NEW HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR PRETERISM

PMT 2017-091 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Evangelical preterism is virtually the opposite of dispensational futurism. Because of this, dispensationalists are alarmed at the spread of orthodox preterism among some of its claimants. One means by which they try to dissuade their followers from adopting preterism is by charging that it was a late creation by a Jesuit priest named Luis Alcázar around 1600.

This is simply not the case, as I have argued elsewhere in several places (e.g., He Shall Have Dominion). It is true that, as far as we know today, Alcázar presented the first formal, full-scale preterist approach to the whole Book of Revelation. But to warn of preterism’s supposed Roman Catholic origins is grossly mistaken. Not only so, but such an argument is a clear example of what hermeneutics scholars call the “genetic fallacy.” This fallacy discounts a view because of its early use by an unpopular group.

He Shall Have Dominion small


He Shall Have Dominion
(paperback by Kenneth Gentry)

A classic, thorough explanation and defense of postmillennialism (600+ pages). Complete with several chapters answering specific objections.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


One of the finest preterist scholars today is classicist Latin scholar Dr. Francis Gumerlock. He has published a number of helpful works on the historical question regarding preterism. Two of these are:

Early Latin Commentaries on the Apocalypse
Revelation and the First Century

These would be great additions to the evangelical preterist’s library. I highly commend them.

A recent, brief paper by Dr. Gumerlock is titled: “More Preterist Interpretations of the Book of Revelation before Alcázar.” This paper opens by noting complaints that Alcázar originated the preterist approach to Revelation. Gumerlock has ably rebutted such complaints in his Revelation and the First Century, but now he is guilty of “piling on” by offering several more historical evidences for pre-Alcázar preterism in Revelation commentaries. He may be charged with a fifteen yard penalty, if he is not careful.

Navigating the Book of Revelation: Special Studies on Important Issues


Navigating the Book of Revelation (by Ken Gentry)

Technical studies on key issues in Revelation, including the seven-sealed scroll, the cast out temple, Jewish persecution of Christianity, the Babylonian Harlot, and more.

See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com


In this paper he lists the following pre-Alcázar evidences for interpreting Revelation along preterist lines. I will simply list his basic references and a provide a brief note about their significance. His paper can be consulted for fuller information.

Quick Summary of Evidence

An Ethiopian commentary dating from the late 1500s, titled Tergwame Qälämsis was not translated into English until 1983. Gumerlock points out that it has preterist interpretations of Rev. 1:9; 3:10; 6:3–4; and Rev. 17 and 18. These are crucial passages for understanding Revelation. The work even recognizes several Babylon passages as speaking of Jerusalem and its destruction in AD 70.

Furthermore, the passages offer external evidence for the early dating of Revelation, which is an important element in the preterist argument. Gumerlock summarizes the argument from each of these passages.

A commentary by Theodulf of Orleans also interprets several passages as being fulfilled in the events leading up to AD 70. The commentary is called “Exposition of the Apocalypse” and was published in the ninth century. For instance, Gumerlock notes that the five months of Rev. 9:10 are explained as indicating “the years in which there was a persecution in the time of John.”

Gumerlock is also able to point to two pre-Alcázar artistic representations of Revelation that involve Nero Caesar. One of these (probably thirteenth century) has Nero as the rider on the red horse in a facsimile published in a commentary.

Conclusion

Gumerlock concludes:

These texts demonstrate that before Luis del Alcázar’s Vestigio in 1614, many Christians had been interpreting visions in Revelation as having been fulfilled in the first century, particularly in the persecution brought on by Nero and the political upheaval brought on by his death, and the Roman-Judean War of 68-70 AD that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem.

I am anxious for this paper to be expanded upon and included in another book by Gumerlock.

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