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What is Eschatology? 4 main views:

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by parousia70, May 19, 2002.

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  1. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

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    Eschatology is the study of the "Last Things", End times, Last days" of the Bible.

    I thought it would be a good Idea, given the forum re- organization, to lay out an overview for newcomers (or anyone who wants to know) what the 4 main views of Christian eschatology are, so folks can have a better grasp of the range of topics that this forum was created to cover.

    There are of course, other views not represented within the 4 main views, and each of the 4 have subsections within them as well.

    The four main schools of Historic Christian Eschatological interpretation:

    1) The futurist
    2) The historicist
    3) The idealist
    4) The preterist


    1. The futurist believes that the book of Revelation speaks about events that are still in the future. Most futurists see everything from chapter 4 or chapter 6 as yet to be fulfilled. All premillennialists hold to some sort of futurist interpretation, though they vary considerably in their interpretation of the book of Revelation.

    2. The historical school of interpretation died from hermeneutical exhaustion. From the time of the Reformation, when this school flourished, almost every new generation tried to find events in history that could be said to fulfill Revelation's prophecies.

    3. Idealists say that the symbolism of Revelation was not meant to be applied to one specific sequence of historical events, but, more generally, to the Church of every age and land as she struggles against the world.

    4. The word "preterism" comes from a latin root that means "gone by" or "past." The preterist believes that the book of Revelation predicts God's covenantal judgment upon the nation of Israel. It was future, of course, for the Christians who first received it in around A.D. 65, but most of the book is past from our perspective. The judgment on Jerusalem and its temple is seen as the final aspect of the creation of a new covenant people, a new city, and a new temple.

    My next few posts will be devoted to exploring each view in greater detail.

    Please feel free to add your own observaions.

    YBIC,
    P70
     
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  2. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

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    Futurism is essentially rooted in the Counter-Reformation through the Jesuit scholar Francisco Ribera (died 1591) who put prophetic fulfillment into the future. "In 1590, Ribera published a commentary on the Revelation as a counterinterpretation to the prevailing [historicist] view among Protestants which identified the Papacy with the Antichrist. Ribera applied all of Revelation but the earliest chapters to the end time rather than to the history of the Church. Antichrist would be a single evil person who would be received by the Jews and would rebuild Jerusalem . . . and rule the world for three and a half years." Ribera was subsequently supported by Robert Cardinal Bellarmine (died 1621). Early futurists such as S.R. Maitland, James H. Todd and William Burgh followed Ribera in the 1820s and 1830s. From then on it was quickly joined by some into the system of dispensationalism.

    Present-day futurism sees the establishment of the State of Israel as a direct fulfillment of prophecy. Leon J. Wood, a prominent futurist-dispensational writer states, "The clearest sign of Christ's return is the modern state of Israel." The widely read Hal Lindsey writes, "The most important prophetic sign to herald the era of Christ's return" and "one of the most important events of our age" is the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Futurists also see the reunification of Jerusalem on June 6, 1967, as a direct sign of fulfillment of prophecy.

    There is an expected rebuilding of a temple in Jerusalem in the middle of the seven-year tribulation period. Any travelor to Jerusalem can visit a given place and inspect temple utensils that are made ready for this temple to be built. Futurism holds that in the final millennial dispensation another temple will be built, the millennial temple, in which Jews will literally sacrifice animals again but not in an expiatory way. They will be "memorials of the one complete sacrifice of Christ.

    In futurism, there is the widely anticipated "secret rapture" of all true Christians in the near future before the great tribulation takes place. In historicism, believers will go through the tribulation of "the time of trouble" unharmed; in futurism, the most widely held belief today is that believers will be raptured into heaven at the beginning of the tribulation, however there are (in lesser numbers) advocates of mid-trib and post-trip "rapture" within the futurist camp.

    In futurism the great fulfillments are projected into the future and they center around Israel and the Middle East, including the coming of a future Antichrist and the False Prophet, the role of Russia, and a literal battle of Armageddon in Palestine, and so on.
     
  3. OldBadfish

    OldBadfish Well-Known Member

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    Thank you parousia70, if anyone has questions ask them here.
     
  4. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

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    My Pleasure Badfish! Thanks for giving this thread your "seal of approval"!

    Now, on with the study..........
     
