Why I am a Preterist
In this article, the first in a series of Why I am a Preterist, we survey 37 New Testament time texts, which unanimously place Jesus' return in the first century.
Eschatology: The Study of
The study of the "latter days" and the
"time of the end" is referred to as "eschatology," the study of
"last things" (Greek "eschatos" = last + "ology" = study of).
There are four schools of eschatological interpretation: 1)
Futurism; 2) Continuous Historical; 3) Idealism; and 4)
teaches that the end times and second coming of Christ are still
future. Futurists typically believe that Christ's second coming
will be bodily and visible,
and will mark the end of
However, many Futurists believe that the second coming will
issue in a millennial
reign of Christ on
earth seated on David's throne in
The Continuous Historical school is type of
Futurism, which has it that the prophecies of Daniel and
Revelation provide a
continuous survey of history until the world's end.
This school was popular with the Reformers who saw the
Catholic Church and papacy in the imagery of Daniel and
Revelation, and thought they were thus living in the time of the
end. This school has been discredited over time, as men have
come to recognize that the papacy is nowhere alluded to in
scripture. No serious scholars embrace it today.
Idealism sees events described in prophecy
as neither past, present, nor future, but representative of
larger ideals and principles. Eschatological prophecy deals with
the ongoing struggle between the forces of light and darkness,
and the ultimate triumph of good over evil. Its message is
purely a spiritual one, an allegory of the spiritual path, which
is equally relevant in all ages and for all people. Augustine's
allegorical interpretation of Revelation in his
The word Preterism is from the Latin
"prae" (before) and "ire"
(to go), whose past participle is
the subject has gone past.
The word occurs in the future tense in the Latin Vulgate
at Matt. 24:34 thus: "non
praeteribit haec generatio donec omnia haec fiant" ("this
generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled").
Preterism takes a
contemporary-historical view of eschatology, holding that
Revelation and related prophecies describe events contemporary
to those to whom they were addressed.
Specifically, Preterism views the latter days and second
coming as being bound up in the world events marked by the
persecution of Nero Caesar (AD 64-68), the Roman civil wars that
erupted upon Nero's death ("the year of four emperors") (AD
68-70), and the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome (AD 67-70).
It is this writer's belief that Preterism
is far and away the most Biblically defensible view. Virtually
all prophetic announcements, Old Testament and New, concerning
the coming of Christ and his kingdom, the latter days, and
related events are tied to a
specific time in
history that is now millennia past. It is a well recognized fact
that the kingdom and coming of Christ would occur in the days of
the Roman Empire, the Jerusalem temple, and "Elijah the Prophet"
(John the Baptist - Matt. 17:12,1 3; Mal. 4:5, 6) Futurists,
particularly Dispensationalists, thus find it necessary to speak
about a "revived Roman Empire" and "third temple" and another
Futurists are compelled to look for revival
of these historical characters this way due to preconceived
notions about the nature
of prophecy's fulfillment. Dispensationalists look for a worldly
kingdom with Christ seated upon a political throne in earthly
But if the nature of fulfillment is the only justification for ignoring the historical context of prophecy, are not Futurists building upon a weak foundation? This is particularly true given the symbolic nature of prophecy, whose metaphoric and mystical language makes the nature of fulfillment its least certain and predictable facet. Surely the safer course is to bring our understanding of the nature of prophetic fulfillment into line with objective criteria of historical context, and not vice versa. The time texts and characters/events should guide our interpretation of the symbolism, and not the symbolism overrule the time and characters. This three story pyramid of interpretation - time texts, characters/events, and symbolism - is the method of Preterist interpretation, which we will investigate in this series of articles. We will confine the rest of this article to the time texts, the base of the pyramid, reserving for future articles the characters/events and symbolic nature of prophetic language.
The Time Texts: A Matter of Biblical Credibility
The most compelling evidence in favor of
the Preterist interpretation is the
time texts, which
universally attest that Christ's second coming would occur in
the lives of the apostles and first generation of believers.
