PMW 2023-020 by Greg Kinser
Gentry note: Below you will find a testimony of one who, by God’s grace, was able to extricate himself from Hyperpreterism. If you know of someone has been reclaimed to Christian orthdoxy after sliding into Hyperpreterism, please send me their testimony. The
MY JOURNEY OUT IN AND OUT OF DARKNESS
By Greg Kinser
THE LATE GREAT PLANET EARTH DELUSION
The word “darkness” in the above title is my reference to a form of eschatology called full- or hyper-preterism. This form of eschatology teaches that all Biblical prophecy has been fulfilled in the events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. This includes the entire book of Revelation, the Second Coming of Christ, the Resurrection of the Dead, the Day of Judgement, the Millennium, and even the New Heaven and New Earth. How does one come to believe such radical nonsense? I’ll tell you how it happened to me.
I was raised in a very common American Protestant home. My parents were hard-working and honest. I cannot remember a day in my life that I didn’t know Jesus Christ. I had accepted Him as my Savior at a very young age. I never strayed from belief in Him even as a teenager.
My default form of eschatology (study of the last days) was called premillennial dispensationalism, although I had no idea at the time that was its official name. This is probably the most popular form of eschatology in America. It teaches that we are probably the last generation before Jesus Christ returns to secretly rapture away Christians, and before the rise of the Antichrist, the onset of the 7-year Great Tribulation, the Battle of Armageddon, and the Second Coming, etc.
I particularly became interested in this in high school when I read a book by Hal Lindsey called, The Late Great Planet Earth. The details were further flushed out by the writings of men such as J.N. Darby, C.I. Scofield, Clarence Larkin, and more Hal Lindsey books. I particularly loved my Scofield Bible with all its footnotes in this regard. But as I grew up, graduated college, got married, started a family, and was working a job, and even led Bible study groups on the subject, I began to become disenchanted with it. There were so many failed predictions made by its proponents. And even though it was (and still is) very popular, its finer points are very complex and difficult to grasp.
Have We Missed the Second Coming:
A Critique of the Hyper-preterist Error
by Ken Gentry
This book offers a brief introduction, summary, and critique of Hyper-preterism. Don’t let your church and Christian friends be blindfolded to this new error. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
For more Christian educational materials: www.KennethGentry.com
About this time, I ran into an elderly man at church who happened to no longer believe this way. He called himself a “postmillennial partial preterist.” He believed, unlike me, that Jesus would return after the Millennium (the thousand years of Revelation 20; thus the prefix “post-“). He was a “partial” preterist because he believed Jesus came back in some form in AD 70 to judge Jerusalem but would return in bodily form in the future.
This man introduced me to the “time statements” of Scripture. The “this generation” of Matthew 24:34, the “some of you will not taste death until…” of Matthew 16:27-28, and the “shortly come to pass… the time is at hand” of Revelation 1:1-3 are all startling when you read them together. He pointed out that time statements like these force us to believe that Jesus came back in some form in the first century AD, the time in which the New Testament was being written.
The Internet was just becoming a thing at that time and, being intrigued by this man’s belief, I did some searching and accidentally ran across a full preterist website managed by Edward Stevens. I had no idea he was a “full” preterist but I was interested in buying a book of his called, What Happened in 70 AD? So, I phoned him and ordered the book. I was not ready for his understanding of Luke 21:20-22 which says, “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies… these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” Stevens emphasized that “all things which are written” meant the entirety of the Bible’s prophecies. I thought he was crazy. How could the Second Coming of Christ, the Resurrection, the Day of Judgment, and the coming of the New Heaven and Earth have already taken place?! Stevens maintained this had all occurred at the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70! I took this to my postmillennial friend at church. He, too, thought Stevens was crazy. But a close friend of mine came to believe Stevens was correct and started arguing Stevens’ points with me.
My first rejection of full preterism was that all my study Bibles showed the book of Revelation to have been written in AD 96, so how could it be a prophecy about the events surrounding AD 70? I even asked Stevens, and he pointed me to a book written by Dr. Kenneth Gentry called, Before Jerusalem Fell. This book argues that Revelation was written before AD 70. At this point, I became seriously intrigued.
