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PRETERISM
 A FAILED THEORY OF INTERPRETATION OF END–TIME BIBLE PROPHECY 


See: The UnPreterist
of Roderick Edwards
Introduction:
Theories of interpretation of the end-time prophecies of the Bible may be generally divided into Preterist, Historicist, and Futurist.
 
As
     The Historicist looks for the history of Christendom in these prophecies;
     the Futurist sees the content of end-time prophecies as still future; and,
     the Preterist tries to find the end-time prophecies fulfilled in the first century of Christian history.
is to be expected with all human theories of interpretation there is truth and error mixed in each of these systems.
 
Preterism
however has the misfortune of being associated with the Roman Catholic church's reaction to the rise of Protestantism known as the Counter-reformation. Martin Luther and others, in hostility toward the Papacy, had associated it with prophecy of the Antichrist and/or 'Babylon the Great' in the Book of Revelation, and Preterism then became a method used to refute this.
 
In
its favour, Preterism does point attention to the direct fulfillment of Christ's predictions of judgment on Jerusalem in 70 AD, but it unfortunately looses the dual significance carried in some of these.
 
Key
Confusion
 
 
This confusion is a lack of understanding of the nature of the nearness of the Kingdom of God proclaimed in the preaching of John the Baptist and the Christ, and it has greatly added to the problems of Preterism. In a natural attempt to find the fulfillment of Christ's prediction of the coming of the Kingdom within the lifetime of some of His hearers, events of the first century become its obvious focus.
See: Kingdom of God
 
I have answered the misuse/misunderstanding of these various imminence prophetic passages in our New Testament in my article on flawed interpretation in the Reformed eschatology of Anthony Hoekema.
 
The
classic failure of Preterism is an adequate accounting for the given literary context of their famously used statement of Jesus that some standing with Him would not die before they would see the KIngdom come in glory. All three Gospels which report this statement (Matthew 16:28-17:9; Mark 9:1-10; Luke 9:27-36) give the Mount of Transfiguration event as the consequence of Christ's words, and an eyewitness, Peter in his letter, years later, uses the same term (παρουσία) to describe that transfiguration event as for the future return of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Pet.1:16).
 
 
So Preterism's first century events-focus looses Christ's focus on the mystery of the Kingdom which He said was not given to those outside His discipleship group. This should make it obvious that He was not referring to an observable event by the general audience of His ministry in Palestine.
 
Fatal
Failure
 
As
with many systems of prophetic interpretation, there is a a fatal flaw – knowledge of the Hidden Time is completely lost in the Preterist view.
 
 
As a consequence, awesome prophecies are necessarily watered down in their presumed fulfillment to fit the Preterist picture. For instance, the 'seven kings' of Revelation 17, five of whom are fallen and one is, is interpreted to mean seven Roman emperors which then places the time of John receiving this revelation in the reign of Vepasian, his son Titus as the seventh emperor and Domitian as the dreaded Antichrist, the 'beast' that arises from the Abyss.
 
So
all human history, with the rise of its final kingdom of Antichrist, happened in the first century, and Christ did not come – so the Bible is therefore simply not true.
 

The Mystery of the Kingdom The Terminal Sequence The Elijah Sign

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