In our initial post on preterism, we defined preterism as a belief that all or most of the end time prophecies were fulfilled at AD 70. In our post today, we will examine the two kinds of preterism: Partial and Full Preterism.
Mild or Partial Preterism
Mild or partial preterism sees most of prophecy fulfilled at AD 70 but not all. For example, partial preterism would see all of the signs of Matthew 24:4-26 fulfilled at AD 70 but the events predicted after 24:34 are still future. In other words, all the end time prophecy spoken by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, except the second coming of Jesus. Partial preterists take “generation” in verse 34 to refer to the first generation or the early church. So when Jesus said, “This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” the partial preterists say the generation Christ was teaching had to see fulfilled the signs preceding that statement in AD 70.
One has to do some pretty clever allegorizing to have the sun darkened, the moon not giving light, and the powers of the heaven shaken fulfilled in AD 70 as 24: 29 predicted. A better interpretation of “generation” is the generation in the Tribulation who sees these signs will not pass away until they see Christ return in His glory. This is the interpretation that does not require allegorizing the cosmic signs 24:29.
Extreme or Full Preterism
Extreme or full preterism believes all prophecies were fulfilled at A.D. 70. Thomas Ice explains full prteristism.“This means there will never be a future second coming, for it already occurred in A.D. 70. Further, there will be no bodily resurrection of believers, which is said to have occurred in A.D. 70 in conjunction with the second coming….In fact, full preterists say we are not merely in the millennium, but we are now living in what we would call the eternal state or the new heavens and new earth of Revelation 21-22” (The End Times Controversy, page 23). The last time I checked this life is not heaven. If it is we are of all men most miserable.
In our next post we will identify and discuss some partial preterists like R. C. Sproul, Jay Adams, and David Chilton. You might be surprised at the attitude of the partial preterists about full preterists.