Musings on Preterism 4
When Titus stormed Jerusalem in AD 70 miraculous, spiritual and divine events took place. To a Full Preterist Jesus, Himself, returned spiritually and in the clouds of the Roman army. Futurism and Preterism (Full Preterism or FP heron) have been peering at a great divide for years. This divide however usually centers upon different hermeneutical differences of the text of Scripture or over the Apocalyptic and Eschatological texts of Scripture (e.g. Daniel, Revelation). Upon closer examination however I contend that the Christ of Preterism is not the Apostolic Christ, nor is it then truly the Christ of Scripture. In the next few blog posts I will be discussing this issue in particular.
Allow me to preface with a comment about hermeneutics. It was not until the 2nd and 3rd Century that allegorical type hermeneutics came about through the pen of Origen. Later, in Medieval (A.D. 500-1500) times, St. Augustine viewed the Church as equal with the Kingdom of God and prophecy took on a new look. The grammatical-historical method, however, should be sought by modern believers.
FP views the following Christocentric events as past:
1. The Second Coming
2. The resurrection of the dead
3. Great White Throne judgment
Regarding the Second Coming. FP sees this event occurred in the 1st Century. As believers we have no reason to expect a future literal fulfillment of passages relevant to this issue. John MacArthur states that we are “renouncing not only the plain meaning of Scripture but also every creed and doctrinal standard ever affirmed by any significant church council, denomination, or theologian in the entire history of the church.” (The Second Coming, by John F. MacArthur)
In essence, this denies that Christ will ever return to earth in bodily form. To fulfill this request Jesus must have come spiritually and not personally, as the texts depict.
The Second Coming is no longer a hope, but a judgment. Words like “coming” (see Matthew 16:28) are misinterpreted. Such words are in the present tense of "coming" which points to the whole process of the arrival of His kingdom more so than to any particular event in the coming.
Events of the ongoing intervention of "the Coming One" in our history are now past. According to Spiros Zodhiates, “None of these events precludes a rapture or a Second Coming in final judgment. But the kingdom of God and of Christ is an eternal coming in mercy and judgment (Rev 1:4; 15:4; 17:14; 19:16).” (Exegetical Commentary on Matthew, by Spiros Zodhiates)
In FP all the judgments of Christ have been literally executed (See Revelation 9 and 16). The Revelation of Jesus Christ is not future but a real history book. Yet, one wonders when and even where such events occurred without historical record.
FP holds to the historicity and deity of Christ but obfuscate Christocentric doctrines to the point that His coming is not sought nor His revelation of hope enjoyed. Clearly these Christocentric events have completely different meaning. This is a different Christ.
The Apostle Paul addressed a very similar error in 2 Timothy 2:17-18:
But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
These two men had “swerved from the truth” by suggesting that the resurrection of the dead has already happened. This upsets the faith of many, as the Scriptures reveal.
Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 4:8:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
The Second Coming by John MacArthur
Exegetical Commentary on Matthew by Dr. Spiros Zodhiates