Preterist View is Very Old

The accusation that the Preterist view is “very new” – is simply not true! 

This list is given to show that the concept of prophecy being fulfilled in the 1st century is not a new concept.  It can be seen that from pretty early dates, some teachers and scholars understood that the fulfillment of all of the OT prophecies and Christ’s return, coincided with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  However, we do not endorse the teaching or positions of any of these authors or commentators.  We recommend that you do your own study from God’s word, Acts 17:11.

    Melito, Bishop of Sardis (MIDDLE SECOND CENTURY)

(On the Defeat of Death and the Devil) “It is I, says Christ, who destroyed death. It is I who triumphed over the enemy, and having trod down Hades, and bound the Strong Man, and have snatched mankind up to the heights of heaven.”  1Cor 15

    Quintus Florens Tertullian (145- 220)

Accordingly the times must be inquired into of the predicted and future nativity of the Christ, and of His passion, and of the extermination of the city of Jerusalem, that is, its devastation. For Daniel says, that “both the holy city and the holy place are exterminated together with the coming Leader, and that the pinnacle is destroyed unto ruin.” And so the times of the coming Christ, the Leader, must be inquired into, which we shall trace in Daniel; and, after computing them, shall prove Him to be come, even on the ground of the times prescribed, and of competent signs and operations of His. Which matters we prove, again, on the ground of the consequences which were ever announced as to follow His advent: in order that we may believe all to have been as well fulfilled as foreseen.

    EUSEBIUS Bishop of Caesarea (c. 265 – 340) Extract from the ‘Theophania’:

“All authorities concur in the declaration that “when all these things should have been done” “The End” should come : that “the mystery of God should be finished as he had declared to His servants the prophets”: it should be completed : time should now be no more : the End of all things (so foretold) should be at hand, and be fully brought to pass : in these days should be fulfilled all that had been spoken of Christ (and of His church) by the prophets : or, in other words, when the gospel should have been preached in all the world for a testimony to all nations, and the power of the Holy People be scattered (abroad), then should the End come, then should all these things be finished. I need now only say, all these things have been done : the old and elementary system passed away with a great noise; all these predicted empires have actually fallen, and the new kingdom, the new heaven and earth, the new Jerusalem--all of which were to descend from God, to be formed by His power, have been realised on earth ; all these things have been done in the sight of all the nations ; God’s holy arm has been made bare in their sight: His judgments have prevailed, and they remain for an everlasting testimony to the whole world. His kingdom has come, as it was foretold it should, and His will has, so far, been done; His purposes have been finished; and, from that day to the extreme end of time, it will be the duty, as indeed it will be the great privilege of the Church, to gather into its bosom the Jew, the Greek, the Scythian, the Barbarian, bond and free; and to do this as the Apostles did in their days–in obedience, faith and hope.’ ”

NOTICE: It has been brought to my attention that quotes above may or may not have been from Eusebius himself, but from notes written during the translation of the works of Eusebius by Samuel Lee. I leave additional study of all of that to those who are so inclined.  In any case, it is obvious either from these “notes” or translation, that completely fulfilled prophecy was being discussed early in church history. The whole point of publishing this page was to show just that. BEH

    St. Athanasius (295- 373) (On the Fulfillment of Prophecy)

“So the Jews are indulging in fiction, and transferring present time to future. When did prophet and vision cease from Israel? Was it not when Christ came, the Holy One of holies? It is, in fact, a sign and notable proof of the coming of the Word that Jerusalem no longer stands, neither is prophet raised up nor vision revealed among them. And it is natural that it should be so, for when He that was signified had come, what need was there any longer of any to signify Him? And when the Truth had come, what further need was there of the shadow? On His account only they prophesied continually, until such time as Essential Righteousness has come, Who was made the Ransom for the sins of all. For the same reason Jerusalem stood until the same time, in order that there men might premeditate the types before the Truth was known. So, of course, once the Holy One of holies had come, both vision and prophecy were sealed. And the kingdom of Jerusalem ceased at the same time, because kings were to be anointed among them only until the Holy of holies had been anointed. [“The scepter shall not depart…” DA] Moses also prophesies that the kingdom of the Jews shall stand until His time, saying, “A ruler shall not fail from Judah nor a prince from his loins, until the things laid up for him shall come and the Expectation of the nations Himself.” And that is why the Savior Himself was always proclaiming “The law and the prophets prophesied until John.” So if there is still king or prophet or vision among the Jews, they do well to deny that Christ is come; but if there is neither king nor vision, and since that time all prophecy has been sealed and city and temple taken, how can they be so irreligious, how can they so flaunt the facts, as to deny Christ Who has brought it all about?.. What more is there for their Expected One to do when he comes? To call the heathen? But they are called already. To put an end to prophet and king and vision? But this too has already happened. To expose the Goddenyingness of idols? It is already exposed and condemned. Or to destroy death? It is already destroyed. What then has not come to pass that the Christ must do? What is there left out or unfulfilled that the Jews should disbelieve so light-heartedly? The plain fact is, as I say, that there is no longer any king or prophet nor Jerusalem nor sacrifice nor vision among them; yet the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of God, and the Gentiles, forsaking atheism, are now taking refuge with the God of Abraham through the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Surely, then, it must be plain even to the most shameless that the Christ has come, and that He has enlightened all men everywhere, and given them the true and divine teaching about His Father.” (Incarnation, Ch. VI )

