Preterism is the Christian eschatological (understanding of end time events) concept that all Bible prophecy has already been fulfilled including Yeshua’s Matthew 24 Olivet Discourse and those prophecies in the book of Revelation.
I will say that it is my belief that preterism is an over simplistic concept that often fails to take into account several things:
a) The dual or even multiple fulfillments of certain biblical prophecies. Even the Jewish sages who’ve been studying the OT scriptures for millennia recognize the often cyclical nature of some prophecies in that many have multiple fulfillments. It seems that the preterist looks at prophecy in more a linear (timeline) Greco-Roman perspective rather from the Hebraic, more cyclical nature in which the Bible was written. This is to their detriment and causes them to have a skewed view of biblical prophecy.
b) That some prophecies have been indeed fulfilled, while others are yet to be fulfilled, and yet still others have been fulfilled and will be fulfilled in a greater sense in the future.
c) They often fail to fully understand historical events. The preterist view of Olivet Discourse Matt 24 is a prime example. While it appears that some of the things Yeshua predicted in Matthew 24 have a AD 70 fulfillment, other events listed in this chapter clearly don’t unless you “cram it to fit and paint it to match” as preterists like to do. This they do by applying some things in a given prophecy in a literal sense, and then when a prophecy can’t be interpreted literally to fit historical events, they simply allegorize it away by making the prophecy symbolic. In my opinion, this is a dangerous approach and is playing fast and loose with the Bible. You can make the Bible say virtually anything you want it to say when you do this. This is a hermeneutical problem where they make the Bible say what they want it to say (eisegesis) instead of letting the Bible speak for itself (exegesis).
d) The preterist usually fails to understand Israel in history, who the people of Israel are,
the Torah, and the nature of covenants from a Hebraic, full biblical context. It seems to me that preterism works if you take a more Catholic view of the Bible and history, not a Hebraic view.
e) Preterists seems to not understand the nature of biblical prophecy in that some prophecies are short range, some are mid-range, and some are long range in that they haven’t been fulfilled yet. What’s more, they fail to understand that even as biblical prophecy was divinely revealed to the prophet in the first place, so understanding its fulfillment requires a divine revelation as well. The Holy Spirit revealed the prophecy in the first place, and will reveal its interpretation often after the event has occurred. For example, the greatest OT prophetic concept of all — those prophecies pointing to the coming of the Messiah — wasn’t fully understood by the disciples until after his death. The disciples still thought he was Messiah the Conquering king rather than the Suffering Servant. Little by little, they came to understand that he came to redeem men from sin, and not (at least at that time) to set up his earthly kingdom after having defeated his physical enemies.
In reality, the truth of the Bible falls between the two extremes of preterism and non-preterism. Some biblical prophecies in the context of history have already been fulfilled, while others have been partially fulfilled, and still others have yet to be fulfilled. This is what I believe. It’s an overly simplistic and quite frankly, to my mind at least, a naive and spiritually immature approach to say that all prophecy has been fulfilled or that all prophecy is yet to be fulfilled. Understanding biblical prophecy isn’t quite that simple. For example, in all my extensive readings of the writings of the ancient Jewish sages, I’ve never seen a preterist viewpoint with regard to the OT prophecies. This ought to tell us something.
My sense is that the notion preterism arose from the antisemetic attitudes and doctrines of the early church fathers who wanted to excise all understanding of the Scriptures from a Jewish perspective and replace the Jews with the church when it comes to prophecy. If this is the case, then preterism in some of its more virulent and strident permutations could even be considered to be an antisemtic philosophy! This almost makes it a doctrine of demons. How can we take all scriptural reference to the Jews and to greater Israel and be so subjective and ego-centric as to apply them to the exclusively to the Gentile church?