Church History Of Early Christian Preterism

Church History Of Early Christian Preterism

 

Early Christian Preterism
 (CHRISTIAN WRITINGS FROM AD40 TO 1000)


JEWISH/CHRISTIAN BIBLICAL STUDIES (1500BC-AD70) | EARLY CHRISTIAN PRETERISM (AD40-1000) | FREE ONLINE BOOKS  (AD1000-2008)


 

EARLY CHURCH (EC) – A) Views espoused by all Christian sources during the first thousand years of church history, during which the only systematizing being done was in Catholic and Orthodox circles.  B) This class includes all the earliest church fathers, historians and pseudepigraphic writers, dating back to the writings of the New Testament.  C) Sources could be considered “Historicist” or “Futurist” but very rarely “Preterist” in any developed way (Eusebius would be the most likely to be considered Preterist)  (Broadest in Years, Broadest in Doctrine – First Thousand Years of Church History – Pret-related comments color-coded with “Historical Preterism” due to similarities)


DSS: Pre-Christian Preterism – The “Dead Sea Scrolls” Church History’s “Preterist Assumption” Popular Preterism | Biblical Minimalism and “The History of Preterism” | The Early Church and the End of the World | Sketches of Church History : Chapter One – Age of the Apostles | Bible History Online | The First Century: Destruction of Jerusalem | History of the Christian Church | Additional Church Fathers Not Available Elsewhere

  • 4/1/12: Orosius: Book 7 – Christian History ‎”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.” (Thanks, David Fish!)

  • 2/23/12:  The Christian remembrancer; or, The Churchman’s Biblical, ecclesiastical & literary miscellany English translation of Theodoret’s commentary on Romans 1-8 ; Pages 34, 93, 158, 231, 291, 349, 407, 480, 608, 671, and 734. (thanks to Roger Pearse for pointing it out)

  • 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.” (“Update on Pre-Darby Rapture Statements and Other Issues”: audio tape December 1995).


PRE-CHRISTIAN HISTORY OF PRETERIST IDENTIFICATIONS
EARLIEST KNOWN PRETERIST COMMENTARY FOUND IN “CAVE ONE”

‘Kittim’ as ‘the Romans’ interpretation early example of precise preterist interpretations.  The coming destruction at the hands of a ‘heathen power’ was an ancient message, dating before Moses’ declarations in Deuteronomy 28.  However, the identification of this ‘heathen power’ as Rome (Kittim) is found in Septuagint Daniel and the Habakkuk Commentary found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The Syriac Commentary on the Septuagint’s Daniel dates between 3rd century B.C. – 1st century B.C.; The “Habakkuk Scroll” dates “prior to 63 B.C.

Habakkuk 1:6
“For, behold, I raise up the Kasdim, that bitter and hasty nation, that march through the breadth of the eretz, to possess dwelling places that are not theirs.”

Comment:
“Its interpretation concerns the Kittim”

“KITTIM” IN DANIEL 11:30
“For the Romans shall come against him; therefore he shall be grieved, and shall return, and have indignation against the holy covenant, and shall do [his pleasure]: he shall even return, and have regard to those who forsake the holy covenant.”

 Daniel 11:30 (h) That is, the Romaine power shal come Geneva Bible Notes

Habakkuk 1:11
“Then he sweeps by like the wind, and goes on.  He is indeed guilty, whose strength is his god.”

Comment:
“Interpreted, [this concerns] the commanders of the Kittim who, on the counsel of [the] House of Guilt, pass one in front of the other; one after another [their] commanders come to lay waste the earth.”



 THE “SILENT ERA”
(50-150)
EARLY CHURCH FATHERS
(150-500)

LATER WORKS
(500-1000)

Robinson’s Dates Used When Able

OTHER (LIKELY) NON-CHRISTIAN WORKS FROM THIS PERIOD

Alan Patrick Boyd :  “The majority of the writers/writings in this period [A.D. 70-165] completely identify Israel with the Church.” (Boyd, “Dispensational Premillennial Analysis,” p. 47.)

