Samuel Frost
Former Full Preterist

“If, in fact, we are living during the times of the “healing of the nations”, then this is ongoing in fulfillment to the Scriptures..  If this, then, is so, then one must concede the argument of ‘fulfillment already – manifestation not yet’ (my argument in a nutshell).”

Samuel is a writer and speaker on the early church and its transforming hope. With a Bachelor of Theology from Liberty Christian College in Pensacola, FL. Samuel has completed his Master of Arts in Christian Studies and a Master of Arts in Religion from Whitefield Theological Seminary (with combined credits from Reformed Theological Seminary/Orlando and Cleveland Church of God School of Theology/Ohio). Samuel is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature. Samuel is the author of Misplaced Hope and Exegetical Essays on the Resurrection of the Dead.


(Former Hyp – Written following his departure from full preterism)

  • 2/16/13: This is Where Hyper Preterism Logically Goes (2013) “the fact is that no one, and I mean no one, ever attempted a more systematic treatment of modern Full Preterism than Max King’s The Cross and the Parousia of Christ. It still remains the largest volume ever written on the subject. Max was the first person in history to attempt a full-fledged consistent application of “all prophecy was fulfilled” by the time of A.D. 70. You can’t site J.S. Russell, Milton Terry, or Ernst Hampden-Cook (all 19th century writers). They were not Full Preterists. They were Preterists. Preterism has a long history. Full Preterism goes back to Max King in the late sixties.”
  • 1/24/13: Romans 13 and the Day of the Lord (2013) “Paul plainly expected many ages and “generations” to come: “to Him is the glory in the assembly in Christ Jesus, to all the generations of the age of the ages. Amen” (Eph. 3:21). Does this sound like a man that expected his generation to be the final generation? Hardly.”
  • 1/6/13: Congratulations to Sam Frost and Michael Mgw Miano for a successful and important debate. Clips are available on Facebook; DVDs on the way..
  • 12/4/12: Why I Left Preterism (2012) Excerpted citations and reviews archived below. (Just bought the pdf and am amazed at the level of scholarly substance laying out the unintended consequences of Full Preterist doctrine.
  • 11/16/12: Matthew 16:27-28 “Supposedly, these verses go a long way in demonstrating the Hyper Preterist contention that all prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70… However, if it is conceded that these verses do, in fact, teach the idea that the Son of Man’s “coming in his kingdom” is to be related solely, that is, exclusively to the razing of Jerusalem in the Jewish War of 66-70 AD, then the Hyper Preterist thinks he or she has virtually demonstrated the point that all prophecy was fulfilled by this time.”
  • 9/5/12: Position Paper #1: The Olivet Discourse “We can all agree that the material here includes the razing of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in the Jewish War of 66-70 A.D. The question before us is, Can all of the gathered materials in the Gospel discourses exclude further future descriptions post 70 A.D.?” (Launching a new scholarly direction with regard to meanings.. Well worth the subscription cost.)
  • 5/1/12: Scholar, Philip Mauro “This is far more acceptable in “explaining” what appears to some as a unsteady stream of Church History. There is a steady stream. It didn’t start in AD 70. It started with the arrival of Messiah; with his pouring out the Spirit.”
  • 3/24/12: An Easy Way to Defeat A Hyper Preterist | An Easy Way to Defeat a Hyper Preterist: Part 2 “We may certainly argue that “the death is destroyed” (καταργήσαντος μὲν τὸν θάνατον – 2 Tim 1.10). But, this is only in consideration of the powers in submission to Christ, the man. “death no longer has dominion over him in that he no longer dies.” This is due to his resurrection. Notice, too, that the aorist used in 2 Tim 1.10 is before AD 70. Jesus destroyed “the death” at the cross and resurrection. He nailed it to the cross. He made an open show of it. Death was defeated when Jesus came out of that tomb. “
  • 2/25/12: Feature Article by Todd Dennis
  • 10/19/11: Full Preterism Refuted “On Sovereign Grace Preterism, Christian Ortiz posted (an) article from his Pastor. James Metzger posted as response as well. The pastor’s response is actually pretty solid, laying out the basic differences. The major point at which scholars would disagree is concerning Jesus’ reference to “this generation”
  • 10/10/11: Degrading the Gospel “It is a stated dogma of Full Preterism: history, procreation, cannot ever, ever, ever, ever end. There can be no “may” or “it might”, or any inference that God “may” according to some inforeseen plan that is known only to him end history or procreation. There is no “may.” Siegle and Green mean, very clearly, that history and procreation is infinite. The Bible teaches this, they say. It is a necessary, logically deduced conclusion derived from the other aspects of Full Preterist doctrine.”
  • 9/5/11: Why is Full Preterism Dangerous? “Being a Full Preterist, by some, is a “gift” from God. This is not far from “intiates” who “only” understand the Bible through the understanding of “revelation” given to them that the rest of the Church (which is blind) does not have. This is Danger Number 1. It is, of course, true that “faith” in Jesus Christ (salvation) requires the work of the Spirit upon those whom God has called. But, to say that a particular doctrine of a particular group with a particular eschatology requires a secret “insight” that others are not “blessed with” is, well, kind of loopy. Whatever happened to simply studying and coming to conclusions?”
  • 8/29/11: Soul and Body “This was the answer given when asked if the Full Preterist view of the afterlife means that pain, sorrow, sin, and evil will be done away with, and if we have that now, then why can we not manifest the afterlife here in this life? “
  • 5/22/10: Full Preterism and the Problem of Infinity  “I have been shamelessly accused of almost everything one can think of for breaking ranks on this issue. I follow no ranks. I am not one to insist that “no one can leave the compound!” I go where my studies and my conscience before God leads me, period. I don’t “tow the line” for anyone, any party, or …any movement.”


