Preterism and Futurism
I am not a futurist or a preterist. I do not like these labels, and they do not fit me. I find that people put them on you so they can ignore what you are saying.
The problem with both the futurist and the preterist approaches is that they apply a blanket rule to all prophetic scriptures, when clearly some have been fulfilled, and others have not. Rather than applying a single rule, we need to examine each passage in its context.
The preterists throw the baby out with the bathwater. The futurist loses sight of the baby, because they are obsessed with the dirty bathwater.
Dispensationalism is another flawed method for interpreting prophetic scriptures that produces incorrect readings.
- There is no antichrist, but there is a terrible beast that tramples the world.
- There is no pre-tribulation rapture, but the kingdom of God will come in fullness.
- There is no great tribulation, but there is a time of distress that marks the transition to the season when the kingdom comes to fullness.
The following scriptures have been fulfilled.
- Is 53:1-12 – Jesus death and resurrection
- Dan 7:9 – Jesus ascension
- Matt 24:1-35 – Destruction of Jerusalem
- Dan 9:20-27 – Jesus’ ministry and the collapse of Jerusalem
- Rev 12 – Birth of Jesus and Jewish rejection of the gospel
The following are a few prophetic scriptures that have not been fulfilled, so we can look for their fulfilment in the future.
- Is 9:7 – Jesus government extends into the entire world.
- Is 2:3-4 – The nations submit to God’s law.
- Is 65:17-25 Lion lies down with the Lamb
- Ezek 37:1-12 – Dry bones come to life.
- Ezek 38,39 – Battle for Jerusalem.
- Dan 7:19–25 – Terrible Beast
- Dan 7:26-27 Kingdoms of the world surrender to the people of God.
- Matt 24:36-51 – Jesus return
- Rom 11:12,25-29 – Fulness of the Jews
Readers can quibble about my reading of some of them, but both a preterist and a futurist approach would get half of these scriptures wrong. The only difference is which set they get wrong.
Pushing all the prophetic scriptures back to the first century is foolish. On the other hand, pushing them all into the future is equally unwise. If Peter described an event as happening before his eyes (Acts 2:16-17) it would be unwise claim it will happen in the future. If Jesus says an event will be experienced by the generation listening to him (Matt 24:34), we should be careful about twisting his words to shift them into the future.
A common-sense approach allows the scriptures to speak as they were written. Some will be fulfilled already, and others await fulfilment in the future. Context and comparison will explain when they apply.
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