D. 70, falls far short of being a fulfillment of what 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says will happen to the Antichrist.

    There are some other insurmountable problems that exist when it comes to the preteristic teaching that Nero was the Antichrist.

    C. Daniel 9:27 says that the prince who is to come, an Old Testament reference to the coming world leader, would make a seven year covenant relating to Israel. Nero never made any such covenant.

    D. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 says that this coming world leader will take “his seat in the , displaying himself as being God.” That never happened. Nero never stepped foot in the temple in .

    2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

    3  “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [speaking of the Great Tribulation, the second half of the Tribulation period] will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” NKJV

    E. In fact, Nero never stepped foot in .

    F. Revelation 13:16-17 says that under the Antichrist’s coming government, there will be given to the people of the world a mark on their hand or forehead that will permit them to buy and sell. Nothing of the sort ever occurred under Nero, nor ever has to this date.

    These facts relating to Nero are just another blow to the preterist view of the end times.

    None of these things ever happened.

    A fifth blow to the preterist position is…

    5.     There is no evidence that the great judgments of Revelation ever occurred.

    The Book of Revelation tells us that in the coming time of Tribulation, when God’s wrath is going to be poured out upon a Christ rejecting world, the earth will experience three waves of judgment, with each wave containing seven judgments each:

    The Book of Revelation tells us of…

    –7 seal judgments

    –7 trumpet judgments

    –7 bowl judgments

    …judgments that will devastate the earth.

    It will be a time of, as Jesus said,…

    Matthew 24:21

    “a great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

    These judgments, talked about in the Book of Revelation, describe…

    A. The turning of a 1/3 of the sea into blood (Rev. 8:8)

    B. The death of a third of all sea life dying (Rev. 8:9)

    C. A third of the world’s ships being destroyed. (Rev. 8:9)

    Look at Revelation 8:8-9…

    Revelation 8:8-9

    8  Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. 9 And a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. NKJV

    Q. When did that ever happen in the events surrounding the destruction of ?

    A. Nothing like that has ever happened in the history of the world.

    The Book of Revelation also prophesied of…

    D. The most devastating earthquake that has ever taken place.

    Revelation 16:18-19

    “…there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19 Now the great city [a reference to , see Rev. 11:8] was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell.” NKJV

    Q. When was there ever in the first century an earthquake that not only split Jerusalem into three parts but caused “the cities of the nations” [plural, not just Jerusalem] to fall?

    A. Well of course that never happened.

    That earthquake is still to come.

    The Book of Revelation also prophesied of…

    E. An event that will wipe out 25 percent of the earth’s population.

    Revelation 6:8

    “And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth.” NKJV

    Q. When did that happen?

    John, seeing into the future also prophesied of…

    F. Three plagues that will wipe out one third of the remaining population.

    Revelation 9:18

    “By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed.” NKJV

    Q. Was a third of mankind killed by three plagues in the first century?

    A. No.

    The Book of Revelation also prophesies…

    G. Two witnesses

    Revelation 11:5-6

    “two witnesses…[who] will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth” [in , who will be able to destroy their enemies with fire (Rev. 11:5) and who will be able] “to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.”(11:6)

    John goes on to say that these two witnesses will be killed, only to be resurrected and carried up to heaven in the sight of their enemies (in Rev. 11:12).

    There is no record that anything of the sort happened in the first century.

    Q. Where is there mention of any of these things being literally fulfilled in the annals of history, secular or Christian?

    There isn’t.

    It is only by departing from the normal, literal, historical, grammatical method of interpretation, and allegorizing, that preterists can seek to say that some events in  around A.D. 70 fulfilled some of these prophesies.

    None of things mentioned in the Book of Revelation, chapters 6-22 have happened.

    When they do, they are going to be fulfilled literally, just like God’s past judgments were fulfilled in:

    –The destruction of  and

    –The Days of Pharaoh before the Exodus

    –And the whole earth at the time of the flood spoken of in Genesis 7

    [See chapter 5 in The End Times Controversy, Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice (general editors) where pastor and teacher John MacArthur deals with this topic in an in-depth manner.]

    Lastly, let’s turn to the Book of Zechariah, chapters 12.

    Zechariah prophesied, or foretold many of the events that will lead up to the Messiah’s coming in glory which he talks about in Zechariah chapter 14.

    This book proves to be very problematic for the preterist position.

    Chapter 12 here tells us that immediately before the Messiah’s coming in glory to the  in glory (14:4), that “all the nations of the world” will be gathered against .

    Let’s read chapter 12:3…

    Zechariah 12:3 God is speaking…

    3  “And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.” NKJV

    Zechariah 14:2 says the same thing…

    2 “For I will gather all the nations to battle against ;” NKJV

    Why is what Zechariah says here problematic for the preterist view?

    In A.D. 70, right before preterists say Jesus came back, it was only the Romans who came against .

    ADD: Charlie, what other nations existed at the time of A.D. 70, if any?

