A Biblical Analysis of the False Doctrine of Preterism
Bible Prophetic Poll
According To Prophecy Ministries presents, three renown scholars to answer the latter-day false teaching of Pretreism.
Dr. Ed Hindson deals with Pretreism as a false teaching in the last days, and gives an excellence article, entitled "The New Last Days Scoffers" and how this teaching of Pretreism is experiencing a new wave of interest thanks to the encouragement of popular radio personalities like R. C. Sproul and the strange theology presented by Hank Hanegraaff' and Sigmund Brouwer's in their new book entitled "The Last Disciple". Dr. Ed Hindson is host of The King is Coming TV Broadcast.
Dr. Thomas Ice gives a 3-hour Audio Analysis of the Preterist view, entitled "Bible Prophecy Past or Future? An Analysis of Preterism and Hank Hanegraaff. Dr. Thomas Ice is, Vice Chairman of the Pre-Trib Research Study Center
Dr. David Reagan gives a clear Analysis of the Preterist view, in his article entitled "The Fallacy of Preterism". He explains that There is a more extreme form of Preterism whose advocates consider themselves to be quot;consistent Preterists." They take the position that all so-called "end time prophecy" was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. -- including the Second Coming and the resurrection of believers! They do not look forward to any future resurrection or any end of history. They believe we are currently living in the eternal state. Dr. David Reagan is founder of Lamb and Lion Ministries.
Dr. Ed Hindson, Dr. Thomas Ice, and Dr. David Reagan, all three are members of the Pre-trib Research Study Center, , founded by Dr. Tim LaHaye, of which Evangelist Perkins is also a member. The Pre-Trib Research Center is a "think tank" committed to the study, proclamation, teaching and defending of the Pretribulational Rapture and related end-time prophecy.
The New Last Days Scoffers DR. EDWARD HINDSON Assistant to the Chancellor Liberty University
The Second Coming of Christ is one of the fundamental doctrines of Scripture. Jesus emphatically said, “I will come again” (John 14:3). The questions raised by believers over the centuries have always been “When?” and “How?” The answers to these questions divide Christians into various views of eschatology (“last things”). Some believe He will come before the Tribulation. Some believe He’ll return during it; and some after it. Some believe He will come at the end of the Church Age and some think He will come after the millennium.
One of the most bizarre interpretations of eschatology is the view that
He has already come back! No, I’m not talking about the Jehovah’s
Witnesses who think Jesus returned in 1914. I’m talking about a
viewpoint called Preterism, which teaches that Jesus returned in AD 70
when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem.
You may be thinking
that no sensible person really believes that Jesus already came back.
Well, it may surprise you to know that Preterism is experiencing a new
wave of interest these days thanks to the encouragement of popular
radio personalities like R.C. Sproul and Hank Hanegraaff. Sproul
openly admits he is a “partial preterist” and Hanegraaff claims he is
seriously considering it.
I have watched various eschatologies
come and go over the past 40 years. Some last a few weeks (like “88
Reasons the Rapture will be in 1988”) and some a few years (like the
fast-fading so-called “Pre Wrath view”). But none have had more
insidious implications than Preterism – the idea that Jesus already
came back and we missed it! In fact, the Bible warns us: “there shall
come scoffers in the last days…saying, where is the promise of his
coming” (II Peter 3:3-4).
What is Preterism?
term preterist is Latin for “past.” Thus, preterists believe that
Bible prophecy was fulfilled in the past. Therefore, they view the
major prophetic passages of Scripture, such as the Olivet Discourse and
the Book of Revelation, as already fulfilled. Preterism is the exact
opposite of Futurism, which views these major biblical prophecies as
being fulfilled in the future.
Extreme preterists, who prefer to
call themselves “consistent preterists,” hold that all Bible prophecy
was fulfilled in AD 70 with the destruction of Jerusalem. They view
this event as the Second Coming of Christ and reject any belief in a
future return of Christ. Thus, they deny a future bodily resurrection
of believers and a literal return of Christ to earth. Extreme
preterists believe we are already in the “New Heavens!” Their view is
not only ludicrous, but it is also heretical and places them outside
the parameters of biblical orthodoxy.
Moderate preterists, like
R.C. Sproul, claim they still believe in a future Second Coming, but
still insist on interpreting the Olivet Discourse and the Book of
Revelation as basically already fulfilled in the past. As a result,
they reject such basic concepts as: Rapture of the Church; Literal
Seven Year Tribulation Period; Literal Antichrist; Conversion of
Israel; Battle of Armageddon; 1000-year Millennium; Future Binding of
In contrast to the basic beliefs of premillennialism,
moderate preterists believe that God is finished with biblical Israel.
