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There is a view of Bible prophecy today known as Preterism. Its main feature is that it that it believes that Jesus’ prophecies in Matthew 24 were all fulfilled in 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. Pure Preterists say that all of the Bible’s prophecies were fulfilled by the time Jerusalem was destroyed and that Christ’s second coming occurred at that time.
In addition to this, they believe that the promised Kingdom was inaugurated on the day of Pentecost. The “thousand years” of Revelation 20:5, 6, they say, are not to be taken as a literal period of time but is representative of the Kingdom Age itself. This Kingdom, they say, was empowered by Pentecost, and this is all we need for the church to establish the Kingdom.
This view finds some support among the early (Greek) church fathers who essentially replaced the earlier Hebrew-speaking church fathers such as the original apostles and their immediate disciples. The era of the Hebrew view all but died out by the middle of the second century, leaving the Greek view of the Scriptures dominant in the church.
It is clear to me that the gospel writers, including Matthew and John, wrote with a Hebrew view of things. When John wrote about the thousand years in Revelation 20:5, 6, it seems to me that he was reflecting the common Jewish teaching of the great Sabbath Millennium. That Great Sabbath on a creation level was commonly known as “The Age,” the culmination of the great work week of 6,000 years since Adam.
Because that view was so widespread, it would be extraordinary for him to refer to the thousand years without any correction to clarify that the Jewish view was incorrect. Furthermore, the entire book of Revelation is built upon the prophetic manifestation of the Hebrew calendar, so it is clear (to me) that John’s Hebrew mindset dominated the entire book.
The book of Revelation presents 7 seals as if they were like 7 years on the calendar—a complete Sabbath cycle. In the 7th seal are 7 trumpets. The priests blew a trumpet to mark the start of each new month as soon as the new moon was sighted in the evening. Thus, the 7th trumpet was the feast of Trumpets. The 7th month itself was the month of the feast of Tabernacles, where they poured out a drink offering of new wine for seven days. These are pictured in the seven bowls of wine poured out in Revelation 16.
In other words, John’s Revelation was built upon the pattern of the Hebrew calendar, culminating with the feast of Tabernacles. It suggests that the fall of Babylon is tied to the last day of Tabernacles. The wine signified judgment upon Babylon.
The priests also poured out drink offerings of water along with the wine to signify the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the feast of Tabernacles. Hence, two things were going on at the same time, one negative and the other positive.
I wrote extensively about this in my commentary on The Revelation.
The point is that I find no serious evidence that John’s “thousand years” would deviate from the Hebrew viewpoint. That is why I take it as a literal period of time. Some make the point that chilioi, the Greek word translated “thousand,” is plural. That is true, but only because Greek grammar demanded that it should agree with the word that it modifies (“years”). It is the same in Spanish, where an adjective is written as a plural when it describes a plural noun. So la estrella (“the star”) is written in the plural as las estrellas. But this is not translated into English as Thes stars. We write the for both singular and plural.
So also is this in the Greek. The adjective chilioi is plural because the noun that it describes is plural. To translate it as “thousands” is not proper grammar. Translators know this. That is why virtually all Bible translations read “a thousand years.”
In Matthew 24, Jesus prophesies of the destruction of Jerusalem, which, of course, occurred in 70 A.D. The city had been destroyed in 586 B.C. as well, but it had been rebuilt. Even when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D., the city was rebuilt and is with us to this day.
But Jeremiah 19:10, 11 prophesies of the city’s complete and utter destruction. The prophet illustrated his point by smashing an old earthen jar in the valley of Ben-hinnom, which, in Greek, is called Gehenna.
10 Then you are to break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you 11 and say to them, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Just so will I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter’s vessel, which cannot again be repaired; and they will bury in Topheth because there is no other place for burial’.”
This old jar represented Jerusalem and Judah itself. It stood in contrast to the jar of wet clay that represented the house of Israel in Jeremiah 18:6. The house of Israel was the northern kingdom consisting of the ten tribes that the Assyrians had deported a century earlier. God was to remake them into a new and improved vessel. But the old clay jar representing Jerusalem could no longer be rebuilt or repaired once it was smashed in Gehenna.
Those who do not understand the difference between the two kingdoms (Israel and Judah) will invariably misapply Jeremiah’s prophecies. The state of “Israel” today is not the biblical Israel at all. It is a Jewish state. The word Jew is short for Judah, not Israel. The modern state of Israel was misnamed deliberately in order to trick Christians into thinking that the prophecies of restored Israel applied to the Jews. It was nothing but a political ploy.
