Why I Am Not A Preterist
By John Stevenson
"the Jews who suffered through the A.D. 70 event would have recognized that their sufferings were a punishment for their treatment of Jesus"
The word "preterist" is taken from the Latin word meaning "past." This view denies any future fulfillment of the book of Revelation and sees the events it describes as already having been fulfilled within the first century after Christ.
There are several different forms of Preterism. Full Preterism views all of the prophecies of the Bible as having already been fulfilled in their entirety since the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Full Preterism is a very recent innovation that has no adherents in any of the writings of the early church.
Partial Preterism maintains a future return of Christ, but views His "coming in the clouds" as described in Matthew 24:29-31 as having been fulfilled in A.D. 70 with the fall of Jerusalem.
1. Jesus and Preterism.
With regards to Preterism, I am reminded of the words of Jesus when He said to the disciples, "The days shall come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, 'Look there! Look here!' Do not go away, and do not run after them. For just as the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day." (Luke 17:22-24).
It seems to me that the Preterist is one who is pointing to the A.D. 70 event and saying, "Look there! Look here!" But there is going to be no mistaking the coming of the Son of Man when He finally returns.
2. The Church Fathers and Preterism.
It is clear from a reading of the apostolic and church fathers that ALL of them expected a future return of Jesus Christ. It would be strange indeed if the entire church failed to understand the fulfillment of so many of the New Testament prophecies on such a major point. This is especially striking when we remember the promise of Revelation 1:7 that tells us, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. A preterist interpretation calls for this to be a reference to the "tribes of the land" of Israel, even though Israel was never described in such a way elsewhere in the Bible. But such an interpretation would demand that the Jews who suffered through the A.D. 70 event would have recognized that their sufferings were a punishment for their treatment of Jesus since the prophecy is not merely that they would mourn, but that they would mourn "over Him." Just as there is no evidence that anyone in the church ever recognized the fall of Jerusalem as the return of Jesus, so also there is a complete absence of evidence that the Jews ever recognized the coming of Jesus in those events.
3. The Resurrection and Preterism.
Fundamental to full Preterism is the idea that there is no future physical resurrection of the dead. But the pattern for our resurrection is that of Jesus. The big idea presented in 1 Corinthians 15 is that Jesus arose from the dead. This was not merely some sort of spiritual resurrection. The point is made throughout this chapter that His resurrection was bodily and physical. Furthermore we are told that His resurrection serves as the paradigm for our own resurrection. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep (1 Corinthians 15:20). He is the firstfruits and we are the "later fruits."
When Paul came to Athens, he was mocked by the Greeks for believing in a physical resurrection. Such mockery would not have been forthcoming had he held that the resurrection was only going to be of a spiritual or mystical nature. But he went out of his way to side himself with the Pharisees who believed in a physical resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:6-8).
In denying any future resurrection at the coming of Christ, the preterist also finds himself out of accord with the words of Paul when he says, "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" (1 Corinthians 15:51). The reference to sleep is used throughout this epistle as a euphemism for death (11:30; 15:6; 15:18; 15:20). While Paul says of the coming of the Lord that it will be a time when all do not die, the preterist is left with the rather obvious historic truth that everyone who lived in the first century did indeed die.
4. Preterism and the Lord’s Supper.
One wonders whether the Full Preterist is completely consistent in his views. After all, most Full Preterists continue to partake of the Lord’s Supper in spite of the fact that Paul said that the eating and drinking serves to "proclaim the Lord's death UNTIL HE COMES" (1 Corinthians 11:26).
5. Preterism and the Promise of a Soon Coming.
Preterists like to point out that Jesus and the disciples stated that the kingdom was near and at hand. What they often ignore is that this same formula was used in the Old Testament in instances where the eventual fulfillment was a long way off.
An example of this is seen in Isaiah 13:6 where, speaking of a coming judgment against the city of Babylon, the prophet says, "Wail, for the day of the LORD is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty."
Isaiah writes these words in the 8th century B.C. but it is not until 539 B.C. that Babylon fell to the Persians.
The preterist attempts to make a similar case via the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:34 where Jesus says, "Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place." What is conveniently ignored is the earlier context of Jesus’ words in the previous chapter.
"Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,
35 that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation." (Matthew 23:34-36).
Notice that it was "this generation" that murdered Zechariah, the son of Berechiah." The problem is that this murder took place 400 years earlier as recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21. This tells us that Matthew’s use of the term "generation" means something different than a mere life span of the people who were living at that time.
6. Preterism and the Angels at the Ascension.
A final nail in the coffin of the preterist is seen in the promise that was given to the disciples at the ascension of Jesus. The event took place on the Mount of Olives.
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them; 11 and they also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11).
The promise that was given by the angels is that Jesus would come again in exactly the same way as they had watched Him go into heaven. This had not been a spiritual ascension, but a physical and visible one. It is for this reason that Christians throughout the ages fully expect a future physical and visible return of Christ.
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- 01 Apr 2004
If Jesus did not come how and when he said he would, then he is no god at all.
- 02 Apr 2004
(please forgive this post. I know it is too long. If you are a pret or partial or know your stuff you can skip over this.) While I am not entirely persuaded of a Full Preterist position currently, I am much, much further from the current dispensational pre-trib ideas that are so common today. That said, I would like to take a moment to point out a few things about this article. Again, I am not a preterist expert. A few points I will leave for someone much more educated than myself, and none of it is intended to be a full scholarly treatment. I am merely wanting to point out that for an article that is titled "Why I am not a Preterist" this is pretty poor scholarship even in general terms. First, regarding the claims that there were no adherents to a preterist view in the early church, I cannot give any weight to this statement without some type of reference. Again, when you endeavor to declare why you are not a preterist (and therefore apparently why it is wrong) you cannot expect such broad and sweeping statements to carry any weight without references. Second, the idea of Christ coming on clouds being related to a judgment coming is common throughout all of scripture. God came in or on clouds numerous times in judgment. Understanding the language of the culture and historic people certainly allows for such an interpretation. Regardless, they comment about partial preterists serves only to inform the reader though in an apparent accusatory tone. Third, titling section one "Jesus and Preterism" given what you then include in this section is ridiculous. You simply provided a quote a Jesus and then provided your own interpretation. Interestingly though, lacking in your interpretation is the context of the passage. First, a study of the passage as it relates to the previous statement made to the Pharisees when Jesus said that "the Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed." He declares that it is already in their midst (I realize you will speak to such interpretation later). Regardless of all that, the manner in which you completely disregard the fact that he is speaking TO HIS DISCIPLES. Read then entire passage and then write another paper describing why these things which seemingly concern first century people, actaully do not concern them, but a yet future people. Bottom line is that this passage you quoted in no way what-so-ever demonstrates Jesus' view of preterism. What it does say is that the disciples would "long to see one of the days of the son of man" (I won't even get into the fac that it says DAYS, not day). Also it says that when the day happens it will be OBVIOUS AND CLEAR TO ALL! Just like how obvious lightning flashes are, so will the coming of the son of man