In the book Raptureless by Jonathan Welton and on the Raptureless website, Bishop Thomas Newton (1704 – 1782) is touted as a Hero For An Optimistic Future. In chapter 3 of Raptureless, the author has the following quote…
“It is to me a wonder how any man can refer part of the foregoing discourse [Matt. 24] to the destruction of Jerusalem, and part to the end of the world, or any other distant event, when it is said so positively here in the conclusion, All these things shall be fulfilled in this generation.” Thomas Newton (1755)
Remember, preterists believe that Matthew 24 and all but two chapters (maybe) of the Book of Revelation were completed and fulfilled in 70AD when Rome destroyed Jerusalem. They say that there is no future antichrist (that was Nero). They teach that there is no tribulation and even that the Lord is done with the Jewish people.
And again….partial quotes prove only that the one using the partial quote is manipulative…at the very least. So here we go…….
A few pages after his comments on Matthew 24 ( that are quoted in Raptureless) Bishop Thomas Newton said this….
“Hitherto we have explained this 24th chapter of St. Matthew, as relating to the destruction of Jerusalem, and without doubt as relating to the destruction of Jerusalem it is primarily to be understood. But though it is to be understood of this primarily, yet it is not to be understood of this only; for there is no question that our Saviour had a further view and meaning in it. It is usual with the prophets to frame and express their prophecies so as that they shall comprehend more than one event, and have their several periods of completion This every one must have observed, who hath been ever so little conversant in the writings of the ancient prophets; and this I conceive to be the case here, and the destruction of Jerusalem to be typical of the end of the world. The destruction of a great city is a lively type and image of the end of the world; and we may observe, that our Saviour no sooner begins to speak of the destruction of Jerusalem, than his figures are raised, his language is swelled, and he expresseth himself in such terms, as in a lower sense indeed are applicable to the destruction of Jerusalem, but describe something higher in their proper and genuine signification. The sun shall be darkened, the moon shall not give her light, the stars shall fall from heaven, the powers of the heavens shall be shaken, the Son of man shall come in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. These passages, in a figurative sense, as we have seen, may be understood of the destruction of Jerusalem, but in their literal sense can be meant only of the end of the world. In like manner that text, Of that day and season knoweth no man, no not the angels of heaven but my Father only ; the consistence and connexion of the discourse oblige us to understand it as spoken of the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; but in a higher sense it may be true also of the time of the end of the world and the general judgment. All the subsequent discourse too, we may observe doth not relate so properly to the destruction of Jerusalem, as to the end of the world and the general judgment. Our Saviour loseth sight, as it were, of his former subject and adapts his discourse more to the latter. And the end of the Jewish state was in a manner the end of the world to many of the Jews. The remaining part of the chapter is so clear and easy as to need no comment or explanation.”
So another of the Heroes For An Optimistic Faith believed that Matthew 24 was an amazing fulfillment of our Lord’s prophecy of the destruction of the Temple, AND was a picture of what would happen at the end of the age.
I want to give you a few more quotes from Bishop Thomas Newton which are directly related to preterism.
Professor Westein, a comtemporary of Bishop Newton, wrote an article concerning the role of Nero and Titus as fulfilling the prophecies of “the man of sin and the wicked one.” In response to the article Bishop Newton wrote numerous questions for Professor Westein and then wrote …
“One is really ashamed and grieved to see a scholar and critic fall into such absurdities……..It surpasses all comprehension, how this learned professor could think of such an application, without asking himself such questions; or how he could ask himself any such questions, without clearly perceiving the impossibility of answering them.”
I think you can “sense” in this quote that this Hero For An Optimistic Faith was not seduced by the fantasy that Nero or Titus or Vespasian was the antichrist. The antichrist was still future.
A few pages after his comments on Matthew 24, and while still addressing the Flavian dynasty as antichrist/man of sin/the wicked one, Bishop Newton wrote…..
“If this prophecy was fulfilled, as these critics conceive, before the destruction of Jerusalem, it is surprising that none of the fathers should agree with any of them in the same application, and that the discovery should first be made sixteen or seventeen hundred years after the completion. The fathers might differ and be mistaken in the circumstnaces of a prophecy which was yet to be fulfilled; but that a prophecy should be remarkedly accomplished before their time, and they be totally ignorant of it, and speak of the accomplishment as still future, is not very credible, and will always be a strong presumptive argument against any such interpretation. The foundation of all the mistakes of these learned men is their interpreting the coming of Christ, of the destruction of Jerusalem; whereas the context, as it has been shown, plainly envinces, and they themselves, at other times acknowledge, that it is to be understood of his coming to judge the world. They, therefore, bid fairer for the true interpretation, who apply this prophecy to events after the destruction of Jerusalem.”
There was a book published in 1829. The book contained the views of the participants of the Albury Park Prophetic Conference. These learned men gathered over the years to talk and study and publish their results. The writings of Bishop Thomas Newton were studied and were greatly influential in their conclusions. Here are five of the six points that they were unanimous on.
- The present Christian dispensation is not to pass insensibly into the millennial state by a gradual increase of the preaching of the gospel; but that it is to be terminated by judgments, ending in the destruction of this visible church and polity.
- That during the time these judgments are faling upon Christendom the Jews will be restored to their own land
- The judgments will fall principally upon Christendom
- The termination of these judgments will be succeeded by the millennium.
- The second coming precedes or takes place at the commencement of the millennium
Two more quotes from Bishop Newton concerning the Jewish people. Remember….preterists believe that the Jewish people have no future. 70 AD took care of that.
“‘You see the Jews ‘led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem trodden down of the Gentiles’ and likely to continue so ‘until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled’, as the Jews are by a constant miracle preserved a distinct people for the completion of the other prophecies relating to them.’
‘The preservation of the Jews is really one of the most signal and illustrious acts of divine Providence.’
All of this from a “Hero For An Optimistic Future”.
If their own heroes deny their “Optimistic Future” then what historical support do they actually have ?
Preterism is false. It’s not an eschatology. It’s a philosophy. It’s man made.
It’s too bad we live in a day and age where buzzwords and philosophies carry more weight than the Word and history.