Dispensational premillennialist Tommy Ice: I would never say that there is no one in the early church who taught preterism. . . . Don’t be foolish enough to say that nothing is out there in church history, because you never know. . . . There is early preterism in people like Eusebius. In fact, his work The Proof of the Gospel is full of preterism in relationship to the Olivet Discourse.
That the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole Jewish state is described as if the whole frame of the world were to be dissolved. Nor is it strange, when God destroyed his habitation and city, places once so dear to him, with so direful and sad an overthrow; his own people, whom he accounted of as much or more than the whole world beside, by so dreadful and amazing plagues. Matt. 24:29,30, ‘The sun shall be darkened &c.; Then shall appear the ‘sign of the Son of man,’ &c; which yet are said to fall out within that generation, ver. 34. – John Lightfoot
CHRISTIAN LITERATURE FROM A.D. 150 TO 1,500
Russell Penney: “Augustine also espoused the preterist (or past) view of Revelation… [I]t is Lange who ascribes preterism to Augustine. “This theory is so styled as it was first propounded by the great Augustine in his Civitate Dei (The City of God), xx. 7-9 [of Revelation]. It has been upheld in all ages of the Church since its first promulgation.” (An Introduction to Classical Evangelical Hermeneutics, p. 102)
PART THREE OF THE LITERATURE SUITE:
- PRE-CHRISTIAN BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500 B.C.-A.D. 30)
- EARLY APOCALYPTIC PRETERISM (150 B.C.-A.D. 150)
- THE DOMINANCE OF PRETERISM (A.D. 150-1500)
- FREE ONLINE BOOKS (A.D. 1500-2018)
- ALL PDF FILES IN THE PRETERIST ARCHIVE
EARLY CHURCH FATHERS
- 0150: Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, a Jew
- 0150: Melito of Sardis, Homily of the Pascha – Who will contend against me? Let him stand before me. It is I who delivered the condemned. It is I who gave life to the dead. It is I who raised up the buried. Who will argue with me? It is I, says Christ, who destroyed death. It is I who triumphed over the enemy, and having trod down Hades, and bound the Strong Man, and have snatched mankind up to the heights of heaven. | The battle between Christians and Jews over possession of the name “Israel” goes back to the earliest days of Christianity.. the past-tense verbs found in (Melito’s) Peri Pascha 99 may indicate that the author is referring to the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.
- 0138-0148: Hegesippus, 1530: Hegesippus Josephus Ambrosius, Cologne Edition (German) | 1559: Hegesippi de bello Judaico (Latin)
- 0162: Clement of Alexandria, The Amillennial Preterism of Clement of Alexandria
- 0170: The Muratorian Fragment – the blessed Apostle Paul, following the rule of his predecessor John, writes to no more than seven churches by name.
- 0175-85: Irenaeus of Lyons, Against Heresies – the destruction of Jerusalem, which was the city of the great king, diminished nothing from the supreme majesty and power of God, for that this destruction was put in execution by the most wise counsel of the same God
- 0185: Clement of Alexandria, The Stromata
- 0198: Tertullian of Carthage, An Answer to the Jews – among us, who have been called out of the nations, -‘and they shall join to beat their glaives into ploughs, and their lances into sickles; and nations shall not take up glaive against nation, and they shall no more learn to fight.’ Who else, therefore, are understood but we, who, fully taught by the new law, observe these practices, the old law being obliterated, the coming of whose abolition the action itself demonstrates?
- 0200: Tertullian of Carthage, Against Marcion
- 0200-300: John the Apostle, P.Oxy. LVI 4499 on “The Number of the Beast”
- 0205: Hippolytus of Rome, Commentary on Daniel – Predicted that Christ would establish the Millennium in 496. As it turned out, that date is one thousand years prior to the fall of Constantinople.
- 0213-70: Gregorius Thaumaturgus, Four Homilies on the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary – He has put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. In these terms is intimated in brief the extrusion of the Jews and the admission of the Gentiles. For the elders of the Jews and the scribes in the law, and those who were richly privileged with other prerogatives, because they used their riches ill and their power lawlessly, were cast down by Him from every seat, whether of prophecy or of priesthood, whether of legislature or of doctrine, and were stripped of all their ancestral wealth, and of their sacrifices and multitudinous festivals, and of all the honourable privileges of the kingdom. Spoiled of all these boons, as naked fugitives they were cast out into captivity.
