Preterism, FTW!!!!….wait, what?

Most folks are familiar with the Rapture Bunny version of eschatology, thanks to LaHaye and Jenkins’ Left Behind series of novels.  Jesus raptures the true believers, and seven years of literal hell-on-earth follow, culminating in Christ’s return to destroy the statists of the world and free mankind from the evils of satanic government (my interpretation).  A one thousand-year period of peace and prosperity follows, after which there is a sort of “mini-tribulation”, where Satan is released from his prison and leads an army of unbelievers against the City of God, and suffers final defeat.  A new heaven and new earth follows.

This is really not a popular end-times theological stance, despite the permeation it has enjoyed in media and popular culture.  There are large swaths of the Church who reject pre-tribulationalism for a variety of reasons.  There are, for example, the “post-tribulationalists”, who believe that the Church will suffer God’s judgement along with the World, as a sort of purifying effect.  The “post-millenialists” believe that the Millenium happens first, then the Tribulation.  “Pre-Wrath” proponents believe in the Rapture of the Church, but not until the Tribulation is almost over.  “Mid-Tribulationalists”, as the name implies, believe the Rapture will happen half-way through.

There is a fascinating view of eschatology that is becoming quite popular of late: Preterism.  This view asserts that all Bible prophecy has already been fulfilled, in one way or another, and that all we have to look forward to is Christ’s return (if that; it’s possible, of course that He already returned).  Worried about the Tribulation?  Stop it!  The Tribulation happened way back in AD 70, with Rome’s destruction of Jerusalem.  What about the Anti-Christ?  That was Nero, Silly!  So, no worries, Mon!

Wait, what?

I have found that Preterism is quite popular with people who hold to two theological stances: the Reformed Tradition (also sometimes known as Calvinism) and Dominion Theology (which says, more or less, that the Church is responsible for bringing about Christ’s kingdom on earth).  There may be Preterists who hold to either one or the other of these views, but in my experience Preterists are usually proponents of both stances.  I point this out because I think preterism flows naturally from these two dogmas.  If it is the Church’s responsibility to bring Christ’s kingdom on earth, then what’s the point of the whole “Rapture-Tribulation-Millenium” paradigm?

There also seems to be a sort of “anti-anti-intellectual” movement for preterists.  That is, they are embarrassed by the garish nature of the pre-trib crowd, and so want to distance themselves from the “rubes” who don’t really know how to study the Bible, or something.  I don’t have any specific evidences for this idea, just a feeling I get from reading the preterist arguments against pre-trib theology.

For myself, I’m definitely in the Rapture Bunny camp, for the simple reason that Christ compared the last days both to the time of Noah and the time of Lot.  In both instances, God rained judgement down on the World, but He took care to remove His people from having to experience the judgement themselves.

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6 Responses to “Preterism, FTW!!!!….wait, what?”

  1. I’ll start by saying I’m conflicted somewhere between the Rapture Bunny camp and the mid-Trib crowd. I used to be very much pre-Trib, but there’s a man in our church who has really studied eschatology and he’s sort of winning me over. But I’m also a gal who likes to think for myself, so he’s going to have to convince me some more.

    Preterism sounds like typical American narcissism — the idea that it’s all up to the humans to complete God’s work. How prideful! Why would anyone assume that God needs our help with anything?

    Now, if He LETS us help … that’s a different story. 🙂

    Anyway, I have to note that, especially in Lot’s case, the believers were near the heat, so to speak. And the rescued who weren’t true believers ready to let go of the past ended up paying the price while the believers got to see that price being paid. I suspect that’s how the end times are going to roll, just so we understand what we missed out because we chose to accept the salvation Christ provided.

  2. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog. As to Preterism, the vast majority of the church has consisted of partial preterists from the time of the Day of Pentecost in Acts until very recently. We believe that John was inspired to write Revelation to warn Christians to flee the Jerusalem area as soon as Nero or his heir was ready to wage war on Jerusalem and tear down the temple (accomplished in AD 70 and within the lilfespan of “this generation” as Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 24. The mistake people make is that they do not think about the book of Revelation as prophecy and understand the language thereof. Reading the OT prophets will remind them that when God declares a coming judgment he uses prophetic language as colorful and symbolic as the language in Revelation,

    For some, this “mistake” has allowed them to set up ministries to help fleece the sheep by claiming to know special revelations from God about the time of the coming Tribulation, not realizing that this part of the book was the destruction of the Temple above all else and the slaughtering of the unbelieving Jews who would not accept the Messiah. With no temple or genealogical records extant, the former Judaism passed away and Rabbinical Judaism took its place. God erased the ways of the old covenant after having fulfilled it.

