I want to state outright, this is a personal view I hold and possibly one of the most hesitant posts I publish. This writing is meant to be primarily informative to help others understand how I think and where I’m coming from in my views. It’s not intended to force anyone to my viewpoint or insult anyone. I fully admit that I could be wrong about certain things, and that I don’t have all the answers. This view has helped me grow closer to Father, and for me, that is the most important thing.
My view mostly resembles what is commonly known as “full preterism.” However, I don’t strictly consider myself a preterist as there seems to be a whole lot of baggage associated with that label. When I say I lean more towards this view, it is only that I believe that all of the prophecies of the Bible have already been fulfilled. I want to explain how I came to these conclusions but also keep this post reasonable in length as to not write a book. My point is that this will not be a very comprehensive writing, but, hopefully, only hitting some main points. Further discussion could be made for those interested.
First, it would seem all the language used pointed to a 1st century fulfillment. I’ve already written about some of this here as well as a series of posts linked here. I’ve placed a lot of info in those links, but to sum everything up—the early churches were seeing the signs of Jesus’ Second coming, just as he said they would if they weren’t “asleep.” One quick example is Hebrews 10:25—as you see the Day approaching.
The next big concept is the historical parallels. I listed some of these out as relevant to Revelation in the above links, but I wanted to point out why these seem much more legitimate to me.
First, we have the Jewish historian Josephus. The short story is that he originally led Jewish forces against Rome during the war that started in 66 AD. He surrendered, but was kept alive by Vespasian. The reason—based on the Old Testament prophecies, he predicted that Vespasian would become Emperor. It’s important to note that Josephus would have had little to no knowledge of the Revelation written by John (if believed, like I, that Revelation was written before or around the 66 AD time frame). It also seems, interestingly enough, that he never converted to Christianity despite what he recorded. This, to me, would make his writings more legitimate as he was only recounting what he witnessed and not collaborating with Christians.
One opposing view to this might be that we can’t trust historians over the Bible. However, when historians attest to what’s in the Bible, especially relevant to the specified time frame, it makes the Bible even more legitimate. In addition, confining God’s workings only to what he did in the Bible, that he has no power outside of those stipulations, would limit him to not being able to work in all of his creation, including our world today.
With that in mind, I wanted to point out just a few historical parallels recorded by historians such as Josephus, though there are many more.
Rev 16:21—Great hailstones, about the weight of a talent, * came down out of the sky on people. People blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, for this plague is exceedingly severe.
Matt 24:21—For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again.
Josephus—The slaughter within was even more dreadful than the spectacle from without. Men and women, old and young, insurgents and priests, those who fought and those who entreated mercy, were hewn down in indiscriminate carnage. The number of the slain exceeded that of the slayers. The legionaries had to clamber over heaps of dead to carry on the work of extermination.
As stated, these are but a few parallels and there are many more that. Along with the Bible’s own internal time statements, this led me to believe 99% of the prophecies were completed in the 1st century. The only exception would be the 1000 years in which Satan is released afterwards. I have detailed my view of this here.
Now, this brings up some questions that I would like to touch on shortly. Note, these are my views and, again, I’m not forcing anyone to agree with me.
What happens now if Jesus’ Second coming has already occurred? For me, I believe it’s possible for Jesus to return again, though the Bible doesn’t detail this. It details his 1st century coming, 1st and 2nd. God can, of course, send Jesus a third time as he is God. A more likely scenario, again imo, is that the Kingdom has already been established. God has gone through great lengths not to violate our free will choices while also working behind the scenes. In the Bible, he seems to have given explicit instructions and warnings from Genesis through Revelation as pertinent to the timing and culture. No such implicitness has been given to this aion (age).
In addition, the 1000 year reign doesn’t state that there will be total peace as we know it from our human perspective. Instead, if we look at history from a wide angle, when Satan was bound, the world became more and more peaceful until he was loosed. The effects he had set in motion continued while he was bound but lost power overtime. Like with a tsunami, the temporary thrashing of the earthquake causing it may have long ceased, yet the tidal wave continues on until it has completely dissipated. Similarly, I see this as happening first in Rev 12:7-9, 12-13—Satan kicked out of heaven then thrashing about because he knew his time was short. Likewise, after a thousand years, we see, as referenced in the link above, Satan’s post-millennial thrashing, from which we still see the subsiding of that today. Note, the 1000 years seems to reference Satan’s binding, not the limits of Jesus’ rule. He still rules today!
I believe the world is getting better overall. We see billions more people in the world today, though, slowly, people are learning to treat each other better. We see the sensationalist drama on the news, and I agree we have a long way to go, but I believe God is working things behind the scenes. Perhaps, heaven and earth are getting closer all the time and one day, when all hearts sing in unison, “Come Lord Jesus, Come!” we will see the Kingdom fully substantiated in our reality.
Phew! Okay, I know this is quite long and apologies for that, but I wanted to hit the major points. This is the short version. I know this goes waaaaaaay off the reservation, but it’s something I felt I needed to share in respect to full disclosure. As stated, this is not to cause dissent or arguments but simply to present my thoughts so others might understand how I’ve come to the conclusions I have. Feel free to toss all of this aside if it has no relevance to your journey :).
A few final questions to wrap up. If the constant though of “holding out” until death or Jesus’ return was no longer the primary focus, how would your life change and how would you live in this world now? Would you desire to work harder knowing that this world could go on for countless years to come or would you relax since you were no longer under threat? In other words, are we working in the world out of fear of God or out of our beautiful love relationship with him? Which does he prefer?