be. He will not be a lightning flash but his coming will be like one. Fourth, concerning the church fathers and preterism, I will not go into much detail. There are far more studied preterists who can defend their view here. I would like to say however, a couple of things. You reference Rev. 1.7 apparently to suggest that indeed everyone should have known the significance of this event since "all the tribes of the land" would mourn. Then you criticize the preterist view because it asks that the “tribes of the land” refer to Israel. However, without getting into too much greek here, even a simple look into your strongs or thayers greek can show what these words mean. Thayer Tribes (phulē)- a tribe 1a) in the NT all the persons descending from one of the twelve sons of the patriarch, Jacob 2) a nation, people Earth (gē)- 1) arable land 2) the ground, the earth as a standing place 3) the main land as opposed to the sea or water 4) the earth as a whole 4a) the earth as opposed to the heavens 4b) the inhabited earth, the abode of men and animals 5) a country, land enclosed within fixed boundaries, a tract of land, territory, region It does not seem a stretch in the least to say that the tribes of the land referred to Israel. Again, there is much more to this but I am taking up too much space as it is and I am not even done yet. Now then, are you suggesting that every eye who pierced him will see him in the yet future? Are you suggesting that every person on the face of the earth (EVERY ONE OF THEM) is going to mourn at the second coming? I think I would be happy if the Lord returned. Again: every single person alive will mourn? Finally, your final comments in this section are simply more broad claims with no reference or proof. Regardless if they are true or not, we cannot tell from your presentation and therefore we cannot expect to give too much weight to the claims based on this. Fifth, I personally have differing views as to the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, I will ask that a full preterist give a more thorough explanation here. I would simply point out that when you mention Paul being mocked for the resurrection of the dea, he was primarily being mocked for saying that Jesus rose from the dead. The good news was that Jesus was truly bringing the kingdom. The people were waiting for a messiah to bring a new kingdom. However, they were not expecting the one Jesus brought. But as Jesus fulfilled all the Messianic prophecies and was declared the messiah by God himself at the resurrection, so paul understood what the good news was and he preached Christ crucified and risen. While there may have been an understanding of a future resurrection of the saints within this, you should use another example to try to demonstrate this. Six, the fourth point concerning the Lord’s Supper seems more like a childish name calling than a scholarly point. Like shouting “nanny nanny” and then running away, you fail to elaborate on this accusation. It is true that the DISCIPLES would do these things in remembrance of Him. Also that their eating and drinking served to proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.” That does not actually say anything about not partaking in the Lord’s supper after he comes. Again, I am not totally in line with the full preterist view, but even if you view the final second coming of Christ to have been in 70ad, then this passage does nothing to defeat that. Either the disciples are proclaiming the Lord death until he comes and we are also today, or they did it until he came and then others after that coming are doing it in remembrance. Work that one out before you use it again. Seven, in trying to explain away some of the most clear statements as to the timing of these things, you refer to an apparent formula that was used in the old testament. It is true that Isaiah used the term near. However, Jesus (and other NT writers) not only used “near” but other clear time frame references as well, including “this generation.” This comparison and formula you speak of does not fit into any of this. You then attempt to demonstrate your faulty interpretation of generation by saying that the generation that killed Zechariah is the one in reference here and since that happened 400 years ago, then generation must mean at least 400 years. However, it is the PEOPLE who killed Zechariah, not the generation. On the generation will fall the GUILT of all the bloodshed that the people has caused, from abel to Zechariah (a way of saying ALL of it). This is no way demonstrates that generation means anything other than the common meaning of a generation of men living. Eight, you declare that your final nail in the coffin of preterism (as if any single thing you have mentioned would constitute a nail in a coffin for any other than people not familiar with preterism) is the ascension of Jesus in Acts and how Jesus will return in “just the same way.” Again, I will not go into any depth here as my view of the final resurrection is a little different than the preterist one. However, this verse is not saying that Jesus will come back in EXACTLY the same way they saw him leave. At most, it means that He will come back in clouds or in the air, etc. Again, given your logic (and your use of the word “exactly’) are you suggesting that Jesus will in the same cloud, or one the same shape? That he will come back and appear to the same number of people that watched him leave? That it will be in the same place? OF course not. Those things are silly. I admit that. My point is that, just like the supposed future when every single eye on the earth will mourn over Jesus, or that every single Jew will be saved in the future (which still has not demonstrated that, if God is saving all Jews in the future, and millions of jews have died already apart from Jesus, how are they to be saved? A second chance from beyond the grave? Are they come to God apart from Jesus Christ? Are there now two ways to come to God?) The bottom line is that just as obviously and clearly that he left them, he would return. That is all that the passage demands. If you interpret the 70ad coming to be a second coming or a judgment coming, either one was just as clear (and also described as being in clouds). Again, there is much more to this and to all of these things. There are people who are much more qualified than I am to refute this article. My only point in writing this was to demonstrate that even a guy who is just learning this stuff and does not even agree entirely with it (preterism in the context) can be open and honest enough to read through the information on this and other sites and learn enough about it to recognize this refutation as poor at best. People, whatever you believe, please strive to be able to demonstrate and explain it better than this article has. There is at best a bent nail sticking out of the corner of the coffin and at worst (in my opinion) not even a coffin described in this article.
- 03 Apr 2004
Part One – I must commend the author of the post of 02 Apr 2004. Very nice examination of these arguments. I agree that little of the material in this work "would constitute a nail in a coffin for any other than people not familiar with preterism." As a college student I have discussed preterism with my roommate and we have listened to a few debates between preterists and futurists. A lot of the time he can see right through the futurist arguments. Why? Because as someone who is not "committed" to futurism, he does not force passages to fit with the futurist ideology. None of the issues in this article are "utter refutations" of preterism in themselves or combined. These points would be more appropriate AFTER one has already reasonably pointed out the problems with preterism on other issue. THEN, after such a critique, some of these points would have some value as "additional" evidence, but certainly not as the primary proofs against preterism. An example of this is the issue described as follows by our critic: "While Paul says of the coming of the Lord that it will be a time when all do not die, the preterist is left with the rather obvious historic truth that everyone who lived in the first century did indeed die." For this to be a problem, one would have to first prove the futurist understanding of this passage: When the second coming occurs, those Christians who will be alive will receive their immortality spiritual bodies just like the dead. But, it could just as easily be argued that Paul was saying that WE (the first century Christians) will not all sleep die before His second coming (cf. Matthew 16:27, 28), but that those alive will receive the blessings of full legal justification before God and the granting of eternal life. Since all of the believers of the first century have physically passed away, the second coming must have already happened. The controversial passage in John 21:20-24 would also support this second (preterist) understanding, for the inspired writer does not deny that Jesus' words entailed that he would not live to see the second coming; rather, he denies that living to see the second coming implied that he would not experience physical death after this point. (And why would he deny this? See John 11:25, 26.) In short, as the writer of 02 April 2004 wrote, it does not take much to see through most of the arguments of Mr. Stevenson. Kenneth Perkins
- 03 Apr 2004