- 0230: Origen of Alexandria, The Principles
- 0248: Cyprian of Carthage, Testimonies Against the Jews
- 0248: Origen of Alexandria, Commentary on John
- 0248: Origen of Alexandria, On Matthew 16:27-28
- 0250: Origen of Alexandria, Against Celsus – I challenge anyone to prove my statement untrue if I say that the entire Jewish nation was destroyed less than one whole generation later on account of these sufferings which they inflicted on Jesus. For it was, I believe, forty-two years from the time when they crucified Jesus to the destruction of Jerusalem.
- 0260: Victorinus of Poetovio, Apocalypse Commentary
- 0273: Alexander of Alexandia, Epistle on Arianism – The Father, raising Him to His right hand, hath seated Him upon a throne on high, and hath made Him to be judge of the peoples, the leader of the angelic host, the charioteer of the cherubim, the Son of the true Jerusalem, the Virgin’s spouse, and King for ever and ever. Amen.
- 0303: Methodius, On Leprosy, Allegorical Explanation of Leviticus 13 (PDF)
- 0310: Peter of Alexandria, Fragments From the Writings of Peter of Alexandria – Since the mercy of God is everywhere great, let us bless Him, and also because He has sent unto us the Spirit of truth to guide us into all truth. For for this cause the month Abib was appointed by the law to be the beginning of months, and was made known unto us as the first among the months of the year; both by the ancient writers who lived before, and by the later who lived after the destruction of Jerusalem, it was shown to possess a most clear and evidently definite period
- 0310-12: Eusebius of Caesarea, On The Divine Theophany of the Lord
- 0312: Eusebius of Caesarea, The Proof of the Gospel (Demonstratio Evangelica) – how can we deny that the prophecies of long ago have at last been fulfilled?
- 0312: Eusebius of Caesarea, Commentary on Zechariah 14 – everything that had been predicted was fulfilled against them without exception 500 years after the prediction: from the time of Pontius Pilate to the sieges under Nero, Titus and Vespasian they were never free from all kinds of successive calamities, as you may gather from the history of Flavius Josephus.
- 0319: Athanasius of Alexandria, On the Incarnation of the Word – When the sun has come, darkness prevails no longer; any of it that may be left anywhere is driven away. So also, now that the Divine epiphany of the Word of God has taken place, the darkness of idols prevails no more, and all parts of the world in every direction are enlightened by His teaching.
- 0320: Eusebius of Caesarea, History of the Martyrs in Palestine
- 0325: Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History | The Martyrdom of James, who was Called the Brother of the Lord – These things happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus, that is called the Christ.
- 0330: Lactantius of Trier – But he also opened to them all things which were about to happen, which Peter and Paul preached at Rome ; and this preaching being written for the sake of remembrance became permanent, in which they both declared other wonderful things, and also said that it was about to come to pass, that after a short time God would send against them a king who would subdue the Jews, and level their cities to the ground, and besiege the people themselves, worn out with hunger and thirst. Then it should come to pass that they should feed on the bodies of their own children, and consume one another. Lastly that they should be taken captive, and come into the hands of their enemies, and should see their wives most cruelly harassed before their eyes, their virgins ravished and polluted, their sons torn in pieces, their little ones dashed to the ground; and lastly, everything laid waster with fire and sword, the captives banished forever from their own lands, because they had exalted over the well-beloved and most approved Son of God.
- 0339: Eusebius of Caesarea, Life of Constantine (PDF) – I am filled with wonder at the intellectual greatness of the emperor, who as if by divine inspiration thus expressed what the prophets had foretold concerning this monster.
- 0345: Aphrahat the Persian Sage, Excerpts from Select Demonstrations – The theology and writings of Aphrahat draw extensively on the Old Testament reflecting a religious milieu of 4th century Mesopotamia in which Christianity was seeking to define itself as separate from Judaism. (Aphrahat) praises Jesus Christ as the divine conqueror of death and fulfillment of all types and prophecies of the Old Law.
