While I was under the error of Calvinism and a member at Livermore Reformed Baptist Church, I became influenced by someone caught up in an understanding about the fulfilment of prophecy called Preterism.
What is Preterism?
Preterism is an ‘end-times view’ (i.e., eschatology) that asserts that all prophecy has been fulfilled. It particularly identifies AD 70, in which the city of Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans, the temple melted down, and a huge amount of Jews were killed, with the second coming of Christ and the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead.
What only took about two weeks of consideration resulted in two years of heartache and I am thankful to the Lord that my pastor at that time, faithfully warned me!
The following passages influenced me to imbibe Preterism:
- Matthew 10:23 “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.”
- Matthew 16:28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
The answer to these texts is to understand that Jesus’ first coming has several parts to it. In other words, His first coming is multi-faceted. His birth, His baptism, His transfiguration, His triumphal entry, and the fulfilment of His words regarding His own generation, are all to be understood as regarding His first coming.
The Transfiguration is identified by Peter in 2 Peter 1:16-18 as when the disciples beheld ‘the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’. In every instance in which it is said “there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” there is immediately the occurrence of the Transfiguration.
We may even assert that the judgment of God upon Israel in AD 70, which is the direct fulfilment of Jesus’ words of prophecy, is to be identified with Jesus’ first coming and not His second coming.
The seriousness of the error of Preterism is that it says that Christ has already returned and the resurrection has already taken place.
2 Timothy 2:17b,18 Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.
Though I count my experience with Preterism as an encounter with a heretical doctrine I am thankful to the Lord for the benefit it has given to me. I am better acquainted with the doctrines surrounding the end times and now consider myself a moderate Preterist.
What is a moderate Preterist?
Someone who believes that all of the prophecies regarding the end times have been fulfilled except for the second coming, the resurrection, and the end of this created order and the establishment of a new heavens and earth. As a moderate or partial Preterist, I believe that a lot of prophecies have been fulfilled in AD 70, but I do fully recant any understanding that Jesus’ final return and the resurrection have been fulfilled.