Vine & Fig Tree's
Preterism Pages

What is a "preterist?"

Why is it important?


From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

Preterist \Pret"er*ist\, n. [Pref. preter- + -ist.]
1. One whose chief interest is in the past; one who regards
the past with most pleasure or favor.

2. (Theol.) One who believes the prophecies of the Apocalypse
to have been already fulfilled. --Farrar.

The typical "Jesus-is-coming-soon"-Christian believes that Jesus' prophecies in Matthew 24 refer to a "coming" of Christ which was not only future for the disciples, but is still future for us (1999).

A "preterist" believes these prophecies were fulfilled in the past, in AD70, during the "great tribulation" Israel experienced at the hands of the Roman armies (Luke 21:20). Preterists believe Jesus when He said:

{27} For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. {28} Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.
Matthew 16:27-28

"Liberals" have accused Jesus of being mistaken about the coming of the Kingdom. They say the verses above prove that the New Testament is fallible and unreliable, because the Kingdom "obviously" didn't come.

Preterists believe it did. Vine & Fig Tree believes that the Kingdom promised by Jesus is quite unlike that anticipated by the Jews and by modern liberals. It is not a socialist state, but a decentralized society where people obey God's Law spontaneously from the heart. This is Micah's Vine & Fig Tree vision. Even Christ's disciples didn't get it. Just a few verses before Jesus spoke of His coming (Matthew 16:27-28, above), He rebuked Peter for failing to understand the Vine & Fig Tree vision:

{21} From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. {22} Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" {23} But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
Matthew 16:20-23

Compare Micah's vision with the modern Televangelists. Consider the possibility that many "Christians" are an offense to Christ.

Preterists believe that Christ's Kingdom is not brought into existence by political action or nuclear war:

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. {4} For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, {5} casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
John 18:36

But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
Matthew 26:52

Compared to modern Christians, Vine & Fig Tree is a "pacifist" and "anarchist" movement,. because we do not believe Christ's Kingdom is based on political force.

A "partial" preterist believes in a future second coming but doesn't have very many -- if any -- verses to prove it, since he believes Matthew 24 and most of Revelation have been fulfilled (in the fall of Jerusalem, AD70). (Some "partial preterists" admit that there are no verses at all which teach a yet-future "second coming," but they believe it anyway because "Holy Mother Church has always taught us so.")

Why Does it Matter?

"Partial preterists" call preterists "hyper-preterists," and excommunicate them, saying they are not even Christians, even though preterists believe the Bible. "Partial preterists" claim that full preterists have denied "the historic faith of the Church," even though full preterists are not accused of disbelieving any verses of Scripture.

Go figure.

This is alarming.
Not because excommunicating people is wrong.
It is worse for a church or pastor to claim to stand by an absolute standard of truth and never do anything about it. Jesus clearly commanded excommunication (Matthew 18:14-20).

What's alarming is the idea of a post-millennial partial preterist claiming that a full preterist is not even a Christian, and refusing even to examine the exegesis of the Scripture texts historically used to justify the idea of a yet-future second coming.

According to postmillennial partial preterists, our vision of the future is nothing less than Paradise Restored. We "optimillennialists" believe that God is going to put down every civil government that does not explicitly confess its dependence on and submission to King Jesus, and govern all its activities according to Biblical Law. This will result in God's blessings on the earth, according to the terms of His Covenant, a restoration of Edenic conditions throughout the earth. This will all take time. 

Thus, partial preterists are willing to excommunicate full preterists for not believing a doctrine even if it has no Scriptural support, and even if, by definition, it cannot possibly have any effect whatsoever on them in their lifetime. I have been told I am not a Christian because I do not believe in an event which under no circumstances is going to occur during my lifetime, and should have no effect on the way I live my life.

The idea of a future "second coming" of Christ has been perhaps the most pernicious doctrine in the history of Christendom. It causes people to wait rather than to work. If the Bible truly teaches it, then we must guard against that dangerous tendency, even while we believe the doctrine. But if the Bible does not teach it, we cannot guard against its dangerous tendencies. We must completely denounce the doctrine.

Many "partial preterists" will not even permit discussion of this important issue.

Vine & Fig Tree's
Preterism Pages
Under Construction
Introduction to Preterism
Part of a larger work under construction
The Present Presence of Christ's Kingdom
The Doctrine of an "any-moment now" return of Christ has been one of the most destructive myths in the history of Christianity. Man's call to exercise dominion and reconstruct human culture according to God's Law has been shelved, while Christians don white robes and move to the desert to wait for the "rapture." Christ established His Kingdom at the first Christmas. We shouldn't be waiting around for a second advent.

The Christmas Conspiracy

The Kingdom
The Old Testament Prophets all looked forward to the coming of the Messiah and His Kingdom. The Messiah came. Jesus is the Christ. The Kingdom began. Some Christians obey the King. Others deny that He is the King. What does the Bible say?
Do We Deny the "Second Coming?"
Why any doctrine of "the Second Coming" which has an effect on our present lives is sinful.

Preterism and "Orthodoxy" - North v. Chilton

Can Individual Believers Question the Creeds?

Response to Ken Gentry

Response to Andrew Sandlin and Brian Abshire

What about "The Rapture?"

Christmas Conspiracy


Vine & Fig Tree

Paradigm Shift


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