Preterists believe that the coming of the Son of Man occurred in 70 A.D. along with the gathering of the elect, so anytime the apostles wrote of this in their writings, anything connected with the coming of Christ must have been fulfilled at this time as well. Here are a few of these subjects.
What if I am a Preterist?
In my series showing why the Preterist position is scripturally untenable, I have conceded some points of prophecy that were fulfilled in 70 A.D. But what if this is leading us down a road whereby we would say that all prophecies were fulfilled in 70 A.D.? Here is where the epistles will demonstrate that Futurism is the eschatology position that we must hold today.
We must remember that these same disciples who heard the prophecies of Jesus the Messiah at the temple and on the Mount of Olives were transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit and wrote a number of epistles that we know to be the inspired Word of God. These epistles contain what may safely be termed “prophecies” in the sense that they predict the future. We know that there are prophecies which simply testify to the witness of Christ and others that are predictive in nature. There are subjects that the apostles touched on which they believed would happen at a future date.
If the disciples expected everything to occur at the destruction of the temple, why did they not expound (by the revelation of the Holy Spirit) one word about the destruction of the temple? Instead, they prophesied concerning the coming of our LORD Jesus Christ and events that would occur in conjunction with that coming. Let us look at a few of these things and realize that if you are a Preterist, that you must concede that these things to not belong to our future hope, but are in the past. Preterists believe that the coming of the Son of Man occurred in 70 A.D. along with the gathering of the elect, so anytime the apostles wrote of this in their writings, anything connected with the coming of Christ must have been fulfilled at this time as well. Here are a few of these subjects.
The Resurrection ~
The resurrection of the righteous was something yet in the future as the apostles wrote the epistles. I Corinthians 15:23 tells us it would occur at His coming in such a way that all in Christ would partake in a heavenly glory in a spiritual body, and even those living at the time would be transformed as well. I Thessalonians 4:13-17 testifies to these same truths adding that those who are alive at that time would be caught up to meet Christ in the clouds as He descends. Philippians 3:21, while not directly mentioning Christ’s coming, tells us that we are looking for the Saviour who will change our bodies to be like His glorious body; this can only refer to the glorification of our bodies which will happen at the resurrection. Colossians 3:4 tells us that when Christ appears, that we will appear with Him in glory. If you are a Preterist, you must believe these things are in the past, not the future.
The apostles wrote a time when all believers would stand before God and give account of their stewardship. I Corinthians 3:13-15 touches on this stating that those whose work endure the fire would be rewarded. The Judgement Seat of Christ occurs at this time, feel free to read my post here, which covers Romans 14:10-12 and II Corinthians 5:10. The Apostle Paul looked forward to a crown of righteousness which the LORD would give Him, and then he notes that Christ would reward not just him, but all who love His appearing, II Timothy 4:8. Peter believed this same event would happen to all who had spiritual authority at the appearing of the chief Shepherd, I Peter 5:4. If you are a Preterist, then you believe that the apostles were looking forward to the appearing of Christ as the temple was destroyed, then all rewards were given at that time.
Judgement on the ungodly ~
While not quite as prevalent, the apostles believed in the judgement of the ungodly, specifically those who were persecuting Christians at the time of Christ’s coming with His mighty angels, II Thessalonians 1:6-10. This is actually a more detailed exposition of what Paul wrote to them in his former epistle, see I Thessalonians 5:1-10. II Timothy 4:1 gives a brief mention of this event as well. Peter believed this same thing as he explains in II Peter 3:7. The ungodly mentioned here have been described in chapter 2, and now Peter is unfolding the judgement that shall fall on them. The surrounding context in chapter 3 leads into the next hope that the apostles held.
New Heavens and New Earth ~
The apostles looked forward to the heavens and earth being transformed at the appearing of the Kingdom of Christ. Romans 8:19-22 explains this hope of creation being freed from bondage in quite literal terms. Then II Peter 3:10-13, as mentioned above, gives us hope that the new heavens and new earth will arrive at the time of the judgement. Now if you are a Preterist, you must believe that we have already entered the age in which the new heavens and new earth have been established since that occurred in 70 A.D. just like these other events which are connected with the coming of Christ.
But here is the thing that I find most astounding. John’s writings were written after 70 A.D. Yet in these writings we find the same hopes expressed as in the writings before 70 A.D. That is why Preterists have to dismiss the fact that these epistles were written after the destruction of the temple. I John 3:2-3 gives a FUTURE hope of being like Christ when He appears. I John 4:17 tell us of a day of judgement during which we will have boldness. II John vs. 3 encourages us to pay attention to our Christian work that we might still receive a full reward. After all this, writings before the destruction of the temple, writings after the destruction of the temple, and yet the apostles still haven’t written one word about the destruction of the temple. I think it’s safe to assume how much importance they placed on the event in relation to the coming of Christ. All of this I have concluded before even consulting the book of Revelation. When we come to Revelation, we are not doing the book a disservice if we come with a Futurist mindset.
Here are some tests to see if you are a Futurist or a Preterist? Do you believe the prophecies are yet to be fulfilled in the future, or are they in the past? Is Christ’s coming yet future, or is it past? Is the resurrection yet future, or is it past? Will our rewards be in the future, or is this in the past? Is the judgement on the ungodly yet future, or did it occur in 70 A.D.? Do you look forward to a new heavens and new earth, to a city whose builder and maker is God, or were they ushered in sometime in the past?
As I stated when I first began this blog, I am a Futurist, and now you understand the reasons why. While Preterists can make some good points concerning 70 A.D. fulfillment, the coming of the Son of Man, the Great Tribulation, the Abomination of Desolation, the Gathering of the Elect, the signs in the sun, moon, and stars, all these remain yet in the future.
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