The word "preterism" comes from the Latin word praeter, which is a prefix signifying something that is past. Biblical preterists are people who believe that the end times described in Revelation, and foretold by the prophet Daniel and in the Book of Matthew by Jesus, are past—that is, they already happened and we are no longer looking forward to them. Partial preterism is the belief that part of the Revelation record has occurred and part is yet to come.
What is partial preterism? Is it biblical? What do partial preterists believe?
Partial preterists believe that the prophecies in Daniel, in Matthew chapter 24, and in Revelation (excepting the last few chapters) have already come to pass, having been fulfilled during the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70. According to partial preterists "the last days" referred to in the Bible are the last days of the old covenant, rather than the last days of the earth. In order to maintain this position, the descriptions in Revelation of worldwide events and destruction are taken symbolically rather than literally. For example, the elimination of all sea life (Revelation 16:3) or worldwide darkness (Revelation 16:10) do not apply literally to the events of AD 70.
In addition, the prophecies that partial preterists claim to have already been fulfilled were not in fact fulfilled in totality, and as a result, they see some of those prophecies as symbolic as well. Jesus prophesied that that temple would be destroyed, but that did not happen in AD 70 (Matthew 24:2). Jesus also spoke of the end being a time of such great distress that no human being could survive if the days were not shortened (Matthew 24:21-22). This also does not apply to the events of AD 70.
Partial preterism is not considered heresy, but most Christians do not hold the view because of its inconsistencies. In order to support the view that end times prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70, partial preterists must divide the relevant passages into "literal" and "symbolic" in ways that are not logical, and are not supported by the context. Preterism is more logically consistent, but it is considered heretical. The most consistent, logical, and accepted view, is the one that most Christians hold: that, although the thought is frightening and amazing, end times prophecy is meant to be taken literally.
What is Preterism? What is the Preterist interpretation of Revelation?
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What is the rapture and when will it occur?
What is the importance of the second coming of Jesus Christ?
Truth about the End Times