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Not One Stone Left Upon Another : The catastrophic fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 forever changed the face of Judaism—and the fate of Christians

"Jesus predicted it 37 years before it happened. Herod Agrippa II and his sister Bernice, who heard Paul's testimony at Caesarea (Acts 26), tried hard to prevent it, as did the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (our main source of first-century information). But the fall of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple in A.D. 70 happened nevertheless, and it was a catastrophe with almost unparalleled consequences for Jews, Christians, and, indeed, all of subsequent history."


Church History's "Preterist Assumption"

Categories of Preterist Scholarship

"It has been a standard feature of Christian preaching through the ages that the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 was really God's decisive punishment of the Jewish people for their rejection of Jesus, who had died around the year 30."
Steve Mason

Preterist Kerygma:  "The fall of Jerusalem was the vengeance of God upon the Jewish Nation for their rejection of the Gospel."


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HISTORY OF THE TERM "PRETERISM" IN THEOLOGY
EARLIEST USAGES OF PRETERIST / PRETERITE / PRAETERIST


1618: "PRETERPERFECT" TO DISTINGUISH PAST FULFILLMENT

 "The Angell saith.. is come, for, shall certainly come, by an usuall Enallage of the preterperfect tense instead of the future." (Pareus, p. 342)


"What Pareus refers to as "preterperfect" is in a modern grammar the second aorist active indicative. The "dramatic" aorist states a result "on the point of being accomplished" with the emphatic "certitude of a past event," although the aorist has "no essential temporal significance" (John Charles Hawley ; Dana and Mantey 1955: 198, 193)


G.S. Faber (1843) "To consider certain vituperative prophecies...as already accomplished in the course of the first and second centuries; whence, to commentators of this School, we may fitly apply the name of Preterists."  (The Sacred Calendar of Prophecy) ; "I was fully aware of the difference in our views on Prophecy. You, I know, are a Preterist" (G.S. Faber to Samuel Lee in 1846)

Edward Bishop Elliot  (1844) "See my Examination of the German Praeterist Apocalyptic Scheme, in the Appendix  to my Vol. iv." (Horæ Apocalypticæ: Or, A Commentary on the Apocalypse)

James Peabody (1847) "They who hold the Praeterist scheme, entertain the opinion, that all the leading  predictions of the book of Revelation, were fulfilled in the early periods.."

The Churchman's Monthly Review (1847) "The Professor has found a key, whereby to disprove, as he thinks, the two rival forms of the Preterist expositions, and unlock the whole prophecy. This key is the numerosity, and above all, the trichotomy of the Apocalypse. This proves that there must be three catastrophes, the fall of Jerusalem, ch. xi., the death of Nero, ch. xvi., and the destruction of Gog and Magog, ch. xx. " The trichotomy of the Apocalypse," he says, " stands pre-eminent in important consequences as to the interpretation. It settles the question whether there is more than one catastrophe in the book. This is a great question. ... It is plain that the writer's main object has been completed antecedently to this last scene (xx. 7—10). Yet the trichotomy of the book, and the nature of the case, both demanded a rounding off of the whole in such a manner! " ' (Churchman's Monthly Review, January, p. 120)

Alexander Beith (1849) "For example,— not to enumerate every thing of this kind, it is essential to the exposition that neither the Preterist nor Futurist theory be correct."

Joseph Addison Alexander (1851) "The true force of the preterite and future forms, as here employed, is that according to God's purpose, it has come to pass and will come to pass hereafter." (Isaiah Translated and Explained Part Two - Page 148)

Robert Bickersteth (1855) "It is not, perhaps, saying too much, to admit that after all the attempts of commentators, ancient and modern,— preterist and futurist, there are many symbols and visions of Revelation which, we must confess, we do not understand." (The Gifts of the Kingdom, p. 18)

Quarterly Journal of Prophecy (1856) "The author maintains that the key to the Apocalypse is, that the destruction of Jerusalem was the second coming of Christ, and that there is no other advent of Christ to be expected (Lecture xvi.) He is an ultra-preterist. Those who believe in a literal coming of the Lord to judgment, yet to take place, he condemns in language sufficiently strong. Any system (millenarian or not) that takes for granted a future advent of Christ, is founded on " strained interpretations"— " patchings of the Word of God"—" positions plainly untenable." Whereas, his own doctrine (that there is no advent) is written as with a sunbeam, and the whole body of the Scriptures coincides with it (p. 431). " (vol. 22)

James Austin Bastow (1868) "To the Preterist scheme of interpretation we incline, regarding the predictions of the book as having been fully accomplished before the close of AD 135." (A Biblical Dictionary, p. 627)

EARLY DICTIONARY STYLE DEFINITIONS

H.P. Smith (1883) "Preterist. [L. praeteritus, past] 1. One who lives in the past rather than in the present. 2. One who regards the Apocalypse as a series of predictions which have already been fulfilled." (Glossary of Terms and Phrases)

Webster's Dictionary (1913) "2. (Theol.) One who believes the prophecies of the Apocalypse to have been already fulfilled. Farrar."  (http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?term=preterist)

The criteria by which the identification of "scholar" and "scholarship" is made relates to peer review and acceptance more than to a particular level of scholastic achievement.