“Preterism is an interpretive system that is locked on the events of 66-70 A.D.  It views this as the decisive eschatological event.  The Second Coming, Resurrection of the Dead and Great Judgment are seen as having taken place in and around these years. This is a contradiction to Christian orthodoxy and its Creeds, Councils and all the Reformed, Baptist, and Methodist Standards (and we wonder why preterists are called “heretics”!).”

  • Frost on Isaiah 65 and “infinity” (2009) “no Preterist has been able to say to me that ‘nothing changes’ when we physically die. In other words, it is correct to say ‘I am glorified’ today in the Body of Christ, as He is Glorified. However, is this glorification FULLY MANIFEST or APPARENT today? Now, ask yourself: will it be in heaven when I physically die? Will anything change? Will I still be the same, old bumbling Sam Frost that I am here on earth? Will I still be subject to occasional sin? Error? If not, why not? Do I get ‘something else’ in Heaven? It is not so much that we ‘get’ something else, but that that which WE HAVE (II Cor. 5.1-2) will be ENTIRELY in FULL OPERATION – FULL ON POWER. If this, then, is so, then one must concede the argument of ‘fullfillment already – manifestation not yet’ (my argument in a nutshell).”
  • Hosean Allusions in First Corinthians (2006) – “One has to do forensic work in I Cor 15. The oft repeated analogy is that of listening to one end of a phone conversation and trying to figure out the other end. Deductions, clues, hints, implications and inferences can be drawn so that a fairly accurate construction can be had. It was “made known” (vdhlw,qh) to Paul from “the ones of Chloe” that “selfish rivalries” (;ridej) had broken out among the Corinthians (1.11). No doubt, those rivalries were theologically driven at bottom, manifesting ethical and practical differences which began to wreak havoc in the way the Corinthian households gathered together for worship and fellowship.”
  • An Analysis and Critique of Taken to Heaven in A.D. 70:  Blessings Expected at the Parousia (IPA, Inc., 2005).  “There is an increasingly surfacing division current within preterist studies between the “heaven now” denomination and the “heaven when you die” one.  Such is to be expected.  Ian D. Harding has recently penned Taken to Heaven in A.D. 70 (335 pp.), published by Ed Stevens’ publication arm, International Preterist Association, Inc.  The book is endorsed by Arthur Melanson and Walt Hibbard on the back cover.  It is important to the preterist movement because it is the first major work noting the differences within the preterist camps.

    [A]s Harding himself states, the book is directly written to those preterists who hold to what has been called the “heaven now” view (Harding, xiv).  This view, in his words, if true “takes away all meaning of language” (107).  It is to be admitted that the view expounded upon by Max King in Cross and Parousia of Christ and the view represented here are two completely different approaches within preterism.  They both operate from the same framework, of course, but the agreement ends there and this book makes it clearer than any other I have read.

