Preterism & Historicism

Not open for further replies.


Puritan Board Sophomore
Preterism vs Historicism

Would the basic philosophy of Preterism and Historicism essentially be the same (seeking the historic fulfillments of prophecies in Revelation)? So then would the fundamental difference between the two viewpoints be regarding the time period in view (Preterism finding a soon fulfillment of many things, and Historicism finding fulfillment all throughout the church age)?
Last edited:


Puritan Board Doctor
The various schools of thought, preterist, historicist, futurist, idealist are using Revelation 5 to 19 like a squeezebox.

The preterists i.e. the non-heretical preterists squeeze it all into the first century (Ken Gentry), or into the first few centuries (Bahnsen).

Gentry says that Babylon is apostate Jerusalem; Bahnsen said it was pagan Rome. Personally, with Patrick Fairbairn, and James Madison MacDonald - whose book was commended by Hodge in his Systematic Theology - I think Babylon may be the apostate Church.

Futurists squeeze Revelation 5-19 into the (sometimes near) future.

Historicists identify specific historical events from the first century to the present century with parts of the book.

Idealists try to avoid linking Revelation to chronology.

A number of decisions are eentually made in the study of this difficult book:

(a) Whether it was written in the '60s or '90s.

(b) Whether preterism, historicism, futurism or idealism is the (dominant) correct interpretation.

(c) Whether amil, postmil, premil or Dispensational premil is the correct approach to the millennium.

Personally I think '60s AD is most likely, and a somewhat preterist perspective is correct, although I wouldn't be as preterist as Gentry or Bahnsen.

Many of the "escatalogical personalities" in Revelation e.g. the Beast from the Sea, span the centuries from Nero to the present day. This symbolic creature was embodied in Nero and the Roman Empire in John's day, but has existed wherever unsanctified, pagan, worldly and persecutory civil government has existed, and will until some unspecified point in future history (see Revelation 19).
Not open for further replies.