FULL PRETERISM TRAP
It didn’t take long until every Scripture and every parable Jesus told looked like a reference to AD 70. I joined forums (there was no Facebook at that time) and discovered even more books. Another one that greatly affected me was written in 1878 by James Stuart Russel, called The Parousia. More contemporary authors on this subject were Max King, Don K. Preston, Samuel Frost, Tim King, John Noe, and David Green. I discovered a full-preterist pastor, David Curtis, and was greatly interested in a few active bloggers, Jason Bradfield and Todd Dennis. I even helped Todd Dennis digitize The Parousia for his website (The Preterist Archive). Even books by partial preterists like Gary DeMar helped bolster my newfound belief. I attended a full-preterist conference two years in a row in Sparta, NC, where I met Preston, Frost, DeMar, and Noe.
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
I, too, like every other full preterist, became enamored with the “time statements.” If you pointed out to me how crazy it was to believe that all Bible prophecy was fulfilled, I would just simply make you read the “time statements.” It is the “time statements” of Scripture that lead every single full preterist into full preterism and it is what keeps them there. I cannot emphasize this enough. I began to interpret (reinterpret) every single doctrine of Christianity through this filter. Every Scripture in the Bible was made to bow its knee to the “time statements.” But eventually, this is what started to bug me because it made me question all the fundamentals. For instance, was I to keep the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper? After all, Paul wrote, “for as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1Corinthians 11:26). And if Jesus had already come in AD 70, then was there any need to “proclaim the Lord’s death” through this sacrament?
I couldn’t find any theologians that were full preterists. I found out that Sam Frost was an up-and-coming theologian who was attempting to systematize full preterism. Being intrigued by this, I bought his book, Misplaced Hope. Frost wrote on page 210, “Modern Christian eschatology is based upon an early church error: assuming the Second Coming was delayed, by misunderstanding its spiritual fulfillment in A.D. 70. We need not remain in this wilderness of misplaced hope. Rather, through sound biblical scholarship, we can recover the transforming hope that the early church embraced. Herein lies our hope for the third Christian millennium.” This book bugged me even more. It was arguing how the earliest Christians missed the Second Coming in AD 70 and since it didn’t happen, opted to reinterpret the “time statements” to mean imminence for every generation instead of imminence for that first generation of Christians. This forced me to think that in order to maintain my position in full preterism, I was going to have to say all (not some!) the early Christians missed it. I would have to somehow maintain that millions of Christians for 2000 years had all missed Christ’s Second Coming in AD 70 and that the Church for two millennia had “accidentally” propagated a serious lie! Now I was a bit more than just bugged. I was now growing a bit fearful of what I was believing and teaching.
The one thing that kept coming up in my heart was, “How could all Christians have missed the resurrection of the dead until full preterists came along?” This question started my long and very uncomfortable study of resurrection as a full preterist. Most full preterists are too starry-eyed with the “time statements” to even care about the resurrection of the dead. They simply point out that if the “time statements” were true, and they must be, then whatever the resurrection was, it was in the past. Staring me in my full-preterist face were the Apostle Paul’s obvious feelings about getting the timing of the Resurrection wrong. He wrote:
But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. (2Timothy 2:16-18)
This is a sober warning. Full preterists, of course, will answer this passage and say that the Resurrection was future to them when Paul wrote this to Timothy because it was before AD 70. But we live after the Resurrection in AD 70 making this no problem to them. But the point I’m making here is that getting the timing of the Resurrection wrong was a very serious thing in Paul’s mind. This put the fear of God in me. At this point, I stopped teaching full preterism and sought the Lord for the truth and meaning of resurrection.
I began by asking every full preterist I knew exactly what they thought the resurrection was. As it turns out they are wildly divided on the subject. There are two major camps in full preterism. They call themselves CBV or IBV.
Your Hope in God’s World (postmillennial DVD lectures by Gentry).
Presents the theological and exegetical argument for the postmillennial hope in our fallen world. The last lecture answers the major practical, theological, and exegetical objections to postmillennialism.
For more educational materials: www. KennethGentry.com
RESURRECTION DIVISIONS IN FULL PRETERISM
CBV stands for Collective (or Covenant, or Corporate) Body View. IBV stands for Individual Body View. The originator of CBV is Max King (1930-). It is mainly propagated by Don K. Preston (1949-). The IBV leader seems to be Edward Stevens.
The main difference between CBV and IBV is stated easily enough but the details are complex and vary widely depending on who’s interpreting the viewpoint. Both beliefs teach a “resurrection” of sorts occurring in AD 70 when they allege Jesus’ Second Coming occurred. CBV teaches a resurrection of a collective kind of body of believers, while IBV teaches that Christians were raised out of Sheol/Hades to put on their new individual spiritual bodies. Studying the chart below will help you with the details.
I will remind you that the details of the views of CBV and IBV can vary slightly depending on the teacher. But these are close.
Make note that both CBV and IBV teach that your physical body is discarded and is never resurrected like Christ’s. Both CBV and IBV have no care for your physical body. It is merely a temporary holding place for your spirit which, they assert, is all that salvation is really about. They also both teach that Christ’s physical resurrection was merely a sign for that generation and, otherwise, it has no direct relationship to us today!
Don K. Preston teaches some very bizarre and blasphemous details in his version of CBV. The first weird thing is he teaches Adam was created mortal and that physical death was always part of God’s creation, and God never had a plan to deal with that! He also teaches that since salvation is thought to be spiritual-only, then he asserts Adam died spiritually necessitating that Christ die spiritually as well. Most Christians would never say that Jesus died spiritually because it causes a fatal theological problem for the doctrine of the Trinity. To die spiritually, God the Son would have to be separated from God the Father! Preston also teaches that when Jesus was resurrected, He was raised in a mortal body (not an immortal one); the same one He had before the cross! He further maintains that this mortal body ascended to Heaven and was completely incinerated as a whole burnt offering on the altar of the Heavenly Temple and therefore Jesus no longer resides in a physical body, immortal or mortal! This is considered blasphemy of the highest sort in normal Christianity.
Why I Left Full-Preterism (by Samuel M. Frost)
Former leader in Full Preterist movement, Samuel M. Frost, gives his testimony and theological reasoning as to why he left the heretical movement. Good warning to others tempted to leave orthodox Christianity.
See more study materials at: KennethGentry.com
Edward Stevens’ IBV forces him to teach some very bizarre things as well. By his own admission, because of the “time statements,” he must maintain that a rapture of the living Christians occurred in AD 70. That means living Christians were translated bodily without dying leaving no Christians on Earth after AD 70! Of course, there’s no historical record, Christian or secular, that tells of any sudden disappearance of thousands if not millions of Christians in AD 70. This further begs the question that if there were no Christians left on Earth after AD 70, how did the gospel get restarted and reach us here 2000 years later?! This view would also have to maintain that Christians who lived through AD 70 (i.e. Clement) missed the rapture or are liars. Did God leave some Christians on Earth after AD 70 so Christianity could get a restart?!
Needless to say, these are not satisfying answers. CBV is blasphemous of Christ’s eternal incarnation, and IBV denies actual history in favor of “time statements”! With no hope of finding any answers from the full preterist camp, I devoted myself to studying resurrection. It was now me and my Bible. This sounds noble. But it is less noble than you might think. I’ll explain in a few minutes.
RESURRECTION TRUTH #1 – THE UNJUST
The first Scriptural passage that dealt a fierce blow to my full preterism is that written by the Apostle John. According to Jesus Himself, the resurrection would include all human beings, righteous and unrighteous, just and unjust. He said, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” (John 5:28-29). The Apostle Paul affirmed as well, saying, “I have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust.” (Acts 24:15). Did you notice that in the explanation of what CBVs and IBVs believe they did not deal with the “resurrection of condemnation” nor the “resurrection of …the unjust”?
When faced with Acts 24:15 above, most full preterists will just change the subject to their beloved “time statements.” They will point out that the Greek word translated, “shall be” in this verse, is the Greek word, μελλειν (mellein) which, they say, means, “about to.” They will then find every occurrence of this Greek word in the New Testament and substitute their limited definition of “about to” in its place. This allows them to produce even more “time statements” in order to emphasize this resurrection, whatever it is, happened in the first century AD. But you can reference any Greek lexicon and see that the Greek scholars say this word actually means, “a certainty of action,” and the context can cause it to be translated as “about to” only because of certainty.
RESURRECTION TRUTH #2 – OUR RESURRECTION IS THE SAME AS CHRIST’S
The second Scriptural blow to my full preterism was the way in which the Apostle Paul argued the resurrection in 1Corinthians 15. It was almost the opposite direction of logic than one would think he would make. Instead of saying our resurrection was based on Christ’s resurrection (which theologically, of course, it is!), Paul argued it in the other direction, writing:
But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! (1Corinthians 15:13-17)
Notice Paul says if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not resurrected. He does not say that if Christ is not resurrected, there is no resurrection of the dead. In other words, he’s basing Christ’s resurrection on the fact of our resurrection. You might think this is a moot point, but it is not. The reason is that arguing it this way makes certain of the definition of what resurrection means. Both resurrections (ours and Christ’s) must be of the same type. Whatever definition you give the resurrection of the dead, you must also apply to Christ. And if you maintain Christ’s resurrection was a physical transformation of His mortal human body, then our resurrection must also be a transformation of our mortal human body. This is devastating to full preterism.
This critical and logical link is further corroborated by the fact that Jesus Christ is called “the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep” (1Corinthians 15:20,23) and “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18). The Firstfruits (Christ’s resurrection) cannot be different from the harvest (our resurrection). The Firstborn from the dead (Jesus) implies a second-born, a third-born, etc., i.e. us! You don’t gather apples as the firstfruits, and then when harvest comes, discover that you are now gathering oranges. So, staring me in the face at this point was the empty tomb; the 2000-year-old orthodox view of the resurrection of the dead. This was the heaviest blow against my full preterism and the third Scriptural consideration would nudge it nearly off the edge of the cliff toward oblivion.
RESURRECTION TRUTH #3 – BODIES ARE TRANSFORMED NOT DISCARDED
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, he writes:
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)
Notice that Paul says “our lowly body” would be “transformed” to become like “His glorious body.” The believer’s body was to be “transformed,” not discarded to rot in the grave while the believer is given a different body. This destroys IBV full preterism. This is exactly what happened to Christ’s mortal body. The tomb was empty. His mortal body was not discarded to obtain His immortal spiritual body. His mortal body was transformed. It still had the scars to remind us of His sacrifice.
THE TWO AGES AND OLIVET
I am currently researching a study of the Two-Age structure of redemptive history. My starting point is based on the disciples’ questions to Jesus in Matthew 24:3. Much confusion reigns among those unacquainted over the Two-Age analysis of history that was promoted by Jesus and by Paul. The Two Ages are not the old covenant and the new covenant, but world history since the fall and the consummate order following the Second Coming and the Final Judgment.
If you would like to support me in my research, I invite you to consider giving a tax-deductible contribution to my research and writing ministry: GoodBirth Ministries. Your help is much appreciated!
Not only this, but you must consider also that when Paul wrote this, both of the bodies he spoke of (“our lowly body” and Christ’s “glorious body”) existed simultaneously. What is the significance of this? It destroys CBV full preterism. There wasn’t just a single body being changed into a future single body like the CBV folks imagine. Instead, there were already two bodies when Paul wrote. There was the (1) “lowly body” of a believer and (2) the “glorious body” of Christ. But at some point in the future, Paul imagines there would still be two bodies, only they would be (1) the “lowly body” that had been “transformed” and (2) the “glorious body” of Christ.
JESUS CHRIST IS STILL INCARNATE
Furthermore, in corroboration that Jesus was still a physical Man after His ascension and will remain so even unto the Day of Judgment, Paul says, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). Also, Paul writes, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1Timothy 2:5). Furthermore, Jesus, after His ascension, is referred to be “the image of God” (2Corinthians 4:4) and “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), and also it is said that “in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Images are visible. God is not visible, but God the Son, Jesus Christ is. How could He not be? Afterall, He is our Mediator between God (invisible) and man (visible). This is what makes Him our faithful High Priest as the writer of Hebrews says: “Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). …
To read the rest of the article and see the charts, go to:
Greg Kinser is a Technical Service Engineer who lives in Bluff City, Tennessee (where Ken Gentry went to his first two years of high school!).