    The book does not pretend to be a “scholarly” piece.  The author never quotes authors like King and others that espouse the opposing view.  He simply interacts with the other view by stating something like, “[s]ome preterists say that the glorification promises were fulfilled at the Parousia in the living pre-Parousia Christians while they remained on earth” (107).  That would be the view of Max King, more or less, and those who align themselves with his approach more or less.  There is not much discussion about the meaning of “body” from its corporate aspect.  Indeed, much of what Harding does is simply assume that “glorification”, “made alive” and “catch away” are robbed of meaning if not taken literally.  Whether or not he proves this is another thing. “

  • Saint Athanasius and Preterism (2005) “The Church must receive what is incontrovertible, but reject what raises serious problems in order to work out a solution within its own traditions that best resolves these problems for the sake of maintaining biblical truth (even if this means eliminating older paradigms which have created the problems in the first place). There will be, and always have been, cries of “heresy” from self-proclaimed “purists” and “keepers of the traditions”. This is to be expected. But, the ever faithful, and, in Luther’s case, the faithful few, keep raising the issues and pointing out the hypocrisy, arbitrariness, and inconsistency until such a voice is raised within the holy church that the “few” become the “many.”
  • A Critical Response to Kurt Simmons’ Bi-Millennialism (2004)  “The question is, when were these given authority to judge? It must be when they came to life (both are aorist aspects). Thus, when they came to life, they were given thrones and authority to judge, being that they were ‘with Christ.’ This is closely akin to ‘being seated with Him in heavenly places.’ It is this that John is picturing here. When did any ‘come to life’ in Christ?”
  • A Critical Response to the Kloskes’ Exegesis of I Corinthians 15 (2004) “The “transformation” happens to both the living and the dead at the same time. KK appear to agree with this as the quote above shows, but the “change” given to the “dead” is different from the “change” given to the living, who go on living and eventually die. At the moment of their death they are “changed” by being given a “spiritual body.” However, as the quote above shows, KK believe that they have already, “spiritually speaking” or “internally” been changed with an added dimension of not yet being changed, finally (thus, leaving them to the charge of futurism of some sort). “

(On The Second Coming)
“The formula for prophecy in the OT is that Event A is announced, then, when it occurs, the saying, “then you shall know that I am the Lord” applies.  One cannot argue in silence that many Jews holed up within the walls of Jerusalem did not repent at the last minute with the realization of their crime against Christ.  History, from three accounts, reports of prodigies and signs in the skies.  Eusebius repeats those reports as well.  The only thing the early church failed in doing was not tying the Second Coming doctrine to those events (which many mention – Barnabas, Justin, Irenaeus, Clement, etc.).  This single event, according to Chrysostom and Athanasius, signaled the spiritual and covenantal transfer from old to new.  All that modern Preterists do is simply apply this transference to eschatological categories.  We just simply take a step further, logically, than did our blessed predecessors.” (Why I am not a Preterist)

(On Origen)
On the whole, he correctly sets forth their eschatological viewpoints. At times he may read too much into a portion of their works, but that is rare. Yet, after this useful scholarly work which he has done, at the end he sides with Origen…in his fanciful interpretation of I Corinthians 15:35,38” (p.6, Preterism). Actually, I do not side with Origen at all on those passages. I merely state that Origen did not have the flesh-body recomposed at the Second Coming but rather a “germ” of that body is used to build a “spiritual body”. I do not hold to that idea. I stated it only because I wished to show that a flesh-body resurrection was not the only view of the resurrection by the end of the second century. Be that as it may, Adams does quote me fairly.” (“Millennial Post” – 12/03)

(On Max King)
“Ironically, it was in this academic cradle of Eschatology that the search for the Historical Jesus was born. There was a problem, and no doubt 70 C.E. figured into the solution somewhere, but 70 C.E. was hardly the ‘end of the world’ and we are hardly in the “new heavens and the new earth.” No one could say that the “resurrection of the dead” took place then. Well, someone did say it. His name was Max King.

In surveying the history of Covenant Eschatology, I cannot find in print, prior to King, a view that constructed the model he put forth.” (A Brief History of Covenant Eschatology)

Was ALL Bible Prophecy Fulfilled by AD70?  No.

Sam Frost defines “Hyper Preterism” – Any form of Full Preterism which ends prophetic fulfillment in AD70.    “Now, sure, they will say, people still come into the city of the New Jerusalem and christianity spreads and has spread for the last 2,000 years, BUT THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING THE BIBLE PROMISED, PROPHESIED, or PREDICTED according to what I now call: Hyper Preterism.”


