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.