I’ve come to the realization that many of today’s most well-known Christian leaders believe and teach a very different view of the End Times than I see the Bible teaching. Some of these teachers are open about their preterist/postmillennial views while others seem to fly under the radar without openly stating their views. Still others have a mixture of teachings which are very difficult to follow or pin down on what they actually believe. Do you know what Eschatology those you listen to teach? Perhaps you should find out. I wrote this at the request of a friend who was struggling to see the dangers and problems of this teaching. Hopefully it helped him and perhaps it will help you as well.
Here are three definitions you will need to understand before proceeding further.
Partial Preterism- The belief that most of Revelation has been fulfilled, but Jesus has not returned yet.
Post-Millennialism- The belief that we are currently in the 1,000 year (not literal) reign and that Christ will return at the end of it. They see the world getting better and better with Christians becoming the dominant force on the Earth which will allow Jesus to return.
The Dangers of Partial Preterism (Past Fulfillment) and Postmillennialism (We are in the 1,000 year reign now)
1. It teaches Replacement Theology. Partial Preterists believe that God is finished with Israel and now all the promises of Israel and the Jewish people belong to the church and no longer to Israel.
-Romans 11 has Paul telling the Gentiles not to become conceited and think that they have replaced the Jews. He reminds them that the church does not support Israel…Israel supports the church.
2. It ignores the clear commands of Jesus to watch and be ready because, according to them, Jesus will not come until we have taken dominion of the earth. In my opinion, the church should be in a time of repentance and preparation, but Partial Preterists see no need to prepare for difficult times because things are going to get better and better. (Matthew 24:42-44, Matthew 25:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:6, 2 Peter, 3:11)
3. It causes the church to look for world-wide revival instead of the signs of the times. (Matthew 16:3, 2 Thessalonians 2, Revelation 13, Daniel 7-12)
4. It teaches a flawed hermeneutic (way of understanding scripture). Some things are seen as literal (although fulfilled) and others are spiritual. It becomes a pick and choose cafeteria style way of reading scripture which calls into question a lot of what is taught.
5. It relegates large portions of scripture as irrelevant for today. They teach that all but the last two chapters of Revelation, Matthew 23-26 and 2 Thessalonians 2 have all been fulfilled…not to mention Daniel and many Old Testament sections.
6. It places the millennial reign today instead of after Christ returns. Because of this, it makes the flawed assumption that scripture applying to the 1,000 year reign of Christ is for us today.
7. It teaches that we are reigning today, when the Word teaches we will reign with Christ when He returns. 1 Corinthians 4:8 says that we are not kings and we are not reigning yet. Daniel and Revelation both say that God’s kingdom will come once Jesus returns. Revelation 1:6 has sometimes been misunderstood to say we have been made kings and priests when it should read a kingdom of priests. We are not reigning yet.
8. Paul specifically taught against Preterism both in dealing with Hymenaeus and Phyletus (2 Timothy 2:17-18) as well as in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3.
9. It puts the blessed hope as being a Christianized world where peace is brought on by the church as opposed to the return of Jesus and the peace which He establishes.
10. It teaches a misguided mandate that we are to have dominion over the earth as opposed to Jesus coming to establish dominion. (Daniel 7:13-14 and Revelation 11:-15-19)
11. Partial Preterism can lead to full Preterism (which in my opinion is even worse).
12. Prophetic words given by Partial Preterists will always be heard through a flawed filter that refuses to see the world getting worse and God’s judgment awaiting. They will always filter through a “The world is getting better” viewpoint.
13. It teaches that the Day of the Lord happened in A.D. 70 and there is no future wrath of God. Again this relegates large portions of scripture as irrelevant and takes the warning away for us.
14. It teaches a message that is nice to hear, but isn’t truth. (2 Timothy 4:3-4, Jeremiah 6:9-11, Isaiah 30:9-10, Lamentations 2:14 (the prophet exposes sin and leads to repentance))
15. Some teach that there will be no rapture. They say the rapture is when God’s church rises to the level of Christ Himself.
16. Teaches that Jesus cannot come unless the church does it’s part. (Trusting in our strength and limiting Jesus)
17. Some teach and believe that we are the manifest sons of God and that we will be a new breed of super Christians who will usher in the return of Christ.
18. Because they see the world becoming “Christianized”, they are more willing to extend an ecumenical hand to places that I believe we should not…such as the Catholics and Mormons.
19. Partial Preterists teach more than one coming of Christ. They claim He returned in A.D. 70 in judgment. Some say this was a literal coming while others say it was a spiritual coming. Full Preterists teach this was the second coming of Christ and He will not come again. It is my belief that the Bible teaches only one return of Christ. (Acts 1:11)
20. Some teach that God’s character would not allow a time of testing like this to take place with an evil ruler in place over the world and the wrath of God to kill so many. The early Christians however, endured much evil and persecution as do many Christians in the world today.
21. In my opinion the teachings of those who say we are in the millennial reign now are open to the possibility of following the Antichrist.
In the words of Prof. H. Hanko…
“How nice it would be if we did not have to worry about persecution, about the terrible tribulation of the Antichrist’s kingdom. How nice it would be if we could rather look forward to our faith pervading all the world. The song of postmillennialism is a lullaby. It is a sweet siren song that gradually sings the child of God to sleep. It is a song which is so beautiful, so entrancing, that he forgets all about this calling to watch for the coming of the Lord. And so when a very beautiful and glorious kingdom comes to this world, he will say: Ah, our dreams are realized, our hopes are fulfilled, our longings are satisfied; the kingdom of our Christ has come. But, lo and behold, it is the kingdom, not of Christ, but of Antichrist.
Do you respond to this by saying , “Never fear. I will be able to tell the difference. I can never possibly confuse the two. I know how Christ’s kingdom is different from that of Antichrist”?
If you say this, then all I can do is warn you that the deception is very real and very much a possibility. The Lord was deeply concerned about this very thing when He told us, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch, that if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before” (Matthew 24:23-25). The hope of the believer, and for this I am profoundly grateful, is not on any kingdom in this sorry world, but is fastened with eagerness, with longing and with great optimism, on the everlasting kingdom of righteousness which shall be realized only in the new heavens and in the new earth where sin shall be no more.