- 0360: Ephrem the Syrian, Select Works, Translated out of Original Syriac (PDF)
- 0367: Athanasius of Alexandria, Festal Letters – Now, however, that the devil, that tyrant against the whole world, is slain, we do not approach a temporal feast, my beloved, but an eternal and heavenly. Not in shadows do we shew it forth, but we come to it in truth.
- 0370-75: “Hegesippus”, On The Ruin of the City of Jerusalem
- 0370: Gregory of Nyssa, On Virginity – Where then are those palaces? where is the Temple? where are the walls? where are the defences of the towers? where is the power of the Israelites? were not they scattered in different quarters over almost the whole world? and in their overthrow the palaces also were brought to ruin.
- 0377: “Ambrose” – The opening, therefore, of the first seal relates to those things, which took place before the flood; the second seal relates to the Patriarchs; the third, to those who were under the law; and the fourth, to the Prophets. The three remaining openings relate to the New Testament. The fifth opening relates to the Martyrs; the sixth, to the rejection of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles. The seventh relates to the second coming of Christ.
- 0380: Tyconius, Exposition of the Apocalypse
- 0386: Chrysostom of Constantinople, Homilies Against the Jews – In the late fourth century Chrysostom, in his apologetic works on Christianity and Hellenism, again uses the Temple’s destruction as proof of Judaism’s illegitimacy.
- 0387: Chrysostom of Constantinople, Homilies on Matthew 24 – Was their house left desolate? Did all the vengeance come upon that generation? It is quite plain that it was so, and no man gainsays it.
- 0388: Chrysostom of Constantinople, Homilies on Second Timothy
- 0388: Chrysostom of Constantinople, Divine Liturgy – Having in remembrance, therefore, this saving commandment and all those things which have come to pass for us: the Cross, the Grave, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the Sitting at the right hand, and the second and glorious Coming
- 0374-77: Epiphanius Of Salamis, The Panarion (The Medicine Chest) Against Heresies – There is indeed a millennium mentioned by St. John; but the most, and those pious men, look upon those words as true indeed, but to be taken in a spiritual sense | Jay Rogers: Epiphanius of Salamis on the Hymenaean Heresy
- 0390: Ambrose of Milan, in Annotations on the New Testament: Compiled from the Best Critical Authorities (1829)
- 0398: Chrysostom of Constantinople, Homilies on the Espitle to the Hebrews | Homilies on ‘The Good Things that have Come to Pass’
- 0400-30: Augustine of Hippo, On Matthew 24 and the End of the World
- 0400-600: The Apocryphal Acts of Titus – Nero sent one Parthenius and Pheres to see if Paul were already beheaded; and they found him yet alive. And he called them to him and said: Believe on the living God, which raiseth me and all them that believe on him from the dead. And they said: We go now unto Nero; but when thou diest and risest again, then will we believe on thy God.
- 0401: Sulpicius Severus, Chronicles of Sacred History
- 0408: St. Jerome, Letter to Hebidia
- 0408: St. Jerome, Commentary on Daniel
- 0410: St. Jerome, Sermon on The Nativity of Christ
- 0412: Isidore of Pelusium, Letters – If you have a mind to know what punishment the wicked Jews underwent, who ill-treated the Christ, read the history of their destruction, writ by Josephus, a Jew indeed, but a lover or truth, that you may see the wonderful story, such as no time ever saw before since the beginning of the world, nor ever shall be. For that none might refuse to give credit to the history of their incredible and unparalleled sufferings, truth found out not a stranger, but a native, and a man fond of their institutions, to relate them in a doleful strain.
- 0417: Augustine of Hippo, On Pelagius
- 0418: Paulus Orosius, History Against the Pagans - After (B) the capture and overthrow of Jerusalem, as the prophets had foretold, and after the total destruction of the Jewish nation, Titus, who had been appointed by the decree of God to avenge (A) the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, celebrated with his father Vespasian his victory by a triumph and closed the Temple of Janus.