Very nice explanation extending my understanding of things. I see now that full preterism is indeed heretical. I pray that Gary DeMar has not fallen into this.
Good morning Mr. Gentry,
I first want to say how much I appreciate your incredible work and ministry. I have been relatively new to postmillennialism and you have been instrumental in every step on my studies on Eschatology. I have bought many of your books and recordings, and have watched most if not all your youtube videos.
I have taught the bible for 27 years, but barely skimmed the Book of Revelation because the future dispensational view never made sense or sat well with me. When you have the most well known Christian teachers out there, like Greg Laurie, Chuck Smith, John MacArthur, David Jeremiah and most if not all Calvary Chapel teachers teaching one view, and never had I heard there was any other way to approach it, I felt like I would never be able to make real sense of the entirety of Revelation like I do now.
You have always taken the time to answer all my questions when I hit a crossroads. I truly am grateful for this. But I think I am approaching a big one now.
And this current situation with another one of my biggest influences has caused me some pause.(Gary DeMar) I read in the comments of one of your recent postings, Partial Preterism is a slippery slope to Full Preterismâ.
This phrase kind of alarmed me. I am taking each scripture of Revelation bite by bite. But even now, I am getting a bit apprehensive and feel like I am slowly getting funneled and âratholedâ into full Preterism.
I cannot seem to find any definitive teachings on how the end of history plays out biblically for the postmillennialist, partial preteristh.
Any guidance you can provide me would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time and attention.
God bless and my prayers in this current situation between you and Demar.
Sincerely and Respectfully
Whilst I agree with you totally on this i still have a problem with calling Christ the first fruits of the resurrection. I am unable to agree with this statement : that Christ is the first fruits of the resurrection. Why? because Revelation 20:4-6 says “And they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years…..This is the first resurrection.” Christ cannot be the first fruits of the resurrection if those who reign with him are the first resurrection. so which is true?
Excellent article and helpful explanation of what full or hyper preterism is about.
I did find this statement humorous: “I was humbled by the writings of the early Christians. I found a deep appreciation for the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Belgic Confession of Faith, and the Heidelberg Catechism in particular. These early Christians were not being led astray at all. Instead, the Lord had made good on His promise to the original apostles of sending His Holy Spirit to lead His children into the truth.” Namely, I wouldn’t normally think of post reformation Christians as being early Christians (the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism being post reformation). Nonetheless, the point is well-taken. Ken, thanks for posting this article.
I don’t understand having a problem calling Christ the “first fruits” of the resurrection, since Scripture does it twice (1 Cor. 15:20, 24). Revelation 20 is not dealing with a literal resurrection. It is dealing with a spiritual resurrection.
The end of history plays out with the resurrection of the dead (John 6:40), the final judgment (Matt. 25:31ff), and the removal of sin from the operational universe (Rom. 8:18-22) — it being confined to hell where it is under the constraint of God’ enduring wrath., unable to afflict man and impede righteousness (Matt. 25:41).
Dr. Gentry, do you understand the ending of revelation, specifically the eternal state, as teaching the remaking of the physical universe. For example, in Rev 22:5, I have always thought that was the case when it says no need for the light of the sun. Death is no more, and if anything signified death in the old creation it was the first and second laws of thermodynamics. No more need for energy conversions (consuming energy – dead things). No more death. The universe is remade and all there is in the new creation is light from God and possibly the new eternal earth. Thoughts?
Be very much aware: Revelation is a highly symbolic book, which makes it risky business to build one’s theology on. However, I believe that Revelation 21-22 deals with matters BEGINNING in the first century (notice Rev. 22:6, 10). But they don’t end there. They flower throughout history as they develop over time (e.g., Matt. 13:31-33). The ultimate, final development into full flower is when Christ returns to judge teh current fallen order and banish evil to eternal hell as he establishes the eternal, consummate order where these glorious issues become perfected forever, with no more sin encumbering God’s operational universe (since it will be confined to hell).
Thus, we are now spiritual new creations, in anticipation of a physical, consummate new creation. We have now spiritually passed from death into life, in anticipation of a physical, consummate passing from death to life. We are now spiritually sanctified, in anticipation of our perfect sanctification in the eternal order. Etc., etc. The current fallen, rebellious order is not ALL that God ever intends for his creation.