The following is an article entitled The New Last Days Scoffers. It was written by Dr. Edward Hindson, Assistant to the Chancellor, Liberty University. In this paper, he attempts to tear down a “bizarre” view of eschatology, that “no sensible person” could really believe. It destroys the “literal” interpretation of Scripture, and carries “insidious implications.” What view is he covering? Preterism. I will be responding to his paper [in red]. I believe by the end of it, we will see that he has only taken mischaracterizations, smashed them together, only making some weird frankenstein preterism that he then condemns. No differentiation is made between orthodox preterism and full (unorthodox) preterism. Let’s check it out.
THE NEW LAST DAYS SCOFFERS
Dr. Edward Hindson
Assistant to the Chancellor
The Second Coming of Christ is one of the fundamental doctrines of Scripture. Jesus emphatically 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 (“last things”). 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.
The parousia, or physical second coming of Christ is fundamental to Christian orthodoxy. Christians have always professed this to be true. Christ has gone to prepare a place, and will return [John 14:3], and He will return in the same manner that He went up [Acts 1:10-11]. In the Lord’s Supper, Christians proclaim the death of Christ “until He returns.” [1 Corinthians 11:26]. When the church that my family belongs to partakes of the Lord’s Supper, we confess the Apostle’s Creed. It states that Christ “ascended into heaven… from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.”
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 think 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.
Dr. Hindson here equates the physical second coming of Christ with the preterist view of Christ’s coming in judgment upon Jerusalem in 70 AD. Is he speaking of orthodox preterism or unorthodox [full] preterism? He doesn’t make any distinction here. Full preterists believe that the destruction of Jerusalem was the fulfillment of Christ’s second coming, and that it shouldn’t be understood as a bodily resurrection. Rather, His return was one of power in the destruction of Jerusalem through the Roman armies. There is no future second coming of Christ in their view. How does this differ from the orthodox view?
Orthodox preterism believes that Christ certainly came in judgment upon Jerusalem through the Roman armies in 70 AD, but that Christ’s second coming is still in the future. Consider the following texts. Christ tells the high priest in Matthew 26:64, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” These words caused the high priest to rip his clothes because he understood that Jesus had spoken blasphemously. “Coming on the clouds” was language used of God in regard to His judgment. Isaiah 19:1, “The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.” The fact that destruction was about to befall Jerusalem was well known by the apostles. Christ spoke a lot about it. The apostles also spoke about how soon the Lord would come, reminding the church that He was “at the door.”
You may be thinking that no sensible person really believes that Jesus already came back. Well, it may surprise you to know that Preterism is experiencing a new wave of interest these days thanks to the encouragement of popular radio personalities like R.C. Sproul and Hank Hanegraaff. Sproul openly admits he is a “partial preterist” and Hanegraaff claims he is seriously considering it.
RC Sproul doesn’t believe Jesus already came back. Dr. Hindson knows this. It’s pretty deceiving to make it sound like Sproul does hold to that view.
I have watched various eschatologies come and go over the past 40 years. Some last a few weeks (like “88 Reasons the Rapture will be in 1988”) and some a few years (like the fast-fading so-called “Pre Wrath view”). But none have had more insidious implications than Preterism – the idea that Jesus already came back and we missed it! In fact, the Bible warns us: “there shall come scoffers in the last days…saying, where is the promise of his coming” (II Peter 3:3-4).
Again, he needs to make a distinction here. Not all preterists believe this. I agree that saying the second coming of Christ occurred in 70 AD is foolish. It is soul damning heresy. The second coming of Christ is our hope. Dr Hindson: Make. A. Distinction. I’m not sure whether he is ignorant or just purposely trying to mislead his readers.
What is Preterism?
The term preterist is Latin for “past.” Thus, preterists believe that Bible prophecy was fulfilled in the past. Therefore, they view the major prophetic passages of Scripture, such as the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation, as already fulfilled. Preterism is the exact opposite of Futurism, which views these major biblical prophecies as being fulfilled in the future.
Nope. Not all preterists believe the book of Revelation is fulfilled. The majority I am familiar with believe the first 19 chapters of Revelation are in our past. As for the Olivet Discourse, it is in our past.
