The Dangerous Rise of Preterists

By COGwriter

Throughout the more recent centuries, there has been a rise in of those who believe that many prophecies in the Bible, specifically, those in Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation have been fulfilled. Those who hold that view are known as preterists.

There are also many who either believe that prophecy is unimportant or should be minimized.

Yet, those of us who believe that the Bible is the word of God, have concluded that since between 1/4 to 1/3 of the Holy Bible is prophetic, prophecy is important and that many literal events foretold in the Bible will still come to pass.

Preterists Do Not Expect the Great Tribulation

Many in the world believe that there is no future Great Tribulation and that the events of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and events through the end of the first century fulfilled those prophecies.  This is known as a preterist view. 

The term preterist comes from the Latin term praeter, which conveys that something is past or beyond. 

Preterists view many future biblical prophecies as already being completely fulfilled in the past.

Here is a quote from a famous Protestant scholar, the late Alfred Edersheim concerning what he felt happened in 70 A.D.:

[The] tribulation to Israel [was] unparalleled in the terrible past of its history, and unequalled even in its bloody future.  Nay, so dreadful would be the persecution of that, if Divine mercy had not been interposed for the sake of the followers of Christ, the whole Jewish race that inhabited the land would have been swept away.

The above is certainly an inaccurate and twisted view of what happened compared to what Jesus taught in Matthew 24.  Preterists tend to 'spiritualize' away the fact that Jesus said that the sun and the moon would be darkened immediately after the tribulation and that He would return (Matthew 24:29-31).  They tend to teach that the use of 'apocalyptic language' in the Bible means that the astronomical signs are not to be taken literally--they do this excessively and to their discredit. Not all 'apocalyptic language' in the Old Testament (e.g. Daniel 11:29-45) is intended to be figurative as the preterists state. I would also add that since Jesus has not yet returned, there is no possible way that the Great Tribulation was over nearly 2000 years ago as preterists teach.

While the Bible does use poetic and even allegorical language in places, the reality is that the Apostles asked Jesus for details and Jesus listed specific signs to watch for. The context of such prophecies recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 shows that many of the statements that preterists claimed were totally fulfilled were intended to be literal, and hence have a future application.

There is a professionally produced DVD titled You've Gotta be Kidding . . . Right? by Brian L. Martin (Fulfilled Communication Group, 2009) that claims that there are basically two types of preterists those who believe in partial preterism and those that believe in full preterism. That DVD had the following two charts about the beliefs of the main types of preterists:

Partial Preterism

1. Most of Matthew 24 and Revelation fulfilled in AD 70

2. Jesus came in judgment in AD 70

3. Still future physical return of Christ to the earth

Full Preterism

1. ALL of Matthew 24 and Revelation fulfilled in AD 70

2. Jesus' judgment coming in AD 70 was the Second Coming

3. No future, physical, return of Christ to the earth

This is not a joke. Preterists while professing to believe the Bible (which they really do not) believe that Jesus has returned--which He has not (see also The Return of Jesus Christ and When it Occurs). Full preterists, like Brian Martin, believe that all of the Book of Revelation has been fulfilled.

Despite the obvious errors, certain Protestants and modern Catholics take the preterist view.

Protestant Brian Martin claims that Jesus came to gather His saints into a spiritual kingdom and there is no literal physical kingdom to come. This, of course, is in opposition to various passages in the Bible, including several in the Book of Revelation. His DVD claims that preterists perform a service by exposing misunderstandings of events and what he calls imminency passages of the Bible. Yet, he and others do not understand much of what they expound on this.

But it is not just Protestants.

Notice what two modern "Catholic" priests have written: Priest W. Kurz (21st century): 

…great tribulation…probably already a horrific past event by the time Matthew wrote down his gospel (Kurz W. What Does the Bible Say About the End Times? A Catholic View. Servant Books, Cincinnati. Nihil Obstat: Kistner H., Schehr T.P. Imprimi Potest: Link F., Paul J.M. Imprimatur: Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxillary Bishop, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004. Servant Books, Cincinnati, 2004, p. 96). Priest H.B. Kramer (20th century).

The "great tribulation" is a stereotyped phrase used often in the Apocalypse and elsewhere in the New Testament (Mt. XXIV. 21) for the Roman persecutions. (See VII. 14).... THE GREAT TRIBULATION. The definite article used refers to something which had been mentioned before and was presumed to be known. In chapter I. 9 and II. 10, St. John states it and warns the Christians in Asia of its coming. He calls it the "hour of temptation" in II. 10. It is bloody persecution. In this verse, the stress placed on "the great one" points to the imperial persecutions, especially to the last one under Diocletian. This scene is then in the fourth century, when the Roman persecutions had been abolished. "The great tribulation" had passed away to return no more, and since then the Church had grown to grand proportions. (Kramer H.B. L. The Book of Destiny. Nihil Obstat: J.S. Considine, O.P., Censor Deputatus. Imprimatur: +Joseph M. Mueller, Bishop of Sioux City, Iowa, January 26, 1956. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), pp. 81,181-182)

This is a change in prophetic understanding that is not consistent with the teachings of the Bible nor the traditions of the early church. The fact is that much persecution against the true Church began after Constantine protected the Greco-Romans. Actually, Constantine began persecutions against all who did not accept his militaristic view of Christianity (see also Persecutions by Church and State). But the doctrinal truth is that the Great Tribulation that the Bible speaks about is NOT over.  Although some modern Catholics consider that the Great Tribulation was finished by the fourth centuries, this was not the position of many that they call saints.  Of course, those who believe that the Great Tribulation has occurred are not expecting it to come.

The Catholic "saint and doctor of the Church" Jerome wrote:

But the more reasonable understanding of the matter is that in the time of the Antichrist there shall occur a tribulation such as there has never been since nations began to exist (Jerome. Commentary on Daniel, Chapter 12, Verses 1-3. Translated by Gleason L. Archer. (1958). http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/jerome_daniel_02_text.htm viewed 04/14/2010). Jerome's position above is consistent with what Jesus (Matthew 24:21-25) and the rest of the Bible teach.

Yet, even though they consider them be saints, some of those associated with Rome now seem to teach that the Great Tribulation was over by the time that Jerome wrote what he did (earlier writers such as the Shepherd of Hermas, Cyprian of Carthage, Cyril, and Tertullian also considered that the Great Tribulation was a future event and tended to tie it in with the time of the final Antichrist).

Perhaps it should be mentioned that Even the Rheims translation of the New Testament (the first major Catholic accepted translation into English) teaches:

[20] But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the sabbath.
[21] For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be. (Matthew 24:20-21).

The time of the great tribulation comes at a particular time of fleeing that has not yet happened. Notice also the following Eastern Orthox and two Roman Catholic positions related to the millennium and Satan's binding:

CHILIASM: Chiliasm, from the Greek word meaning "1000," is a belief based on Revelation 20:2-7. In its classical form (which interprets the Revelation 20 verses verbatim), Chiliasm teaches that Satan will be bound by Christ for 1000 years, at which time Jesus and the Saints will reign on earth, and after which, Satan will be finally defeated and the Eternal Kingdom of God will be inaugurated. . . Though some Ancient Church Fathers of the first three centuries AD had Chiliast leanings, the Orthodox Church formally denounced Chiliasm at the Second Ecumenical Council, in 381. The Church maintains that the 1000 year reign mentioned in Revelation 20 is symbolic of the era of the Christian Church's ministry in this fallen world, which shall come to its completion at a time unknown to all but God the Father. (Orthodox Christian Beliefs and Practices. © 2006-2007 Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Canada. http://www.uocc.ca/en-ca/faith/beliefs/ 09/24/14).

Millenium {sic}: Since the Holy Office decreed (July 21, 1944) that it cannot safely be taught that Christ at His Second Coming will reign visibly with only some of His saints (risen from the dead) for a period of time before the final and universal judgment, a spiritual millennium is seen in Apoc. 20:4-6. St. John gives a spiritual recapitulation of the activity of Satan, and the spiritual reign of the saints with Christ in heaven and in His Church on earth. When Christianity triumphed over the Beast (in its sixth head, the pagan Roman empire) Satan was chained. With the re-appearance of the Beast in the anti-Christian world empire (the seventh head), he will be unchained, and muster all his forces against the Church until the peak of the persecution under Antichrist. Meanwhile, the church enjoyed its milleniun {sic} with Christ enthroned among the nations. (LeFrois, Bernard J. Eschatological Interpretation of the Apocalypse. The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. XIII, pp. 17-20; Cited in Culleton RG. The Reign of Antichrist, 1951. Reprint TAN Books, Rockford (IL), 1974, p. 9).

Revelation 20:1-3 . . . God has always respected our freedom of choice between covenant fidelity to him and to apostasy. That seems to be the theological point of this thousand-year period that is relatively free from Satanic temptations. (Kurz, W. What Does the Bible Say About the End Times? A Catholic View. Servant Books, Cincinnati. Nihil Obstat: Kistner H., Schehr T.P. Imprimi Potest: Link F., Paul J.M. Imprimatur: Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop, Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 19, 2004, p. 168, 173-174)

Notice that the second source above suggests that Satan has been gone a thousand years. Does any thinking person believe that there was a spiritual millennium where Satan was ever bound and away from the earth for 1,000 years after Revelation (which Catholics often refer to as the Apocalypse) was written? This has never happened literally or spiritually--though it will in the millennium (see also The Day of Atonement--Its Christian Significance). Nor have I seen any credible Catholic/Orthodox writer attempt to explain when planet Earth ever had one thousand years without being influenced by Satan. But spiritualizing away and overlooking facts are key elements for preterism.

