Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 10:34 PM
Subject: JEWISH ORIGIN OF PRETERISM [09/14--2005]

In a message dated 9/12/2005 5:36:42 AM Central Daylight Time, a brother writes:

Dear Bob,

Would it be right to say that there were Preterists in the First Century A.D, or would it be more accurate to see it as a movement that is post First Century? Is it part of the original mire about the question of the nature of the resurrection?

Thanks for your help. This is a new topic for me. 

Dear Brother:

I think the first Preterists were the late Old Testament Jews who arrived at the theory on Daniel that it was fulfilled not long after Daniel wrote it. Josephus believed this, but he added A. D. 70 to it when he said Daniel "also" wrote about A. D. 70.

Here is my article on that:


by  BOB  L.  ROSS

In the article on our website, entitled Preterist Prophetic Phantasyland, details are given which demonstrate the origin of the Preterist "presupposition" as being with the Jews of the "interbiblical period" -- a long span of years prior to the coming of Christ -- during which there was a "famine of hearing the word of the Lord" (Amos 8:11). Jesus and the Apostles never endorsed any utterances during the "interbiblical" period as being inspired "scripture."

Maccabees -- Was Daniel "Fulfilled" Before Christ?

The "presupposition" of Preterism is that UNINSPIRED men are capable of discerning and pronouncing what "fulfills" inspired prophecies.  One of the major foundations of Preterism involves writings of the interbiblical period, when uninspired Jewish sources ventured to declare certain "fulfillments" of inspired prophecy, apart from any Divine authentication.

This is what the Jewish writer(s) of the "Maccabees" (books in the Apocrypha) did in regard to the writings by Daniel, as Maccabees declared that "Antiochus Epiphanes" was the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecies. Not only was the writer uninspired, there is no reason to believe he was even in a "salvation" relationship with the Lord.

There is no New Testament recognition for the inspiration and authenticity of anything or any writer in Maccabees, the Apocrypha, or the interbiblical period. It was during this period of time in which the "Pharisee" sect was formed, as a sort of "revival" or "restoration" of the Mosaic system. Jesus rejected Phariseeism on the whole, and endorsed only what was consistent with the true Law of Moses.

Josephus -- Was Daniel Fulfilled in A. D. 70?

As was the case with the writer of Maccabees, the same was true of Josephus, the most referred-to "authority" by Preterists; that is, as even the Preterists themselves emphasize -- he was not a professing Christian, did not accept Jesus Christ, and certainly was not inspired in what he wrote. In fact, Josephus was of the sect of the Pharisees (Complete Works of Josephus, pages 1, 2). 

That he was "not inspired" is stated by Ed Stevens, a Preterist, in his booklet, "70 A.D." (page 4).  Ed is one of the managers of a Preterist website called "Kingdom Counsel," and a distributor of Preterist writings.

Even more significant, J. Stuart Russell, author of the book which is at the "foundation" of most modern Preterist thinking -- The Parousia -- has some comments about Josephus:

Russell refers to Josephus as "a Jewish statesman, soldier, priest, and man of letters" and says "this testimony [of Josephus] does not come from a Christian.... but from a Jew — indifferent, if not HOSTILE — to the cause of Jesus" (p. 110, 111).

While Russell seems to think this is a significant point in favor of his cause, we think it is quite the contrary. It demonstrates that the man who is responsible for the Preterist view about A.D. 70 in relation to the writings of Daniel (and consequently in relation to the Preterist view on the reference to Daniel in Matthew 24:15), was an unsaved, unregenerate Jew who was allegedly "indifferent, if not hostile, to the cause of Jesus."  This was not a person with the attribute for discerning the "fulfillment" of prophecy. His writings have indeed been "hostile" to the cause of Jesus, in that he is the chief "authority" for modern Preterists who seek to destroy the teachings of Christ about prophetic events by means of their perverted "interpretations."

In our research, we have not found a single Preterist source which even hints that this unsaved, uninspired Jewish priest is to be doubted in the least when he proclaims Daniel's writings to be "fulfilled."  Rather, we have found some sources which not only take his word as "law," but even "add-to" what Josephus actually did say, expanding his writings to emphatically validate points in their "eschatological" scheme of things. He is actually made to "say" certain things which he does NOT even say.

