The Past-Trib Blasphemy
By: Pastor Kenneth Kirkland, Valdez, AK
[An article from "The View
from the Lighthouse" newsletter, April-May-June issue, 2001.
It is not our normal policy to
"name-names," however, the most significant idividual who introduced Preterism and Amillennialism
into the Oneness movement is named. This is not a personal attack,
our purpose in doing this article is to sound the alarm about this doctrine. This article is only an
introduction, the sequel to it, “A Closer Look at Past-Trib” is a more in depth
Back in 1995 I was privileged
to be part of a history making event, the first “Apostolic Post-trib Prophecy Conference” in Tampa, FL. As one of
the speakers, my subject was "Being
Prepared for the Endtimes," in which I mentioned the different
beliefs on the tribulation: pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, pan-trib, and PAST-trib.
I had studied past-trib, was strongly opposed to it, and felt it should be
mentioned. However, it was a non-issue. Most were aware of pre, mid, post, and
"pan" (everything is going to pan out in the end) doctrines, but who
ever heard of "past"- trib?
Little did we know at the time
that one in our midst was to become the ringleader of this doctrine in the
Apostolic movement. In conferences, revivals, tapes, and written material, he
preaches the "Preterist" doctrine. "Preterist," derived from
the Latin "praeteritus" meaning what is past, thus, my name for it,
The writings of one John
Bray, a Baptist writer, strongly influenced Smith. John Bray preaches the twin
doctrines of Amillennialism and Preterism. Larry Smith and I sharply disagreed,
first, on the millennial, later, on past-trib. He spiritualized the thousand
years of Rev. 20, placing the first resurrection (Rev. 20:4-6) all the way back
at the beginning of the Church age. By doing so, the first resurrection is
Furthermore, at the beginning
of the Church age, the devil was supposed to be have been bound, chained, and
sealed up in the bottomless pit (Rev. 20:1-3). Thus, Bray and Smith say our
present church age is the millennium, and the devil has been sealed up all this
time in the bottomless pit! Hmm. I’d say we’ve got a serious flaw with this
doctrine, or else the seal that God used to seal up the devil HAS GOT A BAD
LEAK! And doesn’t Rev. 20:1 say the devil gets chained? Judging by all the
damage he’s doing, it must be a very long chain!
put it simply, for the Preterists, the book of Revelation is the fall of
Jerusalem in AD 70. So, you see how they solve the problem of Rev. 20:4. A
spiritualized millennium fits rather nicely in the scheme.
Now, you might be saying, this is interesting, but it’s preposterous! How can sensible people fall for such? But they are. Smith has gained quite a following. To the unsuspecting, to the vulnerable, those not versed in prophetic doctrine, Preterists appear to make a convincing case. It is a mistake to underestimate, or take lightly this doctrine!
The Bray/Smith doctrine has a
special attraction to Pre-Tribs. They have followed the likes of Hal Lindsey,
Jack Van Impe and others now for a hundred years, and have seen their
predictions fail time and time again. Many Pre-Trib/Dispensationalists are
disenchanted, and are ripe for an alternative. Here is how one writer put it:
"Whereas the hallmark of Dispensationalism is elaborate charts [Larkin] and comic-book scenarios of the future, the Preterists have no charts at all. For them there is nothing to think about; all prophecy is fulfilled--no charts at all. Life is easy. Eschatology is the easiest of all. They peer into the future and see nothing. Amazingly, the Preterists have chosen to combat dispensational eschatology with an eschatology that is no eschatology at all."
Suspecting there must be
something wrong with the Pre-Trib scenario, casting about, trying to find
something with which they can avoid having to go through the tribulation, Pre-Tribs
think they have hit the jackpot with this scheme! Isn’t it amazing the
alternative schemes the devil cooks up for those who do not want truth?
shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymeneaus and Philetus; Who
concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already;
and overthrow the faith of some.
(2 Tim. 2:16-18)
faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have
made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto
Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Tim. 1:19-20)
The Hymenaenists say the day
of the Lord and cosmic calamities in the sun, moon, and stars were fulfilled
figuratively in 70 AD. They say Jesus came figuratively in the clouds in 70 AD.
They say the first resurrection is figurative, and in the past. They say the
devil was bound, chained, and sealed figuratively in the past. We say these
await fulfillment. We say those in the graves still await the first
resurrection, and the second coming of Jesus Christ has NOT happened yet!
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