In Church of God, groups like the Continuing Church of God denounce preterism. Yet, Sardis-related groups, such as the Church of God, Seventh-day (CG7) now also take a partial preterist view of Revelation and the Great Tribulation.

Jesus warned Sardis:

1 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,

'These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: "I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. (Revelation 3:1-3)

Preterists do not watch. And more and more has been dying doctrinally in CG7.

Josephus Wrote About the Fall of Jerusalem, but Not a Revelation 16 Earthquake

One claim that various preterists make is that the Jewish historian Josephus wrote about such disasters, abominations, famines, earthquakes, deaths, and desolations taking place because of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. that this was the Great Tribulation. That near then there were also false prophets, false messiahs, and people turning on their families

There were allegedly disasters, such as earthquakes, 'of biblical proportions' according to preterist Brian L. Martin.

This is so far wrong. While some of these other matters will be addressed later, let's address the subject of earthquakes now. Notice that the real big earthquake in biblical prophecy in the Book of Revelation is the following one:

18 And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. 19 Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. 20 Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. (Revelation 16:18-20)

Notice that the above earthquake is so big that the cities of the nations will fall--this DID NOT HAPPEN IN 70 AD. Notice that the Bible teaches that mountains will be leveled and islands "fled away" (more on this can be found in the article Islands and Bible Prophecy). This seems to have to be the biggest earthquake that will ever hit the planet with humans on it.

Did it already happen?

Of course not.

Notice also the following:

Ancient histories written by Roman historians indicate that there were three earthquakes in the first century Roman world. Writing in A.D. 77, Pliny the Elder described a massive earthquake that destroyed a large section of Asia Minor (Turkey) in the year A.D. 17. It was so devastating that the Roman emperor suspended taxes for five years to enable the citizens to recover from the damage. Pliny says that this was “the greatest earthquake in human memory.” If the earthquake in A.D. 17 was described by a historian writing in A.D. 77 in this way, obviously there was no massive earthquake at the time of the destruction of the Jewish Temple in A.D. 70.

Two other earthquakes occurred in the first century, one in A.D. 33 and one in A.D. 48, both of which only did slight damage to the Temple in Jerusalem. (http://www.swrc.com/ministry/faqs/prophecy/earthquakes.html viewed 08/06/14)

The Lydia earthquake of A.D. 17 will be surpassed by the one of Revelation 16:18 which still has not yet happened. For more on earthquakes and prophecy, please check out the article Earthquakes Today and Bible Prophecy which is updated in real time with the most recently reported earthquakes around the world.

Preterists discount such statements by pointing out that certain Old Testament passages were not fulfilled literally, hence most of the geographic and heavenly signs in the New Testament should not be understood to be intended literally as written.

Josephus recorded that some priests considered the destruction of Jerusalem to be God's judgment on the Jews. While this was devastating to the Jews in Jerusalem, it is historically disingenuous to think what happened then was the "great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matthew 24:21; see also When Will the Great Tribulation Begin?).

End of the Age

Preterists have correctly claimed that the Bible does not literally use the Greek expression for "the end of the world," but instead the Greek term means "the end of the age."

However, many 'futurists' (a term preterists apply to those who believe that prophecies are often better understood more literally than preterists do) realize this. This is one of the reasons one will hear expressions such as "the end of the world as we know it. It is so common, it has its own 'internet slang' abbreviation: EOTWAWKI.

Preterists, however, take it another step further. They claim that 'the end' means the end of part of Judea. Yet, the Greek never states that, but it is how the preterists have chosen to explain it.

Preterists often claim that the problem with understanding various prophetic passages is that readers do not consider who the audience and time the message or statements are intended for. Some have claimed that when Christians/futurists see words like we, you, or us, that they feel that many statements in the New Testament are basically only aimed towards Christians who were alive when the books of the New Testament were written.

Various preterists claim that because of this, Christians/futurists see words directed to people in places like Corinth, Galatia, and Thessalonica and improperly apply them to future Christians. While there are specific statements in the New Testament directly addressed to the audience various letters/epistles are addressed to, notice the following about Bible:

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The entire Bible was put together so that Christians can be complete, thus even in statements specifically intended for others, such as the matter of the one being with his stepmother (1 Corinthians 5:1-5), has lessons that are still relevant today. Furthermore, many statements in the epistles clearly were written as prophecies and need to be understood prophetically and some will be addressed in this article.

'Audience Relevance' and the Expectation that Jesus Was Coming When the Disciples were Alive

In the You've Gotta be Kidding . . . Right? DVD there is a section called Audience Relevance.

Brian Martin states that understanding 'audience relevance' is necessary in order to properly understand what he called the 'imminency scriptures.'

Each passage of this section of the DVD cited will be quoted, and I will provide an explanation. Here is the first:

27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." (Matthew 16:27-28)

The implication is that this statement was a reference to the biblical return of Jesus Christ. Yet, the verses that immediately follow the above show that three of the disciples got to see A VISION:

17:1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."

5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, "Arise, and do not be afraid." 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

9 Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead." (Matthew 17:1-9)

So, while the disciples got to see a VISION, this was NOT teaching that Jesus already returned and came in His Glory. Later in the DVD, Brian Martin indicated that this vision was not the fulfillment as not all the disciples were involved, yet Jesus only said that SOME with Him would see something, and some (meaning three in this case) did.

The next passage that the DVD cited was 1 Corinthians 15:51-52. Below I have quoted it with some of the verses before and after it:

50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." (1 Corinthians 15:50-54)

The DVD emphasized the word "we" above seemingly indicating it referred to the Apostle Paul and the Corinthians at that time. That is nonsense.

It is NOT possible that THE LAST TRUMPET occurred nearly two thousand years ago. I would also add that early Christians, post-New Testament, DID NOT BELIEVE THAT THE RESURRECTION HAD ALREADY HAPPENED.

Here is the next DVD passage:

5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. (Philippians 4:5)

The DVD emphasized the word "your" above seemingly indicating it referred only to the Philippians at that time. It also emphasized the word "near." Yet, I would state that the above does not state that Jesus is about to physically return in their lifetimes. The context, which the next two verses help show, demonstrate that Jesus is near to Christians and Christians should consider that and pray appropriately; see also Psalm 145:18, which states, "The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth."

Here is the next DVD passage:

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

The DVD emphasized the word "you" above seemingly indicating it referred only to the Thessalonians at that time as well as the DVD emphasizing the statement "the coming of." Now, if it were only for the Thessalonians at that time, this would seemingly, according to some preterists, be an additional return after the one Matthew 16:27-28.

Since Jesus did not return to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul is teaching that all who wish to be Christian should strive to be blameless for the return of Jesus. As 1 Corinthians 15:50-54 states, Christians are to be resurrected at the time of Jesus' return with the last trumpet. The prophetic messages in the letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians apply to all Christians.

The next DVD passage was Hebrews 10:36-37, but I added the verse that followed for context:

36 For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise:

37 "For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
38 Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him. (Hebrews 10:36-38)

The DVD emphasized the word "you" above seemingly indicating it referred only to the Hebrews at that time as well as (using a different translation) "He who is coming " and "not delay."

Verse 38 gives a reason for the writing, it is a warning to Christians to endure or lose God's favor. It was not a prophecy that Jesus was going to come near 70 A.D.

Furthermore, the expression "a little while" should be dealt with. A little while to God may not seem like a long time to God, even it it does to us humans:

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9)

Preterists appear to consider that God is slack if He waits thousands of years to send Jesus back. The Bible does not agree. Also, remember that the Bible teaches:

8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord.
9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Yet, the preterists have their own odd agenda and do not understand much of what God is teaching. Going back to Peter, notice what else he wrote:

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:10-13)

The elements did not melt with fervent heat, etc. in 70 A.D. nor was it followed by new heavens, etc. Furthermore, Josephus did not write that anything to that magnitude did. Those who believe the word of God will not accept the incorrect logic of the preterists.

The next DVD passage was:

8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. (James 5:8)

The DVD emphasized the words "your hearts" above seemingly indicating it referred only to various ones at that time as well as "is at hand." From the perspective of a God who inhabits eternity (Isaiah 57:15), it was (and still is) at hand. I will try to explain more related to these 'imminency' statements later (see section on Last Days).

The next DVD passage was:

18 Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. (1 John 2:18)

The DVD emphasized the words "the last hour" above seemingly indicating it was for that immediate time. We know that the Apostle John was not literally claiming it was the last 60 minute hour as it would have taken longer than that for the letter to be distributed.

John was referring to the last season or the church age which was the last portion of the plan of God prior to return of Jesus Christ and subsequent events. The DVD also emphasized the words "even now" related to antichrists, plural. There were multiple "antichrists" then and there are multiple "antichrists" now as we are in that last hour of the plan.

The next DVD passage was:

28 And now, little children, abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. (1 John 2:28)

The DVD emphasized the words "when He appears" and "we" above seemingly indicating it referred only to various ones at that time as well. But Jesus did not come back then.

Christians are to properly live their lives and not to be ashamed so that they will not be in death like the world (cf. Romans 6:21), but will be resurrected at His coming (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The next DVD passage was Revelation 3:11, but I added the verse that preceded it for context:

10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. (Revelation 3:10-11)

The DVD emphasized the words "quickly" and "your" above seemingly indicating it referred only to various ones, the Philadelphians (Revelation 3:7), prior to 70 A.D. as well. However, notice that the "hour of trial" was to COME UPON THE WHOLE WORLD, and thus it was not possibly limited to Judea as the preterists claim.