 

German: Die zeitgeschichtliche Auslegung (Präterismus)
Spanish: Preterismo, Aucto de la destruición de Jerusalén
Italian:  la fine di Gerusalemme

  • Charles Kassel - The Fall of the Temple: A Study in the History of Dogma (1905) "Those whose views have been molded by theology may still cling to the belief that the Maker of all. to revenge the kindly and forgiving Galilean for the fate suffered at the hands of a corrupt priesthood whose prestige and privileges He threatened, brought low with sword and flame the great common people of Judea who "heard him gladly." The partisans of ancient Israel, on the other hand, who deem the acts of Titus mere wanton ruin and murder, may still see in the catastrophes of his reign unmistakable evidences of divine displeasure. The more thoughtful, however, who refuse to believe that the Creator contrives afflictions to scourge His erring children, will decline to attribute to the anger of God either the horrors that Titus wrought or the horrors that Titus suffered. "

  • Lloyd Gaston: No stone on another (1970) "If Jesus was speaking of a concrete event, the reference can only be to Pilate's attempt to introduce Roman standards into the temple area, and accordingly the original saying must have been "when you see the ensign of sacrilege, flee to the mountain." (..the idolatrous standards of the approaching Roman army, Beasley-Murray, Jesus and the Future, pp. 255ff.  He supports his thesis by the reading of syrsin and the analysis of Merx, Das Evangelium Matthaus, 1902, pp. 341ff.  (p. 27)

  • James Hastings, John C. Lambert, John Alexander Selbie: Dictionary of the apostolic church (1915 PDF) "A closer determination of the date depends mainly on the interpretation of a passage from ch. iv. This chapter contains a warning that ' the last offence' is at hand ; for the Lord has shortened the times and the days that His beloved may come quickly. As a proof that the last offence, i.e. the Antichrist, is at hand, the writer quotes a prophecy from the Book of Daniel (Dn 7'-") to the effect that ten kings shall reign, and after them shall arise a little king who shall subdue three of the kings in one (ii<t> l»). It is evident that the writer thinks that this prophecy has been, in part at least, fulfilled; he has seen something in recent history which corresponds with this vision. Thus much then seems clear; when he wrote this, there had been ten Ctesars on the Imperial throne. Unless we are to omit some of the Emperors from the list—a proceeding for which there seems no justification—the tenth Emperor brings us to the reign of Vespasian. If the 'little horn' had already appeared when the Epistle was written, then we must look for three Emperors subdued by the successor of Vespasian. And this, of course, Titus did not do. Hence it seems better to interpret the little horn as Antichrist, who has not yet been revealed, for this gets rid of the difficulty of tindingpne Emperorwho had already subdued three. The writer found this reference to three kings in his text of the prophecy, and meant to leave it to the future to show who the three were and how they would be overthrown. But no matter how this point is settled, the tenth horn can scarcely be other than Vespasian, and this fixes the date of the Epistle at between A.d. 70 and 79. "

  • Joost Holleman: Resurrection and Parousia (1996) This is a traditio-historical study of three ideas concerning the eschatological resurrection which Paul brings forward in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23: (a) Jesus' resurrection forms the beginning of the eschatological resurrection; (b) the eschatological resurrection will take place through participation.

  • The Gospel of Matthew: The Use of the Fall of Jerusalem as a Watershed for the Dating Hugely significant commentary on Matthew: "Scholars have mosl commonly dated Matthew in the 80s or ihe 90s. But this is not to any significant degree because they have been able to identify in Matthew features that reflect what is definitely known of a situation in the 80s and 90s. They regularly claim just one fixed ...point; that Matthew reflects knowledge of the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in a.d. 70. This knowledge is said to be reflected most clearly in Mt. 22:7 and is sometimes claimed to be reflected in 23:36. 38 and 24:2. But while they are likely right to think that the present form of Mt. 22:7 reflects the Jerusalem focus on the judgment materials of chaps. 23 and 24 (see the discussion at 22:7) and to that degree is not an original feature of the parable, there is no basis for going beyond this and claiming that Matthew has written in light of what actually happened in A.D. 70.

  • Dr. Douglas Finkbeiner: The Olivet Discourse: Past (Preterist), Present, and/or Future? (2004 PDF) - Presenting numerous alternatives regarding fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse

  • A.L. Moore - The Parousia in the New Testament (1966)

II. The Background of N.T. Expectation
III. Consistent Eschatology
IV. Realised Eschatology
V. Continental Demythologizing
VI. Salvation-History and the Parousia in the N.T.... See More
VII. The N.T. Insistence on the imminence of the Parousia
VIII. Did the Early church delimit its expectation of the Parousia?
IX. The early church's near Expectation of the Parousia
X. Did Jesus delimit his expectation of the Parousia?
XI. Jesus' near expectation of the Parousia
XII. The Significance of the N.T. imminent expectation of the Parousia for the life of the church today

  • Chester Charlton McCown - THE PROMISE OF HIS COMING: A Historical Interpretation and Revaluation of the Idea of the Second Advent (1921) "In A. D. 66 the inevitable happened. Pure repression without constructive statesmanship worked its customary result. Goaded by a series of tactless, incompetent, or cruel and rapacious procurators, the people put their theology to the test. The limit of endurance had been reached; God must intervene to save his people. Popular sentiment swept even many of the Pharisees into the great revolt against Rome. It would seem that the terrible defeat which the nation suffered, the destruction of the city and Temple and the cessation of the sacrifices, would have convinced the most bigoted that the political type of messianic hope was entirely mistaken. No doubt many did learn the lesson. Yet a generation later the Jews of the Diaspora rose against Rome—and were savagely punished. Again, after another short generation, under an adventurer who called himself Bar-Cochba, "son of the star," and who was hailed by the great Rabbi Akiba as messiah, there came another Jewish revolt, as bitter and as severely punished as that of 66-70."

