A dramatic upheaval is beginning to boil in the church about ESCHATOLOGY, that is, the study of the “last things” or “end times.”
Twenty Prophecy Questions for Christians
By Charles Meek
January 21, 2015
After years of skeptical study, I became persuaded that Jesus was telling the truth when He said that ALL prophesied “last-things” events would be fulfilled in his generation (Luke 21:22, 32; etc). This is the preterist view of eschatology. Preterism teaches that most, if not all prophetic events happened with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Thus, the “last days” are not about the end of the world, but rather, about the end of the Old Covenant Age. It appears to be the fastest growing view of eschatology as other systems are being discredited.
If you are willing to consider a different viewpoint from the one you may now hold, below are some of the questions I could not honestly answer as a futurist, but make perfect sense from the preterist perspective. You are welcome to respond:
1. Why have Christians made failed predictions about the end of the world for 2000 years?
2. If time means nothing to God, why does God constantly use time-restricted statements about the fulfillment of prophecy—such as: must shortly take place, at hand, near, quickly, soon, last times, last hour, last days, this generation, etc.?
3. If “no one knows the day or the hour,” why did Jesus frequently insist that his PAROUSIA (Second Coming)—and indeed the fulfillment of all prophecy—would be fulfilled while those living in the first century were still alive (Matthew 10:23; Matthew 16:27-28; Mathew 26:64; Luke 21:22, 28, 32; Revelation 1:1-3; Revelation 22:6, 12, 20)? Was Jesus simply wrong? If so, can we trust Him on other things He said?
5. If any of the New Testament was written after AD 70, why is there no mention anywhere in the New Testament IN THE PAST TENSE about the incredible events surrounding the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in that year?
6. If the Great Tribulation is still future to us, why did Jesus tell the first century Christians that they could avoid it by fleeing to the mountains (Matthew 24:16; 21)? And why did the Apostle John tell his readers a few years later that THEY were in the tribulation (Revelation 1:9)?
7. If the book of Revelation is for us today, why would John write to the seven churches if it had nothing to do with them? Why would John torture these first-century Christians with impossible and intricate symbolic labyrinths that applied only to people 2,000 years later? Why does Revelation say some 30 times that the events MUST be fulfilled SOON? (Examples: Revelation 1:1-3; 22:6, 12, 20)
8. Why does Hebrews 10:37 say that in a VERY VERY (“very” is there twice in the Greek) LITTLE WHILE Jesus would return and not delay? Were the writer of Hebrews and the other biblical writers that expressed the same thing FALSE PROPHETS?
10. If the biblical “last days” started in the first century, but continue to this day, why did Peter say the end of all things was at hand, and the judgment was about to begin when he was writing (1 Peter 4:7, 17)? Given Jesus’ condemnation of the Jews of his day, which He said would be in their generation (Matthew 23:29-39), isn’t it logical that this is the Great Judgment of which the New Testament speaks?
11. John said it was the “last hour” (1 John 2:18) when he was writing. Does that mean that its fulfillment is now 17 million hours late?
13. If “heaven and earth” have not yet passed away, does that mean that every jot and tittle of the law is still in effect (Matthew 5:17-18)?
14. If the NEW JERUSALEM is a future physical location, how is it possible that the Hebrews in the first century were already there (Hebrews 12:22)?
15. If Jesus was going to return literally and physically (Acts 1:11), why do we read that his ascension was hidden from view by a cloud? If Jesus is going to return LITERALLY “in like manner” (Acts 1:11), does that also mean that He will return riding a white horse (Revelation 19:11)?
16. If Jesus was to return in a physical, visible appearance to the whole world, why did He tell his first-century disciples (John 14:19) that the world would never see him again?
17. If the King James Version of the Bible really speaks of an end to the physical universe, why is “end of the world” found in the King James Version consistently translated as “end of the AGE” in modern translations and literal translations (like Young’s Literal Translation)?
18. If the last-days events are still future to us, why are there over 100 passages in the New Testament that declare that these events would happen soon?
19. If “soon” means “2000 years later,” does that mean it was going to take Timothy 2000 years to be sent to the Philippians by Paul (Philippians 2:19)?
20. If the prophetic passages were fulfilled once in the first century, and then again thousands of years later, why is there no hint of this by Jesus and the biblical writers?
(Mr. Meek is the author of the book Christian Hope through Fulfilled Prophecy.)
Stephen Ray Hale says:
April 1, 2014 at 5:42 pm
“If the NEW JERUSALEM is a future physical location, how is it possible that the Hebrews in the first century were already there (Hebrews 12:22)?”
In that question above, and I do not doubt you at least recognize the comparing of several scriptures at one time, would you REALLY have considered that a valid quesiton were you to have just turned the page to the next chapter and read in 13:14 “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come?”
April 2, 2014 at 1:03 am
Good question. Throughout the New Testament, there is a sense of “already but not yet.” We see this in such considerations as the kingdom of God and even of our salvation. These things, I believe, were instituted initially at Christ’s First Advent, but finalized at his Parousia in AD 70. I go into some detail about this in my book CHRISTIAN HOPE THROUGH FULFILLED PROPHECY. Thanks for asking.
Stephen Ray Hale says:
April 2, 2014 at 4:22 am
Thanks for your reply with the gist “already but not yet.” In considering Daniel’s 70 weeks where the end of the seventy weeks appears to be an end of the AGE (not world) concerning the Jews: as seemed in the following:
24Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
Jesus died after the end of the 69th week. In that only 70 weeks were determined upon the whole of Jewish history in the land or especially the the holy city, what happend within seven years after Jesus died that establishes the ambition of the verse above. It really does “appear” that there was a real honest to gosh ending of all things dealing with vision and prophecy at the end of those seventy years, and especially at the end of the seven last years dealing with the jews or “THY PEOPLE.” Is this an example of “already but not yet?” But don’t say just “yes” I am very curious how Preterists are understanding that verse to indicate an ending at the end of seven years after the death of Jesus and the one coming around the 70 AD end of all things, rather the end of the age dealing with the Jews and no doubt all that dealing with the Law of Moses and the Old Covenant. The Angel did indicate that the Jews only had 70 weeks (of years no doubt), are we finding some manner of extention between seven years after the death of Jesus and the year 70 AD?
Charles Meek says:
June 18, 2017 at 12:31 pm
Here’s a helpful article on Daniel’s 70 weeks:
David Showalter says:
June 17, 2017 at 2:37 pm
Like every Preterist I’ve met, when I first heard it was thought it was insane. That’s because the church as a whole has no clue the significance of 70AD. I had never heard of the event of 70AD till I was 30 years old. I was immersed in dospensationalism and since everyone I knew believed it too why wouldnt I believe it? We are brainwashed from the time we first enter the church nursery, but Yahweh graciously gave me a Damascus road experience to show me that truth of Preterism. I am very thankful for that.