Preterism Introduction

Copyright © Tim Warner – 011/2003

Preterism is the theory that all Bible prophecy has been fulfilled. The second coming, resurrection, and last judgment, have been fulfilled in a mystical sense in AD70 — the destruction of Jerusalem. According to preterists, we are now living in the “New Heaven and New Earth.” The resurrection is not of the body. Nothing remains to be fulfilled prophetically.

The weight of the preterist interpretation stands almost exclusively on the statements in the New Testament regarding the nearness of Christ’s coming. Preterists insist that such statements as, “behold I come quickly,” demand that Christ’s coming occur in a very short period of time, within the lifetimes of at least some of the Apostles. But in holding this opinion, they are forced to deny the plain sense of the details of Christ’s coming. 

Rather than Christ’s appearing in the clouds in power and glory, with all nations of the world witnessing the event, Christ is said to have come invisibly in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. Consequently, preterists hold mostly to an allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures. Not only prophecy, but even historical narratives in some cases. 

The passages alleged to teach a first century second coming can be divided into three kinds.

First, there are some verses in the Gospels where Jesus made certain direct statements about His coming.

Secondly, the expectancy of the Apostles themselves, that they could live to see Jesus’ coming, can be inferred from certain statements they made. Both futurists and preterists agree that Paul and perhaps other Apostles expected to live to see the second coming. And this expectation was passed on to the local churches in the first century.

Thirdly, several passages speak of Jesus’ coming as “soon” or “near.” Preterists claim that these passages require Jesus’ coming within a very short period of time.

Futurists need to address these passages, and explain how the Apostles could hold such an expectancy without being in error themselves, while maintaining futurism. In this series of articles, we will put forward the biblical scenario that explains all these things without calling into question the credibility of Jesus or the Apostles.


Preterism – Time Texts in the New Testament

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