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Refuting Full Preterism

Full Preterists believe that all Scriptures were fulfilled in 70 AD. For many Christians throughout the world, this position is both heretical, and an insult to one's intelligence. It begs the question, "Is the universe turning on its end?"

Like any other cult such as the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses, Full Preterists feed on those who are unlearned and untaught. Indoctrination can be a terrible thing, and when one becomes indoctrinated into the precept of men, escaping its bondage can become unbearably difficult. That's why it's important for all of us to read our Bibles as much as we can, not only so we can know the truth, but so we can defend ourselves against the false teachers in today's world. We should all remember that part of proclaiming the truth is exposing the lie.

Cults base most of their theology on the isolation of various passages in the Scriptures, and Preterists are no exception. Matthew 16:28 and Matthew 24:34 are the favorite verses that Full Preterists use to promote their false theology. In Matthew 16:28, Jesus said: "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." Regarding this verse, Preterists boldly take the position that Jesus was emphasizing that some of them would still be alive and witness His Second Coming. However, this is not what Jesus was saying! In this verse, Jesus was referring to His transfiguration, which would take place six days later (Matthew 17:1-5). On that day, He took Peter, James and John. It was then that they beheld His glory and His majesty, when His face shone like the sun. Peter, who was there, indicates in 2Peter 1:16-18 that, at this holy mount, they witnessed the "power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" as follows:

"For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and COMING OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (17) For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (18) And this voice which came from heaven we heard, WHEN WE WERE WITH HIM IN THE HOLY MOUNT."

When you demonstrate this clear connection to the Full Preterist, they will argue with you. Well, can you blame them? 2Peter 1:16-18 refutes one of their strongest arguments. When they begin to argue, just turn and walk away. Because they are not arguing with you, they are attempting to refute the Scriptures. Tell them to take it up with Peter on Judgment Day. Oh, that's right! They believe that Judgment Day has already taken place, in 70 AD. So, I guess they have anything to worry about, do they?

Another verse that Full Preterists love to use to confuse the public is Matthew 24:34. In this verse, Jesus said: "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled."

By citing Matthew 24:34, the Full Preterists argue that Jesus was speaking to the generation that would witness ALL things being fulfilled.

First of all, we always need to remember that, when studying all of the Scriptures, we need to understand them in their proper context. With respect to Matthew 24:34, this is certainly no exception. We need to realize that, in Matthew 24:4-51, Jesus was responding to a question that His disciples asked Him in verse 3, which was: "Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?"

Let me go on the record by saying that nothing that Jesus described in Matthew 24:4-33 has yet to take place in our history. But it will, in the future! And, how do we know that? Let's go to Matthew 24:29-31 and find out. This is what Jesus said:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: (30) And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (31) And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, AND THEY SHALL GATHER TOGETHER HIS ELECT FROM THE FOUR WINDS, FROM ONE END OF HEAVEN TO THE OTHER."

Regarding this passage, verse 31 provides one of the keys when responding to the Full Preterist argument. It refers to a gathering together of His elect, which did not take place in 70 AD. Actually, in 70 AD, the Roman Empire destroyed Israel's temple, killing over a million Jews in the process, and scattering those that remained. This was the fulfillment of Luke 21:24, when Jesus prophesied the destruction of the temple as well as the scattering of Israel when He said, "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."

In 70 AD, which was the fulfillment of Luke 21:24, Israel was led away captive into all nations. In retrospect, according to Matthew 24:29-31, a gathering of the elect is prophesied. Logically speaking, a 'scattering' and a 'gathering' cannot take place at the same time.

So, let us reason together. Luke 21:24 reveals that after the scattering of Israel, a period of "the fullness of the Gentiles" would take place. This is called the church age and, when Jesus is finished building His church, Luke 21:24 as well as Romans 11:25 advise that the times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled. After coming to this realization, it becomes quite clear that, when Jesus said that "this generation" would not pass in Matthew 24:34, He was referring to the future generation that would be gathered to witness His Second Coming after the church age is completed. Taking Luke 21:24 into consideration, this would occur after the fullness of the Gentiles. As Romans 11:26 states, after the fullness of the Gentiles (v. 25), "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."

Since Matthew 16:28 and Matthew 24:34 have been briefly addressed, it's time to review one of my exchanges that took place on April 4, 2004 with Don Preston, one of the most highly renowned Full Preterists in the world. This was done on John Anderson's Voice of Reason radio program. The topic was "The Day of the LORD, past or future?"

Before I get into a critique of Don's position, let me just say that I found both he and John Anderson to be perfect gentlemen, and very respectful. They were both cordial and polite throughout the one-hour discussion. John Anderson was the moderator, and is a Full Preterist himself. Though this was the case, he demonstrated no signs of prejudice toward Don's position and was extremely fair. He gave both Don and I equal time. I opened with a one-minute opening argument, then Don responded. Then we paused for a commercial break. Another commercial followed two more 3-minute exchanges. After a few more 3-minute exchanges and another commercial break, the full hour closed with both Don and I providing our one-minute closing arguments.