Also, I have been to ancient Philadelphia, and it is in the land controlled by Turkey. It is nowhere near Judea or Jerusalem. It should also be pointed out that Jesus specifically warned that Thyatirans who did not heed risked being thrown into the Great Tribulation in Revelation 2:18-22. Yet, ancient Thyatira, which I also visited, is also in Turkey, and formerly was in ancient Greece.

The Book of Revelation teaches:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. (Revelation 1:1-3)

Now, while this shows that the Book of Revelation is clearly a prophetic book, pretestists tend to focus on the portion I bolded above. The also teach that the messages to the seven churches (Revelation 2 & 3) were fulfilled in the first century A.D.--despite the fact that several statements made to them could not have completely been for that time period.

Since preterists do not believe in the idea of 'church eras,' they essentially teach that if the time was near when John penned the above, then the entire book was only for a near time and not the future, which is nonsense as the new heavens, new earth, and time of no more death, sorrow, or pain has not occurred yet, though it is also prophecied (Revelation 21:1-4).

Preterists fail to realize that while the entire Book of Revelation had important teachings for Christians for all time, that certain portions of the book, particularly chapters 2 and 3 contained messages that have primarily been directed towards differing groups of Christians throughout the church age.

Although actual dates vary, those Christians who do recognize the idea of 'church eras,' tend to feel that the Ephesus Church Era was predominant from 31 A.D. to circa 135 A.D., the Smyrna Church Era was predominant circa 135 A.D. to circa 450 A.D., the Pergamos Church Era was predominant circa 450 A.D. to circa 1050 A.D., the Thyatira Church Era was predominant circa 1050 A.D. to circa 1600 A.D., the Sardis Church Era was predominant circa 1600 A.D. to circa 1933 A.D., the Philadelphia Church Era was predominant circa 1933 A.D. to 1986 A.D., and the Laodicean Church Era which has been predominant from 1986 A.D. to present. Thus, as there were specific statements for each period from before the Book of Revelation was written until present, the discounting of the remaining prophetic nature of this book by preterists results in a poor understanding of what God wanted His people to learn.

Actually, because preterists do not believe in church eras, they misunderstand much of the Bible and its prophetic messages (a fuller discussion of the churches of Revelation 2 & 3 is found in the article The Churches of Revelation 2 & 3).

The letters to the seven churches, in my view, clearly show that the preterist view is wrong. Since several statements made to the seven churches (e.g. Revelation 1:19; 2:22; 3:3; 3:10) simply could not have been intended to be completely fulfilled by the physical churches they were addressed to in the late 1st century, scripture itself proves that many of the messages to those churches were prophetic, with some of those prophecies intended for those in the 21st century. The Bible clearly shows that Jesus walks in the midst of these seven churches (Revelation 1:9-13), showing that somehow they represent His church for the church age.

It should also be noted that the Laodiceans also often take a preterist approach when it comes to church eras (all the groups once associated with the late Garner Ted Armstrong, like Church of God, International for example, tend to not teach or teach against church eras; whereas groups such as the United Church of God and Church of God, a Worldwide Association, and Church of God, an International Community, do not teach them). Those who do not believe in church eras do not understand that they should 'hold fast' (Revelation 3:11) to the truths restored to the Philadelphia era of the Church of God., nor do they believe that they need a Philadelphian work to go through the open doors to proclaim the gospel (Revelation 3:7-8).

Perhaps it should be mentioned that other COG groups, such as the Restored Church God, Philadelphia Church of God, and Church of God, a Worldwide Association take a preterist approach to Daniel 9:27 (see The 'Peace Deal' of Daniel 9:27). And the Living Church of God has decided to take a preterist approach to Habakkuk 2 (see also The Laodicean Church Era). The preterist views on these matters is dangerous and will be part of the reason that the Laodicean churches will not realize what is happening until it is too late.

Getting back to the DVD, Brian Martin then cited select Old Testament passages that specifically referred to future times which indicated a long period of time for fulfillment. Specifically, Numbers 24:17, Daniel 8:26, Daniel 12:4, 9.

Yet, the DVD also missed certain ones that refer to the appointed time of the end such as Habakkuk 2:1-8, Daniel 8:19, Daniel 11:29,40. Why are those important? Because they have to do with events near and/or during the time of the Great Tribulation and those events have not yet been fulfilled because the end is not yet (cf. Matthew 24:6).

The DVD went back to the New Testament and cited:

10 And he said to me, "Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. (Revelation 22:10)

Brian Martin attempted to contrast this with the time period delays specified in one or two parts of Daniel. Yet, he failed to cite the following:

19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. (Revelation 1:19)

Part of the reason that the Book of Revelation was not to be sealed was because some of the events were for then. It was NOT because that all were to be fulfilled by 70 A.D. as Brian Martin indicated.

Furthermore, notice something else from the Book of Revelation:

10 Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10)

The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. All the prophecies are not fulfilled, to teach that is not the proper testimony.

Brian Martin tried to contrast the message that Christians were always to look for Jesus' return to lack of imminency statements to Adam & Eve, Abraham, and some others in the Old Testament. Yet, he failed to cite that Jesus specifically told His followers to ALWAYS PRAY AND WATCH:

34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:34-36)

Jesus repeatedly told His followers to watch for world events that would fulfill prophecy in other scriptures such as Matthew 24:42, 25:13; Mark 13:9,33,34,35,37, and Revelation 3:3. Jesus did expect His followers to watch. Jesus used prophecy to keep His followers vigilant--He wanted them to be 'hot' and not lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-22).

But He also told His original disciples that the when was not something that they would know:

4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which," He said, "you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." 6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:4-8)

The above, to me at least, suggests that Jesus was telling His original disciples He was not coming back during their lifetimes.

That being said, Brian Martin did again bring up church eras in the DVD. The problem is that he does not understand that there is overlap in church eras and that the characteristics for each era would exist throughout history and up until the end of the church age. Instead, he puts forth his misunderstanding of church eras as his proof that none should have considered Jesus' return in the past. I will simply state here that Jesus and New Testament writers taught that paying attention to prophecy was to always be helpful for Christian development (Luke 21:29-36; Romans 13:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20; 2 Peter 3:10-11).

I have seen the same type of false proofs mentioning scriptures from pretribulation rapturists. They seem to think that if they list several biblical passages, and emphasize certain parts of them out-of-context, that this 'proves' their position from scripture (see Is There A Secret Rapture for the Church? When and Where is the Church Protected?). Jesus told Satan (Matthew 4:1-10) as well as the Pharisees (e.g. Matthew 15:1-9) and Scribes (e.g. Mark 12:18-27) that they did not understand scriptures properly. Neither do the preterists (nor the pretribulation rapturists).

The Bible needs to be understood in context as well as with using other scriptures to help explain ones that may not seem to be as clear (cf. Isaiah 28:9-10; Matthew 4:3-10).

Many Do Not Understand About the Last Days

Some preterists teach that expression in the New Testament as "these last days" in Hebrews 1:2 mean that this referred to only the time in the first century and that he destruction of the Jewish Temple meant the end of the age (Demar G, Gumerlock FX. The Early Church and the End of the World. American Vision, 2006, pp. ix-x).

One preterist source claims Ignatius' writings in the second century, when Ignatius allegedly uses the expression "the last times are come upon us" (the Froom rendering of Ignatius' Letter to the Ephesians 11) and what Apostle Paul wrote in the first century that "the end of the ages had come" were in contradiction and both could not be right (ibid, p. 68). But this is a preteristic misunderstanding.

As far as Ignatius himself goes, he wrote that there was "the wrath to come" (Letter to the Ephesians 11; Holmes MW. Apostolic Fathers. Baker Books, 2004, p. 145), the kingdom was still future (Letter to the Ephesians 16, p. 147), and Christians were still to "Wait expectedly for him who is above time" (Letter to Polycarp 3:2; Holmes, p. 197). So, Ignatius was not a preterist.

The preterist problem is truly aggravated by the reality that they normally misunderstand what terms like the last days/times meant in the New Testament and some other early writings. Preterists realize that early Christians and others who professed Christ did have teachings about days and the millennium (Demar, 44-56), but they do not want to accept that it is valid.

Consistent with the views of early Christians and some associated with them, some Christians still believe that since God made/recreated the world in six days and rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3), that humans will have 6000 years to live on the earth under Satan's influence. Remaining humans will have a 1000 year period to be under Christ's reign (the original creation of the universe may have been billions of years earlier c.f. Genesis 1:2; Isaiah 45:18; How Old is the Earth and How Long Were the Days of Creation?). The 6000 plus 1000 years equals God's seven thousand year plan.

The Bible teaches that a thousand years seems to be as one day to God. This is a concept from both the Old and New Testaments:

4 For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it is past (Psalm 90:4).

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (2 Peter 3:8).

Based upon certain calculations that I am aware of, it seems that Adam and Eve were created and/or apparently left the garden of Eden between roughly 3969-3983 B.C. This would mean that when Jesus began to preach (roughly 27 A.D., over four thousand years later) He was preaching in day five, as four of the seven "one thousand year days" would have been over before then.

Thus, days five (thousand) and six (thousand) would have been considered as part of the "last days" by the early disciples.

That being so, this helps explain why some New Testament figures indicated that they were in the last days:

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh (Acts 2:14-17).

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things (Hebrews 1:1-2).

