Monday, July 1, 2024


By Stan Feldsine -

Preterism Overview

Preterism is a system of eschatology that holds that either all prophecy has already come to pass (full preterism) or that most prophecy has already come to pass (partial preterism).

Full Preterism - This includes the belief that Jesus has already come a second time to earth, the Tribulation has already occurred, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgment and the events of Daniel, Revelation and the Olivet discourse have already occurred in the first century and are now history. Full preterist understand the "New Heaven and New Earth" of Rev 21:1 is our present reality.

This group uses Mat 24:34 to come to the understanding that everything Jesus spoke of occurred within one generation, and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD was "Judgment Day".

Paul encountered some who believed like this, claiming that the resurrection had already taken place, and warned against these false teachers.

2Ti 2:17-18 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, (18) who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.

Partial Preterism - This group like Full Preterism also sees the events of Daniel, Revelation and the Olivet Discourse as having occurred in the first century. The system has no Rapture and passages referring to the Tribulation and the AntiChrist are referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD.

Contrary to Full Preterism, the system does believe in a future return of Christ to earth and a future resurrection and judgment. But like Full Preterism, there is no Millennial Kingdom nor a unique people of Israel having a place in God's future plans.

Partial Preterist see references to "the last days" as referring to the last days of the Mosaic Covenant, not the last days of earth.

Reading References

Full Preterism -

Partial Preterism -

The idea that Christ's 2nd Coming has already occurred will be refuted in this article. This article will also refute the Preterist adherence to Replacement Theology.

Jesus is Not Returning Until Israel Repents

Full Preterist claim that Jesus has already returned to earth in the first century. However, Jesus explicitly stated that he is not coming back until national Israel repents of their sin of rejecting Him and cries out for His return according to several passages.


As Jesus views Jerusalem and considers the rejection by the Jews of their Messiah and His Kingdom, He prophesies about Israel's future restoration. Israel will be restored when they repent for killing their Messiah and rejected His Kingdom.

Mat 23:37-39 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. (38) Look, your house is left to you desolate. (39) For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"

It is clear that the identity of the people to whom Jesus is referring is ethnic Jews. This is clear in the address to "Jerusalem, Jerusalem" and the reference to "you who kill the prophets". It is Israelites who lived in Jerusalem, and it is Israelites who killed the prophets. This passage bears no reference to the Jew / Gentile church, it is about national Israel.

Secondly, there is a clear opening into the future that allows for Israel to repent at some point. Jesus said, "You will not see me again...." It is clear that the 2nd Advent of Jesus can occur, the door is not closed. Yet, it will not occur until the nation of Israel repents and comes to believe, something they have not done yet.


Zechariah records the event of national Israel's repentance and crying out for God. Zechariah provides the timing for this event which will occur "On that day". Jeremiah will provide additional details about what is meant by "On that day" below.

Zec 12:10-11 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son. (11) On that day the weeping in Jerusalem will be as great as the weeping of Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. Zec 13:1-2 "On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. (2) "On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more," declares the LORD Almighty. "I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land.

We see that the prophets did indeed see that Israel would in fact repent. The reference, like Matthew is to "Jerusalem", which is still a reference to national Israel. Zechariah shows that Israel will experience the pouring out of the Holy Spirit. The spirit of mourning over the one they killed, the elimination of idols, and the removal of impurity from the land shows that Israel will according to the prophet, repent.

Those that adhere to Replacement Theology stop time and close the door to Israel's ability to repent. Their judgment is that since Israel rejected Jesus as King, there is no future hope for them. Clearly the prophets see that hope never wanes.


Jeremiah details what is meant by "on that day". It is revealed to be an "awful day", a time "like no other day", which is a "time of trouble for Jacob", but "Jacob will be saved out of it". Jeremiah is referring to the Tribulation period, during which time Israel will repent and cry out to God to return.

Jer 30:7-9 How awful that day will be! No other will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it. (8) "'In that day,' declares the LORD Almighty, 'I will break the yoke off their necks and will tear off their bonds; no longer will foreigners enslave them. (9) Instead, they will serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.

Jeremiah sees that during the ending days of the Tribulation, God will raise up national Israel, and Israel will serve the Lord. This clearly shows that Israel will repent and accept their King Jesus.


Continuing, Moses also records the conditions for and promise of national Israel's restoration and blessing. This will occur when they return to the Lord as Jesus, Zechariah and Jeremiah have all stated.