  • Bryan W. Ball - A Great Expectation: Eschatological Thought in Protestant England Protestantism Until 1660 (1975) "Henry Alford's statement that "the Praeterist view found no favour, and was hardly so much as thought of in the times of primitive Christianity", is equally true of seventeenth-century Christianity.  In English thought, the schoolmaster Thomas Hayne contended that Daniel's prophecies had been entirely fulfilled in the history of Israel up to the time of Christ, as also did Joseph Hall, who noticeably declined to make any similar pronouncement concerning The Revelation.  Henry Hammond, who in 1647 had become chaplain to Charles I, appears to have been the first English writer seriously to have adopted Alcasar's interpretation.  Although the work in which his views appeared went through several editions after its first appearance in 1653, there is no evidence of any wider involvement with preterism in pre-Restoration thought.. Futurism, although it received more comment, made even less impression on English Protestant thought than did preterism."

  • David Brady - The Contribution of British Writers Between 1560 and 1830 to the Interpretation of Revelation 13.16-18 - Chapter Five : 1649-1660 - Henry Hammond and the Preterist School of Interpretation "This volume contained a brave but lonely attempt to introduce the preterist interpretation of the Book of Revelation to English soil.  Hammond laid great stress on the opening words of the Apocalypse in which  the book is said to contain 'things which must shortly come to pass.'  .. But those who argued for the preterist interpretation of the Book of Revelation.. were playing to empty galleries, until at least the fourth decade of the nineteenth century.  Their views were anything but popular and those who followed them could soon find themselves branded with the infamous mark of the papal beast."  Others who followed: Herbert Thorndike / "author of an anonymous tract on the Millennium published in 1693 ("Millennianism : or, Christ's Thousand Years Reign upon Earth, considered, in a Familiar Letter to a Friend")"  / Daniel Mace


PRETERISM DEFINED

Louis Berkhof (1915)
"3.  Present day critical scholars are generally inclined to adopt the Praeterist (zeitgeschichtliche) interpretation, which holds that the view of the Seer was limited to matters within his own historical horizon, and that the book refers principally to the triumph of Christianity over Judaeism and Paganism, signalized in the downfall of Jerusalem and Rome.  On this view all or almost all the prophecies contained in the book have already been fulfilled (Bleek, Duisterdieck, Davidson, F. C. Porter e. a.)." (New Testament Introduction)

E.B. Elliott
"Now with regard to the Præterist Scheme, on the review of which we are first to enter, it may be remembered that I stated it to have had its origin with the Jesuit Alcasar: and that it was subsequently, and after Grotius and Hammonds prior adoption of it, adopted and improved by Bossuet, the great Papal champion, under one form and modification; then afterwards, under another modification, by Hernnschneider, Eichhorn, and others of the German critical and generally infidel school of the last half-century; followed in our own æra by Heinrichs, and by Moses Stuart of the United States of America." Hours with the Apocalypse

"It may probably at once strike the reflective reader that if the chronology of Bossuet's scheme, extending as it does from Domitian's time to fall of the Roman empire in the 5th century, do in regard of the supposed Roman catastrophe abundantly better suit with historic fact than the German Neronic or Galbaic Præterist Scheme, it is on the other hand quite as much at disadvantage in respect of the other, or Jewish catastrophe. For surely that catastrophe was effected in the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, above 20 years before Bossuet's Domitianic date of the Apocalypse: and all that past afterwards under Hadrian was a mere rider to the great catastrophe." (Bousset's Roman Praeterist Scheme)

LeRoy E. Froom (1946)
 "The projection of the Preterist view into the discussion in 1830, by
Samuel Lee (1783-1852) - noted Orientalist and professor of Arabic and of Hebrew at Cambridge [One of the most profound linguists of his time and 'master of 18 languages,' he held various churchly posts and was author of numerous books], and rector of Barley, Hertfordshire (later canon of Bristol) -- brought the three post-Reformation schools of interpretation again into definite conflict -- the Historicist, Futurist, and Preterist.  Preterism had become well-nigh dominant in the rationalistic universities of Germany.  And now the noted linguist, Lee, under whom Wolff studied at Cambridge, espoused it.  His Events and Times of the Visions of Daniel and St. John, first published in 1830 (in seminal form only, TD), is strictly Preterist; that is, all the specifications of Daniel and the Apocalypse were allegedly fulfilled in the downfall of pagan Rome and the overthrow of Jewry.

"A general resume must suffice: Lee builds nearly everything around the seventy weeks of Daniel 9, not as a definite chronological term but as an indefinite period.  He makes the three and a half times of Daniel 7 coincident with the last of Daniel's seventy mystical weeks, and comprehends within it the two catastrophes - first the fall of Jerusalem and the reprobate Jewish nation, and then the heathen Roman as God's instrument for desolating Jerusalem.  So the three and a half times is the last half of Daniel's seventieth week. [1851 ed., pp. 69,70]

"In the Apocalypse the seals, trumpets, and vials are synchronous, according to Lee, and are compassed in this elastic seventieth week - the fourth seal referring to Jerusalem's fall in the middle of the week, the fifth to the pagan persecutions.   The trumpets likewise depict the fall of the Jews.  The witnesses testify in the first three and a half days of the seventieth week, and are assailed in the latter three and a half days by the heathen Roman power, the beast from the abyss.  Christ is the child of the church of Revelation 12, and the persecution of the beast of Revelation 13 is under heathen Rome, from Domitian to Diocletian inclusive.

