Home>Church History’s “Preterist Assumption”

Church History’s “Preterist Assumption”

“It has been a standard feature of Christian preaching through the ages that the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 was really God’s decisive punishment of the Jewish people for their rejection of Jesus, who had died around the year 30.” Steve Mason

Preterist Kerygma:  “The fall of Jerusalem was the vengeance of God upon the Jewish Nation for their rejection of the Gospel.”

Hyper PreterismDefining “Hyper Preterism”– Criticisms from the Inside – Criticisms from the Outside || Progressive Pret | Regressive Pret | Former Full Preterists | Pret Scholars | Normative Pret | Reformed Pret | Pret Idealism | Pret Universalism


J. Ligon Duncan, President, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals: Attractions of the New Perspective(s) on Paul –  “I find that Wright’s overly realized eschatology is attractive to students todayPreterism is all the rage in some conservative Reformed circles these days. The “already and not yet” is out, and the “been there, done that” is in. NT eschatology, for the preterist, is retrospective and realized. Well, along comes Wright, with his very this worldly eschatology, and provides a high-powered academic justification for the low-rent forms of preterism circulating in some places today. And they love it. So I have found some students who have gotten into Wright via his eschatological approach to New Testament theology. ” / Jerry Jenkins on the Second Coming of Christ – “I share the same sort of frustration with people who say, ‘If it was supposed to be soon, why hasn’t it happened in two thousand years?'” “…surprisingly, their numbers are growing — not because their arguments for what they are trying to believe are so convincing, but because many of their new followers have only heard one side of the argument.” (Tim LaHaye, Has Jesus Already Come?, p. 7)

“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” Gary Demar


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)

Irish Book of Questions
(AD 725)

“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

Jonathan Edwards

“‘Tis evident that when Christ speaks of his coming; his being revealed; his coming in his Kingdom; or his Kingdom’s coming; He has respect to his appearing in those great works of his Power Justice and Grace, which should be in the Destruction of Jerusalem and other extraordinary Providences which should attend it.” (Miscellany #1199)

Philip Schaff
(19th Century)

“This being so, then the words relating to a personal return of Jesus are to be taken as pointing to the Destruction of Jerusalem (Mat. x.23; xvi.28).” (Second Advent)

Early Preteristic references include: The Epistle of Barnabas 16:6; Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies 1:21; Tertullian, Against the Jews 8; Origen, Matthew 24:15; Julius Africanus, Chronography (relevant portions preserved in Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel 10:10 and Demonstrations of the Gospel 8); Eusebius, Demonstrations 8; Athanasius, Incarnation 40:1




The purpose of this section is to explore ecclesiastical history in order to display the predominance of historical Christianity’s preteristic writings. This is necessary, as it is often remarked that there are no developed Preterist writings, creeds or statements of faith in the early church.  Though this may be true regarding today’s more developed views, the abundance of historical writings display a steady progression toward a consistent system of theology which is highly preteristic.  Historical writings include nearly every aspect of historical and modern preterism.  

Besides the most recent predominance of a past-fulfillment view of bible prophecy, the greatest number of the earliest Christians believed that a number of prophecies of the Olivet Discourse were fulfilled in the first century destruction of Jerusalem. The challenge, in fact, is to find even one early Christian that didn’t consider the prophecies of Matthew 24 as having found expression in the events surrounding the First Jewish Revolt. As will be shown, the earliest and most significant writers were in unanimous agreement, proclaiming fulfillment of these prophecies in that final generation of Israel.

Due to the contemporary supremacy of premillennial futurism, Christians have a tendency to think that all early writers were chiliasts (1000 year reign of Christ on Earth) and futurists. This is simply not so.  Even staunch defenders of Futurist views agree that there were expressions of preterism in the earliest centuries.  Dispensational premillennialist Tommy Ice has stated, “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).

Bill Uhrich: Views on eschatology have evolved over the millennia

Proof of the Gospel

Lightfoot “probably the most important apologetic work of the Early Church.”

“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.” Chrysostom

“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.” Origen

“This view (Preterism) may sound novel, but in reality there have been orthodox adherents to it throughout church history.” C. J. Seraiah

“the Preteristic method of interpretation has a long history” Dennis M. Swanson


Viewing  the Olivet Discourse specifically, we can divide Christian History into three distinct evolutionary trends. These three positions are separated by the prevailing Christian beliefs of the time, and don’t intend to imply unanimity of thought, throughout Christianity. They are as follows (including those representative, and their period of ‘supremacy’):

1. General fulfillment in the earliest centuries (Early Christianity – 1st to 10th Century)
2. Primary fulfillment in the earliest centuries; Secondary fulfillment in the near future (11th Century Millennarians ; 16th to 19th Century)
3. Secondary fulfillment in the earliest centuries; Primary fulfillment in the near future. (PremillennialismDispensationalism – 20th Century)

Through an examination of these three doctrinal trends, and the underlying hermeneutics, within the respective centuries of Christian theology, we can see the increasing consistencies — or lack thereof — in each.  The desire for scriptural consistency can be seen as a driving force leading to a much more developed approach to the view of fulfilled prophecy. The ultimate goal of this study is to present the uninterrupted rise of fulfilled eschatology throughout the centuries, in order to display why today’s highly developed preterist views are the natural result of Christianity’s theological development.

“he originally undertook the thesis to bolster the [dispensational] system by patristic research, but the evidence of the original sources simply disallowed this. . . . [T]his writer believes that the Church rapidly fell from New Testament truth, and this is very evident in the realm of eschatology. Only in modern times has New Testament eschatological truth been recovered.” (Boyd, “Dispensational Premillennial Analysis,” p. 91n.)  