“I was going to entitle this series, “Preterism Has No Future”, but decided against it. I think certain forms of what has come to be known as Full Preterism (FP) has no future in terms of surviving outside the internet community. The academic community has all but rejected it”

  • Samuel Frost – Towards a Fuller Preterism (10/31/2010) “This.. is the real deal of what FP teaches: the earth will never, ever, never, ever never never know peace…….WAR IS THE NORM on earth for INFINITY. Folks….this is now unmasked….. ” (HyP Response: “What the true proverb says has happened … “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”)
    • Response to Green on Towards a Fuller Preterism (11/3/10) – “Green here asserts that “in accordance with BIBLE PROPHECY” we are still “growing”.  So, let’s think logically here.  If BIBLE PROPHECY is still BEING fulfilled (still growing as the PROPHETS said) beyond A.D. 70, then…..well, you can do the math.But, in case you missed that, Green says it again: the Bible “describes” the age to come.  Now, this was the whole point of my paper, was it not.  But, if this is true, then the Bible speaks “beyond” A.D. 70.  And, if it so speaks (prophesies), then what exactly is the problem, Dave?  You have made my point: Bible Prophecy was not “all” fulfilled in A.D. 70!  Q.E.D.  If it “describes” (read, prophesies), then, clearly, all prophecy is not yet fulfilled.  This underscores my point: ongoing FULFILLMENT.  Ask a Covenant Creationist if prophecy is, in any way, shape, or form, “being fulfilled” today.  It is THIS TYPE of FP that I am attacking.  It’s not a straw man.”
      • Green: “Sam believes that the Second Coming and Resurrection of the Dead will be consummated in our future.  Does he not?  If so, then it follows that he is not a full preterist. “


“Full Preterism is the ONLY Millennial scheme that does not have this Final State – which should make it suspect, right there. ” Sam Frost (Siegle HyP response: “My understanding of the “final state” of the believer (a descriptive term that is never used in Scripture) would relate to his entering into Covenant with God through identification with and participation in the already accomplished “resurrection-life” that belongs to the “age to come.””)

Frost, 11/12/10: “There are so many horns of the Full Preterist dilemma coming at me like a flood lately…..things I never really paid attention to..”

Frost, 11/15/10: (Sam’s older statement in book “House Divided”) “The Preterist scheme is simple: the end of the age took place in AD 70, and at that time, the “age to come” was inaugurated by the Second Coming of Christ…..The Kingdom was established in that day and is now fulfilling passages that speak of its eternal, never ending growth and increase…” (229). You can already see that issue with me there. But, you can also see my allusion to Isaiah 9.6 (“increase”) and how I had not formulated an end to history yet. This was my Full Preterist view. The point of this is to point out the “now fulfilling”…..That has always been in my preaching (mustard seed growth), and even in House Divided, no one picked up on it then as they are now. So, it demonstrates what I used to believe, and how the argument from infinity has made a huge impact in my thinking as well. I wasn’t searching for this. I was quite happy where I was at. But, I do operate from two things, one of which you mentioned. First, Scripture… So, I now had a choice: choose what I have always believed, or tow the Full Preterist line even to the point of “paradox”. But, that would mean I abandon my epistemology – and that was not going to happen, either. These choices – far more important to me than some speculative point of Full Preterism (infinite procreation) have become crystal clear. Crystal clear. “


  • Sam Frost: BCS, Ch. 21 Pt. 1 (11/5/10) “The “buzz” going around on the other Preterist websites is that they, too, see “ongoing fulfillment.” If this is the case, then Full Preterism needs to drop the moniker that “we believe ALL prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70.” They weren’t. The prophecies concerning the “age to come” are being fulfilled today.
    • On Prophecy – “I suppose the difference is that I believe that this goal is prophesied.  Once it is accomplished perhaps then God will end history.  I don’t know when He will, just that he has revealed in the Bible that he will (Eccl 3.11; Is 41.4, et al).”
    • On Full Preterist Covenant Creationism – “One has to buy into the entire system it seems in order for the “parts” to work. But when one starts questioning the parts, that’s where it breaks down. “


(On David Chilton) “And as I showed in my recent article, Chilton did not “drop” all the aspects of the “Paradise Mandate” and “consummation” when he became a FP.  This prompted Todd Dennis to ask whether he really was a “full” preterist in the sense that every single prophecy was fulfilled BY AD 70.  Clearly, as his own words prove, he carried on the “Age to come” message in the same manner.  I had the opportunity to speak with Chilton a few times, and read his book since 1987, when I first got it.  I know his views inside and out.  It’s what I cut my teeth on in Bible College.  His lectures on “new heaven and new earth” were written AFTER he became a FP.  that’s what makes them significant as my article points out.  He firmly believed, as do all postmillennialists, in a renewed and transformed CREATION that will eventually manifest itself on earth as it is in heaven.  Where earth and heaven are one and the same.” (DiD, 1/5/11)


Peace on Earth where all competing religions eventually bow the knee to Jesus in defeat — such as Paganism did in the conversion of the Roman Empire to King Jesus 312

“Surely, it was not in vain that Jesus said, ‘I am the Light of the World.’ ‘God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved.’ ‘I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto myself.’” James Stuart Russell, The Parousia (emphasis in original)
James Stuart Russell

