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Is partial preterism biblical? What do partial preterists believe?

partial preterism, partial preterist

Question: "Is partial preterism biblical? What do partial preterists believe?"

Answer:
Those who hold to “partial preterism” believe that the prophecies in Daniel, Matthew 24, and Revelation (with the exception of the last 2-3 chapters of Revelation) have already been fulfilled and were fulfilled no later than the first century A.D.

However, the partial preterist view does not have good biblical support. Those who hold this view do not interpret these Scripture passages/books in a normal sense, but rather interpret them allegorically. Scripture should be read in a normal sense, taking into account the historical setting, the grammar, and the context of the Scripture in order to determine the meaning that the Lord intended.

As an example, those who hold this view would say that Daniel 9:26-27 refers to Christ rather than to the antichrist/beast who will appear in Revelation (for the beast, see 11:7 and chapters 13 thru 17, with 13 being quite extensive). In Daniel 9:24-27, Daniel is given a message from God by Gabriel (9:21) concerning Daniel's people, Israel. Daniel is told that God had decreed 70 weeks for his people, the Israelites, and that these 70 weeks were to 1) finish transgression; 2) make an end of sin; 3) make atonement for iniquity; 4) bring in everlasting righteousness; 5) seal up vision and prophecy; and 6) anoint the most holy place. It must be stressed that this is for Israel. Note also that the word for “weeks” (70 weeks) is literally the word for “seven” (Hebrew heptad), not “week.” What it says is that seventy sevens have been decreed. This seventy 7’s is understood to be years (70 times 7 = 490 years).

Per Daniel 9:25-26, 62 plus 7 of these weeks (69 times 7=483 years) passed and ended with the crucifixion of Christ (Messiah will be “cut off,” v.26), with 1 week (7 years) left to finish God's decree.

Verse 26 also says, "The people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary." This speaks of the Roman Empire destroying Jerusalem and the temple, which occurred in A.D. 70. It should be noted that the prince was yet to come; only the people of the prince were the ones who destroyed Jerusalem. This also tells us that the antichrist/beast will come from a future revived Roman Empire.

Verse 27 tells us more about this future world ruler. It says that this prince will make a covenant with many for one week (the 70th week=7 years). Halfway through these seven years, he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering. This indicates that temple worship will be revived by Israel in the latter time, and he will put a stop to it. The last two phrases in verse 27 are what Christ referred to in Matthew 24:15. Christ called this future ruler the "abomination of desolation." From Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, and Revelation 13, we discover that this ruler will set himself in the future temple, proclaiming himself to be God, and demanding that the world worship him. Revelation 13:5 also confirms that it will happen at the midpoint of the seven-year tribulation period, for it says that he will be given authority for 42 months which equals 3 1/2 years.

Those who hold to partial preterism twist that which is recorded in Daniel 9:26-27, saying that it refers to Christ, not to the antichrist/beast. A normal reading of Daniel 9:24-27, Matthew 24, and Revelation 13 will clear up a lot of the confusion.

Those who hold to partial preterism also do not read Matthew 24 in a normal sense. Christ spoke of the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 (24:2). But much of what He spoke of did not occur in A.D. 70. Note that Daniel foretold that "the people of the prince to come" would destroy the temple and Jerusalem. Christ speaks not of the people, but of the prince to come, the "abomination of desolation." Christ describes that future time as one of “great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22). Christ also says, "Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:29-30).

With respect to those last verses, in order for the events of Matthew 24:15-30 to have already occurred, Christ would have returned bodily in A.D. 70—He did not. The partial preterist believes that this does not refer to a bodily return of Christ, but rather an appearing of His judgment. This is not what a normal reading of the text would lead anyone to believe.

The partial preterist also appeals to Matthew 24:34 where it speaks of "this generation." They say that Christ was referring to those living at the time He spoke the words recorded in that passage. Christ was not referring to the people of that day but to the generation or people who would be witnesses to the events recorded in Matthew 24:15-31. That generation will be those who are witnesses to Christ's bodily return (v. 29-30).

The partial preterist viewpoint is unbiblical due to its inconsistent hermeneutics, subjective interpretation, and allegorization of many biblical prophecies that are best understood literally. While partial preterism is an attempt to explain difficult prophecies in Scripture, it causes far more problem than it solves.

Recommended Resources: Understanding End Times Prophecy by Paul Benware and Logos Bible Software.

While he is not the author of every article on GotQuestions.org, for citation purposes, you may reference our CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.


Related Topics:

What is the Preterist view of the end times?

What is going to happen according to end times prophecy?

What is the Olivet Discourse?

What is premillennialism?

What is dispensationalism and is it biblical?



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Is partial preterism biblical? What do partial preterists believe?