  5. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

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    The historicist method, also described as the continuous historical method, is linked with the outline prophecies of Daniel and Revelation. The outline prophecies of these books trace the history of world empires and subsequent divisions in an uninterrupted chain of historical events to the Second Coming of Christ and beyond. In historicism, prophecies about Israel and its future are seen to be conditional, depending on Israel's obedience. Historicism takes the entire Bible of both Testaments as providing the norms of prophetic interpretation.

    This time-honored method of interpretation had predominance for Bible believers from the beginning of Christianity well into the beginning of the twentieth century. Historicism, however, has been eclipsed by futurism in popularity in much of evangelical Christianity around the world in the latter part of this century.
     
  6. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

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    Idealism maintains that Revelation sets forth timeless truths concerning the battle between good and evil, which continues throughout the church age until the return of Jesus, and does not realte to specific, one time only events

    I must confess I have yet to find much detailed information regarding the origins of Idealism, although I do know that this view is currently championed by modern expositor Sam Hamstra Jr.

    Any insight to Idealisms origins that anyone can offer would be greatly appriciated.
     
  7. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

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    R C Sproul defines preterism as:
    Preterism: An eschatological viewpoint that places many or all eschatological events in the past, especially during the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. (R C Sproul, The Last Days according to Jesus, p 228)

    Todd Dennis (preterist archive) says "Preterism is from the Hebrew language's Preterit [Past Perfect] tense."

    Preterism is the idea that some or all prophecy has been fulfilled in the generation alive when Jesus preached, i.e. it has been fulfilled in the past. It takes the divine inspiration of the bible seriously and literally. Some people have alleged that some of Jesus prophecies were wrong, in order to counter these arguments preterists believe that Jesus prophecies were indeed fulfilled in this (ie. His) generation, most notably by the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Preterism takes the following key verses literally:

    (Mat 10:23) When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

    (Mat 16:28)I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

    (Mat 23:35-36) And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.

    (Mat 24:34) I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.

    (Mat 26:63-64) But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." {64} "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

    (Luke 21:20-22) 20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,
    [referencing 66-70AD] then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
    **************************************

    Although I personally subscribe to the preterist view, my purpose for this thread was to set the example of treating all eschatological viewpoints with respect, by providing an objective analysis of all 4 main views, to help folks (including myself) understand what people believe and why.

    I look forward to learning and sharing more, about the various eschatological views within the body of Christiandom.

    YBIC,
    P70
     
  8. Brian45

    Brian45 Senior Member

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    Thank you Parousia 70 , prior to this forum I had no idea what the word Preterism meant and now I do . Your post should generate some very interesting questions , I only hope people will be mature enough to handle all the different view pionts . I enjoy posting my own views but I'm also here to learn , I can only presume this goes for everyone else . A piece of wisdom : HE WHO THINKS HE KNOWS THE MOST OFFTEN KNOWS THE LEAST .
     
  9. Catchup

    Catchup Active Member

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    Parousia70: There is more than one form of preterism. What you have described is Full preterism. This is heresy and is only believed by the twisting and/or omission of Bible verses.

    A preterist view can also be...that some of the prophecies have been fulfilled. But this is an important difference. The second coming of Jesus remains in the Future.

    I am not starting a debate. I merely am clarifying the difference. Full preterist often use the partial preterist views of the Catholic religion and maybe other Christians to back up their stance. But remember a core belief of the Catholic religion is the future coming of Christ.

    Do not allow the heresy of the Full preterist to confuse you.

    :) LOVE
     
  10. GW

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    Hiya Yauming.

    The apostles and Christ unanimously taught the second coming was to be in their generation before all the apostles had died. Even higher criticism has known this for hundreds of years and has used it successfully to cause countless defections from the Christian faith. The forces that cause Christians to abandon Christ and adopt liberal Christ-denying theologies start with this exact issue. -- liberals and skeptics all know that Christ and the apostles were unanimous on WHEN the second coming was to be, and therefore they accuse Christ and the apostles of having made big errors -- a charge which futurist eschatology cannot defend against. Even C.S. Lewis believes Christ taught errors on eschatology. Amazing.

    Check these links:

    The Lowdown on God's Showdown
    http://www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=86

    Priest Resigns: Eschatology leads to his demise
    http://www.planetpreterist.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=374

    A Faith Fundamentally Flawed
    by Reverend Andrew Furlong
    http://www.cathedral.meath.anglican.org/faithflawed.html


    On to your other points...

