Words like end times, last days, second coming, rapture, tribulation, antichrist can cause people to react several ways. Christians may react with excitement or fear, then cynics may react with mocking or eye rolling. For me, fear has been a common reaction when I hear of such things. When I was younger there was only one way of viewing eschatology and that was the Pre-tribulation Premillennialism view (rapture, tribulation, second coming, last judgment). But that changed about 3 years ago when I was reading through the gospel of Matthew.
In Matthew 10:23 Jesus says to his disciples that they will not go through all the towns of Israel “before the son of man comes”. After reading I was amazed because the text puts holes into the prophetic teachings I had heard. In weeks that followed I discovered that there were those who rejected Pre-tribulation Premillennialism and embraced something called Preterism (majority or all prophecies being fulfilled in or around AD 70) by listening to a debate between Terry Boyle, Dee Dee Warren and Andrew Whyte. Then in the next months or so I found out there were two kinds of Preterist beliefs – that being Partial Preterism and Full Preterism. Keeping it brief, Partial Preterism is the belief that majority of the prophecies in scripture have been fulfilled meanwhile, Full Preterists will say that all prophesies have been fulfilled. After discovering Preterism I then found out about Post-tribulation Premillennialism (like Pretribulationalism except that there’s no rapture).
I was surprised because I thought all Christians believed the same thing when it came to eschatology. Yet if you have a closer look at the Bible you can see how different theories would be thought up. People also seems to get mixed up with Pre-tribulation and Post-tribulation, and really it’s hardly unsurprising since they’re very similar. And then there’s some who seem to be unaware that Preterism is an actual belief. I do think we should be aware of all eschatological interpretations since there could some Pastors and ministries that could exploit our ignorance.
An idea for a successful (yet unethical) business could be to start a TV show, have guests in to invoke fear by talking about all things regarding the end times, and then tell them to buy overpriced products from a website to survive the tribulation. And of course, people would buy such products since fear causes people to do irrational things. This isn’t something I’ve made up, there are actually shows on Christian TV (like The Jim Bakker Show) that are constantly talking about how the end is nigh, and offering products like food and torches to help their viewers supposedly survive the last days. I don’t know why Jim Bakker and others do what they do. Maybe they genuinely believe what they’re telling people but equally, it’s possible they could not believe a single word they say. It’s possible they could be just wanting to deceive people so they could make a lot of money.
I think it’s undeniable that if all Christians stopped believing in some sort of futuristic interpretation of the book of Revelation, and chose to believe in one of preterist theories, quite a number of authors and TV presenters would lose out financially. I’m not saying all Christians should become preterists but we should read and consider what Jesus actually said on the issue. I don’t see that done much, I see a lot of ignoring or dismissing of certain prophetic words that Jesus spoke. The fact is Jesus said some things in regards to prophesy that are rather disruptive towards the evangelical narrative.
In part two I’ll be looking at Preterism further, the inconsistency of futurism and revealing what my eschatological position is.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org