Preterism Matters

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The Importance of Truth Over Tradition

J.I. Packer

“We do not start our Christian lives by working out our faith for ourselves; it is mediated to us by Christian tradition, in the form of sermons, books, and established patterns of church life and fellowship.  We read our Bibles in the light of what we have learned from these sources; we approach the Scripture with minds already formed by the mass of accepted opinions and viewpoints with which we have come into contact, in both the church and the world…It is easy to be unaware that it has happened; it is hard even to begin to realize how profoundly tradition in this sense has molded us.  But we are forbidden to become enslaved to human tradition, either secular or Christian, whether it be “catholic” tradition, “critical” tradition, or “ecumenical” tradition.  We may never assume the complete rightness of our own established ways of thought and practice and excuse ourselves the duty of testing and reforming them by Scriptures.” 

 

 Samuele Bacchiocchi

 "The plea for a frank dialogue among evangelicals on the basis of Scripture may be very difficult if not impossible, to realize. The reason is simple. Evangelicals are conditioned by their denominational traditional teachings, just as much as the Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. In theory, they appeal to Sola Scriptura, but in practice, Evangelicals often interpret Scripture in accordance with their traditional denominational teachings. If new Biblical research challenges traditional doctrines, in most cases, Evangelical churches will choose to stand for tradition rather than for Sola Scriptura. The real difference between Evangelicals and Roman Catholics is that Catholics are at least honest about the normative authority of their ecclesiastical tradition. To be an "Evangelical" means to uphold certain fundamental traditional doctrines without questioning. Anyone who dares to question the Biblical validity of a traditional doctrine can become suspect as a heretic."

(That is exactly what Martin Luther had to endure when he challenged the traditions of the church. The modern day church is no longer “Reformed and always reforming according to the Word of God.” Rather, it is, “stagnant and always stagnating according to man-made church traditions.”  The Protestant churches are no different than the Roman Catholic Church in this regard, elevating the creeds above the Bible.)

"While individual scholars can and will change their doctrinal views without suffering devastating consequences, the same is not true for well-established churches. A church that introduces radical changes in its historical doctrinal beliefs undermines the faith of its members and thus the stability of the institution. A case in point is the Worldwide Church of God which lost over half of its members when doctrinal changes were introduced by its leaders early in 1995. The high cost of rectifying denominational religious beliefs should not deter Bible-believing Christians who are committed, not to preserve traditional beliefs for tradition’s sake, but to constantly seek for a fuller understanding of the teachings of Word of God on issues relevant to their lives."

 

Francis Beffert

"One must be willing to be wrong before he/she can become right.  Therefore, Bible study will only benefit those who are so dedicated to the pursuit of truth that they are willing to be wrong."

 "If there is to be freedom in Jesus, it can be realized by those who refuse to become complacent and are engaged in the continual pursuit of truth.  To become truly free of the shackles and chains of the doctrines of men, we must be continually vigilant and engaged in an unending search for truth.  We can never allow ourselves to become complacent in our understanding of God’s word, or so steadfast in the teachings of a given “church” that we fail to listen to other views."

 "If we hold that truth has no value, then we are free to teach opinion and become nothing more than false teachers. I would also point out that what we believe on doctrine molds our perception of God.  How we perceive the character of God dictates our response to Him, or at least the reason for that response.  Regardless of one’s personal view of these matters, the quest for true knowledge and understanding is a part of one’s responsibility toward God.  Growth lies in the search for truth. "

 

Don Stoner

"The Truth never changes; but we are not always as well informed as we would like to believe. We Christians must be flexible enough to change our positions when we discover we have made mistakes. We may not be comfortable with Truth which is different from what we were taught as children; but then we have no promise that the Truth is something which we will always be comfortable with. In any case, when differences come to light, we, not the Truth, must change."

 

The Importance of Eschatology (Bible Prophecy)

"Is the End of the World near? Are we living in the Last Days? Is Christ's return at hand? For 150 years here in America we have constantly been told we were living on the threshold of the end of the world and Christ's return. Prediction after prediction has failed to materialize, and false hope after false hope has been foisted upon the Christian community. Many Christians have been disillusioned, and are already looking for more reasonable explanations. Some have been so disillusioned they left the faith altogether. And the secular media (who are always looking for an excuse) are further discrediting Christianity because of it. Something is terribly wrong with traditional views of Bible Prophecy. There is a serious need to re-examine the whole issue of Last Things.

