"The Jewish system of worship ended in A.D. 70 with the fall of the temple," says Terry Hall, a minister with the Miami Valley Church, Beavercreek, Ohio, and a motivational speaker scheduled to speak at the TruthVoice 2004 conference.
"Biblical Judaism ceased in A.D. 70.There is a Judaism today, but it's not Biblical Judaism."Hall
says that this was the "end of the world," or "age," as more modern translations render the Greek word "aion" in Matthew 24:3.
Preterists believe that this end-of-the-age scenario provides the best explanation of passages like Matthew 16:27, 28, in which Jesus Christ stated that some of those hearing his
prophecies would not die until they saw him coming into his
kingdom.This sense of immediacy was likewise reflected in the epistles.For example, I John 2:18, speaks of it being the "last hour."Preterists take these time references literally.
"Jesus did what he
said and all that stuff happened in that time frame," Hall
That time frame, Hall
explains, is A.D. 30 to 70, the period that encompasses the ministry, death, crucifixion, resurrection of Jesus Christ and the wildfire spread of Christianity in the region.He
says the Old Testament provided many shadows, or types, of what was to come, and the 40 years Israel spent in the wilderness is a type of this transitional period between the ages.They teach that Jesus returned spiritually at the end of this age.
Therefore preterists do not believe Christians will be physically resurrected at the rapture; rather, they say that the resurrection of the dead and judgment pictured in Revelation occurred in A.D. 70 and applied only to God's people who had been awaiting Christ's kingdom in Sheol.
"When God resurrected them out of that place of separation, he
gave them spiritual bodies, not literal bodies," Hall
was a student at Harding University
in Arkansas when he
was first introduced to the preterist viewpoint through the work of Max King, who set forth preterist views in "The Spirit of Prophecy," first published in 1971.
"My first thought was ‘This is ridiculous,'" says Hall
."I had assumed that my professors had all the truth and there had to be something wrong with this."
says that as he
studied and re-read passages like Matthew 24 and Luke 21 without the preconceptions of a rapture and millennial period, he
realized "Jesus, was in my mind, clearly linking these events in terms of the end of the Jewish world."He
also found affirmation of the movement in the writings of Christian authors from the 15th to 19th centuries.They taught that the language regarding the destruction spoken of in the New Testament was not to be taken literally, but had been "borrowed" from Old Testament figurative language.Hall helped establish the Conneaut Church of Christ in the early 1970s and served as minister of the West Avenue Church of Christ, Ashtabula, for seven years.
was serving in Ashtabula
, many of the members there adopted the preterist view.
says interest in the preterist viewpoint is growing.Last year's conference in Springfield drew an attendance of more than 100 people from 25 states.PlanetPreterist.com, gets between 1 and 1.5 million hits a month, says Hall
says that popular culture Christian writers have repeatedly missed the mark in their futurism approach to end-times passages, particularly Revelation.
"The popular view of the book of Revelation is negative and defeatist because it basically preaches things will get worse and worse till God gets so angry he
blows everything up," Hall
says."That's a pretty bleak forecast."
As a preterist, Hall
doesn't worry about the world becoming increasing evil or God pouring out his
doesn't see Christianity as a way to get our ticket punched to heaven or avoid having the thermostat turned up in the next life.Rather, it's a matter of knowing that he
can have the same spiritual relationship with God while he
is living on earth that he
will have in heaven.
"I begin to realize that I am in paradise," he