Preterism - and its errors" /> Preterism - and its errors" /> Preterism - and its errors" />

Preterism-  From the Latin word meaning "past tense". It is a methodology of interpreting prophecy and its characteristics include:



  • The belief that Jesus returned in AD 70 when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem
  • Bible prophecy was fulfilled in the past
  • The major prophetic passages of Scripture, such as the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24) and the Book of Revelation, are seen as already having been fulfilled.  Sees Revelation as written before AD 70
  • The tribulation is already over
  • Christ returned in AD  70 to witness the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans
  • Moderate preterists believe in a future 2nd coming but also see Matthew 24 and Revelation as in the past (they see the church in Matthew 24 which is an error as well)
  • God is finished with the nation Israel as an ethnic nation in His plans and purposes
  • The Millennium (1000 years of Rev 20) is not literal, and we are in some manner in the millennium if there is one at all

Implications of this errant system:

  • Undermines the literal interpretation of scripture, by allegorizing prophetic portions, thus it has a dual hermeneutic (meaning its adherents seek to be literal in most doctrinal areas, but treat prophecy allegorically)
  • Destroys the blessed hope of believers
  • Denies Israel her future, and fails to recognize that God's gifts and calling are without a change of mind (Romans 11:29)
  • The allegorizing system of interpretation is condemned in scripture and called gangrenous:  2 Timothy 2:17-18  And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenæus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.


  • Partial preterists may hold that the term The Last Days refers to the last days of the Old or Mosaic covenant. They see this as ending in AD 70, ceasing God's relation with the ethnic nation Israel. This ignores the everlasting aspect of God's covenant with Israel
  • Partial preterists also see "many" comings of Christ, thus not limiting the "second coming" to what happened in AD 70. 
  • Partial preterists do hold to a future resurrection of saints.
  • Preterists may be amillennial (no millennium) or postmillennial (Christ returns after the millennium.
  • Preterists often see the 2nd coming of Christ, as if its His coming for His own when they each die, an absurd but allegorical rationalization of things.

Criticisms of this errant system

  • A logical outcome of preterist thinking (full preterists) places Satan in hell at present, and cannot account for the presence of evil today.
  • Their system of necessity, must determine that the millennium lasted but 37 years (33 AD to 70 AD) instead of 1000 years.
  • It cannot account for death continuing because  I Cor 15:25-26 says (in the context of the resurrection/2nd coming)  ..."for he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death..."
  • As stated above, preterists (and its kissing cousin covenant theology) use a dual hermeneutic. Their roots find their way to Origen and Augustine and the allegorical principle of bible interpretation. 
  • Allegorical interpretation is called by Paul in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 a cancerous or gangrenous theology in that in undermines the truth and hope of believers and is even a philosophy of interpretation that "undermines the faith." This is very serious.
  • Preterists tend to view the Kingdom of God as present in the sacraments and in the believers heart, and that in every area of life they are to manifest it (politics, art, education). Therefore as a system it settles a believers hopes on earth instead of on His coming for them. Instead of looking for His coming, we look to our staying. 
  • Full Preterism is heretical, according to the principles stated in 2 Timothy 2:17-18 regarding allegory. It sees the resurrection as of being a spiritual one only. Partial Preterism recognizes some futurism, yet still hurts believers in their perspective of life and their hope, because it settles down into an earthly hope and turns the eye from the blessed hope of His coming for them.