Preterist Idealism is an interpretive method which comprehensively systematizes biblical typology. A broader label, Modern Idealism, refers to the hermeneutical structure of Preterist Idealism. A narrower label, Metamillennialism, refers to the kingdom theology of both Preterist Idealism and Modern Idealism.
Metamillennialism: A Hermeneutic for Today
By Todd Dennis
10TH ANNIVERSARY OF CONVERSION FROM PRETERISM TO IDEALISM
Historical fulfillment of Bible prophecy is unveiled as pointing to present and immediate fulfillment in Jesus Christ today (Song 2:17; 4:6; Lu 5:5; Re 22:17). The primary focal point of all prophecy is the redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Ro 10:4; 2Co 1:20; 5:17; He 4:10; 12:2; Re 1:8,11; 2:8; 19:10; 21:6; 22:13). This dispensation of grace was settled before creation, revealed historically, but is only fully realized personally. Jesus is the Israel revealed in the Bible (Ex 4:22; Is 22:20-22; Je 2:3; Zec 16:12; Ho 11:1; Mat 2:15), therefore all prophecy and fulfillment systematically points to Him. Old Covenant Israel’s biblical history accordingly serves as a schoolmaster pointing to the Covenant Reign of King Jesus (Ps 57:1; 121:5; Joh 19:28-30; Ga 3:24; Col 2:17; He 8:5; 9:23-24; 10:1). Things seen are only the outward show of the unseen eternal elements of new creation (1Co 15:46 ; 2Co 4:18), so all revelation concerning the lesser must be used to amplify the greater (Jer. 7:4; John 2:13-21; 1Co 3:17; 2Co 6:16; Re 11:19; 21:22). If this amplification is not done systematically, idolatry results (Nu 21:8; Joh 3:14-18; 2 Kings 18:4). Though forms of Idealism have been taught by heavenly-minded writers throughout the Christian era, never before has a system been published that utilizes a fully consistent preterist modifier.
Nature and Time of Parousia:
The Tabernacle of God is With Man Until Gathered At Last Day
Parousia is the communion of “heaven and earth” in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ez 2:2; 11:16; 22:3; Joh 14:15-31, cf. v. 23; 2Co 6:16). The Parousia is not limited to a particular moment in time, but is an illimitable communion with believers of all ages, who serve as the habitation of Jesus Christ’s eternal kingdom (De 8:2; Ps 10:16; 24:8; 29:10; 47:2; 93:2; 145:13; Je 10:20; Ez 8:3; 10:17; Joh 16:13). The representative event for the return of the King out of the holiest place is the outpouring of the Holy Spirit as seen at Pentecost (Ps 68:18; Lu 19:12; Joh 14:3; Ep 4:8). The coming of the Kingdom of Heaven to Earth in the person of the Holy Spirit is personal and persistent, as revealed (for instance) by Jacob’s Ladder in the Old Testament and John 1:51 and Matthew 26:64 in the New. The Spirit of the Lord never leaves nor forsakes His temples until they are gathered at the last day of their sojourn (Ac 7:55-56; He 9:27,28; 2Pe 3:11). The Parousia of Jesus Christ brings to Earth the “day” of fulfillment (Zec 14:8; Lu 19:9; He 3:7, 13; 4:7; 13:18), be it for redemption or damnation. This is the Time of Refreshing of Jesus Christ’s rule (Jos 10:14; Ps 19:7; 36:8; 72:6; Is 26:19; 28:12; Ho 14:5; Ac 3:19,20; Ro 15:32) and is called the Day of the Lord, particularly in reference to His present and immediate judgment (Zep 1:14; Am 8:9; Zec 12:8; 1Th 5:2; 2Pt 3:8; Re 1:10).