    Athanasius (295- 373) (On the Incarnation of the Word)

“But if the Gentiles are honoring the same God that gave the law to Moses and made the promise to Abraham, and whose word the Jews dishonored, – why are the Jews ignorant, or rather why do they choose to ignore, that the Lord foretold by the Scriptures has shone forth upon the world, and appeared to it in bodily form, as the Scripture said. . . . What then has not come to pass, that the Christ must do? What is left unfulfilled, that the Jews should not disbelieve with impunity? For it, I say, which is just what we actually see, — there is no longer king nor prophet nor Jerusalem nor sacrifice nor vision among them, but even the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of God, and the gentiles, leaving their godlessness, are now taking refuge with the God of Abraham, through the Word, even our Lord Jesus Christ, then it must be plain, even to those who are exceedingly obstinate, that the Christ is come, and that He has illumined absolutely all with His light. … So one can fairly refute the Jews by these and by other arguments from the Divine Scriptures.”


“The Holy Scriptures foretell that there will be unmistakable signs of the Coming of Christ. Now there were among the Hebrews three outstanding offices of dignity, which made the nation famous, firstly the kingship, secondly that of prophet, and lastly the high priesthood. The prophecies said that the abolition and complete destruction of all these three together would be the sign of the presence [parousia = presence] of the Christ. And that the proofs that the times had come, would lie in the ceasing of the Mosaic worship, the desolation of Jerusalem and its Temple, and the subjection of the whole Jewish race to its enemies. The holy oracles foretold that all these changes, which had not been made in the days of the prophets of old, would take place at the coming of the Christ, which I will presently show to have been fulfilled as never before in accordance with the predictions.”

    Epiphanes (315-403) (On Early Date of Revelation)

states Revelation was written under “Claudius [Nero] Caesar.” (Epiphanies, Heresies 51:12,) (On The Millennial Reign of Christ) “There is indeed a millennium mentioned by St. John; but the most, and those pious men, look upon those words as true indeed, but to be taken in a spiritual sense.” (Epiphanies, Heresies, 77:26.)

    Augustine (A.D. 354-430)

“Some think that these words refer to the Roman empire, and that the apostle Paul did not wish to write more explicitly, lest he should incur a charge of calumny against the Roman empire, in wishing ill to it when men hoped that it was to be everlasting. So in the words: ‘For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work’ he referred to Nero, whose deeds already seemed to be as those of Antichrist.” (City of God, XX, xix)

    St. Chrysostom (4th Century)

 “Having in remembrance, therefore, this saving commandment and all those things which have come to pass for us: the Cross, the Grave, the Resurrection on the third day, the Ascension into heaven, the Sitting at the right hand, and the second and glorious Coming” (St. Chrvsostom’s Liturgy) And let not any man suppose this to have been spoken hyperbolically; but let him study the writings of Josephus, and learn the truth of the sayings. For neither can any one say, that the man being a believer, in order to establish Christ’s words, hath exaggerated the tragical history. For indeed Josephus was a Jew, a determined Jew, very zealous, and among them that lived after Christ’s coming.”