    You have called the Fall of Jerusalem a "non-event." (Hard to imagine the greatest disaster in the Ancient world being a "non-event")

    One could argue that the salvation of the entire world was a "non-event." How many people even showed up at the Cross? Yet God's people grasped the significance by faith.

    In contrast to the Cross event which was entirely flying "under the radar" so far as anyone at the time was concerned, the Fall of Jerusalem was arguably greatest disaster in all Antiquity. (And that's not even including the eternal COVENANTAL significance of the event that took place.)

    We know from scripture itself that it was a universal judgement, avenging all the righteous blood ever shed on the earth going all the way back to Able (see: Matthew 23:35-36; Luke 11:29-32; Luke 19:41-44; Mark 13:1-31).

    We know from Luke 21:22 that it was the "Day of the Lord" ("Day of the Lord's Vengeance" is mentioned there, picking up from Isaiah 61:2 -- also compare Luke 21:22 to Jer 46:10). We know that it was Israel's great distress/great tribulation (Luke 21:20-23/Matt 24:15-20 and that is was the coming of God to Israel to avenge the saints and remove the rights to Israel from the unbelieving rulers of the jews and their followers (Matthew 21:40-45). (True Israel accepted with Yahweh was counted through Jesus and his jewish follwers, the remant -- Gal 6:15-16; Phil 3:3; 1 Pet 2:9; Matt 21:43).

    Countless commentaries on Matthew 24 from the ECFs on down to today interpret the chapter as mostly or TOTALLY fulfilled.

    I don't think anyone can argue against the fact that Christ and the apostles knew exactly what they were talking about by prophesying the return of Christ in the glory of Yahweh in their generation. As jews they fully understood the nature of the "Day-of-Yahweh" events and could refer to many in their own O.T. history. And yet AD 66-70 was the GREATEST Day-of-the-Lord event in history, and was obviously the one they all were saying they would live to see (1 Cor 1:7-8; Phil 1:6,10; 1 Thess 5:23; Heb 10:25,37; 1 Cor 5:5, etc) -- they prepared for it a mere 1-2 decades before God's wrath was finally poured out.

    Hope that helps. I look forward to your response.

    GW
     
  11. GW

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    It is clear that it cannot be that everyone who reads Matthew 24 lives through those events described therein. There is only one endtimes generation, and it isn't you and me. It was the apostles' generation who were promised they would live through those events. Matthew 10:16-23 is for, to, and about the apostles is is not? It is. The parallel passage in Matthew 24:9-13 is also speaking of the apostles. You are making Matthew 24 an allegory, for you are arguing it was a failed prophecy to the apostles to whom Jesus promised those things. It takes an ALLEGORICAL reading of the passage to generate the hope that it might come to pass in our future. It happened to them and in their generation just as Jesus promised.

    Jesus Christ specifically promised his apostles they would live to see his return in their generation (Matthew 23:36; 24:33-34), before their preaching to the nation was fulfilled (Matt 10:16-23), and before the last apostle had died (John 21:21-22; Matthew 16:27-28). Yet you deny that Jesus promised his apostles that they would see those events come to pass? How is that even possible or reasonable? Read here:


    Jesus, speaking to his apostles, prophesied to them saying:

    Matthew 24:2
    verily I say unto YOU, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

    Matthew 24:3-4
    disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And Jesus answered and said UNTO THEM, Take heed that no man deceive YOU.

    Matthew 24:6
    And YOU shall hear of wars and rumours of wars:

    Matthew 24:9
    Then shall they deliver YOU up to be afflicted (this means the apostles as proven by Matt 10:17)

    Matthew 24:13
    But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved (this means the apostles as proven by Matthew 10:22-23).

    Matthew 24:15
    When YOU therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet...Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains (this means the time of the Fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 in Luke 21:20-23).

    Matthew 24:33-34
    So likewise YOU, when YOU SHALL SEE ALL THESE THINGS, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto YOU This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.



    That's an allegorical rendering. Scripture doesn't say that -- you have inserted it.


