There are five characteristics about preterism that separate this view of eschatology from most futurist views:
- The Bible does not speak about the end of the world, but rather about the end of the AGE. This was Old Covenant Age which ended in finality with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in AD 70. (The New Covenant Age began at the cross, but the Old Covenant Age ended in AD 70. The 40-year period in between was a transition period.)
- The resurrection is saints from hades to heaven, not physical bodies coming out of their graves to earth. The general resurrection is a past event. It happened at the same time as the great judgment on Old Covenant Israel and the arrival of Jesus on the clouds in AD 66-70. When believers die today, we go directly to heaven in our new glorified bodies.
- The “new heavens and new earth” is not talking about a literal new world, but rather the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth as a mustard seed to grow into the thriving kingdom it is today. And it will continue to grow.
- Preterism is an optimistic eschatology. We don’t have to fear a coming Great Tribulation or burning of the planet. The Great Tribulation (Matthew 24; Luke 21) was the Jewish-Roman War of AD 66-70, culminating in the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of temple in AD 70. We have a good future ahead of us with promises from Isaiah and other prophets speaking of God’s kingdom in this world.
- Jesus will not return bodily to establish a utopian kingdom on earth. Satan has been defeated. Jesus reigns from heaven and is with us forever now.
But, what’s the same? Answer: The gospel! We are saved by grace through a living faith in Jesus Christ alone!
Here’s another question that is often asked: If everything happened in AD 70, what’s left? Answer: The hope of the believer is the blessings of the kingdom now and ultimately entrance to heaven!