Problems with Preterism



Imagine if I told you that almost everything in Revelation has already happened, and that just about none of it is future?  What if told you that Jesus already has returned, and that right now we’re living in the Millennium?  What if I told you that Jesus Christ was ruling over this Earth, the way it is, and that the saints in Heaven are ruling with Him?
If I told you those things, I’d be a Preterist.  I am not a Preterist, I’m a Futurist.  I believe that most of Revelation is yet future, and I believe that because I take most of Revelation to be literal and mean exactly what it says.  
So how does a Preterist believe what he believes, and how does he get there?  Obviously I’m biased, but from my understanding here’s how it works: 
Jesus said in Revelation 1:3 that He was coming back very soon, and furthermore he stated in Matthew 24:34 that the generation that stood before Him would see all events in Matthew 24.  If you read Matthew 24, you’ll see that it ties in directly with much of Revelation, therefore much (if not all) of Revelation has already been fulfilled. 
Jesus said He was coming back in Matthew 24, and since we know Matthew 24 has been fulfilled Jesus has already returned, spiritually of course.  Following Christ’s return in Revelation 19, we see the next event being the Millennium; therefore we are now in the Millennium OR possibly even the New Heavens and New Earth.  Either way, the “great tribulation” that Christ spoke of in the Olivet Discourse was the events before, leading up to, and during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D, which is easily understood in light of Luke 21.
That’s how it works.  Preterism basically means “past,” and do you see why?  The whole idea of Preterism is that almost all prophesy, if not all (that would be full Preterism), has already been fulfilled.


Here are my problems with the teaching.....

1.  It assumes immediacy of Christ’s return, not the imminency.

Yes, Jesus said “behold I come quickly” and He said in Revelation 1:3 that the events and prophesy of the book of Revelation were “at hand.” 

You know what?  That’s not the first time He said something like that.

Duet. 32:35, "To me belongs vengeance and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come on them make haste."

Is. 13:6, 9-10, "Howl ye; for the day of the LORD [is] at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
9) Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
10) For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
20) It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there."

Joel 2:1, 30-32, "Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for [it is] nigh at hand;
30) And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call."

Zeph. 1:14, "The great day of the LORD [is] near, [it is] near, and hasteth greatly, [even] the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly."

The above verses all deal with what Futurists understand to be the Second Advent of Jesus Christ, an event that still hasn’t happened yet.  They’re talking about apocalyptic judgments of God and “the day of the Lord” – all things that a Preterist relegates to 70 A.D.  If these passages were in the book of Matthew or Revelation, a Preterist would claim that because they used the words “at hand,” “little while,” and “is near, and hasteth greatly” that surely that must mean that the Second Advent happened right after these passages were written.

The problem with that is, they were written hundreds of years before Christ was born. 

Look at this one:

Haggai 2:6-7, "For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land;
7) And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts."

Ever sing that song, “…come, desire of nations come…” around Christmas time?  This is a prophecy of Jesus Christ, written 500 years before He was born.  The events described are supposed to take place “in a little while” – 500 years before Christ was born?

Does this give you a whole new perspective on Revelation 1:3, when it says, “Blessed [is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand.”

Jesus said that people needed to drink His blood and eat His flesh in John 6; do you think He meant that we really need to eat His flesh and drink His blood?  Of course not, that’s cannibalism!  Jesus clearly explained that His words were “spirit,” that the “flesh profiteth nothing,” and that it is the “spirit that quickeneth” (John 6:63).  What Jesus was saying was that we needed to live off of Him spiritually the same way we live off of food and drink physically. 

God means what He says; sometimes we just don’t understand Him right.  When God says something is “at hand” He doesn’t mean it exactly the same way that a Preterist thinks He means it. 

So what does He mean? 

He means that it could happen any moment, not that it’s guaranteed to happen right away.  He wants us to be ready!  This is called the imminent return of Jesus Christ.  It’s looming, it’s impending, it’s approaching, it’s forthcoming – that is what the promise is.  The promise is not that He’s coming, guaranteed, a few years after Revelation was written.

