Tuesday, March 28, 2006

WHY I AM NOT A PARTIAL PRETERIST

Partial preterism is a view of prophecy which holds that most of the prophecy spoken of in the NT, and especially in the book of Revelation, was fulfilled in a sense in the destruction of the Jewish temple in the year A.D. 70. Partial preterists believe that the book of Revelation was written during the reign of Nero and before his death in A.D. 67. Some noted partial preterists are: Greg Bahnsen and Kenneth Gentry. Gentry is noted for his doctoral dissertation defending the view of partial preterism. It is called Before Jerusalem Fell. Partial preterism is one of four views of prophecy held by scholars today. The other three are:

Idealism--most of the prophecies in Revelation are fulfilled in progressive cycles spiritually; some take a modified approach and say that some is fulfilled in history as well. Some noted idealists are William Hendriksen (More Than Conquerors), Dennis Johnson (The Triumph of the Lamb), Vern Poythress (The Returning King), Sam Hamstra (Four Views on the Book of Revelation), R.J. Rushdoony, and Andrew Sandlin. I would also claim this view as my own as well.

Historicism--the book of Revelation is about all of history in a consecutive order. The Puritans held this view, and so do the London and Westminster Confessions. However, most scholars today recognize that this view is not able to be upheld, since Revelation is not consecutive.

Futurism--this is the view of American evangelicalism, which holds that most of the book of Revelation is future and that prophecy will be fulfilled in the Great Tribulation and the Rapture of the Church and a literal millennial reign of Christ on earth. Dispensationalists usually hold this view.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH PARTIAL PRETERISM

I believe that one of the main problems with partial preterism is its view of the coming of Christ. While I can agree as an idealist that there was a kind of "coming" of Christ in A.D. 70, Scripture seems to be clear that there are many comings of Christ which will culminate in the climactic coming of Christ. For example, in 2 Peter 1:16-18, Peter calls their experience on the Mount of Transfiguration a "coming" of the Lord Jesus.

THE THESSALONIAN PROBLEM

Partial preterism cannot answer the fact that there was no Antichrist in A.D. 70. We are told in Thessalonians that the man of lawlessness would be destroyed at the coming of Christ. Our partial preterist friends say that the Antichrist was past, but yet many of them hold that Nero was the Antichrist. Yet, Nero died in 67, not in 70. No matter who they select as the man of sin, he was not destroyed in A.D. 70.

REVELATION WAS WRITTEN IN THE 90'S, NOT BEFORE

It seems to me that partial preterists have a huge burden of proof when it comes to the rest of John's writings. Even if we grant that Revelation was written in the 60's, what about the rest of his writings? What about the gospel of John, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John? Why is it that all the rest of the books of the Bible are pre-70, but John's are the only ones which are post-70? I would venture to say that it is because John was the disciple who would be left. We must remember that he was "the disciple whom Jesus loved," and that he was the only disciple who did not have to die. For this reason, I think we can see why it is that his writings all are post-70.

PARTIAL PRETERISM BREAKS DOWN UPON ANALYSIS

Our partial preterist brothers usually try to make a case when it comes to Revelation 11. They say the temple was still standing because of the time mentioned. Yet, upon analysis, we see that the number of the time was not exact. (See Poythress' book here.)

They also say that Revelation 17 counts down to Nero. But this depends on how you view what king to begin with. Again, see Poythress. It is quite possible to count to Domitian, which idealists say.

Finally, they think that since there is a textual variant with "666" ("616"), that that proves that only Nero could have been the beast. But this kind of gematria has been done with names for a long time, and we have found numerous names. This ultimately becomes subjective.

CONCLUSION

I know that this post is getting long, so I will sign off. I have only given you a bit to whet your appetites. Much more could be said, of course. But, for a quick summary, the above is why I am not a partial preterist.

19 comments:

Josh Brisby said...

Brothers and sisters,

Josh Brisby here. I wanted to mention something on the side (kind of like a footnote), which is why I am mentioning it in the comments section.

None of the four views of prophecies are necessarily tied into any millennial school of thought, although, for example, MOST amillennialists are idealists, and MOST postmillennialists today are partial preterists. (Although the Puritans were postmil historicists.) For example, R.J. Rushdoony and Andrew Sandlin (who I don't recommend, by the way) are examples of idealist postmils. I would also count myself as a modified idealistic postmillennialist. Jay Adams is an example of an amillennial partial preterist.

So, suffice it to say that, just because someone may hold a particular school of prophecy, it does not necessarily mean that they will hold a particular view of millennial thought, even though there have been a majority that may have the two thoughts correspond.

I hope this info was helpful as well. Happy blogging!

In Christ,
Josh Brisby

So,

BJ said...

My rebuttal is on the way. I will notify you as to its arrival. I was needing something to post on, and now I have it. By the way...whatever happend to the highly anticipated Manata/Brisby debate? Did you guys do it via e-mail? He is Risen!

Josh Brisby said...

Brother BJ,

I look forward to your rebuttal. Sounds good.

Still waiting on Manata to give me his last two salvos he promised me. I have a feeling I shouldn't hold my breath. (Did you hear that, Manata? Hehehe.) :0)

In Christ,
Josh Brisby

BJ said...

Its posted....enjoy.

BJ said...

Done....

KnowNoTone said...

Josh,

I've really not done much thinking about this subject in about 8 months and I don't mean to sound harsh.

Here's the only things I would ask regarding your late date understanding of Revelation.

How old are you? Have you done the level of study that Dr. Kenneth Gentry has? Do you possess the necessary background in early church history, the Church Fathers, Koine Greek, etc. to truly reason through dating the Book of Revelation? Have you had any dialog with Ken Gentry and questioned him on areas where you disagree?

You're clearly a very smart young man, just don't be too smart for your own good :).