"Thus the devil is loosed for a little season, Lee holds, as is depicted by the sixth trumpet - the hour, day , month, and year being the same as the three and a half times.  Finally, the compassing of the beloved city and the destruction of Satan and his hosts signify the fall of the pagan Roman power with the apocalyptic new heavens and earth, the Christian church after Constantine.  So the 1,000 years constitute "the apostolic period."  Such was Lee's strange and yet familiar Preterist view of prophecy, which was as yet shared by relatively few in Britain."  (Prophetic Faith of our Fathers Vol. 3, p. 596-597)

G.S. Hitchcock (1911)
“The Praeterist School, founded by the Jesuit Alcasar in 1614, explains the Revelation by the Fall of Jerusalem, or by the fall of Pagan Rome in 410 A.D.” (The Beasts and the Little Horn, p. 7.)

LaHaye/Ice (2003)
"German Preterism - Firmin Abauzit (1679-1767) of Geneva, who was a friend of Rousseau and Voltaire, published a commentary on Revelation in 1730 titled Historic Discourse on the Apocalypse, in which he advocated a more complete preterist view than his predecessors. Abauzit's work also broke new ground in that it was the first "in this period to attack the canonical authority of the Apocalypse"

Preterist Moses Stuart says of Abauzit that his "book is generally regarded as marking the commencement of a new period in the criticism of the Apocalypse." Stuart describes Abauzit's views as follows: "His starting point was, that the book itself declares that all which it predicts would take place speedily. Hence Rome, in chap, xiii-xix. points figuratively to Jerusalem. Chap. xxi. xxii. relate to the extension of the church, after the destruction of the Jews."

Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803) is credited with adopting Abauzit's understanding of the Apocalypse and also saw it as "emphasizing) the Jewish catastrophe." Herder expressed his views in his book entitled Maranatha, which was published in 1779 "Stuart said this about Herder's form of preterism: "Although he seems to move in a narrow circle, as to the meaning of the book; limiting it so generally to the Jews, yet he makes God's dealings with them, and with his church at that period, symbolical of the circumstances of the church in every age."

In 1791, Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1752-1827) produced a commentary on Revelation that was exalted, emulated, and admired in critical German circles for many years.137 While Eichhorn did not see all of the Apocalypse being fulfilled in the first century, as did Abauzit and Herder, he did see a number of Jewish fulfillments in the second half of Revelation. Eichhorn was a typical German preterist—he did not believe the Bible was inspired by God, nor did it contain predictive prophecy. Stuart says, "I do not and cannot regard Eichhorn as a believer in Christianity, in the sense in which those are who admit the inspired authority of the Scripture."

European preterism of the post-Reformation period, especially the German variety, was attractive to those of the liberal persuasion. Froom observes: "Preterist principles have been adopted and adapted by those of rationalistic mind as the easiest way to compass the problem of prophecy, throwing it into the past, where it does not affect life today. It has had a sizable following among rationalists, of which Modernism is the modern counterpart." Preterists in our own day may be pleased about the historical evidence for the spread of preterism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe. However, they cannot be happy that the foundational support for this growth of preterism was based upon German rationalism and unbelief." (The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming Under Attack, pp. 55-56)

"The great merit of the preterist approach is that it understands and interprets the plight of the first-century church in terms of the crisis that had developed at that particular time. By not relegating the book to some future period the encouragements to the church as well as the warnings to "those who dwell upon the earth" are taken with immediate seriousness"  (The Book of Revelation, 1977, 27).

"..most preterists are Bible-believing Christians who love the Lord and are striving to serve Him." (ETC, p.7)

NIV Study Bible
"Preterists understand the book [Revelation] exclusively in terms of its first century setting, claiming that most of its events have already taken place."  (Robert Mounce and David O'Brown for Zondervan)

New King James Study Bible
"preterists view the book [Revelation] as referring almost exclusively to first century events." (Nelson's Publishers, page 2195)

George Hawkins Pember (1881)
"The Praeterist view was first put forth as a complete scheme by the Jesuit Alcasar in his work entitled " Vestigatio Arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi," which was published in 1614. It was thus unknown in the early times of the Church, and has found but little favour save with Roman Catholics and with expositors of a rationalising tendency.6 It limits the scope of the Apocalypse to the events of the seer's life and some other things which he might well have guessed, and affirms that the whole prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus and the subsequent fall of the persecuting Roman Empire, that is, in the successive overthrows of Judaism and Paganism." (The great prophecies concerning the Gentiles, the Jews, and the Church of God, pp. 5,6)