They serve as the foundation upon which all other interpretation
is built. Here
follow some of the more compelling texts, with our comments
Testimony of Matthew
- "But when they persecute you in one city, flee ye into
another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone
over the cities of
, till the Son of man be come." Israel
This was spoken to the disciples who first
carried the gospel message. Jesus indicates his soon return,
saying they would not have time to preach in every city of
- Matt. 16:27, 28 - "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."
Here we have an express statement, placing
Christ's coming within the lives of his audience.
Mark's gospel words this a little differently, saying,
the kingdom would come "with power" (Mk. ; 9:1). In other words, it would come
in force, overwhelming
all that stood in its way. Christ would then sit upon the throne
of his glory, judging men and nations (Matt. 25:31-46), which
judgment continues today.
- "When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will
he do unto those husbandmen?
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those
wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other
husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their
seasons. Jesus saith
unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone
which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of
the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in
our eyes? Therefore
say I unto you, The
shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them." kingdomof God
Although this parable does not give an
express statement of time, in saying the Pharisees understood it
of them, together with its prediction that Christ would come
against the Jewish nation and its leaders, places its
fulfillment by the destruction of
- Matt. -39 - "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not? Behold your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed in he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
This passage should be linked with those
that went before. In Matt. 23:34, Jesus mentions how the Jews
would persecute his prophets and wise men "from city to city"
just like Matt. 10:23. He then says that all the righteous blood
shed upon the earth would be required of that generation, and
would be fulfilled in the destruction of
- Matt. 24:30, 34 - "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory…Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."
This passage repeats the prediction of
Christ's coming within the very generation of those then living.
The context is expressly tied to the fall of
- Matt. 26:64 - Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
The pronoun "ye" is directed to Caiaphas
and the Sanhedrin, who would witness Christ's divine visitation
and judgment in the fall of
Thus, in Matthew alone there are six direct
statements placing Jesus' return within the lives of the first
disciples. Whatever presuppositions we may have about Christ's
second coming, the time texts are clear and unequivocal and must
guide our understanding.
We cannot avoid their force without doing violence to
Further, the context of these passages ties them to
events within the
generation of the apostles.
Christ's coming in his kingdom in power entailed judgment
upon the Jewish nation for rejection of his gospel and the
persecution of his church. Since we know that
Testimony of John
The synoptic gospels of Mark and Luke contain identical statements to Matthew, so we pass over them here and look instead at John:
- Jn. - "If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me."
In Matt. 16:28, Jesus stated some of the
disciples would live until he returned.
Here, Jesus specifies that, although Peter would give his
life in martyrdom (v. 18), the apostle John would live until he
had come again.
History confirms that John lived in
Testimony of Acts
Acts 6:13, 14 - "This
man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy
place, and the law: for we have heard him say, that this
shall destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered us." Nazareth
Although this passage is not a time text
proper, because of its connection to the statements in Matthew
tying Jesus' return to the destruction of
"Howbeit, the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my
footstool: what house will ye build me? Saith the Lord: or what
is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these
things?" Acts 7:48-50
Stephen's purpose in quoting this passage
is to show that the temple was only qualifiedly holy; it was not
the actual place of God's habitation, but merely a symbol. The
Jews devotion to the temple, but murder of Christ, showed that
they were adhering to outward forms of religion, while rejecting
God who was its very object. Stephen quoted only the beginning
of Isaiah's warning.
In the rest of the passage, Isaiah goes on to describe the Jews'
persecution of Christians and the coming destruction of the city
and temple. First he describes the continuing temple service as
an abomination equal to murder and idolatry:
that killeth an ox is if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a
lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; he that offereth an
oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; he that burneth
incense, as if he blessed an idol.
Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul
delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their
delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I
called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but
they did evil before mine eyes, and shoes that in which I
delighted not. Isa.
Next, Isaiah addresses Christians who were
being "cast out" (excommunicated) by their fellow Jews for
Jesus' name sake. Even before Jesus was crucified, the rulers of
the Jews had decreed that anyone who confessed Christ was to be
cast out (Jn. ,
The "appearing" of the Lord refers to his second coming.
the word of the Lord, ye that tremble at his word; Your breath
that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let
the Lord be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they
shall be ashamed."