Part Two – Point 1, in context, does not prove the author's contention. The "Church Fathers" were not inspired, so their views might serve as "additional" commentary on the issue, but definitely not as a proof in itself against preterism. Point three: There are various concepts of the "spiritual body" held by preterists ( at least the corporate resurrection, regenerative resurrection, individual post-mortem bodily resurrection), and none of these are so outside of biblical interpretation that they could be rejected out of hand because of their view of the non-physical resurrection body of the individual believer. Point four is irrelevant. It could be true that full preterists are taking the Lord's Supper in error. There are full preterists who believe in its cessation. Even so, "until" does not always imply a termination (cf. Romans 5:12, 13), so it is not necessarily the case that "until" in this passage means "afterwards stop." It could simply necessitate that the practice should not cease before the Lord's return, not that it would have to after this point. Point five: how would a period of two hundred years or less in Isaiah 13 “prove” that 2,000 years and counting can also be "soon"? Also, in the larger context (both interpretative and historical), the Babylonians were not the major world power in the days of Isaiah; the Assyrians were (Isaiah 7, 8, 36-39). Thus, as Isaiah 14 indicates, the words of Isaiah 13 are spoken from the vantage point of the time when Babylon has come to power (just as in Deuteronomy 32:35 the day of calamity was not at hand when Moses wrote these words, but at the time when Israel had turned from God in the land). Indeed, when Babylon did overthrow the Assyrians, their empire did not last even 100 years. Point six is well handled by the anonymous writer of 02 April 2004, but I would like to add another comment: Jesus left in the first century. Since He would come "in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven," does that mean that He was to come back in the first century? As "anonymous" has pointed out, Jesus' cloud-coming in AD 70 was sufficient to fulfill this. Kenneth Perkins
- 06 Apr 2004
Mr. Stevenson errs throughout, but one particular error that I decided to address has to do with "this generation" and the murder of Zechariah son of Berechiah (Matt 23:34-36). Stevenson claims that "Zechariah" is the one of 2 Chron 24:20-21, but it is not so (note the differing fathers of the Zechariahs). Instead, the Zechariah of which Jesus spoke was none other than the father of John the Baptist. The 2nd century work, the "Protoevangelium of James" records his death at the alter. Here is the quote: "Now Herod sought for John, and sent officers to Zacharias, saying: Where hast thou hidden thy son? And he answered and said unto them: I am a minister of God and attend continually upon the temple of the Lord: I know not where my son is. 2 And the officers departed and told Herod all these things. And Herod was wroth and said: His son is to be king over Israel. And he sent unto him again, saying: Say the truth: where is thy son ? for thou knowest that thy blood is under my hand. And the officers departed and told him all these things. 3 And Zacharias said: I am a martyr of God if thou sheddest my blood: for my spirit the Lord shah receive, because thou sheddest innocent blood in the fore-court of the temple of the Lord. And about the dawning of the day Zacharias was slain. And the children of Israel knew not that he was slain. XXIV. 1 But the priests entered in at the hour of the salutation, and the blessing of Zacharias met them not according to the manner. And the priests stood waiting for Zacharias, to salute him with the prayer, and to glorify the Most High. 2 But as he delayed to come, they were all afraid: and one of them took courage and entered in: and he saw beside the altar congealed blood: and a voice saying: Zacharias hath been slain, and his blood shall not be wiped out until his avenger come. And when he heard that word he was afraid, and went forth and told the priests. 3 And they took courage and went in and saw that which was done: and the panels of the temple did wail: and they rent their clothes from the top to the bottom. And his body they found not, but his blood they found turned into stone. And they feared, and went forth and told all the people that Zacharias was slain. And all tile tribes of the people heard it, and they mourned for him and lamented him three days and three nights. And after the three days the priests took counsel whom they should set in his stead: and the lot came up upon Symeon. Now he it was which was warned by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death until he should see the Christ in the flesh."
- 08 Apr 2004
Others have dealt with the many problems in this "refutation" of preterism. I'll simply say the opening salvo is terribly flawed. If one cannot look at the events of fulfillment and declare it, then there would never be a time in which one could do so. The real issue is that the author fails to see how the events of A.D. 70 fulfilled the eschatological prophecies and he is still waiting for something which satisfies his presuppositions. His number is legion.
- 08 Dec 2004
Granted the author does not take a preterist position but it is an absurd stretch to claim he makes no points. The basic problem with Preterists is that you can invoke a metaphorical meaning at will if you chose a certain method of hermenutics. His nail in the coffin (point 6) stands. There is nothing in Acts 1:9-11 that calls for a metaphor or spiritualized interpretation. Jesus arose from the dead bodily (anything else is heretical according to the NT itself) and therefore ascended bodily to then come again in like manner. Sure you can twist about the "like manner" but the plain meaning of the text is he ascended bodily he will descend bodily. He doesn't have to be exactly the same but it does have to be him and it does have to be visual or there is no similarity at all. A defense that if not exact it need not have basics of a similarity is an INCREDIBLY absurd argument. Of course the preterist has to argue for a back door understanding of this because if we take these words for what any casual reader would take them it meshes too completely with Revelations, Ezekiel, Joel and Isaiah that says that the Lord will return and destroy the nations of the world in the "supper" that many prophets call for in a literal destruction of the nations. A case for Preterism cannot be sustained primarily on the basis of Old Testament Prophetical understanding - instead an erroneous understanding of the NT has to be imposed upon the old and yet it is primarily the Old testament that should help us interpret the New as agrees even the NT itself. The error in responding to this article abound but I will add but one more and that is that the critique of the use of Luke 17 carries no weight. Jesus is saying point blank they will not see the son of man again in their lifetime. The "see" in the second half of 22 is identical to the see in matt 24:30 where the Son of man is seen. The "see" in the first half of Luke 21 is the same word in Matthew 24:33 where "all these things" are seen. So who lied (problem is the Lord is the only talking in both passages)? did they see the son of man or not - and disciples were being spoken to in each (incidentally the use of the singular or plural days is irrelevant. It would have to be plural days since the expression cannot grammatically read "one of the day")instance. I know someone will rationalize away the exact same words being used in both passages with the same context of the son of man being seen or not seen. Jesus means see here in one respect and see there in another respect or that the disciples here are different from the ones there but its hardly a refutation just desperate begging of the position.
- 10 Jan 2005
Daniel chapter 12-verse 4 "but o Daniel seek up this book until the time of the end, for many shall go to and fro and knowledge shall greatly be increased."
- 10 Jan 2005
Daniel chapter 12-verse 4 "but o Daniel seal up this book until the time of the end, for many shall go to and fro and knowledge shall greatly be increased."
Date: 21 Mar 2005
You need to become a Jew and live in that time-frame in order to understand the lang. You are pulling scripture out of context. God it truth and He says what He means and He means what He says.
Right off the bat, this author makes the mistake of quoting Luke. He wrote, "With regards to Preterism, I am reminded of the words of Jesus when He said to the disciples, "The days shall come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it. And they will say to you, 'Look there! Look here!' Do not go away, and do not run after them. For just as the lightning, when it flashes out of one part of the sky, shines to the other part of the sky, so will the Son of Man be in His day." (Luke 17:22-24).
It seems to me that the Preterist is one who is pointing to the A.D. 70 event and saying, "Look there! Look here!" But there is going to be no mistaking the coming of the Son of Man when He finally returns." We can say "there it is" after the fact, but NOTICE what Jesus is saying. You will long to SEE but you will not SEE what you are expecting to SEE. It will be like LIGHTNING FLASHING. Jesus is NOT saying here that they would MISS the "day of the son of man" but that they would not SEE it in the way typically imagined in Second Temple Judaistic eschatology.
