An Exegetical Basis For A Preterist-Idealist Understanding Of The Book Of Revelation -- By: John Noe

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 49:4 (Dec 2006)
Article: An Exegetical Basis For A Preterist-Idealist Understanding Of The Book Of Revelation
Author: John Noe

An Exegetical Basis For A Preterist-Idealist
Understanding Of The Book Of Revelation

John Noe*

When attempting to arrive at a proper understanding of the Bible’s last book, four foundational questions must be addressed: (1) When was this book most likely written? (2) How do we handle its time statements? (3) When was or will it be fulfilled? (4) What is its relevance for us today? Over the course of church history, four major evangelical eschatological views have evolved. Each answers these four questions differently.

In Part I of this article I will present each view, along with some criticism from proponents of the other views. The four views are the preterist view, the premillennial view, the amillennial view, and the postmillennial view. In Part II, I will evaluate their different understandings and conclude by offering a synthesis.

I. A Presentation Of VIews

1. The preterist view. Most preterists1 believe that the Book of Revelation speaks to particular circumstances and events that were fulfilled within the lifetime of the book’s original first-century audience and that there is nothing in it about our future. Rather, it was concerned fully and exclusively with the first century and not with subsequent periods. This view places its date of writing prior to ad 70—most likely, between ad 63 and 68—and its soon-fulfillment in ad 70 in conjunction with Christ’s divine visitation, coming, and return in the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

J. Stuart Russell, a nineteenth-century preterist author, portrayed the Book of Revelation as being concerned “primarily and principally with events with which its first readers only were immediately interested. .. events all shortly to come to pass.”2 He believed that “the Apocalypse is nothing else than a transfigured form of the prophecy on the Mount of Olives.. .. expanded, allegorised, and. .. dramatised.. .. First and chiefly the Parousia.. . .”3 In other words, and in the opinion of most preterists, the Book of Revelation is only another version of Christ’s Olivet Discourse, since

* John Noe is president of the Prophecy Reformation Institute and resides at 5236 East 72nd Street, Indianapolis, IN 46250.

“the subject of both is the same great catastrophe, viz. The Parousia, and the events accompanying it4 . ... an event which He [Jesus] declared would happen before the passing away of the existing generation, and w...

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