(Side note: that’s IF you want to believe that Revelation was written in 60 A.D., which is THE bedrock belief of Preterism and has no internal or historical evidence to support it and it contradicts the word of Irenaeus who spoke of John’s apocalypse being written towards the end of the reign of Domitian, which is where people get the dating of around 95 A.D.)

Not only is the return of Christ imminent versus immediate, we also have to remember that God looks at things differently than we do.  To Him, a thousand years are as a day, and a day is as a thousand years (II Peter 3:8).  So when He says He’s coming soon, well, who really knows when that exactly is?  “Soon” to me is a very different thing than “soon” to my kids.  “Grandma is going to come over soon” could mean she’s going to be here come summer time, but to my kids that means before dinner.  When God says He’s coming back soon, it’s going to be relative because He’s not giving us a specific period of time.    

However, we can know three things about when Christ is coming back:

1.     It could happen at any moment.
2.     We’re closer than we were yesterday.
3.     All the signs of the times point to it being soon (II Tim 3, Matt. 24).
Based on that knowledge, we should all obey the admonition given to be ready, watching, and working until the Lord’s return. 

2.  It has stretches that would give Gumby a hernia.

So maybe you don’t like my interpretation of Revelation 1:3 and how God says that His coming is “at hand” being something that is imminent and not immediate.  Maybe you think I’m spiritualizing or weakening the text, or maybe you think I’m not taking the text literally enough. 
Well, I’d rather be accused of not taking Revelation 1:3 literally enough than not taking the whole rest of the book literally enough!  Preterists hyper-literalize Rev. 1:3 (just like the Catholics hyper-literalize John 6:54) and then take the whole rest of the book of Revelation and stand it on its head.  The Tribulation events, clearly and painstakingly described in chapters 6-19 are simply described as being the sacking of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. 
70 A.D. was bad.  What happened to Christians under pagan Rome was terrible.  But it wasn’t every drop of water on Earth turning to blood, all sea life being killed, the sun scorching people alive, darkness that inflicts pain, boils over all millions of people, flying locusts that sting and torment people, one-third of all green grass being destroyed, and the list goes on and on.  The Preterist will take the square peg of the events described in Revelation and try to cram it into the round hole of their quirky system of interpretation.  They force all these events into 70 A.D.
Let me show you something in Matthew 24 that the Preterist say has already happened:
Matthew 24:29-31, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Now what a Preterist will tell you is that none of that really means what it says.  He may not put it that way, but that’s what he means. 
“All the tribes of the Earth” just means whoever happened to be in Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the stars and “powers of heaven” just mean nations on the Earth and have nothing to do with anything or anyone in the sky, “…the sign of the Son of man in heaven…” just means that the Jews see smoke rising up from their burning houses and understand God’s judgment on them, and (saving the best for last) the phrase “…they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven…” doesn’t mean that they actually SEE HIM (see Rev. 6:16) – it just means that God’s vengeance is so terrible on Israel that it’s ALMOST like they saw Him – what they really saw was just smoke in the sky. 
I’m not joking, this is how Preterists operate; this is “how they roll.” 
They have about three verses that are tough and tricky to understand (who doesn’t?), and they use them to stand all of the prophetic passages in the Bible on their head.  Tim LaHaye calls it “exegetical gymnastics,” and Preterists do it all the time.
Preterists get so hung up on when Revelation was written and that it HAD to be written before 70 A.D. This, supposedly, is rock-solid proof that Revelation was fulfilled in 70 A.D. 
My only response to that is: “Whoopee.” 
Not “whoopee” as in “I’m going down a roller coaster and I’m really excited!”  “Whoopee,” as in “whoopee, big deal, I don’t care.” 
It doesn’t matter when Revelation was written to me because I have enough common sense to understand that those terrible and horrific things that we read in it haven’t happened yet, or any other time in history, and certainly not all at once in 70 A.D.!
(Brief interjection: Hey, you know how many Preterists it takes to change a lightbulb?  None!  It was already changed back in 70 A.D.!)

