Our guest author this week is Dr. Ron Rhodes, the founder and president of a ministry called Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries. Dr. Rhodes has been Lamb & Lion Ministries’ most frequent conference speaker over the years, and we have always been blessed by his spiritual and scriptural insights as a guest on our television program, Christ in Prophecy. Since the first segment, Dr. Rhodes continues to answer the question, “Why is Jesus Christ’s promise to return under attack today?”
Responding to the Hyper-Preterists
How then do we respond to the Hyper-Preterists?
Well, it’s true that Jesus in Matthew 24:34 said that “this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.” But, look at the context. Jesus had just spoken about the Tribulation period and all of the different signs of the end times. These signs included rumors of wars and wars, and nations rising against nations, and famines, and false prophets and false christs, and the defiling of the Jewish Temple, and so on. Jesus then said that the generation that sees all of these signs will not pass away until all of these things take place. That’s the context! So, does this verse really does support Preterism?
Furthermore, what if the book of Revelation was written far after AD 70? We know that Revelation is prophetic, speaking about the future, but what if Revelation was written in the ’90s? Wouldn’t that kind of argue against Preterism? Well, indeed, that’s what the evidence indicates.
Revelation was written around AD 96 for the following reasons. Irenaeus, who lived from AD 130-202, said Revelation was written at the close of Domitian’s reign about AD 96. Victorinus and Eusebius, who lived in the third century, confirmed the AD 96 date. Now, given that that’s the case, I hardly think that the book of Revelation was prophesying about something 26 years earlier when the Temple fell in AD 70. That just doesn’t make good sense. So, Preterism really doesn’t work.
Furthermore, many events in the book of Revelation simply never happened in AD 70. A third of mankind was not killed. Nor has every living thing died that was in the seas. I just listed two of the prophecies from Revelation, but I can guarantee you this, if you were to go through Revelation 4-18 and made a list of all the stuff that happens during the Tribulation period, you will have a mile-long list of stuff that didn’t happen in AD 70.
How do Hyper-Preterists get around this barrier to their claim that all prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70? What Preterists have to do is they have to allegorize. They have to allegorize all of these plain statements of Scripture so that nothing in prophecy means what it says. The thing of it is, is that prophetic statements are crystal clear. When you look at some of these prophetic statements about the Second Coming, it’s hard to confuse them.
Let me provide some examples. Jesus’ coming will be proceeded by the signs of the end times, signs like wars and rumors of wars, and nations rising against nations, and all of these disturbing kinds of things. It’s hard to misread that. They seem pretty clear to me when interpreted literally. That’s a straightforward statement of prophetic truth. There is no allegory that is necessary here.
Jesus’ Second Coming will also be proceeded by mocking. How can you confuse that? The Bible says in the last days there will be scoffers asking, “Where is the promise of His Coming?” That’s a straightforward statement of prophetic truth.
Scripture is really clear that the Second Coming happens after the Tribulation. In fact, Matthew 24:29 says immediately after the Tribulation of those days the Son of Man will come in His glory. How can you confuse that? It is a very straightforward statement of prophetic fact.
Christ’s return will be characterized as a personal coming. Acts 1:11 says, “This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven will come again.” This Jesus — not some kind of a spiritual interpretation whereby Jerusalem gets destroyed — but the very same Jesus who ascended into Heaven is coming again.
The rest of Acts 1:11 states, “Jesus will come in the same way as you saw Him go into Heaven.” Jesus went into Heaven, both physically and visibly. This passage does not say, “Jesus will come in a different way by overrunning Jerusalem.” The Scriptures do not say that! It says Jesus will come in the same way as you saw Him go into Heaven, both physically and visually. To me, this prophecy destroys the Preterist position.
Gloriously, Christ will come to rescue the Jewish remnant! Paul in Romans 9-11 revealed that God wasn’t finished with the Jewish people just yet. What we read in the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament prophets and in the book of Revelation is that right at the end of the Tribulation the Jewish remnant is going to recognize their Messiah as Jesus Christ. It will be when the Antichrist and his forces are attacking the Jewish remnant. Then this newly saved Jewish remnant will call to their newfound Savior — Yeshua the Messiah — to come and rescue them. At that point, Jesus Christ returns and He slays the forces of the Antichrist and the remnant is saved.
Jesus Christ slays the forces of the Antichrist by the sword of His mouth. That means that when Jesus Christ instantly comes down to the earth He will simply say something like, “Drop dead,” and they’ll all be gone. Just like that! Jesus speaks a word and they’re all instantly dead.
The Jewish remnant will be saved, and they will enter into the Millennial Kingdom where Christ will rule for a thousand years. That’s when all of the covenant promises that have been given in such crystal clear language from the Old Testament will be fulfilled in the Jewish people. These promises include the throne promises found in the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7) and the land promises given in the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12 and 15).
Each of these statements is a straightforward statement of prophetic truth that cannot be confused. But, what the Preterist does is force a meaning into the text by allegory. They are putting an unbiblical spin on the Second Coming.
In the fourth and last segment of Dr. Rhodes’ defense of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, he will illustrate why the Preterists teach doctrinal error.
Ron Rhodes’ entire presentation, along with the other powerful ones made by Kelly Shackelford, Mike Gendron, Eric Barger, Mike Riddle and David Reagan, are included in the Contending for the Faith 2019 Bible Conference video album. Get your copy today!