For several years, one of the low-level fusses in the brotherhood has been about preterism. Otherwise known as the 70 AD doctrine, preterism argues that all of the prophecies about the end of the world have already been fulfilled. Thus, 2 Peter 3’s discussion of the earth and its works being burned up should be read in the same light as the Joel 2 prophecy of the sun being turned to darkness and the moon turned to blood.
I think preterists make some valid points. We need to be careful to read the apocalyptic language of the Bible apocalyptically. Also, many texts that are commonly read as being about the end of the world are about events that happened thousands of years ago. I think Revelation 1-19 falls into this category. Drawing the line between fulfilled prophecies couched in apocalyptic language and unfulfilled prophecies predicting literal future events is not always an easy task! Continue reading