Josh Brisby said...

Nonotone,

Thank you for your counsel.

I am 29. I have dialogued with Gentry in the past on this subject. He has answered my questions, but of course not to my satisfaction, which is why I'm not a partial preterist. :0)

I respect Gentry much, just like I have much respect for other brothers in the Lord with whom I may not see eye to eye with on some things.

Welcome to the Reformed Oasis. How did you find this site?

Josh

KnowNoTone said...

Josh,

Brian "nonotone" Bowman here.

I love your site! Paul Manata is a n acquaintance from the PuritanBoard (Where Presbies and Baptists pass the time away debating their differences ...)

You're a very Gracious guy Josh and many of my friends are under 30 (We love to drink Beer [sparingly] and discuss Reformed Theology [generously].

Regarding the other post, I agree with you that, while Salvation by Grace is, to us humans, a mind-blowing gift from God,
we need to "walk worthy of our calling and be pleasing to Him in all respects". Sometimes, it's the "want to" when it coming to doing this that is difficult for my ole body of sin and death.

Can ya relate?

Josh Brisby said...

Brother Brian,

I hear ya. I can absolutely relate to that, especially this week. I feel like I have just given into my own selfishness this week because battling sin is too hard. I would appreciate your prayers for God to strengthen me to kill sin in my life and take up my cross daily.

Thank you brother.

In Christ,
Josh

Anonymous said...

I just discovered your website as I was doing some research for a study on Revelation 11. i am a former(recovering)pre-trib dispensationalist. For 17 yrs as a student and bible school professor, I came up withways of defending a teaching to which I had questions. However, one day while studying 2 Thess. 1, my eschatological foundation started to turn to dust.
I respect the reasons why you said you are not a (partial) preterist. However, unless I mistook what I read,you seem to believe that all preterist believe that all was fulfilled by AD 70. Full-preterist teach that all things including the resurrection and judgment were fulfilled by AD70.
On the other hand, most (if not all) partial-preterist believe that Matt. 24 & and most of Revelation deals with a coming-in-judgment upon Israel (Matt. 23: 36; 24: 34). However, we believe that there is a final (eschatos) resurrection and judgment of the just and unjust, yet to come (Jn. 5: 28-29; 6: 39-40, 44, 54; 11: 24; 12: 48; Acts 17: 18, 31-32; 23: 6-8; 24: 14-15, 21; Philip. 3: 11; Titus 2: 13 w/t 1 Thess. 4: 13-18 & 1 Cor. 15: 50-55).
I know that no all believers will agree with me, and I will not agree with them, and that is okay, by me, as long as we walk in love.
Thanks for a taking a moment to listen. May surpassing peace be yours. Miguel.

Josh Brisby said...

Brother Miguel,

Welcome to The Reformed Oasis!

I am very aware of the differences between partial and full preterism--even painfully aware, as my church was ready to excommunicate two full preterists, but they left before we did.

In my post, I mentioned that partial preterism believes that *most* prophecy has been fulfilled.

I too was raised dispensational. It is a rare blessing for someone to be raised Reformed.

Welcome again brother to The Reformed Oasis!

In Christ,
Josh Brisby

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Barbara said...

Josh, you might want to check out
this link and consider some of the
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http://www.4himnet.com/bnyberg/dispen
sationalism01.html

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear your Church would excamunicate people because of their belief in Eschatology, its really ashame I know My own Dad did that to me. Its seems unchristian and harsh just because of different end times theology. This comes from a 27 yr Dispie Premil, Now after my own studies a 12 yr Partial Preterist. I am 52 been saved for longer than you have lived. Please End Times studies have nothing to do with ones Salvation. rcscrolls@aol.com

Anonymous said...

You are guilty of strawman fallacy.

1. Partial preterists believe in many comings of Christ: i.e., "First Advent", "Coming to bring to glory the elect when they die, "coming to punish, "coming" of Christ in A.D. 70 by judging the Jews ("coming in the clouds", which coincides with his "coming into his kingdom", coming for fellowship, and his climactic 2nd Advent or bodily coming from heaven in an unknown day and hour in our future.

2. Not all partial preterists say that the "Man of sin" was past. Partial Preterists say that Nero was the "Beast". There are many antichrists and not only one single unique Antichrist (no such unique person). Nero died in 68AD, which proves that he was the sixth king ("now is") before the 7th (Galba) which reigns for a while (6 months).

REVELATION & the Epistles of John were written before 70 AD. There are internal evidences that show Revelation was written before the first Jewish- Roman War of 66-70 AD. There are also external evidences. Read Kenneth Gantry Jr. Before Jerusalem Fell. On the other hand, there are no internal evidence (not a single one) for the claim that Revelation was written after 70 AD when the temple was already destroyed.

The first Emperor is Julius Cezar, followed by Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius then Nero (6th).

Nero's Name has the number 666. Can you name any other major historical figure in the first century with that number?

Anonymous said...

fall of Babylon - Sept. 20, 1870 - Chp 11, 19.20 -- second fall of pope - "Revival 2015" (Rev. 20.10).
NOTE: None of your commentators believe, "That God is alive -- today -- on earth!'
PROPHECY:'fIre came down from heaven/God and ate them (Catholics)- Rev. 20.9b. FULFILLMENT: Finnacial settlements against them for "child abuse."

Anonymous said...

From Matthew Poole Commentary, 1680 to Halley's Bible Handbook, 1945 all writers believed that, "God is alive!" But none of your commemters indicated any "Belief in God."
I am, "The Living Link to the Millennium (1859-1960) (Satan Loosed A Little; 1959-2004), today we are in, "The Last Battle" (Rev. 20.9; AD 2004-2015). From Beginning of time (Gen 5) to "Revival 2015" - No Gaps.