The subject of realized eschatology has quickly gained ground
in the end time discussions of the day. It means that all things
related to end time Bible prophecy are fulfilled.
The proper meaning of Bible prophecy is found by looking in the
past rather then in the future. This view is very controversial.
It is often met with shouts of heresy! Some would be burned at the
stake if the more radical futurists had their way.
Realized eschatology, also known as preterism or full preterism
continues to grow at a rapid pace. What are the major advantages
of this view compared to others? There are five components that
answer this question.Realized Eschatology and the Time Statements
The most critical element in end time prophecy is the time, evidenced
by many who have fruitlessly attempt to predict when the event will
The problem with those attempts are that they are all focused on the
future. This runs counter to the evidence found in the New Testament.
Eschatological prophecies in the gospels and the epistles are very
time-centered. It is not a matter of general time, but more specifically
The imminent nature of time is so prevalent in the apostolic writings
that not even futurists can dispense with it. For example, they are often
citing texts that say Jesus is coming soon. However, for them, soon
has come to mean over about 2000 years.
Since they hold the end time events to be yet future, they cannot honor
statements in scripture that speak of an imminent return of Christ with
integrity and consistency. Their explanations amount to a hop-scotch
dodge of simple terminology like quickly, soon, “a little while” and at
hand, reinterpreting them to be timeless.
Their treatment of time passages leads to embarrassing interpretations
and hopeless predictions that repeatedly fail without remedy.
Imminent time passages which support realized eschatology are:
- Matthew 16:27, 28
- Matthew 24:34
- Luke 21:20-22, 32
- Romans 13:11, 12
- Romans 16:20
- 1 Cor. 10:11
- 1 Cor. 15:51
- Phil. 4:5
- James 5:7, 8
- Hebrews 10:25, 37
- 1 Peter 4:7. 17
- Revelation 1:1-3, 22:6-10
All the above texts indicate that Christ would return in the lifetime
of those living in the first century generation, before some of them
died, soon, at hand, in a little while, or shortly to come to pass.
This wording is not consistent with a view that Christ’s second coming,
prophesied in the New Testament is yet future.
Attempts are made to counter the emphatic wording of the texts.
The most common one is the claim that “no one knows the day
and hour” of Christ’s return. (Matthew 24:36).
This is a surface objection at best. Christ nor the apostles revealed
anything relative to the day and hour of his return. This is an attempt
to side step the real issue. What the Lord said about his return is that
it would occur within that current generation then living.
“Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away
till all these things take place.” (Matthew 24:34).
There is not one word about the day and the hour of Jesus’ return.
To make this point crystal clear, let’s reword the text in the manner
some are suggesting.
Assuredly, I say to you, the exact day and hour (insert your choice of
a particular day and hour) will by no means pass away till all these
things take place.
That is an example of reading into the text what it does not say. If
this were the wording of the text, futurist would have a leg to stand
on. We would have the day defined and could know when the event
However, that is more specific than the Lord stated his case. What
he identified was the first century generation, saying the event would
occur before it passed.
What is true is that the first century generation has passed. To maintain
the integrity of the text and the inspiration and truthfulness of Christ,
the event has either occurred, or Christ was untruthful. That’s the bottom
line and simplicity of it all.
Because Jesus predicted his coming within the first century generation,
it is evident why the apostles all wrote that it was soon to occur.
Their words that it was at hand, soon to come to pass, and coming in
a little while fit naturally into an imminent paradigm. Soon then means
soon, at hand means near, and a little while means a short time.