    Next, you say that Matthew 24:25 is spoken to "everybody who would ever read the passage" (along with all the other "YOU" mentions in the Matt 24 passage). Will John Calvin, according to Matthew 24:15-18, see the abomination and flee Jerusalem? Was the prophecy to him? Of course not. Did Abraham Lincoln read Matthew 24:15-18 and will he then flee Jerusalem? Was the prophecy to him? No. Did C.I. Scofield see the armies surround Jerusalem and flee Jerusalem? Was it to him? Again, no. These men are all dead. Ironically, the passage did come true LITERALLY in 66-67 AD for those to whom Christ made the promises and it is part of the historical record.

    Your answer that Matthew 24:25 applies to all who read the passage is untenable. Compare Matt 24:25 to John 14:29, John 13:19 and John 16:4 and we see that Jesus only spoke that line to warn his apostles of things THEY were certain to face. Brother, I believe that you have made Matthew 24 an allegory for all peoples of all times. But, truth is, there is only one single last days generation, and the Holy inspired apostles said it was their generation (James 5:3; Heb 1:1-2; 1 Peter 1:20; Acts 2:15-17; 1 Cor 10:11).


    Matthew 10:1-23 is specifically to his chosen apostles. If Jesus didn't return before they all died then aren't the liberals and skeptics right that Jesus made errors, and verifiably so? Even C.S. Lewis states Christ made errors on the doctrine of eschatology.

    Obviously, the dead are in Heaven now -- so it is clear that they were raised out of Hades at the end of the Law Age as Paul predicted:


    1 Cor 15:55-56
    "and when this corruptible may have put on incorruption, and this mortal may have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the word that hath been written, 'The Death was swallowed up in victory. where, O Death, is thy sting? Where, O HADES is thy victory?' And the sting of the death is sin, AND THE POWER OF SIN IS THE LAW


    Paul preaches here that the dead were raised when the Law of Moses was fully destroyed. The events prophesied by Christ concerning the Temple and Jerusalem already happened, releasing the O.T. Dead out of Hades/Sheol (see also Rev 20:12-15). If Christ has not returned then none of the dead have yet escaped out of Hades (1 Cor 15:56; Rev 20:12-15) and the Catholics are right that it is still active as "Purgatorio" (the Latin for Hades). You hold the Roman Catholic position on this issue, whether you are aware of it or not. The Hades (Latin: "Purgatorio") of 1 Cor 15:55-56 is still active if one is a futurist (see Rev 20:12-15).


    Jesus Christ was the First Resurrection (1 Cor 15:20; Rev 1:5; Col 1:18; Acts 26:23)

    So they have not had their promised rest and are still suffering their 1st century persecution? The Thessalonians were not going to get rest from their persecutors until Christ came to give tribulation to them. This means the Thessalonian saints are still suffering and not at rest from their persecution. Again, a futurist position has to either create an allegory (ignoring the plain sense of the passage) or suffer the charge that Paul prophesied presumptuously and did err. Many Christians maintain that Paul simply erred.

    They are not at rest from their persecutors if Christ didn't return. Paul prophesied that Christ's return would relieve them of their sufferings at the hands of their persecutors. You say it did not happen. This pits your position against Paul's -- both cannot be right and so a contradiction arises.

    Are you saying that people don't have their bodies return back to dust? Paul says "BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT," showing that he does not mean a "spiritual sense" as you claim (for he lists that option in the same sentence). I assure you that the Thessalonians' bodies are all dust now. Their molecules have become crops, other living animals, and part of the water cycle and fossil fuels for our tractors and such. All living things today on earth are blessed because they are dead and have gone back to dust and molecules that nourish us and are part of all living things today.

    You are violating (avoiding?) the most basic rules of grammar and syntax. The "you/us" in 1 Thess 5:1-11 is the Thessalonians. You are consistently demonstrating a violation of rules of syntax and grammar -- you are creating allegorical meanings in nearly every passage we discuss.

    Next, what comfort could Paul's words have been to them if the "YOU" spoke of some far distant generation of people? Paul closes out his point saying: "THEREFORE COMFORT YOURSELVES TOGETHER." If Paul is suggesting that the relief for these desperately persecuted Thessalonians was to come from an event thousands of years into the future he is cruel. Why did he mislead them? Paul would have to be a cruel mocker of the Thessalonians and of the seriousness of their persecution. Even more, Paul must be a cruel man if your view is correct -- for he leads them to believe it is to happen in their lifetimes to bring their relief; Paul gives no indication anywhere of any delay. Remember, Paul preached that his 1st century flocks would remain alive unto the Day of Christ (Phil 1:6,10; 1 Cor 1:7-8; Heb 10:25,37). The Thessalonians were therefore misled to believe that they would remain alive until the second coming (1 Thess 4:15-17) -- that is, "misled" if futurist postponement theories are to be adopted as truth.