Gary Demar : “Some of the earliest writers commenting on the Olivet Discourse, most likely writing before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, were referring to the judgment coming of Jesus, an event that the gospel writers tell us was to take place before that first-century generation passed away”

FROM EARLY CHRISTIAN WRITINGS:

30-60 Passion Narrative
40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
50-60 1 Thessalonians
50-60 Philippians
50-60 Galatians
50-60 1 Corinthians
50-60 2 Corinthians
50-60 Romans
50-60 Philemon
50-80 Colossians
50-90 Signs Gospel
50-95 Book of Hebrews
50-120 Didache
50-140 Gospel of Thomas
50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
65-80 Gospel of Mark
70-100 Epistle of James
70-120 Egerton Gospel
70-160 Gospel of Peter
70-160 Secret Mark
70-200 Fayyum Fragment
70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
80-100 2 Thessalonians
80-100 Ephesians
80-100 Gospel of Matthew
80-110 1 Peter
80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
80-130 Gospel of Luke
80-130 Acts of the Apostles
80-140 1 Clement
80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
80-250 Christian Sibyllines
90-95 Apocalypse of John
90-120 Gospel of John
90-120 1 John
90-120 2 John
90-120 3 John
90-120 Epistle of Jude
93 Flavius Josephus
100-150 1 Timothy
100-150 2 Timothy
100-150 Titus
100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
100-150 Secret Book of James
100-150 Preaching of Peter
100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
100-160 2 Peter
100-200 Odes of Solomon
101-220 Book of Elchasai
105-115 Ignatius of Antioch
110-140 Polycarp to the Philippians
110-140 Papias
110-160 Oxyrhynchus 840 Gospel
110-160 Traditions of Matthias
111-112 Pliny the Younger
115 Suetonius
115 Tacitus
120-130 Quadratus of Athens
120-130 Apology of Aristides
120-140 Basilides
120-140 Naassene Fragment
120-160 Valentinus
120-180 Apocryphon of John
120-180 Gospel of Mary
120-180 Dialogue of the Savior
120-180 Gospel of the Savior
120-180 2nd Apocalypse of James
120-180 Trimorphic Protennoia
130-140 Marcion
130-150 Aristo of Pella
130-160 Epiphanes On Righteousness
130-160 Ophite Diagrams
130-160 2 Clement
130-170 Gospel of Judas
130-200 Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus
140-150 Epistula Apostolorum
140-160 Ptolemy
140-160 Isidore
140-170 Fronto
140-170 Infancy Gospel of James
140-170 Infancy Gospel of Thomas
140-180 Gospel of Truth
150-160 Martyrdom of Polycarp
150-160 Justin Martyr
150-180 Excerpts of Theodotus
150-180 Heracleon
150-200 Ascension of Isaiah
150-200 Acts of Peter
150-200 Acts of John
150-200 Acts of Paul
150-200 Acts of Andrew
150-225 Acts of Peter and the Twelve
150-225 Book of Thomas the Contender
150-250 Fifth and Sixth Books of Esra
150-300 Authoritative Teaching
150-300 Coptic Apocalypse of Paul
150-300 Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth
150-300 Melchizedek
150-400 Acts of Pilate
150-400 Anti-Marcionite Prologues

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St. Chrysostom
(4th Century)

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” (St. Chrysostom’s Liturgy)

Proof of the Gospel
(314)
Eusebius of Caesarea
“..how can we deny that the prophecies of long ago have at last been fulfilled?”

  • 500: Andreas “And I saw, when he had opened the sixth seal, and behold there was a great earthquake, and the sun became as black as sackcloth of hair, and the whole moon became as blood. And the stars from heaven fell upon the earth, as a fig-tree casteth its green figs when it is shaken by the wind.” [Apocalypse 6:12-13] “There are not wanting those who apply this passage to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus.”

