Challenging Preterism

"Preterists" believe that all Bible prophecy is history; that most of it took place in 70 AD with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. They suggest the Tribulation was the persecution of the saints and Nero was the antichrist.

At the heart of the doctrine is that prophecy was declared and destined to be fulfilled within the generation of Messiah Yeshua's earthly ministry. All references in the Bible to the "last days" refer to the "last days" of Israel, which means that today Israel supposedly has no more relevance than the lost continent of Atlantis. The "New Jerusalem" is the Church now and forever, according to Preterists.


Preterism consists of "full" and "partial" Preterists. Partial Preterists actually consider much of what "full" Preterists teach to be heretical. Full Preterists insist that "Jesus" returned "in spirit" in 70 AD and nothing is future. "We're in "the New Heavens and New Earth" right now and satan is bound!

But to both full and partial Preterists, hardly anything is taken literally; most all is allegorical or symbolic, particularly the Book of Revelation. To all Preterists, the Olivet Discourse is not about the coming of Messiah, but about the destruction of Jerusalem. Revelation was not written in 95 AD but much earlier according to full and partial Preterists....

Partial Preterists do believe in a Second Coming and the resurrection of believers (but not in the Rapture), along with a "Judgment Seat of Christ." They do not believe in a literal Millennium, Battle of Armageddon, literal antichrist, or a role for national Israel. Prominent partial Preterists include Gary DeMar, R.C. Sproul, Ken Gentry, and "The Bible Answerman", Hank Hanegraaff.

Preterism became prominent thanks to a Jesuit priest, Luis de Alcazar, who sought to defend the Catholic Church against attacks of the Reformers. He sought to defend the Roman Church from claims about Catholic apostasy. The Preterism taught today, however, only became popular in the late 20th Century.

Some Preterist teachings include the following:

  • Nero was the antichrist and the False Prophet was the leadership of apostate Israel who rejected Messiah and worshipped instead the Roman Empire (who tormented them then slaughtered them). Nero's persecutions were limited to Rome, not the whole world.

  • Matthew 24 and the book of Revelation are all fulfilled. The destruction of Jerusalem was the Great Tribulation along with the persecution of believers. (Makes one wonder how they justify Matthew 24:21 which states that the period after the "antichrist" signs a seven-year peace treaty with Israel will be the worst time in all of history? Many scenarios since 70 AD have been far worse than the destruction of 70 AD, including World War II. And ALL NATIONS of the world did not come against Jerusalem in 70 AD...only Rome. All nations coming against her are to be destroyed....

  • Everything is taken symbolically including the Millennium. They believe we are now in the "Kingdom of Christ" and have been since the days of the early church. Satan is bound, they say....Never mind that the earth is reeling with sorrow, pain, disasters, and godless governments under Communism and radical Islam. More than 50 million believers have died since 70 AD and there have been 15,000 wars - so how can this possibly be "the Kingdom of Christ"?

Since, according to Preterists, "Jesus" isn't coming back, one has to ask: What about scriptures such as Acts 1:11, "And they said to them, Galilean men, why are you standing and staring into heaven? This Y'shua who was taken up from you to heaven, likewise he will come just as you have seen him who ascended into heaven. This should be a challenge to the "full Preterists" who believe He came back "in spirit" in 70 AD and that's it for His return! Also, the Jews as a nation did not turn to Messiah in 70 AD as prophesied in Zechariah 12:10....

Also, if all these events took place in 70 AD, one must ask: When were the nations judged as described in Matthew 25:31-46? They weren't judged back then because this is future....

As for Nero - he couldn't have been the antichrist, as he died in 68 AD before the destruction of Jerusalem. He was a whimpy emperor though evil, indeed, but he doesn't come close to being the "King of fierce countenance" of Daniel 8:23 and he made no covenant with Israel, Daniel 9:26, 27. Dispensationalists believe he will be destroyed by the King of kings, but Nero committed suicide. Before that, he issued no "mark" and people could buy and sell. He sat in no Temple declaring himself God, demanding he be worshipped (2 Thess. 2:4). All Preterists deny there will be future Temples such as the Tribulation Temple and Millennial Temple....

The vials, bowls, seals, and trumpet judgments of Revelation are all symbolic to all Preterists. Thus the carnage (and victory) of Revelation is overlooked and written off.

How can people with this theology accept that all of the prophecies of Yeshua's first coming were fulfilled literally but Second Coming verses must be symbolic? Are we permitted to pick and choose like this and remain with any hermeneutical credibility and accuracy?

Folks, Revelation was written in about 95 AD and not before 70 AD. It's therefore obvious that Preterism is just another teaching that is filled with doctrinal error and should not be taken seriously. It takes our eyes off of our "blessed hope" - the glorious return of Yeshua who was YHWH in the Flesh who will take believers out of our world of pain and sorrow. Satan has definitely not been bound yet, but he will be and we can be sure that television cameras will be there to capture the moment - along with the moment when the King of kings will inaugurate the greatest Kingdom the world has even known!