Revelation 1:7 - Past or Future? -- By: Tony Garland

Journal: Conservative Theological Journal
Volume: CTJ 009:27 (Aug 2005)
Article: Revelation 1:7 - Past or Future?
Author: Tony Garland

Revelation 1:7 - Past or Future?

Tony Garland

Graduate Studies
Tyndale Seminary


Preterism (based on the Latin word for “past”) teaches that most everything predicted in the Bible (especially the New Testament) has already come to pass. Full preterists even believe Jesus came back (in non-physical form) in AD 70, the year Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed. Many arguments can be mustered against preterism, one of which is a proper interpretation of Revelation 1:7, the focus of this article.


The testimony of the coming return of Jesus Christ in judgment upon the earth is central to the message of the entire New Testament. The capstone of this testimony is found in the Book of Revelation which repeatedly predicts His coming and includes descriptions of the conditions upon the earth shortly prior to His return. His return will be unmistakable and severe — involving a great slaughter from many different nations (Rev. 19:19). This New Testament description of the return of Jesus Christ dovetails with Old Testament revelation of the time of the end when all nations will surround Jerusalem to destroy her, but the Lord will personally intervene leading to Jerusalem’s vindication and salvation, setting the stage for ushering in the Millennial Kingdom upon the earth (e.g., Zech. 12:1–9; 14).

This all seems clear enough: at some time in the future, corresponding to the Second Coming of Christ, Jerusalem will be defended and vindicated by God. This last point is of particular importance — she will not be destroyed and her inhabitants scattered as was the case when Rome overthrew Jerusalem in AD 70, when the Jews were “led away captive into all nations [and] Jerusalem. .. trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:24).

As clear as this may seem, there are those within Christianity who make the mistake of merging the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and

the vindication of Jerusalem at Christ’s Second Coming into a single historical event — claiming that most of the passages describing the Second Coming have already been fulfilled in the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem by Rome. These are the preterists who are serious about trying to convince the Church that the things we still wait for have already transpired.

Among the many passages w...

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