Deu 30:1-6 When all these blessings and curses I have set before you come on you and you take them to heart wherever the LORD your God disperses you among the nations, (2) and when you and your children return to the LORD your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, (3) then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you.

Since the door has never closed on the possibility of national Israel to come to repentance and turn to the Lord, passages like this one show the continuing availability of God's promises to them. Moses records that Israel has only to repent and return to the Lord to receive their promised blessings and to have their fortunes restored.

The Law of Moses

Moses also records the promise of restoration enshrined in Israel's law. When "their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin", God will remember His covenant with them. Again, this speaks of Israel's future repentance and turning to the Lord.

Lev 26:40-42 "'But if they will confess their sins and the sins of their ancestors--their unfaithfulness and their hostility toward me, (41) which made me hostile toward them so that I sent them into the land of their enemies--then when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they pay for their sin, (42) I will remember my covenant with Jacob and my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land. Lev 26:46 These are the decrees, the laws and the regulations that the LORD established at Mount Sinai between himself and the Israelites through Moses.

God will remember, He will not forget Israel.

Preterism and Replacement Theology

Preterist, like Covenant Theology adherents follow the "Replacement Theology" doctrine. This belief replaces Israel with the church. One preterist said "we can see that there is NO FLESHLY ISRAEL or people that can boast in a fleshly lineage as children of God" and used Rom 9:18 to support their argument, clearly an out of context use of the passage.

It should be understood that when scripture refers to "Jacob", it is speaking of the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Israelites. This is often confused with references to "Abraham's descendants" (Gal 3:29), which is not a reference to physical descendants, but spiritual descendants. All believers are spiritual descendants of Abraham, but only physical descendants of Jacob are either spiritual or physical Israel. Jeremiah and all of the prophets should be understood in this light.

This is important because preterist claim that the church as "true Israel" fulfilled the prophecies originally given to national Israel in the past. If Israel still existed in their theology as a people that will repent and cry out to the Lord, then they would have to concede that it has not happened yet. It is easy to conclude that Israel is the church, since then the argument can be made that the church are the repentant ones.This false understanding of Israel and the church results in an unscriptural mis-appropriation of Israel's national promises by the church.

There is no Time Limit for National Israel to Repent

The covenant that Moses referred to in Leviticus is the Abrahamic Covenant. This covenant, in this covenant, Israel was promised that they would become a great nation. This is an everlasting and unconditional covenant. There is no cutoff or expiration date before which Israel must repent. Whenever Israel does so, that is when they will be restored and made into a great nation. Clearly the present day state of Israel as an unbelieving nation shows that they have not yet repented and turned back to God as Preterism claims.

Gen 12:2 "I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.

The Psalmist shows explicitly that the Abrahamic Covenant is everlasting, there is no expiration date, nor anything that Israel can do to forfeit the promises of this covenant. They will be fulfilled.

Psa 105:8-11 He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, (9) the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. (10) He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: (11) "To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit."

God does not and will not change His mind about restoring Israel, what God says He will do, He will do.

Heb 6:17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath.

Peter also understood that Israel could still repent and receive their King during his time. He pleaded with the Jewish people and their leaders to change their mind and repent. Yet, Israel was never rejected and as of till they have never repented. They are still in a state of unbelief. Note that Peter is talking to "Israelites", a reference to ethnic Israel, not the church. It would seem that Peter was quite aware of Jesus's words in Mat 23:39.

Act 3:17-20 "Now, fellow Israelites, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. (18) But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer. (19) Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, (20) and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you--even Jesus.

Paul's also shows his understanding of the everlasting nature of this covenant in Rom 11:1-2. Clearly during Paul's time, Israel as an unbelieving nation still existed and was not and will not be rejected by God. They still can and will repent and see the Lord return.

Rom 11:1-2 I ask then: Did God reject his people? By no means! I am an Israelite myself, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. (2) God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew. Don't you know what Scripture says in the passage about Elijah--how he appealed to God against Israel:


National Israel was and still is in a state of unbelief, and has not yet repented of rejecting Him. Israel's repentance is a pre-requisite for Christ's second advent.

Given the continuing unrepentant nature of national Israel, and the failure of the pre-requisite to be met, Jesus can not have come back yet, and His return is still yet to happen.

Before Jesus returns, Mat 23:39, Zec 12:10, Act 3:19, Deu 31:1-6, Lev 26:40-42 and others all have to happen first.

This is just one area in which Preterism fails to adhere to scripture.

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