David Chilton on “Eventual Gospel Universalism” Here is Chilton before his conversion to full preterism (if his view qualifies.. that is what is under dispute regarding Sam’s theology) and after:

(Before) “”It is certainly true that righteousness does not dwell in the earth in an absolute sense; nor will this world ever be absolutely righteous, until the final enemy is defeated at the Second Coming of Christ.. according to God’s promise, the saving knowledge of Him will yet fill the earth, as the waters cover the sea.” (Days of Vengeance, 544)

(After)  “Once the Lord came to destroy the scaffolding of the Old Covenant structure, the New Covenant Temple would be left in its place, and the victorious march of the Church would be unstoppable.  According to God’s predestined design, the world will be converted; the earth’s treasures will be brought into the City of God, as the Paradise Mandate (Gen. 1:27-28Matt. 28:18-20) is consummated (Rev. 21:1-27).” (from “New Heavens and Earth“)


Let the saints be joyful in glory;
Let them sing aloud on their beds.
 the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
To execute vengeance on the nations,
And punishments on the peoples;
To bind their kings with chains,
And their nobles with fetters of iron;
To execute on them the written judgment—
This honor have all His saints.
Ps. 149


Ed Stevens
“I was also reading Sam Frost’s new book, Misplaced Hope, which is an excellent rebuttal against Jonathin Seraiah’s critique of Preterism.  His book reminded me again of the extreme lack of writings by Christian leaders immediately after AD 70.  Indeed, Sam did a marvelous job of further minimizing the number of post-70 documents even more by suggesting that Barnabas and Clement may have been written before AD 70.  This makes the number of post-70 “Apostolic Father” writings even fewer.  It was not the purpose of Frost to solve the mystery of the post-70 silence, but rather simply to assume it as fact throughout his book.  And it is this silence, which all church historians acknowledge, that pushes me toward the rapture view.” (Silence Demands a Rapture)

Mike Sullivan (2009) “Beloved, do not be deceived, is not biblical “preterism” rightly being taught concerning the timing and nature of God’s completed redemptive plan for man that many of us have come to know and love. It is carnal futurism both in the timing and nature of fulfillment – plain and simple. “”There is no more weeping, because God’s people have been forgiven of their sins. For all Partial Preterists and even some “Full Preterists,” this is a “Gnostic” and a shallow view of the passage. However, this is the NT’s eschatological goal of redemption, and we must reject their “literal phases” propped up with their invented “not yet” and “ongoing fulfillments” which the NT authors know nothing of taught  (sic).” (Rebuts Sam Frost’s Theology)

Samuel Frost‘s view that the kingdom came in the first century and yet that Jesus is now conquering the world through the gospel is much closer to traditional Christianity, and appears to have the endorsement of Dr. Talbot.  If Sam’s “Ongoing Fulfillment” relates to the conquest of the Gospel over all nations, kings and religions, does that qualify as Full Preterism?

  • Mike Sullivan, David Green, Ed Hassertt: SAM FROST’S DEPARTURE FROM FULL PRETERISM INTO THE PARTIAL PRETERIST / PRETERIST IDEALIST WORLD OF TALBOT (9/10/2010) “In Sam’s end of the world article he claimed that Full Preterist’s understand the long ages of Isaiah 65 as teaching “spiritual abundance.” I followed this up with asking Sam if this meant that he changed his interpretation of the passage (to the FP one), or if he was being misleading in that he was still holding onto a PP Postmillennial (PPP) hermeneutic (it is spiritual [“spiritual abundance”] AND literal – the long ages will be seen as the passage is “fully manifested/fulfilled” over time).  Again, Sam dodged the question. How scholarly, respectful, and loving.”
    • Sam Frost: “no Preterist has been able to say to me that ‘nothing changes’ when we physically die. In other words, it is correct to say ‘I am glorified’ today in the Body of Christ, as He is Glorified. However, is this glorification FULLY MANIFEST or APPARENT today? Now, ask yourself: will it be in heaven when I physically die? Will anything change? Will I still be the same, old bumbling Sam Frost that I am here on earth? Will I still be subject to occasional sin? Error? If not, why not? Do I get ‘something else’ in Heaven? It is not so much that we ‘get’ something else, but that that which WE HAVE (II Cor. 5.1-2) will be ENTIRELY in FULL OPERATION – FULL ON POWER. If this, then, is so, then one must concede the argument of ‘fullfillment already – manifestation not yet’ (my argument in a nutshell).”