    Finally, the "THEY" in 1 Thess 5:3 is the people of 1 Thess 2:14 and 2 Thess 1:5-8.

    You aren't following the most basic rules of grammar, so I don't know that we can continue to dialogue. If we can't agree on the rules of grammar then we are not able to get anywhere. How can any two people communicate if there aren't objective, accepted rules of grammar and syntax? You are employing another set of grammatical rules to be followed -- those rules are part of an ALLEGORICAL method you are using at every turn instead of adopting the plain, straightforward, literal text.

    We are to let the scriptures teach us and inform our views (and not the other way around). Agreed? I maintain that you have an allegorical interpretation of the Olivet, Jesus, and Paul that simply would have been foreign to them or their original audience.
     
  12. Catchup

    Catchup Active Member

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    GW: I am only speaking for myself...but I do not read post that mimic books. Could you give us the condensed version? :D

    :) LOVE
     
  13. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

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    Hi Catchup,
    What you have described is actually "partial futurism"

    ANY view that maintains a "future to us" fulfillment of ANY eschatology falls within the scope of futurism.

    Thank you for your continued interest in these things!

    YBIC,
    P70
     
  14. GW

    GW Veteran

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    Hi Catchup.

    Postrib and I have an ongoing discussion. Don't sweat it.

    God bless you.
     
  15. Auntie

    Auntie THANK YOU JESUS!!

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    Catchup has a good point GW. I don't read the book-length posts either, so few of us have the time.

    And "Don't sweat it. God bless you" sounds a litle sarcastic.
     
  16. RKF

    RKF Member

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    Long posts make my eyes hurt......waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.....I want my mommy..........
     
  17. GW

    GW Veteran

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    Auntie and Catchup.

    I wasn't attempting to be sarcastic. Apologies if it sounded that way.

    My point was to say that my post is a response to Postrib's questions. I could have just PM'd it to him personally, I guess. He and I have been going back and forth for some time with strings of questions on Matthew 24. It's hard to answer long questions with short posts.

    I, too, don't normally enjoy long posts. However, occasionally I enter into focused discussions with one or more people that require it.

    Blessings,
    GW
     
  18. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

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    Thank you for your kind words Brian, I am humbled by the thought that my limited explainations have been useful to your understanding.

    :bow:

    YBIC,
    P70
     
  19. parousia70

    parousia70 I'm livin' in yesterday's tomorrow Supporter

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    Catchup has brought up an excellent point.

    What has been coined as "Partial Preterism" is a view that places the fulfillment, in varying degrees depending on how far you go, of at least some of Last days Prophesy in the past, while maintaining the "Final Advent" of Christ is yet future.

    This view, however, is not Preterism at all, and would be more accurately called "Partial Futurism".

    ALL Bible believing Christains believe that at least some "last days" prophesy was fulfilled 2000 years ago, for the Bible declares this to be so.

    Acts 2:16-17 "16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams"

    Peter is declaring with infallible authority that "Last Days" prophesy was being fulfilled right then and there!
    If you believe Acts 2 actually took place, you are officilally "partial preterist", or more accurately, "partial futurist".

    There are varying degrees of partial futurism, most notably there are those who divide Matt 24 at roughly verse 34-36 and say everything before those verses happened int the 1st century, and everything after renains yet future.

    Others stick to Peters declaration in Acts as the only Last days prophesy that has been fulfilled, with everything else remaining unfulfilled so far, while still others believe everything but the 2nd coming has already ocourred.

    Then there are those who believe in "multiple 2nd comings" ocourring throughout history, with one "final 2nd coming" to end history.

    In a nutshell,partial preterism is a type of futurist eschatology that places some last days prophesy in the future and some in the past.

    YBIC,
    P70
    PS:
    The term "Full Preterism" is redundant, and the term "Preterist Heresey" is an Oxymoron.
     
  20. Brian45

    Brian45 Senior Member

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    Parousia 70 . I said I understand what the word preterism means , I didn't say that I understand preterism . thankyou .
     
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