The First 1,000 Years of Christian History

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)

Chrysostom’s Matthew Homilies | “Shreds of Preterism” Among First Century Writers “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.. “



     The prevailing eschatology of Christianity has changed numerous times during the centuries. To state that any position has been held throughout the history of Christian exegesis is a falsehood. However, we can see that some form of preterism has been held throughout the centuries, regardless of which belief system reigned supreme. The following tables display the constant stream of preterisic thought through each period in Christian history.  We will see the maturation and development of these doctrines throughout the centuries to its widespread revival among scholars in the late 19th Century and its popular acceptance today.

     It takes a lot of careful study to determine the eschatology of early Christians.   The end-times beliefs varied greatly from one writer to the next.  The consistency of today’s developed systems were nowhere to be found, and many Christian writers even held to some of the most dramatic preterist doctrines in their day (such as the defeat of the devil, the destruction of death, and the rising of the dead), while still holding to futuristic expectations.

     Perhaps the most primary “preterist” interpretation in the early church regarded the identity of the people of God.  Naturally, the main controversy in Judea prior to the end of the nation centered around who were God’s true covenant people.   Throughout the New Testament the case is made that only those in Christ are God’s chosen people (Gal. 3:16, Rom. 2:28-29 ; 9:6-8; Rev. 2:9 ; 3:9, etc.).  This apologetic case is continued into the earliest post-biblical writings as well.   As stated in Harvard Theological Review‘s “Peri Pascha and Its Israel”,

“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.  Analogously, 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.”  (Vol. 91, No. 4 (Oct., 1998), pp. 351-372)

Later on, an example of the recognition of the gathering of God’s covenant people is found in Alexander of Alexandia’s Epistle on the Arian heresy, circa A.D. 273: 

“7. Then the Lord, the third day after His death, rose again, thus bringing man to a knowledge of the Trinity. Then all the nations of the human race were saved by Christ. One submitted to the judgment, and many thousands were absolved. Moreover, He being made like to man whom He had saved, ascended to the height of heaven, to offer before His Father, not gold or silver, or precious stones, but the man whom He had formed after His own image and similitude; and 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.”

   These names assigned to the Lord display the body of Christ as the spiritual Israel, presenting the wedding of the lamb as a past event.  Notice that Christ is called the spouse, and not the bridegroom.  This is a perfect example of early Christianity’s attempts to teach total and complete fulfillment of Christ’s mission regarding the gathering of His people “Israel.”   Once the Roman conversion to Christianity was complete, through the patronage of preterist Emperor Constantine, writers (such as Eusebius) were even more adamant that the glorious age of the New Israel had arrived.   Dallas Seminary dispensationalist Alan Patrick Boyd stated the following:  “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.)

    The identification of the Church as the wedded covenant people might be considered just a primary step in the realm of prophetic fulfillment, but the examples do not end there.   In addition to the wide acceptance of this primary amount of fulfillment in the identification of “Israel,” the overwhelming majority (if not totality) of early Christian writings support a more intermediate level of fulfillment regarding the Olivet Discourse. Displaying the universality of this belief in the in the first few centuries of Christianity, consider what Chrysostom stated in the fourth century:

“For I will ask them, Did He send the prophets and wise men? Did they slay them in their synagogue? 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.” (Homily LXXIV)

     The power of such a statement cannot be overlooked. This directly contradicts the irresponsible statements of the many theological teachers who boldly declare that the destruction of Jerusalem had little prophetic significance.   This is surely representative of a more consistent and intermediate level of prophetic fulfillment.   Other specific areas where this trend continues include seeing the “breaking down of swords into plowshares,” were considered to having reference to Christ’s completed work.  Here are just a couple of examples displaying this trend:

Irenaeus “If any one, however, advocating the cause of the Jews, does maintain that this new covenant consisted in the rearing of that temple which was built under Zerubbabel after the emigration to Babylon, and in the departure of the people from thence after the lapse of seventy years, let him know that the temple constructed of stones was indeed then rebuilt (for as yet that law was observed which had been made upon tables of stone), yet no new covenant was given, but they used the Mosaic law until the coming of the Lord; but from the Lord’s advent, the new covenant which brings back peace, and the law which gives life, has gone forth over the whole earth, as the prophets said: “For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem ; and He shall rebuke many people; and they shall break down their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks, and they shall no longer learn to fight.” (Proof Against the Marcionites, that the Prophets Referred in All Their Predictions to Our Christ, “Against Heresies,” Book IV,  Chapter 34)

Tertullian “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?” (“Of Circumcision and the Supercession of the Old Law,” An Answer to the Jews, Chapter III)

    In addition to those who applied primary and intermediate amounts of prophetic fulfillment to Christ’s day, there also were many who extended dramatic levels of fulfillment to that time as well.  Some aspects of prophecy, which many today consider to be the “very last things” — such as the victory over sin, death and the devil — were also believed to have found their accomplishment in the those days. St. Athanasius was an early champion of Christ as the light which defeated death and the devil — and he was not alone. Some of the other examples of eschatological accomplishment are listed below, including Melito of Sardis, who likewise taught that death had been destroyed and that the dead had been raised:

Melito of Sardis “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.”