  • 507: 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)

  • 540: Arethas

  • 550: St. Remigius – Commentary (On Rev. 7:1) “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.”

  • 600: Veronica” – The Avenging of the Saviour

  • 725: Irish Book of Questions on the Gospels  “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.” Quoted in Gary DeMar and Francis X. Gumerlock: The Early Church and the End of the World

  • 731: Venerable Bede

  • 851: Maurus Rabanus

  • 999: St. Symeon


  • Milton Terry“During the period extending from Gregory the Great to the time of Luther (A.D. 600 to A.D. 1500), the true exegetical spirit could scarcely be expected to maintain itself, or produce works of great merit. The monasteries became the principle seats of learning, and the treasuries of theological literature gradually found their way to them as to so many asylums. Superstition and ignorance effectually hindered the progress of critical inquiry.” (Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 661)

  • Gary DeMar: “Shreds of Preterism” Among First Century Writers (2003) “Much of the debate over preterism comes down to when the document was written.  This is especially true for the book of Revelation.  If a document was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem which occurred in A.D. 70, then any statement about future prophetic events could be a reference to that event.” |

  • Theology Adrift: The Early Church Fathers and Their Views of Eschatology – “In 1962, philosopher-scientist Thomas Kuhn coined the term “paradigm shift” to signal a massive change in the way a community thinks about a particular topic..  With the first destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and the expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem as a result of the second Jewish revolt in AD 132-135, the early Christians began to see these defeats as evidence of not only God’s displeasure on Judaism, but also God’s vindication of Christianity. The early Christians thus abandoned any hope for the restoration of the nation of Israel.. “

  • St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (AD 213-270) “This song of prophecy, therefore, did the holy mother of God render to God, saying, My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour: for He that is mighty has done to me great things, and holy is His name. For having made me the mother of God, He has also preserved me a virgin; and by my womb the fullness of all generations is headed up together for sanctification. For He has blessed every age, both men and women, both young men and youths, and old men. He has made strength with His arm, on our behalf, against death and against the devil, having torn the handwriting of our sins. He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts; yea, He has scattered the devil himself, and all the demons that serve under him. For he was overweeningly haughty in his heart, seeing that he dared to say, I will set my throne above the clouds, and I will be like the Most High. And now, how He scattered him the prophet has indicated in what follows, where he says, Yet now you shall be brought down to hell, and all your hosts with you. For He has overthrown everywhere his altars and the worship of vain gods, and He has prepared for Himself a peculiar people out of the heathen nations. 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. And in their stead the humble were exalted, namely, the Gentile peoples who hungered after righteousness. For, discovering their own lowliness, and the hunger that pressed upon them for the knowledge of God, they pleaded for the divine word, though it were but for crumbs of the same, like the woman of Canaan; and for this reason they were filled with the riches of the divine mysteries. For the Christ who was born of the Virgin, and who is our God, has given over the whole inheritance of divine blessings to the Gentiles. He has helped His servant Israel. Not any Israel in general, indeed, but His servant, who in very deed maintains the true nobility of Israel. And on this account also did the mother of God call Him servant (Son) and heir. For when He had found the same labouring painfully in the letter and the law, He called him by grace. It is such an Israel, therefore, that He called and has helped in remembrance of His mercy. As He spoke to our fathers, I to Abraham and to his seed for ever. In these few words is comprehended the whole mystery of the economy. For, with the purpose of saving the race of men, and fulfilling the covenant that was made with our fathers, Christ has once bowed the heavens and come down. And thus He shows Himself to us as we are capable of receiving Him, in order that we might have power to see Him, and handle Him, and hear Him when the speaks. And on this account did God the Word deem it meet to take to Himself the flesh and the perfect humanity by a woman, the holy Virgin; and He was born a man, in order that He might discharge our debt, and fulfil even in Himself the ordinances of the covenant made with Abraham, in its rite of circumcision, and all the other legal appointments connected with it. (St. Gregory Thaumaturgus; The Second Homily: On the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary)