By Daymond Duck, Prophecy Plus Ministries
Those who believe all prophecy has been fulfilled are called Preterists. Not all Preterists agree with each other. There are partial Preterists and full Preterists. The partial Preterists are divided into historicists and futurists. Some of the partial Preterists believe the full Preterists are pagans, etc.
The word “preterist” means past. Generally speaking, it means most Preterists believe most prophecy was fulfilled in the past, specifically, by 70 A.D. Partial Preterists say most but not all of it was fulfilled in the past.
After giving the Parable of the Fig Tree Jesus said, “When ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34). The problem centers around the identity of “this generation.” Preterists believe “this generation” means the generation that Jesus was talking to. Many non-Preterists believe “this generation” means the generation that sees the fulfillment of all the prophecies Jesus was talking about.
For many, the problem with Preterists is the fact that they spiritualize and explain away many prophecies, especially the Book of Revelation. Instead of studying the Book of Revelation they dismiss it as nothing more than a book of symbols. The prophecies say one thing, but they say the prophecies mean something else. They attach private interpretations to the prophecies instead of letting the Bible interpret itself. When they do this, they not only change what the Bible says, they dismiss, explain away or spiritualize hundreds of other verses in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Zechariah, Matthew, II Thessalonians, etc. Everything those prophets said about the first coming of Jesus literally happened. It’s a mistake to say that none of what they said about the Second Coming of Jesus is going to literally happen.
Many Preterists say Nero was the Antichrist. But Nero wasn’t the Antichrist because he committed suicide instead of being cast alive into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20). Nero didn’t track all buying and selling. And Nero didn’t force people to take the Mark of the Beast.
Many Preterists say Israel’s religious leaders were the False Prophet. But Israel’s religious leaders didn’t build a statue of the Antichrist. Israel’s religious leaders didn’t make that statue speak. Israel’s religious leaders didn’t make the Jews commit idolatry by worshipping the statue. And Israel’s religious leaders didn’t get thrown alive into the Lake of Fire with the Antichrist.
Many Preterists say the final world government was the Roman Empire. But the Roman Empire was the legs of iron on Nebuchadnezzar’s statue not the feet of iron mixed with clay (Daniel 2). The Second Coming of Jesus will be in the days of the feet of iron mixed with clay not in the day of the legs of iron.
Many Preterists say the Second Coming of Jesus was a spiritual coming that took place in 70 A.D. and no one could see it. But the Bible says every eye will see Jesus when He comes back (Revelation 1:7). Two angels said Jesus will come back the same way He went away which was visibly because people could see Him (Acts 1:9-11). Over and over again, Jesus and others told us to watch for the Second Coming, but watching for the Second Coming of Jesus is meaningless, if Jesus has already come back. Watching for the Second Coming is meaningless if is a spiritual return that no one can see. The Bible says so many people will be killed at the Battle of Armageddon when Jesus comes back the blood will flow up to the horses bridles for almost 200 miles. That doesn’t fit with an invisible return that no one can see. Jesus said the sun will be darkened, the moon won’t shine, the stars will fall from heaven, everyone on earth will mourn, the lost will be removed from the earth, the sheep and goat nations will be judged, etc., but none of that happened in 70 A.D. (Matt. 24:29-30; 13:41-42, 49-50; 25:31-46).
Many Preterists say the destruction of Jerusalem and the persecution of the Church in 70 A.D. was the Tribulation Period. The Church won’t be here during the Tribulation Period. There was no seven-year covenant in 70 A.D. There weren’t enough people on earth for a 200 million man army to invade Israel in 70 A.D. The Euphrates River didn’t dry up. The Two Witnesses didn’t lie in the street for three and one-half days while the whole world watched. Babylon wasn’t destroyed by fire in one hour. Jesus didn’t rescue Israel at a Second Coming in 70 A.D., etc. (Rev. 9:16; 16:12; 13:11-18; 11:9).
Many Preterists say the Church is the New Jerusalem. The Bible says the New Jerusalem will be about 1500 miles square, it won’t need the sun or moon, it will have twelve gates of pearls, twelve foundations of precious stones, streets of gold, and the tree of life. The Church still needs the sun and moon, we still have pain, death, suffering, we’re a spiritual building not a physical building with walls, streets, etc. (Rev. 21-22).
Many Preterists say the Millennium is a long period of time not a 1,000 years and we’re living in the Millennium right now. But the Bible says we will have peace on earth during the Millennium. Instead of peace on earth, we have wars and rumors of wars. Instead of thanking God because His kingdom has already come to the earth, we are praying that His kingdom will come to the earth.
To believe Preterism people have to ignore the differences between the Church and Israel, ignore current events, reject the most widely accepted date for the writing of the Book of Revelation, explain away hundreds of verses of Scriptures all over the Bible, etc.
A good question to ask is, “When was the Rapture?” This is actually why some Preterists shove the Rapture over to the Second Coming. If the destruction of Jerusalem and the persecution of the Church is the Tribulation Period, they have to move everything between the Rapture and the Second Coming to the period before 70 A.D.
If the prophecies aren’t literally fulfilled, it’s impossible to know when anything is fulfilled. If the prophecies aren’t literally fulfilled, there is no need to watch for anything. If the prophecies aren’t literally fulfilled, there are no signs of anything. If prophecies aren’t literally fulfilled, we need to forget about heaven, rewards, the resurrection of the dead, etc. because those things won’t literally happen.
Christians should not want to lead anyone wrong. But those who say all prophecy has been fulfilled, the Book of Revelation is nothing but a book of symbols, no one understands it, and the like are leading people wrong. The Bible says study those symbols, search the Scriptures, let Scripture interpret Scripture, blessed is the person who reads, hears and keeps the things in the Book of Revelation, don’t take anything out of the Book of Revelation, the Holy Spirit can help you understand it, etc.