3.  It claims that Christ is ruling over this mess.
Do you think that God is “okay” with what is going on in the world today?  Do you think that Jesus Christ thinks it’s “peachy-keen” that our nation murders well over one million unborn babies every year?  Do you think He’s “cool” with Communism and Islamic-fascism?  Do you think He’s fine with the idea that there were more Christians killed in the 20th century than all other centuries combined?
I don’t think He is.
I don’t think He’s in charge of this mess, in fact I know He isn’t.
II Cor. 4:4, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
 Whether you and I like it or not, the “god” of this world (small ‘g’) is Satan.  Yes, God is sovereign in the fact that Satan can only do so much. God is not responsible for the wickedness that goes on in this world – it’s not His fault.  In the Millennium and in the New Heavens and New Earth you have Jesus Christ ruling with a rod of iron.  Partial Preterists believe we’re in the Millennium, and full Preterists think we’re in the New Heavens and New Earth – that Christ is reining over the Earth right now. 
You may get away with saying that in a roundabout way Jesus is “ruling” over the Earth now, and that would involve a very lengthy discussion about the sovereignty of God. One thing is for sure He’s not ruling “with a rod of Iron.”   The verses that describe Christ’s reign describe the whole world being filled with the knowledge of Jesus Christ with everyone in submission to Him.  That’s not happening now, it’s never happened before, and it’s not going to happen until Jesus Christ really does return to this Earth.
Zech. 8:23, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days [it shall come to pass], that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard [that] God [is] with you.”
Is. 2:3-4, “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4) And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
Is. 31:34, “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

You can spiritualize these verses until you’re blue in the face but it won’t change the fact that the vast majority of people on Earth today are rebellious against God and the Gospel and they always have been – the whole Earth is NOT filled with the knowledge of the Lord (yet).

4.  It can’t tell the difference between 1,000 and 2,000 years.

If you have a basic understanding of the end times from a Futurist perspective, then you know that at the end of the Tribulation we have the Battle of Armageddon in which Christ destroys the Antichrist and his armies.  Following that is the Millennium in which Jesus Christ rules the Earth for 1,000 years.  It actually says specifically 1,000 years, SIX times in Revelation chapter 20.
Revelation 20:1-7, “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,
3) And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.
4) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
5) But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6) Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
7) And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison…”
Preterists think that we are in the Millennium right now, and that the Millennium started back in 70 A.D.  That would mean two things:
1.     Satan is currently bound in chains in the Bottomless Pit. 
2.     The Millennium is in extra innings, overtime, whatever – it’s about 1,000 years longer than what God said it would be.
“Wait! Wait!  You said that God views time differently than we do in point one!  You said “a little while” to God can mean a really long time to us…”
Yes, I did – but there’s a difference between God saying “I’ll be back in a little bit so be ready…” and God saying, “For 1,000 years we’re going to…”
Here are two examples:

1.     God said to Abram that his seed would be strangers in a land that was not theirs for 400 years.
Gen. 15:13-14, “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
14) And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.”
And how many years were they there?
Ex. 12:40, “Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, [was] four hundred and thirty years.”
430!  To which the Preterist would say, “Gotcha!  When God gives numbers He speaks in vague generalities and so 1,000 years can mean 2,000!”
(Brief interjection:  Did you hear about the accident at the Preterist convention in Ireland?  Apparently an elevator that said it only held 1,000 lbs was overloaded with 2,000 pounds of Preterists that think numbers don’t mean anything!)
The promise that was given to Abram in Genesis was given to him thirty years into the 430 years of wandering, so that’s why God said 400 years.  When God gives an exact number of years, He means it. 

2.     Specific time periods in Daniel 9.
I picked this because I wanted to kill two birds with one stone.  In order to justify their abusing the 1,000 years in Revelation 20, Preterists point to Daniel’s 70 weeks and accuse Futurists of being hypocritical.  The best answer to that is, “And when did the 100 pound hailstones fall in 70 A.D. again?”
In all actuality, Daniel’s 70 weeks is another great example of just how detailed God is when He gives us specific time periods in prophecy.
Daniel 9:24-27, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25) Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26) And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
27) And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
Okay, this passage is the barn-burner of Bible prophecy, it’s a really, really, really important passage.  I especially recommend Clarence Larkin’s commentary on Daniel and Sir Robert Anderson’s book The Coming Prince is good too if you want more info on what I’m about to lay down here.
In a nutshell, you have a few different periods of time, referred to as weeks.  These are “weeks of years,” meaning every week in this passage is a reference to seven years.  Here are the time periods:
1.     Seventy Weeks. (Vs. 24)
2.     Seven weeks and thirty-two weeks (69). (Vs. 25 – a “score” means twenty in the Bible.)
3.     Sixty-two weeks (Vs. 26)
4.     One week.  (Vs. 27)

