Historicism, Futurism and Preterism

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The purpose of this site is to define, explore and compare the four interpretations, or approaches, to Christian eschatology, or end-time doctrine, which are historicism, futurism, preterism and idealism. Before addressing our subject it is important to note that universal Christian core doctrine regarding such as the whole subject of the Gospel, which is the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Messiah "Yeshua" - who rescues all from sin who have faith in His shed blood - have remained very much intact for nearly 2,000 years. The same goes for most other subjects that are covered in literal language of literal passages of scripture, that are largely not open to interpretation. There are however, and not surprisingly, differences of opinion within the church regarding interpretation, of the figurative language of apocalyptic dreams and visions in Old and New Testament prophecy. Indeed entire adult lifetimes are spent visiting and revisiting, prodding and probing, the rich texture of these passages. Differences in interpretation of mysterous passages can lead to spirited debate, that further encourages proponents to dig ever deeper into the scriptures, which may well be one reason they were included. Also, as parables, for those within the kingdom of God and not for those without. For discussion of any of the topics covered on this website please join us in the Islam-Christian Forum at this link.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines "eschatology" as:
1: a branch of theology concerned with the final events in the history of the world or of humankind
2: a belief concerning death, the end of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humankind; specifically: any of various Christian doctrines concerning the Second Coming, the resurrection of the dead, or the Last Judgment

While Wikipedia certainly cannot be considered a definitive source - particularly when it comes to perpetually falsified subjects like Islamic "tradition" and cults - we will quote and link to some of Wikipedia's less combative pages. Other links may simply take you to Internet searches with the subject parameters conveniently filled in for your own perusal. Still others may lead to our companion sites that include more in-depth coverage of a particular subject, or to discussion in the Islam-Christian Forum, where members are often on hand to respond to questions regarding the content of these sites.

Links to sections on this page include Why Only Four Approaches?, Red Herrings, Limitations of Futurism and Preterism, Islam is the Exact Opposite of Christianity and Where is the World Headed?.
Why Only Four Approaches? (URL)

The reason there are only four approaches to Christian eschatology is because interpretation of the figurative language of apocalyptic dreams and visions in prophecy cannot stand alone but must be integrated with the entirety of scripture to arrive at a cohesive, consistent and chronological (except for bifids and chiasms) whole. This site is biased toward a uniform approach to all Bible prophecy through the tradition of historicism, that Jews and Christians are at least somewhat familiar with, since it is the approach through which we all understand the historical fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

From a Wikipedia article: "Historicism is a method of interpretation in Christian eschatology which attempts to associate biblical prophecies with actual historical events and identify symbolic beings with historical persons or societies. The main texts of interest are apocalyptic literature, such as the Book of Daniel and the Book of Revelation, and historicist methods have been applied to ancient Jewish history, the Roman Empire, Mohammedism, the Papacy, the Modern era and even into the End time."

Available evidence suggests that historicism is also the approach through which the church understood New Testament prophecy was being fulfilled, up until the 19th century the approaches of partial-preterism and futurism began to come into vogue. While adherents of any eschatology can search the early church fathers and find tidbits of the eschatological schemes they have been taught, the presence of these doctrines in the modern church may be credited to 16th and 17th century Roman Catholic Jesuits, who penned the doctrines in counter-reformation efforts.

Unfortunately, also in the 19th century, the traditional context of historicism was abused by some modern cults in their approach New Testament prophecy. As a result, some futurists and preterists cite these cults in attempts to discredit the entire traditional historicist approach and tar it through association, in efforts to advance their chosen eschatology. However if the entire context of historicism could be discredited by a couple of modern cults that choose to employ it, then it would follow that Jews and Christians must also reject historicism as an approach to Old Testament prophecy - a patently absurd notion. Similarly just because Arnold Murray's Serpent Seed cult holds a futurist eschatology doesn't mean that all futurists must believe that Eve literally had sex with the serpent in the Garden of Eden to produce Cain, whose seed are today's Zionists, or otherwise abandon the futurist approach. Or just because the Roman Catholic Church tends toward partial-preterism, doesn't mean that preterists must accept Mariology, or otherwise throw out their partial-preterist approach to prophecy.
Red Herrings (URL)

Adding to the confusion in modern day discussion, is a near universal unfamiliarity with the traditional historicist approach to New Testament prophecy, which contributes to folks affixing views on millennialism to eschatological approaches. Like attaching amillennialism to partial preterism as if the terms are interchangeable or codependent even though some preterists are postmillennial. While amillennialism integrates well with the traditional historicist approach (let alone the Gospel), and Anabaptists and other Reformers were amillennial historicists for the most part, however the Anabaptists of Munster were pre-millennial historicists.