Finally, we see the Lord's wrath upon the
Jews as he came in providential judgment upon the nation.
voice of noise from the city, a voice form the temple, a voice
of the Lord that rendereth recompense to his enemies…for behold
the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a
whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with
flames of fire."
Isa. 66:3-6, 15
Although Stephen did not quote the passage
in full, the Sanhedrin could not fail to see the connection: The
destruction of the city and temple Stephen was foretelling was
nothing more than that foretold by the prophet Isaiah. This
should have provided a full defense to the charge he had
blasphemed. Instead, the Jews hardened their hearts and stopped
their ears, and condemned Stephen to death. For us, Stephen's
statements, coupled with the prophecy of Isaiah and statements
of Christ, provide time texts for the coming of the Lord and
Testimony of Romans
- Rom. 13:11, 12 - "And that, knowing the time, that now is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand."
- Rom. - And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.
Testimony of Corinthians
- I Cor. 1:6-8 - "Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye are come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ."
The testimony of Christ received
confirmation in the Corinthians by their obedience to the
gospel. They then received the gifts of the Holy Ghost by the
laying on of the apostle's hands (cf. Acts ; 19:5, 6).
The gifts of the Holy Ghost were merely temporary and
provisional, belonging to the period between the cross and the
second coming of Christ. Hence, Paul says the gifts were given
to the Corinthians while waiting for the Lord's return, when
they would cease. The passage assumes that the Corinthians will
be alive in the day of Christ.
- I Cor. - "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."
Although it contains no express declaration
of time, this verse assumes the Corinthians would live until the
day of testing by fire, which was to precede the coming of
Christ. This almost certainly refers to the persecution under
Nero, which would try the saints and prove what their work of
faith was made of.
- I Cor. - "But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none."
Here we see again that a very short while
remained until the time of the end overtook the first generation
of believers; so much so that not even the obligations of
married life should be permitted to distract them from what lay
ahead. The end time would include the persecution under Nero and
the cataclysmic judgments attending Christ's coming in
vindication of his gospel and martyrs.
Testimony of 1st Thessalonians
- I Thess. 1:9, 10 - "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."
Paul's letters to the Thessalonians contain a great deal of eschatological material. From the book of Acts, we learn that Paul was in Thessalonica hardly more than the space of three weeks (Acts 17:1-10). Although with the Thessalonians such a small space, it is clear that Paul invested much time instructing them about the second coming of Christ. This would make little sense if it was thousands of years away. But we see here that Paul's teaching and expectation was that Christ would come within his reader's lifetimes. The "wrath to come" may refer to events that would overtake the world, but more likely refers to the wrath awaiting men in the next life who fail to obey the gospel.
- I Thess. 2:14-20 - "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy.
We read in Acts about Jewish opposition
throughout the world to the gospel message. In its way, the book
of Acts is an apologetic defense of the destruction of the
Jewish nation, providing a detailed account of their resistance
to the gospel and persecution of believers, and the righteous
judgment of God in taking the nation away. This is nowhere more
true than in Thessalonica. The Jews there not only stirred up
persecution against Paul, forcing him to prematurely leave the
city, but when they learned he was preaching in Berea, they came
and stirred up trouble there as well, again forcing Paul to
depart (Acts 17:1-15). The passage quoted here thus predicts the
coming wrath that was to overtake the nation in the war with
- I Thess. - "To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints."
Every chapter of I Thessalonians speaks about Christ's coming; and every chapter places it in the Thessalonianss lifetimes.
- I Thess. 5:1-4 - "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief."
We read in Josephus that the Jewish
population in many cities was destroyed when their revolted
Testimony of 2nd Thessalonians
- II Thess. 1:4-10 - "So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day."
- II Thess. 2:1-12 - "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."