A few things happen before that, to say the least.
1.     These are the obvious divisions of these weeks, and they all mean different things.  In verse 24 we see that the weeks are a direct reference to the nation of Israel and what will happen to them.  By the time these weeks are over all the things in verse 24 will be done to Israel and the Holy City Jerusalem, including all her sins being put away and everlasting righteousness for her. 
2.     The first division of the seventy weeks is the sixty-nine mentioned in verse 25.  Gabriel tells Daniel that from the going forth of the command to rebuild Jerusalem up until Christ is crucified is going to be sixty-nine weeks to the day.  That’s 483 years.  That’s exactly what happened, and all Bible historians and theologians agree on this.  It’s an amazing example of the exactness of God in Bible prophecy.  It doesn’t stop there.
3.     The next division in verse 26 is sixty-two weeks.  In that verse it says there are sixty-two weeks until Christ is crucified.  At first that may seem confusing, but look again at the verse right before this one, verse 25.  It says “…seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks…”  There are two divisions there.  The first one is seven weeks, or 49 years, and the second one is sixty-two weeks, or 434 years.  What’s the difference?  It took 49 years to rebuild Jerusalem, that’s the first seven weeks, and after that comes the 62 weeks that are left of the original 69 weeks we just looked at.  Another example of God’s precision in Scripture.
4.     Ah, but there is one last week, and that’s what all the hubbub is about.  It’s called Daniel’s 70th week, and suffice it to say it hasn’t happened yet.  How do we know that?  Look again at the things in verse 24.  It’s talking about a bunch of wonderful things that will happen to Israel after the 70 weeks are up.  They haven’t happened yet. 

The reason the passage was worded the way it was and why that last week is set apart from the other weeks is because for ALL the weeks to be complete was conditional based upon the Jews accepting Christ as their Messiah.  They didn’t, so we’re in a hold pattern and God is dealing with the church (Acts 13:46, 28:28).  Once He’s done dealing with the church, He’ll go right back to the last week where He left off.  Daniel’s 70th week is the seven year Tribulation period that is described all throughout Revelation; at the end of it all the things described in verse 24 will happen to Israel.  They’ll all be saved and accept Christ, there will be everlasting righteousness and the Holy City Jerusalem will be the place of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Because Futurists simply state that the last week, being clearly separated from the other sixty-nine weeks, is parenthetical and conditional upon Israel’s acceptance or rejection of the Gospel, Preterists call us inconsistent when it comes to the 1,000 years.  In turn, what they do is take all the promises of Israel and steal them away and give them to the church after they spiritualize them into meaning nothing at all in accordance to what the actual prophecy states in plain English! 

Another good answer to them, so you don’t have to explain all of this, is “How exactly did the Euphrates River dry up in 70 A.D., releasing four angels to slay one-third of mankind?”
What’s the point of all this?  The point is when God gives specific numbers He means exactly what He says.  When He says 1,000 years, SIX times in Revelation 20 – that’s what He means.