They see no prophetic future for national Israel. The fact that the
State of Israel exists today is blamed on an “accident of history”
perpetrated by “ignorant premillennialists” who supported the Balfour
Declaration that eventually led to the formation of the modern state of
Israel in 1948. While most preterists would insist they are not
anti-Semitic, their theology certainly leans in that direction. One of
the symbols of the current preterist movement is an artist’s rendering
of the smoldering ashes of Jerusalem in AD 70, as though they are
rejoicing in the destruction of the Holy City.
a rule, moderate preterists tie their belief system to a postmillennial
vision in which the church becomes the new “Israel” and must bring in
the Kingdom on earth in order to prepare the world for the return of
Christ. Most preterists believe the following:
1. Nero was the Antichrist. There will be no future individual Antichrist.
2. The Tribulation Period is already over. It occurred when the Roman army besieged Jerusalem in AD 66-70.
3. Christ “returned” in the clouds in AD 70 to witness the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman army.
4. God replaced Old Testament Israel with the Church. Therefore, all the biblical promises to Israel belong to the Church.
5. Armageddon already happened in AD 70. The fall of “Babylon” refers to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans.
6. Satan is already bound in the abyss and cannot hinder the spread of the Gospel. Revelation 20 has already been fulfilled.
We are already in the Millennium, but it is not literal. Some
preterists equate the entire Church Age as the Millennium. The 1,000
years are not literal but figurative, even though they are mentioned
six times in Revelation 19-20.
The basic assumptions of
preterism rest on passages that refer to Christ coming “quickly”
(Revelation 1:1), or “this generation will not pass” (Matthew 24:34).
They insist these must be related to and limited to the first century.
By contrast, premillennialists believe that Christ’s coming is imminent
and; therefore, could occur at any moment. Darrell Bock of Dallas’
Theological Seminary counters the preterist view, observing: “What
Jesus is saying is that the generation that sees the beginning of the
end, also sees its end. When the signs come, they will proceed
quickly; they will not drag on for many generations. It will happen
within a generation.”
insist they are defending the Bible by making its prophecies fulfilled
in the past. That way, they can’t be accused of making false
assumptions about the future. In other words, their interpretive
methodology might be called: “back up and punt!” By confining
predictive prophecy to a past fulfillment they eliminate any real need
for eschatology. However, their fallacious reasoning and flimsy logic
leaves them supporting a series of ridiculous conclusions that fly in
the face of the whole history of biblical interpretation.
example, the idea that Satan is already “bound” is clearly contradicted
by Peter’s statement: “the devil, as a roaring lion, wanders about
seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). The Apostle Paul refers to
Satan as the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works
in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). One would have a
difficult time convincing Peter and Paul that Satan was already bound
by the power of the cross. If Satan is bound today, why are the
nations still deceived?
If we are already in the Millennium,
why is there still war in the world? When did the lion lay down with
the lamb? And when did the nations beat their weapons into
plowshares? If the 1,000 years are only symbolic, then is the reign of
Christ only symbolic? If God broke His everlasting covenant with
Israel, how do we know He will not break His covenant of everlasting
life with us?
If God is finished with ethnic Israel, why did
Paul ask: “Has God cast away his people?” And why did he respond so
emphatically, “God forbid!” (Romans 11:1)? Why did Paul ask of Israel,
“Have they stumbled that they should fall?” And why did he respond
again: “God forbid!” (Romans 11:11)? Why did Paul state that
“blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the
Gentiles comes” (Romans 11:25)? Why did he believe, “all Israel shall
be saved” (Romans 11:26) if God is already finished with Israel?
the Church replaces Israel and becomes the Kingdom of God on earth, why
did the disciples ask Jesus at the ascension: “Lord, will you at this
time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6). That was the perfect
opportunity for Jesus to tell the disciples that He was finished with
Israel and that they were the new “Israel.” But He did not! He simply
told them it was not for them to know that time which the Father has
predetermined for Israel to have the kingdom (Acts 1:7).
Tom Ice writes: “Because of the current spread of preterism, pastors
and teachers need to be prepared to defend orthodox eschatology from
this attack.” Those who believe that Christ already came back in AD 70
can hardly obey our Lord’s command to “keep watching” until He comes
Preterism rests on a faulty hermeneutic and
raises serious concerns for sincere students of Scripture. Consider the
1. Destroys the Literal Meaning of the
Bible. Once you start arguing that the language of prophecy cannot be
taken literally, you are not that far removed from not taking the rest
of the Bible literally either. Preterists are following the dangerous
path of liberalism which began denying predictive prophecy and soon
rejected the literal interpretation of creation, the flood, the virgin
birth of Christ, His vicarious death and bodily resurrection.
Distorts the Promise of the Second Coming. Placing the return of
Christ in the past robs the Church of a confident expectation about the
future. We are left on earth trying to “make the best of it” without
any real hope of divine intervention. It leaves the Church trying to
“bring in the Kingdom” without the King.