Extreme preterists, who prefer to call themselves “consistent preterists,” hold that all Bible prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem. They view this event as the Second Coming of Christ and reject any belief in a future return of Christ. Thus, 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 ludicrous, but it is also heretical and places them outside the parameters of biblical orthodoxy.
Agreed – I have never heard the term “Extreme” or “consistent” preterists. Normally I’ve heard them referred to as “Full” or “Hyper” Preterism.
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. As a result, they reject such basic concepts as: Rapture of the Church; Literal Seven Year Tribulation Period; Literal Antichrist; Conversion of Israel; Battle of Armageddon; 1000-year Millennium; Future Binding of Satan.
This is almost all true, except the part of the conversion of Israel. I am not familiar with any “moderate” preterists that don’t believe in a future mass conversion of Jews. It’s just believed that Scripture doesn’t speak of national Israel as having any future prophetic significance. Again, “moderate” preterism is not a term I’ve heard. The terms normally used for this position are “orthodox” or “partial” preterism.
In contrast to the basic beliefs of premillennialism, moderate preterists believe that God is finished with biblical Israel. They see no prophetic future for national Israel. The fact that the State of Israel 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. While most preterists would insist they are not anti-Semitic, 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 AD 70, as though they are rejoicing in the destruction of the Holy City.
This is weird. I have never heard any orthodox preterist say that national Israel has been accidentally reestablished by ignorant premills. It sounds like Dr. Hindson is trying to mix a little emotional argument in here. Anti-Semitism is the most common accusation of preterism. Why? Because we simply say that national Israel has no future prophetic significance? Somehow this has the leanings of Jewish hatred? We don’t treat Jews any differently. They need the gospel like anyone else. At one point they were God’s chosen people because it was within their loins that the Messiah resided. The Abrahamic Covenant was made to Abraham and his seed (singular), which is Christ [Galatians 3:16]. Those who trust in Christ are true descendents of Abraham. There are not two people of God. What is so painfully ironic about this accusation is that the premills would actually fall more toward anti-Semitism. This is because their end times view involves 2/3 of the entire Jewish population being slaughtered in a fate worse than the Holocaust. Meanwhile, many premillenialists either send or support the return of Jews back to Israel… where premillennialists believe the mass slaughter will occur. Which one sounds more like Hitler?
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.
False. Although I know many orthodox preterist postmillennialists, I also know a few orthodox preterists who are amillennialists. Where is Dr. Hindson getting his information from? It’s a rule to be postmill? This doesn’t even make sense. Preterists just believe that the kingdom of God is here. That could fall under amill or postmill.
Most preterists believe the following:
1. Nero was the Antichrist. There will be no future individual Antichrist.
The term “Antichrist” isn’t in the book of Revelation. It comes from the writings of the apostle John who tells us that the antichrist is anyone who denies God the Son and God the Father. It was a term referring to the spirit that was present at the time. Nero wasn’t the Antichrist. Nero was one of the heads of the beast of Revelation. The beast was Rome. It is sometimes referred to generally as Rome, and sometimes represented by Nero. Let’s consider two descriptions of this beast of Revelation:
“This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while…” (Revelation 17:9-11)
For the audience, the seven heads being described as “seven hills” would have immediately told them that this was Rome. I don’t know of any futurists that would disagree with this. Although, they would say that this is a futuristic revived Roman empire. But, this was the Rome of their (the immediate audience receiving this letter) day.
> 5 have fallen:
Julius, Augustus, Tiberias, Caligula, Claudius
> One is:
Nero (By the way, the Neronic persecutions lasted exactly 42 months – 64 AD to June 68 AD)
> One will remain for a little while:
Galba (ruled for 6 months)
This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666. (Revelation 13:18)
The characters in the Jewish alphabet had numerical values attached to them. But, the book of Revelation was written in Greek. The Jews were told to read this passage with wisdom and “calculation.”