5.  It teaches a hopeless Second Coming and a possible third coming of Christ.
Full blown Preterism is ridiculous to no end.  I give credit to partial Preterists, because they at least believe that Jesus Christ is coming back one day and that the next thing on the calendar is the New Heavens and New Earth.  Full Preterists think we’re IN the New Heavens and New Earth, which is just hairball-craziness.  Sorry.
They both believe that the Olivet Prophesy is complete.  In that prophecy, you have the return of Christ and the Great Tribulation.  They say Jesus Christ came back, spiritually, in 70 A.D. 
It blows me away every time I think about it!  In describing what we know to be the Second Advent, Jesus says…
Luke 21:28, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”
Your redemption draweth nigh - as your city is destroyed and you either die in the process or have to run for your life?  If this is describing the destruction of Jerusalem, as every Preterist believes it does, then what was the redemption?  Where was the blessed hope that was supposed to be there in 70 A.D.?  There wasn’t any!  The Jews had to run for their lives or die – there was NO redemption “drawing nigh.” 
As a Futurist, I understand that one day the Jews will be running for their lives from the armies of the Antichrist and Jesus Christ will return in triumphant glory to save them – He will be their redemption drawing nigh!
When Jesus describes the events of the Great Tribulation in Matthew 24 He makes a very powerful statement:
Matthew 24:21, “for then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be.”
Jesus says that whatever the “Great Tribulation” is, that there’s never been anything like it before and there will never be anything like it ever again.  The sacking of Jerusalem doesn’t really fit that qualification.  Jerusalem was destroyed in 606 B.C. by the Babylonians (before), and under Hitler six million Jews were killed (after).  This verse should really go in under the “stretches that give Gumby a hernia” section because you should see what they do to try and get out of it.
There is no such thing as a “spiritual return” of Jesus Christ anywhere in the Bible.  Look at what the Angels said about exactly how Jesus would come back:
Acts 1:11, “Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
It’s so simple!  Jesus left bodily, physically, and visibly.  He’s coming back bodily, physically, and visibly.
To further exacerbate the problem, partial Preterists believe that Jesus Christ will come back (for real this time) a third time.  Yes, they believe He came back (somehow) in 70 A.D., but that He’s coming back again for a third time one day! 
Amen! 
Hurray!
I’m so confused!

6.  It ignores the differences between the Millennium and the New Heaven and New Earth.

God commands us to “rightly divide” when it comes to Bible study (II Tim. 2:15).  Preterists and Amillennialists are masters of the hodgepodge, throw-it-all-in-the-same-pot, casserole dinner of eschatology.  I’m sorry, I hope my sarcasm doesn’t offend anyone but the Bible isn’t Thanksgiving Day’s meal, you can’t let it all run into itself and expect it to still taste good - there must be division!
One of the biggest divisions is the difference between the Millennium and the New Heavens and New Earth.  As already stated, partial Preterists believe we’re in the Millennium, and full Preterists believe we’re in the New Heavens and New Earth. 

To justify this point of view, the Partials say that all the wonderful promises in the Old Testament that Futurists understand to be the Millennium are actually promises for the New Heavens and New Earth.  At least they think things are going to get better than they are today, I’ll give them that, but there are clear and distinct differences between the Millennium and the New Heavens and New Earth (Everlasting Kingdom).  For a full Preterist – we can’t be in both time periods at the same time, and for a partial Preterist, the Millennium is a wonderful time still yet in the future. 
Let’s look at the differences between the Everlasting Kingdom and the Millennial Kingdom, and the events surrounding them:

1.     The sea. 
In the everlasting kingdom, there is no sea.
Rev. 21:1, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
In the Millennium, there is a sea.  The partial Preterist will claim that this passage is talking about the Everlasting Kingdom, but it’s not because it mentions the sea.  If we’re in the Millennium right now, then the Preterist needs to explain why my kids can’t have a lion for a pet because I’m sure they’d really, really like one.
Is. 11:6-11, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7) And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8) And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.
9) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
10) And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
11) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

2.     Death.
In the Everlasting Kingdom, there is no death.
I Cor. 15:26, “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”
Rev. 21:4, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (One of the best verses ever!)
In the Millennium, people still die.  That is a huge difference between it and the Everlasting Kingdom.  However, the difference between the time period we’re in right now and the Millennium is that people live for hundreds of years during the Millennium.  What we understand by comparing these two passages is that there are clearly three different ages at work here – the current age, an upcoming age, and an everlasting age.  In the upcoming age, you’re still considered a youngster at 100 years old, but you still can die.  In the everlasting age, no one dies.
Is. 65:20, “There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.”