This passage states that the time was not "at hand," and thus seems to argue against a contemporary-historical fulfillment. However, since it is clear that the Thessalonians were taught to expect Christ's coming within their lifetimes, the fact that it was not then immediately at hand does not mean it was not fulfilled in the years following. The Reformers supposed the papacy and Catholic Church are referred to here, but nobody believes that today. Paul states that the man of sin and son of perdition (the antichrist) was already present, but had not yet been revealed upon the world stage because something and/or someone hindered him, who must first be taken out of the way. Since the papacy would not grow up for hundreds of years, this clearly is not the solution. Rather, we must look for a contemporary-historical explanation.
We believe that Nero and the first imperial persecution are in view here. The Thessalonians were shaken and troubled that Lord's coming and that their "gathering together unto him" was at hand. If their gathering entailed the translation or rapture of the church in a manner similar to Enoch and Elijah there would be nothing to disturb them, for this is universally supposed to be a good thing. Rather, the better view is that the gathering was a harvest by martyrdom, in which members of the church would be reaped into the eternal kingdom by death. This is clearly seen in Rev. 14:9-20, where two harvests are portrayed, one of the wicked (the grapes) in wrath and vengeance (vv. 17-20), the other of the church (the wheat) in martyrdom under the beast (vv.9-16). The persecution the Thessalonians suffered from the Jews and their own countrymen (I Thess. -16; II Thess. 1:6-10) apparently led them to believe that the eschatological persecution was then at hand. However, Paul reminded them that the time was not then fully ripe. Claudius Caesar was still upon the throne.
It was Claudius' policy to protect the
church by extending the
religio licita to it.
Roman law preserved to the nations of the empire the
right to worship their own gods and keep their own laws, saving
the power of death (ius
gladii), which was reposed in the Roman governor.
It was this policy of Roman law in withholding the power
of death from local peoples that permitted the church to grow
and spread, as otherwise the Jews would have extinguished the
gospel as soon as ever the light of salvation was lit (recall
the persecution over Stephen).
Acts records that the Jews disturbed the peace throughout
the empire, persecuting Paul everywhere he carried the gospel.
Indeed, the Jews raised their tumults to such a pitch in
Testimony of Timothy
- I Tim. - "That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Testimony of Hebrews
- Heb. 10:25 - "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more as ye see the day approaching."
- Heb. - "For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry."
The Hebrew Christians were under
persecution from unbelieving Jews, who put them out of the
synagogues and imposed such penalties upon them as they might,
including beating with rods, imprisonment, excommunication, and
forfeitures. They were thus tempted to turn back to the temple
ritual and Mosaic law. The thrust of the epistle is to
demonstrate the superiority of Christ and the invalidity of the
law, and its complete inability to save. They are warned that to
forsake Christ and turn back to the law is apostasy and will
cause them to lose their salvation (Heb. , 27). Hence, they needed the strength derived from
their mutual faith and should thus continue assembling together,
and the more so as the day of open persecution drew near. They
were to draw strength from the assurance that it was but a short
while more before the day of national judgment against the Jews
arrived, when Christ would exact vengeance for the blood of his
reward was in heaven, and might thus bear the loss of mortal
life happily (Heb. ; 12:4).
Testimony of James
- Jm. 5:5, 8, 9 - "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh…Behold, the judge standeth before the door."
This epistle is something of a companion to
the book of Hebrews, being addressed to Jewish believers, many
of whom were under persecution for unbelieving Jews.
It is sometimes argued
that in addressing the book to the "twelve tribes scattered
abroad" James employs a metaphor for spiritual
Testimony of Peter
- I Pet. 4:7 - "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer."
- "I Pet. - "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?"
These verses affirm the imminence of Christ
coming and the events associated with the end (fulfillment) of
age. God was bringing to a close the world-age that was marked
by dominion of the unbelieving in the earth, for the government
of the world had been given to Christ at his ascension, and he
would thenceforth rule the nations in righteousness.
- II Pet. 3:10-14 - "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless."
This passage is often supposed to teach
that the physical cosmos was to be destroyed at Christ's coming,
but this mistakes the figurative nature of prophetic utterance.