The formula for prophecy in the OT is that Event A is announced, then, when it occurs, the saying, "then you shall know that I am the Lord" applies. One cannot argue in silence that many Jews holed up within the walls of Jerusalem did not repent at the last minute with the realization of their crime against Christ. History, from three accounts, reports of prodigies and signs in the skies. Eusebius repeats those reports as well. The only thing the early church failed in doing was not tying the Second Coming doctrine to those events (which many mention - Barnabas, Justin, Irenaeus, Clement, etc.). This single event, according to Chrysostom and Athanasius, signaled the spiritual and covenantal transfer from old to new. All that modern Preterists do is simply apply this transference to eschatological categories. We just simply take a step further, logically, than did our blessed predecessors.
Samuel M. Frost, M.A.R.
Date: 22 Mar 2005
Here's another "step further" taken by traditional preterists. Sadly, they believe that God's special relationship with OT, natural Israel remained in effect in AD 30 despite the murder of his Son, and that the terrible bondage of the law of Moses, inflicted by the satanic religious leaders of Jerusalem (Jn. 8:44), did not end at that time, and that the way into heaven was not opened at that time. To the preterist those momentous changes were not brought about by Christ, the Son of God, in AD 30. The things he failed to do were done instead by Titus, the pagan son of the pagan emperor of the pagan Roman Empire, in AD 70. No kidding. They really believe that.
Date: 22 Mar 2005
In response to the comment above ("No kidding. They really believe that,"), but doesn't God use evil nations throughout Scripture to enact His plan? Didn't the Babylonians take the Israelites captive? Didn't the Egyptians put them in slavery? I don't think any preterist would suggest that Jesus "failed to do" anything. On the contrary, it's the non-preterist view that would lead one to the inevitable conclusion that Jesus failed. Afterall, His "failure" to bring about the Kingdom is precisely why Jews do not believe Jesus was the Messiah. The alternative, of course, is that Jesus succeeded and accomplished His entire mission. Something non-preterists simply cannot say with any integrity.
Date: 22 Mar 2005
Zionists are people who just can't grasp the fact that God was finished forever with the old, natural, hopelessly fallen, temporary and merely typifying Israel when Christ was resurrected as the wonderful, fulfillment, spiritual and eternal Israel. There are both Christian and non-Christian Zionists. Christian Zionists come in two varieties, futurist and preterist. The former erroneously believe that natural Israel's special OT relationship with God will be resumed during a future 1,000-year "millennium" and the latter erroneously believe that natural Israel's special OT relationship with God continued during a 40-year "millennium" (AD 30-70). No kidding. They really believe that.
Date: 03 Sep 2005
John Stevenson's original study has 7 points, not 6. I'm curious as to why
this site only posted six of the bullet points. Here's the seventh:
7. Preterism and the Judgment of the World.
When Paul preaches to the Athenians on the Areopagus, he declares to them
that God has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness
through a Man whom He has appointed (Acts 17:31). The Preterist
interpretation of this verse is that it points to the A.D. 70 fall of
Jerusalem, yet that fall would have absolutely no impact upon the Athenians
who had gathered to listen to Paul. He says that they ought to repent
because of this coming judgment and such a warning is nonsensical if it only
refers to a local judgment in a far away land.
Date: 20 Nov 2005
That is an extremely good point you made about Paul preaching to the
Athenians about the man appointed by God to judge the World on a specific
future day, and for that reason they should repent. Indeed, how silly this
logic must have seemed to these pagans if the juudgement Paul was warning
about actually only applied to the Jews.
Date: 21 Feb 2006
if anyone was found inthe city of jerusalem during it's destruction , their
life would have been impacted . their life would have ended.that is the
point of the warnings in luke 21;20-23. athenian or jew .
Date: 25 May 2006
uhmm...if Jesus went back to law for the ones who don't believe law was
finished...wouldn't that be an abomination unto his own word...that would be
like saying the cross wasn't good enough...wouldn't it? So when he said it
is finished, and died...then consequently ended the 6th day of
creation...because if it wasn't the end of the 6TH DAY OF CREATION THEN THE
ACT OF DIEING ON THE CROSS SURLY COULDN'T BE A PART OF THE WHOLE 7TH DAY OF
REST THING...OPPS rambling again...the point is that the it is finished part
of the cross was the last thing he did before he entered into his rest(AKA
7th day of creation)...so I don't read where he is coming out of
retirement...oh he does say something about ceasing from YOUR OWN WORKS...TO
ENTER INTO HIS REST(HEB 4) AND (REV 13-If any man worship the beast and his
image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall
drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture
into the cup of his indignation
Date: 06 Jun 2006
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master,
we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil
and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be
given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days
and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days
and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in
judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented
at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
Matt 12:38 – 41
“We would see a sign from thee.” They wanted Jesus Christ to work a miracle.
How did Jesus Christ answer them? “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh
after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it…” Seems Jesus told this
‘adulterous generation’ that there ‘shall no sign be given.’ Well if the
word ‘generation’ was the right word then Jesus would have to have wait for
roughly 33 to 38 years for this ‘generation’ to pass away to fulfill his
sign that “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's
belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart
of the earth.” So the word “An evil and adulterous generation” should be,
“race of people;” for so γενεα should be translated
here, and in most other places in the Gospels; for our Lord, in general,
uses it to point out the Jewish people.
Another example is in Luke 11:29 “And when the people were gathered thick
together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and
there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.” And
Mark 8:12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this
generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be
given unto this generation.
Again the verse that reads “This is an evil generation,” or “unto this
generation.” should read “This is a wicked race of men.” Or “unto this
wicked race of men.”
Other examples of how the word “Generation” has other means in scripture
Time = generation (Strong’s 1074)
Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.
For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in
the synagogues every sabbath day. Act 15:21
Ages = generation (Strong’s 1074)
Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now
revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; Eph 3:5
Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world
without end. Amen. Eph 3:21
Nation = generation (Strong’s 1074)
That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in
the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in
the world; Phl 2:15
Generations = generation (Strong’s 1074)
[Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but
now is made manifest to his saints: Col 1:26
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things
be fulfilled. Mat 24:34
“This generation shall not pass…” generation is
ηγενεααυτη, this race;
i.e. the Jews shall not cease from being a distinct people, till all the
counsels of God relative to them and the Gentiles be fulfilled. Preterist
say, “this generation,” meaning the persons who were then living, that they
should not die before these signs, calamities that fell upon the Jews, and
the destruction of their government, temple, continuing to be under the
power of the Gentiles till the fullness of the Gentiles should come.
This verse is the grounds for construing the whole discourse as a prophet of
the destruction of Jerusalem and referring it exclusively to that event; but
careful attention to the exact words Christ used removes the problem. Jesus
used "these things" to refer to the destruction of Jerusalem and "that day"
to designate the judgment.