But serious Bible students are able to study biblical history and to take note of the difference between Israel and Judah, so that they may apply prophecy properly.
By understanding this, we can see that Jeremiah 19 prophesies the utter destruction of Jerusalem. This was only partially fulfilled in 586 B.C. when the Babylonians destroyed the city. Why? Because the city was rebuilt. Jeremiah said that it “cannot be repaired.” But it was.
In 70 A.D. the Romans repeated what the Babylonians had done. But again, the fulfillment of the prophecy was incomplete, because the city was again repaired. The final fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy, then, is yet future, and this is something that Preterism does not understand. Preterism assumes that the Roman destruction of Jerusalem was the fulfillment of all the final prophecies in Scripture. Jesus came, and His rule began through the church. So they say.
There were Christians in the early church that held this view. In my view, they were overly optimistic about the power of the Pentecostal anointing. A few centuries later, especially in the early 900’s A.D., the church became so corrupt that the church historians themselves (mostly bishops and archbishops) referred to that era as The Golden Age of Pornocracy. That is, the church was ruled by immorality.
We today are able to look back at the so-called church age with a more realistic and educated view than the early church fathers had at the beginning of this age. Pentecost was a valid feast and was very good; however, the Kingdom could not be fully established under Pentecost. It had to await the greater anointing of the feast of Tabernacles. I believe we will soon see the fulfillment of Tabernacles in our time, and along with this event will come the final destruction of Jerusalem.
King Saul was the primary prophetic type of the church in the Pentecostal Age. Pentecost was a feast day known in the law as the Feast of Weeks (Exodus 34:22), wherein the priest offered to God the first fruits of the wheat harvest. No one was allowed to harvest their wheat before the first fruits offering at Pentecost. Hence, Pentecost was known as the day of wheat harvest.
Saul was crowned on the day of wheat harvest (1 Samuel 12:17). Hence, he was a prophetic type of the church in the Pentecostal Age. Saul reigned 40 years. The Pentecostal Age was a cycle of 40 Jubilees, or 1,960 years from 33 to 1993 A.D. We then entered the transitional period into the Tabernacles Age.
The reign of Saul set the pattern for the church. Every year in the reign of Saul was like a condensed version of a Jubilee cycle in church history. If we study church history, we can easily see the parallels with the reign of Saul. For instance, The Golden Age of Pornocracy is the 18th Jubilee cycle of the church age, and it correlates with the 18th year of Saul’s reign—the year that he was rejected by God and disqualified from having an enduring dynasty (1 Samuel 15:23).
The same thing happened to the Roman church in its 18th Jubilee cycle. That was the time when the calling of God shifted to the overcomers (“David”). Since then, the overcomers have been raised up to take the throne as soon as the reign of “Saul” concluded.
Preterism knows little or nothing about the feast days, so Preterists do not recognize an Age of Pentecost that is an interim to the Kingdom Age. Keep in mind that Saul had a kingdom, as did David. But Saul’s kingdom was not the same as David’s kingdom. Neither is the Pentecostal anointing the same as the Tabernacles anointing. The Kingdom Now view is only partially true. To get the full picture, one must distinguish between the two kingdoms.
There was a Passover Age from Moses to Christ. There was a Pentecostal Age in the interim between the two comings of Christ. There is a Tabernacles Age yet to come. Preterism seems to know nothing about this, and that is its weakness. Its strength (it must be said) is that it sees how Matthew 24 was largely fulfilled in 70 A.D. Yet Preterism must be modified. It ought to reject the idea that all prophecy was fulfilled by the time of Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 A.D. Jeremiah 19 makes this clear. There still awaits a more complete destruction of Jerusalem in the future.
Furthermore, by recognizing the limitations of Pentecost and by its association with the reign of Saul, it is clear that Pentecost has failed to establish the Kingdom patterned by David. This was built into the divine plan from the beginning, but we will probably miss this unless we see that Saul was a prophetic type of the Pentecostal kingdom.
Our purpose for GKM is to provide more revelation of the word so that we can get a better perspective on the nature of God and the divine plan in prophecy. The place to start is by studying the feast days, their prophetic significance, and what they teach us of the nature of God.