Nature and Time of Resurrection:
Quickened by the Spirit; Gathered into Glory
The resurrection is not a single historical event for the world in a universal sense (Joh 5:24; 1Co 6:14). Rather, it is like an assembly line of regeneration, sanctification, and glorification (Ep 1:13-14). A believer is initially quickened by the Spirit (Jo 5:24-25; Ro 8:10; Ep 2:19-22; Col 2:13; 1Jo 3:14), is winnowed and sculpted by tribulation in this world (2Ti 3:12; Ga 5:21; He 12:26-29), and is ultimately given entrance into the eternal age (2Pt 1:11; 3:13-14). The two resurrections (Re 20:4-5) are the two conspicuous comings of the King (in body and spirit), and are the two glorifications spoken of by God (Joh 12:28). Though the resurrection is received individually in each’s own historical order (1Co 15:23), it is a corporate gathering into the non-historical realm as represented by the Ascension of Jesus Christ. The victory of Jesus Christ over sin and death spoiled the enemy’s defenses, and He presently and immediately delegates His Crown rights to the entire body of the redeemed (Da 7:13,14; cf. Ac 1:6-11; Re 19:7-10), also called the Israel of God (Ga 6:16), Daughter of Zion (Zep 3:14), New Jerusalem (Ne 12:27), etc.
Nature and Time of Gathering/Rapture:
At the End of the Age; Each in His Own Order.
The gathering of the elect is not a single historical event for the world in a universal sense (Mat 24:23; Mar 13:27). Rather, it is the corporate ascension of the entire Body of Christ into the timeless eternal realm (Da 7:13,14; cf. Ac 1:6-11) experienced following physical death (Joh 11:52; Ep 1:10). Individual death is the context of this gathering throughout the Bible, despite attempts to affix this event to some historical epoch past or future. The death of Stephen in Acts 7 is held up as the prime example of the workings of our gathering to Him. Though preterism sees AD70 as the time of fulfillment, their proof texts prove otherwise. The context of Matthew 16:27,28 is found in the references to death in verses 25-26. The context of Hebrews 9:28 is found the reference to dying in verse 27. The time of Paul’s gathering was death in 2 Timothy 4:6. This gathering is synonymous with the final resurrection and last judgment, which must cannot be confined to spatial history. The gathering into the everlasting age comes quickly (Zep 1:14; Re 22:12), and the time is at hand for all (Isa 13:6,22; 56:1; Je 23:23; 48:16; Ho 9:7; Joe 2:1; Mat 4:17; 26:18; Mar 1:15; 2Ti 4:6; 1Pt 4:7-11; Re 1:1,3,7; 22:6,7,10,17,20). Our face to face meeting with Jesus comes as a thief in the night (Lu 21:34), with Him appearing in the twinkling of an eye (1Co 15:52). Some of those in Christ who await his coming are blessed with sight of the kingdom coming at their departure (Mat 16:27,28; Lu 2:29-31; Ac 7:56; He 9:28; 2Pe 1:11), while all will see Him following (Phili 2:8-11; Re 1:7).
Nature and Time of Millennium:
Jesus Ruling the Nations Now
The millennium is now (Ex 16:25; 2Co 6:2; Heb 3:7,13; 4:7; Coram Deo; Olam Haba). The thousand year reign of Jesus is symbolic of the overwhelming militancy of the eternal gospel (Ex 19:6; Ps 145:12; Da 4:3; Mat 4:23; 6:13; 9:35; 24:14), but was revealed in the Byzantine Millennium. The reign of Jesus Christ cannot be limited to a singular period in history past or future, but is an ever-present reality (Ec 3:11; Ps 5:2; 84:3; 10:16; 15:32; Je 10:10; 1Ti 1:17; 6:15; He 3:15; Re 1:6; 5:10; 15:3). The period explains the binding of the strong man and the spoiling of his goods in the life of the believer (Mar 3:27). All internal and external wickedness is disciplined by the rod of Israel, and Christians who wield the Spirit of the Lord effectively will see a relentless series of personal victories over sin and death (Ps 2:8; Je 10:16; Mat 16:18). Victory is assured during our reign as prophets, priests, and kings of the kingdom (Mat 22:44). At the end of this life, the accuser is loosed for a final battle as time runs short (Re 12:12; 20:3; Ja 4:14). Having your “life flash before your eyes” is an oft-repeated aspect of the final judgment/gathering/resurrection of the last day. Our gathering at the end of our lives as ambassadors of this “thousand year” kingdom is promised to be glorious for those looking for Him (2Pt 1:11; He 9:27-28; Re 1:7).
