Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How I Came to Believe in Full Preterism and My Brief Critique of Today's Preterist Movement

In 1972 I was reading Matthew 23 and 24. When I read 24:34- "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.", the thought crossed my mind that what Jesus was saying was that His 2nd Coming was going to happen during their generation and that it, therefore, had already happened.

At that time, Hal Lindsey's 'The Late, Great Planet Earth' was a bestseller.  All of the churches, both Catholic and Protestant, were relaying the message that Christ's 2nd Coming was in the future- it is even in their Creeds that Christ's 2nd Coming is yet to be fulfilled.
So with that in mind, I immediately dismissed my thought of the 2nd Coming as already happening because who was I to question these authorities of the Bible.
But in 1998 I was introduced to Gary DeMar's 'Last Days Madness' which basically conveys the message, based on Matthew 24:34, that Christ did return in judgment when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in AD70 by the Romans.
When I started reading that book, I had a flashback to 1972 and my views on Christ's 2nd Coming and what I believe is the true message of the Bible were forever changed.
Full preterists believe that all Biblical prophecy has been fulfilled.  The majority of full preterists today are adherents to Calvinism.  And there are issues that I have with Calvinism.  So therefore, I am not a full preterist with Calvinistic leanings.  I have tried to discuss this with these Calvinists but making inroads so far has been difficult but still somewhat fruitful.  I've heard various theologies coming from them based on Calvinism while they are trying to promote full preterism that I feel are detrimental to the full preterist cause.
Gary DeMar believes that not all prophecy has been fulfilled because, according to him, "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."- 1 Corinthians 15:26, has not been fulfilled yet.  Which tells us that Gary DeMar believes that the death that the Apostle Paul was talking about was physical death.  And one can also surmise that Gary DeMar must also believe that the death that Adam brought on was physical death also....  If this is the case then I have to say here that I disagree with him on this issue.  There are many Christians, Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike, that believe Adam's sin brought about physical death.  And therefore, according to them, if he would have never sinned, mankind would never have experienced dying physically.

There are many other false teachings in the Christian Church of today including false teaching coming from some preterists.  They are close, in my opinion, but in some instances are still way off course due to their misinterpretations of certain Scripture that was probably taught to them by clergy in churches they attended.

Then there is J.S. Russell.
In his book 'The Parousia', published in 1878, he convincingly points out using "time-indicator" verses in the New Testament that Jesus and the Apostles were without doubt telling everyone back then that His return in judgment was going to happen during their generation, while some of them would still be alive after Jesus ascended to heaven, awaiting His Father's command to return.
Russell also interprets Revelation pointing out the nearness of the great "Day of the Lord" and deciphers the apocalyptic language of the vision John had. He points out that Nero was "the Beast from the Sea" of Revelation 13 amongst other eye-opening "revelations" that have convinced me anyway.
But Russell believed that the phrase 'thousand years' of Rev 20 was to be taken literally as a thousand years. So he concluded in his book that that portion of Revelation (Rev 20) remained unfulfilled. But this I cannot believe can be true because throughout the entire book of Revelation it is indicated that that all the "things" mentioned in the book were about to happen (Rev 1:1, 3; 22:7, 10, 12, 20).
The 'thousand years' happens before Christ's return according to Rev 20. How can Christ live and reign with those saints who were beheaded for their faith in Jesus and did not accept the "mark of the beast' in a "perfect world" (according to most Futurists who believe that Christ's 2nd Coming occurs BEFORE His "Millennial Reign" in, therefore, a "perfect world' or a "perfect recreated earth", etc.) during a time period of literally 1,000 years only to have Satan be released from his prison at the end of the 'thousand years' so that he can gather the nations to war against the "camp of the saints" in Jerusalem, in this newly created "perfect world" where there is no death?... It just not make any sense.
I find myself disagreeing with the majority of full preterists today- mainly those who have their Calvinistic leanings.
There are many critics of preterism. I do not claim to know it all. But I will never be convinced that, just based on the time-indicator verses alone, that futurism, the belief that the 2nd Coming is yet to happen (and to some adherents of futurism, is going to happen any day now), has more truth to it than preterism.


  1. What is the full preterist view on the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11?

  2. Jason,

    I agree with J.S. Russell in his book "The Parousia" (published in 1878) that the witnesses were Apostle Peter (the "Rock" who remained in Jerusalem to the bitter end) and James, the brother of Jesus who also remained in Jerusalem. Josephus mentions that with the death of James, the final assault on Jerusalem by Roman General Titus began shortly thereafter.
    My educated guess is that Titus' assault began exactly "the 3 1/2 days" (of Rev 11) after Peter and James were killed. When they were resurrected the rest of the dead in Christ were also resurrected and then a moment later the "rapture" of the living took place. I believe that when those 3 1/2 days ended, that was when Jesus returned. Therefore, those 3 1/2 days had to be the 'thousand years' of Revelation 20. When the beast and false prophet killed Peter and James, Satan was chained and thrown into the Abyss. During those 3 1/2 days the decision was made by the Father when His Son would return in judgment of the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28  And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel) and NOT the entire globe like Christians of today have purposely been misled to believe.

    Thanks for asking. Not all preterists have come to an agreement on everything. I believe my interpretation is unique. Russell took '1,000 years' literally. Other preterists believe the '1,000 years' was the 40-year period between Jesus' ascension (~AD30) and His return in AD70. That didn't rest well with me or other Christians looking into preterism. I am letting the other preterists know, slowly but surely, of my thoughts about it all. They are close, IMHO, but haven't won the cigar.
    I'm a relative new-comer on the scene and they are having a hard time questioning their mindsets :^)