Preterism vs The Rapture??

by DATA-DOG 8 Replies latest watchtower bible


    In the Preterist view, all scripture is fulfilled. When Jesus said to his disciples, " this generation ", he meant it. They would not pass away until they saw the destruction of Jerusalem. Correct? So how can we reconcile this view with the seeming contradiction between Jesus council for those in Judea to flee, and Paul's writings in Thessalonians that teach of the rapture?

    If Jesus returned when Jerusalem was destroyed, then all those still alive [ Christians ] would be caught away to meet the Lord according to Paul. Those saints who were killed were already raised up. So they were not around to flee the city. The rest were to be raptured. So why flee to Judea? You are going to be raptured anyway. Was it to spare them from further suffering? I just wonder what the thinking is on this matter.

    As a side point, I can also see why Adventists do not want preterism to be true. It makes fleeing to Judea really silly. Those Christians left Jerusalem, where they probably would have died [ not fun ] and been instantly taken to the Lord [ super-fun ]!!! Why? So you could die of old age living like a refugee?? Then what kind of DVD could the WTBTS make about preaching D2D with your leather scroll-bags as a refugee? It's hard to keep a sense of urgency while buying real- estate with contributions when you allow a preterist view. Any thoughts?

  • tornapart

    Interesting point DD... never thought of that one before!

  • Doug Mason
    Doug Mason

    As 1 Thess 4 shows, Paul expected the Coming to take place during his own lifetime. The Thessalonians were concerned that Paul had taught them to prepare for the imminent Coming, and they had written to him that some of those who had received that message had since died, which they could not understand. (When decades after, Paul's expectations were not fulfilled, another writer modified his epectations; we now call that pseudonymous writing 2 Thessalonians).

    The people who wrote of "this generation" in their Gospel similarly expected the imminent Coming.

    Their expectations have been repeated throughout subsequent generations and no doubt will continue to do so for the forseeable future. Learn the lesson that history teaches. (Of course, the story does help some people cope with the pressures and problems of life.)


  • Londo111

    Within preterism, there are multiple viewpoints, especially, when taking into account partial preterism. Though I lean in this direction, especially in regard the meaning of the Olivet Discourse, I don’t claim to have all the answers.

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel

    Preterism is irreconcilable with both Jewish and Christian eschatology. Although it attempts to answer some questions regarding end-time events, it ultimately raises far more. I have some friends who are preterists and communicating with them is one of the most frustrating endeavors I’ve ever experienced in discussing religion with anyone.

    One problem for them is explaining a vast array of prophecies in the scriptures that haven’t come close to fulfillment. They believe Jesus returned in the first century, but to what end? If so, it accomplished nothing. It simply put mankind on a never-ending course into the future, with no Millennium, no judgment, no end to the evil that exists on the earth. In short, to assume that prophecy runs to a certain point in time and then ceases makes no sense.

    According to the ancient prophets, the time would come when Jerusalem would be ravaged and Judah would be scattered to the four corners of the earth. That happened in 76 A.D. In the latter days, the Jews would be gathered to their ancestral home and rebuild their temple. In Revelation 11, John is instructed:

    And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

    This is not the second, or Herod’s, temple. It’s a temple that would exist after the return of the Jews. Since the second temple was destroyed at the time of this writing (or so scholars tell us), we can place it in context to the latter-day coming of the beast, or Antichrist. The kingdom of the beast will place Jerusalem under siege for 3.5 years, or roughly 42 months. During that time, God will empower two prophets to defend the holy city. Again, John writes:

    And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

    I’ve never quite understood how the Jehovah’s Witnesses can miss the nature of this prophecy. Although the scripture states specifically and unequivocally that the city will be “where...our Lord was crucified,” Watchtower writers agree that this is a spiritual reference, not actually Jerusalem. And though John explicitly explains that these two prophets are two actual people (who were symbolized by Zechariah as two olive trees and two candlesticks), the Watchtower takes it to a third tier of prophecy where the prophets themselves represent something other than literal people. And Jerusalem, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, represents a third tier of prophecy where Jerusalem, in turn, stands for something else entirely.

    After about 84 hours, the apostle writes, something remarkable will happen:

    And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake....

    The earthquake, of course, is caused by Jesus, who is descending from heaven to the Mount of Olives. Here we pick up from Zechariah 14, where the Jerusalem is under siege and is on the verge of toppling. Then the Lord enters the fray:

    For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.

    Notice how the one descending is specifically referred to as “the Lord.” This is the Second Coming of Christ, and Christ is specifically referred to as “Jehovah” in the NWT:

    Jehovah will go out and war against those nations as when he fights in the day of a battle. In that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in half, from east to west, forming a very great valley; and half of the mountain will move to the north, and half of it to the south.You will flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains will extend all the way to A′zel. You will have to flee, just as you fled because of the earthquake in the days of King Uz·zi′ah of Judah. And Jehovah my God will come, and all the holy ones will be with him.

    The situation is the same mentioned by John. Jerusalem will suffer a devastating attack. After 3.5 years, the enemy will break through and kill the two prophets. Afterwards, when the prophets resurrect, there will be a horrendous earthquake, and the prophets will ascend to meet the returning Jehovah, or Christ. It all fits like a wonderful puzzle, but the Jehovah’s Witnesses completely obfuscate matters by telling their people it’s all spiritual and invisible. The prophets represent this and Jerusalem represents that, and nothing is what it appears.

    The same is true for the preterists. Their “fulfilled eschatology” cannot explain the fulfillment of the above prophecies (because they haven’t happened yet). Bible students can make up their own minds. If they want to know exactly what will happen in this last great battle before the Millennium, check out Ezekiel 38 - 39 .


  • EdenOne


  • Vanderhoven7

    Partial preterism solves the problem. The generation to which all things happened was Christ's own. But that day (parousia) the unknowable one, is still future.

  • DeWandelaar

    The gospels were written after or around the same time as the temple was destructed... it wasn't a prophecy but a interpretation of an event that was or already had been taken place.

  • Cold Steel
    Cold Steel

    Well, Jesus' apostles attributed the prophecy about Jerusalem's destruction to Jesus. And it was fortuitous that they moved the Christians out of Jerusalem to cities like Pella shortly before the Romans came down on the city. Both the Old and New Testaments foretold that the Jews would first be scattered to the four corners of the earth and then, in the endtimes, that they would be gathered by the Lord and restored to their ancestral homeland. John talked about a third temple (presumably the one Ezekiel described), and the gathering didn't take place for many generations later. Thus, if they were prophets, they had no immediate expectation of Jesus' returning any time in their lifetimes. Also, during the 40 days (see Acts 1), Jesus was described as being very dismal about the future of the church. He didn't tell his apostles to hold in there; that help was going to come when least expected. Just the opposite, he told them that most of them would die.

    I see all these "documentaries" where talking heads talk about how the apostles believed Jesus coming would be in their day. Nonsense. They knew what had to come first, and they knew it was far beyond their lifetimes. Even in our day, we know the third temple must be rebuilt. We know the United States has to topple as a superpower and that a new kingdom, most likely in Turkey, will be established and seize the entire Muslim world in that region. It will be given power to trample Jerusalem under foot for three and a half years, all of which means that the Second Coming cannot happen until all these things happen.

    We also know of two major earthquakes that have to happen first, and that nations will be hit with plagues, famines and violence. These events of wholesale death and destruction is generally referred to as the "great tribulation," for it will come upon the earth as a great storm and will have no precedent in world history.


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