- 0420-30: Cyril of Alexandria, Commentary Upon the Gospel of Luke – He forewarned them, that however worthy the temple might be accounted by them of all admiration, yet at its season it would be destroyed from its foundations, being thrown down by the power of. the Romans, and all Jerusalem burnt with fire, and retribution exacted of Israel for the slaughter of the Lord.
- 0420: Augustine of Hippo, On Christian Doctrine
- 0420: Cassian, Conferences
- 0426: Augustine of Hippo, The City of God
- 0428: Augustine of Hippo, Harmony of the Gospels
- 0455: Theodoret of Cyrus, Commentary on Romans 1-8
DURING THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD
THE BYZANTINE MILLENNIUM
- The Significance of Constantine’s Labarum
- DeMar-Gumerlock: The Early Church and the End of the World
- Francis Gumerlock: The Seven Seals of the Apocalypse: Medieval Texts
- Francis Gumerlock: Early Latin Commentaries on the Apocalypse – On the Mysteries implies that Nero was reigning when John wrote the Apocalypse (On Rev 17:10), and that the mark of the beast will be a slight counterfeit of the Chi-Rho symbol for Christ.
- Stephen Wright: Vengeance of Our Lord: Medieval Dramatizations of the Destruction of Jerusalem
- 0500: Andreas Of Caesarea, Commentary on the Apocalypse – Our Lord foretold the future events to the apostles who were asking about the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and about the end of time, as much as they were able to receive. These things already happened, in the siege of Vespasian and Titus, to the Judeans who killed Christ, just as Josephus the Hebrew narrates.
- 0507: Joshua the Stylite – Syriac Chronicle – On the region of Mesopotamia also, in which we dwell, great calamities weighed heavily in this year, so that the things which Christ our Lord decreed in His Gospel against Jerusalem, and actually brought to pass (XLIX)
- 0540: Arethas of Caesarea, Commentary on the Apocalypse – In his explanation of the sixth seal he applies it to the destruction of Jerusalem ; and he does so expressly on the authority of preceding interpreters. | Arethas Supports Early Date of the Book of Revelation – this present Apocalypse also was composed ; which is a revelation of future things, inasmuch as forty years after the ascension of the Lord this tribulation came upon the Jews.
- 0550: Remigius of Auxerre – Commentary On Rev. 7:1, in Golden Chain “Here, then, were manifestly shown to the Evangelist what things were to befall the Jews in their war against the Romans, in the way of avenging the sufferings inflicted upon Christ.”
- 0600: “Veronica” – The Avenging of the Saviour – Wright: The narratives of this cycle include the Siege of Jerusalem (where violent Christian fantasizing of the Jews as Christianity’s Other depicts Jewish mothers as eating their own children and Jewish veins as shedding gold, not blood, when struck by avenging soldiers), the Legend of Veronica, and the Punishment of Pilate.
- 0650: The Franks Casket
- 0725: Irish Book of Questions on the Gospels, Quoted in The Early Church and the End of the World – One commentary, an Irish Book of Questions on the Gospels, written about 725, interpreted Christ’s coming in Matthew 24 in light of the Judean war, as a coming in judgment through the Roman armies.
- 0731: Venerable Bede, The Explanation of the Apocalypse – For the greatest cause of destruction to the Jewish people was, that after slaying the Saviour, they also tormented the heralds of His name and faith with wicked cruelty.
- 0851: Maurus Rabanus, Quoted in Golden Chain – The historical sense is clear, that in the forty-second year after the Lord’s passion, the city and temple were overthrown under the Roman Emperors Vespasian and Titus.
- 0935: Eutychius of Alexandria, The Annals – The disciples suffered great tribulations at the hands of the Jews and the Romans, and many of them were killed.
- 0999: St. Symeon – Woe to those who say, “When shall the day of the Lord come?” and they don’t care to know and understand that day. For the Lord’s Presence in the faithful has already come, and is continuously coming, and to all those who wish for it, has arrived and is firm.
- 1055–1107: Theophylact of Ohrid, Quoted in Golden Chain – That is, the Romans against the Jews, which Josephus relates happened before the destruction of Jerusalem. For when the Jews refused to pay tribute, the Romans arose, in anger; but because at that time they were merciful, they took indeed their spoils, but did not destroy Jerusalem. What follows shews that God fought against the Jews, for it is said, “And there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines.
