What is Preterism?

By David Hocking

“Preterism” is a term that comes from Latin and simply means “past.” In religious circles today, the term refers to the belief that all the prophecies of Yeshua (Jesus) in Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, and Luke 21, were fulfilled in 70 AD. Many who hold this particular viewpoint also believe that the entire book of Revelation in the New Testament was written before 70 AD about events that have already taken place in history.

Preterists believe that the promise of our Lord’s Second Coming began to be fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Some believe that the prophecies mentioned above were fulfilled in the Second Century AD at the time of the Second Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire at the time of Emperor Hadrian. Some preterists hold that the prophecies were fulfilled during the first three centuries AD as God wages war on the enemies of the Church (which they argue include Israel and Rome!) resulting in the “Christianization” of the Roman Empire under Constantine.

In the view of many preterists, the Lord returned “spiritually” at the times referred to above, and will return again physically in the future.

Preterists usually believe what is today popularly called “Replacement Theology.” They believe that the Church has replaced Israel and is now the recipient of all of God’s promises and covenants to Israel. They use the term the “people of God” and make no real distinction between believing Israel and the believing Church.

In the literature and books of preterists, you will find the following definitions of prophetic terms and subjects:

THE GREAT TRIBULATION – They believe this took place at the fall of Israel and destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. They believe that it will not be repeated and that this term is NOT referring to any future event.

THE LAST DAYS – Preterists believe that this is a Biblical expression for the period of time between Christ’s first coming and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. In other words, they believe the term refers to the last days of Israel.

THE RAPTURE – They believe that this event refers to the catching up of living saints to meet the Lord in the air, and then will immediately return to the earth with Him. In other words the Rapture and the Revelation (Second Coming to the earth) are one and the same event.

THE BEAST OF REVELATION – They believe that it is a symbol of Nero (some hold this view) or of the Roman Empire in general.

THE FALSE PROPHET – They believe that this refers to the leadership of what they call as “apostate Israel” who they say rejected Jesus Christ and worshipped the “Beast” or the Roman Empire.

THE GREAT HARLOT – They believe that this is reference to Jerusalem which fell into apostasy, persecuted the prophets, and cease to be the City of God.

THE MILLENNIUM – Preterists (most of them) say that this refers to the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ which He established at His first coming. They say it refers to the period of time between His first and second comings. They believe that the Millennium is going on now with Christians reigning as kings on earth.

ISRAEL – They believe that ethnic Israel was excommunicated for its apostasy and will never again by God’s Kingdom. They say that the Bible does not tell of any future plan for Israel as a special nation.

THE NEW JERUSALEM – Most preterists believe that this is the Church, both now and forever!

ARMAGEDDON – Preterists believe that it is simply a symbol of defeat and desolation. They teach that there never was, nor will be, a literal “Battle of Armageddon” and that there is no such place.

These viewpoints are merely a sampling of what one finds in the literature of those committed to “Replacement Theology.” Our beliefs about prophecy are totally different! We believe that there are specific future events that will take place on this planet, and that GOD HAS NEVER FORSAKEN ISRAEL, and that He will fulfill all of His promises and covenants to her.

If you would like more information, be sure to order the booklet mentioned on the front page of this web site – “REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY/”

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