Thus, this verse cannot apply to the second coming and final judgment but to
the destruction of the Holy City, for he said that that generation would not
pass away until all "these things" be accomplished. Furthermore, "this
generation" has a much broader meaning than the lifetime of those who heard
If Christ had intended that kind of meaning, he would have used words
similar to those of Mark 9:1. Therefore, we look for some special meaning of
the term GENERATION. As regarded the destruction of Jerusalem, "generation"
had a limitation to the lives of persons then living; but, as regards the
final judgment, "generation" referred to the descendants of Abraham, meaning
the race of the Jews and that they would not cease as a separate people
until the end of time. If such an explanation appears ingenious, it should
be remembered that in describing two events, plainly separated by centuries
of time, some expressions would of necessity have double meanings; and it is
the view here that such an understanding of the word "generation" is
positively required and that such does no violence whatever to the text.
Verse 30. This generation
ηγενεααυτη, This very race
of men or a group of people alive at any given time on the earth. As should
have been expected, applies to the first event of the prophecy of the
destruction of the temple and the city, which, right on schedule, occurred
while many who were alive when Christ uttered these words were still alive.
It is certain that this word has two meanings in the Scriptures; that given
in the text, and that above. Generation signifies a period of a certain
number of years, sometimes more, sometimes less. In Deuteronomy 1:35;; 2:14,
Moses uses the word to point out a term of thirty-eight years, which was
precisely the number in the present case; for Jerusalem was destroyed about
thirty-eight years after our Lord delivered this prediction. But as there
are other events in this chapter, which certainly look beyond the
destruction of Jerusalem, and which were to take place before the Jews
Luke 21 This generation... meaning the people then alive on earth, would not
pass away before Jerusalem was destroyed some forty years afterward. "This
generation," in the sense of the Jewish people, will not pass away before
Christ comes in glory. There can be no reasonable objection to this use of a
word in two somewhat different senses, for the word "Israel" is itself so
written and understood by the inspired authors of the New Testament.
One of the most common errors among the sophisticated with regard to Jesus
Christ is the notion that our Lord thought that his Second Coming was an
event in the near future, with the result that the early church expected
Christ to come in glory during their own lives. It is true, of course, that
some of the early church did expect the speedy return of Christ in their own
times; but that was not due to anything that Jesus either did or taught, nor
to anything that the Apostles preached or wrote. In fact, the early church
was guilty of the same sin of inattention to what Christ had emphatically
taught that is today being committed by the people making the same mistake
that some in the early church made. The chapter before us emphatically
reveals that countless ages were to go by before the final coming of Christ
Geldenhuys has this wonderful summary of it: Jesus taught that even before
the destruction of Jerusalem a considerable time would elapse (Luke 21:12),
and that thereafter again a considerable time, when one after another of the
Gentile nations (plural) would, in turn, rule over Jerusalem (Luke 21:24);
and only when the "times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled (Luke 21:24)
(obviously a long period), will the signs of Luke 21:25 come, and only after
that his second advent.
Not merely in this chapter, but upon other occasions Jesus plainly taught
that ages were to pass away before his second coming. Note:
This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world; and then
shall the end come (Matthew 24:14).
Now after a long time the lord of those servants cometh
And this gospel must first be preached to all the nations
Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, that
also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her
If that servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming ...
It is in the border context of what Jesus here did that one finds the most
certain proof of all that Christ envisioned ages, not some short span, as
elapsing before the Second Advent. And what did he do?
1. He combined prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem in such a manner
as to make the first event a type of the latter.
2. He most circumstantially outlined what would happen before Jerusalem was
destroyed, even predicting the martyrdom of some of the Twelve BEFORE that
event which took place forty years after he spoke.
3. By choice of an event forty years in the future, making it a type of his
Second Advent, and by the declaration of an interval between them which
would allow time for successive "nations," as indicated by the word "times"
(plural), to hold dominion over Jerusalem, the Lord made it certain that all
future peoples would be able to discern his clear meaning, namely, that
ages, not mere years or decades, would pass before his return.
The very obvious truth of all this, however, does not prevent the old
satanic lie from being circulated that Jesus himself was deceived in
thinking he would return within a few months, or years, after his
crucifixion. It was the divine wisdom of our Lord that led him to meld the
prophecies regarding Jerusalem and the Second Coming, providing just enough
uncertainty that each generation in turn might suppose the end to be
possible in its own day.
Heaven and earth shall pass away ... This is a positive declaration that an
end, or termination, shall come to the earth and its environment. "The end
of the world" was mentioned in the great commission (Matthew 28:18-20), and
an apostle said, "According to his promise, we look for new heavens and a
new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:13). (See more on this
in my Commentary on Matthew, Matthew 28:18-20.)
My word shall not pass away ... None but God could have such a certainty
regarding his word; and the passing ages have only confirmed the superlative
truth of this statement. Nineteen centuries and more have gone; and evil men
will spend half a lifetime trying to prove one little fragment of the
gospels to be false, but such is a hopeless endeavor. The sun, moon, and
stars will disappear more quickly than the word of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Preterists like to point out that Jesus and the disciples stated that the
kingdom was near and at hand. What they often ignore is that this same
formula was used in the Old Testament in instances where the eventual
fulfillment was a long way off.
An example of this is seen in Isaiah 13:6 where, speaking of a coming
judgment against the city of Babylon, the prophet says, "Wail, for the day
of the LORD is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty."
Isaiah writes these words in the 8th century B.C. but it is not until 539
B.C. that Babylon fell to the Persians.
The preterist attempts to make a similar case via the words of Jesus in
Matthew 24:34 where Jesus says, "Truly I say to you, this generation will
not pass away until all these things take place." What is conveniently
ignored is the earlier context of Jesus’ words in the previous chapter.
"Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some
of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your
synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 that upon you may fall the
guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous
Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered
between the temple and the altar. 36 Truly I say to you, all these things
shall come upon this generation." (Matthew 23:34-36).
Notice that it was "this generation" that murdered Zechariah, the son of
Berechiah." The problem is that this murder took place 400 years earlier as
recorded in 2 Chronicles 24:20-21.
This tells us that Matthew’s use of the term "generation" means something
different than a mere life span of the people who were living at that time.
A final nail in the coffin of the preterist is seen in the promise that was
given to the disciples at the ascension of Jesus. The event took place on
the Mount of Olives.
And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking
on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing
intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white
clothing stood beside them; and they also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you
stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into
heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into
heaven." (Acts 1:9-11).
The promise that was given by the angels is that Jesus would come again in
exactly the same way as they had watched Him go into heaven. This had not
been a spiritual ascension, but a physical and visible one. It is for this
reason that Christians throughout the ages fully expect a future physical
and visible return of Christ.
The Matthew Henry Commentary
The Hebrew Greek Key study Bible
Abingdon’s Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
Adam Clarke Commentary
Interlinear Greek-English Testament
Barne's Notes on the New Testament
Harmony of the Gospels, Introduction to the New Testament Geldenhuys
Date: 20 Oct 2006
Nice try but that sounds too much like tap dancing. When you have to resort
to Greek words and a concordance, this is what I call tap dancing. You're
bouncing words out of their meaning, and try to portray what you believe is
the intended meaning.
Yes the Old testament reserved times of up to 400 years before it was
fulfilled, yet other times much less than that. But it's been over 2000
years now, and you still look to the future? Lets take Iranaeu for example,
who thought the world would come to an end in 6000 years, as did Barnabus,
and a few others. Well, even using the calendar they used, 6000 years have
long passed. Now modern day futurists are looking at a different calendar
and assume it to be sometime in the year 2013. Perhaps, but this is futile.