Nero Caesar in Greek is Nerōn Kaisar. In Hebrew, his name is, “נרון קסר” or “nrvn qsr.”
|Resh (ר)||Samech(ס)||Qof (ק)||Noon (נ)||Vav (ו)||Resh (ר)||Noon (נ)||TOTAL|
In the Latin text of the Bible, the “number of the beast” is 616. In Latin, Nero’s name is simply, “Nero Caesar.” This translates into Hebrew as “נרו קסר” or “nrv qsr.”
|Resh(ר)||Samech (ס)||Qof (ק)||Vav (ו)||Resh (ר)||Noon (נ)||TOTAL|
Lastly, check out what Apollonius of Tyana said about Nero: “In my travels, which have been wider than ever man yet accomplished, I have seen man, many wild beasts of Arabia and India; but this beast, that is commonly called a Tyrant, I know not how many heads it has, nor if it be crooked of claw, and armed with horrible fangs. … And of wild beasts you cannot say that they were ever known to eat their own mother, but Nero has gorged himself on this diet””
2. The Tribulation Period is already over. It occurred when the Roman army besieged Jerusalem in AD 66-70.
“I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” (Revelation 1:9)
3. Christ “returned” in the clouds in AD 70 to witness the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army.
Christ returned in the clouds to “witness” the destruction? No. He used the armies of Rome to destroy Jerusalem. He didn’t take a seat on a cloud and watch. “Coming in the clouds” is hyperbolic prophetic language denoting judgment. Isaiah 19:1, “The oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and is about to come to Egypt; The idols of Egypt will tremble at His presence, And the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.” God didn’t surf down on a cloud to destroy Egypt. Think of the hyperbolic phrase “It’s raining cats and dogs.”
4. God replaced Old Testament Israel with the Church. Therefore, all the biblical promises to Israel belong to the Church.
The church doesn’t replace Israel. Scripture doesn’t speak of a “replacement.” We are grafted together (Romans 11:24). There is no longer Jew or Gentile, but one in Christ (Romans 10:12, Galatians 3:28).
just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, “And to offsprings,” referring to many, but referring to one, “And to your offspring,” who is Christ.
And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.
5. Armageddon already happened in AD 70. The fall of “Babylon” refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
I have already written about Armageddon within another article found [here]. Jerusalem is the whore of Babylon described in the book of Revelation. She is drunk with all the blood of the saints. In Matthew 23, Christ places the bloodguilt of Abel to Zechariah on Jerusalem. In fact, when Pontius Pilate could find no reason to crucify Christ, one of the things that the crowd of Jews cheered was, “Let His blood be on us and our children.” The vesture of the whore is comparable to the vesture of the high priest. The whore rides the beast (Rome), just as the Jews used Rome to crucify Jesus Christ. Also, “whore” imagery isn’t a new thing for Jerusalem. The prophets of the Old Testament arguably describe this imagery much more vividly than the apostle John when speaking of the sinfulness of the Jews.
6. Satan is already bound in the abyss and cannot hinder the spread of the Gospel. Revelation 20 has already been fulfilled.
Revelation 20:3 states that Satan is bound, “so that he might not deceive the nations any longer.” In the Old Testament Scriptures, we don’t read about the people living in the USA, China, Brazil, Chile, etc. When we look at history, it is obvious that for centuries, these people were thoroughly pagan. The Jews were not told to evangelize the people of China. If any foreigners were to embrace the Father, they would have had to enter into the Old Covenant systems, although justification was solely by faith. Nonetheless, they had to go to Jerusalem. Jerusalem did not go to them. These nations were wholly under the deception of Satan, and without hope. Then at the appointed time, Christ came. The gospel was taken and was to be taken to every nation. Now that the power of salvation was penetrating each nation, the power of Satan to deceive them was broken.
God told Eve in Genesis 3:15 that her seed would one day crush the head of the serpent. So, although Satan is prowling around, he is resistible through Christ. We are told that the gates of hell cannot prevail over the church (Matthew 16:18). It is often said that Matthew 16:18 does not mean that the gates of hell are attacking us, and they just can’t beat us up. We, the church, are on the onslaught.
Lastly, Christ Himself said that Satan was bound. In Matthew 12 and Mark 3, Jesus was accused by the Jewish leaders of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul, the prince of demons. His response to them was that if one should seek to plunder the house of the strong man, he should first bind the strong man. This was a reference to Satan (Matthew 12:26, Mark 3:23).
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.
