Preterism, Futurism, And The Olivet Discourse (Part 2)

In our last article we considered a brief overview of preterism and futurism in relationship to the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25).  As we noted, according to preterism, some or all of the events described in Matthew 24-25 were fulfilled in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the temple.  However, according to futurism, none of the events described in Matthew 24-25 were fulfilled in 70 A.D., but rather refer entirely to the future tribulation and second coming of Jesus Christ.

Now let’s consider some support for a preterist interpretation:

1.  The context is regarding the destruction of the temple (Matt. 23:37-39).

2.  The entire Olivet Discourse is Jesus’ answer to His disciples questions (Matt. 24:3), which

includes a question about the destruction of the temple (Matt. 24:1-2).

3.  The abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15) is described by Jesus as the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. (Luke 21:20).

4.  The generation that would experience the events of 24:4-31 could be interpreted to be the generation of Jesus’ own day (Matt. 24:34; cf. 23:36).

These passages must be taken seriously, but there are some significant challenges to the preterist interpretation.  Consider the following arguments in favor of futurist interpretation:

1.  The disciple’s question is about Jesus’ coming and the end of the age (Matt. 24:3).

2.  The promise of global evangelism prior to the end (24:14) didn’t happen before 70 A.D.

3.  Jesus’ description of the severity of the tribulation (24:21-22) doesn’t accurately describe the events of 70 A.D.

4.  Jesus is clearly speaking about His second coming (24:29-31, 33, 37).

5.  The parables of preparedness clearly relate to the second coming (24:42-25:30).

6.  The judgment of the nations follows the second coming of Christ (25:31-46; cf. Rev. 19-20).

7.  The book of Revelation was written after 70 A.D. and clearly describes a future tribulation.

So, which view is correct, preterism or futurism?  We will answer that question in our next article.

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