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Greetings.  My name is Duncan McKenzie.  I am a psychologist by training (a Ph.D. in clinical psychology) and work in the field.  I have been studying Bible prophecy for the last 25 years and have written a two volume set entitled The Antichrist and the Second Coming: A Preterist Examination.  Volume II just came out! It focuses on the book of Revelation.  Essentially it is a commentary on the second half Revelation (chapters 11-22) You can see it here:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Antichrist-Second-Coming-Examination/dp/1619965798/ref=tmm_pap_title_1 

 

 

 

 

Here is volume I:

 

 

 You can read the first chapter of volume I here: http://sites.google.com/site/antichristandthesecondcoming/chapter-1-1

 

The Antichrist and the Second Coming

Volume I: Daniel and 2 Thessalonians

 

       I.               Introduction
 
II.              Preliminary Considerations Regarding the Book of Daniel and the Coming of                     God’s Kingdom

 

III.            The Fall of the Magnificent Human Image at the Establishment of the Kingdom                     of God (Daniel 2)

 

IV.            The Little Horn of the Fourth Beast (Daniel 7)

 

V.             The King of the North and the End of the Age (Daniel 11:36-45)

 

VI             The Great Tribulation and the End of the Age (Daniel 12:1-13)

 

VII.           The Day of the Lord in the Old Testament

 

VIII.          The Day of the Lord in the New Testament

 

IX.            The Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2)

 

Appendix A:  Why I Disagree with the Full Preterist Paradigm

 

volume II:The Book of Revelation

I.                Introduction to Volume II

II.             The Date of Revelation
III.            The Subject of Revelation
IV.            How to Interpret Revelation
V.             The Beast from the Sea (Revelation 13:1-10)
VI.            The Land Beast/False Prophet (Revelation 13:11-18)
VII.           The Beast and the Harlot (Revelation 17)
VIII.          The Beast and the Destruction of Babylon (Revelation 18)
IX.            The Marriage of the Lamb at the Second Coming                                 (Revelation 19)
X.             The Millennium: Preliminary Considerations
XI.            The Millennium II (Revelation 20)
XII.           The New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21-22)
XIII.          Israel and the Gog and Magog Invasion
XIV.          Where Are We Now?   

 

 
While I was raised (in the 70s) on Hal Lindsey, my studies have taken me in a very different direction (sorry Hal).  The theological paradigm which I hold is known as preterism.  The word preterism is derived from the Latin word praeteritus which means “gone by” or “past.”  It refers to the fact that this approach sees most of Bible prophecy (some would say all) as having been fulfilled in the past.  R. C. Sproul gave the following definition of preterism:

Preterism - An eschatological viewpoint that places many or all eschatological events in the past, especially during the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.  Full preterism assigns all of these events to the first century.  Partial preterism assigns many of these events to the first century, but not the second coming, the resurrection, and the final judgment.[1]

As Dr. Sproul mentions, there are two basic groups of conservative preterists (i.e., preterists who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture).  Full preterists see AD 70 as the time of Jesus’ Second Coming and the fulfillment of all biblical prophecy.  Partial preterists see AD 70 as a time of Jesus coming in judgment on Israel, with the Second Coming, resurrection and judgment yet to happen in the future.  Thus, whereas partial preterists see AD 70 as the time of “a coming” of Jesus in judgment on Israel (like the OT judgment comings of God in history, cf. Is. 19:1-4), full preterists see AD 70 as the time of Jesus’ actual Second Coming.  Sproul wrote the following on this:

While partial preterists acknowledge that in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 there was a parousia or coming of Christ, they maintain that it was not the parousia.  That is, the coming of Christ in AD 70 was a coming in judgment on the Jewish nation, indicating the end of the Jewish age and the fulfillment of a day of the Lord.  Jesus really did come in judgment at this time, fulfilling his prophecy in the Olivet Discourse. But this was not the final or ultimate coming of Christ.[2]

My approach falls between these two positions.  Like full preterists I see AD 70 as the time of the Second Coming, resurrection and judgment (with the resurrection and judgment having an ongoing fulfillment since that time).  Like partial preterists I see certain prophetic events that still await fulfillment (e.g., the destruction of Satan at the end of the millennium described in Revelation 20:7-10).  While my position is much closer to full preterism, I strongly disagree with its premise that all biblical prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70.