I must admit that, for me, it became frustrating. Because of the small amount of time that was allotted for both sides, pinning Don down on the issues was difficult. I did the best I could with the limited time that was available, but three-minute exchanges were simply not enough. Keeping this in mind, I will boldly claim that, if our encounter were done in a formal debate atmosphere, Don Preston's fallacious Full Preterist position would be placed in a spiritual wood-chipper and exposed as both deceptive and misleading to the public. Regarding Don, I found it amazing how he was able to dodge so many bullets at one time. He must be in great shape; if he were wearing a sweat suit, he would have lost 20 pounds.

First of all, refuting Full Preterism is easy. All one needs to do is demonstrate that some Scriptures were not fulfilled by the year 70 AD, and it's all over for those who adhere to the Full Preterist view. Regarding the "Day of the LORD," I began to challenge Don with a tiny little Book in the Bible, the Book of Obadiah. Obadiah 1:15-20 states:

(15) For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.

(16) For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.

(17) But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

(18) And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the LORD hath spoken it.

(19) And they of the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the plain the Philistines: and they shall possess the fields of Ephraim, and the fields of Samaria: and Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

(20) And the captivity of this host of the children of Israel shall possess that of the Canaanites, even unto Zarephath; and the captivity of Jerusalem, which is in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.

I must admit that, regarding Obadiah 1:15-20, I had the upper hand against Don because he's already on the record when he responded to Christian apologist Wayne Jackson. So, I already knew his next move. Hey, what can I tell you? It's called "giving your opponent some bait, having him swallow both the bait and the hook, and reeling him in." In his article, Jackson claimed that the Obadiah passage was a prophecy of Judgment Day against the nations of the earth, a future event! Naturally, Don had to disagree, and by doing so, he played right into my hands.

In his response to Jackson, Preston indicated that Obadiah 1:15-20 was fulfilled in 583 BC, when Babylon conquered Edom.

Don, give me a break! Are you reading a different Bible than I'm reading? First of all, Obadiah 1:15-20 foretells that three things would take place that has not yet taken place in our history. Unless of course, you're reading the history of the planet Mars! According to Obadiah 1:15-20, the three things that would take place are as follows:

  1. Obadiah 1:17 indicates that there would be deliverance for the house of Jacob, and that they would possess all the possessions of the heathen nations.
  2. Obadiah 1:18 advises that the house of Jacob would literally consume the entire house of Esau, who are the Edomites. In fact, the verse clearly states that "there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau."
  3. And finally, Obadiah 1:20 reveals that the children of Israel would possess "that of the Canaanites." According to Genesis 17:8 and Psalm 105:7-11,"that of the Canaanites" is the Promised Land.

In my humble opinion, my position was immensely strong against Don on these three issues because Don was already on the record indicating that the Obadiah passage was fulfilled in 583 BC. In actuality, in 586 BC, only three years earlier, Israel's 70-year captivity into Babylon began as was previously foretold by the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 29:10.

So, my position seemed strong. After all, how could there be deliverance for the house of Jacob in 583 BC as prophesied in Obadiah 1:17 when Israel was in the beginning of their seventy-year captivity in Babylon? Also, regarding Obadiah 1:17, how could the house of Jacob possess the possessions of the heathen nations in 583 BC when they were in captivity in Babylon and it was their possessions that were being possessed? Finally, Obadiah 1:18 foretells that the house of Jacob would utterly destroy the Edomites, to a point that there would be none remaining of the house of Esau. And, according to Don, it was Babylon who conquered Edom in 583 BC, not the house of Jacob. I had Don Preston on the defensive, and he knew it!

Regarding the Edomites, I attempted to clear up Don's confusion on the issues and tried to enlighten him that, over 400 years after 583 BC, the Macabbees were at war with the Edomites. In fact, Herod of the New Testament was an Edomite. Even Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat proclaims himself as an Edomite, a descendent of the house of Esau. So naturally, there are Edomites left to this very day. So, how could Obadiah 1:18 possibly be fulfilled?

So, what did Don do? Actually, he cited Malachi 1:2-4 and used it as his proof-text that the house of Esau had been completely obliterated and wiped off the face of the earth. Don, do you think people aren't going to check out your references? For the record, this is what Malachi 1:2-4 says:

(2) I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob's brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,

(3) And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.

(4) Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, but we will return and build the desolate places; thus saith the LORD of hosts, THEY SHALL BUILD, but I will throw down; and they shall call them, The border of wickedness, and, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever.

The Book of Malachi was written in approximately 430 BC. And during that time, the LORD vows to Edom in Malachi 1:4 that "THEY SHALL BUILD," clearly indicating that there would be a remnant of the house of Esau after 430 BC. Taking into consideration that the Macabbees fought against the Edomites three hundred years after the Book of Malachi was written, Herod was an Edomite, and Arafat is an Edomite, it's clear that Obadiah 1:18 has not yet been fulfilled because there are some that remain of the house of Esau. This sets the stage for the house of Esau's ultimate destruction at the hands of the house of Jacob…in the future! Don, thanks for making my day!