Philip Schaff
"A second system of apocalyptic interpretation which, not less than the former, must be set aside, is that known as the Praterist. By this system the whole book is confined to events surrounding the Seer, or immediately to follow his day, these events being mainly the overthrow, first of the Jews, and next of pagan Rome, to be succeeded by peace and prosperity to the Church for a thousand years. This system, the introduction of which in its completeness is generally ascribed to a distinguished Jesuit of the seventeenth century, seems to have rested partly on the opposition of the Church of Rome to that Protestant interpretation which regarded her as the apocalyptic Babylon, and partly on the statements of the book itself in chap. i. 1,3, where it describes its contents as ' the things which must shortly come to pass,' and expressly states that 'the time is at hand.' Nor is it to be denied that there is a much larger element of truth in this system than in that continuously historical one of which we have just spoken. It may without hesitation be conceded that the Seer did draw from his own experience, and from what he beheld around him either fully developed or in germ, those lessons as to God's dealings with the Church and with the world which he applies to all time. It may also without impropriety be allowed that he could have no idea that the Second Coming of Christ would be so long delayed as it has been, and that he may have thought of it as likely to take place so soon as events, already seen by him in their beginnings, should be accomplished. But it is impossible to admit that, whether or not he anticipated the length of time that was to elapse before the Lord's return, he deliberately confined himself to the Church's fortunes in his own day, and left unnoticed whatever of pilgrimage and warfare was still in store for her. The whole tone of the book leads to the opposite conclusion. It certainly treats of what was to happen down to the very end of time, until the hour of the full accomplishment of the Church's struggle, of the full winning of her victory, and of the full attainment of her rest. We do not object to the Praeterist view on the ground that, were it correct, it would make the Apostle speak only of events long since passed away and of little present interest to us. The same reasoning would deprive of permanent value much of the teaching of the New Testament Epistles. We object to it rather upon exegetical grounds. The Apocalypse bears distinctly upon its face that it is concerned with the history of the Church until she enters upon her heavenly inheritance." The International Revision Commentary on the New Testament  (1881)

Benjamin Warfield
(1) The Preterist, which holds that all, or nearly all, the prophecies of the book were fulfilled in the early Christian ages, either in the history of  the Jewish race up to A.D. 70, or in that of Pagan Rome up to the fourth or fifth century.  With  Hentensius and Salmeron as forerunners, the Jesuit Alcasar (1614) was the father of this school.  To it belong Grotius, Bossuet, Hammond, LeClerc, Wetstein, Eichhorn, Herder, Hartwig,  Koppe, Hug, Heinrichs, Ewald, De Wette, Bleek,  Reuss, Reville, Renan, Desprez, S. Davidson, Stuart, Lucke, Dusterdieck, Maurice, Farrar, etc. " (Revelation)

Rand Winburn
"In 1688, Jesuit-educated and Preterist, Bishop Bossuet dropped a bombshell on Protestants by publishing his scathing indictment of Protestantism, The History of the Variations of the Protestant Churches.  Bossuet's purpose is so doing was to show the lack of unity and succession of Protestant doctrines through the ages (which the Calvinists claimed), unlike the unity and apostolic doctrines of the Catholic Church, thus fulfilling the promise of Jesus in Matt. 16:18. Using the Protestant belief (that there have always been believers who have held to their anti-Catholic doctrines) against them, he proposes arguments proving the unorthodox Christianity of all the groups Protestants claimed as forefathers." (Paulicans)


  • Jeffrey K. Jue: Heaven on Earth: Joseph Mede and the rise of millenarianism - Section 8 - Challenges from Preterists (2006) This book contributes to the ongoing revision of early modern British history by examining the apocalyptic tradition through the life and writings of Joseph Mede (1586-1638). The history of the British apocalyptic tradition has yet to undergo a thorough revision. Past studies followed a historiographical paradigm which associated millenarianism with a revolutionary agenda. A careful study of Joseph Mede, one of the key individuals responsible for the rebirth of millenarianism in England, suggests a different picture of seventeenth-century apocalypticism. The roots of Mede's apocalyptic thought are not found in extreme activism, but in the detailed study of the Apocalypse with the aid of ancient Christian and Jewish sources. Mede's legacy illustrates the geographical prevalence and long-term sustainability of his interpretations. This volume shows that the continual discussion of millenarian ideas reveals a vibrant tradition that cannot be reconstructed to fit within one simple historiographical narrative.

    ‎"The sixteenth century marked the increase of the historical-prophetic exegetical method, while the seventeenth century witnessed the dominance of this hermeneutic. Yet within this historicist tradition in England, two competing interpretations arose. The New England pastor, Increase Mather, expressed his opinion of ...the Dutch scholar Hugo Grotius and his most ardent English supporter Henry Hammond in one of his dissertations:

    • "As for Grotius, I look on my self as concerned to warn young Scholars to beware of him, lest they suck down Poison when they think they have found Honey.  He has by perverse Expositions and Interpretations in his Annotations on the Bible, corrupter many Texts of Scripture .. Dr. Hammond has borrowed most of his Nations from Grotius (especially his apocalyptical ones) whoever compares them will quickly discern."

    "All millenarians in the same strand as Mede shared Mather's scathing sentiments, because Grotius, Hammond and later the puritan pastor Richard Baxter provided the strongest and most sustained opposition against a millennarian eschatology." (Heaven and earth, p. 150)

    "Katherine Firth describes their interpretation as a "New Way," which solicited repeated responses from those who contained to follow Mede."

    "Most shocking and revolting to nearly all seventeenth-century Protestants was Grotius' denial in 1640 that the papacy was the Antichrist."

David S. Clark (1921)
"
Interpreters have been usually classified as 1. praeterist, regarding the prophecies as already fulfilled; 2. futurist, placing the whole book in the times of the millennium and the second advent; 3. hhistorical, the fulfillment issuing int he continuous progress of the church and kingdom on to the end. This classification is not exact as no one can be altogether a praeterist or a futurist." (The Message from Patmos, page 8)

Steve Gregg
"Those who hold to the classical preterism of centuries past take a high view of the inspiration of the Scripture and date the Book of Revelation prior to A.D.70."  (Revelation, p.30)

"The preterist approach sees the fulfillment of Revelation's prophecies as already having occurred in what is now the ancient past, not long after the author's own time.  Thus the fulfillment was in the future from the point of view of the inspired author, but it is in the past from our vantage point in history.  Some preterists believe that the final chapters of Revelation look forward to the second coming of Christ.  Others think that everything in the book reached its culmination in the past.

