Eschatology / Preterism

Hi everyone,

Please suggest reading materials or reliable sources about Eschatology and specifically Preterism. Thanks!

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@Raphy1407 Great question :slight_smile: Full preterism, or the idea that the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD by the Romans was Jesus second and final return, is generally considered to be outside orthodoxy. Partial-preterism, which does see the events of 70 AD as the fulfillment of many but not all mentions of Jesus’ second coming, is within orthodoxy. Basically, orthodox Christians hold that Jesus will return again, but there is still room within orthodoxy to believe that the events of 70 AD did fulfill many of the prophecies about Christ coming soon and Jerusalem being surrounded by armies.

Below are some resources I recommend giving a read. Feel free to ask additional questions and Christ grant you wisdom :slight_smile:

Steve Gregg’s Lectures “When Shall These Things Be”

Steve Gregg is quite thorough in his discussion of this topic. As a bonus, you can call into his radio show and he will actually answer your questions.

https://thenarrowpath.com/topical_lectures.php

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For a premillennial evangelical point of view, I like Mark Hitchcock. He gives low-key presentations with absolutely no sensationalism, hysteria, politics, or conspiracy theories.

Thanks!

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@Raphy1407 Sure thing :slight_smile:

We recently did a men’s group study of The Last Days According to Jesus which you can enjoy as a video series on YouTube. The author/lecturer is R.C. Sproul. It’s a bit heavy (read dated) but very interesting series on this subject.

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One problem with even the partial Preterism view is that Jesus’ prophetic words about the temple didn’t happen in the first century.

In the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24:15, Jesus speaks of the abomination of desolation in the Holy Place followed immediately by the flight of the people of Judea and great distress “unequaled from the beginning of the world until now and never to be equaled again”.

The Romans tore down the temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. but they didn’t desecrate it with a pig or a statue of a god (as the Seleucids did). And the people of Judea didn’t immediately run for their lives in 70 A.D. And this was not distress that has since never been equaled.

In 135 A.D. the Jews of Judea - and the Christians - fled for their lives but that’s hardly immediately after 70 A.D. They fled then not because the temple had been desecrated, but because the Romans, in retaliation for the Bar Kochba led rebellion, began a full scale attack on the Jews of Judea and completely destroyed Jerusalem. Then the Romans killed hundreds of thousands of Jews and sent as many others into slavery. But this also was not a distress that has since never been equaled.

However, 2 Thess. 2:4 says that the Antichrist will set himself up in God’s temple and proclaim himself to be God - and that would be an abomination of desolation. This would be a time for the people throughout Judea to immediately flee for their lives since the Antichrist carries out an extreme persecution of all who will not worship him. The tribulation is the only time in which the distress would be greater than anything that went before it and could not be equaled by anything following it.

Meanwhile, the Temple Institute in Jerusalem has already drawn up its plans for the next Jewish temple and has made the priestly robes, the temple articles, the temple menorah, bred the specified sacrificial animals , trained the priests, etc., etc. All they need is someone strong enough to give them a section of the Temple Mount.

[ In the Olivet Discourse in Matthew, Jesus specifically told his disciples that it would be the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel. There is agreement among all scholars that Daniel’s abomination of desolation was fulfilled when Antiochus Epiphanes, king of the Seleucids, sacrificed a pig on the temple altar and set up a statue of Zeus (Jupiter) in the temple courtyard. He did not destroy the temple. Later Bar Kochba had the temple cleansed from this abomination of desolation (Hanukkah commemorates that). However in the Olivet Discourse Jesus tells his disciples to expect a further fulfillment of Daniel’s abomination of desolation.

Although Christians may well have fled Jerusalem when the Romans destroyed the temple, they didn’t flee Judea. We know that because there are records of the Jews’ anger with the Christians for not joining them in the Bar Kochba rebellion. Bar Kochba (Simon bar Kosiba) had declared himself to be the Messiah (but not in the temple which had long since been destroyed) and the Christians of course wouldn’t follow him.

Other things that Jesus talked about in the Olivet Discourse - false messiahs, wars, famines, and earthquakes were ongoing in the first century and continuing ever since. So they would be fairly meaningless as signs of the end unless He is meaning that those things occur in great force and all within a small time period - which Revelation does describe happening in the tribulation. Rev. speaks of earthquakes during the tribulation; Rev.16:17-21 says one earthquake will shake the cities of the nations until they collapse and that ‘no earthquake like it has ever occurred since mankind has been on earth’. The USGS says you would need at least a magnitude 10 earthquake to affect the entire globe and that would take a fault line that extended around most of the planet. The earthquake that happened when Jesus died was not unprecedented.]

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@roslynfarmer781 Thank you for sharing your thoughts :slight_smile: Probably not enough space to get into all the details of this lengthy discussion here, but I did want to note there is a solid argument for the destruction of Jerusalem being the abomination of desolation. Luke wrote to a gentile audience and if you look at what Luke says in the same place that the other Gospel writers use abomination of desolation, you will see that Luke clarifies what this means for his audience. He says that when Jerusalem is surrounded by armies the end is near.

Also, a partial preterists would say that the language in this passage is hyperbole and that the passage is describing the end of the Old Covenant in exaggerated terms. Sam Storms and Steve Gregg cover all this and more in their books, but I just wanted to note that there is a logical reason for this position.

Matthew 24:15-18 - “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.

Luke 21:20-22 - “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.

