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What is Preterism? What is the Preterist interpretation of Revelation?

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The Preterist view of the end times is based on a symbolic view of the Book of Revelation that holds most of its prophecies have already been fulfilled. Preterism denies the future, literal fulfillment of most of its predictions, focusing instead on allegory and symbolism. Of particular importance is the argument that the end time prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled in AD 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.

A close look at the facts concerning the Book of Revelation, however, make Preterism a difficult view to hold. First, Revelation chapters 6—22 were most likely written about events that have yet to occur. If taken as written, these chapters speak of a future seven-year period during which there will be a world ruler, a new Jewish temple that will be built and then desecrated, a time of great tribulation, and a final battle at Armageddon between the people of God and His enemies at which Christ returns in victory. This will be followed by the millennial reign of Jesus and ultimately a new heavenly city, new heavens, and a new earth where God's people will dwell with Him forever. Much must be changed in order to make these sweeping predictions fit events that took place by the fall of Jerusalem in 70.

Second, a more specific argument against the Preterist View is that the Book of Revelation was almost certainly written after the year 70. The external evidence supports the traditional date of approximately 95—96 at the end of the apostle John's life. Mark Hitchcock's "A Defense of the Domitianic Date of the Book of Revelation" offers a comprehensive look at the lines of evidence that support this date (Available at Those who hold to the Preterist view must be able to prove that the Book of Revelation was written prior to 70 to demonstrate that its view is even possible.

A third concern with the Preterist view is that there is a lack of consistency on how to interpret the symbolism of Revelation. If taken allegorically, then many aspects must relate to other events, yet interpreters do not appear to be able to agree on even the basic allegories that would be required to support the Preterist view.

The historical evidence to support the Preterist view of the Book of Revelation is inadequate, the allegorical interpretations are too inconsistent, and the changes in interpretation are too forced for the Preterist view to consistently fit the writings found in the Book of Revelation. While many Bible-believing Christians have held and still hold to this view, the evidence to support the view is much weaker than simply taking Revelation as written as a book concerning what will happen in the last days prior to Christ's return to earth at the end of the Tribulation period.

Related Truth:

What is going to happen in the end times?

What role does Israel play in the end times? Do the events in Israel indicate the end times are close?

What is the rapture and when will it occur?

What is the importance of the second coming of Jesus Christ?

What is the Millennium / Millennial Kingdom?

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Truth about the End Times

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