Pretreism is experiencing much interest because of popular radio personalities like R. C. Sproul and the weird theology presented by Hank Hanegraaff.
There is a more extreme form of Preterism whose advocates consider themselves to be quote: "Consistent Preterists." They believe that ALL so-called "end time prophecy" was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. . . . including the Second Coming of Christ and the resurrection of believers! They do not look forward to any future resurrection or any end of history. These nuts believe we are currently living in our eternal state. That is definitely NOT what the Bible tells me! Just go to Matthew 24 . . . then go to Revelation 21 and 22.
The New Last Days Scoffers
The Second Coming of Christ is one of the fundamental doctrines of Scripture and Christianity! Jesus ardently said, “I will come again” (John 14:3). The questions raised by believers over the centuries have always been “When?” and “How?” The answers to these questions divide Christians into various views of eschatology (the end times). Some believe He will come before the Tribulation. Some believe He’ll return during it; and some after it. Some believe He will come at the end of the Church Age and some think He will come after the millennium. BUT . . . He has yet to come!
One of the most bizarre interpretations of eschatology is the view that He has already come back! NO! I’m not talking about the Jehovah’s Witnesses who say that Jesus returned in 1914. I’m talking about a viewpoint called Preterism, which teaches that Jesus returned in AD 70 when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem.
You may think that no sensible person really believes that Jesus already came back. Well, think again! Preterism is experiencing a new rush of interest these days thanks to the popular radio personalities like R.C. Sproul and Hank Hanegraaff.
We all have seen different end times ideas come and go in the past. Some last a short time (like “88 Reasons the Rapture will be in 1988”) while others last for years (like the fast-fading so-called “Pre Wrath view”). But NONE have had more ridiculous ideas than Preterism! They say that Jesus has already come back and we missed Him! Do NOT listen to these people because the Bible clearly warns us. 2 Peter 3:3-4 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, 4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (KJV)
These nuts insist that the devil, the law, sin and death were utterly destroyed in A.D. 70. A friendly "Universalism" message of "Comprehensive Grace" seems to be the answer to those who doubt these false teachers. YES! Ample Grace IS available to whosoever, but ONLY through Christ Jesus and the belief and trust of Him and His Word!
Their basic belief, which I do NOT share, that the passing of the Mosaic Law was the focus of eschatology, and that A.D. 70 was the "consummation of the ages." A number of Universalism friendly conclusions emerge in this heresy. Though not all systems embrace every one of these conclusions, they all represent the general full preterist views.
- Satan was utterly destroyed in A.D. 70
- Sin was utterly destroyed in A.D. 70
- The Law totally passed away in A.D. 70
- The "New Heavens and Earth" represents the world post A.D. 70
- The "Age to Come" is the post A.D. 70 world
What absolute and utter nonsense!
Extreme preterists, who prefer to call themselves “consistent preterists,”believe that ALL Bible prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem. They see this event as the Second Coming of Christ and reject ANY belief in a future return of Christ. SO . . . they DENY a future bodily resurrection of believers AND a literal return of Christ to Earth. Extreme preterists believe we are already in the “New Heavens!” Their view is not only stupid, but it is also heretical and places them outside the bounds of Biblical Truth.
Moderate preterists, like R.C. Sproul, claim they still believe in a future Second Coming, but still insist on interpreting the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation as basically already fulfilled in the past. SO . . . they deny and reject such fundamental doctrines as: the Rapture of the Church; The Literal Seven Year Tribulation Period; The Literal Antichrist; The Conversion of Israel; The Battle of Armageddon; The 1000 year Millennium; and the Future Binding of Satan. Personally, I believe in all these Biblical Doctrines.
In contrast and opposition to the basic beliefs of premillennialism, moderate preterists believe that God is finished with Biblical Israel. They see absolutely NO prophetic future for Israel. The fact that Israel even exists today is blamed on an “accident of history” perpetrated by “ignorant premillennialists” who supported the Balfour Declaration that eventually led to the formation of the modern state of Israel in 1948. Most preterists will insist they are NOT anti-Semitic, BUT their theology certainly leans in that direction. One of the symbols of the current preterist movement is an artist’s rendering of the smoldering ashes of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, as though they are rejoicing in the destruction of the Holy City. See our articles on Israel: http://www.hisservants.org/israel_h_s.htm. The doctrine of "Replacement Theology" is a damnable heresy! (2 Pet.2:1).
