AKA – Post Millennialism, Amillennialism, Historicism, Historic Preterism, Realized Preterism
Although nearly all eschatological views are “partial preterist” by definition (some prophecy fulfilled in the past, some yet to be fulfilled in the future), by “Partial Preterist” we mean to define this view as commonly understood today in that while “most” Bible prophecy has been fulfilled, proponents of this view claim that there are still some passages left to be fulfilled in our future. Some proponents of this view believe that prophetic fulfillment is very soon at hand, while others believe it is very far off, but the underlying understanding is that there is “some” prophecy still yet to be fulfilled with an ultimate “complete” ushering in of God’s physical Kingdom and recreation of the cosmos at the end of time. Proponents of this view differ in vast degrees concerning which passages have already been fulfilled, and which ones are still yet future for us today, and some even believe that there are passages which found fufillment in 70AD, but which may also contain “double fulfillment” and also pertain to our future today.
Partial Preterism is the leading form of preterism in the world today and is typically supported and accepted as mainstream within many Christian churches worldwide, although it is still not the leading view of eschatology today. The Partial Preterist position has largely been a reaction against the more popular Dispensational, PreMillennial views held among ardent mainstream Christians (typically a view held within Baptist and Charismatic Churches), and has been an attempt to return to a more scholarly, consistent approach to Biblical Exegesis and Hermeneutics. Full Preterists argue that while this approach is necessary and is to be applauded, it does not go far enough, and fails to truly harmonize and utilize consistent application of Scriptures dealing with eschatology, especially when dealing with the time statements. To the Full Preterists, Partial Preterists are only “partially” correct; although much more so than the Dispensational PreMillennial views (which many mainstream scholars and theologians consider to be abbarent theology altogether).
Partial Preterism holds that prophecies such as the destruction of Jerusalem, the Antichrist, the Great Tribulation, and the advent of the Day of the Lord as a “judgment-coming” of Christ were fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Roman general (and future Emperor) Titus sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish Temple, putting a permanent stop to the daily animal sacrifices. It identifies “Babylon the Great” (Revelation 17-18) with the ancient pagan City of Rome, or even the city of Jerusalem. Some adherents of Partial Preterism see the Emperor Diocletian as the fulfillment of the “little horn” prophecy of Daniel 7. But this is a minority view. The great majority of Partial Preterists believe that Jerusalem was a “great harlot” destroyed by God in A.D. 70.
Most Partial Preterists also believe that the term Last Days refers not to the last days of planet Earth, or the last days of humankind, but rather to the last days of the Mosaic Covenant Age, which God held exclusively with the nation of Israel (including biblical proselytes) until the year A.D. 70. The “Last Days”, however, are to be distinguished from the “Last Day”, which is considered to still be in the future and entailing the last or final coming of Jesus, the Resurrection of the righteous and unrighteous dead physically from the grave in like manner to Jesus’ physical resurrection, the Final Judgment, and the creation of a literal, non-covenantal New Heaven and New Earth free from the curse of sin and death which was occasioned by the fall of Adam and Eve.
Thus Partial Preterists are more in agreement and conformity with many of the historic ecumenical creeds of the Church and articulate the primary doctrines of the resurrection held by most of the early Church Fathers. Partial preterists hold that the New Testament predicts and depicts many “comings” of Christ, not simply a second coming. They contend that the phrase Second Coming means the second of a like kind in a series, for the Scriptures record other “comings” of God even before Jesus’ judgment in AD 70.
This would eliminate the AD 70 event as the “second” of any series, let alone the second of a series in which the earthly, physical ministry of Christ is the first. Partial Preterists believe that the new creation comes in redemptive progression as Christ reigns from His heavenly throne, subjugating His enemies, and will eventually culminate in the destruction of the “last enemy”, i.e., death. In the Partial Preterist paradigm, since enemies of Christ still exist, the resurrection event cannot have already occurred. Full Preterists would contend that the “enemies” of Christ are not evildoers in general, but are the specific “enemies” of Christ mentioned in Matthew 23 who were to “fill up the measure of their sin” before the end would come.
Nearly all Partial Preterists hold to amillennialism or postmillennialism. Some postmillennial Partial Preterists, as proposed by the late author David Chilton, are also theonomic in their outlook. Partial Preterists typically accept the authority of the Creeds on the basis that they believe that the Creeds are in conformity with what the Scriptures teach, even though many of the creeds do not agree with some of their own beliefs.
Despite being separated from the eschatological disputes of the West, the eschatological view historically held by the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches is that of the amillennialist Partial Preterists, although these Churches may not explicitly state this as their position.