My Journey Into Fulfilled Eschatology

shutterstock_78986359I was a Dispensational Futurist for many years before changing my position to Fulfilled Eschatology. As a result, I fully understand how attending a Futurist church can program a person to think a certain way about “end time” events. Accordingly, I know a Futurist will think that my position is unbiblical—or even heretical—when it’s first presented. This is why I always ask them to not judge it too harshly or too quickly, but instead to patiently study it out with an open mind. Such study is how I first saw Fulfilled Eschatology back in the mid-1990s. Since then I have studied many more pages of my Bible. This just further convinced me that Fulfilled Eschatology is the prophecy position that best aligns with the Bible. Evidently I am not alone in this because the numbers of men and women that believe Fulfilled Eschatology is growing daily. Like me, many of these became disenchanted with the erroneous predictions Dispensational prophecy teachers keep making and keep getting wrong. A desire for biblical truth then led them to put away their Futurist Study Bibles and Dispensational commentaries and look to their Bibles for answers. This eventually led them to see Fulfilled Eschatology.

To make sure we are on the same page, I will explain where I am on eschatology. Of course, the term “eschatology” refers to the study of “last day” events.  The word “preterist” simply means “past.” Consequently, Fulfilled Eschatology (sometimes called “Apostolic Preterism” or “Fulfilled Prophecy”) sees all prophesied “end time” events as being already fulfilled. This doesn’t mean there is nothing left for the believers; rather it means that everything a man or woman needs to be saved or to live saved is already fulfilled. Furthermore, Fulfilled Eschatology believes a large portion of these events took place before or during the 70 AD siege of Jerusalem and her Temple.

Fulfilled Eschatology is based on Old Testament and New Testament scriptures. Personally, I first saw this view around 1993, while working with Irvin Baxter at Endtime Ministries. Baxter is the founder and president of Endtime. I still respect him even though we disagree on most areas of Bible prophecy. While I was at Endtime, I wrote many of their magazine articles and also taught Bible conferences promoting their view of Post-Tribulation Dispensational prophecy. After a while the Holy Ghost began dealing with me about the weakness of several key foundational doctrines found in Endtime’s Dispensational teachings. Through my concurrent Bible study I began seeing an eschatological view that I believed was mine alone. This alarmed me because I knew no one could have a private interpretation of Scripture. No one taught what I was seeing. No one mentioned it to me. I never read anything that anyone wrote about it. Yet there it was: Fulfilled Eschatology. Some time later I found many other brethren who believed exactly the same as I. That fact brought me much joy. One of these men was a friend I’d known since Junior High. What was odd about that is we attended different churches in the same town yet neither of us knew the other saw the same thing in the Bible. Years later I saw him at an out of state Fulfilled Eschatology conference where I was speaking. When we talked we discovered that God had given both of us this same message of prophecy.

Paramount to getting the correct interpretation of prophecy is the knowledge of the underlying purpose for it being in the Bible. The chief function of biblical prophecy is not to predict how God will deal with man in the future, but more so, to bear testimony, through its fulfillments, of the validity of Jesus as mankind’s Messiah. This evidence is then to be used to call the redeemed in Christ into harmony with Jesus’ New Covenant. Concerning such harmony, God promised judgment to those found rebellious to His Covenant, and He promised divine intervention to those obedient to its stipulations. Throughout the Bible this is referred to as “the curse” and “the blessing” (See Deuteronomy 28; Moses’ Song in Deuteronomy 31; Leviticus 26; Matthew 7:24-27; Galatians 6:8).

Through Bible study I saw that the “last day” coming of Jesus mentioned in the Mount Olivet Discourse (see Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21) is synonymous accounts of the (then coming) 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem. The “end of the world” cited in these accounts is a King James Bible phrase that actually refers to the time period occurring between Christ’s Advent and 70 AD. In other translations this phrase is frequently worded as the “end of the age.” This idiom referred to the “last day” of physical Israel’s old worship system and covenant. This was fulfilled when the 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem effectively removed the Old Covenant system, thus firmly establishing Jesus’ New Covenant as the Everlasting Covenant for all mankind (Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles).