Our approach is most similar to that of nineteenth-century theologian James Stuart Russell.[3]  Like full preterists, Russell saw AD 70 as the time of the Second Coming; unlike full preterists, Russell saw the Second Coming as the beginning of the millennium, not its end.  I call this position "premillennial preterism."  It is premillennial in that it holds that Jesus returned right before (pre-) the millennium.  Unlike futuristic premillennialism, however, it does not see the millennium as a literal 1000-year period.  My position is preteristic because it holds that the one and only Second Coming occurred at the AD 70 end of the old covenant age.  R. C. Sproul, in his book The Last Days according to Jesus,[4] wrote favorably concerning Russell’s position and his attempt to answer the hard questions related to the New Testament’s teaching of a very soon (first century) Second Coming.  In his forward to Russell’s classic work The Parousia, Sproul writes:

If Immanuel Kant was “awakened from dogmatic slumber” by the empirical skepticism of Davie Hume, my theological reverie in the arms of Morpheus was rudely stirred by reading The Parousia by J. Stuart Russell.  Few books have forced me to rethink ideas or challenged my assumptions as much as this one has. . . . I am persuaded that, in the main, Russell is essentially correct.  I do not endorse his work entirely because I think he goes too far, as does full preterism. . . . But for me one thing is certain: I can never read the New Testament again the same way I read it before reading The Parousia.  I hope better scholars than I will continue to analyze and evaluate the content of J. Stuart Russell’s important work.[5]

Conservative (Bible believing) preterism is probably the most demanding of all the prophetic approaches.  I say this because it is not sufficient for a conservative preterist to merely expound on a given passage; he must also show how it has been fulfilled in history.  That is, once he has interpreted a given passage and harmonized it with the rest of Scripture, a conservative preterist must then back up his interpretation with the facts of history.  This is not always easy, especially when one is discussing events that take place in the invisible realm of the spirit, as the books of Daniel and Revelation often do (cf. Rev. 12:1-12).

The New Testament's Teaching of a Very Near Second Coming

 Looking at the New Testament (hereafter denoted as NT), Jesus in c. AD 30 said that the generation that was listening to Him would not pass away before His Second Coming took place (Matt. 24:33-34; Mark 13:29-30; Luke 21:31-32), a biblical generation being approximately forty years (Num. 32:13).  Paralleling this, Jesus said that some of His listeners would still be alive to witness His Second Coming.

 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.  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. Matt. 16:27-28 cf. Rev. 22:10-12

 

Jesus held out the possibility that John would still be alive when He returned (John 21:18-23).  Jesus told His disciples that they would “not have gone through cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (Matt. 10:23).  He told them that as long as He was in the world He was the light of the world, and that when He was taken out of the world it would be night (John 9:4-5).  Alluding to this, Paul, in his letter to the Romans (c. AD 58), declared that “the night is far spent, the day is at hand” (Rom. 13:11-12), meaning that the time of Jesus’ return was drawing near (cf. Rom. 16:20).

 

Paul told the Corinthians (c. AD 55-56) that the time was short (1 Cor. 7:29), that the end of the ages had come upon them (1 Cor. 10:11).  He warned the Philippians (c. AD 58-61) that “the Lord is at hand” (Phil. 4:5).  He fully expected that a number of the Thessalonians would remain alive to witness the Second Coming (1 Thess. 4:15).  The author of Hebrews (c. AD 67) informed his audience that Jesus would come in “a little while” (Heb. 10:37).  He said it was the “last days” (Heb. 1:2) and that the end of the ages had arrived (Heb. 9:26).  What had arrived were the last days of the old covenant age.

 

Moses had prophesied that Israel would break the covenant in the “latter days” and “be devoured” (Deut. 31:16-17, 29).  Although the cross made the old covenant obsolete, it would not fully pass away until the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (cf. Dan. 9:24-27).  This was when the kingdom would be taken from God’s unfaithful old covenant people and fully given to His new covenant people (Matt. 21:33-45, Dan. 7:21-27; cf. Mark 8:38-9:1).

 

To say, as many futurists do, that the “last days” have been in existence for almost 2000 years makes absolutely no sense.  Consistent with the idea that the last days were happening in the first century, Peter (in the early AD 60s) proclaimed that “the end of all things is at hand” (1 Peter 4:7).  James, in his epistle (c. AD 48-62), wrote that “the coming of the Lord is at hand. . . . Behold the Judge is standing at the door!” (James 5:8-9).  Jude told his readers (c. AD 61-62) that they were living in “the last time” (Jude 18).  By the time that John wrote his epistles (c. AD 60-65),9 it was not merely the last days, but rather the last hour.  John clearly taught that the Antichrist was about to come: “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).  John then went on to say the spirit of Antichrist was "now already in the world" (1 John 4:3).  One can either say John was right or he was mistaken; what one cannot say (at least with intellectual credibility) is that he was talking about someone who would come thousands of years in the future.

 

At the beginning of the book of Revelation (c. AD 65) John told his first-century audience that the time was near for the fulfillment of the prophecies contained in the book.  He said that Revelation concerned “things which must shortly take place,” and that the time was “near” (Rev. 1:1,3).  Consistent with this emphasis on immediacy, each of the seven churches of Revelation were told that the events associated with the Second Advent would happen to them, for good or ill.