    1. The kingdom would come as a mustard seed in the Parousia in AD 70.
    2. Then after the Parousia in AD 70, the kingdom will grow for untold thousands of years until it finally “fill[s] all the earth,” in fulfillment of Daniel 2:35 and other prophecies.

A Brief History of Covenant Eschatology

By Samuel Frost, M.A.R.
Aug 26, 2004

It is my contention, based on my research, that Covenant Eschatology is enjoying a status today that it has never enjoyed in the history of the Church. Part of that reason is the Internet. Information no longer exclusively belongs to the academic world. Such a change in information technology, namely the printing press, was a factor in the Reformation (16th century), whereas before, knowledge belonged to the educated. Freedom of thought found in the Renaissance, coupled with Luther’s radical individualism and freedom of the conscience soon brought about a change more encompassing than Luther ever imagined. It brought with it many headaches as well.

Covenant Eschatology has always been around in some form or another. The Gnostic expressions of Christian appropriation saw itself as living in the time of the ‘fullness’ of God’s grace and mercy. Certainly, Athanasius, champion of orthodoxy, could write in the 5th century that “death has been swallowed up in victory” through the resurrection of Christ and this victory is now enjoyed by all Christians “all over the world.”

Those early Christians, documented so well by the historian Eusebius, saw the Fall of Judaism and the subsequent Fall of Rome (312 C.E.) as universal victories of the reigning King Jesus. These two events were seen as fulfillments of Scripture. Thus, Bishop Augustine could not see the reason for a 1,000 year reign after the Second Coming of Christ, for the First Coming of Christ had rendered the world into His mighty power. That is, Christ was already reigning and the Church was already ruling.

It can be very easy, then, to see that such a view of the Kingdom of God could merge into the Holy Roman Church. Now that the Church obtained the Purple in Rome, what else could these people do but rule and protect her domains? When the Crown is offered by God Himself, as Eusebius certainly saw it, you take it.

For our brief study here, however, it is important to know that a shift in Eschatology from the “in the yonder” to the “right now” helped pave the way for a European domination. After the Reformation, this sense of dominion-oriented Christianity did not cease in the least. The English Parliament, Cromwell’s Parliament, was thoroughly Puritan and Presbyterian. The Mayflower Compact, penned by the first Americans, was thoroughly Puritan. Those English ships did not set sail for Columbus’ lands of “milk and honey” (as they were called) just to find new and exotic trees. They set sail for dominion.

The dominion that occupied these thinkers was, by and large, Post-millennialism. Both the Post and A-millennial schools share many things in common (Bishop Augustine worked out an A-millennial model). The Second Coming of Christ occurs and there is no earthly reign that follows.

The issue, then, was, What does the Church do with all of those dominion passages of God’s Kingdom found in the Prophets? Simple: the “time is now.” However, what does one do with those passages that speak of terrible times in the “last days”? More than that, what does one do with the book of Revelation?

By the 18th century, a Preterist school, as it came to be called in the 19th century, attempted to answer those questions. The Reformed Scholastic Period of the 17th century hashed out a difficult and intricate system of Protestant doctrine that is still felt today. Keep in mind that this is just one hundred years from Luther’s initial move towards a break with the Mother Church. The openness of critical studies into the Bible and experimentation with new models apart from Roman theology (though working within its Aquinian categories of Latin theology and terminology, often championing Augustine and Athanasius) launched a new era in Christian studies.

The Church was no longer the supreme voice for matters of faith and practice. Interpretation and hermeneutics became the means by which the Bible would proclaim itselfSola Scriptura (note the Latin) became the foundation on which Protestantism and its dizzying variances were built. Just after 200 years, a case for Covenant Eschatology was blossoming.

The studies of the Hebrew Bible, never before done (since Jews were regarded as outside the Kingdom), yielded further studies into the Talmud and other Jewish literature. By the time we come to Bishop John Lightfoot, one of the signers of the Westminster Confession of Faith (1649), a case was being made that II Peter 3 was actually the wars of the Jews and Romans in 66-70 C.E. I ask the reader to note that it makes no sense for the dominion mandate of Post-Millennialism to end in a universal conflagration supposedly taught in II Peter 3.

The understanding that Matthew 24 largely dealt with those wars was seen as early as John Chrysostom (6th century). Eusebius more than paved the way that Daniel 9 and Matthew 24 were largely referring to those events. However, what would happen, textually speaking, if II Peter 3 was also referring to that event? The reason I mention the brief history of the Reformation is the freedom of thought theoretically could allow someone like a John Lightfoot or a John Owen (the “Prince of Puritan preachers”) to posit that II Peter 3 was indeed in reference to 70 C.E.

