Preterism-is it a intentional lack of understanding the prophetic scriptures?
Eschatology is the theological study of last things. It is about the end times, the end of the age, which includes the resurrection and rapture of the church saints, the tribulation period and the saints entering of the Millennium, the kingdom age.
There are two basic categories in this study pre-millennialism. Historic Pre-millennialism (Also called Classical and Non-dispensational Pre-millennialism). Pre-millennialists hold to the literal return of Christ which is preceded by certain signs. Christ will return bodily to earth and reign on earth in person as King, then the Millennial reign begins. This is to be a period of peace and righteousness will come from His rule that the world has never seen previously.
Pre-millennialism was the dominant eschatological interpretation within the first few centuries of the Christian church. Papias, a companion of Polycarp, was discipled by John, the author of Revelation. Papias believed in the literal earthly pre-millennial doctrine. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and others held to this view. but we do not base our views on early church writings but the writers of the Scripture. But it is good to know what the particular views were held in the early church. Paul’s letters are pre- millennial in their presentation.
Dispensational pre-millennialism holds to a rapture and then the tribulation, where God focuses on Israel the nation prior to the second coming. Each of these pre-millenialist views have one thing in common, a distinction is held between Israel and the church and God’s program for each of them is distinguished.
These view are often comprised of two categories, Historicists and Futurists. Historicists (history past) are primarily awaiting Armageddon and the Second Advent believing, the tribulation already took place (some believe we are in the millennium, others believe the resurrection also happened.)
Futurists (future) believe that there are only a few prophecies were fulfilled in the past, instead most of the prophetic events will be fulfilled in the future; the seven-year tribulation, the Second Coming, and Millennium, not in the current church age.
The main differences –
Pre-millennialism as a term derives its meaning from the belief that the second coming of Christ will be before this Millennium Pre-millennialism teaches that Christ must return bodily to earth for His Second Coming to begin the Millennium (which is a literal period of one thousand years as Scripture states). During this time period, Satan is bound and unable to deceive people (Rev 20:2). At the very end of the Millennium, Satan will be set free for a short time tot test man, but his rebellion will be quickly vanquished (Rev 20:7). This brings history to what is called the eternal order where God will dwell with his people in perfection forever.
The Rule is that the majority of Dispensationalists are pre-millennial, whereas only a segment of Covenant Theologians are.
Post Millennialism affirms that Christ will not return bodily to earth in His Second Coming until after the Millennium has been fully developed on earth by the Church (many hold the view that the church is Spiritual Israel, there is no distinction between the church and Israel, some hold the view that Jesus is Israel). The Charismatic/Pentecostal adaptation of this teaching is called Kingdom Dominionism, (from the Latter Rain heresy of the 40’s). Their position is that the Church will be doing great signs and wonders before Christ comes, the church will finally be in place to rule the earth (Christ then rules through the church) through the Millennium without Christ being here. The rapture and the second coming are believed to be the same event. That both believers and unbelievers are resurrected together (after the Millennium). . . . postmillennialism holds that the present age will end with the spiritual blessing corresponding to the Millennial promises accomplished through preaching the gospel. The whole world will be Christianized and brought to submission to the Gospel then Christ returns after the Millennium.
This view is held by a segment of Covenant Theologians.
There are two subsets to premillennialism. The oldest view is Historic Premillenialism, it is called this because it was the historic position of the early Church. places the rapture of the church and the start of the millennium together as part of the same event. This is also known as a post-tribulation rapture, it places the Rapture of the Church at the end of the Tribulation. it contends that believers must endure the seven-year tribulation prior to the glorious reappearance of Jesus Christ.
It is "premillennial" because the return of Jesus to earth before (pre) the beginning of the Millennium.
The Plymouth Brethren understood the Scripture teaching two future comings of Jesus, one for His Church and one with His Church back to earth. This concept became known as the "pre-Tribulation Rapture."
This viewpoint has been attacked as being "a new view. But the Bible teaches the principle of "progressive illumination" regarding prophecy (Daniel 12:4 and Jeremiah 30:24). What is meant by this is that the Bible itself indicates that end time prophecy will be better understood as the time nears for its fulfillment. Even today there are adjustments to be made on what many thought may have been the obvious and are not. so many had made blunders and mistakes in saying this is that which is written.