I wonder if Dr. Hindson believes that God literally owns the cattle on only 1,000 hills and no more? This is a prophetic book. This should not be taken literally any more than we would insist a literal interpretation upon God “owning the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10) or God “remembering His covenant for a thousand generations” (Psalm 105:8). The language is prophetic. I’m not going to start interpreting numbers like some do. The number 1,000 is used in Scripture to denote quantitative perfection or completion.
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
The basic assumptions of preterism rest on passages that refer to Christ coming “quickly” (Revelation 1:1), or “this generation will not pass” (Matthew 24:34). They insist these must be related to and limited to the first century. By contrast, premillennialists believe that Christ’s coming is imminent and; therefore, could occur at any moment. Darrell Bock of Dallas’ Theological Seminary counters the preterist view, observing: “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; they will not drag on for many generations. It will happen within a generation.”
This is so backwards. The last point he made was that we don’t take the Bible literally. The passages he mentions (Rev. 19-20) are in the thick of the book of Revelation. They are intertwined within the rest of the prophetic language. BUT when it comes to the greeting of John in the FIRST verse, “quickly” suddenly means something else. Dr. Hindson and Darrell Bock should demonstrate where else in the Scriptures the term “generation” means what they are purporting.
Preterists insist they are defending the Bible by making its prophecies fulfilled in the past. That way, they can’t be accused of making false assumptions about the future. In other words, their interpretive methodology might be called: “back up and punt!” By confining predictive prophecy to a past fulfillment they eliminate any real need for eschatology. However, their fallacious reasoning and flimsy logic leaves them supporting a series of ridiculous conclusions that fly in the face of the whole history of biblical interpretation.
The Orthodox preterist position is built by Scripture and strengthened with the testimony of history. One main reason that it isn’t considered is because of the historical ignorance of those professing Christians. It’s not some way to escape guessing games. If our flimsy logic needs to be conformed to a system that was displayed above (ie. “You don’t take the Bible literally! Oh, and by the way, quickly really means…”), then no thank you. Should we really listen to Dr. Hindson? He has really only shown ignorance of the position he is trying to destroy.
For example, the idea that Satan is already “bound” is clearly contradicted by Peter’s statement: “the devil, as a roaring lion, wanders about seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). 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). One would have a difficult time convincing Peter and Paul that Satan was already bound by the power of the cross. If Satan is bound today, why are the nations still deceived?
This is such a bad argument. I don’t believe that Satan is literally tied away in a dungeon and can’t move. This argument is circular. It begs the question. Why? Because he is trying to fit his literal view into the preterist view. Satan is bound from deceiving the nations, as I explained above. He is not bound from moving.
If we are already in the Millennium, why is there still war in the world? When did the lion lay down with the lamb? And when did the nations beat their weapons into plowshares? If the 1,000 years are only symbolic, then 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?
Psalm 110, the most quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament describes Christ reigning and ruling. And it isn’t describing a time of peace. It describes Christ destroying His enemies and laying their bodies in fields. But I would just have to ask Dr. Hindson, “Do we not have peace?” Christ is the Prince of Peace, giving us rest when we were burdened by sin and the law. The lion laying down with the lamb (it’s actually the wolf laying down with the lamb) is more hyperbolic prophetic language describing when Christ is reigning. It comes from Isaiah 11:6. No where does it mention that this is some special event when animals will start hanging out. Check out what Ezekiel writes about the Pharoah:
“Speak, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lies in the midst of his streams, that says, ‘My Nile is my own; I made it for myself.’
Hopefully Dr. Hindson wouldn’t make the case that the Pharoah was actually a dragon that sleeps in the Nile.
Christ is reigning at the right hand of the Father as His enemies are placed under His feet. Psalm 110, the most quoted Old Testament Scripture in the New Testament, speaks of Christ as a victorious leader who sits at the right hand of the Father destroying His enemies. We are given affirmation that this was a reality in the apostles’ day (Acts 2:35). The argument has been made that Christ is now seated on “God’s throne,” but that is not the same as “David’s throne.” So, one day He will leave His heavenly throne, for David’s throne. Consider the following accounts of Solomon:
- > So Solomon sat on the throne of David his father, and his kingdom was firmly established. (1 Kings 2:12)
- > Then Solomon sat on the throne of the LORD as king in place of David his father. And he prospered, and all Israel obeyed him. (1 Chronicles 29:23)
He is reigning in the hearts of believers. God didn’t break his covenant with Israel. Galatians 3 explains the Abrahamic Covenant was for Abraham and his seed – Jesus Christ.