St. Athanasius “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. For they being filled with the flesh of a dumb lamb, accomplished the feast, and having anointed their door-posts with the blood, implored aid against the destroyer.  For no more does death reign; but instead of death henceforth is life, since our Lord said, ‘I am the life;’ so that everything is filled with joy and gladness; as it is written, ‘The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice.’ For when death reigned, ‘sitting down by the rivers of Babylon, we wept,’ and mourned, because we felt the bitterness of captivity; but now that death and the kingdom of the devil is abolished, everything is entirely filled with joy and gladness. And God is no longer known only in Judaea, but in all the earth, ‘their voice hath gone forth, and the knowledge of Him hath filled all the earth.’ (Letter 256, Part 3)

Odes of Solomon –  “Because He is my Sun and His rays have lifted me up and His light hath dispelled all darkness from my face. In Him I have acquired eyes and have seen His holy day:  The way of error I have left, and have walked towards Him and have received salvation from Him, without grudging. I have put on incorruption through His name: and have put off corruption by His grace. 9 Death hath been destroyed before my face: and Sheol bath been abolished by my word”

   There are many other similar examples of the earliest Christians teaching a preteristic message with a dramatic level of fulfillment.  Even though these and other writers stood firmly on the completeness of Christ’s victory, their approach was not systematic — and still embraced futuristic end-times scenarios.  

   A perfect example of this tendency is seen in the literary career of Eusebius.   Earlier in his writings the dramatic levels of fulfillment were blatant.  In fact, in the era surrounding Christianity’s rise to the leadership of the Roman Empire through Emperor Constantine, Eusebius produced at least one work – Theophania – which seems to teach the complete fulfillment of prophecy, in that triumph of Christianity.  Commenting on this book, scholar Frank Thielman said, “Eusebius never allows the doctrine of Christ’s second coming any importance in his historical scheme.  There is no sense of a new kingdom which will at some future date break in upon the existing historical structure, righting what is wrong and establishing justice.”  Pioneering preterist Samuel Lee — who discovered and translated this long-lost work in the early 1800s — seized upon the dramatic fulfilled eschatology as a means of instructing the scholars of his day about the preterist view.

   Aside from what can be assembled from the voluminous writings of men such as Augustine and Ignatius, the doctrinal work of the earliest Christian era is scattered.   There appear to be few serious attempts at doctrinal systematizing, and there is no evidence of unfettered “denominational” liberty of conscience such as we take for granted today.    The scholarship resembles a newly born animal taking its first few wobbly steps. Only recently have scholars been able to critically examine this earliest era and mold it into shape using today’s hindsight.  To this others not only agrees, but add to their deficiency:

N. Nisbett (1787) “His argument, that the ancients are unanimously on his side, has as little weight with me, as with the best commentators in modern times; for as Mr. Dodwell long ago observed; they fell far short of the solidity of the moderns, who excel them, not only in philosophy and learning, but in the knowledge of antiquity, and even of their own languages.” (Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem)

Nicholas Cranfield “The absence of any major concern for the study of hermeneutics in the Western tradition, at least until recently, is the more remarkable given the plethora of exegetical and expository material available to the church in successive ages.” (Quoted in Jonathan Edwards’s interpretation of Revelation 4:1-8:1)

Below is a table of some of the earliest Christian theologians.  Many display dramatic levels of prophetic fulfillment, while still expecting a future antichrist and apocalypse at the “end of the world”


NOTE: Naturally, pre-A.D.70 writings (such as the book of Revelation) are still in the framework of prophecy, and not fulfillment; However, I wish to show the time-frame references of Scripture to show the apparent absolute nearness of external fulfillment.  Many precise dates are not known by the Archive curator. In such cases, the time will be listed as whether early (E), mid (M), or late (L) in the appropriate century/centuries. Robinson’s dates are used for all first century Christian writings.

King Jesus
(Around AD30)
c. 40-60+)
Mark the Evangelist
(c. 45-60)
Luke: “Western Acts”
Apostle John
James the Just
Apostle Paul
Apostle Peter
Hebrews Author
(c. 67)
(c. 40-60)
1 Clement
early 70)
(c. 75)

Dead Sea Scrolls
(I Cent. BC/AD)
Mara BarSerapion
(“A.D.73 Syrian”)
“Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs”

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)

Shepherd of Hermas
(-c. 85)
Second Baruch
Odes of Solomon
(L I Cent.)
Justin Martyr
Melito of Sardis
(M, II Cent.)
Pseudo Clement
(L, II Cent.)
Gospel of Peter
Clement of Alex.
(L, II Cent.)
(L II, E III Cent.) 
(L II, E III Cent.)
Pseudo Chrys.
(L, IV C.)
Syrian Ephraim
Sulpicius Severus
Pseudo Hegesippus
Ambrose of Milan
Gregory of Nyssa
Sulpicius Severus
St. Jerome
Isidore of Pelusium
Joshua the Stylite (507)
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..” (Syriac Chronicle XLIX)
John Cassian
St. Remigius
(437- 533)
(L V, E VI Cent.)
St. Remigius
(M, VI Cent.)


     What momentum was being gained from the conversion of the Roman Empire to Christianity was largely slowed by the Imperial propaganda methods of the developing Catholic Church. Accordingly, there was little exegesis of any real worth or hermeneutical progression presented in the Middle Ages. Commenting on this point, the notable Milton Terry states the following:

“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)

    During this period, Catholicism was apparently the only position to aggressively systematize its doctrine publicly — at least, all that has survived to this day.  This is due, without question, to the extent of its Imperial power, enabling the full suppression and destruction of dissenters and their writings.   The newer, holier Roman Empire fell from grace and was quick to utilize a tyrannical power which crushed all forms of dissent.  Luckily for all students of the Word, part of the Catholic Church’s strategy of control was to confiscate and archive the writings of dissenters for later use as research materials for Catholic refutations.  Thanks to the institution’s hoarding of wealth and information, much ancient material has survived the ages for contemporary examination — and there is a great deal of hope for the release of materials for centuries to come.