The promise of a new heaven and earth is from the prophet
Isaiah, and describes the world under the government of Christ,
after the persecutors of his people have all been destroyed. We
cited the same prophecy earlier in our discussion about the trial
of Stephen and the destruction of Jerusalem (see comments under
Acts, above), whereby the reader may see that the heavens and
earth and their elements describe, not the physical world, but
the socio-political world gathered together in persecution of
the church and gospel (Isa. 65, 66). Peter makes abundantly
clear that the day of the Lord was hastening upon them and would
overtake those then living. Hence, they should be diligent to be
found blameless before Christ.
Testimony of John
- I Jn. , 19 - "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrist; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
The "last time" in the Greek is "last
hour." John gives as evidence of the last hour the fact that
many antichrists were then present in the world. The
"antichrist" refers to
Testimony of Revelation
- Rev. 1:1, 3 - The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servant things which must shortly come to pass…Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Here we have the opening words of
Revelation, assuring first century readers that the time was
at hand. Revelation
describes the persecution under Nero and the destruction of
- Rev. 2:5 - "Remember therefore from whence thou are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."
The Ephesians were resting upon the strength of past works for their present and future salvation. Christ tells them that they must persevere in their first love and works, or risk his rejection at his coming. It has been argued that this refers to a special coming in judgment against that particular church, but this seems unlikely. Peter said "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God" (I Pet. ), which judgment was connected with the time then overtaking the world, and not a special judgment confined to the church. What was true in Peter, is equally true in Revelation.
- Rev. 2:16 - "Repent: or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth."
- Rev. 2:25 - "But that which ye have already hold fast till I come."
- Rev. 3:3 - "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."
- Rev. 3:11 - "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."
These quote address the churches of
- Rev. 16:15 - "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."
- Rev. 22:6, 7 - "And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done. Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the saying of the prophecy of this book."
As the book draws to its close, there are
repeated affirmations of Christ's soon advent. The righteous
would be harvested into the eternal kingdom by martyrdom under
Nero and the Jews; the wicked would be destroyed in the wars and
calamities that overtook
- Rev. 22:10-12 - "And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly: and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be."
When Daniel wrote, he was told to "seal up"
the sayings of his book, because the time was long away off
(Dan. 12:4, 9). The
distance from Daniel to John was approximately 600 years. John
is here told not to
seal the book, because its events were "at hand." Based upon a
comparison with Daniel, it is impossible that the events of
Revelation belong to our time, for by no standard of measure can
two thousand years be deemed "at hand" in light of 600 years in
Daniel being a long way off. So close were the events, that the
time remaining would hardly afford men time to change their
accustomed habits, and would thus take the wicked and just as it
found them. However, it is a mistake to conceive that all men
were judged in the events described in Revelation, for Christ is
enthroned as judge still today.
One by one as each of us dies are haled before the
judgment seat of Christ, that we may receive the things done in
the body, according to that we have done, whether it be good or
bad (II Cor. 5:10).
- Rev. 22:20 - "He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
Summary and Conclusion
We have now surveyed the time statements of the New Testament. Old Testament time texts, particularly from the book of Daniel, are consistent with all that has been said, but will be examined separately in a subsequent article. Of the 37 passages we have examined, all unanimously affirm Christ's coming within the lives of the first disciples. Where can such an array of witnesses be produced on behalf of Futurist models? It can't.
Why am I Preterist? Because dealing openly and honestly with the simple statements of scripture prevents otherwise. We urge you to join the growing crowd of students and scholars "affirming Christ's second coming fulfilled."
 John Walvrood,
The Book of
Revelation (Mood Press, 1966), pp. 176 (a future
temple); 178-180 (Elijah still to come); 197, 204
 "Since the Jews
constantly made disturbances at the instigation of
Chrestus, he expelled them from
 Josephus calls
her a "religious woman."
 "But neither human help, nor imperial munificence, nor all the modes of placating Heaven, could stifle scandal or dispel the belief that the fire had taken place by order. Therefore, to scotch the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits…Christians." Tacitus, Annals XV, xliv.
 Josephus, Wars, II, xviii.
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