I am Preterist, but not full preterist. I'm sorry if I offend anyone who is
full preterist, but you cannot object to the ressurection in bodily form.
Jesus was ressurected, and so shall we be. Otherwise, if we're not careful,
we'll fine that a rejection of a bodily ressurection is the same rejection
the Gnostics had. Trust me, I've read those writings and the rebuttle of
Iranaeus against the Gnostics. I also find it strikingly curious as to why
the Orthodox Church once rejected a bodily ressurection. Actually, some
I believe Christ will return, but as a theif and for final judgment of all
mankind. I also believe that Nero could have very well been the intended
Beast, but that's if you use his Hebrew spelling of his name. I for one
believe instead to be Domitian. For he had short versions of his name on
several coins, and one of those five coins add up to 666. Domitians name in
Hebrew adds up to 616. You also have to factor in Domitian was the one who
banished John to the island of Patmos, so perhaps John didn't reveal the
name because of that reason. Although Iranaeus claims that if John knew the
name, he would have declared it, but never did. I admit this makes Preterism
hard to swallow, but then Iranaeus also said Christ was 50 years old when he
died. So it's not as though he were perfect.
All in all, after reading the writings of Josephus, I'm fully convinced that
all the events which took place in Jerusalem match to near perfection of the
Mt. Olivet discussion AND the book of Revelation. My only difference
regarding Revelation is after the fall of Jerusalem (Babylon the harlot),
the events to follow are concurrent through now and then. Hense, the rider
on the white horse was Christ in symbolic form taking the power of the
Church and striking down the nations, with the sword of his mouth (the word
of God). That is exactly what happened to the Roman Empire. Christianity
damaged their economy due to declining sells in hand made statues, incents
for the Emperor Statues or the Roman god's, and a costly military which was
over worked and over expanded.
Date: 12 Jun 2009
Response to Why I am not a Preterist
Dear Brother John Stevenson,
I came across your “WHY I AM NOT A PRETERIST” as I was doing some research
and study on the internet dealing with that topic. I always like to check
out the pro’s and con’s and the “for’s” and” against’s” dealing with the
issues at hand. I also checked out (skimmed over) some of the other studies
that you had on your web sight. It seems we are in agreement on many
teachings, so therefore, I think I can call you a brother,
When I first became a Christian, over thirty years ago, I had decided to
follow the Lord wherever he led. That also meant that after studying a
particular teaching, doctrine or subject, if I found out that I was in
error, I would conform to the teaching of the scriptures, even if I was now
at odds with the doctrinal position of the church I was attending. Of
course, you do not leave a church or change denominations for light or minor
matters dealing with your interpretation of a particular dogma, scripture or
I still attend a church that is Dispensational, although I had long ago
found out, that as you put it, was “Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth”, on
that issue. I was shocked, when one day as I was studying for a bible lesson
I would be teaching, I happened to look up the word dispensation in
Strong’s, and found out that it means stewardship, as in the administration
of a household or estate. I also checked out W.E. Vine, in his expository
dictionary where it stated; “A dispensation is not a period or epoch (a
common, but erroneous, use of the word), but a mode of dealing, an
arrangement or administration of affairs.”
Dispensation is a biblical word, but it has been given a non-biblical
meaning by those who expound that teaching. It was eye opening when I did
research into the origins of that doctrine. I had always thought that that
teaching was the eternal belief of the Church. I have talked to my pastor
about that and other teachings that we disagree on, and we have agreed to
peaceable disagree on that issue and to continue fellowship.
But now, on to the reason that I wrote this letter.
I think you could say that I am “near” or in the partial preterist camp. You
state: “I have yet to meet a Preterist whose focus is upon church ministry
or the spreading of the gospel or the building up of the church.” I am not
in that “camp”, nor are any of the full or partial preterists that I know
personally. I do not know who you are referring to when you make that kind
of statement. Some of the men I list below you may not have heard of, but
they are in the Preterist camp.
I know David Kroll personally who wrote the book, “When Will Christ Return.”
He is probably a full preterist. He is also an ordained Christian minister.
But his full focus is not what you have stated. I will add, that I do not
necessarily agree with his entire book. I also know personally, other
authors such as Wayne Rohde (who is a partial preterist) who wrote the book
“A Future, A Hope, An Expected End”, who is also an ordained Christian
minister. I sat under his ministry for about six months, and I can assure
you that one of his main goals was the spreading of the gospel and building
up of the church. In fact, during the time I attended his church, I can not
remember one sermon that dealt with preteristim. I have read some of the
books by John Noe and Edward E. Stevens, who is the President of
International Preterist Association. I have also talked with them about
various other issues and related topics. They are no more focused in on just
Preteristism, then an evangelist is, whose “specialty” is end time prophecy.
John Noe wrote his book “Beyond The End Times” for the very obverse reason
you state, that preterists are not concerned about church ministry or the
spreading of the gospel. I of course, can not speak for Noe, Stevens or any
others, but in reading Noe’s and Stevens books (and in conversations with
them); it sure seemed, at least to me, that they are very concerned about
the spread of the gospel and the future of the church. They also seemed very
concerned about the harm that, what passes for biblical teaching about the
soon coming of the Lord, has had on the Church of Jesus Christ.
I also am very concerned about the harm that the preaching and teaching of
the “soon” coming of the Lord has had on the Church of Jesus Christ. I am
not just” focused” in on preteristism, there are other topics that I love to
talk about, like creation. I also love to witness about the Lord and what he
has done for me.
I really appreciate the ministry of Ken Ham and the Answers in Genesis
organization. I have many books written by Henry M. Morris and other
creationists. Men like, Henry Morris, Ken Ham, and John C. Whitcomb may have
their main focus on the aspects of creation, but it is all in relationship
to the spreading of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I do not agree with
the dispensational leanings of Henry Morris, but I would no more throw his
books in the garbage, then I would with other authors if I did not agree
with everything they wrote.
I have written a book titled “IT WAS AT HAND A Biblical Response to
Dispensationalism.” I deal with Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, the Olivet Discourse
and other related “end time” topics. When I started to write my book and do
the necessary study and research, I was not even aware of the doctrine of
Preteristism, nor had I heard of the authors John Noe or Edward E. Stevens.
Since I do believe that Christ’s discourse is now a past historical event, I
guess you would place me in the preterist camp. Of course, I would be in the
company of many notable men of God, like the Bible scholar Adam Clarke.