      It is highly likely that early and middle aged documents exist within the vast storehouses in Rome which espouse more fully developed preterist views, but which are unknown to the outside world.  Consider the famous preterist commentary on Revelation written by the Jesuit Alcasar, ‘Vestigatio Arcani Sensus in Apocalypsi’ (1604).  It is generally accepted that this work is not wholly original, but is built upon earlier works — including those not available to those outside of The Order.   Kathleen McCormack states that “preserved in the monastery libraries were.. the sacred books of the persecuted sects, such as the Gnostics and the Albigensians.” (Tarot Decoder, p. 15)  In the book “The Secret Vatican Archives,” it is claimed that there are 25 miles of protected archives within the Vatican library.

    Aside from what may still be hidden away to be revealed in the future, understanding of the doctrine of ‘rebellious’ sects is most often garnered from bits and pieces spoken from scaffolds, or that written in final wills and testaments – All other representation was given by inquisitors. Of the doctrinal representation that we do have from non-establishment sources, the majority focuses on defenses of the doctrines which led to the dissenters’ demise. As most materials relate to the authority of Christ or the priesthood of the believer, there is little presentation of eschatology in this era, aside from that accepted by the Catholic institution.  Some of the best materials generally available are found in the commentaries of the Latin Vulgate, referred to as scriptural glosses.

Below is a table of some of the Christian theologians of the Middle Ages.  Many display prophet fulfillment in the form of spiritual exercises, but nearly all remain within the official Futurist Catholic dogma.

Irish Questions on the Gospels
Venerable Bede
Veronica Legend
(7th or 8th Cent.)
Maurus Rabanus
St. Symeon
“The New Theologian”
(c. 949-1022)
(11, 12 Cent)
Thomas Aquinas (1265) John Wycliffe
  • Sir Thomas More, or Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society – “Sir Thomas More. — Remember that the Evangelists, in predicting that kingdom, announce a dreadful advent! And that, according to the received opinion of the Church, wars, persecutions, and calamities of every kind, the triumph of evil, and the coming of Antichrist are to be looked for, before the promises made by the prophets shall be fulfilled.  Montesinos.–To this I must reply, that the fulfilment of those calamitous events predicted in the Gospels may safely be referred, as it usually is, and by the best Biblical scholars, to the destruction of Jerusalem”

  • Jesuit Futurism or Protestant Historicism – Times of Nigeria “This Jesuit Futurism sweeps 1,500 years of prophetic history under the proverbial rug by inserting its infamous gap theory. The gap theory teaches that when Rome fell, prophecy stopped, only to continue again at the time of rapture. Thus, the 10th horn, the little horn, the beast and the Antichrist have nothing to do with Christianity today.”


The Second 1,000 Years of Christian History & The Protestant Reformation Period

16th-18th Centuries | 19th Century | 20th Century



         Until the slackening of the Catholic power, believers had not the opportunity (or resources) to fully systematize or disseminate dissenting doctrinal positions. Once they were afforded the opportunity, however, diverse schemes of doctrine were created (or established), bringing into question the validity of nearly every doctrine of the Catholic church. It was during this great upheaval that the early church’s preterist presupposition were addressed critically for the first time. Though not forsaken, the fulfillment paradigm was generally discarded, and were replaced with a more contemporary prophetic scheme, with the Pope as the main antagonist.  During this same period, Premillennialism, today’s largest sect, was hardly mentioned. 

“We must remember that Premillennialism too was in almost total eclipse for a thousand years, between the time of Augustine and the Reformation, and that during the Reformation period and for a long time afterward it was held by only a few small sects that were considered quite heretical.” (Loraine Boettner, The Millennium, rev, ed, (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, [1957] 1984, 11.)

     The assumption of contemporary application of prophetic fulfillment, though held by a majority of non-Catholic Christians during the Reformation period, was clearly a response to the great evil so many saw in the Catholic establishment.   Serving as an example of the self-centered Futurism developed during this period is John Bradford:

“As now, dearly beloved, the wicked world rejoices, the papists are puffed up against Christ and his people after their own kind, now they cry out, Where are these new-found preachers?  These and such-like words they have, to cast in our teeth, as triumphers and conquerors; but, dearly beloved, short is their joy; they beguile themselves, this is but a lightening before their death. As God, after he had given the Jews a time to repent, visited them by Vespasian and Titus, most horribly to their utter subversion, delivering first all his people from among them, even so, my dear brethren, will he do with this age, when he has tried his children from amongst them, as now he begins to do, and, by suffering, has made us like to his Christ, and, by being overcome, to overcome indeed, to our eternal comfort. Then will he, if not otherwise, come himself in the clouds: (I Thess. iv.) I mean, our dear Lord, whom we confess, preach, and believe on; he will come (I say) with the blast of a trump, and shout of an archangel, and so shall we be caught up in the clouds to meet him in the air: the angels gathering together the wicked wretches, which now welter and wallow as the world and wind blows, to be tied in bundles and cast into the fire, which burns for ever most painfully. (Matt. xiii.)” (John Bradford: Sermons & Tracts, 1553)

     The Pontiff-centrism of this Futuristic eschatological position has since failed to bear witness of itself (and has since evolved into the ‘historicist’ view of prophecy), but the seeds of critical examination sown at that time brought about the greater critical examination of the foundational doctrines of eschatology.  This subsequently inaugurated a revival of Preterism in the 19th Century.