In contrast, those who hold to the classical preterism of centuries past take a high view of the inspection of Scripture and date the Book of Revelation just prior to 70AD. They are capable of pointing out may details in Revelation that they believe were fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem and some see in the later chapters the prediction of the fall of Rome and beyond to the Second Coming of Christ. What I am representing as preterism in this volume is this theological conservative early-date preterism that has had worthy advocates for several centuries."

Mark Horne
"While there are many people who argue for the preterist position, including Jay Adams, David Chilton, Gary DeMar, Ken Gentry, and James B. Jordan, it is especially notable that N. T. Wright also argues for preterism. Wright is notable because he is not primarily a theologian but is an apologist defending the historicity of Jesus in secular academic circles. In doing so, he does much to vindicate the historical Jesus not only from liberals, but from orthodox conservatives as well. He must show how it is credible to believe that a first-century Palestinian Jew did and said what the gospels assert that He did and said." (
Why Side with the Sadducees)

R.C. Sproul Jr.
"Thankfully, God in his mercy has done a great work in waking up many people to their condition. The rapid spread of the doctrine of preterism has been a welcome tonic. No more visits to the chiropractor after making "some of you will not sleep" and "this generation shall not pass" stretch out into two millennia." (Foreword to The End of All Things, p.9)

This position, known as preterism, takes seriously the time frame references of Jesus and the apostles regarding Christ’s return. While all others, especially the most hard-core dispensationalists, are practicing exegetical yoga with Jesus’ promises that "some of you will not sleep" and "this generation will not pass," preterists read and understand without contortion or embarrassment." (Foreword to The End of All Things, p.9)

 

Greg Bahnsen
"A partial list of scholars who have supported the early date for Revelation, gleaned unsystematically from my reading, would include the following 18th and 19th writers not already mentioned just above: John Lightfoot, Harenbert, Hartwig, Michaelis, Tholuck, Clarke, Bishop Newton, James MacDonald, Gieseler, Tilloch, Bause, Zullig, Swegler, De Wett, Lucke, Bohmer, Hilgenfeld, Mommsen, Ewald, Neander, Volkmar, Renan, Credner, Kernkel, B. Weiss, Reuss, Thiersch, Bunsen, Stier, Auberlen, Maurice, Niermeyer, Desprez, Aube, Keim, De Pressence, Cowles, Scholten, Beck, Dusterdiek, Simcox, S. Davidson, Beyschlag, Salmon, Hausrath. Continuing on into the 20th century we could list Plummer, Selwyn, J.V. Bartlet, C.A. Scott, Erbes, Edmundson, Henderson, and others. If one's reading has been limited pretty much to the present and immediately preceding generations of writers on Revelation, then the foregoing names may be somewhat unfamiliar to him, but they were not unrecognized in previous eras. When we combine these names with the yet outstanding stature of Schaff, Terry, Lightfoot, Westcott, and Hort, we can feel the severity of Beckwith's understatement when in 1919 he described the Neronian dating for Revelation as "a view held by many down to recent times."  By many indeed! It has been described, as we saw above, as "the ruling view" of critics," by "the majority of modern critics," by "most modern scholars," and by "the whole force of modern criticism." The weight of scholarship placed behind the Neronian option for the dating of Revelation has been staggering. In our own day it has gained the support of such worthies as C.C. Torrey, J.A.T. Robinson, and F.F. Bruce and has been popularized by Jay Adams.  In 1956 Torrey could write about the number 666, "It is now the accepted conclusion that the beast is the emperor Nero."" (Historical Setting for the Dating of Revelation)

Gary DeMar
"Much of the debate over preterism comes down to when the (Revelation of John) was written.  This is especially true for the book of Revelation.  If a document was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in A.D. 70, then any statement about future prophetic events could be a reference to that event." ("Shreds of Preterism" Among First Century Writers)

"A Preterist  believes that certain prophetic passages have already been fulfilled.  The key interpretive factor for the preterist is the use of time words like "shortly" (Rev. 1:1), "near" (1:3; 22:10), and "quickly" (22:7, 12 20) and time indicators like "this generation" (Matt. 24:34), "at hand" (1 Peter 4:7), and "right at the door" (James 5:9).  The terms "preterism" and "preterist" are based on the Latin word preter, which mans "past." (The Early Church and the End of the World, p. 2)

F.W. Farrar
"It has been usual to say that the Spanish Jesuit Alcasar.. was the founder of the Præterist School.. But to me it seems that the founder of the Præterist School is none other than St. John himself." (The Early Days of Christianity - PRÆTERIST INTERPRETATION | FALL OF JERUSALEM | APOCALYPSE)

Kenneth Gentry
"Many mistakenly assume that evangelical preterism burst upon the eschatological scene through Reconstructionist publications, such as Chilton's The Great Tribulation (1987), my The Beast of Revelation (1989), and DeMar's Last Days Madness (1991) (all were former students of Bahnsen at Reformed Theological Seminary in the 1970s). Actually amillennialist Jay Adams' The Time is at Hand (1966) was an (early) important seminal text that helped spark the (later) preterist revolution. It was even used by Bahnsen at RTS in his "History and Eschatology" course. Other pre-resurgence books include Campbell's Israel and the New Covenant (1954), Kik's The Eschatology of Victory (1975), and Cornelis Vanderwaal's Search the Scriptures (1978)." (Recent Developments)

"The term ‘preterism’ is based on the Latin preter, which means ‘past.’ Preterism refers to that understanding of certain eschatological passages which holds that they have already come to fulfillment. Actually, all Christians--even dispensationalists--are preteristic to some extent. This is necessarily so because Christianity holds that a great many of the Messianic passages have already been fulfilled in Christ's first coming." (Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., He Shall Have Dominion [Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1997], 162–163).