3.     The Temple.
In the Everlasting Kingdom, there is no Temple.
Rev. 21:22, “And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.”
In the Millennium, there is. (See also Is. 33:20 and Ez. 40-48)
Is. 2:2-4, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
3) And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
4) And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
What we read about in the above verses cannot happen under the New Heavens and New Earth, because there is no temple then.  It’s not happening now, and it’s never happened in the past.  It’s part of a future golden age, though imperfect, in which there is a temple and people go and worship Jesus Christ on Earth.  The only way around that is to spiritualize it until it means nothing of what it actually says.
 
4.     The Beloved City.
If you read Revelation chapter 20, you’ll see that during the Millennium there is a beloved city.  This beloved city of the saints is attacked by a huge army, who God very quickly destroys.  If we are in the Millennium right now, then where in the world is this beloved city?  There never has been a “beloved city” of the saints anytime after Calvary, and there won’t be one until the Second Advent.
That beloved city is Jerusalem during the Millennium.  Before the New Heavens and New Earth begins, God destroys the entire universe and remakes it again (II Peter 3:10, Rev. 21).  The Earth is remade, and Israel gets a better chunk of ground than before, they probably get the whole Earth instead of just part of it. 

5.     Armageddon versus Gog and Magog.
Preterism teaches that it’s the same battle.  That’s ridiculous! If you read Revelation 19 and 20 you’ll see there’s 1,000 years in between the two battles and that Satan is bound in the Bottomless Pit during those 1,000 years.  They teach that somehow both of those battles occurred during 70 A.D., and that they’re not anything like what you actually read.  Do you see a pattern? 

The point of all this is that there are clear differences between our age, the upcoming Millennium, and the New Heavens and New Earth.  No two are the same, and all three are distinct from each other.  To fail to recognize this is to fail to obey the biblical command in II Timothy 2:15 to rightly divide the Scriptures.  