     This table will include the initial creators of the various Reformed theologies, as well as those bred in the theological culture that resulted. The Archive curator has chosen to end this list with John Gill, as he stands as a bridge between the evolution of Reformed theology, and the subsequent preterist revival which its writings helped facilitate.

     For a good example of the doctrine of this period, please read The Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem – N. Nisbett (1787) or The Prophecy of Matthew 24 – Dr. Thomas Newton (1754).

Preterist Eschatology in the Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries

John Calvin
Martin Luther
John Jewel
David Lyndesay
Douay-Rheims Bible (1586)
Thomas Nashe
Geneva Bible
Robert Chambers
Jesuit Alcazar
Hugo Grotius
Robert Baillie
James Ussher
Thomas Manton
Blaise Pascal
George Fox
John Lightfoot
Henry Hammond
Isaac Penington
Blaise Pascal
Margaret Fell
Benjamin Keach
Bishop Bossuet
John Bunyan
John Locke
Beausobre and L’Enfant
Dr. John Owen
Matthew Henry
Sir Isaac Newton
William Whiston
Philip Doddridge
(M 18th Cent.)
Jonathan Edwards
John Alb’t Bengel
J. J. Wetstein
Thomas Newton
John Wesley
Firmin Abauzit
Jonathan Edwards
William Newcome
Johann Herder
Ralph Churton
Nehemiah Nisbett
William Warburton
Johann Eichhorn
Touttee’s St. Cyril
Adam Clarke
Conybeare & Howson
(L 18th Cent.)
James Macdonald
(L 18th Cent.)
Henry Kett
(L 18th Cent.)



     The preterist revival of today is simply a continuation of the brilliant light that was shined on the Scriptures in Europe during the 19th century. Seldom have we seen an entire century marked by such a consistent march toward greater and greater revelation of the doctrines of Scripture, as we saw then. Preterist doctrine, which was examined and treated critically, for the first time, in the Reformation period, benefited greatly from the scrutiny and painstaking examination afforded in the 19th century.   Scholars from every background embraced the early date of Revelation, including a bizarre endorsement from a founding father of Communism:

On the Early History of Christianity – Frederick Engels (1894) “But we have in the New Testament a single book the time of the writing of which can be defined within a few months, which must have been written between June 67 and January or April 68; a book, consequently, which belongs to the very beginning of the Christian era and reflects with the most naive fidelity and in the corresponding idiomatic language the ideas of the beginning of that era. This book is the so-called Revelation of John.. John describes his book at the very beginning as the revelation of “things which must shortly come to pass ; an immediately afterwards, I, 3, he declares “Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy … for the time is at hand.” To the church in Philadelphia Christ sends the message: “Behold, I come quickly.” And in the last chapter the angel says he has shown John “things which must shortly be done” and gives him the order: “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” And Christ himself says twice (XXII, 12, 20) “I come quickly.” The sequel will show us how soon this coming was expected..”

     The seeming lack of critical examination of fulfilled eschatology prior to the Reformation, is due, in my opinion, to not only the power of the Catholic institution, but also Christianity’s widespread acceptance of the fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse in the first century. There appear to be no extant writings which forward an exclusively future fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse before the turn of the millennium (the Archive curator does not claim to have read every available work).

     The first such paradigm to make this assertion came from a growing sentiment that the events and signs of the Olivet Discourse are relative to cosmological eschatology, as opposed to the historic belief in its relation to covenantal eschatologyTherefore, the 19th century scholarship can be seen as (though is not necessarily) greatly in response to the futuristic, cosmological claims. The authors represented here did not all agree with the strictly preterist interpretation of the Olivet Discourse (See Spurgeon, who believed in a primary and secondary fulfillment, yet taught that the new heavens and earth are the new covenant), but they each contributed a part of the overall understanding of the language and intent of the Scriptures.

     The “Anti-Preterist” literature which begin in the late 1700’s with Newton, gained a foothold in the 1800’s, showing the strength and reputation the view was gaining.  Benjamin Franklin, a preacher named after the American founding father, commented on the developing Preterist view in his 1869 work: The Second Coming of Christ and the Destruction of the World) “But there is another class of scoffers that this discourse has to do with. They say the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ has long since occurred–that he came the second time at the destruction of Jerusalem; that he there judged the world; separated the righteous from the wicked, and, consequently, argue that the coming of Christ, the judgment, and punishment of the wicked are all long since gone by. This fallacy must now be refuted. It must be shown that the coming of the Lord is yet future.” (The Gospel Preacher, Ch. 18)

     This period produced some of the finest Modern Preterist books to date, led (in my opinion) by Milton Terry’s Biblical Hermeneutics, which teaches the preterist view of Scriptureand is used to this day as a text-book in numerous Christian colleges and universities.     For a good example of the doctrine of this period, as it relates to Preterism, please read The Parousia, by James Stuart Russell, or Apocalypse of the Gospels, by Milton S. Terry.

