Posts Tagged ‘Eschatology’

As one who is barely holding on to the label of “Partial Preterism” for various reasons that I gave in a few recent posts on Facebook and in a podcast that I did where I interviewed Dr. Sam Frost who is a worldwide known former Full/Hyper Preterist, I have noticed over the last few years an over realized or an over emphasis on the prophetic role of ethnic Israel in the Preterist camp in general. Both full and many Partial Preterists make this same emphasis and it is due to their wooden or hyper literal interpretation of many if not most passages that deal with the promises made to Israel. Sound familiar? Well it should since that is precisely what Dispensationalists do and in my humble opinion this is a foundational error.

Dispensationalism has most if not all these prophecies in the future and Full Preterists have all these prophecies in the past at 70AD along with many Partials who have most in the past at 70 AD and who are holding on to very few passages left to maintain a future coming of Christ and our physical resurrection. In order to maintain these views Dispensationalists are hyper literal in their hermeneutics while Full Preterists are hyper spiritual in their hermeneutics (think Gnosticism) but with a hyper literal emphasis of these prophecies being fulfilled in ethnic Israel just like the Dispensationalists. Yes it is very weird.

Now of course I am fully aware that not all Partial Preterists fall into this category and make this error like Dr. Kenneth Gentry who is in my opinion the best on this topic and one of the best reformed theologians out there. Dr. Gentry for example does not see the end of the age in Matt. 24 as the end of the old covenant age or the “last days” as the last days of the old covenant or Jewish age.

I think we have adopted these popular phrases like “Jewish age” and “OC age” that were made popular by some Partial Preterists who eventually went Full Preterist and then we ran with it and allowed them to define the terms and control the narrative. We refer to 70AD as only to the end of the Jewish/OC age or to only “those last days” and while we affirm an already not yet distinction to eschatology in general we tend to ignore this distinction in Matthew 24 and by “we” I mean the reformed theological community.

The vital importance of the Already/Not Yet distinction in eschatology cannot be overlooked and or ignored. To either not take this distinction seriously or reject it all together is what brings not only eschatological problems but more importantly theological problems. Both dispensationalism and full/hyper preterism are a result of rejecting this clear biblical distinction and as I said above rejecting this vital distinction leads to both extremes where either you have all prophecies in the past or all prophecies in the future. As I have said before and will say it again in my opinion full preterism is just dispensationalism in the past.

As Dr. Sam Frost and I discussed in our video discussion once you claim that Matthew 24 is referring only to the “Jewish” or “Mosaic” or “old covenant” age then yes it’s a very slippery slope into FP. Interestingly Dr. Frost has called this view hyper partial preterism which I can agree with because it makes sense. This overemphasis on ethnic Israel based on a wooden literal hermeneutic can indeed logically lead to FP.

It makes sense to me now why Dr. R.C Sproul called his and Gentry’s view “limited partial preterism”. This view sees Matthew 24 as referring to the end of the present evil age or temporal history while correcting the disciples question in the Olivet Discourse.

I believe it has to be both and not either or since it was erroneously mixed and conflated within the question of the disciples. The end of the OC or Jewish age for them meant the coming of the age to come and the end of the present age or the end of the world and this is because the Jews affirmed only two ages the present age and the age to come so it is no wonder why they confused the end of the age with the end of the world as they know it. So while “ion” is used it also means cosmos for them. This argument that it can’t be the end of the world because “ion” is used instead of “cosmos” is weak and makes the same mistake the disciples made but in reverse.

Another false presupposition that many but not all Preterists make and impose into the time texts is that the new covenant and Christ Kingdom came in 70AD when actually Jesus inaugurated the NC at the last supper. The kingdom was already present during his ministry with his resurrection and ascension being the confirmation of his power and rule along with the justification that he is who he claimed to be the incarnate Son of God.

The end of the OC and the announcement and application of the NC actually began with Jesus earthly ministry which was made clear at the Lords supper with the disciples which was then solidified or verified by Jesus death and resurrection and to which the 70AD event was just the beginning of Christ’s Kingly vengeful judgement and ruling with the rod of iron.

The main focus was the exaltation of Christ in his coming to his throne to rule and put all his enemies under his feet and conquering the world through the gospel to then physically raise up the dead at the end at that last day and judge the rest of the world like he did at the judgement of apostate Israel in 70AD.

Unbelieving Israel’s destruction along with the Temple was the judgmental seal of Christ’s vengeful and Kingly wrath and the beginning of his conquest but this conquest has a consummation. That “last day” where Christ consummates all things to himself is the main emphasis. 70AD was a major event in the history of the Church but it was a means to an end and the judgement on 70AD was a sample of the last judgement. Those last days are still these last days until “that day’ comes.

Following this first part of this series of articles I will present the biblical evidence in parts 2 and 3 for:

  1. That Christ coming in clouds is not a reference to 70 AD but to his ascension.
  2. That the “Last Days” is not a reference to the so called old covenant age but rather to the entire Messianic ministry of Christ until “the last day” with an emphasis to my Postmillennial brothers and sisters.