Preterism: In the Past
The initial ideas of Preterism (not full preterism) was developed in the beliefs that some prophecies were past or in the past, having their spiritual completion and now historical facts, mainly concerning the Olivet discourse. Those who accepted the concept were known to be Spanish Jesuit Luis De Alcazar (1554–1613) who wrote a commentary titled Vestigio Arcani Sensus in Apocaplysi or Investigation of the Hidden Sense of the Apocalypse and was published a year after his death, is the first known study for the formation of a spiritual interpretation that demonstrated many of the prophecies of the New Testament, particularly Revelation, was fulfilled in the spiritual sense. In this work dedicated to the Catholic Church, he made a new attempt to interpret the Apocalypse by this Preterist scheme of exposition, that is, by the thesis that the prophecies were fulfilled in the past using the means of the Analogy of scriptures as a foundation for interpretation to counter the claims of those who were teaching the Roman Catholic Church was the Beast system in Revelation with the Pope being the anti-Christ in some future time scenario. In our day, Full Preterism is the belief that all prophecies of the Old Testament and of the new, including the book of Revelation were completely fulfilled in A.D. 70. The historical position of the church is still a future coming which is the source of the continuing heated debate. Dennis Swanson documents the brief history and source of the recent preterist doctrines relates the primary resources comes from J. S. Russell, and his book Parousia, written about 1870. Russell rejected the idea of fulfillment and still looked forward to the final judgment and the new heavens and earth. Swanson noted about Full Preterism, This novel position initially began to form within some Church of Christ assemblies in Ohio through the ministries of "C. D. Beagle and his son-in-law, Max King." The view has spread beyond the Church of Christ denomination through several writers and speakers, notably Edward E. Stevens, John Noè, and Randall E. Otto. For a while, the HP novelty seemed to be simply an internecine debate within the larger Preterist sphere, so much so that outside those circles very few were aware of the issue.The main sphere of debate remains in the internet and you tube videos that propagate the view. There is no credited university or college that promotes the view or conservative institution that endorses the view. Among some Liberal schools, degrees are given to Preterists ideas based on their spiritual nature such as John’s Noe’s doctoral thesis that the Bible never speaks of a second coming. primary teacher that has picked up the mantle of Max King, is namely Don Preston. While Ed Stevens remains involved the two have parted company in their separate yet distinctive teachings that have fragmented the Preterist world. Browne makes the accusation against the Preterist based in I Timothy 2: 16-18 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. Browne and Swanson both argue that the crime of these two is arguing for a “spiritual resurrection” since they could clearly see the bodies still in their graves. The Preterist argument is basically then that the error was one of timing since they believe Paul teaches a “spiritual body” resurrection that does not require a body to come out of the grave, which means they believe Paul never taught a bodily resurrection of the saints at the second coming. According to Preterist doctrine the body had nothing to do with the evidence of or for the resurrection. This presupposes their assumption is correct. Partial preterism is the belief that some prophecies were fulfilled, yet many are left to be fulfilled such as the second coming and judgment. They contend for the early date of Revelation writing to satisfy the belief that both texts contain the same prophetic content as C. Marvin Pate argues the Olivet is the basis for Revelation 6. They see the event of A.D. 70 in Revelation. Hyper-Preterism, a third category, adapts a total spiritual interpretation of scriptures and sees no literal fulfillment of any events but all spiritual fulfillment. J.L Vaughn and Timothy Martin, the authors of Covenant Creation. are leading proponents.In their view Genesis is not about the creation of the world but believes Moses uses imagery of creation to describe the first covenant with man. In his assertion, Adam was not the first man created and death existed in the garden. Among Preterists there are very few scholars, mostly they have abandoned their formal theological education in favor of the preterists paradigm. They tend to reject formal education and seek to find their own interpretation which has created a multitude of views. “Israel Only” is accepted by very few, yet growing as it teaches that the New Covenant ended in AD 70 and it was all about the remnant of Israel only. No one can be saved after that date and everything Paul discusses is about and for Israel only, and Gentiles are the lost ten tribes of the diaspora. This is only found on the Internet as no book is written on the subject but slowly being accepted. Many have fallen into universalism, anhilationism, and soul sleep. Their claim is to have no creed yet, this becomes their creed. In their rejection of Orthodoxy, they deny three fundamental principles of beliefs that make Christianity what it is; bodily resurrection, Christ existing in bodily form, and the visible bodily return of Christ. These beliefs place Preterism squarely outside of Orthodox teaching into the realm of heretical teachings and the cults. Many current Preterists claim that their eyes were opened when they read scriptures and came across time statements, such as “This Generation”, or passages that use the Greek word “Mello” to indicate what is “about to” happen “quickly”. For example, Revelation 1:19, “the things which are about to take place”language:, or is at hand, which to them implies immediacy. The prophecies must begin in that generation and right away or Christ is a liar when he said, “This Generation” or “I am coming quickly”. Because it is commonly believed the Olivet contains a promise of a second coming as expressed by many authors; futurists and preterists alike, and Revelation also speaks of the Second Coming, therefore Revelation must be written before AD 70 and be also a more detail account of the Olivet discourse. Many preterists go so far as to say that the book of Revelation is John’s Olivet discourse.