I do concur, for the most part, with the venerable Bible scholar Adam Clarke
in his classic work “Clarke’s Commentary”, on his position of Christ’s
Olivet Discourse. As he so eloquently states: “This chapter contains a
prediction of the utter destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, and
the subversion of the whole political constitution of the Jews, and is one
of the most valuable portions of the new covenant Scriptures, with respect
to the evidence which it furnishes of the truth of Christianity. Every thing
which our Lord foretold should come on the temple, city, and people of the
Jews, has been fulfilled in the most correct and astonishing manner; and
witnessed by a writer who was present during the whole, who was himself a
I also concur with his position on verse 30 of Matthew 24. “Then shall
appear the sign of the Son of man…” “The plain meaning of this is, that the
destruction of Jerusalem will be such a remarkable instance of Divine
vengeance, such a signal manifestation of Christ’s power and glory, that all
the Jewish tribes shall mourn, and many will, in consequence of this
manifestation of God, be led to acknowledge Christ and his religion.” What
“camp” would you place Adam Clarke in? Could you embrace him as a brother,
or would you, in your own words, say, the teaching … comes uncomfortably
close to the spiritual gangrene that is described by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:18…
1. Jesus and Preterism.
There was no mistaking of the judgment of the Son of Man on that wicked
generation in 70 A.D., for the whole nation of Israel was destroyed and the
city of Jerusalem and its temple were left as Jesus stated, “…There shall
not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”
Matt. 24:2 His coming in judgment was not missed by the believers of the
early church. They knew that Jesus Discourse was for them, and everything
that Jesus stated that would happen, did happen just as Jesus had said. The
early Church believed all the words of Jesus concerning the events that
would transpire before their generation passed away.
The reason that not one Christian perished in the destruction of Jerusalem,
was because they believed the words of Jesus when He said in Luke 21:20,21;
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the
desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the
mountains…” The Christians did just that, they fled when they saw Jerusalem
compassed with armies.
You state that: “…none of the believers of the early church viewed the 70
A.D. fall of Jerusalem as fulfilling the promise of the return of Christ.”
As stated above, the early church did believe what Jesus said. As shown
above, they believed exactly that. However, you are mistaken in your
understanding of what the “return of Christ” in this portion of scripture
First of all, the disciples did not ask Jesus anything about his “second
coming”, or as you put it, the “return of Christ.” What did the disciples
mean when they asked about “the sign of thy coming?” Were they asking about
what many call the “second coming” of Jesus. No! The Greek word coming,
parousia, meant arrival, advent, and presence, not return. The Bible never
uses the terminology, “the second coming.”
The disciples’ questions were not about a “second coming” of Jesus. All that
was on their mind, was when is the temple going to be destroyed, and what
sign/s would there be to know when it was about to happen. How could they be
asking about something (a second coming, returning) they knew nothing about?
If I said I was going on a vacation, you could ask where I was going, and
when I would be returning. You could also ask many other questions about my
future excursion. But if you do not know I am taking a trip, how could you
ask anything about it, or ask when I might be returning?
At the time the disciples asked Jesus their questions about the temple, they
did not even know that Jesus had to suffer and die for their sins. They did
not know He would rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. So how could
they be asking about His returning, when they didn’t have a clue, or know or
understand He had to die first, and then ascend into heaven?
The following verses will confirm this.
“ And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should
tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from
the dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with
another what the rising from the dead should mean.” (Mark 9:9-10);
Also see, Mark 9:31-32; Mark 16:14; Luke 9:44-45; Luke 18:31-34; Matthew
16:21-23; John 20:8-9.
It was not until the Lord rose from the dead, that the disciples had their
understanding opened to the truth of Jesus words. Then, and only then, did
they start to comprehend what Jesus meant by the “rising from the dead.” The
following verses will substantiate this.
“Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the
prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to
enter into his glory?” (Luke 24:25-26)
Also see, Luke 24:6-8; 45-46; John 2:19-22.
The disciples’ question about the coming (presence) of the Lord is even
better understood if we look at the question in the original Greek: “what
the sign of thy presence and of (the) completion of the age? The disciples
wanted to know what sign/s there would be before the destruction of these
things (the temple). When the temple and the city of Jerusalem were
destroyed, the disciples knew that it would be a judgment from the Lord
Jesus. So naturally, they wanted to know what would be the sign of His
presence (coming), before this judgment befell the city of Jerusalem and the
2. The Church Fathers and Preterism.
It does seem like a good point you make, that “… It is clear from a reading
of the apostolic and church fathers that ALL of them expected a future
return of Jesus Christ.” However, I am not so sure, for I have not read all
that the apostolic and church fathers believed and taught on that subject.
It is interesting that you would use Revelation 1:7 to make your point, for
that verse does not teach what you defend. I am not sure which version of
the Bible you are using, but in the King James version Rev. 1:7 reads,”
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also
which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.”
The word kindred translated as tribe in the version you are using, means a
race, nation or people.
There is something that you have missed. If you read Matthew 24:30, that
verse says in part, “…and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn.” The
word tribe appears over 350 times in the Scriptures, and each and every time
it refers exclusively (I have not found an exception) to the nation of
Israel as a whole or one tribe in particular. The signs given in the Olivet
Discourse were not for the whole world to see, but what happened in Israel
has affected the whole world. Jesus’ discourse was given specifically to His
disciples for the express purpose of knowing when the temple in Jerusalem
was going to be destroyed. That tribulation was upon the environs of
Jerusalem. It was in that land, the land of Israel, and the wrath was on a
particular people who lived in Israel, the Jews. “For there shall be great
distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the
edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and
Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles…” (Luke 21:23-24). This
verse is plainly speaking of the land of Israel in their time of great
tribulation, A.D. 70 All the tribes (nation of Israel) of the earth did
mourn when their city and temple were decimated.
Jesus told the seven Church in Asia, that the ones who pierced Him would see
Him when He “cometh with clouds.” Behold he cometh with clouds; and every
eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him…”Rev. 1:7. The chief
priests, members of the council, the ones who crucified Jesus, and His
disciples have been dead a long time. But Jesus told the chief priests and
His disciples that they would see Him, His Kingdom, and see Him come in the
clouds of heaven with power. So, obviously this had to have happened when
they were still alive. As I stated before, we now know that the disciples
were not asking about our Lords retuning from heaven before or after a
tribulation. Jesus told all the chief priests, elders, scribes, and council
that they would see His “coming.”
Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power,
and coming in the clouds of heaven (Matt. 26:64).
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this
adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be
ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels
I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power,
and coming in the clouds of heaven (Mark 14:62).
Jesus also told His disciples that they would see the Son of man coming in
His Kingdom with power.
For the Son of man shall come in the glory of His Father with his angels;
and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto
you, There be some standing here which not taste of death till they see the
Son of man coming in his kingdom (Matt. 16:27-28).
Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which
shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with
power (Mark 9:1).
For whosever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of
man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s and
of the holy angels. But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here,
which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God (Luke
When Jesus told the Jewish leaders that they would see the Son of man coming
in the clouds of heaven, the Jews knew exactly what Jesus meant. A cloud or
clouds symbolized the presence of Jehovah, the almighty God with His
unapproachable holiness and righteousness.
And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the
children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the
glory of the LORD appeared in the cloud (Exodus 16:10).
And the LORD descended in the cloud (Exodus 34:5).
And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because
the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle
And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the
camp (Numbers 10:34).
And the LORD came down in a cloud (Numbers 11:25).
And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud (Numbers 12:5).
See also; Genesis 15:17; Exodus 13:21-22; 14:19:20; 19:9; 40:38 Deuteronomy
4:11; Numbers 10:12; 12:5; I Kings 8:10-11; II Chronicles 5:13-14; Job
22:14; Psalms 18:8; 97:2; 104:3; Isaiah 19:1; Ezekiel 32:7-8; 10:3-4.
The LORD was also represented by a cloud coming for vengeance and judgment
on nations. “…Behold, the LORD rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come
into Egypt…” (Isaiah 19:1). “Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his
chariots shall be as a whirlwind…” (Jeremiah 4:13).
Jesus was telling the Jews and their whole nation that in a few years they
would have the fullest proof that He was the Christ, the promised Messiah.
Jesus was telling them He was invested with absolute dominion and power, and
that He would come in the clouds of heaven to execute judgment upon this
wicked race. The high priests reacted viciously when Jesus said, “…ye shall
see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the
clouds of heaven” (Matthew 26:64). “Then the high priest rent his clothes,
saying He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses?
Behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and
said, He is guilty of death” (Matthew 26:65).
In the Book of Zechariah, the LORD said: “I am returned unto Zion, and will
dwell in the midst of Jerusalem…” (Zechariah 8:3). It meant that God was
there in a spiritual way, and not in a physical form that could be seen.
Can you now see, that it is no great mystery what Jesus meant when He said:
“…they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power
and great glory” (Matthew 24:30); and “…every eye shall see Him.”
3. The Resurrection and Preterism
I have read the Full Preterist views on the resurrection of the dead. I am
not in full agreement with them on that issue. Whether I am in full
agreement with you on that issue is another matter. I still need to do my
own research and study on this point of debate before I can clearly state my
position on the subject. Until I come to my final conclusion on this issue,
I will lean heavily on your side and on the side of the founding fathers of
4. Preterism and the Lord’s Supper.
I always try to be consistent in my beliefs, whether they deal with the
Scriptures or life in general. However, I am not always successful in my
endeavors. You may be right, that the Full Preterist is not completely
consistent in his views. But who is? Because the Preterist may not be
consistent in this, is not a good reason to shy away from the teaching.
The word until/till does not always mean that things will be different after
the “until” is past. For example, I might say to my son shortly before I
leave to go somewhere; “Be a good boy until I get back.” Does that mean that
after I return, he can then turn into Denise the Menace, because he was to
be good only until I came back? I believe that your scriptural example could
be explained that way, that the Lord’s Supper will continue until the end of
time, or He comes back in the future judgment someday. Even if I am, or the
Full Preterist is wrong or not consistent, is there really any harm in
partaking in the Lord’s Supper, and wouldn’t it be as you stated;
“relatively benign” undertaking?
5. Preterism and the Promise of a Soon Coming.
Contrary to your opinion, the Old Testament (or New Testament) scripture
never uses the word near, in the sense of a long period of time. Nor does
it, as you suggest, ever use the phrase, at hand, to mean a long span or
duration of time. Your example of Isaiah 13:6 is off base. If you look up
the word (near, translated as hand in the King James version) in Strong’s
Exhaustive Concordance Of The Bible (7138 / 7126) or in Gesenius’
Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon To The Old Testament, you will find that the Hebrew
word hand, basically means – to approach, to come near, cause to bring near
for what ever purpose. You will find that same word (hand) is used in
Deuteronomy 15:9, I Samuel 9:8, Jeremiah 23:23, Ezekiel 12:23, Joel 1:15 and
Zephaniah 1:7; and in each verse carries the same meaning, that something
was approaching, which in Babylon’s case was judgment.
However, even if you still think that the meaning would better translated as
near (stretching the definition of near to its limits), that could still
“fit” into the definition or use of near, as meaning soon, for it was only
about two hundred years before that prophecy was fulfilled. However, to use
the word near as you suggest, “when fulfillment was a long way off,”
destroys the meaning of that word.
You state that “…Matthew’s use of the term “generation” means something
different than a mere life span of the people who were living at that time.”
You are so correct, context is so very important. Nothing is conveniently
ignored, it is obvious to whom Jesus was referring to, and to which people
the judgment would fall upon. Upon which generation and upon which people
did the judgment and the “woes” fall, that Jesus stated in Matthew 23:36 and
24:34? Answer: The Jews who were contemporaries of Jesus and apostles. Upon
which generation would come the judgment of the people that Jesus referred
to as white washed sepulchers, hypocrites, sons of murders, and vipers?
Answer: The Jews who were contemporaries of Jesus and apostles.
Whether or not Zechariah was murdered 400 years earlier has no bearing on
the meaning of “this generation”, for it was the children of the ones who
killed the prophets, it was the children of the those murderers upon whom
would fall God’s judgment, it was the generation of Jews that Jesus was
speaking too, and it was the contemporaries of Jesus and apostles upon whom
would fall the judgment of God. They were the “this generation” who would
suffer the horrors of Gods’ judgment on Jerusalem and on that Christ hating
nation that would fall within 40 years.
6. Preterism and the Angels at the Ascension.
In the Gospel of Matthew and John, there is nothing stated about how Christ
was received up into heaven. In Mark 16:19 he states: “So then after the
Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the
right hand of God.” Luke 24:51 states: “And it came to pass, while he
blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.” Acts 1:9
states: “And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was
taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.” Acts 1:11 “…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.”
The only real description of our Lords ascension into heaven is given in
just two places, in Luke 24:51 and in the Book of Acts chapter 1 verse 11.
Since Luke wrote both books, we really have just one persons account of the
Ascension. We are told in Luke that he was carried up into heaven, and in
Acts it states that a cloud received him out of their sight. You are
correct; it was a physical and a visible Ascension. But what did the
disciples of our Lord really see on that Ascension Day? Did they see Jesus
perform an act of levitation; ascending a few feet into the air and then
rise into a cloud to disappear from their view?
Contrary to what you state concerning the phrase, “…in like manner…” in Acts
1:11, it does not mean “exactly the same way.” The word like is number 5616
in Strong’s, and means in that manner, like manner. The word manner is
number 5158 in Strong’s, and means mode or style, even as, like as. Or in
other words, the phrase, “…in like manner…” in Acts 1:11, means in a similar
As we have already seen, the cloud that was present at Christ’s’ Ascension
has deep scriptural implications. It seems clear from the scriptures that
are listed in response number 2, that what transpired on that day is
somewhat different then your interpretation of those events on Ascension
7. Preterism and the Judgment of the World.
You state: “…this coming judgment and such a warning is nonsensical if it
only refers to a local judgment in a far away land.” Where did you get the
idea that Paul was talking about a local judgment? In the verse you used, it
clearly states “…He will judge the world.” Even if you do not agree with the
Full Preterist view about A.D. 70, I do not know where you came up with the
idea that Preterists teach that what Paul was teaching in this verse, had
anything to do with a local judgment in a far away land. Some Preterists may
now teach that, but if that is true, I would have to be in agreement with
you on this point, that this verse would have no impact upon the Athenians
who had gathered to listen to Paul.
Thank you for reading what I have written. I pray that you would prayerfully
read and consider what I have written. I would really appreciate a response
to what I have written.
Yours in Christ Jesus our Lord,
Michael E. Riemer
Date: 29 Jul 2012
I know this response is rather late to the party, but I just happened upon
this sight and couldn't let people read all those heretical comments that
are found in response to the author without pointing out the following:
Matthew 24:29-31 (NKJV)
29 "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be
darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from
heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the
tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on
the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they
will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven
to the other.
Since Jesus came back in A.D. 70, when were the elect gathered? I mean
really...when? The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 resulted in the
SCATTERING of JEWS and CHRISTIANS ALIKE Not a "GATHERING"