If there is no 6,000 year plan of human rule followed by a 1,000 year millennial reign, then the New Testament statement above about then being in the last days would make little sense. But, since God does have a 7,000 year plan, these statements do make sense. And that also explains how come the end has not come yet--there is still a little more time in "the last days."

Expressions used such as "shortly" and "at hand" should be understood in the context of the last days of a 7000 year plan.

Interestingly, although preterists like to point out they do not believe that the thousand years and the plan is taught in the Old Testament, here are specific traditions related to the millennium and six thousand years from the Jewish Talmud which they have tied to scriptures:

R. Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day {Isaiah 2:11}.

Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight {Hosea 6:2}.

It has been taught in accordance with R. Kattina: Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,' and it is further said, A Psalm and song for the Sabbath day {Psalm 92:1},  meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath — and it is also said, For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past {Psalm 90:4}.

The Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation;  two thousand years the Torah flourished;  and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era (Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin Folio 97a).

So, Jewish tradition, purportedly based upon scriptures, pointed to the 6000 years, followed by a 1000 years, six days, followed by one, for a total of seven.

It also needs to be understood that there are two types of last days referred to in the New Testament.

When some were stating that they were in the last days, this indicates the latter days of the 7,000 year week (see also Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End?).

However in other places, New Testament writers sometimes are referring to the time of the final generation before Jesus returns as being the last days, as they indicate that this was not for the same time as they were writing (cf. 2 Peter 3:3).

Preterist Claims

In the DVD by Brian Martin was a list he called "Preterist Claims." Here is what he listed, starting with the first item:

New Testament saints expected Christ's return

The above is true. But they did not state when nor ever give a specific date.

Here is another Preterist claim:

Jesus said this (His) generation would witness the events of the Olivet prophecy

Jesus did not say His generation would witness all those events. He talked about a generation, but Jesus DID NOT say it was the generation that was currently alive when He spoke that. This is a critical and fatal error that preterists and many others make.

Here is another Preterist claim:

Olivet discourse and Revelation refer to Jesus judging His enemies (the apostate Jews)

The limiting of the Olivet prophecies and Revelation to apostate Jews is not biblical and is in error. The Bible never teaches that. Both the Olivet prophecies and the Book of Revelation refer to the world. The term world in Revelation 3:10 is not using the Greek term aion for age, nor did Matthew 24:14 or 24:21.

After bringing up other points of often questionable relevance, the DVD actually claims that Jesus came back in 70 A.D. Brian Martin then claimed that there were 101 imminency passages, and then cited part of the following:

7 Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished. (Daniel 12:7)

But the power of the holy people, Christians (Romans 11:16; 1 Corinthians 7:14,34; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:27; 2 Timothy 1:9; 1 Peter 1:15-16), was not shattered in 70 A.D. Brian Martin seems to have confused who God's people were after Pentecost in Acts 2. They were Christians, not Jews that were unbelievers. Actually, most of the Christians fled Jerusalem for Pella prior to its destruction and while some scattered, they were not shattered.

The DVD then showed:

20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (Luke 21:20-22)

But, even though the DVD emphasized that all things written being fulfilled statement, not all things were fulfilled in 70 A.D., hence 70 A.D. was not the fulfillment. The gospel of the kingdom was not yet preached to the world as a witness (Matthew 24:14), 66-70 A.D. was not the worst time of tribulation in world history (Matthew 24:21-22), the heavenly signs did not all happen (Matthew 24:29; Luke 21:25-26), Jesus did not actually return (Matthew 24:30; Luke 21:27), and the resurrection did not happen (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-54; Matthew 24:31; Revelation 20:4).

The DVD claims that the 1260 days, 3 1/2 years, etc. was the Roman siege of Jerusalem that ended in 70 A.D. Other preterists tend to agree with that.

The DVD cites Matthew 24:30, but I also put verse 31 below:

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. (Matthew 24:30-31)

This simply has not happened yet. ALL THE TRIBES OF THE EARTH DID NOT SEE JESUS RETURN IN 70 A.D. NOR DID THEY MOURN THEN. Furthermore, verse 31 did not happen. We have not yet heard the LAST trumpet.

The DVD also cited passages such as 1 Thessalonians 4:17 and Revelation 1:7 which, similarly to Matthew 24:30, etc. disprove the preterist points, however they do not understand them. Notice 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18:

16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians--these are people in Greece. Why would these words be of comfort to them if Jesus supposedly came back to Judea in 70 A.D.? Furthermore, the alive were NOT raised up into the clouds to be with Jesus with the dead--that resurrection has NOT happened yet.

Brian Martin then claimed that since God did not physically come down in the clouds to earth in certain OT passages, that those referring to Jesus returning in the NT should thus be understood figuratively.

Yet, notice the following statement in the Book of Acts:

9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." (Acts 1:9-11)

Jesus will physically come back to the earth. Plus, the resurrection that is described to accompany Jesus in various passages of scripture will also happen then. This is different than Brian Martin and certain preterists understand.

The whole type of logic that preterist interpretation of Jewish writings is correct has blinded them to understand clear statements in the New Testament which are clearly opposed to the preterist view.

Brian Martin claimed bulk of prophecies in Revelation had to do with Jerusalem, but that is not the case.

The John the Baptist Sleight of Hand

In one part of the DVD by Brian Martin, he cited Malachi 4:5-6 about Elijah to come, but failed to cite Jesus' teaching in Mark 9:12 that an Elijah will still come to restore all things. John the Baptist did not restore all things and was not the final Elijah to come of Malachi 4:5-6 (see also The Elijah Heresies).

Later in the DVD, Brian Martin makes a lot about John the Baptist being spiritual and cites Matthew 17. He claims this is why no one should think that Jesus is literally coming in clouds, etc. as he says that physically, John the Baptist was the only Elijah to come and John did not do certain things one would expect from various Old Testament prophecies. I consider this to be a 'sleight of hand' move--he uses this several times in the DVD.

One theological error Brian Martin makes is that he fails to realize that the Greek in Matthew actually tells of a future "Elijah" to come after John the Baptist. Notice:

11 Jesus answered and said to them, "Indeed, Elijah is coming first and will restore all things" (Matthew 17:11).

In Matthew 17:11, the term translated “will restore” is the Greek term apokathistemi which means “to reconstitute” or “restore (again)” (Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.) and is preceded by the Greek term men which means “truly” in the asseverative sense.  In Matthew 11:14 the Greek term mello is used which means “was,”this term is not used in 17:11.

Matthew 17:11 itself COULD NOT refer to John the Baptist, because he was beheaded (Matthew 14:10) earlier than Jesus spoke this and taught that Elijah still needed to restore all things. Also, John the Baptist did not restore all things.  Thus, the Elijah prophecies must have a fulfillment beyond John the Baptist. While it is also true that Jesus said that John the Baptist was a type of Elijah, John could not in the future restore all things unless he was resurrected in the future to do so. 

Thus, Brian Martin's use of John the Baptist not literal fulfilling certain "Elijah" prophecies as proof that Jesus would not physically return is in grave error.

The 'sleight of hand' continued, although I do not believe that Brian Martin fully realized that. He then cited the following (and I added two verses he left off):

3 And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:

"The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
'Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.

5 Every valley shall be filled
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough ways smooth;
6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. (Luke 3:3-6)

Brian Martin claimed that John the Baptist was the fulfillment of ALL of this. He admits that there were no geographic changes, and says then that this passage was not intended particularly literal. Also, the reality is that the time still has not come when "all flesh shall see the salvation of God." Brian Martin also concluded that John the Baptist fulfilled Isaiah 40:3-5 (which is what Luke quoted) and then he made another sleight of hand and stated that this means that there would only be a non-literal fulfillment of Jesus' return. But notice this verse says that all flesh SHALL see the salvation of God. That is STILL future.

What he also fails to realize is that Revelation 16:18-20 tells of a time when mountains will all be moved and islands gone. This is the likely literal fulfillment of Luke 3:5.

Brian Martin also admitted in the DVD that "all flesh shall see the salvation of God" had not been fulfilled. He then said that because of that, Luke 3:5-6 should not be understood literally and that John the Baptist fulfilled it. Part of the problem he has is that he does not understand God's plan of salvation as shown in the Bible and as pictured by God's Holy Days. An article of possibly related interest would be Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis.

In his DVD, Brian Martin then cited the following:

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (Revelation 1:7)

He attempted to claim that since what he considered to have been spiritually-fulfilled by John the Baptist meant, that no one should understand the above to be literal either.

He then claimed that futurists have to twist scriptures to support their view.

But the reality is that is what the preterists are doing.

Pay close attention to the fact that the Book of Revelation says that the time will come when EVERY EYE WILL SEE HIM AND ALL THE TRIBES OF THE EARTH WILL MOURN HIM, meaning Jesus. This clearly shows that the Book of Revelation was NOT just for Judea. It also shows that when preterists claim that Jesus came in 70 A.D. that this is utter biblical nonsense.

Matthew 24:14 and Colossians 1:23

Matthew 24:14 states:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

This still has not been sufficiently fulfilled, which is part of why the actual end, meaning in this case the start of the Great Tribulation, has not began. And until the Western Hemisphere heard the gospel, it was not possible for this to be fulfilled.