The result is an Internet parade of straw man arguments, with authors incorrectly assigning beliefs to others, while condending against millennial views as if they were arguments against eschatological approaches.

One such popular straw man is preterist false claims that John Darby's eschatological scheme is responsible for Zionism, however their arguments don't generally have as much to do with the history of the return of Jews to Israel, as they are diatribes against futurism. Many so dishonest from their supersessionist zeal against Israeli Jews, that the convenient "history" of Zionism they report often doesn't even begin until the late 19th century, when the term for it was coined. But the fact is that Jews began to be restored to Israel in the early 19th century, not only before John Darby penned his eschatological scheme, but centuries after so many great men of God of the Reformation anticipated that restoration through prophecy:

Thomas Brightman 1562-1607: "The restoring of the Jewes and their callinge to the faith of Christ after the utter overthrow of their three enemies is set forth in livelie colours." "Shall they return to Jerusalem again?" "There is nothing more certain: the prophets do everywhere confirm it and beat upon it."

Matthew Henry 1662-1714: "If God will build Jerusalem for the people and their comfort, they must inhabit it for him and his glory. The promises and privileges with which God's people are blessed, should engage us to join them, whatever it costs us."

Isaac Newton 1642-1726: “Hence I observe these things, first that the restauration of the Jewish nation so much spoken of by the old Prophets respects not the few Jews who were converted in the Apostles days, but the dispersed nation of the unbelieving Jews to be converted in the end when the fullness of the Gentiles shall enter, that is when the Gospel (upon the fall of Babylon) shall begin to be preached to all nations.

On the other hand are dispensationalists who seem to want to claim a sole franchise on the recognition of the restoration of Jews to their land. Charles C. Ryrie wrote: "The Church/Israel distinction is the best way to determine whether or not someone is a dispensationalist - the most important critereon". However a person obviously doesn't need to be a dispensationalist, to recognize the restoration of Jews to their land as being a fulfillment of prohpecy, since it was anticipated by amillennial Christian historicists through Bible prophecy centuries before that restoration began.
Limitations of Futurism and Preterism (URL)

Amazingly, preterists and futurists must each believe the other to be virtually 100% in error, regarding their interpretations of the book of Revelation after chapter three, because a gulf of 1900 years separates the two eschatological approaches. Perterists believing that the book of Revelation was fulfilled in in the first century, while futurists believe that virtually none of the book of Revelation will be fulfilled until some seven-year period yet in the future. Thus both approaches to prophecy must essentially ignore 1900 years of Christian era history from even consideration, as fulfillment of prophecy, including 1400 years of Islamic history. This even as earlier Christian's eyes were wide open to Islam in Bible prophecy. Preterism and futurism also obscure present-day reality, with some preterist's expectation that the kingdoms of this world will be made holy by (fallen) mankind even as John's "whole world" has already been conquered by Islam, while futurists still wait for a "revived Roman Empire" even as we witness Europe continue to fall to Islam.

Both futurism and preterism necessarily require "that man of sin", "the false prophet", "antichrist" and the "beast" for example, to be subjects that were either fulfilled by 71 AD, or are yet to be fulfilled during some future someday. Perhaps even more amazing than each having to consider the other to be virtually 100% in error, is that both approaches to the book of Revelation necessarily preclude adherents from even considering that Muhammad could be THE false prophet of the book of Revelation, or his Islamic kingdom "beast" the final foe of God's people. This even though a billion and a half people - one quarter of mankind in the world today deny the Son of God as well as His crucifixion - and thus reject His shed blood, as articles of their faith in the false prophet Muhammad alone.
Islam is the Opposite and Opposer of Christianity (URL)

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Sura 19:88 They say: "(Allah) Most Gracious has begotten a son!" 89 Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous!

Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Surah 4:157 That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

Surah 9.29 Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. 30 The Jews call 'Uzair a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; (in this) they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah's curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth!

Indeed if a Muslim were to confess that Jesus is the Son of God or even pray in Jesus name he would have committed the single most heinous and only unforgivable sin in Islam, as compared to cold-blooded mass murder or raping a child for example, which may be forgiven (both of which, as it happens, Muhammad himself was guilty of).

Yet, regarding praying in Jesus' name, in the Gospel we read:

John 14:14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do [it].

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

KJV Bible search - in my name

Since each and every Christian over the last nearly 2,000 years has prayed in Jesus' name as the Gospel details, and received the Comforter - the Holy Spirit that is sent in Jesus name - then by extension Muhammad's followers would have to believe that each and every Christian has lived and died in a state of committing the single most "heinous" and only unforgivable sin in Muhammad's anti-religion.

There is one mediator between God and men:

1Timothy 2:5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

According to Muhammad, his "Allah" may forgive all sins except "shirk".

Sura 4.48 Allah forgiveth not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgiveth anything else, to whom He pleaseth; to set up partners with Allah is to devise a sin Most heinous indeed.

Yet: 1John 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

As one Muslim member of a our forum finally replied regarding this Christian confession, and after being asked repeatedly as to whether "shirk" is a sin worse than child rape or murder:

"Enough of the condescension - OF COURSE I - and even you and anybody else making that 'confession' would be committing the one HEINOUS sin that God does not forgive."

I had to press pretty hard for that reply, as it seems this subject may be somewhat convicting to followers of Muhammad, since even they may be able to recognize what an unjust god it would indicate that they serve. Others refuse to answer, but thus far, none have denied it. A billion and a half people in the world today are antichrist as an article of their faith in Muhammad alone:

1 John 2:22  Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 23 Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father:.....

Since Islam is antichrist - indeed is to Christianity as the negative is to a photograph - the only anti-a-specific-religion cult, on earth - it should come as no surprise that each and every Muslim must reject the crucifixion of Christ and thus His shed blood as another article of their faith in the false prophet Muhammad:

Surah 4:157 That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-

Thus the enemy, Satan, through his prophet Muhammad fills his followers with complete resolve as to what to DISbelieve, DENY and REJECT.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Since the enemy is the opposer of God, it should also not be a surprise to find that Muhammad's followers are commanded to fight, even the "People of the Book" - that is Jews and Christians - until all people on earth are bent into submission to Muhammad's followers. Indeed for 1400 years the followers of Muhammad have been commanded to conquer all kingdoms of the world, and subjugate all people, to denying the Son of God and rejecting His shed blood. It is the dar al-Islam ("house of submission") at war against the dar al-Harb (house of war). While you may not be at war against Islam, if you are a non-Muslim, Islam has been at war against you for 1400 years.

From Islam's most highly respected Hadith collection: Bukhari, V1 B2 #24 Narrated Ibn 'Umar: Allah's Apostle said: "I have been ordered (by Allah) to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that Muhammad is Allah's Apostle, and offer the prayers perfectly and give the obligatory charity, so if they perform a that, then they save their lives an property from me except for Islamic laws and then their reckoning (accounts) will be done by Allah."

Of course it would be pure blasphemy for a Christian to testify to that since Muhammad proclaimed the exact opposite of the whole subject of the Gospel. Indeed with the exception of the tiny strip of land of Israel protected by the democracy of the Jewish State, Muhammad's Islamic kingdom beast has already conquered the prophet John's "whole world", where virtually everyone is marked by the name of the beast - Islam.

Quran Sura 9.111 Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain: a promise binding on Him in truth, through the Law, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah. then rejoice in the bargain which ye have concluded: that is the achievement supreme.

Muhammad of course lying in regard to the Gospel binding anyone to fight and slay others:

Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

However as that sura indicates, fighting and slaying non-Muslims is binding on Muhammad's followers, in the Quran. While some deluded Muslims try in vain to argue against being commanded to fight and subjugate humanity to Muhammad's followers who would be expected to be the ultimate arbiter of Islam? A true fundamental orthodox follower of Muhammad with a beheading knife in one hand, while supported by his Quran and hadith in the other, or a western Islamic "hypocrite" standing alone and naked who wishes in vain to invent his own version of Islam?