Henry Hammond
"And it has been matter of much satisfaction to me, that what hath upon sincere desire of finding out the truth, and making my addresses to God for his particular directions in this work of difficulty.. appeared to me to be the meaning of this prophecie, hath, for this main of it, in the same manner represented it self to several persons of great piety and learning (as since I have discerned) none taking it from the other, but all from the same light shining in the Prophecie it self.  Among which number I now also find the most learned Hugo Grotius, in those posthumous notes of his on the Apocalypse, lately publish'd." (Paraphrase and Annotations, introduction to the Apocalypse) -- Response by John Owen "that there are many complaine of your secret vain-glory, in seeking to disclaime the direction from H. Grotius in reference to your comment on the Revelation." (Packer, The Transformation of Anglicanism, 96)

Kurt Simmons (2003)
" The term “preterism” is derived from the Latin praeteritus, meaning that which has past. (Praeteritus is the past participle of praeterire, to go before: prae (comparative of before) ire, to go.)  The term is derived from Matt. 24:34 where it occurs in the Latin to describe the time of Christ's Second Coming:  "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass ("non praeteribit haec generatio"), till all these things be fulfilled."  (
What is Preterism?)


 

Tim LaHaye and Tommy Ice in End Times Controversy

  • Preterism greatly distorts the culmination of God's plan for history. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 420)

  • The logic of the preterist position leads one to delusional views of present reality. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 420)

  • Many bizarre possibilities become viable when people begin to believe and think through the implications of preterism. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 420)

  • ...this would logically mean, for the preterist, that most of the New Testament does not refer directly to the church today. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 421)

  • If preterism is true, then the New Testament was written primarily to believers who lived during the 40-year period between the death of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Therefore, virtually no part of the New Testament applies to believers today, according to preterist logic. There is no canon that applies directly to believers today, during the current church age. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 421)

  • If Revelation 21-22 is a description of the state in which we are now living, then it also renders most of the New Testament obsolete and impractical because it relates to believers and how they should live between Christ's two comings. The logic of the preterist position leads to this conclusion, even though many preterists do not think this way in practice. They don't, but according to their theology, they should! They must separate preterist theory from practice, since they cannot implement in practice preterist theory. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 422)

  • If Titus 2:13 was fulfilled in A.D. 70 with Christ's return, then the "present age" in verse 12 would have ended when verse 13 was fulfilled. Therefore, the entire admonition in verse 12 was applicable only to Christians up until A.D. 70. This means the instruction "to deny ungodliness and worldy desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age" does not apply to our current age, but to the past age that ended in A.D. 70 when "the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" was manifested in the destruction of Jerusalem. This (sadly) is one of the practical implications of the preterist view, as applied to this passage and to most of the imperatives relating to the Christian life as found in the New Testament. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 422)

  • The clear implication of preterist thinking is that the teachings in Titus no longer relate to the age in which we live. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 422)

  • If preterism is true, then it should alter much of what we understand the Bible to be saying about the Christian life. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 424)

  • Therefore, if "the last days" have already come and gone, we should expect that the persecution of the godly should be absent and "evil men and imposters" should not "proceed from bad to worse." According to preterism, that may have happened in the days leading up to A.D. 70, but not after that time. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 425)

  • No, the Tribulation and much of Bible prophecy is not past; rather it is future. If it was fulfilled in the past, then we have no future. (LaHaye and Ice, p. 429)

Ron Cooke
"The praeterist view found no favour and was hardly so much as thought of in the time of primitive Christianity. Those who lived near the date of the book of Revelation itself had no idea that its groups of imagery were intended merely to describe things then passing, and to be in a few years completed. This view is said to have been first promulgated in anything like completeness by the Jesuit Alcasar, in his "Vestigatio Arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi" (1604). Very nearly, the same plan was adopted by Grotius. The next great name among this school of interpreters is that of Bossuet the great antagonist of Protestantism." (Unmitigated Twaddle)

Tommy Ice
"You might be interested to know that in 1843, when the journal Bibliotheca Sacra was first started, it taught Preterism. You can go back and look at the early articles – Scholars such as Moses Stewart (sic) and James Robinson wrote for the journal in those early years. It was not until 1934, when Dallas Seminary took control of Bib Sac, that it became a futurist organ." (The Destructive View of Preterism)

"My preterist friends have not been able to find any early preterists in the early church. I would never say that there is no one in the early church who taught preterism. . . . Don't be foolish enough to say that nothing is out there in church history, because you never know. . . . There is early preterism in people like Eusebius. In fact, his work The Proof of the Gospel is full of preterism in relationship to the Olivet Discourse." ("Update on Pre-Darby Rapture Statements and Other Issues": audio tape December 1995)

"What’s happening is that Preterism is challenging futurism. Idealism is not a factor out there and Historicism is not a factor. Preterists are rising up, coming mainly out of the Reconstructionist Movement, to do this. What is their theme verse? Does anybody know? Let’s all say it together, “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.” So, when you talk to a Preterist, get ready to hear the words, “this generation” at least eight dozen times if you have an extended conversation.