It does not take a historian to see the connection that I am making under the rubric of development within Christian doctrine. The ramifications of positing that II Peter 3 was indeed merely an apocalyptic portrayal of C.E. 70 were not seen immediately. This interpretation was largely ignored if even known. But it was there. Someone made the connection. By the 19th century, J. Stuart Russell, just over three hundred years of the Reformation and its principles of interpretation, made an even more startling connection: the book of Revelation was dealing with 70 C.E.

Milton S. Terry, theologian of the late 19th century, wrote his mammoth Biblical Hermeneutics (which is still one of the textbooks I studied at Whitefield Theological Seminary). Terry followed Russell to a T. However, and this is important, Terry expounded on the principle of hermeneutics that came out of Reformation scholastics.

Thus, it was the principles that developed from the Reformation that paved the way for Covenant Eschatology. The Bible was now largely being seen through historical eyes. Biblical criticism exploded. Only one thing remained: the creeds of the church have always taught the end of the world and the Second Coming of Christ.

Russell and Terry both maintained that God, at some point in time, would indeed end the world. Both saw the millennium as the church age – and the millennium in Revelation 20 ends. This view was properly called, Preterism. It maintained an ‘end’ of the world, even though most prophecies in the Bible had been fulfilled.

During the middle of the 20th century, higher critics of the Bible began to see that Jesus had indeed imagined that he would ‘return’ in that generation to bring about the New Heavens and the New Earth. However, some disagreed with that notion and posited that Jesus never said anything like that. Instead, the 2nd century church and its rabid preoccupation with the ‘end of the world’ and the ‘soon return’ of Christ placed those words in Jesus’ mouth, thus giving their views biblical authority.

Ironically, it was in this academic cradle of Eschatology that the search for the Historical Jesus was born. There was a problem, and no doubt 70 C.E. figured into the solution somewhere, but 70 C.E. was hardly the ‘end of the world’ and we are hardly in the “new heavens and the new earth.” No one could say that the “resurrection of the dead” took place then. Well, someone did say it. His name was Max King.

In surveying the history of Covenant Eschatology, I cannot find in print, prior to King, a view that constructed the model he put forth. When King originally began to construct this view in 1971, he was unaware of the works of others who had come before, such as the development of the ideas found in Eusebius, Augustine, Turretin, Lightfoot, Owen, Russell and Terry.

Answering critics who said that his work was not “scholarly” enough, King launched into a fifteen-year period of research interacting with higher critics such as Bultmann, Schweitzer, Dodd and Cullmann, all heavy hitters in the theological world. Cullmann’s ‘mid-point’ Eschatology, Ladd’s ‘already-not yet,’ Dodd’s ‘realized eschatology,’ and Schweizter’s de-eschatologized ‘historical Jesus’ informed King’s position, whether in reaction to their contentions, or modifications of them on various points.

Equally, Evangelical scholars such as Herman Ridderbos, George Eldon Ladd, and Charles Hodge contributed to King’s arguments. J.A.T. Robinson’s monumental study on Paul’s ‘body’ language provided a plank on which King could continue to forge an eschatological view entirely unique from its predecessors, but owing a great deal of gratitude for their works as well.

In many ways, King’s eschatology started from the same approach as Dodd’s ‘realized eschatology.’ Both saw the inauguration of the kingdom. However, unlike Dodd, King actually posited that the Second Coming of Christ took place around the events of 70 C.E. Still further, he posited that the logical, consistent treatment of Scripture must yield that the resurrection of the dead took place as well. Proposing that the kingdom was not just inaugurated, but consummated, was radical.

Let me put this another way: if the prior views of Matthew 24 and II Peter 3 are seen in light of 70 C.E., then the logical conclusion is that the resurrection of the dead and Second Coming of Christ must also be seen here. However, this logical inference was not deduced previously. In fact, it was not even considered. One of the reasons, perhaps, is that the creeds and confessions are all unanimous that the Second Coming and resurrection of the dead (that is, the “self-same body” in the casket) will one day be reformed and reunited with its soul. This being the case, Christian theology had been ingrained with this framework, and it was hard, even for Terry and Russell, to step outside of that framework.

By and large, regardless of what millennial scheme one adopted, the Christian framework had a beginning and an end to the world, closed by the Second Coming and Final Judgment of all souls. King posited that all of those things are so connected that it would make no sense to parcel them out over thousands of years. So, what does one do, then, with the resurrection of the dead?

King’s solution was to first show that the Bible never taught or expected a physical resurrection of the dead, save Christ’s. While King put forth this view in his earlier work, The Spirit of Prophecy, it was the main focus of his later and much more developed work, The Cross and Parousia Christ. This was what Dr. Kenneth Talbot has called Neo-Preterism. It was a bold new step.