As a rule, moderate preterists tie their belief system to a postmillennial vision in which the church becomes the new “Israel” and must bring in the Kingdom on earth in order to prepare the world for the return of Christ. Most preterists believe the following:
- 1. Nero was the Antichrist. There will be no future individual Antichrist.
- 2. The Tribulation Period is already over. It occurred when the Roman army besieged Jerusalem in AD 66-70.
- 3. Christ “returned” in the clouds in AD 70 to witness the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army.
- 4. God replaced Old Testament Israel with the Church. Therefore, all the biblical promises to Israel belong to the Church.
- 5. Armageddon already happened in AD 70. The fall of “Babylon” refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
- 6. Satan is already bound in the abyss and cannot hinder the spread of the Gospel. Revelation 20 has already been fulfilled.
- 7. We are already in the Millennium, but it is not literal. Some preterists equate the entire Church Age as the Millennium. The 1,000 years are not literal but figurative, even though they are mentioned six times in Revelation 19-20.
The basic assumptions of preterism rest on passages that refer to Christ coming “quickly” (Revelation 3:11), or “this generation will not pass” (Matthew 24:34). They insist these must relate to and were limited to the first century. By contrast, premillennialists believe that Christ’s Coming is imminent and could occur at any moment. This completely opposes the preterist view! My humble opinion: what Jesus is saying is that the generation that sees the beginning of the end, also sees its end. When the signs come, they will proceed quickly and intensify. They will not drag on for many generations. It will happen within a generation. My friend, when I consider Matthew 24, and see all that is happening, I KNOW the end is near!
Matthew 24:4-14 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.
10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (KJV)
- #1 Our precious Saviour and Lord is speaking to Jews here.
- #2 Many have deceived Israel.
- #3 Many have come saying they were Christ.
- #4 Wars and rumors of wars. I think this means wars particularly affecting the Jews, and this is a fact. (Zec.12:2)
- #5 The nations and kingdoms which were to rise up against each other are those whose military movements would affect the peace of Israel. Another fact! Millions of Jews have perished through the years because of these uprisings, and these uprisings continue in number and severity, and always continuing.
- #6 An indefinite number of famines referred to by Roman writers; at least one pestilence, during which 30,000 Jews perished in Rome alone; and five earthquakes. This comes from the writings of Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, and other unbelieving writers, sufficiently attesting to the literal fulfillment of the Saviour's prediction.
- #7 Since the Jews are now living all over the world, the earthquakes and natural disasters too continue in number and intensity. So, all Christ's prophecies in Matthew 24 affect the Jews and Gentiles worldwide!
Sin is hated by God, be it done by Jews or Gentiles! I believe God has had His fill of sin in the world! I believe the natural disasters in the world today is God's warning to the world to REPENT! But, according to the Bible, there shall be little repentance, for sin shall become more and more rampant: corrupt government, abortion, adultery, apostasy, angel worship, covetousness, drunks, drug abuse, fornication, greed, hatred, homosexual sin, idolatry, lies, murder, pornography, Satanic worship, slavery, sorcery, stealing, witchcraft, wild parties, violence, etc. I think the repulsive slave market (Rev.18:13) is on the rise with no end in sight. Judgment is coming! Count on it! God does NOT lie!
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (KJV)
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (KJV)
Deceptive and Eerroneous Reasoning of Preterism
Their idea that Satan is already “bound” is clearly contradicted by the Bible!
Revelation 20:1-2 And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (KJV)
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (KJV)
John 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (KJV)
John 14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. (KJV)
1 Peter 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (KJV)
Our Lord Jesus refers to Satan as the prince of this world. WHY would He do that IF Satan were bound? The Apostle Paul refers to Satan as the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). It would be impossible to convince Paul and Peter that Satan was already bound by the power of the cross. IF Satan is bound today, WHY are the nations still deceived? IF Satan is bound today, WHY is there so much sin? IF Satan is bound today, WHO is it that keeps tempting Christians to go against The Lord?
