Social Network Links
Powered by Squarespace
Search the Riddleblog
"Amillennialism 101" -- Audio and On-Line Resources
« Political Ideology Aside . . . | Main | A New Look for the Riddleblogger? »

Eschatology Q & A -- Are There Any Exegetical Resources Refuting Hyper-Preterism?

eschatology%20q%20and%20a.jpgElShaddai Edwards asks (January 17, 2008):

Have there been any exegetical rebuttals of full preterism that you’re aware of?  I was just browsing Keith Mathison’s book on post-millennialism and he includes a rebuttal of FP based on creedal tradition and the authority of the Holy Spirit to the Church.  As far as I can tell, this is the standard rebuttal.  Has anyone published a critique of FP strictly from the Biblical text?


Mr. Edwards:

Yes, indeed, there is such an exegetical critique of hyper (or full) preterism, and better yet, it is still in print.    I refer you to “When Shall These Things Be?”  A Reformed Approach to Hyper-Preterism (P & R, 2004).  The book is edited by Keith Mathison, whom you mention.  For more information on this volume, Click here: When Shall These Things Be: A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism: Books: Keith A. Mathison

As with most volumes like this where there are multiple contributors, some of the chapters are better than others.   It is also a bit problematic when the contributors don't agree among themselves.  In this case, two authors don't see eye to eye about the date of the Book of Revelation--Ken Gentry argues for an early date (pre-A.D. 70), while Simon Kistemaker argues for the traditional (and late) dating of about 95 A.D.

Those minor criticisms aside, there are two real gems here which make the book well worth the purchase price.  

The first is Robert Strimple’s marvelous essay, “Hyper Preterism on the Resurrection of the Body.”  In my humble estimation, Strimple completely destroys the various schemes offered by hyper-preterists to define the resurrection body so as to escape the obvious implications of the biblical teaching of a future, bodily, resurrection of believers.  Strimple’s exegesis of 1 Corinthians 15 is utterly compelling and he does the very thing you are seeking--a refutation of full or “hyper” preterism directly from the biblical text.  Strimple clearly exposes hyper-preterism for what it is--an unbiblical heresy.

The second outstanding essay is Charles Hill’s piece, “Eschatology in the Wake of Jerusalem’s Fall."  Hill deals with the pink elephant in the eschatological room, namely, "why, if hyper-preterism is true, did no one in the early church (post A. D. 70) ever say anything about the fact that the second coming of Christ, the general resurrection, and the final judgment, had already taken place?"  Hill's essay is compelling and I think his thesis is also problematic for those partial-preterists who see in the events of A.D. 70 a genuine parousia of our Lord (but who don't buy into the hyper-preterist heresy).

I also found Keith Mathison’s essay “The Eschatological Time Texts of the New Testament” to be very useful in showing the inability of the hyper-preterists to deal with the same “time-texts" which they claim support their  view.  I'm not fully on board with Mathison's treatment of some of these terms, but he does take them away from the full preterists, and that is a good thing.

When Shall These Things Be? is hated by hyper-preterists (read the reviews on Amazon).  I take that to be a very good sign that the arrow has struck its intended mark.

Hope that helps! 

References (1)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (10)

May I also suggest the newly released scholarly work by Charles Cooper, _God's Elect and the Great Tribulation: An Interpretation of Matthew 24:1-31 and Daniel 9_. This work does double duty by refuting both partial and full- preterism.

Cooper hones in on (1) the term "elect" in Matthew 24, (2) Matthew's use of "Coming" (Parousia) in Matthew 24, and (3) how the early church, for example the Didache, had a futurist--not preterist--interpretation.

Further, Cooper gives cogent argumentation demonstrating that Daniel 9:24-27 is NOT a Messianic prophecy (the ESV has the correct punctuation and rendering a v. 25).

