Thursday, July 14, 2005

Why Consider Preterism?

The book of Revelation describes many events which most Christians today expect to take place in the future. Among them are the rapture of the saints, the great tribulation, the judgment of the world, and the millenial kingdom.

Here is a list I found at Revelation

  • ISRAEL'S REBIRTH (the key which had to be in place‚ĶMay 14, 1948) (The latter days)
  • A NUMBER OF EVENTS THAT HAD TO BE IN PLACE OR OCCUR, FOLLOWING ISRAEL'S REBIRTH. OVER 360 SIGNS AND PROPHECIES ARE FULFILLED.
  • THE RAPTURE
  • THE ANTICHRIST COMES FORTH AND CONFIRMS A COVENANT WITH ISRAEL AND OTHERS; THE TRIBULATION BEGINS (The Tribulation is traditionally considered to be a seven year period, consisting of two parts, each three and a half years long) (The seventieth week of Daniel)
  • RUSSIA AND OTHER NATIONS INVADE ISRAEL
  • ONE-FOURTH OF THE WORLD'S POPULATION IS KILLED
  • ON OR ABOUT THE MIDST OF THE TRIBULATION: THE ANTICHRIST IS KILLED; HE COMES BACK TO LIFE AND MOVES INTO THE REBUILT TEMPLE; THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION OCCURS; THE FALSE PROPHET COMES FORTH; THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST IS CREATED; THE MARK "666" IS REQUIRED.
  • WORLD CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO GET WORSE. ONE-THIRD OF MANKIND IS KILLED.
  • THE TRIBULATION ENDS
  • IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE TRIBULATION, THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON EXPLODES.

    (The next three events all take place during the same time frame as the Battle of Armageddon)

  • JESUS CHRIST RETURNS WITH ALL OF HIS SAINTS
  • THE ANTICHRIST AND FALSE PROPHET ARE CAST ALIVE INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE
  • SATAN IS CHAINED FOR ONE THOUSAND YEARS, SO HE CAN DECEIVE THE NATIONS NO LONGER TILL THE THOUSAND YEARS BE FULFILLED.
  • THERE WILL BE ONE THOUSAND YEARS OF PEACE (the Millennium)
  • JESUS CHRIST WILL REIGN AND RULE AS KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS
  • THE MILLENNIUM EXPIRES
  • SATAN IS LET LOOSE FOR A LITTLE SEASON; HE GOES FORTH TO DECEIVE THE NATIONS ONCE AGAIN, TO GATHER THEM TO BATTLE
  • FIRE COMES DOWN FROM GOD, OUT OF HEAVEN, AND DEVOURS THEM
  • THE DEVIL IS CAST INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE AND BRIMSTONE
  • THE HEAVENS AND EARTH PASS AWAY
  • THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT IS HELD
  • A NEW HEAVEN AND EARTH COMES FORTH; NEW JERUSALEM COMES FORTH; SO SHALL ALL THE SAINTS EVER BE WITH THE LORD.


The problem I have with placing all of these events in the future is that the book of Revelation, itself, gives a clear indication of when these events will occur. There are mirrored time stamps placed like bookends in the first and last chapters of Revelation that make clear the timing of the events found in between.


Revelation 1:1-3


1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon (tachos) take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,

2who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

3Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near (engus).

Revelation 22:6-10

6And he said to me, "These words are faithful and true"; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon (tachos) take place.

7"And behold, I am coming quickly Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book."

8I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things.

9But he said to me, "Do not do that I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed the words of this book. Worship God."

10And he said to me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near (engus).

The Greek words tachos (soon) and engus (near) each occur only two times in the book of Revelation. Each occurs once at the beginning and once at the end. Now, in order to maintain any kind of literal view of the words of Revelation, all of the events occuring between these two chapters must have happened soon and near to the time of John's writing in the first century. Any other view has to bypass the clear meaning of the text.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Revelation Chapter 1------2 through 21----Chapter 22

"Must soon take place"----2 through 21----"Must soon take place"

"The time is near"---------2 through 21----"The time is near"

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Once I admitted to myself that the events of Revelation happened near to the first century that led to many, many difficulties. For all of my Christian life I had interpreted the events in Revelation as future. Now I had to study both the Old Testament writing which use language very similar to John's as well as the historical documents of John's contemporaries which describe events similar to those found in Revelation. While there are many passages that are difficult to understand as having a first century fulfillment, the timing text are unavoidable and must be taken as literal.

Here are a few other passages from other books that use the words tachos and engus.

Romans 16:20

The God of peace will soon (tachos) crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

Luke 21:30,31

as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near(engus). "So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near(engus).

Matthew 26:18

And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is near (engus); I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples."'