"Summarized Sahih Al-Bukhari" page 580
Chapter 2. The best among the people is that believer who strives his utmost in Allah's Cause with both his life and property.
[1] "Al-Jihad (the holy fighting) in Allah's Cause (with full force of number and weaponry) is given the utmost importance in Islam and is one of its pillars (on which it stands). By Jihad Islam is established, Allah's Word is made superior, [His Word being La ilaha ill-Allah (which means: none has the right to be worshipped by Allah] and His Religion (Islam) is propagated. By abandoning Jihad (may Allah protect us from that) Islam is destroyed and the Muslims fall into an inferior position; there honour is lost, their lands are stolen, their rule and authority vanish. Jihad is an obligatory duty in Islam on every Muslim, and he who tries to escape from this duty, or does not in his innermost heart wish to fulfill this duty, dies with one of the qualities of a hypocrite."

This is the reason that so many young Muslims are so eager to fight, that they even travel to foreign lands, for the opportunity to do so. They are convicted by their sins and suspect they will be punished by "Allah" for them, but if they die a so-called "martyr's" death they get fast-tracked to multiple virgins to defile in the carnal chicken and wine serving bordello of Muhammad's overactive imagination that he called "paradise".

A Christian martyr says: "I will die for what I believe in", while proclaiming his God, and sacrificing his life in defense of his family and community.
A Muslim so-called martyr says: "You will die for what I believe in", that is killed inadvertently while engaged in the slaughter of innocents through imperialistic aggression and conquest.

Bukhari B59 #377:  Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah: On the day of the battle of Uhud, a man came to the Prophet and said, "Can you tell me where I will be if I should get martyred?" The Prophet replied, "In Paradise." The man threw away some dates he was carrying in his hand, and fought till he was martyred.

Modern day terrorists are simply doing their best to follow in the footsteps of one of the most consummate, and conveniently self-admitted, terrorists in human history:

Sura 8:12 I will instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them

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

Muhammad's followers nearly succeeded in their assigned task, having conquered nearly the whole known world during the Islamic First Jihad, before being turned back in the Battle of Tours France. Date-pinned by Daniel's "1335".

Futurists recognize the restoration of Jews to their land as having been prophesied, as did Christians from centuries before that restoration ever began to take place. Preterists must reject the matter of fact reality of six million Jews ruling Israel, and geopolitical focus of the world, as being of the Lord. Tragically their replacement theology, or punitive supersessionism, leads them toward anti-Zionism and even anti-Semitism. Thereby helping to advance the the Islamic conquest of Israel, and subjugation of Israeli Jews, Christians and non-Muslim Arabs, to Muhammad's followers. With Israel being just another front in the Islamic conquest of the world.

Sahih Bukhari B52 #177 Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah's Apostle said, "the Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say. "O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him."
Where is the World Headed? (URL)

Unless Jesus returns soon, or Muhammad's followers all come to Christ, what kind of world will our children and grandchildren inherit?
Demographics of the Islamization of the world.

"What Islam is Not"

From Soeren Kern at the Gatestone Institute: "Muslims in Europe are increasingly converting empty Christian churches into mosques. The proliferation of mosques housed in former churches reflects the rise of Islam as the fastest growing religion in post-Christian Europe."
"As Islam replaces Christianity as the dominant religion in Europe, more and more churches are set to become mosques, which increasingly serve not only as religious institutions but also function as the foundational political building blocks for the establishment of separate, parallel Muslim communities in Europe that are based on Islamic Sharia law." -  more on apostasy at this link

If you don't yet enjoy a life in Christ, the time in which you have to consider the evidence and consider one may be drawing to a close, as the Second Coming of Christ would seem truly at hand.

In the following pages we will explore the consequences of the church having abandoned the traditional approach of historicism to New Testament prophecy, in favor of the pop-eschatologies of futurism and preterism, that came into vogue during the 19th and 20th centuries. Also the blindness to 1900 years of Christian era history in prophecy these eschatologies necessitate, and particularly to the false prophet Muhammad and his Islamic kingdom "beast", as the prophesied final foe of God's people. Also explored are a few related issues to eschatology such as "Zionism", replacement theology and prophesied apostasy.

For discussion of these topics and much more please join us in the Islam-Christian Forum at this link.