    The latter parts of Revelation are still to come. Yay! But think, if this book had been written after AD 65, then the deaths of Paul and Peter would surely have been mentioned. Also the Revelation calls upon a measurement of the Temple. After 70 AD there was no temple to measure. Dispensationalists have not a shred of evidence for their position other than having been taught it and the problematic and cryptic utterance of one Iraneus. This translation of Iraneus is erroneous. God is not going to turn the Earth into the twilight zone. Death and Hell are judment enough for those who do not receive Christ. Radar.

  3. From the article linked above: “Ezekiel, during a similar vision of a Temple (Ezek. 40—43) was told to measure that Temple. When Ezekiel saw and was told to
    measure a Temple there was not one standing in Jerusalem (Preterists agree).”

    • Having read Gentry and also done my own research, I can find no evidence that any other early church father of note claimed a late date for Revelation and that the Iraneus/Irenaeus statement is clear as mud. It really doesn’t translate into the text presented in that article and it is vague as to meaning. The scholars of that time believed that the Revelation pointed to the destruction of Jerusalem and furthermore, there was indeed a church at Smyrna at that time. In fact, during the times preceding the destruction of Jerusalem, the seven churches were located at seven major mail stops on the circuit of messages that were circulated amongst cities by way of travelers or messengers.

      Also, the likely date of John’s book is before 60 AD and therefore Laodicea would have been doing well before that date and indeed it was. Internal evidence of Revelation reveals a coded message to believing Christians (who would be almost entirely Jewish in that region) to expect a destruction coming soon and that Nero would be behind it. By the way, it was the Non-Christian Jews who were consistent in persecuting Christians before AD 70 while Rome was wildly inconsistent on the subject.

      Those who take the time to read the writings of early church fathers and Josephus and other early historians will find that the dispensational viewpoint was not accepted. The author, Thomas Ice, has not taken the words of Christ literally in Matthew 24 when He was speaking literally nor has he inspected the prophecy of Daniel’s 70 weeks thoroughly and yet he is willing to take the prophetic language of Revelation and attempt to make it a literal reading. That is completely backwards. One has to take both Daniel and Jesus and stretch a short period of time into a vast length of time spanning untold centuries, which is not logical.

      Nero was represented by the Six Hundred Three Score and Six of the book by the numeric rendering used by the Jewish people of that day but it would have been mystifying to Romans. In this way John could identify Nero as the enemy while avoiding Roman scrutiny and confiscation of his letter. The church was eagerly awaiting the destruction of the Temple as God’s judgment on those Jews who rejected their own Messiah and therefore 70 AD was a time of triumph for the church. Peter and Paul and the rest could not be sure when God would put an end to the world but they knew that the Temple would be destroyed within a generation of the words of Jesus Christ, because they believed His words. I do as well. I have read enough of the old church fathers to know that they generally agreed that Daniel’s prophecy was completed when Jerusalem fell and that also the prediction of Jesus Himself was fulfilled at that time.

      John was the only Disciple who was not martyred and did live to an old age. But both external and internal evidencespoint to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem as God’s judgment on rebellious Israel and His sign to the believers that He indeed was Lord and that the Book of Revelation has been partially fulfilled by that judgment. To believe otherwise ignores the wisdom of interpreting the Bible by the Bible. Understand prophetic language, know the history of the early church and believe in the veracity of Christ and dispensationalism is dispelled. Respectfully, Radar

  4. One more thing. The God I know has promised Hell for all eternity for those who do not believe. What purpose would seven years of impossible and ludicrous punishments (a star cannot hit the Earth, it would burn up) exacted upon Earth accomplish? If you are familiar with your Old Testament prophets, you recognize the symbolic prophetic language common to them that is NOT literal being used in this book we call Revelation. Once you see this, see the internal evidences and consider the external evidences then Revelation makes sense and the entirely weird dispensational story is cast out – and lots of TV preachers then have to go back to selling used cars or actually preaching about Christ rather than End Time Prophecy.

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