7.  It teaches promise breaking.
Last, and certainly not least, to make their system work, Preterists must roll an old man in the desert and take the dear, sweet promises of God away from him by violent and unmerciful exegesis.
Genesis 13:14-17, “And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward:
15) For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.
16) And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.
17) Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for I will give it unto thee.”
Gen 17:6-8, “And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
7) And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
8) And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
The way they rob Abraham is by failing to recognize the difference between the promise of the seed and the promise of the land.  God promises Abraham that of his seed all nations would be blessed – the fulfillment of that promise is Jesus Christ.  The Bible says that spiritually we are of the “seed of Abraham” (Romans 4). 
And here you thought the only reason we had the kids sing “Father Abraham” was to wear them out before the Bible lesson!
But there’s more to the promise than that.  There’s the land that is supposed to be an everlasting possession of the children of Abraham.  So the question is: is that promise for us or for the nation of Israel?
This question is at the very heart of Preterism and Replacement Theology, because if the church fulfills all the promises to Abraham then there is no need for a future Millennium, and perhaps, just maybe, the 1,000 years are to be spiritualized.  That would mean all those wonderful things that we read about in the Old Testament for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and his kids (including Daniel 9:24) are not really for Israel – they’re for us.  And even though Abraham THOUGHT that God was giving him a promise that his biological children would have a special piece of property for all eternity… he was wrong.
Was he?
Romans 9:1-6, “I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
2) That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.
3) For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
4) Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
5) Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
6) Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:
Paul clearly explains in this passage that there are two Israels.  One is spiritual Israel (saved Christians) and the other is national Israel.  So we know God’s plan for spiritual Israel, but what about the other one?
It’s all in Romans 11.
“1) I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.
2) God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,”
Paul says God hasn’t “cast away” his people.  He’s speaking in the context of verse 1 – ethnic, national Israel.  The Preterist would respond by saying, “Of course, Jews can still get saved!” But that’s not what Paul’s talking about here.
“7) What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
8) (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”
Whenever you run into a passage that talks about promises to Israel, a Preterist will tell you it’s talking about spiritual Israel.  We see here in verse 7 that Paul is talking about one Israel not getting what they were seeking, and the other Israel (the election, in this case) receiving it.  The Israel that doesn’t get it is “blinded.”
“25) For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26) And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27) For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28) As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.
29) For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
This passage explains it all.  A Preterist will tell you the “all Israel shall be saved” in verse 26 is talking about spiritual Israel (us), and the “covenant unto them” is talking about Christ’s taking away our sins.  They stop there, ignoring the very next verse in which the Israel in verse 26 and the “them” in verse 27 are identified as being an enemy of the Gospel!  Saved people are not enemies of the Gospel! 
What God is saying is that there is a promise to the ethnic nation of Israel that they will all be saved one day.  This is the whole point of the Tribulation, Second Advent, and Millennium.  During the Tribulation, Israel will be taken through the fire and come out the other side a saved nation.  They will call upon and receive their Messiah.  The Millennium will follow that, at which time the nation of Israel will receive the land promised to Abraham, thousands of years ago.
Jer. 30:7, “Alas! for that day [is] great, so that none [is] like it: it [is] even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. 
Joel 2:26-32, “And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
27) And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed.
28) And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
29) And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
30) And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
31) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
32) And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Well, that’s it.  Sure, there are a few last bastions of defense that the Preterist will run to after all of this. Yes, there are still a couple tricky verses left on the table.  Everyone from the Mormons to the JWs have a few tricky verses, and I could go into them, but if I haven’t lost you yet I’ll probably lose you then.  Suffice it to say, this article should clearly demonstrate that the weight and principles of Scripture are clearly in the camp of the Futurists.  Sure, there’s a passage here and there that we might not take literally or we might symbolize, but that’s probably less than 10% of the Scriptures on the end times whereas the Preterist will stand the words of God on their head for the sake of about three verses.  They interpret that which is clear in light of that which is not clear.
So why write all of this?  For a couple reasons.  To be honest, what spurred me originally was that my book was criticized a little (not a big deal) for simply brushing aside the Preterist interpretation so quickly.  So I thought I might as well put something on my site about the subject.   I didn’t really go into this in my book because it isn’t an attack of Preterism or a defense of Futurism, as you read here, it’s a harmony of Revelation – a specific book for a specific purpose.
The other reason, to be frank, is because God cares about this kind of stuff.  Did you know that the only book of the Bible that guarantees that you’ll be blessed if you read it is Revelation (Rev. 1:3)?  Did you know that there are eight times as many prophetic passages concerning the Second Coming of Christ than there is the First Coming? 
God cares about His Son, and He cares about the day that His Son is crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  There’s nothing more important than that, and there’s no greater hope and joy for the Christian than to know that one day Jesus will come back again!  I hope this article has helped to strengthen your belief and hope in the imminent return of our Lord and Saviour.
Titus 2:13-15, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
 14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
15) These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”    

5 comments:

JTR said...

Good article and as always, written with a sense of humor and love those graphics! I learned a lot about something I have heard of but never studied, and well as a new term (hyper-literize). Only onequestion my husband and I had as we read this tonight, re: your assertion: "Do you think He’s fine with the idea that there were more Christians killed in the 20th century than all other centuries combined?" - Is that true? What do you base that on?

Rick Schworer said...

It is true, I read in the updated version of Foxe's Book of Martyrs. The old book leaves off around the 17th/18th century, but the new Foxe's Book of Martyr's (I bought it at B&N) includes history up to the early 2000s.

I'm not an expert on it, but I believe the reason why there are so many martyrs in the 20th century is due to the rapid spread of Communism.

Grammy Blick said...

I agree with your perception of preterism -- it just didn't happen. But like JTR, I'm curious about the Foxe's material. There are a couple of updates published, and a bit of controversy -- would you post editor and publisher of the one you reference?

Rick Schworer said...

Follow the link to see the Fox's Book of Martyrs that I got that information from:

http://www.amazon.com/Foxes-Book-Martyrs-Pure-Classics/dp/0882708759/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303404961&sr=8-1

JTR said...

Thanks - communism makes sense. Plus the fact that the world is so populated now...and growing. That is really awful. I do occassionally read Voice of the Martyrs, but I wish there was an IFB source out there tracking and letting us know when these atrocities happen. :(