14 minute video presentation on What is the Preterist View by David Curtis
Click on the play button above to play this presentation.
David Roberts painting
of the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.
Is the End
of the World near? Are we living in the Last Days? Is Christ's return at hand?
For 150 years here in America we have constantly been told we were living on
the threshold of the end of the world and Christ's return. Prediction after
prediction has failed to materialize, and false hope after false hope has been
foisted upon the Christian community. Many Christians have been disillusioned,
and are already looking for more reasonable explanations. Some have been so
disillusioned they left the faith altogether. And the secular media (who are
always looking for an excuse) are further discrediting Christianity because
of it. Something is terribly wrong with traditional views of Bible Prophecy.
There is a serious need to re-examine the whole issue of Last Things.
can be understood, but Futurist views have fallen far short for many reasons:
their extreme physical/literalizing approach, their seeming inability to distinguish
between figurative and literal language, and their failure to properly take
into account the historical-grammatical-cultural context of the prophecies (specifically
what they meant to their original audience). Even the most difficult prophetic
passage comes alive when approached properly. It is time to look at some alternatives,
and the Preterist view is a great place to start.
means past in fulfillment, and "Futurist" means future in fulfillment.
Preterist basically means the opposite of Futurist. Futurists believe most end-time
prophecies (especially the big three major ones - Parousia, Resur., and Judgment) are yet to be fulfilled. Preterists believe
that most or all of Bible Prophecy (especially the big three events) has already been fulfilled in Christ and
the on-going expansion of His Kingdom. Most Futurists do not really believe
Christ has been successful yet in fully establishing His kingdom.
interpretation of Bible prophecy has been mentioned several times in publications
such as Christianity Today, Christian News, Great Christian Books catalog, World
Magazine, and several others. There is already at least one daily radio program
teaching from the preterist perspective and several monthly and quarterly publications.
Scores of preterist books, tracts, video and audio tapes have been produced
and many more are on the way. It is beginning to capture significant public
attention, and is "spreading like wildfire" at the grass roots level.
It is compatible with the essential beliefs of all Christians, and is already
represented in nearly all Protestant denominations and the Roman Church.
Christ return? This question is relevant, and can be answered by scripture.
Jesus seems to have answered it very clearly in these passages (Matt. 10:23;
Matt. 16:27,28; Matt. 24:34). Ever wonder why the First Century Christians expected
Jesus to come in their lifetime, and where they got this expectation from? Take
a look at the extreme sense of imminency in these passages: James 5:8,9; 1 Pet.
4:7; Matt. 10:23; Matt. 16:27,28; Matt. 24:34. These verses have always troubled
Bible students, and have been used by liberal theologians to attack the inspiration
of Scripture. They reason that these passages were not fulfilled when they were
supposed to be (the first century generation), so Jesus and the NT writers failed
in their predictions and were therefore not inspired. But these verses point
to Christ's coming in some sense in connection with the Fall of Jerusalem at
70 AD. So, Jesus' predictions were fulfilled. He did not fail, nor do we need
to engage in theological gymnastics to try to explain-away the seeming delay
or postponement of His return. It happened right on schedule. Many knew the
destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD was important in God's scheme of redemption,
but never understood its full significance. It has to do with the consummation
of the plan of redemption. The final events of the redemptive drama came to
pass in the first century within the apostles' generation (before A.D. 70).
Christ's kingdom is here now. Paradise has been restored in Christ (spiritually-speaking).
Christ has conquered all His enemies and has
given us the Kingdom.
offers a much more positive and realistic worldview. It is conservative, consistent,
optimistic, responsible and accountable. And it robs us of no motivation for
either living the Christian life, or evangelizing the world. In fact, it's the
only view which gives us a consistent reason for being constructively involved
in making the world a better place for the long-term, unlike the short-term
escapist and withdrawal mindset of most futurists.
absolutely makes sense when approached from this past-fulfillment (preterist)
perspective! It puts emphasis on the spiritual nature of God's Kingdom, not
on the physical, materialistic, sensual, and sensational. It teaches a realized
spiritual salvation in Christ and the Church now, instead of a frustrated hope
for a postponed sensually-gratifying paradise way off in the future. It has
an optimistic worldview that gets involved, makes a positive difference, and
lights a candle, rather than cursing the darkness, longing for a rapture-escape,
or retreating from society. It doesn't engage in wild-eyed speculation like
futurist views. It's just simple, straight-forward Bible interpretation.
the great theologians and scholars of the last 300 years have suggested the
preterist view for consideration, but traditional Christianity was too caught
up with the idea that the Pope was the Antichrist or some other such Futurist
notion. But that has changed. We are not as gullible now as they were when William
Miller, Darby, C. T. Russell, Rutherford, Scofield, Walvoord, and Hal Lindsey
came along. A constant barrage of false predictions has made us more wary.
theologians in Europe a century ago took a somewhat preterist approach, and
none of them considered it unorthodox. One of the leading proponents of the
preterist view back then was James Stuart Russell (not to be confused with
the Jehovah's Witness founder with the same last name, Charles Taze Russell
- there is no relation). J. S. Russell (1816-1895) published a book in 1878
entitled, The Parousia.
We here at IPA recently reprinted it. Some leading theologians and Christian
spokesmen have had the following to say about the book and the preterist view:
Farrar said Russell's book was "full of suggestiveness."
H. Spurgeon, who did not accept the preterist view, nevertheless stated that
Russell's book "throws so much new light upon obscure portions of the
Scriptures, and is accompanied with so much critical research and close reasoning,
that it can be injurious to none and may be profitable to all."
Hibbard (Chairman, Great Christian Books) "In view of Dr. Russell's marvelous
and insightful observations, no serious student of Biblical eschatology should
attempt to construct a systematic scheme of apocalyptic events without first
consulting this 19th century work, The Parousia."
DeMar (President of American Vision) "How many times have you struggled
with the interpretation of certain Biblical texts related to the time of Jesus'
return because they did not fit with a preconceived system of eschatology?
Russell's Parousia takes the Bible seriously when it tells us of the nearness
of Christ's return. Those who claim to interpret the Bible literally, trip
over the obvious meaning of these time texts by making Scripture mean the
opposite of what it unequivocally declares. Reading Russell is a breath of
fresh air in a room filled with smoke and mirror hermeneutics."
L. Gentry, Jr. (Sr. Pastor of Reedy River Presbyterian Church) "Although
I do not agree with all the conclusions of J. Stuart Russell's The Parousia,
I highly recommend this well-organized, carefully argued, and compellingly
written defense of preterism to serious and mature students of the Bible.
It is one of the most persuasive and challenging books I have read on the
subject of eschatology and has had a great impact on my own thinking. Russell's
biblico-theological study of New Testament eschatology sets a standard of
C. Sproul (Ligonier Ministries) "I believe that Russell's work is one
of the most important treatments on Biblical eschatology that is available
to the church today. The issues raised in this volume with respect to the
time-frame references of the New Testament to the Parousia are vitally important
not only for eschatology but for the future debate over the credibility of
never knew anyone else took the preterist view have independently discovered
it in the Scriptures, and are finding Biblical prophecy bursting with meaning
now. If you haven't taken a look at it, it is time you did. Write or call us
here at IPA to obtain some of the books
and resources mentioned elsewhere on this web site. These will help you
finally make sense out of Bible Prophecy without being taken for a ride by the
Click here to order a FREE packet of information about the Preterist view with a list of our latest books and media (USA residents only).