It's hard to believe there was ever a time when all people on earth thought the earth was flat. Before scientific
proof to the contrary, Galileo was formally condemned to house arrest for entertaining the 'ridiculous notion' that the earth
revolved around the sun, and denounced as an anti-scriptural heretic! Now we know this 'heresy' to be true, beyond a
shadow of a doubt.
So traditional beliefs are not always truth, and what we call 'heresy' is not always false, as you can see by Galileo's
example. Preterists find themselves in a similar situation today, because our beliefs go against the stream of the masses
who hold to a future return of Jesus ('futurists.') Preterist means 'past in fulfillment,' and it honors the imminent
adverbs and other time references of the New Testament placing the 2nd Coming of Christ in its correct time
setting - the first century.
Today's predominant postponement theory glosses over the emphatic time statements, suggesting that Jesus was mistaken
about the time of His return, using "no one knows the day or hour but the Father." (No one knows the day
or hour that a woman will give birth either, but they do know the general time frame is about 9 months.) Futurists
also favor "with the Lord a thousand years are like one day" to explain His 'delay,' as I once did. But the
conclusion of this would be that all time indicators God inspired to Biblical writers were meaningless!
So traditions say He will return in our lifetime, or at least some time in the future. I believe this is a
flat earth mentality, one that feels safe to believe because it has been inculcated in us, and in the majority
of believers. Once a belief is instilled in us, we filter everything else through that premise or belief window.
As an example, if you are a futurist, how do you interpret the following Scriptures?
"Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." - Ephesians 3:21
1:4 "A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever."
"He laid the foundations of the earth,
that it should not be removed for ever." - Psalm 104:5
"He built his sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which he has founded forever." - Psalm 78:69
conflicting with your idea that the earth will be destroyed at the 2nd Coming, right? And since you believe so much
that the earth will be destroyed, what do you do with these verses? Well, one of them must be wrong. Either Scripture
- or your belief. May I submit to you that we don't fully understand the nature of the 2nd Coming, its purpose and its
Consider this... the orthodox Jews still await their Messiah's first coming, because they assumed
that He would come as a king on a literal throne, to defeat their enemies. Did they miss their Savior, the miracle
born in the stable in Bethlehem? Yes. And they're still waiting for Him to come the first time, because they
didn't understand the nature of His 1st Coming, its purpose and its significance.
Futurists are not unlike these
precious Jews, whose similar misconceptions have them waiting for something that already happened.
Knowledge and traditions change over periods of time, but the Bible remains true. However, many people read their
Bibles without "audience relevance," meaning, they read themselves into Scripture as if it were today's mail. As
we study God's Word, we must first consider who the letters of the Bible were directly written to, put
ourselves in their shoes - in their culture, in their time - and think of how they would have
understood and applied the message.
Although the Bible is a supernatural book inspired by God filled with universal
truths, many messages are timebound. They were written to a specific group of people at a specific time in history. It
was written TO them... FOR all generations, so that we can understand how God completed salvation history! If you're
thinking, "Hold on, so where does that leave us today?" Right where God wants us. Fully restored, fully reclaimed, enjoying
His presence in the new covenant kingdom here on earth, living as the church victorious, graciously welcoming all who thirst
to take freely from the water of life!