Yet, Brian Martin, in his DVD, claimed that the the following verse proves that Matthew 24:14 has been fulfilled:

23 if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister. (Colossians 1:23)

Well, no one believes that the gospel had been declared to every creature by the time that the Apostle Paul wrote Colossians 1:23. The problem is that the preterists have latched on to particular translations of this verse that simply do not convey what the Apostle Paul was really saying. Notice the following alternative translations:

23 if also ye remain in the faith, being founded and settled, and not moved away from the hope of the good news, which ye heard, which was preached in all the creation that [is] under the heaven, of which I became — I Paul — a ministrant. (Colossians 1:23, Young's Literal Translation)

23 if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister. (Colossians 1:23, ASV)

Perhaps citing part of Gill's Commentary on Colossians 1:23 could also help some better understand this:

This must be understood not of every individual creature, even human and rational, that was then, or had been in, the world; but that it had been, and was preached far and near...to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews; who are sometimes styled "every creature", "the creature", "the whole creation", "all men", &c. see Mark 16:15 Titus 2:11; and of this, the first preaching of the Gospel by Peter after our Lord's resurrection, was an emblem and pledge, Acts 2:14; and some time after that, the sound of all the apostles went into all the earth, and their words to the end of the world:

It should be understood that Revelation 5:13 also supports the idea that "all creatures" conveys reaching the Jews and the Gentiles.

The reality is that the gospel of the kingdom could not possibly have been preached to the world as a witness by 70 A.D. as none in the Western Hemisphere, various islands, parts of east Asia, parts of the far north, parts of Africa, etc. could have possibly heard it by then.

It also should be noted that Paul did NOT believe the job of preaching the gospel had been completed then, as he later wrote to pray that that a door to preach the gospel would be opened in Colossians 4:3.

A preterist website had the following related to Paul and statements including Colossians 1:23:

However interpreted, Paul made it clear that the words of Christ in Matthew 24:14 were fulfilled in his own time. (Matthew 24 Fulfilled. http://preterismmatters.webs.com/matthew24fulfilled.htm viewed 08/11/14)

Matthew 24:14 will be fulfilled in its entirety once God decides that it has, then the end will come--Matthew 24:14 clearly ties the getting the gospel of the kingdom to the world as a witness and the end. The END has not come yet, no matter how preterists try to misinterpret various scriptures.

Preterist Admission and Early History

In his DVD, full preterist Brian Martin admitted that he did not understand the details about the millennium or the resurrection.

That was certainly the case.

Anyone who believes and checks the details of the Bible realize that preterism simply does not hold as the millennium did not start in 70 A.D. and last until 1070 A.D., etc. (See also Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?).

The Bible teaches about a one thousand year period and directly associates two resurrections with it:

4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:4-10)

Perhaps it should be mentioned that Satan still is around and thus that portion of Revelation has also not yet been fulfilled.

As far as the resurrections go, obviously the 'first resurrection' did not occur in 70 A.D., nor did were 'the rest of the dead' raised one thousand years later. The dead are still dead and awaiting the resurrection. Early Christians and some associated with Christianity believed that in the second and later centuries.

Furthermore, it may be of interest to realize that an apparent Christian leader named Papias, who was apparently a hearer of John and a friend of Polycarp (and is considered to be a saint by Roman Catholics), in the early second century taught about the millennial reign. Eusebius recorded that Papias taught:

…there will be a period of a thousand years after the resurrection of the dead, and that the kingdom of Christ will be set up in material form on this very earth...(Eusebius. The History of the Church, Book III, Chapter XXIX, Verse 12, p. 69)

Notice also what second century Christian leader Polycarp of Smyrna wrote:

He comes as the Judge of the living and the dead. His blood will God require of those who do not believe in Him. But He who raised Him up from the dead will raise up us also, if we do His will, and walk in His commandments, and love what He loved, keeping ourselves from all unrighteousness, covetousness, love of money, evil speaking, falsewitness; "not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing," or blow for blow, or cursing for cursing (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter II. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1 as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

If we please Him in this present world, we shall receive also the future world, according as He has promised to us that He will raise us again from the dead, and that if we live worthily of Him, “we shall also reign together with Him” (2 Timothy 2:12), provided only we believe...For it is well that they should be cut off from the lusts that are in the world, since “every lust warreth against the spirit” and “neither fornicators, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, shall inherit the kingdom of God”, nor those who do things inconsistent and unbecoming. (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter V. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885)

“Do we not know that the saints shall judge the world?” as Paul teaches. (Polycarp. Letter to the Philippians, Chapter XI. From Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1as edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885)

Let me add right here that Polycarp of Smyrna knew the Apostle John (the one who penned the Book of Revelation). Polycarp was teaching that the kingdom was future, Jesus would come to judge the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), and that the resurrection would come. He did not believe that all these events were over before he wrote this c. 135 A.D.

It is inconceivable that one the Apostle John appointed to be a Pastor/Bishop would not have realized the Great Tribulation was over, if in fact it was by 70 A.D. Perhaps I should mention that Polycarp is believed to have lived from around 44 A.D. to about 158 A.D.

Also from the second century, Theophilus of Antioch was also clear that the resurrection was future:

When the resurrection shall take place, then you will believe, whether you will or no; and your faith shall be reckoned for unbelief, unless you believe now. (Theophilus of Antioch. To Autolycus, Book 1, Chapter VII. Translated by Marcus Dods, A.M. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 2. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Notice also that a successor to Polycarp, Polycrates of Ephesus in the late second century, wrote that death is like sleep, and those sleeping Christians would be raised up:

For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the last day, at the coming of the Lord, when he shall come with glory from heaven and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and moreover John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and being a priest wore the sacerdotal plate. He also sleeps at Ephesus (Eusebius. Church History, Book III, Chapter 31. Translated by Arthur Cushman McGiffert. Excerpted from Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series Two, Volume 1. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. American Edition, 1890. Online Edition Copyright © 2004 by K. Knight).

Why need I mention the bishop and martyr Sagaris who fell asleep in Laodicea, or the blessed Papirius, or Melito, the Eunuch who lived altogether in the Holy Spirit, and who lies in Sardis, awaiting the episcopate from heaven, when he shall rise from the dead? (Eusebius. Church History, Book V, Chapter 24)

No true Christian believed the resurrection had already happened (see also What Did Early Christians Understand About the Resurrection?).

Early Christians and others did not believe that the millennium began in 70 A.D. or was over either (for details, see Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?).

Even preterists agree that most early writers did NOT hold to the preterist view:

This Generation...most of the commentators from early and medieval Christianity that I examined, referred to the prophecies of Matthew 24:27-51 (and the remainder of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 25) not to the time near 70 A.D., but to events that will occur at the end of time and the consummation of all things. (Demar, p. 94)

The Bible does not support the preterist view and many realize that.

Revelation Was Written After 70 A.D.

Preterists tend to state that the Book of Revelation must have been written prior to 70 A.D. for various reasons. Basically, they realize that if Revelation was written later, then that absolutely disproves preterism. But again, so do other parts of the Bible, including Revelation itself.

Preterists claim that since they believe Revelation was written by 66 A.D., that Emperor Nero was the 666 of Revelation 13 and various prophetic events in that book were long ago fulfilled.

Although I believe that history shows that Revelation was written later, the reality is that even if Revelation was written a minimum of 3 1/2 years prior to 70 A.D. which preterists hope is the case, this still would in no way prove preterism.

The teachings of Revelation disprove preterism.

Notice, for one example, the following from Revelation 11:

3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth."

4 These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. 6 These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.

7 When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. 10 And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.

11 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.

14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

15 Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!" (Revelation 11:3-15)

The two witnesses did not rise up, give their testimony, do miracles, get killed, get celebrated by the world for this, nor ascend into heaven (more on what the two witnesses will do is in the article Who Are The Two Witnesses?). Jesus also did not start to reign on the earth around 70 A.D. This, of itself, should show people to NOT let preterists trick them by misinterpreting and/or misapplying certain Greek statements from the Bible translated into English, which is what preterists often do.

Notice, for another example, the following from Revelation 13:

11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. 12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. 14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. 15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Revelation 13:11-18)

There is NO historical or biblical indication that the great signs in vs. 13 happened, that the image of the Beast spoke (vs. 15), or the controlling of buying and selling requiring the mark of Beast (vs. 16-18) occurred in Judea or the world. It was not until the advent of computers and then other related technologies in the past several decades that control of buying and selling could happen as prophesed. The preterist views are wrong.

Furthermore, to believe that Revelation was written by 70 A.D. ignores an interesting clue written in the book. Notice:

9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 1:9)

Now, Patmos was not an island that Christian leaders went to just to live. It is too small for someone such as the Apostle John to have lived safely in, if he were not already a prisoner. Notice that John wrote he was there "for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." It seems, he was imprisoned because he was a Christian leader and/or because God wanted him there to receive the Revelation.

When was he imprisoned there? According to the limited records we possess on church history, this would have been during the reign of Emperor Domitian (81-96). Preterists, however, deny that. They somehow think John left Jerusalem to go to Patmos sufficiently prior to 70 A.D. to get a message from God that mostly would be fulfilled by 70 A.D.

Notice also:

1. At that time the apostle and evangelist John, the one whom Jesus loved, was still living in Asia, and governing the churches of that region, having returned after the death of Domitian from his exile on the island. 2. And that he was still alive at that time may be established by the testimony of two witnesses. They should be trustworthy who have maintained the orthodoxy of the Church; and such indeed were Irenæus and Clement of Alexandria. 3. The former in the second book of his work Against Heresies, writes as follows: "And all the elders that associated with John the disciple of the Lord in Asia bear witness that John delivered it to them. For he remained among them until the time of Trajan." 4. And in the third book of the same work he attests the same thing in the following words: "But the church in Ephesus also, which was founded by Paul, and where John remained until the time of Trajan, is a faithful witness of the apostolic tradition." (Eusebius. Church History. Book III, Chapter 23. Translated by Arthur McGiffert. Digireads, 2005 edition, p. 56).

