A few years ago, I was privilged to speak at a conference sponsored by Alan Bondar. Several speakers addressed the issue of the validity of Covenant Eschatology, offering reasons why it is valid and true. I am sharing those reasons why one can accept the true preterist view as Biblical and true. Obviously, volumes could be written on each of these points, but we offer the “Reader’s Digest” version, as food for thought.
1. Full preterism alone uses the grammatico-historical method of interpretation correctly and consistently. Covenant Eschatology relies on known, trusted and valid methods of interpretation.
2. Full preterism takes time texts and audience relevance seriously. Preterists do not have to manipulate, deny, plasticize, or distort the clear cut statements by the Bible writers about when the end was to be.
3. Full preterism teaches that the New Testament uses the same prophetic language as the Old Testament to prophecy about local events. Covenant Eschatology accepts as prima facie true that the NT writers did not write in a theological vacuum. They were Hebrews, trained in Hebraic– Old Covenant- thought, and utilized that OT language.
4. Full preterism alone explains why man remains man after he dies biologically –Full preterism must be true because futurism leads to Gnosticism. The biological body is still evil and must die. Full preterism is required by Paul’s response to the heresy of Hymanaeus and Philetus. The heresy was about Judaism still being required under law because the Temple was still standing. That heresy was destroyed in 70 AD. Are we to believe that the same heresy fought against by Paul can resurface again?
5. Full preterism alone explains why it is possible to go to heaven when we die. In stark contrast to the “holding pen” view of many futurists, who hold to an incomplete work of Christ– which necessitates the on-going “Intermediate State of the Dead” – preterists affirm that access to the Most Holy Place is now open!
6. Preterism must be true because if it’s not then the revelatory gifts are still in operation. Then there must still be infallible words of God being spoken/written. Then televangelist-prophets and/or the Pope are valid after all.
7. Full preterism does not have to manipulate the translation of the Greek text into English in order to maintain a view that does not fit the Greek text.
8. Full preterism eliminates the holes in every other eschatological view and brings all of the other eschatological views into unity, recognizing that each of the other views has portions that are correct because they truly are derived from Scripture, and not from systematics. Full preterism alone follows the teaching of Scripture that there is only one coming of Christ after His ascension.
9. Full preterism alone answers the accusations that Christ was a false prophet because he didn’t come when he said He would. Atheists and agnostics can read the Bible too. If the Bible does not mean what it says about the coming of Christ, then how can we be sure that anything else we think it says is true. If the skeptics aren’t right, then we have no grounds to validate any other doctrine taught in Scripture. Full preterists and skeptics agree that if Jesus didn’t do what He said He would, when He said He would, then Jesus was a false prophet. However, skeptics draw the conclusion that Jesus was a false prophet. Full preterists draw the conclusion that Jesus did what He said He would, when He said He would. So we really don’t draw the same conclusions at all. We have the same premise, but we end up at totally different points.
10. Full preterism must be true because of its explanation of the millennium. Only the true preterist view of the Millennium is consistent with the evidence of Revelation and scriptures.
11. Full preterism must be true because it is the only eschatological paradigm that truly honors Israel as the key to eschatology. This fundamental issue is either overlooked, ignored or perverted by two of the three major futurist views.
Be sure to get a copy of Don K. Preston’s Like Father Like Son, On Clouds of Glory, for a discussion of many of these points. You will find it more than helpful!