Dispensational Pre-millennialism is the belief in a pre-tribulation rapture of the church is to occur, followed by seven years of tribulation, and finally, the glorious reappearance of Christ to start His Millennial reign. There are other variations as some see the Great tribulation as not seven years but only three and a half years, so the church is still found partially in or halfway through the Tribulation period until it is removed from the final judgments.
The pre-millennial view tries to adhere to a consistent literal interpretation of the Scripture and makes a distinction between how God recognizes and deals with Israel and the Church. The doctrine of the pre-millennial return of Christ insists on a literal kingdom by a literal method of interpretation of the Old Testament promises and prophecies. A literal interpretation is to be based on the actual words by finding the actual meaning of the author, to explain the original sense of the verse according to the normal and customary use of its language of the day. To do this one must take into account history and the Jewish cultural background. Consideration of the grammar (according to the rules of grammar interpretation, Hermeneutics), the context of the passage is to be found in being read fully and completely along with other similar passages, if necessary. This is what is meant by a literal interpretation.
Amillennialism (or No-Millennium- no time period) is a system of theology “which rejects the idea of any period of a thousand years either before or after the return of Christ.”
The only visible coming of Christ to this earth which the Church is to expect will be for judgment and will be followed by the final eternal state, it is a single event. The major segment of Covenant Theology today are Amillennial.
Amillennialist views can be varied. The majority agree that that there is to be no Millennium of 1,000 years; an Amillennialist does not believe in a future one thousand year reign of Jesus (Rev.20:2-4). The Amillennialist does not accept the literal interpretation of Revelation 20. The thousand years is figurative. The Bible teaches two categories of resurrection, one of the just and another of the unjust (Acts 24:15). These two resurrections will be separated by a thousand years (Revelation 20:5-6) which is identified as the Millennium. Because of the denial of 1,000 year Millennial period the Amillennial view has only one resurrection, occurring at the end of the Church Age.
There is no future for Israel; and that all the prophecies of the Old Testament for Israel are spiritually realized and applied to the Church today and progressing to its fulfillment. Too many Amillenialists the Millennium is a spiritual representation of the church age, in which we are now living. Some believe that Satan was bound at the first coming of Christ. The good in the world comprises the kingdom of Christ, and the evil in the world is part of Satan’s kingdom. The kingdom of Christ is the Church itself. This view was first proposed by St. Augustine in the fourth century, and has been the essential position of the Roman Catholic Church. It is also a view that is common among many Reform Protestant denominations. The Amillennialist holds that Christ will reign through His church until His second coming, which will mark – not the millennial reign – but the beginning of eternity for believers.
In this view, Christ’s reign begins somewhere between the first and second coming, but it arrives in degrees. Like Amillennialism, Postmillennialism denies a literal interpretation of Revelation 20. They believe the thousand-year reign of Christ is figurative, and represents a indefinite length of time when He reigns through the hearts of believers. The kingdom is brought in gradually through evangelism. The Tribulation is now and the Church is the new Israel (spiritual Israel). The postmillennial view holds that the Church Age will gradually evolve into a "golden age" (Millennium) where the Church will rule over all the world accomplished through the Christianization of the nations.
Post-millennialism was accepted in the mid-seventeenth century after the Reformation by a Unitarian minister named Daniel Whitby. It was immediately dubbed "Postmillennialism" because it envisioned a return of Jesus after (post) a literal thousand year reign of the Church over all the earth.
Two of the main views (amillennial and postmillennial) deny that Jesus will rule the nations in a world wide reign of peace, justice and righteousness. The postmillennial view denies the soon coming of the Lord, for the Lord cannot return until His Church has rules the world. This is also known as doiminionism.
Preterism often goes hand in hand with postmillennialism, and holds that the majority of the prophecies in Revelation (and mt.24) were fulfilled by the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. A Preterist does believe in a final judgment that follows a Millennial kingdom, but believes that these prophecies has been fulfilled.