Here is more info:

January 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAlan Kurschner
Here is a link to my blog. I hope you find it interesting
January 30, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterpreteristheresy
There is also the work “The End of All Things” by C. Jonathin Seriah. I have a website with a whole page of works both online and offline refuting hyperpreterism

Perhaps you will find some things there - there are some very good articles linked to there.
January 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDee Dee Warren
"Those minor criticisms aside, there are two real gems here which make the book well worth the purchase price."

Contradictions are "minor"? Wow.
January 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJason
"Contradictions are "minor"? Wow."


If the point of the book had been to present a consistent interpretation of the Book of Revelation, the differences between Kistemaker and Gentry on the issue of dating would have presented major problems and would not have worked. However, the only point of the book was to critique the hyper-preterist view and defend the essential elements of orthodox eschatology, namely that the Second Coming, the general resurrection, and the final judgment are still future. On these fundamental points, all of the authors were in agreement (I leave it to them to argue elsewhere about other secondary issues such as the date of Revelation and the timing of the millennium).

Sure, it would have been wonderful, probably ideal, to find a half dozen or more authors who not only knew something about hyper-preterism but who also agreed on a whole host of other eschatological issues. But it was not possible at the time. I'm not even sure it would be possible today to find that many authors who agreed on every significant debated eschatological issue.


January 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Mathison
Thank you all, especially Mr. Riddlebarger for the response on your blog and Mr. Mathison for the insight into your book, for the comments and links to resources to consider.

As a partial-preterist, the temptation certainly is there to curl my toes over the edge and consider what "full preterism" looks like. And indeed I've heard many compelling arguments for the position. If full preterism’s strength is in exegetical discussion, as Mr. Mathison acknowledged in his earlier Post-millennialism book, then it seems to me that the best way to argue against it is to make an honest exegetical rebuttal of full preterism. However, I'd found little to consider in way of a rebuttal strictly from the text, separate from orthodox creedal tradition.

I'm looking forward to reading a copy of Mr. Mathison's book and will consider the others mentioned as I can.
January 31, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterElShaddai Edwards
In 2004 a group of authors under the editorship of Keith Mathison published a book called “When Shall These Things Be: A Reformed Response to Hyper-Preterism”. Since 2004 the “hyper-preterists” have had plans to respond to the response. The original project was initiated by Edward Stevens of the International Preterist Association. This project kept being delayed & delayed but the mess goes deeper.

February 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRoderick
I don't know how much I can trust the "exegetical" portions of Mathison's chapter. On p. 161 he cites Is.11:6, 25:8 60:19-20 65:17-25 in support that the end of evil and the restoration is future. On what basis should we interpret these verses literally?

This text is not teaching that "Lions and lambs" will no longer be enemies or renewed.
This is a picture of Christ bringing the new covenant! v 1,9-10 (my holy mountain). Compare 9-10 with hebrews 12:18-24.

In v 10 of Is 11 it says that the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner to the people; for the Gentiles shall seek Him..." Throughout the Pauline corpus Jesus as "lifted-up" has drawn the Gentiles to Himself.

Further, if this is to be understood literally (ala Dallas Seminary where Mathison studied for a time), then we have contradiction in the bible.

In Is 11 lions are said to be in the kingdom, but in Is 35:9 "No lion shall be there." Hence this should not be read literally, but as metaphor.

Finally, Is 60:19-20 should be read in context with v 13-14: speaking of the true people of God Isaiah says that they will be called "Zion of the Holy One of Israel."

Again this is speaking of the new covenant people (the New heaven and earth) that Christ has brought forth (v 20-21).

Please prove from the text that Isaiah is speaking of literal "wolves, lions and lambs!

March 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDion
anyone read how john calvin interpreted isaiah 65.17 on the phrase "new heavens and new earth"?
July 4, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertodd stevenson
There has certainly been a response to WSTTB which is now in its 2nd edition - also available on Amazon:
House Divided, by David Green, Edward Hassertt and Michael Sullivan.

I have the 1st edition and am looking forward to read this one that deals with the issues that have been raised since the first two books were published.


January 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMoGrace2u

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.