    John Lightfoot (1601 -1675) (John Liqhtfoot’s Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations)

That the destruction of Jerusalem and the whole Jewish state is described as if the whole frame of the world were to be dissolved. Nor is it strange, when God destroyed his habitation and city, places once so dear to him, with so direful and sad an overthrow; his own people, whom he accounted of as much or more than the whole world beside, by so dreadful and amazing plagues. Matt 24:29,30, The sun shall be darkened &c. Then shall appear the ’sign of the Son of man,’ &c; which yet are said to fall out within that generation, ver. 34. 2Pet 3:10, The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat,’ &c. Compare with this Deut 32:22, Heb 12:26 and observe that by elements are understood the Mosaic elements, Gal 4:9, Col 2:20 and you will not doubt that St. Peter speaks only of the conflagration of Jerusalem, the destruction of the nation, and the abolishing the dispensation of Moses” (vol. 3, p. 452).(March 29, 1602 – December 6, 1675)

    John Locke (1632-1704)

But the kingdom of God which was to be under the Messiah, wherein the economy and constitution of the Jewish Church, and the nation itself, that in opposition to Christ adhered to it, was to be laid aside, is in the New Testament called aivwvn mevllwn, the world, or age, to come; so that Christ’s taking them out of the present world, may, without any violence to the words, be understood to signify His setting them free from the Mosaical constitution.”

    Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

 “Tis evident that when Christ speaks of his coming: his being revealed: his coming in his Kingdom; or his Kingdom’s coming; He has respect to his appearing in those great works of his Power Justice and Grace, which should be in the Destruction of Jerusalem and other extraordinary Providences which should attend it.” (Miscellany #1199)

    Adam Clarke (1760 or 1762 – 1832) (On The Nature of Christ’s Return ; Matthew 16:27-28 ; Significance of A.D.70)

“I conclude, therefore, that this prophecy has not the least relation to Judas Maccabeus. It may be asked, to whom, and to what event does it relate? .. to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity; which in the Gospel is called the coming of Christ and the days of vengeance, Matthew 16:28; Luke 21:22.” (Isaiah 65, p. 513)

    Adam Clarke  (1760 or 1762 – 1832)

(On Revelation 1:7) “By this the Jewish People are most evidently intended, and therefore the whole verse may be understood as predicting the destruction of the Jews; and is a presumptive proof that the Apocalypse was written before the final overthrow of the Jewish state.” (6:971.)
“Bengel has said much on these points, but to very little purpose; the word in the above place seems to signify delay simply, and probably refers to the long-suffering of God being ended in reference to Jerusalem; for I all along take for probable that this book was written previously to the destruction of that city.” (Revelation 10)

    Philip Schaff (19th Century)

“This being so, then the words relating to a personal return of Jesus are to be taken as pointing to the Destruction of Jerusalem” (Mat 10:23, 16:28).” (Second Advent)

    Rev. John Rogers Pitman-1825

 “The destruction of Jerusalem is phrased in Scripture as the destruction of the whole world: and Christ’s coming to her in judgment, as his coming to the last judgment. Therefore, those dreadful things, spoken of in Matt 24:29-31, are but borrowed expressions, to set forth the terms of that judgment the more., v.30 – “then shall they see” – not any visible appearance of Christ, or of the cross, in the clouds (as some have imagined); but, whereas Jews would not own Christ before for the Son of Man, or for the Messiah, then by the vengeance that he should execute upon them, they and all the world should see an evident sign, and it was so. This, therefore, is called “his coming,” and his coming in his kingdom.” [A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, ed. Rev. John Rogers Pitman (London: J.F. Dove, 1825), p.141]

James Stuart Russell (1816-1895) The Parousia, A careful look at the New Testament doctrine of our Lord’s Second Coming

    F.W. Farrar (1882) Chaplain to Queen Victoria, 1871-1876, Archdeacon of Westminster, Dean of Canterbury

“all the earliest Christian writers on the Apocalypse, from Irenaeus down to Victorious of Pettau and Commodian in the fourth, and Andreas in the fifth, and St. Beatus in the eighth century, connect Nero, or some Roman emperor, with the Apocalyptic Beast.” (Early Days of Christianity, p.541)
“the Fall of Jerusalem was, in the fullest sense, the Second Advent of the Son of Man which was primarily contemplated by the earliest voices of prophecy” – F.W. Farrar,

    F.W. Farrar (1886)

“there can be no reasonable doubt respecting the (early) date of the Apocalypse.” (The Early Days of Christianity; NY, NY: A.L. Burt, 1884; p. 387)
“We cannot accept a dubious expression of the Bishop of Lyons as adequate to set aside an overwhelming weight of evidence, alike external and internal, in proof of the fact that the Apocalypse was written, at the latest, soon after the death of Nero.” (The Early Days of Christianity; NY, NY: A.L. Burt, 1884; p. 408)