We’ll have to have some Christian sociologists do an analysis of how frequently Preterists in an average hour discussion of Preterism say “this generation” and report back. That would be a good thing for the Christian Ed department to do. That way we could have some probability rates on these kinds of things." (The Conservative Theological Journal, 48, Volume 3, in an article entitled "The Destructive View of Preterism," pg 393)

"It is strange that there is not one shred of evidence that anyone in the first century understood these prophecies [in the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation] to have been fulfilled when preterists say they were. You would think that if a large body of Bible prophecy were meant to relate to a specific generation, as preterists contend, then the Holy Spirit would have moved in such a way so that first-century believers would have reached such an understanding. However, there has not yet been found any evidence that indicates that the first-century church viewed Bible prophecy this way. This fact provides a major problem for preterism, which thus far has proved insurmountable."

"There is zero indication, from known, extant writings, that anyone understood the New Testament prophecies from a preterist perspective. No early church writings teach that Jesus returned in the first century.17 If we as God's people are to understand the prophecies of New Testament in this way, you would think that the Holy Spirit would have left at least one written record of this." ("The History of Preterism," The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming Under Attack, eds. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2003), 37, 39.)

Tim LaHaye
"Many Bible-believing Christians find it astounding that anyone would teach that our Lord Jesus Christ has already returned to earth and that we are now living in the kingdom age predicted throughout the Bible.  Yet that is what preterists believe and teach.  And surprisingly, their numbers are growing -- not because their arguments for what they are trying to believe are so convincing, but because many of their new followers have only heard one side of the argument." (p.7)

"In his book The Last Days According to Jesus, Dr. Sproul narrows down preterists to two main divisions: "Full Preterism and Partial Preterism."  Reduced to the most significant distinction between them, a full preterist is one who believes all prophecy was fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70, including the second coming of Jesus.  Partial preterists such as Sproul and Gentry believe that even though Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation have largely been fulfilled, they still understand some Bible passages to teach a future second coming (Acts 1:9-11; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).  They see the second coming of Jesus, the resurrection of the dead, the Judgment Seat of Christ, and heaven as yet future." (pp. 7-8)


Source Material by Robert Horton Gundry - 1994
Matthew: A commentary on his Handbook for a Mixed Church

"213. U. Luz (1.84) believes that Matthew arose out of a Jewish Christian community Matthew's part of which interpreted the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 as God's judgment on Israel and made a controversial decision to evangelize the Gentiles, and that Matthew wrote to defend this decision. Surely a controversy over the Gentile mission is more likely to have arisen before A.D. 70, when that mission was starting. By A.D. 70, the mission was both well established and widespread. Luz's position leads him to relegate to pre-Matthean tradition the formula-quotations and other features of Matthew that display an appeal and continuing mission to Israel, whereas these features give every appearance of belonging to the final redaction of Matthew (as Luz himself recognizes with respect to the formulas of the formula-quotations).

214. Davies and Allison (1.132) ask why Matthew felt drawn to Isa 5:24-25 if not because Jerusalem had recently been destroyed in accordance with that passage. But this question is overmatched by the question why if Matthew writes after A.D. 70 he turns the crying out of the tumbled-down stones of Jerusalem (Luke 19:39-40) into children's crying out in praise of Jesus (Matt 21:14-16) and by the chronological problem created if he alludes to the Roman destruction as a past event, viz., an historically false and Mattheanly incompatible postponement of the Gentile mission to the period following A.D. 70. Matthew's conforming the earlier part of the parable of the wedding feast more closely to Isaiah 5 combines with his special interest In cities and with the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem to make unnecessary as well as inadvisable any allusion to a more recent Roman destruction.

215. Against discounting Pharisaic influence before AD. 70, see J A. Overman, Matthew's Gospel and Formative Judaism 38-43; S. N. Mason in JBL 107 (1988) 657-61; idem in SR17 (1988) 455-69; idem in JJS 40 (1989) 31-45; idem in HTR 83 (1990) 363-71. To the extent that the Pharisees before AD. 70 are not to be simply equated with the rabbis after A.D. 70, Matthew's concentration on the Pharisees tends toward a date of writing before A.D. 70. For a balanced presentation, see D. A. Carson in JETS 25 (1982) 163-67." (
p. 672)

 

ON HYPER PRETERISM 

What do YOU think ?

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Date: 11 Oct 2010
Time: 11:11:27

Your Comments:

I think the word "parousia" could never indicate a quick trip to somewhere and then a rapid exit! It means, rather, a triumphal appearance and an intention to remain. How long a stay is immaterial. Aside from usage with inanimate objects its thrust always intimates that the "appearer" will come with a purpose and remain until that purpose is accomplished. If this can be demonstrated to be the correct function of "parousia" it tolls the death knell on the entire preterite notion of some sort of quickee exit for the saints of 70A.D.


Date: 21 Nov 2010
Time: 04:09:27

Your Comments:

I believe that all three views should be combined into ONE BIBLICAL VIEW because Revelation covers past,present and future. There are events that have been fulfilled, some presently taking place and others stil to take place. Why not call the final view THE BIBLICAL VIEW?

 

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