Bible prophecy can be understood, but Futurist views have fallen far short for many reasons: their extreme physical/literalizing approach, their inability to distinguish between figurative and literal language, and their failure to properly take into account the historical-grammatical-cultural context of the prophecies (specifically what they meant to their original audience). Even the most difficult prophetic passage comes alive when approached properly. It is time to look at some alternatives, and the Preterist view is a great place to start." - Ed Stevens

 "Christians often use the ‘liar/lunatic or Lord’ argument with non-believers in regard to statements that Jesus made about being the Son of God.  We say that either Jesus is Lord like He claims, or He is a liar or a lunatic, which would make following Him just as unwise.  The same is true when it comes to His claims about His Second Coming.  Either He returned in that generation over 1900 years ago as He and His disciples promised that He would, or He is a liar or a lunatic.  Because He did not say that He might return then but He said He would return.  So either He did return and fulfill everything He said He would fulfill at His Coming, or He lied.  There is no other option.  The very foundation of the Gospel rests upon His Words." - Ken Davies

 The atheist Bertrand Russell rejected Christianity at least in part because of Bible prophecy.

"Having granted the excellence of these maxims, I come to certain points in which I do not believe that one can grant either the superlative wisdom or the superlative goodness of Christ as depicted in the Gospels; and here I may say that one is not concerned with the historical question. Historically, it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him, so that I am not concerned with the historical question, which is a very difficult one. I am concerned with Christ as He appears in the Gospels, taking the Gospel narrative as it stands, and there one does find some things that do not seem to be very wise. For one thing, he certainly thought his second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time. There are a great many texts that prove that. He says, for instance: "Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come." Then He says: "There are some standing here which shall not taste death till the Son of Man comes into His kingdom"; and there are a lot of places where it is quite clear that He believed His second coming would happen during the lifetime of many then living. That was the belief of his earlier followers, and it was the basis of a good deal of His moral teaching. When He said, "Take no thought for the morrow," and things of that sort, it was very largely because He thought the second coming was going to be very soon, and that all ordinary mundane affairs did not count. I have, as a matter of fact, known some Christians who did believe the second coming was imminent. I knew a parson who frightened his congregation terribly by telling them that the second coming was very imminent indeed, but they were much consoled when they found that he was planting trees in his garden. The early Christians really did believe it, and they did abstain from such things as planting trees in their gardens, because they did accept from Christ the belief that the second coming was imminent. In this respect clearly He was not so wise as some other people have been, and he certainly was not superlatively wise." - Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian, March 6, 1927

 C.S. Lewis believed that Jesus was wrong. He made this blasphemous statement regarding Matthew 24:34.

"Say what you like,” we shall be told, “the apocalyptic beliefs of the first Christians have been proved to be false. It is clear from the New Testament that they all expected the Second Coming in their own lifetime. And, worse still, they had a reason, and one which you will find very embarrassing. Their Master had told them so. He shared, and indeed created, their delusion. He said in so many words, ‘this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.’ And he was wrong. He clearly knew no more about the end of the world than anyone else.”

"It is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible. Yet how teasing, also, that within fourteen words of it should come the statement  'But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.' The one exhibition of error and the one confession of ignorance grow side by side... The facts, then, are these: that Jesus professed himself (in some sense) ignorant, and within a moment showed that he really was so. To believe in the Incarnation, to believe that he is God, makes it hard to understand how he could be ignorant; but also makes it certain that, if he said he could be ignorant, then ignorant he could really be. For a God who can be ignorant is less baffling than a God who falsely professes ignorance." - C.S. Lewis,
The World's Last Night: And Other Essays, p.97 (1960)

 Who was really wrong - Jesus or C.S. Lewis?

 

 Consider Preterism

 Preterism is the belief that all Bible prophecies, including those concerned with the return of Christ, resurrection of the dead, rapture, judgment, and arrival of the kingdom of God, came to complete fulfillment in A.D. 70 upon the destruction of Herod’s temple in Jerusalem as predicted by Jesus.

 "The problem is not in what the Bible teaches. The problem is the assumptions and expectations modern Christians bring to the Bible. Everyone has opinions about what biblical prophecy should be about, and those opinions have a lot to do with what Christians “see” in prophecy. We recognize the critical role these assumptions play in our understanding of various portions of the Bible. But prophecy, understood on its own terms, is often surprisingly direct and simple." - Tim Martin

 When will Jesus return?

This question is often asked today. It was also asked by the disciples. Jesus answered His disciples and His words are straight and true:

When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 10:23)

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Assuredly, I say to you,
there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” (Matthew 16:27-28)

 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.....Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.(Matthew 24:30-34)

Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” (John 21:22)

At His trial Jesus told those who were listening that they would live to see the Second Coming.

Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:64)

Jesus emphatically told His disciples that He would return within their lifetime. So ask yourself. Did Jesus lie? Was Jesus wrong? Did Jesus fail? If He did not return when He said He would within the lifetime of His disciples, then He lied, which means He cannot be the Son of God, which means He cannot be your Savior. This is why Bible prophecy is important.