Emperor Trajan reigned from 98-117 (see also Timelines of Early Church History) and it is generally felt that John did not live too many years into the reign of Trajan. Preterists disagree with Irenaeus' account and create their own interpretations of the books and discount the bulk of the early historical records.

Preterists also do not like to consider that certain early church-related writings were written after 70 A.D.

For example, notice the following admission from a preterist book related to a non-canonical writing called the Didache:

The verses quoted from Matthew 24-25 in Didache 16 obviously refer to future events from the perspective of the author(s). (Demar, p. 29)

Since the Didache shows that the Great Tribulation and Jesus is still to come, this causes preterists a problem. The above preterist book then claims that certain ones have determined that it must have or could have been written prior to 70 A.D. (Demar, pp. 29-30). However, there are numerous thelogical scholars who disagree with this. Roberts and Donaldson wrote:

The Church polity indicated in the Teaching is less developed than that of the genuine Ignatian Epistles, and shows the existence of extraordinary travelling teachers ( "Apostles" and "Prophets," chap. xi.). This points to a date not later than the first half of the second century, probably as early as the first quarter.

Most of these phenomena would, however, consist with a date as late as that of the Ignatian Epistles...

Bryennios and Harnack assign, as the date, between 120 and 160; Hilgenfeld, 160 and 190; English and American scholars vary between A.D. 80 and 120. (Didache INTRODUCTORY NOTICE TO THE TEACHING OF THE TWELVE APOSTLES)

Scholar Erhard indicated 80-90 A.D. Scholar Bruce Metzger said most scholars believe it was written in the first half of the second century.

Notice what the Didache actually teaches:

Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come. But come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet. And third, the resurrection of the dead -- yet not of all, but as it is said: "The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him." Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven. (Didache, Chapter 16. Roberts and Donaldson translation)

Presuming that the Didache was not written until after 70 A.D., as most scholars I have looked at have concluded, it taught that the Great Tribulation and Jesus was a future event, and that the heavenly signs would still happen. Not that we in the Continuing Church of God believe that the Didache is right in all its teachings, but a later date shows that the idea that the last days were not over by 70 A.D. is valid.

Preterists also want to claim that The Letter to the Romans from the Corinthians, commonly referred to as 1 Clement, was also written prior to 70 A.D. The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

The date of the letter is determined by these notices of persecution. It is strange that even a few good scholars (such as Grotius Grabe, Orsi, Uhlhorn, Hefele, Wieseler) should have dated it soon after Nero. It is now universally acknowledged, after Lightfoot, that it was written about the last year of Domitian (Harnack) or immediately after his death in 96 (Funk). (Chapman, John. "Pope St. Clement I." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 13 Aug. 2014 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04012c.htm>)

The Church of Corinth had been led by a few violent spirits into a sedition against its rulers... a letter was sent in the name of the Church of Rome ... explaining that his delay in writing has been caused by the sudden calamities which, one after another, had just been falling upon the Roman Church. The reference is clearly to the persecution of Domitian....The Epistle is in the name of the Church of Rome (Eusebius, Hist. Eccl., IV, xxx) (Chapman J. Transcribed by Gerard Haffner. Pope St. Clement I. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Some modern preterist Catholics have gone for an earlier date, but the 90s A.D. is what I have long believed made the most sense. This is based upon John's exile to Patmos, certain scholars, and "what external evidence there is [chiefly references in Hegissipus and Irenaeus] is consistent with a date of 95-97" (Holmes, p. 24).

Anyway, The Letter to the Romans from the Corinthians does not teach preterism:

23:5
Of a truth quickly and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, the
scripture also bearing witness to it, saying He shall come quickly
and shall not tarry; and the Lord shall come suddenly into His
temple, even the Holy One, whom ye expect
.

50:2
Who is sufficient to be found therein, save those to whom God shall
vouchsafe it? Let us therefore entreat and ask of His mercy, that we
may be found blameless in love, standing apart from the factiousness
of men. All the generations from Adam unto this day have passed
away: but they that by God's grace were perfected in love dwell in
the abode of the pious; and they shall be made manifest in the
visitation of the Kingdom of God.

50:3
For it is written; Enter into the closet for a very little while
until Mine anger and Mine wrath shall pass away, and I will
remember a good day and will raise you from your tombs
. (Roberts and Donaldson translation)

The Letter to the Romans from the Corinthians did not take the preterist view that the wrath was over, but still a future event. It is believed that The Letter to the Romans from the Corinthians was quoting Mark 4:3 in 23:5 and Isaiah 26:20 and Ezekiel 37:12 in 50:3 (called 50:4 in Holmes, p, 85). Isaiah 26:20 is a verse related to protection from the coming great tribulation according to groups like the Continuing Church of God, which is a future event (see There is a Place of Safety for the Philadelphians. Why it May Be Petra).

Regarding the Book of Revelation, preterists need to consider an established fact. There were only about 100,000,000 males (including children) on the entire earth when God had the Apostle John pen the prophecy in Revelation 9:16 that a 200,000,000 man army would form (Rastogi VB, Kishore B.  A Complete Course in ISC Biology. Pitambar Publishing, 1997, p. 24). This means, despite those who claim that the Book of Revelation was fulfilled centuries ago that the prophecy about the 200 million man army is for a time like we are now in. It was NOT POSSIBLY FULFILLED IN THE FIRST CENTURY A.D.

Preterist Comments on the Kingdom and Jesus' Return

As reported before full preterists believe that Jesus has returned and there is no future coming.

They also tend to claim that the kingdom of God is spiritual and not at all physical.

They point to what I consider to be timing scriptures, which do not prove their point at all. One such scripture is the following:

36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here." 37 Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." (John 18:36-37)

Jesus taught He was a king, but that His kingdom would come later (cf. Revelation 11:15). Jesus was showing that the time for His people to fight was not then, but would come later. He did not teach that this was simply 'spiritual kingdom.'

Preterists have also pointed to passages such as Luke 17:20-21. Information on that and what it means is in the article The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church.

But, again, that is not saying that the Kingdom is spiritual.

Brian Martin cited the following scriptures:

16 "The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is pressing into it. (Luke 16:16)

15 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it. (Mark 10:15)

Brian Martin claimed that these meant the Kingdom of God is not for the future. Just because it was time to preach about the Kingdom of God, does not mean that it has been established yet on the earth.

Jesus Himself made it clear that the Kingdom was future in many passages. Notice, the following example:

15 Then He said to them, "With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God."

17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, "Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes." (Luke 22:15-18)

Preterists, for some reason, say the kingdom is already here and is spiritual. Jesus said it was for the future, would come, and He cited doing something physical in it. Of course, most preterists also do not follow Jesus example and actually observe the Christian Passover.

In his DVD, Brian Martin claimed that preterists do not believe that Jesus needs to come to rescue the world. The Bible, however, teaches the opposite:

22 And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened...

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. (Matthew 24:22,29-31)

20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days...

24 "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven. (Mark 13:20,24-27)

17..."We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.
18 The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come,
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great,
And should destroy those who destroy the earth." (Revelation 11:17-18)

The fact that God has to intervene to rescue humanity is recorded in enough scriptures to help those that want to understand. Preterists do not understand Christ's gospel of the kingdom.

Although preterists realize that Jesus came once to die for sins, full preterists teach that He came back in 70 A.D. and perhaps many other times. Yet, notice what the Bible teaches:

21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:21-27)

27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, 28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:27-28)

Jesus has not yet APPEARED A SECOND TIME nor has kingdom been delivered as scripture says WILL happen. Jesus will return (see also The Return of Jesus Christ and When it Occurs).

1 Corinthians also speaks of a duality (see also 1 Corinthians 15:42-49), as well as that death will be destroyed (see also 1 Corinthians 15:50-57). Death clearly has not yet been destroyed as it still is appointed to humans.

Which Generation is "This Generation"?

A big problem that preterists have is that they claim that all, or nearly all, of the events of Matthew 24 were to happen to the generation that was alive when Jesus spoke the words recorded there.

This is another clear reason that preterism is wrong;

All of the events in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 have not yet happened. According to Jesus they have to:

34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (Matthew 24:34-35)

30 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (Mark 13:30-31)

31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (Luke 21:31-33)

Since they have not all happened, preterists tend to say that many of them are spiritual as opposed to literal. But the reality is that Jesus did not return the second time yet. Since He has not, preterists who try to claim that the end time events in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 happened by 70 A.D. are in error. Although they claim that Jesus' words did not pass away, they really teach that His words did not mean what Jesus said, and they do not believe them.

Also, notice that Jesus said when you saw the events of Luke 21 that this meant that the Kingdom of God was near. That meant Jesus was clearly teaching that the Kingdom was a future event. But it is not an event that was fulfilled in 70 A.D.

We are currently living in Satan's age (2 Corinthians 4:4) and God does not take total charge of the kingdoms of this world until later according to the Bible (cf. Revelation 11:15; 19:1-21).

Martin Luther Did Not Understand Revelation

It is not just modern preterists that overlook and misunderstand the Book of Revelation.

Notice, for example, the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther wrote:

About this book of the Revelation...I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic…I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it. (Luther, M. Preface to the Revelation, 1522)

Martin Luther actually did not believe in sola Scriptura (see Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible?) and he was somewhat of a preterist. As reportedly were Protestant leaders like John Calvin, John Lightfoot, Philip Doddridge, Thomas Newton, and John Gill (Demar, p. 80).

