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Refuting Preterist Arguments

Gab user Akzed commented on a post I made stating my view that the preterist position of Biblical prophecy is false. He apparently takes the preterist approach and replied with the following: "Well then, what do you do with Mt. 16:28; 23:36; 24:34; Rev. 1:1-3?"

First off, the "preterist position" is a view of Biblical prophecy and the events of Revelation which states that all these things have already happened. It's bizarre to me that this view even exists considering how many events in Revelation clearly haven't yet occurred (nearly all of them). We are still waiting for the anti-Christ to appear, Jesus Christ to return in the clouds (and every eye shall see Him), the Day of the Lord, a new Heaven and new Earth, and so on.

In fact, the epistle of 2 Thessalonians was written to calm the church and to refute the idea that they had "missed" the Day of the Lord or that it was already upon them. Much like the Hebrew Roots movement misses the entire book of Galatians (and parts of Romans and Colossians etc.), the preterist view overlooks large sections of Scripture as well.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-8 says, "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." Quite obviously that hasn't happened yet, but is an event still in the future.

"Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." - 2 Peter 3:13

There are too many verses showing that numerous prophecies are yet to be fulfilled, so rather than quote large sections of Scripture, for the rest of this post I'll try and just cover those verses mentioned above by "Akzed" as supposed proof-texts for the preterist view.

#1 Matthew 16:28 "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." The very next chapter describes this event on the Mount of Transfiguration, and most of the church fathers agree with this understanding. It's strange that some can interpret this verse to say that Jesus returned to establish His Kingdom in the lifetime of these disciples since that simply didn't happen.

#2 Matthew 23:36 "Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation." This refers back to verse 33 ("Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?") as well as the destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jews into all the nations. Jesus was talking to the Scribes and Pharisees. I don't see how this shows any support for preterism.

#3 Matthew 24:34 "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." Again, Jesus was not talking about the lifespan of the disciples because those things mentioned in that chapter have not happened (see previous verses 27-31 especially). "This generation" refers to the generation of believers just as it is used in Psalm 24:6. Furthermore, looking at the parallel chapter in Luke 21, we see that "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled." The preterist would have to believe that the times of the gentiles began and was completed within a year or so!

#4 Revelation 1:1-3 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 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." The "shortly come to pass" means that these things will take place in a short time span (ταχει), not that they will happen within the next year or so, of which there is no such record of these events in the late 90's to early 100's A.D. Also, "the time is at hand" (εγγυς) means the time is near as God reckons time (see 2 Peter 3:8). Just as James 4:14 describes our life as a vapor in relation to eternity, so "the time is near" is relative.

One thing we must keep in mind is that we have to take Scripture as a whole, and allow it to interpret itself. We cannot take a few verses out of context to prop up a certain doctrine.

Jesus is coming back very soon! Are you ready?


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