The reason why the early date and mainly contemporary explanation of the book is daily winning fresh adherents among unbiased thinkers of every Church and school, is partly because it rests on so simple and secure a basis, and partly because no other can compete with it. It is indeed the only system which is built on the plain and repeated statements and indications of the Seer himself and the corresponding events are so closely accordant with the symbols as to make it certain that this scheme of interpretation is the only one that can survive. (The Early Days of Christianity; NY, NY: A.L. Burt, 1884; p. 434)

    William Hurte (1884)

“That John saw these visions in the reign of Nero, and that they were written by him during his banishment by that emperor, is confirmed by Theophylact, Andreas, Arethas, and others. We judge, therefore, that this book was written about A.D. 68, and this agrees with other facts of history.. There are also several statements in this book which can only be understood on the ground that the judgment upon Jerusalem was then future.” (Catechetical Commentary: Edinburgh, Scotland, 1884)

    Arthur Cushman McGiffert (1890)

“Internal evidence has driven most modern scholars to the conclusion that the Apocalypse must have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem, the banishment therefore taking place under Nero instead of Domitian.” (Eusebius, Church History, Book III, ch.5. Eusebius notes, 148, footnote 1.)

    Ernest Hampden Cook–The Christ Has Come (1891)(On the Significance of A.D.70)

“In 70 A.D. the heavenly Kingdom was fully established over the earth. For it was then that the ringleader of evil was cast into the abyss, and the saints began to reign with Christ.” “But if, as we confidently believe, the Second Advent really took place within the narrow limits of time assigned to it by Christ Himself, then, in 70 A.D., the Old Testament saints and the saints of the primitive Church entered into the joy of their Lord and shared to the utmost in the twofold victory which He, as man and on man’s behalf, bad, at His resurrection, gained over the grave and over all the powers of evil.” (On The Fulfillment of Prophecy) The most ancient faith of the Christian church associated together the destruction of Jerusalem, the winding up of the Jewish dispensation, and a personal return of Christ to the earth, as events which were certain to happen at one and the same time. Jesus and His apostles believed and taught that the Second Advent would take place in the lifetime of some who had been His earthly contemporaries. Confident that the founders of Christianity were neither deceived nor mistaken we joyfully accept on their authority the fact that the Christ has already come the second time.”

    N.T. “Tom” Wright Canon of Westminster Abbey, London, Teacher of New Testament Studies at Oxford, Cambridge, and McGill Universities, The Dean of Lichfield, one of England’s oldest cathedrals:

“The word “parousia” is itself misleading, anyway, since it merely means ‘presence’; Paul can use it of his being present with a church, and nobody supposes that he imagined he would make his appearance flying downward on a cloud.

    Jay E. Adams (1966)

“[the temple still standing in Revelation 11:1 is] unmistakable proof that Revelation was written before 70 A.D.” (The Time is at Hand, p. 68).
“The Revelation was written to a persecuted church about to face the most tremendous onslaught it had ever known. It would be absurd (not to say cruel) for John to write a letter to persons in such circumstances which not only ignores their difficulties, but reveals numerous details about events supposed to transpire hundreds of years in the future during a seven year tribulation period at the end of the church age.” (The Time is at Hand, p. 49)

“It is to remain unsealed because ‘the time is at hand.’ That is, its prophecies are about to be fulfilled. The events which it predicts do not pertain to the far distant future, but they are soon to happen. The message is for this generation, not for some future one.” (The Time is at Hand, p. 51)

    C. H. Spurgeon (1865) Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, vol. xxxvii, p. 354

“Did you ever regret the absence of the burnt-offering, or the red heifer, of any one of the sacrifices and rites of the Jews? Did you ever pine for the feast of tabernacle, or the dedication? No, because, though these were like the old heavens and earth to the Jewish believers, they have passed away, and we now live under a new heavens and a new earth, so far as the dispensation of divine teaching is concerned. The substance is come, and the shadow has gone: and we do not remember it.”

    John Owen (1721)

” On this foundation I affirm that the heavens and earth here intended in this prophecy of Peter, the coming of the Lord, the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, mentioned in the destruction of that heaven and earth, do all of them relate, not to the last and final judgment of the world, but to that utter desolation and destruction that was to be made of the Judaical church and state.”

The above list of quotes was compiled by David Acuff of Lubbock, Texas.  Additional related material is found below:

    Foy E. Wallace Jr. (1896-1979) on The eagles and the carcass – Matthew 24:27-28

“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together.” The coming here refers to the approach of the Roman armies. The Jewish nation was the carcass which the Roman eagles were sent to devour.

For many other Wallace quotes from his commentary on Revelation:

Even more Quotes I have found: