Is Preterism True or False?

October 26, 2015   |   Category: Ask Irvin   |   Tags: ,

Have the Prophecies of Revelation been Fulfilled?

David: I have a question regarding the book of Revelation and those who believe that Revelation has already been fulfilled. They speak of Revelation 1:1-3 as their proof where John says, “What must soon take place,” and they seem to harp on this as their proof that Revelation has already been fulfilled. Can you comment on that?


Irvin: First of all, it was true that part of it was soon to take place. The book of Revelation is in three sections – the sections are defined in Revelation 1:19; John was told to write the things which thou has seen, the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. Chapters 1, 2, and 3 contain the things thou has seen and the things which are. Messages to 7 churches that literally existed at that time in Turkey and according to history, when John was released from exile he went back and was the overseer of those churches. Then you come to verse 1 of chapter 4 and a voice said to John, “Come up hither, I will show thee things which must be hereafter.” That’s where you move into the future of the book of Revelation. Well then John sees some things that had already happened by then. He saw the lamb take the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne; a lamb as it had been slain. So he saw one on the throne and a voice said, “ Who’s worthy to open the book with the seals?” and nobody in heaven and earth was worthy yet because Jesus hadn’t died yet. Well then the chapter transitions, this is chapter 5 I believe. The lamb arises in the middle of a throne as it had been slain, having 7 eyes and 7 horns; and the lamb had prevailed to open the book. What we see there is a picture of the crucifixion and Jesus Christ as being worthy to open the book. Then we move into the seals and many of those have been open for hundreds of years already right now. So when it says those things which must soon come to pass, that was true about some of those things, a few of them had already come to pass and if they had now they were soon coming to pass. And things have been continuing, for example, the seals we know are Catholicism, Communism, Capitalism and Islamism. Well many of these things have been in the earth for hundreds of years. So once we see the big picture, then we can understand better. Now here’s the proof that all of the book of Revelation has not passed. People who believe like that are called “Preterists”, which means “past”. Their whole theory hinges on the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD as being the Battle of Armageddon. You can prove absolutely that was not the Battle of Armageddon and it’s drop-dead simple, here’s how to do it… The Battle of Armageddon is described in Revelation chapter 16:12-16; when the sixth vial was poured out the Euphrates River was dried up to make way for the Kings of the East to come down against Israel to battle. When they came down to battle it says that He gathered them into a place called in the Hebrew tongue, “Armageddon”. It’s the only time in the entire Bible that the word “Armageddon” is used, even though it’s implied many other places. So this is a prophecy of who will come against Israel at Armageddon. Who is it? The Kings of the East. Who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD? The Romans – everyone knows that, it’s history. So are the Romans from the east? No, they are from due west. So it wasn’t the Kings of the East, and it wasn’t Armageddon and therefore Preterism is wrong. Hope that helps.

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14 Responses to “Is Preterism True or False?”

  1. Sr. my question still stands: what good did Jesus answer to the Apostles at Matthew 24 and the Revelation addressed literally and exclusively to the seven churches if the prophecy of Jesus return and the “time of the end” was to be fulfilled thousands of years into the future. Why in the world would they be “happy to read”?, they would not see the end and Jesus would not come in their time. Paul wrote to the Corinthians “Now all these things happened onto them for ensamples and they are written for OUR (people at present time) admonition, upon whom the ENDS OF THE WORLD ARE COME”. John wrote “little children IT IS THE LAST TIME and as ye have heard the antichrist shall come even now are there many antichrists, whereby WE KNOW IT IS THE LAST TIME” (this “last time” is the “last day” and “the time of the end”. Peter wrote “But in THESE LAST DAYS” He has spoken to us by His son”. Paul wrote “The Lord IS NEAR”, “the time IS SHORT”, “The day of Christ IS PRESENT”, etc. James wrote “Be patient therefore brethren onto THE COMING OF THE LORD”, “The coming of the Lord HAS DRAWN NEAR”, “behold the judge stands before the door”. Peter wrote “That the proving of YOUR faith (people of present time) … might be found onto praise and honor and glory at THE APPEARING OF JESUS CHRIST”, “for the time HAS COME that judgement must begin at the house of God” (which judgement came by the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.). “The Lord DOES NOT DELAY concerning His promise”. “This is that which was spoken by the Prophet Joel: ‘and it shall come to pass that in THE LAST DAYS the sun shall be turn to darkness…”. Jesus said to His apostles “in no wise will YOU (that tis THEM, not somebody else) have completed the cities of Israel UNTIL THE SON OF MAN BE COME” (that is what you call His “second coming”). With regards the end Jesus said “THIS GENERATION” (the present generation of Jews and the Apostles in 1st. Century) shall not pass until ALL THESE THINGS be fulfilled”, that is the whole prophecy of the “End Time”. “For the Son of Man is ABOUT TO COME (that is what you call the “second coming”) in the glory of His Father with His angels…there are those STANDING HERE who in no wise shall taste death until they HAVE SEEN the son of man COMING IN HIS KINGDOM”. “Hereafter shall YOU see (that is them, the Apostles, and soon, in their life time) the son of man sitting on the right hand of power and COMING in the clouds of heaven”. “Oh generation of vipers (that is the present generation of 1st. Century) who has warned you to flee from the wrath ABOUT TO COME”, that is the “time of the end”, Matthew 24 prophesy). To the Church in Thyatira (not some other one thousands of years into the future) Jesus advised “Hold fast till I SHALL COME”.
    I could go on and on sr. each and everyone of these scriptures foretold and prepared God’s people to an event and an advent that would happen to THEM, in THEIR life time. How have we, two thousand years, later squeeze ourselves into these scriptures?. BTW I never knew Preterism, I am an ex Jehovah’s Witness and a loner Bible student. I have very limited knowledge of groups of this nature, I don’t listen to men, I’ve done that already and didn’t go all that well.

  2. Chadd E Yount

    Question regarding 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7. These two verses refer to someone or something who is withholding the revelation of the antichrist. Who do you believe this person is and how will he be taken out of the way?
    Thank you

  3. Kathy St. Amant

    Hi Bro. Irving!! I sent you a copy of my book “America and the Church in the Great Tribulation”. I wanted to touch base with you and see if you’ve had time to read it? I sent it several months ago.
    I know how busy and overloaded you are however, I would love to know what you think.
    Thank you, Kathy from Mississippi. (I went to Israel with you guys in 2016!)

    • Doug Norvell

      Hello Kathy,

      Thank you for sending the copy for Brother Baxter to read, at this time, he has not had the opportunity to read it. We are just now beginning to slow down a bit, before the New Year comes and then his schedule is full all over again. But, I will ask him about it and see if he has had any chance to see it.

      Have a blessed day.

  4. David Wilson

    Revelation is a book full of apocalyptic language to point to a pending judgement of God. Just as in the OT when God judged a nation there was the description of Him coming riding on the clouds. The judgement took place, however, the riding on the clouds was a figurative phrase to describe Him coming in judgement.

    Whatever interpretation you place on Revelation it must be limited to the 1st century as thru out the NT the coming of Christ was announced to take place in that generation, Matt 16:27, 28: Mark 9:1 etc.

    John even states in Rev 22:10  And he says to me, Seal not the words of the prophecy of this book. The time is near. Rev 22:11  Let him that does unrighteously do unrighteously still; and let the filthy make himself filthy still; and let him that is righteous practise righteousness still; and he that is holy, let him be sanctified still. 

    The time was so short that John states let the unrighteous do unrighteous still, and let the filthy make himself filthy still. let him who is righteous practice righteousness still. No time for a change, Christ was at hand. John wrote Revelation just a few years before the fall of Jerusalem.

    • Doug Norvell

      Hello David,

      When did 1/3 of mankind die in a war? When did the Marriage Supper of the Lamb take place? When did Jesus destroy the Enemies of God and blood flow to the horse bridles? When did a great earthquake happen in Israel that separated the city into 3 parts? When did two witnesses of God die and lay in the streets and resurrect in 3 1/2 days? When did the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ on Earth start?

      • David Wilson

        Thank you Doug, for your reply and the questions you asked. I once held the position of a future Parousia of Christ until I was challenged by the time statements and the figurative language of the Bible, both OT and NT. One can not separate the two testaments, as you know the OT is the background for the NT.

        If one fails to recognize the time statements, the figurative language of the Bible Christ and His apostles were versed in, one will never be able to reach the original intent of the message from the scriptures.

        Few examples:

        2 Peter 3:1f There are 3 different worlds(Creations, heavens and earth’s) presented in this chapter, the world of Noah’s time, the world of Peter’s time, and the new world to be established in the 1st-century.

        v6 Noah’s world perished by water.
        v7 the heavens and earth that existed in Peter’s time were stored up for fire.
        v13 Peter’s audience looking for the promised new heavens and earth where righteousness dwells.

        If one interprets this text strictly with a literal interpretation, then you have 3 different worlds(heaven and earth), one creation in v6 previously perished by water, Peter residing in the 2nd creation waiting for its destruction by fire and a promised New creation of heaven and earth where righteousness dwells.

        I don’t think you take the position the heavens and earth were literally destroyed in Noah’s time, if not, then why not if you applying a literal interpretation of prophecy?

        The text below Matt 16:27, 28 is one of many texts speaking of the Parousia of Christ to take place in the lifetime of some that were standing in His audience. Christ clearly states SOME, only some, meaning most in His audience would taste of death before His Parousia, but for some, the Parousia would take place in their lifetime. At this time of the Parousia, each person was to be rewarded according to what he has done.

        Mat 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

        Mat 16:28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.

        No scholar denies that the Parousia of Christ was taught to occur during the 1st-century generation. Many proclaim it as a failed prophecy, many others promote a theory of a postponement of the Parousia which is in opposition to what the NT teaches.

        Isa 13:1f Prophecy against Babylon.

        v4 The is Lord is mustering a host for battle
        v9 Day of the Lord comes, make the land a desolation
        v10 Stars, constellations, Sun, Moon not give off their light
        v13 Make the heavens shake, the earth move out of its place in the day of His anger
        v17 Behold I am stirring up the Medes against them

        In this text, I don’t think you would take the literal interpretation. The heavens not giving off their light, and the earth being moved out of its place, how is the earth still present today if that happened?

        Another example of exaggerated language used to point to a judgement of God. God used the Medes against Babylon in this judgement.

        There is no biblical proof of the prophecies of Revelation to be fulfilled outside of the 1st-century announcement of their fulfilment.


        • Doug Norvell

          Recently there has been a renaissance of the doctrine of preterism. The word preterism means past. Essentially, preterists believe that the prophecies of the Bible have all been fulfilled. Full preterists teach that all the prophecies, including the Second Coming, were fulfilled by 70 AD. Partial preterists believe all the prophecies of the book of Revelation have been fulfilled up through Revelation 19.
          History Behind the Doctrine
          Preterism was first advanced in 1604 by Roman Catholic Jesuit Luis de Alcasar to destroy the Reformed Protestant teaching that the papacy was Mystery Babylon, the Great Whore and the historical Antichrist.
          According to the 19th century Bible commentator Barnes, the Jesuits felt that Protestantism was winning the battle over Roman Catholicism by depicting Rome as the Great Harlot Church. Consequently, they attempted to counteract the Protestant Reformed teaching by propounding the preterist approach to the book of Revelation.
          The doctrine of preterism rises or falls on the teaching that all of the events of the book of Revelation were fulfilled by 70 AD.

          The Major Scriptural Problems
          The doctrine of preterism rises or falls on the teaching that all of the events of the book of Revelation were fulfilled by 70 AD. Following is a partial list of prophecies in Revelation that have clearly not yet been fulfilled.
          1. Revelation 9:15-16 prophesies a war that will kill one-third part of men… This has not yet happened in all of history. It must be future.
          2. Revelation 11:1-2 says that Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles for 42 months prior to the Second Coming…This didn’t happen in 70 AD. The Romans simply destroyed Jerusalem. There was no occupation.
          3. Revelation 11:3-12 describes the ministry of two witnesses that will prophesy during the 1,260 days of the great tribulation. They will then be killed and three and one-half days later rise from the dead… Nothing like this happened in 70 AD.
          4. Revelation 13 describes a time when every person on earth will be required to have a number in order to buy or sell…This has never happened in all of history.
          5. Revelation 13 prophesies the coming of the False Prophet who will pull down fire from heaven in the sight of men. He will deceive the world into following the Antichrist by means of those miracles that he has the power to do… Where is the account of this in history?
          6. Revelation 16:12 states that the Euphrates River will be dried up to make way for the kings of the east to invade Israel at the Battle of Armageddon… The Euphrates did not dry up in 70 AD.
          7. Revelation 20:1-6 teaches that Satan will be bound for 1,000 years at the time of the first resurrection… Preterism teaches that the first resurrection occurred in 70 AD. However, the 1,000-year binding of Satan has obviously not yet occurred.

          Other Scriptural and Historical Problems
          Core Teaching: Who is the “he”?
          The core teaching of preterism is that the confirmation of the covenant spoken of in Daniel 9:27 was fulfilled by the ministry of Jesus Christ, and has nothing to do with a coming Antichrist. Preterists also contend that it was Jesus who stopped the daily sacrifice by the sacrifice of Himself on Calvary. It then follows that there is no gap between the 69th week of Daniel’s prophecy and the 70th week. Thus the 70th week has already been fulfilled.
          If Jesus is not the one who confirmed the covenant, stopped the daily sacrifice and placed the abomination of desolation in Daniel 9:27, then the entire teaching of preterism is invalidated. So the pivotal question becomes, who is the “he” who confirms the covenant?
          Notice that the same “he” who is to confirm the covenant in Daniel 9:27 is also to take away the daily sacrifice and to place the Abomination of Desolation.”
          And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the
          overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
          Daniel 11:30-31 tells us in no uncertain terms that it is the Antichrist (the king of the north) and his followers who take away the daily sacrifice and place the abomination of desolation.
          “For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate.”
          This passage is obviously not referring to the Messiah. Would the Messiah ever” have indignation against the holy covenant?” Would he ever “pollute the sanctuary of strength?” Obviously not! The entirety of Daniel 11:21-45 is discussing the actions of the king of the north -the Antichrist.
          So we can see clearly that it is the Antichrist, not the Messiah, who takes away the daily sacrifice and places the abomination of desolation.
          Remember that the one who takes away the daily sacrifice also is the one who confirms the covenant according to Daniel 9:27. So we know for certain that it is the Antichrist, not the Messiah, who will confirm the covenant for seven years. Daniel 11:22 strengthens this proof when it calls the king of the north (the Antichrist) the “prince of the covenant.”
          This one core issue totally destroys the foundation of the preterist position.

          This Generation Shall Not Pass
          In Matthew 24:34, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
          Preterists contend that Jesus taught in Matthew 24 that the generation to which He was speaking would not pass until all of the prophecies of that chapter were fulfilled. Of course, that would include the prophecy of the Lord’s Second Coming and the gathering of the elect from the four winds of heaven (verses 30-31).
          However, that is not what the passage teaches. In verses 32-34, Jesus said, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.”
          Jesus was saying that, when we see the fig tree putting forth its leaves, then we know that summer is near. Likewise, when we see the signs given in Matthew 24, then we will know that the generation that witnesses these things (such as the abomination of desolation) will not pass until all of the prophecy is fulfilled.

          Judgment of Jerusalem in 70 AD was the Second Coming
          In order to teach that all of the prophecies of Matthew 24 were fulfilled by 70 AD, preterism must give an explanation of the Second Coming described in verses 30-31:”And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
          The explanation given is that Jesus coming in the clouds is symbolic of Jesus coming in judgment. It is contended that the judgment of Jerusalem in 70 AD was the Second Coming of Matthew 24.
          However, there is a fatal flaw to this teaching. Revelation 1:7 describes this coming in the clouds: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”
          This passage states that at the Second Coming in the clouds every eye shall see Him. Did every eye see Him in 70 AD? Obviously not.

          Great Whore of Revelation 17 is Jerusalem, Not Rome
          Both full and partial preterists teach that Revelation 1-19 was fulfilled by the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. However, Revelation 17-18 describes the judgment of the Roman Catholic Church in great detail. Since the Roman Church did not yet exist in 70 AD, it is obvious that the doctrine of preterism is wrong.
          In order to explain away this problem, preterist proponents say that the great harlot, Mystery Babylon, is Jerusalem, not Rome.
          The Roman Catholic Church loves this doctrine because it exonerates her of one of the Bible’s most severe indictments. However, to say that Revelation 17 refers to Jerusalem ignores the clues given to us about the identity of the great harlot.
          Revelation 17 says the woman is a city that sits on seven mountains. Rome, not Jerusalem, is known around the world as the City of Seven Hills. Revelation 17:4 states that the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet (red). The two ruling bodies of the Roman Catholic Church are officially clothed in purple and red. Cardinals wear red, while the bishops and archbishops wear purple. There is no honest explanation of how this applies to Jerusalem.

          Mystery Babylon is Rome, and the doctrine of preterism is proven to be wrong.

          Futurists teach that the man of sin is the coming Antichrist. Preterists say that it refers to the Roman emperor Nero.

          The Man of Sin in the Temple?
          II Thessalonians 2:3-4 teaches that the man of sin, the son of perdition, will sit in the temple of God, claiming to be God. Who is this man of sin that sits in the temple and when did it happen?
          Futurists teach that the man of sin is the coming Antichrist. Preterists say that it refers to the Roman emperor Nero.
          However, Nero never even entered the temple. This prophecy of II Thessalonians has obviously not happened yet. This is another strong proof that the doctrine of preterism is not true.

          Men Shall Learn War No More
          Micah 4:3 prophesies of the 1,000-year millennial reign of Christ: “…and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
          If all prophecies are past, when did the nations disarm and learn war no more? This has obviously not happened yet.

          Closing Thoughts
          As you can see, there are a multitude of problems with the doctrine of preterism. I am sure that many proponents of this doctrine sincerely believe it to be true. However, the scriptural contradictions are glaring.
          In Daniel 12:9, God told Daniel that the understanding of the Bible’s prophecies would be sealed until the time of the end. Why did God decree in 600 BC that prophetic understanding would be “closed up” until the “time of the end?” The only conceivable explanation is that He wanted to place endtime prophecy in the hands of the endtime church for the purpose of igniting one last great endtime revival.
          The teaching of preterism destroys this stated plan of God for the times in which we now live by teaching that the Bible’s prophecies have nothing to do with us today. Consequently, preterism runs counter to God’s expressed intention for endtime revival. Therefore, it should not be believed or taught.

          Preterism, the belief that all prophecies have been fulfilled, is not biblical. Unfortunately, most Christians, including most ministers, don’t know how to refute its claims.

          By Irvin Baxter
          Endtime Magazine – Nov / Dec 2003

          • Actually, the “Great whore” or “Babylon the Great” is the worldwide empire of false religions. The ancient city of Babylon was know to be a center of many many religions and Gods. If you recall, there were plans to build a massive tower to the heavens before God confused their language causing them to spread over the earth. Hence, why there are many religions in numerous lands. Therefore Babylon the Great is the empire of all those false religions. Just as the waters dried and ancient Babylon fell, so too are the “waters” drying for Babylon the Great (people abandoning religions in general). The “beast” she rides, the earthly political systems will destroy “her”. Lastly, to anyone that claims that there is no “false religion”: there cannot be “many truths.” Either hell exists as a literal fiery place of torment or it doesn’t. Either a Trinitarian God exists or He doesn’t. Either homosexuality is a sin or it isn’t. I could go on and on.