On Going Salvation or Not:
Salvation from Death Offered Without End
Salvation from death and sin was not promised to Ancient Israel alone (Ge 35:11, cf. Ga 3:29; 3:8). Faith leading to salvation was given to mankind from the days of Adam (Ge 3:15), was experienced by Abraham (Ga 3:8), and will continue to be given into the coming age (Ps 25:14; 33:11). Limiting prophecy to Israel only is to mistake the shadow for the substance (Col 2:17), and leads to many doctrinal errors (Ro 1:25). Preterist-Idealism acknowledges the total fulfillment of Israel’s promises (De 19:7-9/Jo 20:7-9; 21:43-45; 23:14-15; Jer 11:5; Jo 19:28,30; Mat 24:34), while also amplifying that typology to reveal the higher truth realized in Jesus Christ alone throughout all ages (Ro 2:20; Ga 3:24-25).
Universalism or Not:
Some are Broken; Some are Ground to Powder
The consequences of death and sin were poured upon the wicked prior to Calvary and will continue to be poured upon the wicked throughout all generations. There are two options presented by Jesus: submit or be left desolate (Je 8:12; 23:29; Ez 6:14; 11:16-21; 13:12; Mat 21:44). The reference in Matthew 21:44 reveals the idealist sense of prophecy which amplifies the preterist sense of desolation fulfilled in AD70 (Mat 24:2). The explanation of the shaking of the Spirit is is seen in Hebrews 12:25-29 (Ps 29:8; Ez 36:27; 38:20). Those who stubbornly resist the call to lift up their heart’s gates in order to let the King of Glory come in have their walls knocked down (Joh 2:19-21; 1Co 3:17).
What Continues Today:
Everything Continues; Nothing has Ceased; All is Fulfilled in Christ
“Today” is the millennial day of Christocentric Eternalism (He 3:13; 2Pt 3:8). King Jesus has all authority in heaven and Earth and is in full charge of the affairs of the heart and history (Mat 28:18; Ep 1:22; Col 2:9). His judgments are sound and His methods of enacting them are like the tongues of many waters, speaking to each person in their own voice (Ps 29:3-4 ; Je 7:12-15; 10:13; Ez 2:24; 19:10). Eternity has totally encompassed the world (Ha 2:14), and the descent of the heavenly kingdom/New Jerusalem (Re 21:2) is into hearts on a global scale today (Is 40:2,9,13; Je 3:17; 4:14; Zec 14:8; Lu 17:29; Joh 7:38; 14:22-23; 2Co 6:16; Ga 4:6; Ep 3:17; 1Jo 4:13). Therefore, everything endures beyond AD70 except (apparently) God’s toleration of animal sacrifices in His name at Jerusalem.
Any Unique Characteristics of View:
Amplification of Preterist Fulfillment
The idealist method of interpretation is a hermeneutical super-structure which is best applied to the preterist view, in that it offers present truth regarding the fulfillment of historical typology which has come to pass. The greater benefit, however, is the systematic explanation of kingdom life and personal eschatology. Awareness of the kingdom’s inner workings tremendously assists believers in the sojourn. Enemies of the Gospel are likewise to be made aware of their unchangeable fate outside of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The chronological method of preterism is critical to understanding the fulfillment of the biblical types and shadows. However, these types and shadows must be seen in relation to Jesus Christ consistently to avoid idolatry. The same hermeneutical results can also be achieved by modifying Futurism and Historicism similarly. By focusing on the eternal unseen things as being of primary prophetic significance, the Christocentric Eternalism found in preterist idealism can recover the extreme elements of each and every theology. Full preterism has the most to gain by systematizing types, as that approach will remove its stain of heterodoxy.