Question: You have criticized preterism and amillennial teaching as being unbiblical, but teachers such as R. C. Sproul present what clearly are reasoned conclusions for their positions. What do you say?
Response: Some believers insist that most Bible prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 at the destruction of the Temple. Yet we must ask, When was Jerusalem surrounded by the armies of all nations? When did Christ's feet touch the Mount of Olives? When did He begin to reign over the world from Jerusalem? Did those who had pierced Him look upon and recognize Him as their Messiah; weep and mourn and believe on Him? Was Israel established in AD 70 in her land, never to be removed again? Can we seriously believe that Zechariah 12, 13, 14; Jeremiah:30:6-12, 31:27-40, 32:37-44; Ezekiel 37-40, and scores of other like prophecies, were all fulfilled in AD 70? And if not, how and by what authority can we apply such prophecies to the church?
Yes, there are a growing number of those who promote preterism or amillennialism, and whether they are Calvinists, Charismatics, or something else, they share common beliefs that are worthy of concern.
The late Bishop Earl Paulk called the Rapture an escape theory. He said that those who bless Israel are manifesting an anti-Christ spirit. He also said that the church is Israel and that Israel has no further place in God's plan. Many still say the same thing. Paulk also taught that we are "little gods" and that Jesus Christ cannot return until we rise to the full stature of our godhood, take over this world, and establish His kingdom for Him. Some details may differ, but this is dominionism, i.e., only when Christians take dominion over the earth can Christ return--not to rapture us home to heaven but to rule over the kingdom that we have established for Him. With this idea, the reign of Christ during the 1,000-year millennium is denied, though this period of time is specifically stated twice in Revelation 20 (vv. 2,7). According to explicit statements in the Old Testament, during the Millennium, Earth will experience worldwide peace such as has never been seen before (Is 2:4; Joel:3:10; Mic:4:3).
Do we really believe that AD 70 saw the greatest tribulation in the history of the world--even greater than the slaughter of Jews and Christians under Hitler, Stalin, Mao ("nor ever shall be" - Mt. 24:21); that Christ came visibly like lightning flashing across the sky (v. 27), that the sun was darkened and the moon didn't give her light, that "the sign of the Son of man" appeared in heaven, that He sent His angels to "gather together his elect from the four winds" (vv. 29-31), etc.? Are we in the Millennium now? Is Satan bound? Is Christ the King now ruling over the earth and turning the world into a paradise? None of these things can be said to have taken place unless these scriptures are spiritualized.
As the old hymn goes, "tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word, just to rest upon His promise, just to know thus saith the Lord."