In addition to (1) the writer of Maccabees and (2) Josephus, the alleged "historical" criteria used by recent preterists, such as Philip Mauro on Daniel chapter 11, by which to assert "the prophecy was fulfilled with literal exactitude," was developed by Jews, and it has become so "traditional" it is repeated without question in commentaries and other sources. Keil & Delitzsch have documented numerous inaccuracies in the alleged "correspondence" of "the Jewish
history" to the contents of Daniel and, in many cases, contradictions of "the facts of history."

The practical consequences of the alleged "historical chronology" to Daniel by the Jew, Zeitlin, are (1) the elimination of Daniel's writings, on the one hand, as prophetic of the Second Coming of Christ, and, (2) on the other hand, many novel efforts to effectively force Daniel to somehow conform to the alleged historical criteria.

Mauro himself is an example of the latter, as he tries to make prophecies in Daniel 11 conform to Asmonean history, in one instance even making the "KING of the south" to be a WOMAN ("Cleopatra") who was in fact a "queen" in Egypt, a locale which is distinguished from the "south" in Daniel 11:8, 9; 40-42.

There is absolutely no evidence that Christians in A.D. 70 considered the Roman army's conquest of Jerusalem to be a fulfillment of Daniel's prophecies, nor of the passage in Matthew 24:15 which refers to Daniel. Such an idea came on the scene much later, and apparently was derived solely from the writings of Josephus, who wrote under the "watchful eye" of the Roman General, Titus, who is embellished by Josephus as the leader of the Roman army, and of whom Daniel supposedly "wrote" in the Divinely-given prophecies. It does not seem to be coincidental that Titus is a rather impeccable General as he is described by Josephus, for Josephus was handsomely rewarded with "no small quantity"of tax-free property and a pension for his account of Titus in this "history." Church apostasy moved toward the prostitution of early Roman "Christianity" as the official religion of the Roman Empire under Emperor Constantine (313 A. D).
Eusebius, the alleged "Father of Church History," endorsed the "history" of Josephus; he also incorporated the uninspired Jew's claim of the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecies by the Romans with the words of Christ in Matthew 24:15, thereby giving the "Church's" stamp of validity to Josephus' claim.

Thus, both (1) official Secular "history" written by Josephus, authorized by the Emperor, and (2) Ecclesiastical ("Church") history by Eusebius, were merged, and the "Church" learned to embrace Josephus as "authentic" in all respects. To question Josephus, one would have to walk-over the endorsement of Eusebius, who wrote:

    "On comparing the declarations of our Saviour with the other parts of the historian's [Josephus'] work," etc. (Ecclesiastical History by Eusebius, Book I: chapter VII, pg. 93; 1966 edition, Baker Book House).

The "rule of measurement" became the writings by Josephus, not the book of Daniel itself, and that continues to the present time.

Added to this, with the writing of a commentary on Daniel by "Saint Jerome," the scholarly corruption and permanent distortion of the prophecies of Daniel were firmly established in the secular, the historical, and the expository.

The "foundations" of Preterist eschatology were therefore set by --

(1) uninspired Jewish sources,
(2) incorporated as valid by both secular Rome and "Christian" Rome, and
(3) perpetuated by "scholastics" of the "Church." 

The consequence is the "Full Preterism" of writers such as Russell and the current crop of "Parousia" enthusiasts who claim to have "realized" either some or all of the following: the Second Coming, the Millennium, the Tribulation, the Resurrection, and the Judgment, and in some cases even Heaven itself!

That's why I call Preterism a "Prophetic Phantasyland."  For my article on the matter, see this website:


Join our company:  "The Lord gave the WORD:  great was the COMPANY of those that PUBLISHED it" [Psalm 68:11] — Please, Copy this article, pass it on, and mail to others. Permission granted by Bob L. Ross

"The day will come, when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven with a shout, with the trump of the archangel and the voice of God.  Some think that this descent of the Lord will be postmillennial — that is after the thousand years of his reign. I cannot think so. I conceive that the advent will be PREMILLENNIAL — that he will come first and then will come the millennium as the result of His personal reign upon the earth." -- C. H. Spurgeon (Justification & Glory, MTP Vol 11, Year 1865, p. 249)



The following is a list of my available writings on PRETERISM, some of  which are on the Internet:



TIME of Christ's RETURN

Jewish Origins of PRETERISM

"PRETERIST Phantasyland"
"THE PAROUSIA" -- C. H. Spurgeon's Review