    But God says here in Zechariah that in the time immediately preceding Christ’s coming in glory that…

    Zechariah 14:2

    2 “…I will gather all the nations to battle against ;” NKJV

    This gathering of “all the nations of the earth” (Zech. 12:3) against  has never occurred.

    It will happen during the coming Tribulation period, at what is commonly referred to as the Battle of Armageddon [a battle that will begin in Megiddo as a gathering place and ultimately end up in Jerusalem] spoken of in Rev. 16:14, 16,  when…

    Revelation 16:14, 16

    14 “…[The] spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty…And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.” NKJV

    So a sixth problem for the preterist is that…

    6.     The Bible says the battle that immediately precedes Christ’s second coming will involve a gathering of “all the nations” (Zechariah 12:3, 14:2) and “the kings of the earth” (Revelation ) and this never happened in the first century.

    Next, notice…

    Zechariah 12:8

    8  In that day [speaking of the time that this gathering against Israel will take place] the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. NKJV

    The Bible prophesies here that in that invasion against “the inhabitants of ” that God is going to QUOTE: “defend the inhabitants of .” (Zech. 12:8)

    Q. What happened in A.D. 70, when the Romans invaded ?

    Josephus, that 1st century Roman historian, wrote an account of the event.

    He tells us that the Romans put to death a million Jews and led 100,000 into captivity.

    Well, that is hardly a description of God defending the inhabitants of , as Zechariah prophesies will happen.

    The deliverance that Zechariah prophesied is still yet to occur and will occur right before the Messiah comes (14:4).

    So this is a seventh problem for the preterist.

    7.     In the battle that takes place immediately before Jesus comes in glory, God is going to “defend the inhabitants of ” (Zechariah 12:8). That did not happen in A.D. 70.

    Another problem surfaces for the preterist in v. 9…

    Zechariah 12:9 says…

    “And it will come about in that day that I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against .”

    Not only is God going to defend (v.8) the inhabitants of , He is going to what?

    Notice the verse again. God is going to…

    “…destroy all the nations that come against .” (Zech. 12:9)

    Skip down to chapter 14.

    Still speaking of the same time period (right before the Messiah comes in glory) we read in v. 3…

    Zechariah 14:3 says…

    “Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.”

    This is another insurmountable problem for those holding to the preterist position.

    Q. When did the Lord ever, in the first century, gather together all the nations against  to battle, and then destroy them?

    A. He didn’t.

    There is nothing in the history of the ’s that would qualify as a fulfillment of what Zechariah foretold there.

    So, problem number eight…

    8.     God said He would “destroy all the nations” that would “come against ,” and that never happened (Zechariah 12:9, 14:3).

    Let’s just look at one more problem for the preterist.

    It surfaces in v. 9…

    Zechariah 14:4 says…

    “And in that day His feet [the LORD’s (v.3)] will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.”

    When the Lord comes back, and “every eye” sees Him, like Revelation 1:7 says, He is going to come back to the Mount of Olives (the very place of His ascension-Acts 1:12) and it is literally going to split in two.

    Well, it barely needs to be said, but that never happened in A.D. 70, and if preterists say that it did, when did it get moved back to the way it is today?

    It’s much easier to see Zechariah 14:4 as something that will be fulfilled in the future.

    So, for you note takers, no. 9…

    9.     The Bible says that when the LORD comes back, the Mount of Olives is going to be split in two, and that never happened in A.D. 70, the year preterists say Jesus came back (Zechariah 14:4).

    So, we have seen that there are some very good reasons why preterism should be rejected.

    First we noted that their own proof texts fail to support their case.

    Then we went on to see that…

    1. None of the church fathers mentioned Christ’s second coming as having already occurred.

    2. The Christians alive during A.D. 70, as well as the Church Fathers, believed the Second Coming was a future event.

    3. The Book of Revelation was not even written until approximately A.D. 95, long after the events of surrounding A.D. 70.

    4. The Roman Emperor Nero could not possibly have been the Antichrist as preterists suggest.

    5. There is no evidence that the great judgments of Revelation were ever literally fulfilled.

    6. The Bible says the battle that immediately precedes Christ’s second coming will involve a gathering of “all the nations” and “the kings of the earth” and this never happened in the first century.

    7. In the battle that takes place immediately before Jesus comes in glory, God is going to “defend the inhabitants of ” (Zechariah 12:8), something that did not happen in A.D. 70.

    8. God said He would destroy the nations that would “come against ,” and that never happened (Zechariah 12:9, 14:3).

    9. The Bible says that when the LORD comes back, the Mount of Olives is going to be split in two, and that never happened in A.D. 70, the year preterists say Jesus came back (Zechariah 14:4).

    For these reasons it is clear to see that preterism is an incorrect view of the end times.

    May I encourage you to examine the Scriptures daily!

    We must hold up everything that men like Hank Hanegraaff (and others who we have greatly respected) to the Word of God (Isaiah , 1 Thessalonians , Acts ).

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