Preterism: Is 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. They see the event of A.D. 70 in Revelation.  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”.

Full/Hyper Preterism

Is divided into two basic classes; the literalist who believe all events happened literally yet reject any type of Christian testimony saying it did not. Which essentially means there are no witnesses to these events taking place. 

The "spiritualist" claim all events happened in the Spiritual realm but also reject early scholarship that rejects that paradigm.

-The millennial reign of Christ occurred from A.D. 33 to 70.

- The Old Covenant Law of Mosses ended in AD 70.

- The Old Heavens and Earth passed away and we are living under the New Heavens and Earth as described in Revelation 21-22.

- Every person born after AD 70 has already been judged.

- The Bible tells nothing of events after AD 70.

Proponents: Kurt Simmons, John Noe, J.L. Vaughn, Don K. Preston, William Bell, Daniel Rogers, and Ed Stevens.

Partial Preterism

Partial preterism is the belief that some prophecies were fulfilled, yet many are left to be fulfilled such as the second coming and judgment. Some believe that A.D. was a "second coming", and yet a future one also awaits us. They contend for the early date of Revelation writing to satisfy the belief that the Olivet and the Revelation of John are of the same events. 

Proponents: DeMar, Gentry,


Preterism has divided into two factions; IBV of Ed Steven's and some others, is that the literal Resurrection of the dead happened in A.D. 70, but they define the Resurrection of the dead as Souls coming out of Hades into heaven and into a new body. CBV, believes the resurrection was the corporate Body of Christ be raised together into the heavenly place, being set in the New Heaven and Earth and receiving the full salvation, and has nothing to do with  dead body coming out of the ground.

Covenant Creation

A branch off 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..

Deeper into Error

In any system based on error, because of its foundation being off it continues to produce more errors as people are unable to accurately divide the word of God.

Error always leads to more error because the person is unable to recognize where their beliefs create inconsistency. In many cases they will argue against a futurist by citing verses they think contradict another verse. This is what we call cognitive dissonance. They can read a verse that talks about Christ dwelling in heaven in Bodily form (Col 2:9) but will go to John 17 and try to prove he is a "spirit' since he return to the glory he had with the father before he descended as a man.

The Hermeneutics of Preterism changes the meaning of words to fit their paradigm. They redefine "audience relevance" to suggest we are reading someone else's mail and it does not pertain to us.
It demands illogically that "Timing dictates the nature", meaning since time statements demands a first century coming and Paul teaches a physical appearing, therefor they have to change Paul's teaching to mean an invisible appearing despite the fact Paul used the very technical Greek word "Epiphaneia" which means "to be made visible". As we watch the system seems to be self destructing as it divides over its many many private interpretations.

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