Here is some of what Martin Luther taught about Matthew 24:

1. In this chapter there is a description of the end of two kingdoms; of the kingdom of the Jews, and also of the kingdom of the world. But the two Evangelists, Matthew and Mark, unite the two--and do not follow the order as Luke did, for they have nothing more in view than to relate and give the words of Christ, and are not concerned about what was said either before or after. But Luke takes special pains to write clearly and in the true order, and relates this discourse twice; first briefly in the 19th chapter, where he speaks of the destruction of the Jews at Jerusalem; afterwards in the 21st chapter he speaks of both, one following the other.

2. Notice therefore that Matthew unites the two and at the same time conceives the end, both of the Jewish nation and of the world. He therefore cooks both into one soup. But if you want to understand it, you must separate and put each by itself, that which really treats of the Jews, and that which relates to the whole world. This we wish to do now.

3. Notice, first, how Christ prophecies in this chapter concerning the final destruction of the Jewish nation, which the Jews did not at all believe, even though they had been clearly told through great signs and words, the promises of God which he made to the fathers, like unto which had happened to no other people upon the earth. For this reason they strongly insisted and depended upon it, thought it will continue forever, as they think even at the present time; that their kingdom is not destroyed but has only disbanded a little and shall be reestablished. They cannot get it out of their minds that they are not completely ruined.

4. For this reason God announced besides his miracles with clear and plain prophesies that their kingdom shall have an end and that God had abolished the external reign of the law, meats, offerings, etc., and would establish another which shall endure forever, as the angel announced to the virgin concerning Christ, as recorded in Luke 1, 33. "And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."

5. Among the various passages which treat of the end of Judaism there is especially one that is introduced by Christ, namely: the prophet Daniel, 9, 25f., speaks of the terrible abomination, standing where he ought not, when he says concerning the Jewish nation, "Know therefore and discern, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the anointed one the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and three-score and two weeks," that makes together seventy weeks or 490 years, "And after the three-score and two weeks, shall the anointed one be cut off, and shall have nothing: and the people of the Prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and even unto the end shall be war; desolations are determined. And he shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one that maketh desolate; and even unto the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out upon the desolate."

6. The Prophet Daniel desired to know the definite time when this should come to pass, but he could not learn it, and although the angel pointed out a definite time, it was nevertheless too dark for the prophet to understand, hence he said before: But at last, at the last time, you shall see everything, that is, your prophecy, that is to be revealed to you, shall transpire at the end of time. For when Christ sent out the Gospel through the ministry of himself and of the Apostles, it lasted three or three and a half years, that it almost amounts to the calculation of Daniel, namely the 490 years. Hence he also says, Christ shall take a half a week, in which the daily offerings shall cease; that is, the priesthood and reign of the Jews shall have an end; which all took place in the three and a half years in which Christ preached, and was almost completed in four years after Christ, in which the Gospel prospered the most, especially in Palestine through the Apostles (that when they opened their mouth, the Holy Ghost fell as it were, from heaven, as we see in the Acts of the Apostles), so that a whole week, or seven years, established the covenant, as Daniel says; that is, the Gospel was preached to the Jews, of which we spoke before. Now, when the time came that a new message or sermon began, there must also begin a new kingdom, that is, where Christ rules spiritually in our hearts through the Word and faith. If this is now to continue, then the other must be set aside and has no more authority and must cease. This is the part of the prophecy of the prophets, which Christ is explaining.

7. The other treats of the abomination of desolation. Here Christ now says, When ye shall see this one standing in the temple, then take heed (he wants to say) for that is a sure sign from Daniel's prophecy that his kingdom is now at an end; and do not let yourselves be deceived because the Jews and weak Christians think that it shall never be destroyed.

8. But the abomination of which Daniel writes is that the Emperor Cajus, as history tells, had put his image in the temple at Jerusalem as an idol, for the people to worship, after everything there had been destroyed. For the Scriptures call idolatry really an abomination, because God abhors and abominates it, inasmuch as he is the enemy of no sin so much as of this. The others he does truly punish, but he does not cast the people away if they repent, as he says in Psalm 89, 31- 34: "If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. But my loving kindness will I not utterly take from him, nor suffer my faithfulness to fail. My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips." But this sin, called idolatry, which is really unbelief and denial of God, which he cannot at all endure, condemns man completely. For where this remains in the heart of man, so that he teaches and believes correctly, indicates that our works are nothing, and that we shall be acceptable to God and serve him aright alone through faith, then there will be a truly godly character; there light and truth abide. Although along side of faith there runs a sense of the weakness of the flesh. It is not an abomination before God, but only a daily sin that God will punish unto repentance; yet he keeps the people, spares them and forgives them, when the people turn to him and learn to acknowledge his goodness. On the other hand, where this faith and doctrine do not exist, everything is lost; for it is impossible for man not to establish for himself a false worship and choose his own opinion and work, and worship it, so that he really denies God and his Word, and God is entirely turned aside; so that his grace cannot operate. Such abomination is generally the most beautiful and the greatest holiness in the eyes of the world, which outwardly appears in beautiful works and customs; but inwardly is full of filthiness, as we can see at the present day in our orders and church services where they are at their best. However there are again some Christians who are not like these in their works and ways; but are truly holy before God.

9, Now Christ says, when the abomination, that is, this idol, shall stand in the temple, the kingdom shall finally be made desolate and destroyed, so that it can never be rebuilt again, as Luke expresses it clearly in these words, 21, 20f: "But when ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that our desolation is at hand. Then let them that are in Judea flee unto the mountains; and let them that are in the midst of her depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter therein. For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." And further, "Woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! And pray ye that your flight may be not in the winter, neither on a Sabbath: for then shall be great tribulation, such as had not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be."

10. All this pertains still to the Jewish nation. For if this should come upon us at the end of the world, then would we, according to the text, have to be in the land of Judea, because he really points to that country. It is also true, when he says that no greater calamity has been or can be upon the earth than was at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; as we see in history, how unmercifully they were slaughtered and even killed one another, cast themselves into the fire, and permitted themselves to kill one another. Yea, the famine was so great that they ate the strings of cross-bows and even their own children. It was so shameful and abominable that like pity and distress shall never be heard again.

(Luther M. Church Postil. It was first published in 1525. In Volume V:364-378 of The Sermons of Martin Luther, published by Baker Book House (Grand Rapids, MI, 1983). It was originally published in 1905 in English by Lutherans in All Lands (Minneapolis, MN), as The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther, vol. 14. )

I should add that I disagree with Martin Luther on many points, but right here would add that I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT MATTHEW AND MARK GOT THE ORDER WRONG. But I do believe THAT A STATEMENT IN LUKE 21 WAS MISUNDERSTOOD (for details, see Persecutions by Church and State). In many ways, Martin Luther was a preterist.

The Lutheran Church takes the position that the Book of Revelation is not prophetic, which is also consistent with the preterist view.  Lutherans are not expecting the Great Tribulation to start nor a millennial reign of Jesus.

During Martin Luther's time, his followers condemned those who believed in the millennium:

Article IX: Of Baptism... They condemn the Anabaptists, who reject the baptism of children...

Article XVII: Of Christ's Return to Judgment. Also they teach that at the Consummation of the World Christ will appear for judgment and will raise up all the dead; He will give to the godly and elect eternal life and everlasting joys, but ungodly men and the devils He will condemn to be tormented without end. They condemn the Anabaptists, who think that there will be an end to the punishments of condemned men and devils. They condemn also others who are now spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of the kingdom of the world, the ungodly being everywhere suppressed. (The Confession of Faith: Which Was Submitted to His Imperial Majesty Charles V. At the Diet of Augsburg in the Year 1530. by Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560. Translated by F. Bente and W. H. T. Dau. Published in: Triglot Concordia: The Symbolical Books of the Ev. Lutheran Church. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 95.)

I do not hold that Martin Luther was truly a faithful Christian leader and do not agree that his followers should have condemned people for believing in the millennium (see also Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism?). The fact that Martin Luther was a type of preterist does not make preterism proper.

No Double Fulfillments or Spiritualizing of a Time Statement?

Brian Martin, in his DVD, claimed that there are no double-fulfillments of prophecy. He said that there are no example in the Bible of such duality. But that ignores many passages, such as Jeremiah 23:7-8, which teach prophetic duality.

Some, he calls futurists, believe that there is a duality to some prophecies. With an ante-type (prior) and partial fulfillment and the final type, the final actual fulfillment.

To give a biblical example, most theologians who have looked into it, believe there was a partial fulfilment of much of the latter verses in Daniel 11 (for some historical details, please check out the first portion of the article Who is the King of the North?). Preterists tend to feel that they were completely fulfilled, futurists disagree.

The actual passages in Daniel 11 demonstrate that the latter verses are for a future time, called the appointed time of the end. Notice a few examples from that chapter:

27 Both these kings' hearts shall be bent on evil, and they shall speak lies at the same table; but it shall not prosper, for the end will still be at the appointed time.

29 "At the appointed time he shall return and go toward the south; but it shall not be like the former or the latter.

35 And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end; because it is still for the appointed time.

40 "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. (Daniel 11:27,29,35,40)

The appointed time of the end DID NOT happen over 2000 years ago and BEFORE Jesus came. The ante-type with Antiochus Epiphanies did occur then, but that was not the appointed time of the end.