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Thanks for your reply. But I’d like to point out that Daniel uses the same term, “abomination of desolation” in Daniel 12:11. If you look up the Hebrew there, “abomination” means disgusting, filthy, detestable, abominable filth, impure. This word is used in the Bible for “Chemosh, the abomination of Moab” and “Ashtoreth the abomination of the Zidonians”. No army there at all. Daniel 9:27 says, “And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation…”. Daniel is clearly not using that term with respect to an army, but with respect to an abomination that happens in the temple. And he is clearly talking about one person, “he” who sets up this abomination, not an army.

Jerusalem was surrounded by armies in 70 AD, and many Christians would have fled Jerusalem, but they didn’t flee Judea at that time.

If you take Matthew’s Olivet Discourse and interpret it just as it is written, then if all those things would occur during a seven-year tribulation (which Daniel wrote about) then everything would fit like Cinderella’s slipper. The verse, “this generation will not pass away” makes perfect sense. There’s no need for spiritualizing anything.

The Preterists did not think Israel could ever exist again as a nation, and that there could never be another temple that could be desecrated. Therefore they had to spiritualize the Olivet Discourse so that it would make sense to them.

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@roslynfarmer781 Appreciate your reply :slight_smile: Actually, there is evidence that the Christians were miraculously warned and fled to Pella in AD 70 (see articles below).

Regarding the term abomination of desolation, words and phrases can take on new meaning and be applied in slightly different ways than in their original context. For example, when a Christian talks about the lamb of God they are not referring to a literal lamb as the ancient Jews did, but to Christ, our Passover Lamb. The idea of the Passover Lamb has taken on new meaning for us in light of what Jesus did on the cross. In the same way, the idea of abomination of desolation was a term the Jews were familiar with and Jesus used to warn of the danger coming against the temple.

I believe there is room for disagreement on the meaning of abomination of desolation, so I am not saying there is only one perspective on the issue :slight_smile: And in defense of partial preterism, it is an ad hominem argument to say that they interpret the Scriptures because of one particular issue. Eschatology is complex and, if you read Sam Storms and Steve Gregg’s books, you will find many rational reasons for being a partial preterist other than the belief the temple cannot be rebuilt.

Jesus, while looking over the temple mount in Jerusalem shortly before his death, prophesied that its beautiful stones would be thrown down within a generation. He warned that the residents should flee Jerusalem to the mountains when they saw the Roman armies surrounding the city. Jesus’ admonition is found in each of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 24:15–22; Mark 13:14–20; Luke 21:20–24). Perhaps Jesus visited Pella during his visit to the Decapolis (Mark 7:31) and Perea (Matthew 19:1; Mark 10:1), and recalling its secure location, cryptically referred to it in this prophecy. Eusebius’s Church History (3.5.3) recounts that the Jewish followers of Jesus heeded his warning and fled to Pella for safety before Jerusalem’s destruction. Birgil Pixner believes that, after the city’s destruction, they returned to Jerusalem to rebuild their Jewish-Christian synagogue on Mount Zion.*

The people of the Church in Jerusalem were commanded by an oracle given by revelation before the war to those in the city who were worthy of it to depart and dwell in one of the cities of Perea which they called Pella. To it those who believed on Christ traveled from Jerusalem, so that when holy men had altogether deserted the royal capital of the Jews and the whole land of Judaea…"

— Eusebius, Church History 3, 5, 3

This heresy of the Nazoraeans exists in Beroea in the neighbourhood of Coele Syria and the Decapolis in the region of Pella and in Basanitis in the so-called Kokaba (Chochabe in Hebrew). From there it took its beginning after the exodus from Jerusalem when all the disciples went to live in Pella because Christ had told them to leave Jerusalem and to go away since it would undergo a siege. Because of this advice they lived in Perea after having moved to that place, as I said."

— Epiphanius, Panarion 29,7,7-8

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You raised some good points. But it still remains that Jesus said “when you see the abomination of desolation spoken by Daniel” so He put the interpretation of “abomination” in the context of what Daniel had said about it. And it still remains that Jesus said the flight would be from Judea.

Most scholars say that Daniel’s abomination of desolation occurred when Antiochus Epiphanes defiled the temple. And Daniel’s prophecy does fit that scenario. Yet Jesus said Daniel’s abomination was still to occur. That points out something I’ve heard many times, that to the Jews, a prophecy had many layers of fulfillment, the last one being the complete fulfillment. (Like a Sudoku puzzle is finished when all the squares are correct.)

In the same way, the flight to Pella may have been one layer of fulfillment, but it was not a complete fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse.

It’s good that we can agree to disagree. But, if Israel gets the go-ahead to rebuild that temple, it would be good to buy earthquake insurance.

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Haha :rofl: I’ll pass on the earthquake insurance, but I enjoyed the discussion.

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Thanks Sean for the discussion. I enjoyed it too.

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Hello Raphael @Raphy1407. A pastor and radio Bible teacher that I have found to be very biblical in all his teachings on Revelation is Dr. David Jeremiah. He backs everything he says with Scripture or he will tell you it is his opinion. He has done a series which includes a book, CD’s, etc. and accompanying study guides called “Escape the Coming Night”. This is a link to Dr. Jeremiah’s website, specifically, their store. If you click on “Series”, Study Guides, CD’s, or DVD’s. on the side bar, you will find them on the second page. There are four volumes in all. He takes the study, practically verse by verse, gives background history, and refers to both New and Old Testament scriptures for substantiating what he says.
https://www.davidjeremiah.org/store

In regard to Preterism, I found this link that has been a trusted source other Connect members have used: https://www.gotquestions.org/preterist.html
I hope these will help answer your question.