By Jay Rogers
Published April 27, 2008
Here is the dictionary definition of preterist.
PRETERIST: 1. One whose chief interest is in the past; one who regards the past with most pleasure or favor. 2. (Theol.) One who believes the prophecies of the Apocalypse to have been already fulfilled. Farrar.
Preterism means a belief in past fulfillment. Historicism means a belief in ongoing historical fulfillment. Futurism means a belief in a future fulfillment.
The terms futurist, preterist and historicist deal with how much prophecy has been fulfilled at what time. According to the definition above, these terms describe the approach of the interpreter, not the viewpoint of the biblical prophet.
If that were the case, all prophets would be futurists until they lived to see their prophecies fulfilled. Then they would become historicists. A year later, they would become preterists. of Course, such a way of understanding the terms is ridiculous.
A partial preterist is one who believes that the prophecies of Daniel, Matthew 24 and Revelation are mostly fulfilled. The difference between a partial preterist and a historicist is that the historicist thinks that these prophecies are being fulfilled in a progressive ongoing manner in history.
Of course, Daniel’s prophecy deals with events in history after he lived. It is not the prophet Daniel who is preterist, but the interpreter who believes that Daniel’s prophecies were fulfilled at about the time that the New Testament canon was completed — around AD 70.
It is further problematic to call the Reformers (and those who believed Pope Leo and Islam were foretold in Revelation) “historicist” when they believed that prophecy was being fulfilled in their day. Their view was similar to today’s futurists who place the fulfillment of nearly every biblical prophecy in the not too distant future. However, from our perspective, the view of the Reformers was historicist.
To avoid confusion, we might attach dates to the following definitions.
AD 70 — Preterist — One who believes that most of the so-called “apocalyptic” prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Matthew 24 and Revelation were fulfilled prior to AD 70.
AD 1500 — Historicist — One who believes that most of the apocalyptic prophecies have an ongoing fulfillment throughout history — a view similar to some of the Reformers of the 1500s.
AD 2000 — Futurist — One who believes that most of the apocalyptic prophecies are yet to be fulfilled — a view held by most evangelical Christians in the 21st century.
A few of these apocalyptic prophecies of the Bible are ongoing in history, especially Daniel 12; Revelation 20; and Matthew 24:36-25:46 (the last part of the Mount Olivet Discourse).
Some fulfilled prophecies do have an application beyond the specific kings and kingdoms mentioned. But the specific prophetic symbolism could not have been directly fulfilled by historical figures after the time of the Apostles.
The “little horn” of Daniel 7:25 refers specifically to Nero. The historicist applies this symbol the the entire Roman Empire and to later pagan institutions that arose from the influence of Greece and Rome. That application can be easily made. However, extending the interpretation of the “little horn” beyond AD 70 is irrelevant to the context and purpose of Daniel.
On the other hand, the “little horn” of Daniel 8:25 refers specifically to Antiochus. Some of the details of chapter 8 are so specific that it could not refer to any other person. Then the some of the same language and imagery of Daniel 8:9,10 is used again in Daniel 9:25-27, but this time to refer to Titus and the destruction of the Temple in AD 70, which Jesus interprets in the Mount Olivet Discourse passages.
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Who is the Real Jesus?
Ever since the dawn of modern rationalism, skeptics have sought to use textual criticism, archeology and historical reconstructions to uncover the “historical Jesus” — a wise teacher who said many wonderful things, but fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and certainly did not rise from the dead in triumph over sin.
Over the past 100 years, however, startling discoveries in biblical archeology and scholarship have all but vanquished the faulty assumptions of these doubting modernists. Regrettably, these discoveries have often been ignored by the skeptics as well as by the popular media. As a result, the liberal view still holds sway in universities and impacts the culture and even much of the church.
The Real Jesus explodes the myths of these critics and the movies, books and television programs that have popularized their views. Presented in ten parts — perfect for individual, family and classroom study — viewers will be challenged to go deeper in their knowledge of Christ in order to be able to defend their faith and present the truth to a skeptical modern world – that the Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus of history — “the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). He is the real Jesus.
Speakers include: George Grant, Ted Baehr, Stephen Mansfield, Raymond Ortlund, Phil Kayser, David Lutzweiler, Jay Grimstead, J.P. Holding, and Eric Holmberg.
Ten parts, over two hours of instruction!
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Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.
Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)
Running Time: 145 minutes
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High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
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The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
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Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
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This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
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High Quality Paperback — 40 pages of dynamite!
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An Introduction to the Doctrines of Interposition and Nullification
In 1776, a short time after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were assigned to design an official seal for the United States of America. Their proposed motto was Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God. America owes its existence to centuries of Christian political philosophy. Our nation provided a model for liberty copied by nations the world over.
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