If God is finished with ethnic Israel, why did Paul ask: “Has God cast away his people?” And why did he respond so emphatically, “God forbid!” (Romans 11:1)? Why did Paul ask of Israel, “Have they stumbled that they should fall?” And why did he respond again: “God forbid!” (Romans 11:11)? Why did Paul state that “blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles comes” (Romans 11:25)? Why did he believe, “all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26) if God is already finished with Israel?
God isn’t finished with Israel! Salvation can still be proclaimed to them. They still have time to repent and believe the gospel. This is just a mischaracterization. Romans 11 does make mention of a conversion of Jews after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25). Romans 11:25 does not read, “after all Gentiles are converted,” but rather when the fullness has come in. That is, when many have been converted, when the abundance, or when a great multitude, etc. Their partial blindness is to continue until then. This Scripture gives strength to the postmillennial view that I hold though, as I believe that the gospel will only continue to spread throughout the whole earth.
It is possible that this is why Israel has become a nation again. I won’t discount the fact that they are a nation again. But, spiritual Israel is in view, as physical Israel (types and shadows) has no importance other than simply being a gathering place for a large conversion of Jews. But, at this time, the majority religion in Israel is atheism. Israel, as a nation will no longer bear fruit, as Christ had cursed the fig tree – “May you never bear fruit again!” (Matthew 21:19).
If the Church replaces Israel and becomes the Kingdom of God on earth, why did the disciples ask Jesus at the ascension: “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). That was the perfect opportunity for Jesus to tell the disciples that He was finished with Israel and that they were the new “Israel.” But He did not! He simply told them it was not for them to know that time which the Father has predetermined for Israel to have the kingdom (Acts 1:7).
Wow this is almost verbatim the same argument made by John Macarthur at the Shepherd’s Conference a few years back. In fact a few of these arguments are. The disciples had proven to be very ignorant of many of the teachings of Christ before Pentecost. For one, they needed parables explained to them (Matthew 13:36; 15:15). Secondly, Peter wanted to build tabernacles for Moses and Elijah when Christ was transfigured before Peter, James, and John (Mark 9:5). Thirdly, the disciples were saddened by the death of Christ (Mark 16:10, Luke 24:17). Fourthly, the disciples didn’t believe Mary Magdalene when she told them that Christ came back from the dead (Mark 16:11; 13).
The disciples’ very question about the kingdom showed ignorance in their understanding. Jesus simply told them that the time had not yet come, and that times were not for them to know. He then assured them that they would have power when the Spirit came upon them. Christ knew that when the Spirit came upon them, they would understand the nature of the kingdom. It’s arguable that not even until the conversion of the Gentiles did they fully understand, since many of them were indignant concerning the Gentile conversion. The kingdom was taken from national Israel, and given to a people that would bear the fruit of it (Matthew 21:43). Consider what Christ’s response was to the Pharisees, who also had a very similar question concerning the kingdom:
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
Why didn’t the disciples recall these words of Jesus in Acts 1 when they had asked Him the same exact question that the Pharisees did?
Daniel had a vision of the inauguration of Christ’s reign in Daniel 7:
“I saw in the night visions and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14
This is a vision in which “one like a son of man” came before the Ancient of Days, the Father, and was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom. This was where Christ went after His ascension in Acts 1. “A cloud took Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9), and “with the clouds of heaven” He was “presented” before the Father. (Daniel 7:13).
Theologian Tom Ice writes: “Because of the current spread of preterism, pastors and teachers need to be prepared to defend orthodox eschatology from this attack.” Those who believe that Christ already came back in AD 70 can hardly obey our Lord’s command to “keep watching” until He comes (Matthew 24:42).
Again, this is the full preterist position. Make the distinction. I agree that we should combat those who say Christ’s second coming was in 70 ad, and in fact, many orthodox preterists spend a lot of time debating such folks. Although I believe that “keeping watch” in Matthew 24 pertains to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 ad, I do believe that Christ will return one day. And we should keep watch til that day. We do this by trusting in Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and teaching others to guard all of the teachings of Christ.
