Counsel of Chalcedon
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Back to the Future

With a recent flurry of books and conferences, the preterist perspective is beginning to make its presence felt in current prophecy discussions. Unfortunately, dispensational eschatology, which arose in the 1830s and is built op the futurist system, thoroughly dominates evangelical preaching, education, publishing, and broadcasting today. Consequently, evangelical Christians are largely unfamiliar with preterism, making it seem to be the "new kid on the block." Preterism, however, is as hoary with age as is futurism. And despite its overshadowing in this century, it has been well represented by leading Bible-believing scholars through the centuries into our current day.

One of the best known and most accessible of the ancient preterists is Eusebius (A.D. 260.340), the "father of church history." In his classic Ecclesiastical History he details Jerusalem's woes in A.D. 70. After a lengthy citation from Josephus's Wars of the Jews, Eusebius writes that "it is fitting to add to his accounts the true prediction of our Saviour in which he foretold these very events" (3:7:-1:2.) He then refers to the Olivet Discourse, citing Matthew 24:19-21 as his lead-in reference and later Luke 21:20; 23, 24. He concludes: "If anyone compares the words of our Saviour with the other accounts of the historian concerning the whole war, how can one fail to wonder, and to admit, that the foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Saviour were truly divine and marvelously strange" (3:7:7).