- 1260: Thomas Aquinas: On the Eternity of the World
- 1265: Thomas Aquinas, The Golden Chain, On Matthew 24
- 1300: Anonymous: Cursor Mundi
- 1355: Gospels of Tsar Ivan Alexander
- 1431-38: John Lydgate, The Fall of Princes, Part III – How the kynrede of Iacob was destroied / Crist born and deied / Ierusalem destroied, & xjc. Ml. slayn bi suerde, hunger, fire & pestilence.
- 1463: Eustache Marcadé: Mystère de la Vengeance de Nostre Seigneur Ihesu Crist – And the folk of Jerusalem must make many varied and strange gestures, as people who are terrified by these marvels that they see above them. Then Ysacar says to Ysmael, in a very frightened manner..
- 1493: The Nuremberg Chronicle – Jerusalem, the noblest and oldest city, was destroyed a number of times: Firstly by the King of Babylon when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Chaldaea in the time of Zedekiah, invaded the land of Judah with a great and powerful army, and afflicted the cities and besieged Jerusalem. Thereafter he marched against Pharaoh the King of Egypt; and when he had forced him to flight he sent Nebuzar-adan (Nabuzardo)[Nebuzar-adan, chief of the executioners under Nebuchadnezzar, and his agent in the sacking and destruction of Jerusalem (II Kings 25:8-21).], one of the generals of his army, to besiege Jerusalem. He was encamped there for eight months when they surrendered themselves and their city to the Chaldaeans. They slew the king, leveled the towers and walls, burned the Temple, and seized the temple treasures. The Temple remained desolate for seventy years. The captivity did not end until the time of Cyrus. The Temple was not rebuilt until the time of Darius, the King of Persia and Media. Jerusalem was destroyed a second time by Asobeus, King of Egypt. What the land of Judea suffered at the hands of the Medes, Egyptians, and Macedonians, I will not here relate. The city was destroyed a third time by that most cruel tyrant, Antiochus Epiphanes, who took the city through the treachery of Menelaus, and through merciless men plundered the Holy City; gave the Jews pork to eat, forced them to forego their own laws, and to worship the Olympian Jove. On the fourth occasion it was destroyed by Pompey, who conquered the entire land of Judea, making it and Jerusalem tributary. Strabo relates that Pompey on a certain sabbath of the Jews, when they withheld themselves from all labor, filled up the moats, set up the ladders, and conquered the city. For a fifth time the cities of Judea, and particularly Jerusalem, were attacked, and this time by Gabinius, Scaurus, and Varus; and Herod the Great[Herod the Great, King of the Jews, was the second son of Antipater. Caesar appointed his father procurator of Judea in 47 BCE. Herod, thought only twenty-five, obtained the government of Galilee. In 40 he went to Rome and obtained from Anthony and Octavian a decree of the Senate constituting him king of Judea. He possessed a jealous temper and ungovernable passions. His government, though cruel and tyrannical, was vigorous, and he was feared and respected by his subjects and neighbors. He loved to display his power and magnificence by costly and splendid public works. In the last year of his reign Jesus of Nazareth was born. He died in the 37th year of his reign, at the age of seventy.] and Sosius[Sosius was one of Anthony’s principal lieutenants in the East. In 37 BCE he advanced against Jerusalem along with Herod, became the master of the city and placed Herod on the throne.] conquered it, and possessed it as a march. On the sixth occasion it was taken by Vespasian[Vespasian (T. Flavius Sabinus), Roman emperor from 70-79 CE, was the son of a man of modest means, in the country of the Sabines. His mother Vespasia Pola was the daughter of a praefectus castrorum, and the sister of a Roman senator. She was left a widow with two sons, Flabius Sabinus and Vespasian. Vespasian served as a tribinus militum in Thrace, and was quaestor in Crete and Cyrene. He married and had two sons, both of whom succeeded him. In the reign of Claudius he was sent into Germany as legatus legionis; and in 43 he held the same command in Britain, and reduced the Isle of Wight. He was consul in 51, and proconsul of Africa under Nero. He had a great military reputation and was liked by his soldiers. In the year 66 he conducted the war against the Jews, and with that war raised his reputation. He was proclaimed emperor at Alexandria in 69, and soon after all through the East. He came to Rome in 70, leaving his son Titus to continue the war against the Jews. Titus took Jerusalem after a siege of five months. The