Futurist, Historicist, Idealist, Preterist?
have never read anybody’s book on eschatology with which I fully agreed;
I guess that’s because I see some truth in most of what other
Evangelicals write, whether they are futurists, historicists, idealists or
preterists, but I don’t think that any of them have the truth all boxed
in. So, I can say that I am a partial futurist, historicist,
idealist, and preterist.
terms of Futurism, I strongly believe that near and related to the Lord
Jesus’ glorious literal return, there will be:
The Great Falling Away
The Great Tribulation
The Man of Sin Revealed
The Massive Turning of the Jewish People to Faith in Jesus of
Nazareth as Their Messiah
Great Global Revival
Believers Being Raptured Before God Pours out his Cataclysmic Wrath
on Planet Earth
of the above mentioned things have their precursors throughout the
history, as, for example, the Man of Sin, who has had many forerunners,
from Antiochus Epiphanes, in the second century before Christ, to Hitler
in the twentieth century of the Christian era.
Even the rapture has its foreshadowing in Elijah’s being
literally and bodily caught up in a chariot of fire.
difficulty with dating things and trying to predict the future by means of
the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other has to do with some
of these things always existing, so that the future is simply a much more
intense manifestation of what is currently taking place.
for example, the Jewish people being back in the land.
The Jewish people have been exiled and returned to the land several
times in history. Some people
say that the “Prophetic Clock” starting ticking on May 14, 1948, when
Israel became an independent state. The
trouble is, it isn’t the Jewish people’s being back in the Holy land,
but Jewish control of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount itself that is of
real significance, and that hasn’t happed yet.
Jewish people currently living in the Holy land may not have any more
prophetic significance, or permanence, for that matter, than those who
followed Simon Bar Kochba and briefly re-established the independent
Jewish state in the second century of the Christian era.
After all, is Israel today in any better position than it was in
the eighth century before Christ when Isaiah penned this warning?
Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! Against
a godless nation I send him, and against the people of my wrath I command
him, to take spoil and seize plunder, and to tread them down like the mire
of the streets.” (Isaiah 10:6.)
terms of Historicism, I think that the book of Revelation may allude to
the rise of the Papacy and Islam.
terms of Idealism, I think that the conflict between Christ and Satan is
symbolically portrayed in the book of Revelation and that Bible prophecy
is more about telling us how to live than about how to draw our prophetic
terms of Preterism, I think that many apocalyptic passages refer to events
that happened in the first century of the Christian era. For example, I believe that much, but by no means all,
of the Olivet Discourse is an apocalyptic description of the destruction
of the city of Jerusalem in A. D. 70.
Old Testament era begins to end with the completion of John the Baptist’s
ministry and completely vanishes with the destruction of the Temple in A.
D. 70, roughly one generation.
the Baptist is the last of the Old Testament prophets.
Jesus makes this so very plain in Matthew 11:7-14:
they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning John . . .
‘What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more
than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, “Behold, I send my
messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.”
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one
greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of
heaven is greater than he . . . For all the Prophets and the Law
prophesied until John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah
who is to come.”
process of the fulfilling of the Old Testament in the New is not completed
until God sovereignly stops the sacrificial system through the rod of his
anger, (cf. Isaiah 10:5.) the Roman general Titus, son of Vespasian, in
A.D. 70. Hebrews 8:13 says,
“In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And
what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
It did vanish in A. D. 70, exactly one generation removed from the
time of our Lord’s Olivet Discourse.
one thing that I would stress, however, is that it is not A. D. 70, nor is
it John the Baptist, that is of great significance—they are simply the
outer edges of the transition. By
themselves, both are pretty trivial.
The real transition point is A.D. 30.
It is then that the whole sacrificial system is completed.
Jesus died on the cross, the way into the Holy of Holies was opened for
all people: Jews and
Gentiles, males and females, descendants of Aaron and people of
illegitimate birth, the healthy and the deformed.
When the Roman spear pierced the Great Jew’s side, and the water
and the blood flowed out, God put his seal of approval on the completion
of the Sacrifice by ripping the Great Curtain between the Holy Place and
the Holy of Holies:
Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And
behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And
the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And
many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming
out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and
appeared to many.” (Matthew 27:50-53.)
is mentioned in only passing as the forerunner; the destruction of the
Temple in A. D. 70, only prophetically and cryptically, as the last gasps
of the Older Testament. The
crucifixion and resurrection of the Lord Jesus form the centerpiece of the
New Covenant, the profoundest event in history—God himself is executed
by humankind and dies in his human nature.
cannot keep his prey, Jesus my Savior!
else pales in comparison: preterist seminars, prophetic conferences,
laughter gatherings, anointing for healing, speaking in tongues.
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:19-22.)