Newcombe Cappe
Dr. John Smith
John Jortin
John Gill
Adam Clarke
Thomas Scott
Albert Barnes
Alexander Keith
Johann Neander
Noah Webster
Daniel Smith
Ephraim Currier
Samuel Lee
Abiel Livermore
Moses Stuart
Rudolph E. Stier
E.B. Elliott
Heinrich Meyer
John Brown
P.S. Desprez
Robert Roberts
Carl A. Auberlen
Johann P. Lange
David Brown
Benjamin Jowett
F.D. Maurice
A.R. Fausset
Robert Jamieson
J.B. Lightfoot
Ernest Renan
Philip Schaff
William Patton
James S. Russell
C.H. Spurgeon
Israel P. Warren
Isaak A. Dorner
Henry Cowles
John Broadus
F.W. Farrar
B.W. Johnson
E. Hampden-Cook
Alexander Brown
Ezra Gould
Milton Terry

The Ways of Providence.. The Overthrow of the Jewish Commonwealth by the Romans and the Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus – Robert Roberts (1881) The survey of the ways of providence would be incomplete without something more than a glance at the events attending the overthrow of Jerusalem and disruption of the Jewish polity over thirty-five years after Christ left the earth. At first sight, it might seem as if this were outside the scope of the work which aims at the illustration of the subject from Biblical narrative alone. On a further consideration, however, the matter must appear otherwise. Although we have no scriptural narrative of the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, yet we have much scriptural forecast of that terrible event, and therefore the particulars of the event are the particulars of a divine work. ” | Holford, George Peter – The Destruction of Jerusalem (1803) | Renan, Ernest – Antichrist (1873) | Terry, Milton S. – Apocalypse of the Gospels (1898) | The Parousia  (1878) | Schaff, Philip – History of the Christian Church (1898)

20th/21st CENTURIES

The Rise of Systematic Preterist Eschatology

Though preterist doctrine has been around since the earliest age, it wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century that the term “preterist” was applied to developed systems of fulfilled eschatology.   G.S. Faber is generally credited with coining the term to represent the then-emerging alternative to the prevailing futurist eschatology.   It was the wide publication of Samuel Lee‘s modern preterist viewpoint in the years 1830-1852 that brought about the need for Faber’s defintions, as Lee focused a great deal of attention on the field of study far ahead by presenting the earliest known Modern Preterist view.  The relationship between Faber and Lee is represents a particularly important moment in the history of preterism, as the personal relationship between the two, developed through letter writing, which helped sculpt the definitions which were subsequently used to distinguish between their views. 

“I was fully aware of the difference in our views on Prophecy. You, I know, are a Preterist” G.S. Faber to Lee in 1846

By bringing attention to his preterist view, Lee pushed the study of eschatology into a new field, one which distinguished preterism from futurism in the minds of scholars — particularly as it related to the re-establishment of the nation of Israel.   During the final decades of the 19th century, preterist scholarship developed into two different streams, those which saw all bible prophecy as having been fulfilled in the past, and those who retained an element of futurist expectation. 

At PreteristArchive.com, there are four major views distinguished —

  • Futurism – (No Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 & Revelation in 1st C. – Types Only)

  • Historical Preterism – (Minor Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation in Past)

  • Modern Preterism – (Major Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 or Revelation in Past)

  • Hyper Preterism – (Total Fulfillment of Matt. 24/25 and Revelation – All Full Preterism and “Resurrection Past” Teachings)

Following is a breakdown of the most significant Historical and Modern Preterist scholars during the decades since the turn of the twentieth century. 

Partially Preterist Commentaries

HISTORICAL PRETERISM (HP) – A) Umbrella term covering all those who believe that only a slight amount of Bible prophecy was totally fulfilled in the early centuries of the Christian era.   Determined by looking at where authors find a “transition” from the past to the future using the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24/25 and the Apocalypse of John.     B) This class has roots dating back to the first century, such as in the writings of Barnabus and Clement of Rome, and finds greater development in the writings of Justin Martyr and Eusebius.   The Catholic and Orthodox churches maintained HP through the Middle Ages.  Today’s contemporary forms were largely developed in the writings of CalvinLutherGrotius and Lightfoot.    C) Teaches that some of the Bible’s “end times” prophecies were fulfilled by AD70,  but that the substantial portion of prophetic fulfillment is yet to be revealed at the “last day.”   Transitions in the Middle of Matthew 24, or in the Middle of the Apocalypse of John.

Philip Mauro Arthur Pink J.C. Robertson
G.K. Beale G.C. Berkower F.F. Bruce Steve Gregg N.T. Wright


Fully Preterist Commentaries

MODERN PRETERISM (MP) – A) Umbrella term covering all those who believe that the majority of Bible prophecy was totally fulfilled in the early centuries of the Christian era.  Determined by looking at where authors find a “transition” from the past to the future using the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24/25 and the Apocalypse of John.   Differs from Full Preterism in that it does not make the Parousia, the General Judgment, nor the General Resurrection events solely of the past.   B) According to known literature, this class emerged during the Reformation or Counter Reformation and can be seen in a fully developed form at the beginning of the 17th century in the writings of the Jesuit Alcasar — although many believe that the “Preterist Assumption” seen throughout church history reveals the ancient and medieval equivalents of the Modern Preterist view. (perhaps systematized the most consistenty in 310 by Eusebius in Theophany“).   C) Teaches that the bulk of “end times” prophecy  has sole application to ancient Israel, but that some regards the “last day” — sometimes that “end” being personal, not global, in nature.  Transitions somewhere in Matthew 25, or near the end of the Apocalypse of John.