cause of Vespasian’s return to Rome was the war that broke out between Otho and Vitellus. Vespasian on his return labored to restore order in the city and the empire. The simplicity and frugality of his mode of life was in striking contrast with the profusion and luxury of his predecessors, and his example is said to have done more to reform the morals of Rome than all the laws that had ever been enacted. He lived like a private person, was affable and easily approached. He ridiculed all attempts to give him a distinguished genealogy. He knew the bad character of his son Domitian, but kept him under proper restraint. In 71, Titus returned to Rome, and father and son triumphed together for their conquest of the Jews. In the summer of 79, Vespasian, whose health was failing, spent some time in his parental home in the mountains of Sabini. Drinking cold water to excess he injured his stomach, which was already disordered; but he still attended to business. When he felt death approaching, he said that an emperor should die standing, and so he died at the age of 69 on June 24, 79.] on the eighth day of the month of September, in the second year of his reign, through his son Titus, who razed it to the ground and destroyed the temple. They leveled the walls and filled the moats. This conquest the Romans considered a feat of great importance, and Titus, leader of the hosts, and afterwards governor of the realm, when he passed over the walls was himself surprised, and acknowledged the result rather as a divine favor than the work of human strength. In the destruction of the city, murder, hunger and mortal suffering occurred, and if you would know the details, you should read Josephus[Flavius Josephus, the Jewish historian, was born in Jerusalem in 37 CE. On his mother’s side he was descended from the Amonaean princess, while from his father, Matthias, he inherited the priestly office. He enjoyed an excellent education, and at the age of 26 he went to Rome to plead the cause of some Jewish priests whom Felix, the procurator of Judea, had sent there as prisoners. He not only effected the release of his friends, but received great presents from the empress Poppea. On his return to Jerusalem he found his countrymen about to revolt from Rome, from which he used his best endeavors to dissuade them; but failing, he professed to enter into the popular designs. He was chosen one of the generals of the Jews, and was sent to manage affairs in Galilee. When Vespasian and his army entered Galilee, he threw himself into Iotapata, which he defended for 47 days. When the place was taken, his life was spared by Vespasian through the intercession of Titus. Josephus thereupon assumed the character of a prophet, and predicted that the empire should one day be his and his son’s. Vespasian treated him with respect, but did not release him from captivity till he was proclaimed emperor three years later (70 CE). Josephus was present with Titus at the siege of Jerusalem, and afterwards accompanied him to Rome. He received the freedom of the city of Vespasian, who assigned him as a residence a house formerly occupied by himself, and treated him honorably to the end of his reign. The same favor was extended him by Titus, and by Domitian as well. He assumed the name of Flavius, as a descendant of the Flavian family. His time at Rome seems to have been chiefly employed in the composition of his works, among which is his , in seven books, published about 75 CE. He first wrote in Hebrew, then translated it into Greek. It commences with the capture of Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes in 170 BCE, runs rapidly over the events before Josephus’ own time, and gives a detailed account of the fatal war with Rome. He also wrote another book, , in twenty books, completed about 93 CE. It gives an account of Jewish history from the creation of the world to 66 CE, the twelfth year of Nero. He also wrote his own life in one volume, and other works.] who wrote, not according to hearsay, but recorded actual facts to which he and others were witnesses. When Titus, together with his father Vespasian, entered the city, he caused Simon, who was the cause of the destruction, to be dragged through the streets with ropes in his triumphal train, and his body bruised; and thereafter he slew him. Vespasian built a temple of peace, and caused to be deposited in it the holy treasures of the Jews, such as the tablets of the laws, and other things. The city was at that time the abode of thieves and murderers; and so it continued until the time of Hadrian. For fifty years it remained desolate.