3. Diminishes the Hope
of the Believer. Preterism negates the biblical commands to “watch”
and “be ready” for the coming of Christ. It limits those injunctions
to the first century believers prior to AD 70. In fact, it limits
every biblical command related to the return of Christ. The phrase
“until He comes” would have to be limited to AD 70. How can we “build
the church” (Matthew 16:18) or “occupy until he comes.” In fact, how
do we celebrate the communion service to “show forth the Lord’s death
until he comes” (I Corinthians 11:26)? Should we stop celebrating the
Lord’s Supper because He already came in AD 70?
Israel of Her Future. Preterists insist that God is finished with
Israel. Many of them teach that it is actually Jesus who breaks the
covenant with Israel in Daniel 9:26-27. In essence, Preterism pits
Jesus against Israel and therefore smacks of anti-Semitism. Preterists
actually teach that the “Babylon” of Revelation 17-18 is Jerusalem!
Therefore, the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 represents Christ’s ultimate
triumph over unbelief.
5. Denies the Power of Christ. While
most preterists would insist they are defending the power of Christ,
they are actually denying it. They are trying to “bring in the
Kingdom” without the King. And might I add, they are fighting a losing
battle! Christianity is under attack like never before. We are not
winning the battle for world dominion and we never will. Yes, the
church will continue to grow (Matthew 16:18), but so will the
resistance of Satan (1 Timothy 4:1). God will continue to do marvelous
things in this world. But the Church will never bring the Kingdom of
Heaven to earth until the King of Heaven returns in person.
Dr. Ed Hindson, article appeared in the May 2005 issue of Jerry Falwells's The National Liberty Journal. The Conservative Christian's Newspaper, and also on their website www.nljonline.com.
Bible Prophecy Past or Future? An Analsis of Preterism and Hank Hanegraaff
Dr. Thomas Ice, gives what Christians should know about the false new teaching that the Book of Revelation and most of Bible prophecy has already been fulfilled. This view is known as Preterism (Latin for past). Thomas Ice explains and exposes preterism and proponents such as Hank Hanegraaff in a three-hour presentation. Ice deals with such issues as “this generation” in Matthew 24:34; the date of the Book of Revelation and how it militates against Preterism; the meaning of “quickly” and “at hand” in the Book of Revelation; the implications concerning the preterist view of the modern state of Israel; church history issues relating to preterism and dispensationalism and much more.
Bible Prophecy Past or Future / An Analysis of Preterism and Hank Hanegraaff
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The Fallacy of Preterism
Dr. David R.
Preterism is a system for the interpretation of the
book of Revelation. Its strange name comes from a Latin
word meaning past tense. The word is appropriate because
this view holds that either all or most of the book
of Revelation was fulfilled in the First Century!
The Origin of the Viewpoint
The view was developed in the 17th Century by a Jesuit
priest named Luis de Alcazar (1554-1613). His purpose
was to defend the Catholic Church against the attacks
of the Reformers. He denied the Reformers' charge that
the book of Revelation was a prophecy about the apostasy
of the Roman Church. Instead, he argued that the book
was a prophecy about the Church's struggles during its
early years. Chapters 4 through 11 were interpreted
as depicting the Church's fight against Judaism, culminating
in the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Chapters 12 through
19 were viewed as the Church's struggle against paganism,
ending with the fall of Rome in 476. Chapters 20 through
22 were interpreted to be a symbolic description of
the glories of papal Rome. Using this clever approach,
Alcazar was able to limit the range of Revelation's
prophecies to the first 500 years of the Christian Era.
Alcazar was a mild Preterist. A more radical form
of Preterism gained popularity in the latter part of
the 20th Century and is today the most widely held version
of this interpretive approach. It sees nearly all the
prophecies of Revelation as fulfilled in the 70 A.D.
destruction of Jerusalem, except for the resurrection
of believers and the Second Coming of Jesus. It assigns
the Tribulation to the fall of Israel, the great apostasy
to the First Century Church, and the last days to the
period between Jesus' ascension and the destruction
of Jerusalem. The beast is viewed as a symbol of Nero
in particular and the Roman Empire in general. The False
Prophet is equated with the leadership of apostate Israel.
Needless to say, many of the spokesmen for this viewpoint
There is a more extreme form of Preterism whose advocates
consider themselves to be "consistent Preterists."
They take the position that all so-called "end
time prophecy" was fulfilled in the destruction
of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. -- including the Second Coming
and the resurrection of believers! They do not look
forward to any future resurrection or any end of history.
They believe we are currently living in the eternal
The Cornerstone of the Viewpoint
The cornerstone of the Preterist position is a belief
that the book of Revelation was written before the destruction
of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This belief flies in the face
of strong evidence to the contrary.