During the last twenty minutes of our exchange, I moved to Isaiah chapter 13 which is a prophecy against Babylon on the Day of the LORD (see verses 1, 6 and 9). As most of you know, Babylon is modern-day Iraq. I demonstrated to Don that this chapter represents a dual prophecy against Babylon, an immediate prophecy as well as a prophecy of Final Judgment. Isaiah 13:17 foretells that the Medes would come against Babylon, and they did, in 539 BC, approximately 190 years after Isaiah wrote this chapter. In that year, the Persians and the Medes conquered the Babylonian Empire when they came directly from the east. Thus, the Medeo-Persian Empire was established and the Babylonian Empire fell. Then, I took Don to the Final Judgment against Babylon, Isaiah 13:19-20, which states:

(19) And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

(20) It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.

The key that Isaiah chapter 13 is a dual prophecy lies in Isaiah 13:20, which reveals that Babylon will ultimately be destroyed to a point of being uninhabitable. Naturally, this never took place in 539 BC. In fact, Arabians have been pitching tents in Babylon for the past 2700 years. I used Isaiah 13:17, 19-20 to demonstrate to Don that there exists an obvious gap between these two prophecies. I also demonstrated that, according to Jeremiah 50:39-41, Babylon would be left uninhabitable by people that "shall come from the north." I reminded him that, according to a map of the Middle East, the Medes came directly from the east. Regarding Babylon, Jeremiah 50:39-41 states:

(39) Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.

(40) As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.

(41) Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.

Jeremiah 50:3, 9 also reveals that nations from the north will make Babylon a desolate wilderness. But remember, the Medes came from the east in 539 BC, not from the north.

After sharing this information with Don Preston, it was time for closing arguments. Time became the greatest ally of my opponent, because we were out of it. To the intelligent person seeking the truth, the results of our one-hour exchange is as follows:

Since Full Preterism adheres to the position that all Scriptures were fulfilled on or before 70 AD, it must be considered baseless, invalid and without merit. We need to remember that it is not necessary to defeat the Preterist on every issue, just one single issue. Regarding the Day of the Lord in Obadiah 1:15-20 and Isaiah chapter 13, Don Preston and the Preterists who follow him embrace a false position because of the following reasons:

  1. Obadiah 1:17 refers to deliverance for the house of Jacob. This did not only fail to take place in 583 BC, but has not taken place up to and including the year 70 AD. Between these two time periods, the house of Jacob was under the yoke of the Babylonian Empire, the Medeo-Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, and the Roman Empire. Therefore, no deliverence has taken place. But it will…in the future!
  2. Obadiah 1:17 refers to the house of Jacob possessing the possessions of all the heathen. This also did not only fail to take place in 583 BC, but did not take place up to and including the year 70 AD, for the same reasons indicated above.
  3. Obadiah 1:18 reveals that the house of Jacob would completely destroy the house of Esau, the Edomites. Don Preston's claim that this occurred in 583 BC is unsubstantiated by his own admission because, according to him, it was the Babylonians who conquered Edom at that time, not the house of Jacob. Therefore, it is only logical to assume that this will be fulfilled on a future date when the house of Jacob will utterly destroy and consume the remnant of the house of Esau (Malachi 1:2-4). And, according to Isaiah 34:5-10, it will be over the controversy of Zion (see Isaiah 34:8).
  4. Obadiah 1:20 reveals that the children of Israel will possess that of the Canaanities. According to Genesis 17:1-10, specifically verse 8, and Psalm 105:7-11, specifically verses 10 & 11, this is the Promised Land. This is God's Everlasting Covenant between Himself and the descendents of Jacob. This has not yet taken place, but it will…in the future!
  5. Finally, Isaiah 13:19-20 foretells of Babylon's Final Judgment when it will be rendered desolate and uninhabitable. According to Jeremiah 50:3, 9, 39-41, this will be accomplished by nations from the north. Remember, the Medes came directly from the east to conquer Babylon in 539 BC. This was the fulfillment of Isaiah 13:17. Since Arabians have been pitching tents in Babylon for the past 2700 years, Isaiah 13:19-20 and Jeremiah 50:3, 9, 39-41 have not yet been fulfilled. But it will…in the future!

Full Preterism is an empty doctrine, which offers no hope of a better life and a better future. It tears away at God's promise to the world of everlasting peace and tranquility that will be accomplished at Jesus' Second Coming. If Jesus came in 70 AD as the Full Preterists claim, He didn't do a very good job establishing world peace where nation would not lift up sword against nation (Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 11:9-10, Ezekiel 37:24-26 and Micah 4:3).

It is my hope that this article will enlighten those that are considering this heretical doctrine. As of this moment, I have two other debates with Don Preston. Let's see what happens. More to follow!

Sincerely and In Christ,
The King Messiah Project