The Word, Wrongly Divided

The Word, Wrongly Divided
Vol: 22 Issue: 19 Wednesday, April 19, 2017

For most of the history of the Church, the classic interpretation of Bible prophecy was the historicist, or preterist view that virtually all Bible prophecy was fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

Historicism is the view of Bible prophecy espoused by Roman Catholicism since its foundation in 323 AD by Constantine of Rome.

It was the view of virtually all of the Reformers and the Reformed Confessions. It survived as the classical, Protestant interpretation of prophecy for over 500 years.

Most critics of pretribulational Dispensationalism are quick to point out that it wasn’t widely taught until sometime in the early 1800’s (although that is not exactly accurate . . . I’ll get to that shortly.)

Most historicists take a preterist view of the Olivet Discourse, but disassociate it from the tribulation as found in Revelation and some New Testament Epistles. During the last 150 years, within evangelicalism, futurism has grown to dominate and overcome historicism.

In a nutshell, the preterist/historicist view of Bible prophecy is that everything Dispensationalists expect to happen during the Tribulation has already occurred.

A few examples; (preterist quotes courtesy of Tommy Ice)

The Great Tribulation already took place, and culminated with the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70. They say it will not be repeated, and thus is not a future event.

The Great Apostasy spoken of by Paul happened in the first century. In the preterist view, “instead of expecting increasing apostasy as history progresses; instead, we should expect the increasing Christianization of the world.”

The Last Days “is a Biblical expression for the period between Christ’s Advent and the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70: the “last days” of Israel.”

The Antichrist “is a term used by John to describe the widespread apostasy of the Christian Church prior to the Fall of Jerusalem. In general, any apostate teacher or system can be called ‘antichrist’; but the word does not refer to some ‘future Fuhrer.'”

The Rapture is “the ‘catching up’ of the living saints ‘to meet the Lord in the air.’ The Bible does not teach any separation between the Second Coming and the Rapture; they are simply different aspects of the Last Day.”

The Beast “of Revelation was a symbol of both Nero in particular and the Roman Empire in general.”

It takes a lot of Scriptural gymnastics to make it all work.

For example, The Thousand Years of Revelation 20:2-7 is a “large, rounded-off number. . . . the number ten contains the idea of a fullness of quantity; in other words, it stands for “many-ness”. A thousand multiplies and intensifies this (10 X 10 X 10), in order to express great vastness. . . . represent a vast, undefined period of time . . . It may require a million years.”

To many Jews, the symbol of the Cross is the symbol of ultimate anti-Semitism. To them, all Christians are secret anti-Semites and (accurately) argue that Christianity is the well-spring from which sprang two thousand years of pogroms and persecution, up to and including the Holocaust.

The preterist/historicist view of Bible prophecy, held by both Catholicism and mainstream Protestantism, teaches the following about Israel and the Jews.

“Ethnic Israel was excommunicated for its apostasy and will never again be God’s Kingdom.” Thus, “the Bible does not tell of any future plan for Israel as a special nation.” The Church is now that new nation (Matt. 21:43) which is why Christ destroyed the Jewish state. “In destroying Israel, Christ transferred the blessings of the kingdom from Israel to a new people, the church.”

One of the basic tenets of preterism is that the Great Harlot of Revelation was “Jerusalem which had always been . . . falling into apostasy and persecuting the prophets . . . which had ceased to be the City of God.”

The Beast “of Revelation was a symbol of both Nero in particular and the Roman Empire in general.”

Finally — and allow the implications of this to fully sink in — “The False Prophet “of Revelation was the leadership of apostate Israel, who rejected Christ and worshipped the Beast.”

Think about this. If the preterist/historicist view is correct [it is not] then the false prophet of Revelation are the Jews and their descendants.

Warring against the Jews could easily be seen as working against the antichrist and false prophet. In that view, killing them off would be doing God a favor!

“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2)


If pretribulational Dispensationalism is so relatively young, is it an invented doctrine? It is a good question, one that keeps the preterists from even considering it as a valid doctrine.

They argue that, if it was valid, it would have been accepted doctrine throughout Church history, instead of something ‘invented by Margaret MacDonald and C. I. Schofield in the 1800s’.

In point of fact, pretribulational Dispensationalism was taught by the early church, as my friend Grant Jeffrey has already proved.

In fact, I remember the day in Grant’s study in Toronto when he told me of his discoveries of several ancient manuscripts, sometime in early 1994. Grant keyed in on a passage written by Ephraem the Syrian, who died around 373 AD.

“For all the saints and Elect of God are gathered, prior to the tribulation that is to come, and are taken to the Lord lest they see the confusion that is to overwhelm the world because of our sins.”

Grant’s discovery was authenticated by several other major authorities and it proves that pretribulationalism was NOT a recent invention of what the preterists call ‘militant futurism’ but was commonly accepted doctrine until the rise of Catholicism.

At the risk of being inundated with emails from Catholics, it is an historical fact that the ‘Dark Ages’ of history were so-called because, during that time, Bibles were denied to the common man by papal decree.

The Church developed the preterist/historicist interpretation of Bible prophecy and offering any other interpretation would get you burned at the stake. (So would possessing a Bible.)

THAT is why historicism is the ‘classical’ interpretation. The Dark Ages lasted until the Protestant Reformation. But Protestantism sprang OUT of Catholicism.

The split was over salvation by grace [Protestant] vs. salvation by works [Catholic] but, other than that, Protestantism embraced and continued to accept much Catholic doctrine and dogma.

Wrongly dividing the Word of God has resulted in the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy to the Jews (John 16:2) being the standard operating practice of mainstream Christianity until the middle of the 20th century.

Preterists believe Israel is the antichrist, and that embracing Israel as God’s Chosen People is spiritual adultery. That is why debates between preterists and pretribulationalists get so nasty.

Type ‘Hal Lindsey’ into Google and look around. You’ll find his critics don’t just disagree with him, they HATE him with a passion. He’s been accused of every known heresy and then some.

Hal wrote a book entitled “The Road to Holocaust” in 1989 that directly challenged the preterist worldview as espoused by Dominionism and its champions. He’s been the target of every slander imaginable since.

The reason is because Hal demonstrated preterism was the root and branch of Christian anti-Semitism — and his critics despise him for exposing them.

The Omega Letter’s mission is to provide you with the evidences you need to answer challenges from skeptics and to provide you with the evidence you need to prove that these are the last days, that Bible prophecy is unfolding in this generation, and that the time is short.

From time to time, it is necessary to review some basic information in order to bring everybody up to speed — so for some of you, a lot of today’s column has been review. My apologies.

The Scriptures admonish us to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. . . Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” (2nd Timothy 2:15-16,18)

You can be confident that we are NOT following some newly invented doctrine, despite the charges of historicist/preterism.

Rather, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:” (2nd Peter 1:19)

Don’t allow yourself to be bamboozled into buying into what I believe Paul was referring to when he wrote: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils . . .” (1st Timothy 4:1)

God’s Word, rightly divided, says: “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11)

Don’t let your faith be shaken by cleverly-wording arguments that almost seem to make sense. Remember Jesus’ warning to Israel.

“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2)

The gaping holes in the preterist/historicist interpretation of Bible prophecy confirms the truth of Dispensationalism. The Lord IS coming back. And He is coming back soon.

I’m betting my eternity on it.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on January 7, 2005

Featured Commentary: Only a Matter of Time ~Wendy Wippel

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About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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