The internal evidence of the book regarding the Roman
Empire and the external testimony of the Church Fathers
both point to a date of authorship around 95 A.D., 25
years after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
The type of widespread Roman persecution of the Church
that is pictured in Revelation did not occur until the
reign of Domitian (81 - 96 A.D.). The persecutions of
Nero were limited to the area of Rome. One of the Church
Fathers, Iranaeus (c. 130 - c. 202), wrote that the
book of Revelation was authored by the apostle John
"toward the end of Domitian's reign." Irenaeus
was discipled by Polycarp (c. 70 - c. 155 A.D.) who,
in turn, had been discipled directly by John himself.
References to the Temple
One of the arguments for an earlier date is based
on a reference to the Temple in Revelation 11:1-2. John
is told to measure the Temple, which in this case seems
to be a command to assess the Temple's spiritual condition.
This reference to the Temple, it is argued, must mean
that the book was written before the Temple was destroyed
in 70 A.D.
But this argument ignores the fact that the Scriptures
teach there are going to be two future Temples, one
during the Tribulation which the Antichrist will desecrate
(Daniel 9:27 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), and another
during the Millennium which Jesus Christ will consecrate
The Temple mentioned in Revelation 11 must be the
Tribulation Temple since the passage says it will be
trampled down by the Gentiles for 42 months (the last
half of the Tribulation). It also says this will be
immediately preceded by the testimony of the two witnesses
for 1,260 days (the first half of the Tribulation).
An Eclectic Observation
I can agree with the Preterists when they insist that
the book of Revelation contained a message of encouragement
to First Century Christians, assuring them that the
Church would ultimately triumph over the Roman Empire.
I can also relate to the Reformation Historicists when
they argue that the prophecies of Revelation relate
to the corruption of the Roman Church and its persecution
of true believers.
In other words, I believe the book of Revelation has
always had a continuing relevance as a source of encouragement
to suffering Christians throughout the history of the
Church. It has always served as a reminder that the
Church will ultimately triumph over all its oppressors.
That's why I can even agree with the liberal, Idealist
viewpoint when it argues that the ultimate message of
the book is that good will triumph over evil. How can
anyone argue with that conclusion when the book clearly
teaches that Satan will be crushed and Jesus will emerge
But I also believe in the Futurist view that most
of the book of Revelation is yet to be fulfilled and
is to be fulfilled in its plain sense meaning. In other
words, I believe there's going to be a real Antichrist
and not just a symbolic Antichrist. Yes, there have
been symbolic antichrists in the past, but there is
going to be a fulfillment in a literal Antichrist in
the future. I also believe the Tribulation, Millennium
and Eternal State are all yet future.
Relating the Views to Each Other
As I look at these four systems of interpretation
(Historicist, Preterist, Idealist, and Futurist) and
consider their relationship to each other, I am reminded
of how an overhead projector works. You can put a transparency
on the projector that shows the land of Israel in the
time of Joshua. Then you can lay on top of that transparency
another one that shows the boundaries of the land at
the time of Jesus. Another overlay could show the land's
boundaries during the time of the Crusaders. A final
overlay could outline the boundaries as they exist today.
Each transparency contains an element of truth about
the land. The light shines through all the transparencies
to give you the full picture, showing you how the boundaries
have changed over the years.
I think that's the way these schools of interpretation
relate to each other. Each one of the four contains
an element of truth. The problem comes when you accept
only one and reject all the others. We must never forget
that the book of Revelation contained a very relevant
message to First Century Christians. It assured them
of their ultimate victory over the Roman Empire. We
must also remember that the book has been given relevant
application to the struggles of the Church throughout
Looking to the Future
But we must also keep in mind that the Futurist view
is correct when it says that the ultimate fulfillment
of the book's prophecies is yet future.
There really is going to be a seven year period of
Tribulation. A Jewish temple is going to be rebuilt
in Jerusalem. A real person empowered by Satan will
march into that temple, blaspheme God, and declare himself
to be a god. This Antichrist will become the scourge
of the earth. He will attempt to exterminate the Jewish
people. Just as he appears to be on the verge of victory
in accomplishing this satanic goal, the Lord Jesus will
break from the heavens with all His holy ones, returning
to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem from which He ascended
into Heaven. The Lord will crush the Antichrist and
inaugurate the greatest kingdom the world has ever known.
The earth will be flooded with peace, righteousness
and justice -- as the waters cover the sea.
Something extra, "The Great Debate"
Dr. Mark Hitchcock, on the Southwest Radio Church Program. Discussing his debate with Hank Hanegraaff entitled "The Great Debate: Mark Hitchcock (65AD) vs. Hank Hanegraaff (95AD)".