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Preterism overview

UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Preterism is a view in Christian eschatology which holds that some or all of the biblical prophecies concerning the Last Days refer to events which took place in the first century after Christ's birth, especially associated with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The term preterism comes from the Latin praeter, meaning past, since this view deems certain biblical prophecies as past, or already fulfilled
Preterism is most dramatically contrasted with Futurism, the view that most prophecies regarding the End times, and passages referring to Last DaysGreat Tribulation, and Judgment are still future and will immediately precede the return of Christ. Proponents of preterist views generally fall in one of two categories: 

Brief Summary Menu:

pointer Partial Preterism
pointer Full Preterism

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Partial Preterists

Partial Preterism, the older of the two views, holds that prophecies such as the destruction of Jerusalem, the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, and the advent of the Day of the Lord as a "judgment-coming" of Christ were fulfilled circa 70 AD when the Roman general (and future Emperor) Titus sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish Temple, putting a permanent stop to the daily animal sacrifices. It identifies "Babylon the great" (Revelation 17-18) with the ancient pagan City of Rome or Jerusalem.

Most Partial Preterists also believe the term Last Days refers not to the last days of planet Earth or the last days of humankind, but rather to the last days of the Mosaic covenant which God had exclusively with national Israel until the year AD 70. As God came in judgment upon various nations in the Old Testament, Christ also came in judgment against those in Israel who rejected him. Theselast days, however, are to be distinguished from the "last day," which is considered still future and entails the Second Coming of Jesus, the Resurrection of the righteous and unrighteous dead physically from the grave in like-manner to Jesus' physical resurrection, the Final judgment, and the creation of a literal (rather than covenantal) New Heavens and a New Earth, free from the curse of sin and death which was brought about by the Fall of Adam and Eve.

Thus partial preterists are in agreement and conformity with the historic ecumenical creeds of the Church and articulate the doctrine of the resurrection held by the Early church fathers. Partial preterists hold that the New Testament predicts and depicts many "comings" of Christ. They contend that the phrase Second Coming means second of a like kind in a series, for the Scriptures record other "comings" even before the judgment-coming in 70 AD. This would eliminate the 70 AD event as the "second" of any series, let alone the second of a series in which the earthly, physical ministry of Christ is the first. Partial Preterists believe that the new creation comes in redemptive progression as Christ reigns from His heavenly throne, subjugating His enemies, and will eventually culminate in the destruction of physical death, the "last enemy" (1 Cor 15:20-24). If there are any enemies remaining, the resurrection event cannot have occurred.

Nearly all Partial Preterists hold to amillennialism or postmillennialism. Many postmillennial Partial Preterists are also theonomists in their outlook.

Partial Preterism is generally considered to be an historic orthodox interpretation as it affirms all items of the ecumenical Creeds of the Church. However, Partial Preterism is not the majority view among American protestant denominations and meets with significant vocal opposition, especially by those which espouse Dispensationalism. Additionally, concerns are expressed by Dispensationalists that Partial Preterism logically leads to an acceptance of Full Preterism, a concern which is denied by Partial Preterists.

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document {Detailed View of Partial Preterism}

Full Preterism

Full Preterism differs from Partial Preterism in that it sees all prophecy fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem, including the resurrection of the dead and Jesus' Second Coming or Parousia. Full Preterism is also known by other names, such as Consistent Preterism or Hyper-Preterism (a somewhat derogatory term). A related but more recent term is Pantelism, which some regard as an extension of Full Preterism rather than the same thing.

Full Preterism holds that Jesus' Second Coming is to be viewed not as a future-to-us bodily return, but rather a "return" manifested by the physical destruction of Jerusalem and her Temple in AD 70 by foreign armies in a manner similar to various Old Testament descriptions of God coming to destroy other nations in righteous judgment. Full Preterism also holds that the Resurrection of the dead did not entail the raising of the physical body, but rather the resurrection of the soul from the "place of the dead," known as Sheol (Hebrew) or Hades (Greek). As such, the righteous dead obtained a spiritual and substantial body for use in the heavenly realm, and the unrighteous dead were cast into the Lake of Fire. Some Full Preterists believe this judgment is ongoing and takes effect upon the death of each individual (Heb. 9:27). The New Heavens and the New Earth are also equated with the fulfillment of the Law in AD 70 and are to be viewed in the same manner by which a Christian is considered a "new creation" upon his or her conversion.

Although Full Preterism is viewed as heretical by many, this condemnation is not universal. Many of those who condemn Full Preterism do so not based solely upon the historic creeds of the church (which would exclude this view), but also from biblical passages that they interpret to condemn a past view of the Resurrection or the denial of a physical resurrection/transformation of the body, doctrines which many Christians (but not all) believe to be essential to the faith. Critics of full preterism point to the Apostle Paul's condemnation of the doctrine of Hymaneus and Philetus (2 Tim 2:17-18), which they regard as analogous to full preterism.

Adherents of Full Preterism, however, dispute this assertion by claiming that any biblical condemnation of a past resurrection was written during a time in which the Resurrection was yet future (i.e., pre-AD 70) as well as claiming different interpretations of other proffered biblical passages. Furthermore, Full Preterists reject the authority of the Creeds to condemn their view, stating that the Creeds were written by uninspired and fallible men and are simply in error on this point and need to be reformed. A growing movement, there has been a strong push by Full Preterists for acceptance as another valid Christian eschatological view; however, to date, no major conservative denomination or group has officially accepted this view as normative, though several have issued a condemnation.

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document {Detailed View of Full Preterism}
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original source {introduction Material}

 

 
 
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