 

The church at Ephesus was told that if they did not repent that Jesus would come quickly and remove their lampstand (Rev. 2:5).  The church at Smyrna was told that it was about to experience tribulation, a reference to the soon coming great tribulation (Rev. 2:10; cf. 3:10; 7:9-14).  The church at Pergamum was told that if they did not repent that Jesus would come quickly and fight against them with the sword of His mouth (Rev. 2:16).  This is a reference to the Second Coming, the time when Jesus would come and battle against His enemies (Rev. 19:11-21).  The church of Thyatira was told to hold “fast what you have till I come” (Rev. 2:25), another reference to the soon-to-happen parousia.

 

The church at Sardis was likewise told to hold fast and repent or Jesus would come upon them as a thief (Rev. 3:3), a clear reference to Revelation 16:15, which speaks about the Second Advent: “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garment, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (cf. Matt 24:42-44).  The church at Philadelphia was told that Jesus was coming “quickly,” and if they remained faithful they would be kept from the hour of trial that was about to come on the world (Rev. 3:10-11), a reference to the great tribulation which would immediately precede the Second Advent (cf. Dan. 7:21-22).  The church at Laodicea was told that Jesus was standing “at the door” (Rev. 3:20).  This “door” is often interpreted as the door of one’s heart, but it is more likely referring to the door of heaven; (Rev. 4:1; cf. James 5:9).  God was warning the Laodicean church that the Second Coming was about to occur (cf. Matt 24:33, “When you see all these things, know that it [the Second Coming, v. 30] is near—at the doors!”)

 

Consistent with the first-century audience of Revelation being told that they would be alive when the parousia occurred, they are also told that they had the ability to calculate the number of the beast (Rev. 13:18).  This is a reference to the soon-coming Antichrist, a first-century figure (cf. 1 John 4:3), not someone who would arrive on-scene thousands of years in the future (I will be naming my candidate in my book; for now let me just say that he is not Nero).  That the beast was a contemporary of the recipients of Revelation is another indicator that the Second Coming was about to happen.  All that was standing between the seven churches to which John was writing and the soon-coming Antichrist was the short reign of one ruler (Rev. 17:10-11).  The beast was about to come when Revelation was written:

The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction.  And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.  Rev. 17:8 NASB

If the beast was about to come, then the Second Advent (when he is defeated, Rev. 19:11-21) was about to happen.

At the end of Revelation, John again reminds his audience that the things in it were to happen shortly (Rev. 22:6-7).  It is important to note that this included the prophecies of Revelation, not just the events of the first three chapters: “And he said to me, ‘Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand’” (Rev. 22:10).  The prophecies of the end of the old covenant age that were in the distant future when Daniel wrote (cf. Dan. 12:9) were now at hand when John wrote.  The Second Coming was so close at the time of the writing of Revelation that there was very little time left for a person to change his or her ways.  John’s first-century readers were told: “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.  ‘And behold, I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me to give to every one according to his work’” (Rev. 22:11-12).  Revelation ends with Jesus saying one more time that He was about to come: “Surely I am coming quickly . . .” (Rev. 22:20).

 

The New Testament’s expectation of a first-century Second Coming is not just taught by one of its writers.  The verses I quoted above are the words of Jesus (as recorded by Matthew, Mark and Luke), Peter, Paul, James, John, Jude, and the author of Hebrews.  Every writer in the New Testament wrote that Jesus was about to come in their day.  As I have said, this time element that speaks of Jesus’ Second Coming as a first-century occurrence is consistently minimized or ignored by conservative Christians.  The main reason for this is because it threatens the concept of the inerrancy of Scripture.  If the parousia did not happen in the first century (as most Christians assume), then the authors of the NT were wrong for teaching that it was about to happen.  To say the biblical authors were wrong in terms of the Second Coming’s timing is to throw the inerrancy of Scripture out the window.  One cannot say that the Bible is without error except for its mistaken teaching that the Second Advent was about to happen.  If the Bible is wrong on such a key subject, it can not be trusted on anything else.

 

If you have any questions or comments I can be contacted at Duncan@peoplepc.com

 



[1] R. C. Sproul, The Last Days according to Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 228.

[2]  ibid, 158

[3] James Stuart Russell should not be confused with Charles Taze Russell who was the founder of the Jehovah Witnesses.  J. S. Russell should also not be confused with the skeptic Bertrand Russell.  Interestingly enough one of the main reasons that Bertrand Russell was a skeptic is because of the New Testament’s teaching of a very near (first century) Second Coming.  See R. C. Sproul, The Last Days according to Jesus, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 11-14.

[4] R. C. Sproul, The Last Days according to Jesus.  Much of this book involves Dr. Sproul interacting with Russell’s position.  Most of this interaction is favorable although some questions are raised with certain aspects of it.

[5] R. C. Sproul: forward to J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia, new ed. (Grand Rapids, MI Baker, rep. 1983, 1999 [1887], vii, x.