Sunday, November 25, 2007

Preterism for Dummies Like Me (Part 1):

First things first, on this blog, when either Josh or myself refer to Preterism, we are referring to the orthodox form of Preterism which says that though almost every Bible prophecy has been fulfilled, the second coming of Christ has not happened yet, and the resurrection has not happened yet. If we want to talk about the heretical form of Preterism, we will call it "Unorthodox Preterism" or "Hymenaean Preterism." There is no need for the term "Partial Preterist" here, because we won't let them hijack the name. We are orthodox Preterists, or just simply "Preterists."

1. Matthew 24
Not to be too simplistic, but lets be obvious here, everyone. Jesus is talking to his disciples, and he is talking about the judgment Jerusalem is going to receive from God, and Jesus actually gives a timeline for when the judgment will happen.
"Then Jesus went out and departed form the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, 'Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.' " (v. 1-2)
Could Jesus be any more plain? He tells his disciples, "Jerusalem is going to be judged. This temple you are looking at right here will be completely leveled, as a matter of fact.
"Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place" (v. 34).
Let me put it plainly, for those in Rio Linda: "When will all this crazy stuff happen, you ask? Well let me put it this way, 'Alot of the people who are here right now are going to live long enough to see this baby go down.' "

I realize there are several nuances to this position, and perhaps I've over-simplified things here, but the truth is, Jesus predicted that his judgment would come very very soon, and it did. No one disagrees that in 70AD the temple was totally destroyed. The dispensational position creates a scenario where a temple has to be constructed all over again only to be torn down a second time, but such is unnecessary. The preterist view is far simpler, in this respect.

2. The Author of Revelation says that the Beast of Revelation is someone whom his readers could immediately identify. (I have Josh Walker to thank for this little nugget, by the way.) In Revelation 13:18, the author writes the following:
"Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666."
The more I think about this line of argument, the stronger the case for its efficacy seems to be. The argument is that a plain reading (dispensationalists are huge fans of literal readings of Scripture) will make obvious that John, as he wrote Revelation wrote this message - almost as a parenthetical note for his readers - revealing the identity of the one he had been identifying as the beast. I'm not even sure if it is contested, anymore, that 666 is the numerical transliteration of "Nero Caesar" from the Hebrew. Perhaps there are some who contest this, but I'm not aware of any. I'm also not omniscient, though, either.

The strength of this reasoning, though, is not its complexity, but its simplicity. Nero Caesar not only transliterates as 666, but he just happens to be someone who was alive during the time of the writing of the book of Revelation, and a study of the life of Caesar bear out, I think, that he truly did fit all of the characteristics which Revelation attributes to the beast. The implication for this, of course, is that if Nero was the Beast, then the events surrounding the Beast in Revelation would also have been contemporaneous with Nero, as well. And of course, that means that most of the book of Revelation has already taken place.

It should be noted, in addition, that in order for this argument to stand, it is not exactly necessary for 666 to be the number for Nero, because the real issue is that John was writing to the seven churches of Asia minor, and when he wrote to those churches, he told them that if they were wise, they could (by using the code 666) identify who the beast was. Point blank, John was saying to the churches that the beast was alive (present day) and they could spot him. How can John say this, however, if the beast isn't going to emerge for another 2000 years? Not only is it counter-intuitive, but it really seems to make no sense.

I know some of this may be old for many of you, but for me (and for many, I would guess) it is very current, perhaps even something new, so I ask you to bear with me and help enrich this conversation. More on this tomorrow, perhaps.


  1. "no need for 'partial preterism'" -- AMEN! Don't you hate it when our terms get hijacked. Other terms hijacked lately: Reformed, Evangelical, sick.

    Do you remember when "sick" once meant defective or impaired. Now it means good or impressive.

  2. "Ill." If something is "ill," that means that it's really neat.

    I know that I've heard your sentiments echoed by Josh W. as well as Pastor Gene Cook Jr.

    Even the term Calvinist doesn't mean much anymore. You just have to straight up ask if they subscribe completely to Westminster. And even then, alot of people find wiggle-room there, it seems.

  3. Jason,

    Thanks for stopping by and THANK YOU SO MUCH for linking to our blog. That is very "sick" of you.

    Now to your comment, I agree with you! It also sucks when Calvinists get called "Hyper Calvinists" by those who do not like the Reformed faith. This seems like a similar offense.

  4. So,
    Why is there no need for 'partial preterism'? What is the difference between 'partial preterism' and 'orthodox preterism'? What is the problem with the term 'partial preterism'? Why do you long to call your position 'orthodox preterism'? What source have you read which calls your position 'orthodox preterism' instead of 'partial preterism'?

  5. I can only speak for myself, but I prefer to use the term 'preterist.' The reason I do not use the term 'partial preterist' is because I do not like to define my view in light of others, at least as much as possible. In other word, I like to state what I amfor and and what I am against. To use the term 'partial preterist' also gives the heretics the term 'preterist.' I am not ready to do this.

  6. But when you say 'preterist', most people when they hear that, if they know anything about 'preterism' will think of full preterism, not the 'partial' kind.

    So what about the term 'orthodox preterism', where did you get this term?

  7. I personally have heard the term used on Gene Cook's radio program "The Narrow Mind." It is possible that Cook's nomenclature is unique, but I would find that hard to believe.

    It's true that in this context I am differentiating between orthodox and unorthodox preterists, but ordinarily, I just say "Preterists" to refer to my position and "Hymenaean Preterist" to refer to the belief that the second coming of Christ has already occurred and that the resurrection of the dead has already happened.

  8. My questions in regards to Nero = 666 are as follows. (Sorry I don't have my Bible in front of me by the way.) How do you explain the view that Dispensationalists typically hold to, which is that the beast will die and be resurrected, if Nero is the beast? In addition, you said that John the Revelator meant 666 to be used as a secret code of the church to refer to Nero. Do you know of any historical church writings in which church members wrote about the beast 666 and the context of the writing would seem to indicate that they were talking about Nero to buttress your views further? (Other than the book of Revelation?)

  9. How can spiritual things like the resurection be a past event which Preterist claim.

  10. You are absolutely correct in refusing the term "partial preterist." We don't need a qualifier; the heretics do.

    You may have heard this when I was a guest on Gene Cook's show. I go into this in a very indepth fashion on my site and podcast.

    Shoot me an email if you want the links. I try not to post my links on other people's blogs as I am not trying to self-promote. My email is


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