The another example to briefly mention is that of John the Baptist. According to Jesus he was type (ante-type) of the final Elijah (e.g. Malachi 4:5 & Matthew 17:10-13), but as mentioned before, Jesus said another Elijah would come in the end (Matthew 17:11, Mark 9:12).

All that being said, all the events of Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation have NEVER happened yet, hence those prophecies have a future fulfillment. And if preterists believe that they had some type of fulfillment by 70 AD (and that is their position), then they should embrace the duality concept of some biblical prophecies.

On the subject of duality, the late Herbert W. Armstrong frequently taught about it. Here are some of his comment once relate to this and Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 1: 13-16 (Moffatt) [verse 13] The word of the Eternal came to me again, saying, "What do you see?" [and] I said, "A boiling cauldron, fanned from the north." [and] (14) Then the Eternal said to me, "From the north is bane being blown [of] all of the inhabitants of the land. (15) For I [God says] am summoning all of the empires of the north; they shall come and erect their tribunals, each at the entry of Jerusalem and opposite all its walls round about and opposite all of the towns of Judah; (16) by them [God says] will I pass sentence on the wickedness of those who forsake me to offer sacrifice to other gods and [to] worship what their own hands [have] made.

My friends, we're in still the pagan forms of worship today. We're doing those things that the pagans have done in worshipping their gods. Only we claim we're worshipping our God by their ways, their methods, their systems, their philosophies, their beliefs, and their customs and practices. And God says that we are not to seek the ways of the pagans and of the heathens, and try to worship our God with them. He will not accept it. And it's because ancient Judah was doing that very thing that God is saying now that He's going to send that punishment. Now He's speaking, now specifically, of the punishment that did come between 604 and 580 B.C. at the hands of the Chaldean Empire from King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.

Now there is, however, the principle of duality here. Jeremiah is set over the kingdoms, more than one. He is telling specifically of what was happening, or going to happen, in his very day and lifetime (the very lifetime of Jeremiah, that is) to Judah, the Jewish people, in the land of Palestine (in the land of Judea). Now the kingdom of Israel, as I mentioned a moment ago, had been driven out and taken into a captivity to Assyria over a hundred years before this. But there is a duality, and as we go along you're going to see that he specifically mentions the house of Israel (the kingdom of Israel), which were not the people among whom Jeremiah was living at that time there. They were the kingdom of Judah...

Now later He comes to specific prophecies about us. Of course, the duality principle in God's word always has a former fulfillment that is literal and specific, and then a later fulfillment, of which that is the type that is to happen later. Now the former fulfillment here was of the Jewish people in the land of Judah at the hands of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. So He said, Jeremiah 1:16 (Moffatt) "by them will I pass sentence on the wickedness of those that forsake me and offer sacrifice to other gods, and worship what there own hands have made." ...

Jeremiah 2:4 Hear ye the word of the [Eternal], O house of Jacob, and all of the families of the house of Israel. Now my friends, never once in all the Bible does that expression mean the Jewish people. That means the ten tribes. Now my friends, this is addressed to the ten tribes who had gone into the only captivity that has ever happened to them, over a hundred years before these words were written.

Now listen — listen carefully — this is to the house of Israel. I told you we would soon see that there is a duality and that this message is for us today, as well as to the Jewish people six hundred years before Christ. Jeremiah 2: 4 (Moffatt) Listen to the Eternal's word, "O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel." And that in the twentieth century is the United States and Canada and the British Commonwealth of Nations. So listen! Jeremiah 2:5 (Moffatt) What did your fathers find wrong in me that they went far from me [yes, our forefathers Israel — in those days they always strayed away from God, they], went empty after idols and [they] became empty themselves? Yes, and we're empty, and our lives are empty, and our hearts are heavy today. God help us.

Jeremiah 2:6-7 (Moffatt) They never said, 'Where is the Eternal, who brought us up from Egypt's land, who led us through the desert, through [the] land of steppes and holes, [and] through [the] land of drought and darkness deep, a land where no one travels, no man dwells?' (7) Yes [God says], and I brought you to a garden-land [that was Palestine], to eat the fruit and [the] good things [in] it... And today, if you get the duality, He has brought us to a garden-land: the United States and the British Isles. Oh, what a wonderful land. You know, we sing songs about our wonderful land of the United States and how much we love it. Yes, we love this land, don't we? It is a garden-land and God gave it to us. So God says, "Yes, I brought you [up] to a garden-land, to eat the fruit and [the] good things of it." And my friends, we have luxuries, and we have material comforts and benefits and luxuries, such as no other nations have ever had in the history of the world, at any time and any place — never before. And God has given these things to us, if we can only understand.

Jeremiah 2:7 (Moffatt)... but when you entered [God says], you befouled my land and you made my heritage abominable. Now of course, that is referring directly to Palestine. But also it is referring, secondarily and in its antetypical sense, to us today in this land. And it certainly applies to us today. God help us to take heed. (Armstrong HW. Outline of Prophecy 03 - A Prophet To The Nations - Part 1; This radio broadcast has also been titled: Jeremiah 1 And The USA)

A lot prophecies have duality connected to them, but even if some believe they do not, the reality is that all the events in Matthew 24 and the Book of Revelation simply have not happened yet as the full preterists teach. Thus, future fulfillment is ahead.

After trying to indicate that 'apocalyptic language' should be understand in a non-literal fashion, oddly Brian Martin also boldly declared that "there was not one example in the New Testament of any of Jesus' followers spiritualizing a time statement."

That is blatantly false.

New Testament writers repeatedly used time statements such as "last hour," and "last days." The context of such statements should have made it clear that they were not intended the normal literal way, but were to be interpreted in the light of other passages (e.g. Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8).

Brian Martin then quoted a 'futurist' Protestant (C.S. Lewis) who believed that Jesus made erroneous time statements. Brian Martin then states that preterists do not believe that Jesus did that, thus this is supposedly proof that preteristic interpretation of prophecy is superior to those of futurists.

Yet, this is a red-herring argument.

Those of us in the Continuing Church of God would be categorized as futurists by the preterists, yet we do not believe that Jesus erred in His statements. We state that most (like CS Lewis and the preterists) do not understand what Jesus really taught.

Watching World Events and Paying Attention to Prophecy

But what about world events and prophecy?  Is this important?

Certainly.

In the first recorded sermon, which happened after a miracle, the Apostle Peter tied news events in with biblical prophecy (Acts 2:14-40).  Partially because people were aware of the events that Peter discussed, many paid attention and thousands were converted (Acts 2:41).

And while miracles did not precede all the other recorded sermons in the New Testament, speakers did try to tie events to prophecy and other parts of the Bible to better reach their audiences (e.g. Acts 17:22-31).

The first message that it is recorded that Jesus preached (the gospel of the kingdom in Mark 1:14) and the last message Jesus gave (the Book of Revelation) were prophetic.  Various messages that He gave (e.g. Matthew 24, Luke 21) were tied to upcoming world events.

Today, massive societal changes are taking place. Many of them are prophesied in the Bible. Even though between perhaps one-quarter to one-third of the entire Bible is prophetic, most simply do not understand that truth about various key prophecies in the Bible that Jesus urged His followers in the end to understand (e.g. Matthew 24:15).

Some, despite claiming to believe the Bible, either discount or overlook prophecy. But that is not supposed to be the case for true Christians:

29 "Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

34 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:29-36)

Notice that Jesus taught that His followers will always to pay attention to events and prophecies related to His return. Jesus repeatedly told His followers to watch for world events that would fulfill prophecy in other scriptures such as Matthew 24:42, 25:13; Mark 13:9,33,34,35,37, and Revelation 3:3. Jesus did expect His followers to watch.

To a major degree, the preterist position is now the view of the Church of God, Seventh day (CG7), the group that the late Herbert Armstrong considered as part of the Sardis era.  Jesus warned that era “if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you” (Revelation 3:3).  This will happen to all preterists, whether part of any claimed Church of God or not.  

Jesus also taught that the Holy Spirit, "the Spirit of truth," would assist the faithful understanding all truth, including prophetic ones:

12 I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 However, when …the Spirit of truth, has come, {it} will guide you into all truth; …will tell you things to come. (John 16:12-13)

Having the Holy Spirit and properly being led by the Holy Spirit helps us understand prophecy.

The Bible also teaches:

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20)

Yet many do not seem to believe that God’s Spirit is currently working prophetically now. Many also tend to despise biblical prophecies as well as, often, their proper explanation(s). Jesus used prophecy to keep His followers vigilant, Jesus wanted them to be 'hot' and not lukewarm (Revelation 3:14-22)--but most end time Christians are of a Laodicean mindset--they will not realize when the Great Tribulation will begin until it is too late (see also The Laodicean Church Era).

While some discount the importance of prophecy, notice what the Apostle Paul taught:

11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:11-14)

Are we not a lot closer to the end now than when Paul wrote that?  Paul also taught that true Christians were not to be like others who would not know near when Jesus would return (1 Thessalonians 5:4).

The Apostle Peter wrote:

11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:11-13)

Properly paying attention to prophetic events helps one to be ready for Jesus (Luke 21:36;).  Additionally, the reality of prophecy and world events is also intended to be a reflective exercise to get Christians to examine their lives enough to change as they should (cf. Romans 13:11-14; 2 Peter 3:10-13).

Preterists will not watch the signs or understand them.

Thiel B. The Dangerous Rise of Preterists. http://www.cogwriter.com/preterism.htm COGwriter (c) 2014/2015/2016 0915

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