Preterist (Latin word preter meaning past) It is also known as Realized Eschatology – (a completion of last things). At the time when we see the significant portions of what the Bible addresses being set up for its fulfillment we have a dangerous doctrine appearing that is gaining popularity, despite its lack of Bible proof. To neglect teaching Bible prophecy or to hold the view to be fulfilled today or in the future is to lose a majority of Scripture. If one wants to hold a non- literal position that is their prerogative, but when they teach this to others it becomes a different issue. Prophecy involves nearly one third of the Bible from the beginning in the book of Genesis to the book of Revelation. Jesus told us to pay attention to prophecy and the signs of the times. So we can know that His return is near. It should make us react with excitement when we see things that were said thousands of years ago pertaining to the end that is falling into place. But there are those who are telling us to ignore it. One of the ways is by saying it already took place, we need not bother to further understand these Scriptures. They are fulfilled already and are history.
The preterist viewpoint is that almost 100% (or nearly all) prophecy has all been fulfilled during the Roman Empire. The current church age as equal to the tribulation period or that we are in the kingdom age now.
They subscribe to an early date (prior to A.D. 70) for the book of Revelation written by John rather than a later date of 85-95 AD. the prophetic events of Matthew 24 were to have occurred prior of A.D. 70. Some identify the "king of the north" in Daniel 11 as the Roman general, Titus who conquered Jerusalem in 70 AD.
The subject of Israel usually becomes the main issue. Nearly all recognize the Jewish origins and roots of the Christian faith. Yet they hold that Israel has no real significance in their theology. The problem lies with recognizing the covenants and who is Israel and the church. What they often do is combine both the old and new covenants under grace, seeing the church in the Old Testament as Israel.
The main problem is that they diminish the importance of the nation of Israel, the land of Israel and her people. Israel is denied to have importance in God’s redemptive plan for the last days. A Preterist does not find a biblical justification for the State of Israel today. They believe we living in the Promised Land now, every believer in Jesus has entered into his rest- that is the Promised Land. See article[s] on Israel Replacing what God has NOT! Israel - the dividing of people
In Genesis 12:7 God promised that Abraham and his heirs would inherit the land. It sounds so simple, but this happens to be a dividing point for their systematic theology. God says that he has ownership of the world and he gives it to whom he wants.
Deut 14:2: "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God, and the LORD has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth."
Deut 32:7-9: "Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations. Ask your father, and he will show you; your elders, and they will tell you: When the Most High divided their inheritance to the nations, when He separated the sons of Adam, he set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the children of Israel. For the LORD'S portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance."
God has taken Israel a nation to be above all others giving them specific promises which many have not yet been fulfilled.
It is made clear by many Scriptures that Israel is the land of the Jewish (Hebrew) people. Ezekiel 37 teaches that Israel will return to the land first in unbelief and in stages, this fits our contemporary state in the world. The stage is being set for Israel’s mass conversion during the tribulation period as they are regathered into their original land. to a Preterist there is no such event, because the church is the true Israel.
In pre-millennial theology the very basic teaching is to keep Israel and the Church distinct, this solves many of the issues that Amillenialists and Preterists have with Israel.
A literal interpretation emphasizes a viewpoint of the Abrahamic covenant as unconditional and to be literally fulfilled to Israel-both the land and the people.
Did God promise that the Jews will return to the land of Palestine, (called the Promised Land). Was 1948 a fulfillment of that prophecy? Does the city of Jerusalem that was brought back into Israel’s possession in the Six Day War in 1967 have any significance? What about 1973. To chalk these up to happenstance or coincidence and not God, is to miss the very point of prophecy for the end times that we are told to pay attention too. If we find prophecy fulfilled literally in the past hen why would it change for our day?
It should be simple enough to see that the Church has the favor of the Lord, Israel does not, this means the church is not Israel. They are not the same. Israel always consisted of Jews not of Gentiles and Jews, the church consists of both believing Gentiles and Jews which means the church is not Israel.
This is one of the main Scriptures used by Preterists to prove all was fulfilled in 70 AD Matt. 24:33-34: “So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-- at the doors! “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.”
As we carefully examine the claims of preterism we will see that only a few events happened and cannot be the fulfillment Jesus spoke of (referring to Mt.24:4-25:46). He told us when all of these take place at the same time to a certain generation- that would be when the coming of the Lord will take place and will be seen by all.
pt.2 the preterist view