The Second Coming in the Epistles

  Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.  Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:7-9)

  For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry. (Hebrews 10:37)


The Second Coming in Revelation

Lo, he doth come with the clouds, and see him shall every eye, even those who did pierce him, and wail because of him shall all the tribes of the land. Yes! Amen! (Revelation 1:7 YLT)

 "Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown." (Revelation 3:11)

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Revelation 22:7)

"And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. "
(Revelation 22:12)

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)


The Purpose of Second Coming
The purpose of the Second Coming of Christ was to complete God's redemptive plan for His people. The purpose was to finalize what had to be done for salvation. The Second Coming destroyed the Old Covenant and consummated the New Covenant. If Jesus has not returned yet, then we do not have salvation yet as the Book of Hebrews clearly states.

 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)

 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near. (Luke 21:28)

 These are just some of the verses in the New Testament that teach a first century return of the Lord. One cannot read the New Testament without seeing that the first century Christians were expecting Jesus to come back in their lifetime. They got that notion from Jesus Himself. The Bible is very blatant about this. 

You might be saying to yourself, "If Jesus returned in A.D. 70, why is it not recorded anywhere? Why didn't anyone write about it in the history books? " Good question. Modern Christians presuppose that the Second Coming is physical and visible on a literal cloud. But the New Testament was written in light of the Old Testament and it cannot be understood apart from that fact. See the page on Old Testament Comings to see how God came down on the clouds in the Old Testament. These were not literal/physical comings. God came in judicial judgment against His enemies. The New Testament Second Coming was of the same nature.

There is simply no getting around the timing of The Second Coming. The timing of the Second Coming determines the nature of it. It was a cloud coming like the cloud comings in the Old Testament, for example Isaiah 19:1 where God judged Egypt. These were local judgments. The first century Jews missed the First Coming of Christ because it did not happen the way that they thought it would. Christians of the 21st century have missed the Second Coming of Christ for the same reason.

The testimony of Scripture is overwhelming.  Jesus connected His Second Coming with the destruction of Herod's Temple in A.D. 70. Throughout the New Testament the Apostles taught that Jesus was returning in their lifetime. To dismiss their words as irrelevant to the question of the timing of the Second Coming is an exercise in theological fantasy -church tradition over divine revelation. Those who insist that there is still a future Second Coming of Christ are not really studying their Bible. They simply believe what someone else told them.

 Be a Berean. Read the Bible for yourself. You will find that what your Bible teachers have been teaching you is not in there. You have the same Bible that the "experts" have. Read it!

11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11 NIV)

 

Here are some helpful introductory articles on Preterism.

 What Did Jesus Say?  by Tim Martin and Jeffrey Vaughn

What Is a Preterist?  by Ken Davies

What Is The Preterist View?  by Ed Stevens

Preterism 101  by David Green

 

Recommended Books on Preterism

Behind the Veil of Moses by Brian Martin

Christianity's Great Dilemma by Glenn Hill

The Second Coming of Jesus Christ Already Happened by Ward Fenely

Reading the Bible Through New Covenant Eyes by Alan Bondar

 

 

Watch and/or buy the 90-minute Preterist DVD called "You've Gotta Be Kidding, Right?" by Brian Martin. He tells the story of how his friend and coworker showed him that Preterism is true. Packed with Scripture and humor it sells for only $5. It is cheaper if you want more or you can just watch it online. You see, the good thing about Preterism is there is no money in it, unlike futurism which is literally a million dollar business. Futurism is a racket.

 

Modern Day Prophecy "Experts" Versus The Bible

Church preachers, radio preachers, and TV preachers would have us believe that God's kingdom has not arrived yet. But didn't John the Baptist and Jesus say that it was at hand back in the first century?

Matthew 3:1-2
1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea,2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (NKJV)

Matthew 4:17
17 From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (NKJV)

Matthew 10:7
7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (NKJV)

Didn't Jesus say that the Kingdom of God had already come?

Matthew 12:28 (New King James Version)
28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Preachers today tell us that the Kingdom of God will be a physical kingdom headquartered in Jerusalem. But didn't Jesus say the exact opposite?

Luke 17:20-21 (New King James Version)
   20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

The Bible teaches that the Kingdom of God came in the first century and that it is a spiritual kingdom, not a physical one.

 


 


 

 

 

Challenging Modern Day Church Traditions

Are our modern translations of The Bible really infallible? 

The King James Version versus The Septuagint.

Mistranslating the Greek Word "Mello" in Acts 24

 Is Satan really a personal fallen angel?

The Doctrine of Satan