Foy Wallace
Jay Adams Gary North
J. Marcellus Kik Kenneth Gentry David Chilton
Ovid Need, Jr R.C. Sproul
Randall Otto Gary DeMar

     Finally, it is worthy to note that the current critical review of Christianity’s various end-times systems is right on schedule.   Throughout the centuries, the one theological perspective that has avoided a general ‘reformation’ on a large scale is eschatology.  James Orr, lecturing at the end of the nineteenth century, offers support for this conclusion: 

“Various areas of Christian doctrine had received special attention and development at different periods in the history of the church.  Thus in the second century the church dealt especially with apologetics and the fundamental ideas of Christianity; in the third and fourth centuries, with the doctrine of God; in the fifth century, with man and sin; in the fifth to seventh centuries, with the person of Christ; in the eleventh to sixteenth centuries, with the atonement; and in the sixteenth century, with the application of redemption…  the peculiar interest of the modern age is eschatology, the one remaining undeveloped topic of theology.” (Millard J. Erickson, Contemporary Opinions in EschatologyA Study of the Millennium, MI: Baker Book House, 1977, p. 11)

     Accordingly, the twentieth century did see a general re-introduction to the beauty and reliability of Preterism among students of the Bible, as the Futurist systems were critically challenged.   

     Obviously, the Preterist view of Bible prophecy has a rich tradition.  It is possibly the richest tradition in all of eschatology, and one which will only continue to grow.   As a side-effect of this growth, people’s lives are being changed – freed from the chains of the mentality of “Armageddon Now!” and the wearying ever-vigilant expectation for reprieve from the responsibilities of this world. The emergence of the 20th Century “Preterist Movement” in America led, surprisingly, to a growth in theological and political power.  This may turn out to be a hindrance more than a help, though, as the Spirit delivers his message through the weak things of the world.

     If the cross-denominational appeal of the Preterist view of Scripture is an indication, perhaps the splintering of the church during the Reformation era will find some healing. There are many different views on any given subject, so it is sometimes difficult for people to maintain charity and tolerance with their brothers. Given the difficulties that lie ahead for “Christendom,” such as reaching the Muslim and Jewish worlds, it is important not to get bogged down with petty disputes out of personal indulgences. By shifting Christian focus from the end of the world to the life in the world, the impact will no doubt be felt in every corner of the globe.

Even though the “prevailing theology” of our era may consider total fulfillment of end-times events heretical, Christian history’s presumption of prophetic fulfillment in the fall of Jerusalem is unequivocally settled as a fact.  The ultimate goal in unearthing these countless testimonies of Historical and Modern Preterism is not about proving “Preterism” to be true, but about defending the power and glory of our King, Jesus. — while at the same time hopefully rehabilitating the reputation of many dear Christians (start with Origen) who were deemed heretics for these views.

    By defending the total veracity of Christ’s Word, we unwittingly become players in a struggle much larger than simply theology.  There are many who, by various misleading methods, attempt to silence the powerful testimony of Jesus as the Spirit of Fulfilled Prophecy.  They despise the dissemination of this information, specifically, and perhaps only, because of how it glorifies Jesus as Lord (cf. Matthew 21:40-43).  Our true battle, therefore, is revealed as a Royal struggle for dynastic progression, complete with its own court intrigue (in the vie for power).  Many people through the centuries have been killed and countless documents destroyed in an attempt to silence these eschatological views, because of how they directly relate to the reign and rule of Jesus.   Therefore, the crux of the matter is not about prophecy, but at issue is our Lord’s authority and divinity.   

“A recognition of past errors can hardly fail to help us in disencumbering from fatal impediments the religious progress of the future.”  (F.W. Farrar History of Interpretation, preface, ix)

    In the future, we will trace the passing of the Preterist torch, from the revival of the last century, into the abuses of that trend in our own time.    In the meantime, let us now face the direction from which we came, and consider the pre-Christian era to see the foundation from which the preterist interpretation arose.  We will see that the exact same Roman-Jewish end-time scenario was taught among the Jews of the first centuries BC/AD!


 Expectation of a “Romano-Judaic Eschaton” in First Century BC/AD Judaism
As Revealed in the Dead Sea Scrolls

“And we recognize that some of the blessings and curses have come, (24) those written in the Bo[ok of Mo]ses; therefore this is the End of Days” (4Q397 – 399)

The Dead Sea Scrolls and other archeological finds are pouring light onto the period of time reckoned by Preterists as “the last days”: AD30-70.   When fleeing Jerusalem during the Roman siege, scribes sealed numerous texts into the caves of the southwest Dead Sea area.  A portion of these was first discovered in 1947, with many more finds since then.  Below are excerpts from the various scrolls.  They collectively teach that they lived in “the end of days” and that a ruler was coming out of the East who would rule the world.  Josephus and others reckoned this figure with Roman general Vespasian, who was indeed hailed Emperor by his legions while still in Palestine.   Regardless, the glory of Christ’s throne outshines that of Vespasian to this day, and shows no sign of diminishing.   The “War Scroll” pits the Romans against Israel, using the term “Kittim” or “Chaldea” to refer to the Roman Empire.  The “Roman-Judean” end times view expressed in the Dead Sea Scrolls is also precisely what was taught by Daniel, Jesus, the first century Christians, and is also what is believed by Preterist Christians today.

JEWISH SOURCES – Comments from Josephus, the Talmud, Midrashim, and Apocalyptic Literature, including that found in among the Dead Sea Scrolls.  Contemporary Jewish literature is also collected under the classification. 