Preterism rests on a faulty hermeneutic and raises serious concerns for sincere students of Scripture. Consider the following; Preterism:
1. Destroys the Literal Meaning of the Bible. Once you start arguing that the language of prophecy cannot be taken literally, you are not that far removed from not taking the rest of the Bible literally either. Preterists are following the dangerous path of liberalism which began denying predictive prophecy and soon rejected the literal interpretation of creation, the flood, the virgin birth of Christ, His vicarious death and bodily resurrection.
Ahh yes, we destroy literalism. Just like interpreting “generation” to mean “the generation that sees the beginning of the end, also sees its end. When the signs come, they will proceed quickly; they will not drag on for many generations. It will happen within a generation” even though within a generation the things Christ spoke of actually happened. Or maybe we should interpret “quickly” to mean imminent throughout all time. Maybe we should believe that Jesus literally is a door, and that a knob protrudes from his chest. Maybe the Pharoah was a dragon. Maybe Jesus actually died, was buried, rose again the third day, and then became a literal shepherd. Maybe we are literally sheep. I take the Bible the way it ought to be taken. Read the history as history, the prophecy as prophecy, etc.
2. Distorts the Promise of the Second Coming. Placing the return of Christ in the past robs the Church of a confident expectation about the future. We are left on earth trying to “make the best of it” without any real hope of divine intervention. It leaves the Church trying to “bring in the Kingdom” without the King.
Agreed. This is damnable doctrine of full preterism. One more time: Make the disctinction.
3. Diminishes the Hope of the Believer. Preterism negates the biblical commands to “watch” and “be ready” for the coming of Christ. It limits those injunctions to the first century believers prior to AD 70. In fact, it limits every biblical command related to the return of Christ. The phrase “until He comes” would have to be limited to AD 70. How can we “build the church” (Matthew 16:18) or “occupy until he comes.” In fact, how do we celebrate the communion service to “show forth the Lord’s death until he comes” (I Corinthians 11:26)? Should we stop celebrating the Lord’s Supper because He already came in AD 70?
This is why this is just a confusing article. He throws a blanket over everything and just calls it preterism. This is really just the last point with a little extra. If Christ did already return, then yes we should end Lord’s Supper. Some instances are speaking of 70 ad, others are not.
4. Deprives Israel of Her Future. Preterists insist that God is finished with Israel. Many of them teach that it is actually Jesus who breaks the covenant with Israel in Daniel 9:26-27. In essence, Preterism pits Jesus against Israel and therefore smacks of anti-Semitism. Preterists actually teach that the “Babylon” of Revelation 17-18 is Jerusalem! Therefore, the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 represents Christ’s ultimate triumph over unbelief.
God is not finished with Israel. She still has the time to repent and believe. No where in Daniel 9 does it say that a covenant is broken. NO WHERE. Read it. In fact, I’ve written on Daniel’s 70 weeks [here]. It mentions putting an end to sacrifices. Through Christ’s atonement, sacrifices in the temple became worthless. He ended them. Yes. It is Christ. What is far more deplorable is that futurists make Christ out to be the “Antichrist” in Daniel 9! The fall of Jerusalem displays the final end of the Old Covenant age and the enthronement of Christ in the New Christian age.
5. Denies the Power of Christ. While most preterists would insist they are defending the power of Christ, they are actually denying it. They are trying to “bring in the Kingdom” without the King. And might I add, they are fighting a losing battle! Christianity is under attack like never before. We are not winning the battle for world dominion and we never will. Yes, the church will continue to grow (Matthew 16:18), but so will the resistance of Satan (1 Timothy 4:1). God will continue to do marvelous things in this world. But the Church will never bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth until the King of Heaven returns in person.
Again, another argument against full preterism. This entire argument was just really bad. I really felt like he lacked any serious understanding of “preterism.” For anyone who would seek to argue any position, make sure you understand it before you try to argue against it.
Dr. Ed Hindson, article appeared in the May 2005 issue of Jerry Falwells’s The National Liberty Journal.
The Conservative Christian’s Newspaper, and also on their website www.nljonline.com.