IF we are already in the Millennium, WHY is there still war in the world? WHY are there famines? WHY are there still diseases? WHEN did the lion lay down with the lamb? That simply is NOT true! WHEN did the nations beat their weapons into plowshares? IF the 1000 years are only symbolic, IS the reign of Christ only symbolic? IF God broke His everlasting covenant with Israel, how do we know He will not break His covenant of everlasting life with us? My dear friend, God CANNOT lie! (Tit.1:2). His everlasting covenant with Israel is EXACTLY that! EVERLASTING!!! See the following: Gen.8:21; 9:16; 17:7,13,19; Ex.31:16;; Num.18:19; 2 Sam.23:5; 1 Chron.16:17; 17:14; 2 Chron.13:5; Ps.74:20; 89:34; 105:10; 111:9; Isa.24:5; 54:10; 55:3: 61:8; Jer.32:40; 33:20; Eze.16:60; 37:26; Heb.13:20.
God is NOT Finished With Israel
IF God is finished with Israel, WHY did Paul ask: “Has God cast away his people?” And WHY did he respond so boldly and forcefully, “God forbid!” (Romans 11:1)? And WHY did Paul ask, “Have they stumbled that they should fall?” And WHY did he again respond again in like manner: “God forbid!” (Romans 11:11)? And WHY did Paul say that “blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles comes” (Romans 11:25)? And WHY did he believe, “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26) IF God is already finished with Israel? Does any of that make sense to you? As Judge Judy always says on her TV program: "If it doesn't make sense, then it isn't true!" I agree!
If the Church supposedly has replaced Israel and has become the Kingdom of God on Earth, WHY did the disciples ask Jesus just before He ascended into Heaven, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). That would have been the perfect time for Jesus to tell the disciples that He was finished with Israel and that they (the church) was the new “Israel.” But He did not! Acts 1:7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. (KJV)
What Should People Do?
Because of the rampant spread of the damnably heresy of preterism, pastors and teachers should be prepared to defend the Truth of the Bible and orthodox eschatology (end times) doctrines from this horrendous FALSE attack. Anyone who believes that Christ already came, back in A.D. 70 can hardly obey our Lord’s many commands to “keep watching” until He comes. (Mat.24:42; 25:13; 26:41; Mk.13:33-37; 14:38; Lu.12:37-39; 21:36; Rev.3:3). Also see: 1 Cor.16:13; Ep.6:18; Col.4:2; 1 Thes.5:6; 2 Thes.4:5; 1 Pet.4:7.
Preterism raises serious concerns for sincere students of Scripture. Preterism:
1. Destroys the Literal Meaning of the Bible. IF you think prophecy is not literal, soon you will think the rest of the Bible is not literal. Preterists are on the dangerous path of liberalism which began by denying prophecy and soon rejected the creation, the flood, the virgin birth of Christ, His vicarious death and Bodily resurrection.
2. Distorts the Promise of the Second Coming. Teaching that the Second Coming of Christ has already happened, removes the confident expectation of the future, promised by the Holy Word of God!
3. Diminishes the Hope of the Believer. Preterism wipes out the Biblical commands to “watch” and “be ready” for the Second Coming of Christ. It actually eliminates every Biblical command concerning the return of Christ. How can we “build the church” (Matthew 16:18) or “occupy until he comes” (Lu.19:13). And, HOW can we celebrate the communion service (Mat.26:26-30; 1 Cor.11:24-26) to “show the Lord’s death till He come"? 1 Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. (KJV)
The "Preterist" interpretation of Bible prophecy has been mentioned many times in publications such as Christianity Today, Christian News, Great Christian Books catalog, World Magazine, and several others. There is at least one daily radio program teaching from the preterist view and several monthly and quarterly publications. Many preterist books, tracts, video and audio tapes have been produced and many more are on the way. It is beginning to capture much public attention, and is "spreading like wildfire" at the grass roots level. It is friendly with the essential beliefs of all Christians, and is already represented in nearly all Protestant denominations and Catholicism.
Preterism believes that most or all of the biblical prophecies concerning the End Times have already taken place in the first century after Christ's birth. They believe that Israel was replaced by the Christian church at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. My friend, Replacement Theology is a damnable heresy! Adherents of Preterism are known as Preterists.
Partial preterism: is the belief that most of prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled in first century, with exception of second coming and last judgment
Full preterism: is the belief that all prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled in first century, including second coming and last judgment
Premillennialism: Christ's Second Coming shall occur BEFORE a literal 1000 year period, and is preceded by a deterioration of human society and behavior, with the vast expansion of evil through an end time government or kingdom. See articles on: http://www.lastdays/L_D_one_world_order.htm
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