DEAD SEA SCROLLS – Materials Unearthed From Judean Wilderness  (From roughly second century B.C. to A.D.68 – Color coded with Jewish Soures)

Kittim as Rome – Pre-Christian Preterism

Refugees from Jerusalem’s besiegement stored numerous documents east of the city near Qumran.  Also found are likely Essene sect scrolls (Calvinistic Apocalypticism).    They are all of utmost significance for first century studies, and are highly preteristic — the commentaries (persherim) on Daniel and Habakkuk found among the documents remarkably identify the Romans with the apocalyptic nation referred to as “Chaldea” or “Kittim” in Numbers 24:24 and Daniel 11:30, making it the earliest known Preterist commentary (pre 68 B.C.)

This point is quite important, for if the Kittim of the Dead Sea Scrolls is to be identified with Rome, then according to their interpretation, the full scope of biblical prophecy ends with reference to Rome.   This is pre-christian preterism indeed! 

Numbers 24:24 (Balaam’s prophecy) “But ships will come from the coast of Kittim to subdue Ashur and subdue ‘Ever, but they too will come to destruction. 25 Then Bil’am got up, left and returned to his home; and Balak too went his way..”

Daniel 11:30 (Daniel’s prophecy) “For ships of Kittim 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. [Rendered In the Latin Vulgate (A.D.405): 11:30 Et veniet super eum Trieres, et Romani: Daniel 11:30 “For the Romans shall come against him]

Habakkuk 1:6 (Habakkuk’s prophecy)  “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.” (Jewish Names Bible)

The first scholar to investigate the scrolls seemed likewise excited by this possibility: “The new leather fragment now provided a first-century B.C.-A.D. testimony to the accuracy of the text as it has been preserved – Kasidim was clearly in the text used by the copyist.  The next line, however, begins, “Its interpretation concerns the Kittim….” The modern theory had already been propounded by interpretation by the ancient community two thousand years earlier!” – John C. Trever, The Untold Story of Qumran

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.”

“Its interpretation concerns the Kittim”

Closer Look at the Habakkuk Pesher

Kittim ..in Dead Sea Scrolls texts serves as a code word for “Romans”

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

“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.”

‘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.

  • F.F. BruceNew Testament History (Kittim is Rome) “They believed that the iniquities of the Wicked Priest and his associates would bring the judgement of God upon them.  As time went on, they came to see clearly who would be the instruments of God’s judgement.  God was raising up the ‘Kittim’ for this purpose, and by the ‘Kittim’, as has been said above, they probably meant the Romans.  It was indeed the Romans who, by their occupation of Judaea in 63 B.C., put an end to Hasmonaean domination; but the Qumran community could see the shape of things to come before that date.  They also saw that the Romans would exceed the terms of their commission and incur the divine judgement themselves because of their impiety and rapacity.”

  • John Dominic Crosson “The Romans were not singled out as much in their (Essene) secterian documents, although against them, in their so-called War Scroll, they were preparing to fight the ultimate apocalyptic battle.  This was to take place at the end time, when Sons of Light, the members of the group, were to clash with the Sons of Darkness, the Romans, code-named the Kittim.  A battle against Rome did take place eventually, when the Roman general and soon-to-be emperor Vespasian marched through the area on his way to Jerusalem in the early summer of 68 C.E.  But the Qumran Essenes’ final battle did not end as the War Scroll imagined.  What de Vaux labeled and archeologists still call Phase II of the site ended in fiery destruction, with Roman arrowheads scattered around the site.  In their final desperate act, the members took and hid their sacred scrolls in nearby caves, rolled up in storage jars with bowls and lids, and they were not discovered again until a Bedouin shepherd stumbled upon them in 1947.” (Excavating Jesus, p. 158)

  • Jones, Robert C. The Dead Sea Scrolls and Christianity (1999) ““Kittim” Commentary on Habakkuk 1:17: “This means the Kittim, who cause many to perish by the sword – youths, men, and old men; women and little children – and on the fruit of the womb have no mercy.” (Burrows, p. 367) War Scroll: And the dominion of the Kittim shall come to an end, so that wickedness shall be laid low without any remnant; and there shall be no survivor of the sons of darkness.” (Burrows, p. 390)

  • On Some Points Connected with the Essenes – Lightfoot

  • Dead Sea Scrolls: Reference Materials “It has also been hypothesized that the Qumran scrolls are the secreted library of a community, perhaps Essene, that lived at Qumran, and thus survived the destruction of the settlement in c.A.D. 68. Startling parallels in expression and thought between the Qumran materials and the New Testament have led to speculation as to their influence on early Christianity.” (Kittim: “Term appearing in the Dead Sea Scrolls, used of the Romans. The Kittim are referred to as warriors from the west, who capture Jerusalem.”

  • Thanksgiving Hymn (I Cent.)

  • Scroll Fragments | Cave Tour

  • The Ballad of the White Horse (1911) – G.K. Chesterton “For the White Horse knew England When there was none to know; He saw the first oar break or bend, He saw heaven fall and the world end, O God, how long ago.

For the end of the world was long ago, And all we dwell to-day
As children of some second birth, Like a strange people left on earth, After a judgment day.

For the end of the world was long ago, When the ends of the world waxed free,
When Rome was sunk in a waste of slaves, And the sun drowned in the sea.

When Caesar’s sun fell out of the sky, And whoso hearkened right
Could only hear the plunging, Of the nations in the night.

When the ends of the earth came marching in, To torch and cresset gleam.
And the roads of the world that lead to Rome, Were filled with faces that moved like foam, Like faces in a dream