You're a Preterist? What do you have to look forward to?
By Arthur Melanson
EXAMPLES OF UNFULFILLED PROPHECIES
Some futuristic Christians at this point will search the Scriptures to see if these things are true. Others, sad to say, will openly scoff, and ridicule the preterist position without any Biblical investigation whatsoever. It is this attitude that brings forth the question, “What do you have to look forward to?”
To those fostered in the falsity of futurism, forward looking is all that’s cooking. Hope is better than accomplishment. The promise is better than the fulfillment. And pie in the sky bye and bye is more desirable than pie before the eye. Brainwashed is an apt term to describe the experience and indoctrination of a futurist believer. We ought to know—we used to be futurists.
The question “What do you have to look forward to?” is a knee-jerk reaction to the preterist claim of past fulfillment. It is a thoughtless question, and it smacks of gross ingratitude.
This is how we treat God when we asked the question “What do you have to look forward to?” Jesus died for our sins. He raised the dead. As our High Priest He opened the way to God. He returned to defeat all God’s enemies, including death. He made the kingdoms of this world the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ. He made us joint heirs with Him as He reigns forever and ever. But what has He done for us lately? What do we have to look forward to? The futurist thinks the preterist doesn’t have anything to look forward to because we say everything is already accomplished. And it is! During the Olivet discourse Jesus said: “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things are fulfilled.” (Mt. 24:34) This statement followed His teaching on His Second Coming. [To gain a full understanding of Preterist teaching the author recommends his book, The Second Coming—Postponed or Fulfilled?]
So some things are one-time events but have enduring qualities. Other things are not one-time events but only began in the first century and continue today and forever. Judgment is one, and resurrection is another.
Men die. The Bible tells us, “ . . . it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the Judgment.” (Heb. 9:27) We know the earth abides forever. (Ec. 1:4) So as men are born—men die, and judgment is an ongoing continuing process. Judgment by Jesus Christ began in A.D. 70, but it is obviously not a one-time event.
The futurist greatly errs when he thinks of these eschatological occurrences as one-time happenings. Futurism taught him to think this way. When you believe the literal planet earth burns up and all evil ceases to exist with the return of Christ, then we can understand where his ideas come from. The futurist doesn’t know what to do with verses that show saints in the holy city and sinners outside. That’s foreign to his end-time understanding.
“Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” (Rev. 22:14,15)
The futurist fails to realize the world that ended was not a literal planet but an age—a Jewish age. The works burned up were the weak and beggarly elements of the Old Covenant—the Law. Failing to realize these truths he applies his “one-time event” mind-set to the correct claims of preterism and asks, “What do you have to look forward to?”Resurrection also has to be a continuous, ongoing process, because we have a dust problem. Yes, that’s right—a dust problem. God told the first man that he came from dust and to dust he would return. That’s the way its been working ever since. Each passing year your author finds himself a little dustier than the year before. The world calls it growing old. Christians call it getting ready to graduate to glory.
At the risk of letting the cat out of the bag, let me say that your clay body is not fit for a heavenly environment. We have in preterism a “heaven now” crowd, but your author is not among them. Our citizenship is in heaven, but while we are home in our earthen vessel, we are absent from the Lord. The remedy, as provided by the Lord, is resurrection.
“And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man.” (1 Cor. 15:49) “Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Cor. 5:5)All the things that needed doing to make heaven possible for the believer through resurrection are past events. Jesus did all the work necessary two thousand years ago. What the futurist overlooks is resurrection is not a one-time event. Resurrection, like judgment, continues as long as the earth remains and men are born unto women. There was a harvest resurrection in A.D. 70, but we have not yet entered into the process. We will, but not yet. There’s a preacher in an adjoining town who when speaking of physical death says: “Everybody’s passed through it but us.” So, too, it is with resurrection. When we shuffle off this mortal coil the Resurrection State is immediately ours. (2 Cor. 5:8)
What will heaven be like? The Bible doesn’t give much information on the subject. This is understandable when we remember Paul knew a man in Christ who was caught up to the third heaven—the Paradise of God. That man heard words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. God does reveal this about heaven: “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps. 16:11)
This is something all Christians can look forward to. Would you not agree?
What do YOU think ?
To Whom it may concern, In regards to the "second coming" most preterists interpret this event synonomous with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. I disagree. Jesus' coming a second time apart from sin unto salvation does not find its fulfillment in the destruction of Jerusalem! Heb.9:28 is specifically the fulfillment of John 14:23 for the 1st century Christian. This was there hope, that The Father and the Son would come to make their final abode or resting place within the mansion of the Believer. The mansion was prepared by the Holy Spirit! This monumental event is repeated every time a sinner is brought to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ through the Gospel. The "second coming" is not a one time event! Question: Can anyone identify the fulfillment of John 14:23 in Scripture? That promise was made to the immediate disciples of Christ. It's initial fulfillment must be for them, first and foremost. When was the fulfillment of this event recorded in Scripture? Answer. Revelation 21:3-4!! firstname.lastname@example.org
Ask any premill disp what his/her Hope is and they will most likely say: the Coming of the Lord or His return. What they imply by this is they are looking for the Rapture of the Church and the subsequent eternal presence with the Lord. Yet, at the very least, this eternal presence with the Lord is exactly what preterists claim occurs for each believer when they die their physical death and enter His presence with their spiritual bodies (if not something we can partially experience now). Hence, there is no real difference between the premill dispy and the preterist Hope---the eternal presence with our Lord!
Arthur Melanson writes great articles and does great work. If I may however, point out that he and other preterists use the term "resurrection" rather loosely. Christ makes it quite clear that HE is resurrection (life) to the dead, and eternal life (life uninterrupted) to the living. "I am the resurrection and the life, though he be dead he will live (resurrection of the dead)and he who livieth and believeth will NEVER DIE[parenthesis mine]." There is a resurrection of the dead, and there is no resurrection of the living, but simply life continued. The concept of "dead" here can not be taken as spiritual, for all have sinned, and who would it be that nevers dies? In addition, all resurrections of the dead have been fulfilled. To say the resurrection continues is simply a misuse of the concept. The resurrection, as presented in scripture, is an event, not a continued process of events. If this is in error, I would appreciate correction. Great article Arthur. Thank you, Daniel@atlantic.net
Great article Arthur. However, if I may, there is one thing I have noticed regarding the term "resurrection". Preterists seem to use this term rather loosely. The scripture speaks about the resurrection OF THE DEAD (from the dead). He who believeth unto Christ NEVER DIES (no resurrection required). There is no resurrection OF THE LIVING. I believe Christ made this clear as reported by John: Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live (resurrection life to the dead): And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die (continued life to the living). Believest thou this [parenthesis mine]? John 11:25-26 Death can not be taken as "spiritual death" here because all have sinned, so who would would it be that never "dies"? Besides, the context is that of Lazarus' physical (and Hadean) death. The scriptures speak of the resurrection as an event (that occurs on the last day). It never refers to the resurrection as a series of events (although Christ was resurrected first and there were the saints of Matthew 27:53, and conceivably Ephesians 4:8). Revelation speaks of the "first" resurrection, implying at least one additional. But Paul clearly speaks of a singular resurrection event, and there is never any hint of on-going resurrections or a process of this. Revelation speaks of "blessed are those who die in the Lord henceforth", but there is no use of the term "resurrection". Those in Christ will never "die" just as Jesus said (no visit to Hades). The resurrection was an event that would occur on the last day (Hades emptied, including the unsaved). Those who lived (didn't physically die and visit Hades) until all enemies were put under His feet (the Parousia) - the last enemy being death - would never visit Hades upon physical death. Therefore, they would never "die" (visit Hades) but be "clothed" with their immortal body of glory upon physical death, and directly enter the Holiest place (no resurrection from the dead required). John reports Jesus as saying: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24 It should be recognized the "condemnation" spoken of here is the same Greek word, "Krisis", used in Hebrews 9:27 regarding the judgment. Of course, all this probably means is those 'in Christ' will not receive the "second death". However, doesn't one need to "die" (go to Hades) in order to be "resurrected" (from Hades) and be judged - some to eternal life and others to eternal damnation (SECOND death)? You can not die twice unless you are resurrected back to "life", and you can not be resurrected back to life unless you "die". And Jesus said if you believeth unto him you would not "die". Does this make sense? Great article, Arthur. Please correct me if I am missing this. Thank you, Daniel Silvestri Daniel@atlantic.net
I find it interresting that Abraham recognized God would have to raise Isaac from the dead in order for promise fulfillment to be realized. "How could my seed become so numerous if I sacrifice the one through whom God said my seed should be called? Oh yeah...He must raise the dead! This lesson is one that Dispensationalists should learn from. It is in resurrection that God fulfills His promise to Abraham! Only the Church (the resurrected body of Christ) receives the blessings promised to Abraham in fulfillment of God's eternal promise! In His grace, Tracy VanWyngaarden.
I'm wrestling with this view,and have been for a while.The problem is that there are problems with all the major views. pre trib-how many times does christ come back?only one time ,it involves a trumpet and resurection. Post-yo yo theory,and who are the jews 144,000 preterist- psalms speaks of earths end as a scroll rolling up.I know "apocaliptic language,covenants and ages" but what about the literal feel of many texts and the literal fulfillment of many other prophecys (babalonian captivity etc..)Then there is the literal creation of the earth,does God have to keep this world going? whats the problem with an end to this physical existence? sodom and gamohrah (or however it's spelled)Noahs generation?I am wondering if the prophetic books such as Revelation and parts of Daniel are not supposed to be superimposed across time itself.Like a perpetuation always unfolding untill God says "that's it" I know there are problems with that postulation too,but I'm having trouble with several points of preterism the least of which is descrepensies in dates,one of the bibles I use is a John McAurther.He sites some respected historians that date Revelation after A.D. 70. Could you help me out on some of these questions,and recommend some good books that get to the heart of "what we believe and why".I dont like books that first ask you to make adjusments in your reasoning ,then tell you how it fits together.Unfortunatley I was introduced to the preterist view by just such a pamphlet.Truth stands by itself,I know that understanding truth involves a correct understanding of what is being said,I'm not asking you to come up with info that shows Jesus teaching the preterist view over pre or post trib views.If direct reference to preterism were made in scripture I suppose there would be no conroversy.I would just like to read a systematic work that explains what and why without all the off ramps and side street reasoning.After I know what preterism involves and the basics of why,I think then I would like to ponder the details. thank's, Rob Sharpe email@example.com
i was thinking of matthew 25, and Jesus seperating the nations as sheep and goats. is this an ongoing commencenment and is it convenantal? IOW are all nations now and in the past in a covenant with Jesus to feed the hungrgy, and take care of the poor, to visit the afflicted in prison?
Date: 30 Nov 2005
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