Partial Preterism and the Millennium

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Puritan Board Freshman
Hi friends! Few months ago through studying with *gasp* hyper-preterists I became convinced of the olivet discourse being a first century prophecy and other such verses. However I could not come to think ALL has come to pass through certain texts to turn me against "hyper" preterism. So just to clarify, I am not a full or hyper preterist.

My problem is through the book of Revelation. I see much of what the preterist stands for to be backed up in the text to speak of first century events. However, I'm having trouble seeing how one interprets the book of Revelation as first century events up until chapter 20. How can the flow of the text support partial preterism?


Puritan Board Doctor
I don't think you should start with Revelation in forming your eschatalogical opinions but with books and passages that are less symbolical and easier to interpret. Revelation is the most difficult book in the Bible, and being the capstone of the Bible, it is to be interpreted by what has gone before. Therefore you need a good grasp of what has gone before.

I believe that Matthew 24:1-35 is about the destruction of Jerusalem, and there may also be something of the prophetic perspective in seeing the Second Advent anticipated in that event.

But even in this passage we have the Lord denying that He is making a visible and physical return at this time i.e. AD 70 :
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:23-27)

Christ's Second Advent will be so visible to all that it will be broadcast accross the sky like lightning being seen from one part of the land to another. Those who say that Christ has come already are false prophets.

Matthew 24:36- 25:46 is about the Second Advent at the end of the world.

I'd advise you to have no studies with hyperpreterists as they are fanatical heretics that are willing to overthrow the historical faith for the sake of their Satan-inspired delusions.

How much grounding to you already have in the faith - and in the Reformed faith - when you are getting involved in such involved Qs with these people? I say that as someone who is concerned.

There are more important things to study than whether one is amil, postmil, premil, preterist,historicist,idealist, futurist. Once the more important things have been looked at you can be in a better position to study these details of eschatology. First things first!

Some people have swung from a complicated premillennial dispensationalism that has occupied a prominent place in their theology and minds, to a heretical hyperpreterism, through involvement with these wolves.

Their are books such as Marcellus Kik's "Eschatology of Victory" (Presbyterian and Reformed) that take a moderate and biblical preterist approach to certain passages.

"When shall these things be? : A Response to Hyperpreterism" (PandR) points out the errors of the wolves.
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Puritan Board Freshman
I'm not currently studying with the full-preterists. I do own Mathison's book "When shall these things be?". My problem is not falling into hyper preterism. Neither forming an eschatological position from the book of Revelation. Although I disagree with your Matthew 24:36+ about speaking of the end of the world as in the globe (and doesn't make me a full preterist), I did say that I came to reject the thought of full preterism with other portions of scipture though.

My only question was how do partial preterists handle Revelation as first century events until chapter 20, then becomes prophecies to be fulfilled in the future? Just asking for their take on the literary flow to back up their position.


Puritan Board Doctor
Well you have to interpret Revelation in the light of the rest of Scripture, particularly the NT, which teaches a personal Second Advent of Christ at the end of the world e.g.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. (Matt 25:31-32, ESV)

And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.(Acts 1:10-11)

Different commentators have done different things with Revelation 5 to 19. Gentry seems to place it all in the first century and believes that Babylon is first century Jerusalem, whereas Bahnsen opens up the squeeze box a bit and believes that Babylon is pagan Rome and its downfall is the downfall of the Roman Empire, which happened for the West in the fifth century, and for the east in the fifteenth century.

Is Gentry over-reacting to futurist commentators that put the whole of Revelation 5 to 19 into future, and squeeze it in that direction?

Thus Gentry as a partial preterist has a first century date for the events of Revelation 19, whereas Bahnsen has a later date.

I would have an even later date as I believe that Babylon may be the apostate Church, and she hasn't been overthrown yet. Persecution (the Beast) and false teaching (the False Prophet) haven't been overthrown yet, either. Although I tend to believe the events start in the first century with the destruction of Jerusalem, and Nero as the first century representative of beastly power.

We have to take much of our speculation on Revelation with a large dose of salt, as it is a difficult enough book that a man like Gentry thinks Babylon is Jerusalem, while Bahnsen said it was Rome, and the idealist amil commentators say it is something else. There is still great profit in the intelligent study and discussion of the book, and its general message is plain.

Revelation 19 may well point to a period in history when Christ will overthrow false teaching and persecution by His Spirit, Word, Church and Providence, but by the prophetic perspective Revelation 19 also points further to the end of time when Christ will return in His glory.

And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them (Rev 20:9)

Bahnsen pointed out that fire is associated with Christ's Second Coming and the End of the World:

and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.(II Thess 1:7-8)

So from an orthodox non-heretical preterist approach, Christ's Second Advent is at least anticipated in Revelation 19, and is also taught in Revelation 20:9-10. But see books (or tapes or CDs) by Gentry, Bahnsen, Mathison's "Postmillennialism" (PandR) - and also books by the idealist amils (e.g. Riddlebarger, Hendriksen) if you want a different point of view.
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