Category Archives: Preterism

WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (5)

PMW 2020-064 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is my fifth study in a survey of the scholarly options for interpreting the introductory verses of Revelation. Those verses are Revelation 1:1, 3. And they read:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, . . . 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

We have looked at seven options among scholars. We are now ready for three more!

8. John speaks from the future

George Beasley-Murray emphasizes “imminence” (Revelation, 168) and “no more delay” (170) but not for the original audience. Actually “in his vision John stands near the close of the period of messianic judgments” (Beasley-Murray 170). Thus, he sees John as speaking from within the future context when the events are about to explode on the seen. Continue reading

WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (4)

PMW 2020-063 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am continuing a survey of the various interpretations of the first three verses of Revelation. These are crucial for understanding what John’s mysterious book involves. Those verses read:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, . . . 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

We are now ready for two more interpretations that are found among scholars. And dispensationalists.

6. The events are always imminent

The events are imminent in that they could theoretically occur at any minute. Premillennialist Robert Mounce (Revelation, 41) takes this approach: “John writes that the events that constitute the revelation must ‘soon take place.’ That almost 2,000 year of church history have passed and the end has not yet come poses a problem for some. . . . The most satisfying solution is to take the expression ‘must soon take place’ in a straightforward sense, remembering that in the prophetic outlook the end is always imminent. Time as a chronological sequence is of secondary concern in prophecy. This perspective is common to the entire NT.” Continue reading

WHAT DO REVELATION 1:1 AND 1:3 MEAN? (1)

PMW 2020-060 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

All agree that Revelation is a difficult book. Except for televangelist Hal Lindsey. In this regard, one theologian has noted that for every five commentaries on Revelation you can find six different views.

How is this problem to be solved if we are ever to understand Revelation? The answer: exegetically. We must read what John says he expects at the very beginning of his mysterious work. And what does he say in his opening?

In Revelation 1:1and 3 we read:

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, . . . 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Unfortunately, we will learn that most commentators do not see these words as meaning what they seem to mean. For if they did accept them at face value, they would all be redemptive-historical preterists. In this short series I will be presenting several of the leading interpretations of these verses. I will here present some of the leading options for interpreting John’s declaration. Some of these concepts can be and are blended in some of the writers highlighted. Continue reading

GUMERLOCK’S “REVELATION AND THE FIRST CENTURY”

Gumerlock bookPMW 2020-042 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

The preterist approach to Revelation holds that Revelation is to be understood as already fulfilled in the first century. Consequently, it has a strong historical interest.

Ironically though, many critics of the preterist approach to Revelation attempt to discredit it on an historical basis. They argue such things as:

“Preterism goes against the witness of the very early church” (Mal Couch).

“Alcazar, a [17th century] Spanish Jesuit, started the idea that the Apostle John . . . was writing about what was happening in his own day, and that his Antichrist was probably the Emperor Nero or some other early persecutor” (Duncan McDougall). Continue reading

OF PRETERISTS AND POSTMILLENNIALISTS (2)

PMW 2020-040 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second (and final) presentation of an interview conducted with me on preterism and postmillennialism.

Interviewer: Shifting to a related topic. Do preterist and non-preterist postmillennialists differ significantly in their reading of Matthew 24? Are there different interpretations of the two “days” even among preterists?

Gentry: Matthew 24 has been subjected to a fairly wide variety of interpretive approaches. Perhaps the more widely endorsed one holds that the Lord more or less jumbles together material on A.D. 70 and the Second Advent, in that A.D. 70 is a microcosmic precursor to the Second Advent. This view makes it difficult to sort out the verses in regard to which event the particular verses focus on. Among evangelical preterists two basic positions prevail: that 24:4–34 focus on A.D. 70 and 24:36ff focus on the Second Advent (this is my view, and the view presented by J. Marcellus Kik). The other view holds that all of Matthew 24–25 deals with A.D. 70. Continue reading

OF PRETERISTS AND POSTMILLENNIALISTS (1)

PMW 2020-039 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Awhile back I was interviewed about the relationship of postmillennialism with preterism. Here is the interview. I hope it will provide some insights for you as you discuss such issues with your friends.

Interviewer: Dr. Gentry, when we speak of “schools” of interpretation or theological opinion — like “theonomists,” or “postmillennialists,” or “preterists” — there is a tendency to think of these groups in monolithic terms, as if all their proponents hew exactly to a single “party line.” In what ways, if any, does the contemporary revival of biblical postmillennialism differ from earlier versions within the Reformed tradition (e.g., Puritan postmillennialism)?

Gentry: You are correct that we need to be aware of a lack of lock-step unanimity in any millennial viewpoint, including postmillennialism. “Puritan postmillennialism” is so widely variant that for sorting through the various positions, I highly recommend reading Crawford Gribben, The Puritan Millennium: Literature & Theology 1550-1682 (Dublin, Ireland: Four Courts Press, 2000).

But in broad strokes we may distinguish between an historicist postmillennialism (held by the Puritans) as opposed to a preterist postmillennialism which is currently the more popular view. Continue reading

PRETERISM AND POSTMILLENNIALISM?

PMT 2015-038 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

From time to time I receive a question regarding the difference between preterism and postmillennialism. Some folks are confused as to whether they contradict each other or whether they are speaking of the same thing. Let me briefly distinguish the two theological concepts.

Preterism
The word “preterist” is the transliteration of a Latin word that means “passed by.” The orthodox preterist sees certain passages as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in AD 70, though many evangelicals understand these to be speaking of the second coming of Christ at the end of history. Continue reading