Nordic Preacher

Northern Reflections on Preaching, Theology and the Christian Life.

Category: Eschatology


Preterism Undermines the Blessed Reading, Hearing, and Keeping of The Revelation of Jesus Christ (#3 Thoughts on Gentry)

π‘‡β„Žπ‘’ π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘£π‘’π‘™π‘Žπ‘‘π‘–π‘œπ‘› π‘œπ‘“ 𝐽𝑒𝑠𝑒𝑠 πΆβ„Žπ‘Ÿπ‘–π‘ π‘‘, π‘€β„Žπ‘–π‘β„Ž πΊπ‘œπ‘‘ π‘”π‘Žπ‘£π‘’ β„Žπ‘–π‘š π‘‘π‘œ π‘ β„Žπ‘œπ‘€ π‘‘π‘œ β„Žπ‘–π‘  π‘ π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘£π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘π‘  π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘›π‘”π‘  π‘‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ π‘šπ‘’π‘ π‘‘ π‘ π‘œπ‘œπ‘› π‘‘π‘Žπ‘˜π‘’ π‘π‘™π‘Žπ‘π‘’. 𝐻𝑒 π‘šπ‘Žπ‘‘π‘’ 𝑖𝑑 π‘˜π‘›π‘œπ‘€π‘› 𝑏𝑦 𝑠𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑛𝑔 β„Žπ‘–π‘  π‘Žπ‘›π‘”π‘’π‘™ π‘‘π‘œ β„Žπ‘–π‘  π‘ π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘£π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π½π‘œβ„Žπ‘›, π‘€β„Žπ‘œ π‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘’ 𝑀𝑖𝑑𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠 π‘‘π‘œ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘‘ π‘œπ‘“ πΊπ‘œπ‘‘ π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘‘π‘œ π‘’π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘‘π‘’π‘ π‘‘π‘–π‘šπ‘œπ‘›π‘¦ π‘œπ‘“ 𝐽𝑒𝑠𝑒𝑠 πΆβ„Žπ‘Ÿπ‘–π‘ π‘‘, 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛 π‘“π‘‘π‘œ π‘Žπ‘™π‘™ π‘‘β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ β„Žπ‘’ π‘ π‘Žπ‘€. 𝐡𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑠 π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘œπ‘›π‘’ π‘€β„Žπ‘œ π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘Žπ‘‘π‘  π‘Žπ‘™π‘œπ‘’π‘‘ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘€π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘‘π‘  π‘œπ‘“ π‘‘β„Žπ‘–π‘  π‘π‘Ÿπ‘œπ‘β„Žπ‘’π‘π‘¦, π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ 𝑏𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑑 π‘Žπ‘Ÿπ‘’ π‘‘β„Žπ‘œπ‘ π‘’ π‘€β„Žπ‘œ β„Žπ‘’π‘Žπ‘Ÿ, π‘Žπ‘›π‘‘ π‘€β„Žπ‘œ π‘˜π‘’π‘’π‘ π‘€β„Žπ‘Žπ‘‘ 𝑖𝑠 π‘€π‘Ÿπ‘–π‘‘π‘‘π‘’π‘› 𝑖𝑛 𝑖𝑑, π‘“π‘œπ‘Ÿ π‘‘β„Žπ‘’ π‘‘π‘–π‘šπ‘’ 𝑖𝑠 π‘›π‘’π‘Žπ‘Ÿ.” (π‘…π‘’π‘£π‘’π‘™π‘Žπ‘‘π‘–π‘œπ‘› 1:1-3, 𝐸𝑆𝑉)

The most essential component of a preterist interpretation regarding the book of Revelation is that β€œsoon”, β€œthe time is near” and other β€˜nearness indicators’ force us to believe that Revelation deals (mostly or almost exclusively) with events in 70AD and the destruction of Jerusalem.

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Preterism, Church History, and Kenneth Gentry’s New Revelation Commentary (#2 Thoughts on Gentry)

One of the key beliefs that preterism holds (both partial and full) regarding the book of Revelation, is that Revelation 1:7 speaks specifically about the events of 70AD. Gentry writes β€œIn its contextual setting, 1:7 points to the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple in AD 70. John presents Jesus coming in judgment against the tribes of Israel who mourned for the loss of their β€˜holy city’”(πΎπ‘’π‘›π‘›π‘’π‘‘β„Ž πΊπ‘’π‘›π‘‘π‘Ÿπ‘¦, π‘‡β„Žπ‘’ π·π‘–π‘£π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘π‘’ π‘œπ‘“ πΌπ‘ π‘Ÿπ‘Žπ‘’π‘™: 𝐴 π‘…π‘’π‘‘π‘’π‘šπ‘π‘‘π‘–π‘£π‘’π»π‘–π‘ π‘‘π‘œπ‘Ÿπ‘–π‘π‘Žπ‘™ πΌπ‘›π‘‘π‘’π‘Ÿπ‘π‘Ÿπ‘’π‘‘π‘Žπ‘‘π‘–π‘œπ‘› π‘œπ‘“ π‘…π‘’π‘£π‘’π‘™π‘Žπ‘‘π‘–π‘œπ‘› π‘‰π‘œπ‘™ 1, 𝑝. 298).

I want to point out a few issues relating to Gentry’s commentary, and how this novel preterist understanding of Revelation 1:7 connects to church history.

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Lame Preterist Fulfillment and God’s Judgment (Thoughts on Gentry #1)

I’m currently reading this brand new (and highly anticipated ‘landmark’ preterist commentary on Revelation) by Kenneth Gentry, it’s a massive work indeed and will undoubtedly become the gold standard amongst preterist commentaries. I obviously strongly disagree with preterism (in both of its forms: partial-preterism as represented by Gentry, and also full-preterism which is full heresy and no longer Christian), but in light of my sermon series on Revelation, I want to know the best arguments presented by the opposing side.

Anyway, I wanted to share a few examples from Gentry’s new commentary, which I believe are interesting examples of how preterist interpretation looks like in practice in some of the details of Revelation. First example is

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Eschatology, Preterism, and the Early Church Father Ireneaus

I love reading Irenaeus on eschatology, specifically from his classic bookΒ ‘Against Heresies’Β book 5, from chapter 25 to the end of the book.

It is common knowledge that Irenaeus (and essentially all early church fathers we know about) were premillennial in their eschatology. However, there’s one thing that I think isn’t emphasised as much as it should, relating to the debate around preterism. Notice first that Irenaeus is specifically writing against views held by others (heretics), and therefore would make sure his arguments cannot be easily refuted. At times he specifically mentions views held by other Christians (such as about 616 number of the beast) and why they are wrong. How does this relate to Preterism? Well, notice how Irenaeus doesn’t even entertain any kind of thought that someone within Christian circles would even claim or believe inΒ any kind ofΒ preterism in relation to John’s Apocalypse, Matthew 24, or other prophecies in the NT (relating to 2nd coming, antichrist, tribulation, kingdom). The way Irenaeus writes against heresies around 180 A.D. gives the strong impression that the idea of preterism regarding NT prophecies simply didn’t exist in any form in any Christian circles (apart from full-preterist heresy that is already mentioned in 2 Tim 2). Certainly not a hint of preterism seems to be present in Smyrna (one of the original recipient churches of the book of Revelation!), where Irenaeus (born in Smyrna 130 A.D.) has had contact with Polycarp, who in turn was a disciple of the Apostle John himself.

Some examples from IrenausΒ ‘Against Heresies’Β book 5:

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