The catalyst that led me to Fulfilled Eschatology was my unwavering belief that Jesus was and is perfect. Such perfection encompasses Jesus fulfilling all written of Him. This perfect fulfillment of all that is prophesied is essential if Jesus is to qualify as the true Messiah. Fulfilled Eschatology accurately proves Jesus is the prophesied Messiah because it agrees that Jesus did in fact fulfill all written of Him. Futurism fails in its ability to do the same since it is based on the understanding that Jesus did not fulfill all things written of Him. Seeing that Jesus did fulfill all things foretold of Him was the scriptural affirmation that helped propel the First Century Church to do the exploits recorded in the Book of Acts. It also confirms that Jesus truly is the hope for today’s Church. Another thing Fulfilled Eschatology provides is it effectively answers those critical of Christianity and Jesus. How it does that is by proving how Old Testament prophecies about Jesus, and prophecies Jesus spoke during His lifetime, were all accurately fulfilled as foretold in the Bible. Such accuracy could only come from a supernatural source. After all, who else could perfectly foretell of events that transpired within the exact timeframe in which they were foretold to happen?

When I saw that the Bible said Jesus fulfilled “all things,” I knew that meant there was no need for Him to “return” to do any additional second work. This “second work” is the propagated reason Futurists and Dispensationalists give for their “second coming” theories. Daniel 9:24 spells out six points that the Messiah had to complete to be qualified to be the prophesied Savior. These are as follows (Bolds and [bracketed] areas added by me):

Daniel 9:24  Seventy weeks [490 years] are determined upon thy people [Jews] and upon thy holy city, [Jerusalem] [to accomplish six things] [1] to finish the transgression, and [2] to make an end of sins, and [3] to make reconciliation for iniquity, and [4] to bring in everlasting righteousness, and [5] to seal up the vision and prophecy, and [6] to anoint the most Holy.

The Bible states that Jesus did fulfill each of these six points. If He had not, He would have been disqualified from being mankind’s Savior. And since He did fulfill these six points, there is no “second work” that Jesus needs to “come again” to fulfill.

Rather than dealing with every nuance of “what this passage means” or “what that passage means,” the best way to determine if Dispensationalism or Fulfilled Eschatology is the correct eschatological view is to examine the foundation of each. The foundation to which I refer is the question of whether or not the Bible says there is to be a “second coming” of Jesus Christ or not. If the Bible does in fact teach there is to be a future “second coming,” then there is a foundation for Futurist and Dispensational teachings. However, if the Bible does not teach a future “second coming,” then there is no basis for Dispensationalism, thus solidifying the Fulfilled Eschatology position.

I’m sure you know that certain terms used among Christians are not actually found in the Bible’s ancient text. “Atonement” is an example of this. It is said that while William Tyndale was working on his translation, he found a concept of being “at one with God” in the ancient texts. The problem he encountered with this is that he could not find an English word to effectively convey that idea. As a result, Tyndale coined the word “atonement” (at-one-ment) to communicate that idea to his English readers. Tyndale did not violate the original text by doing this because “atonement” conveys the “at one with God” as found in the original text, and it does so while preserving the original text’s integrity.

Notwithstanding, the phrase, “second coming,” is not like Tyndale’s “atonement.” Why I say this is, firstly, a simple search for the term “second coming” reveals it is nowhere found in the most reputable English translations of the Bible. Secondly, a more in-depth search reveals the meaning that Dispensationalists’ gives to their usage of “second coming” is not found in those translations either. By default, this absence from the Bible nullifies this idiom from being a “biblical truth.” This omission therefore presents a problem for Futurists who teach doctrines based on the premise of a “second coming” of Jesus Christ, for if their proposed “second coming” is not biblical, then every one of their Futurist theories based upon it cannot be said to be “biblical” either.

Issues like this is why I believe that none of the Futurist and Dispensational views of prophecy offer the biblical answers on eschatology like Fulfilled Eschatology. The Bible makes it very clear that Jesus did fulfill everything written of Him. Thus, He did not fail to fulfill anything the Bible said He would accomplish as Messiah. As a result, these fulfilled prophecies become the evidence the Church needs to prove to the world that Jesus is indeed both God in flesh and the Savior of the world!

God’s promises are true because He kept each one—as promised—as prophesied. This is what I believe today, and it is the same thing I first saw many years ago.

 

Copyright © 2014 TK Burk. All Rights Reserved.
www.tkburk.com

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