Earlier, George Bush (not the President), a the theologian of the 19th century, wrote that the ‘body’ in the casket does not necessarily come out of the casket intact. Origen, in the 3rd century, held this idea as well. So did some of the Gnostic writers. Thus, according to King, the resurrection was a resurrection of souls from Hades, and was invisible to the naked eye.

There was another problem, however. Paul is very clear about the continuity of the “body.” “It is sown, it is raised.” The same ‘it’ that was sown is the same ‘it’ that will be raised. The ‘it’ is clearly in reference to the “body,” for Paul is answering the question: “in what body are they raised?”

It is very easy to see why Christianity has been insistent on the “self-same body” resurrection. If the “body” there is the individual physical body, then it will also be raised. King’s solution to this dilemma was to redefine “body” in a soteriological sense, and not in an individiual or physical sense. Again, he derives some of his thoughts from Ridderbos, Robinson and the general shift of scholarship to read Paul in Hebraic rather than just Hellenistic terms.

King’s work, done in the 1970s and 80s, has given rise to preterist circles throughout the world. By the 1990s there were several groups, websites, churches, and conferences being hosted. These came with more books and publications, some from those who worked closely with King such as Don Preston, Jack Scott and William Bell. Edward Stevens, who at first followed King’s scholarship, came to reject King’s ‘corporate body’ resurrection schema for another direction.

Many from the Reformed reconstructionist, Post-millennial camps became “preterists” themselves, while maintaining a Reformed ideology (often hard, if not impossible in some cases, to do). There are more publications than ever before on this subject, but mainstream scholarship and the press has yet to really pick up on it.

Transmillennialism, a term coined by Tim King, is forging ahead with understanding our times as the ‘age to come.’ That is, if these things have indeed happened, then what and how are we to live and perceive our world of men and things? There are sharp differences among Transmillennialists and pop Preterists.

Some have created their own idiosyncratic form of Preterism, like Kurt Simmons’ ‘Bi-Millennialism.’ Following Russell, Ed Stevens recently argued that the “rapture” of the saints literally took place in 70 C.E. We might bemoan shoddy Preterist exegesis on the Internet, but there is a deeper, more studious expression growing in the published literature.

What all of these schools agree on is that the Second Coming took place, and, therefore, we are not ‘eagerly awaiting’ for one to happen in our day. Theology, and by that I mean justification by faith, sanctification, church-life, ethics and morality, politics and philosophy within Christendom has all been done within the framework that one day all of this will come to an end.

By contrast, Transmillennialism and various forms of preterit scholarship are attempting to work out a full-fledged worldview without an end in sight. This has, to my knowledge, never been done. Only the future will tell us if, in fact, Russell and King have paved the way to a brighter, braver, bolder tomorrow for Christianity in general, and the world at large, by laying the foundation stones of Covenant Eschatology.

Author Note: Samuel M. Frost, M.A.R. is a writer and speaker on the early church and its transforming hope. With a Bachelor of Theology from Liberty Christian College in Pensacola, FL. Frost has completed his Master of Arts in Christian Studies and a Master of Arts in Religion from Whitefield Theological Seminary (with combined credits from Reformed Theological Seminary/Orlando and Cleveland Church of God School of Theology/Ohio). Currently Frost is working on his Ph.D. in Biblical Languages from Whitefield Seminary, and is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and Society of Biblical Literature. He is the author of Misplaced Hope (Bimillennial 2002) and serves as a teaching elder of Christ Covenant Church. He and his wife Anne Marie and four children live in Brandon, FL.

This article first appeared in Living Presence Journal, Summer 2004, Vol 14, No. 2.

  • Dr. Kenneth G. Talbot: Samuel Frost and the Westminster Confession (2009) “Here Mr. Frost acknowledges himself as rightfully being a ‘heretic’ in light of Reformed theology. We also read in: The Constitution of Christ Covenant Church, Organized by Samuel Frost, in Section 1:A 1:2, Frost and others where they wrote: We are fully aware of the opinion by many that preterism is regarded as a “damnable heresy.”
  • Dr. Talbot continues:  Again, Mr. Frost clearly understands the implications of his doctrine in light of both Reformed and Evangelical Christianity. Why would he acknowledge that he is rightfully being called a ‘heretic’ and a ‘damnable heretic’ (not my words, but Mr. Frost’s and Mr. Green’s), and then complain about being called a ‘heretic’ and a ‘damnable heretic’ at that? Let’s see if this is logical.”

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