In the last few months there have been several threads that specifically discuss, or briefly touch on, partial preterist eschatology. Literally every time one of these discussions arises, I see numerous false assumptions and misunderstandings made about partial preterism. For those interested, I have provided here a brief, chapter-by-chapter explanation of how the partial preterists interpret the Revelation. Understand that this is not the case for all partial preterists, it is simply the generality.
Chapter 1: Jesus appears to John, to give exhortation to the seven churches. The "coming of the Son of Man" is not referring to the Second Coming, but to the "judgment coming" of 70 AD, which John says was targeted against "the tribes of the Land" (the tribes of Israel).
Chapter 2-3: Jesus has John write seven letters to seven churches in Asia (near the island of Patmos where John was). The seven letters draw upon imagery from seven subsequent eras of Biblical history. The theme of each subsequent letter also alludes to a section of the Revelation itself.
Chapter 4: John is taken, in vision, to heaven. He sees the throne of God, the four "living creatures" (the cherubim/seraphim), and the 24 elders (who symbolically represent the whole Church).
Chapter 5: John sees God holding the scroll of the New Covenant. It is sealed with seven seals, which was recognized in first-century Judea as being the "will" of a deceased person. This scroll of the New Covenant is the will of Jesus Christ himself, who ascends to heaven and takes the scroll to open it. (30 AD)
Chapter 6: John sees the first six seals of the scroll broken open. Each seal draws a parallel to the prophecies of Christ in the Olivet Discourse, and to the Covenant curses of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. These seals herald the overarching series of events that take place in the first-century, culminating in the war of Rome upon Judea. (30-70 AD)
Chapter 7: John sees the whole Church (the great multitude), along with the faithful remnant of Israel, symbolically represented as a group of 144,000. The twelve tribes of Israel are named, but rearranged for symbolic purposes. Judah is placed at the first of the list, because Jesus is the "Lion of Judah". Dan is removed from the list because Genesis 49 calls him a "serpent", who is the enemy of the Church in the Revelation. Dan is replaced by Manasseh, similar to how Judas was replaced by Matthias. They are sealed with the seal of God, to show that they are protected from the destruction during the Jewish-Roman War. (67-70 AD)
Chapter 8: John sees the seventh seal broken open. The New Covenant has been fully established, and God's wrath upon apostate Old Covenant Israel is fully poured out. John's visions start over, to show him the event leading up to the Jewish-Roman War from another perspective, via seven trumpets. The first four trumpets are blown, depicting the destruction that took place in Judea through plagues, famines, false teachings, etc.
Chapter 9: John sees the fifth trumpet blown. The pagan Romans, symbolized as locusts, invade Judea. They torment the Christ-rejecting Jews for five months (May-September 66 AD), inciting them to rebel against the Roman Empire. John sees the sixth trumpet blown. Roman armies stationed at the Euphrates River in Syria march on to Judea, straight to Jerusalem (Late 66 AD) where they kill numerous Christ-rejecting Jews.
Chapter 10: John has a vision of an angel. The angel symbolically depicts the uniting of the Jews (the Land) and the Gentiles (the Sea), and declares the "mystery of God" to be almost complete. [Romans 11.25; Ephesians 3.4-6; Colossians 1.27] He gives John a "little scroll" to eat and prophesy, a symbolic representation of John being given the Revelation itself.
Chapter 11: John is told to measure the Temple of God, which is the Body of Christ, the Church. [John 2.19-21; 1 Corinthians 3.16; Ephesians 2.19-22] The "outer court" of the temple and the city of Jerusalem (symbolic representations of apostate Israel) are left to the Gentiles (the Romans) to trample upon for 42 months. (February 67 - August 70 AD) John sees two witnesses (symbolic representations of the entire Church) persecuted by "the beast" (Rome) and "the great city" Jerusalem (apostate Israel). They are depicted as being "conquered" by Rome, but are resurrected and taken to heaven, a depiction of the Church's victory in Christ. "The great city" Jerusalem is destroyed. The seventh trumpet is blown, and the Kingdom of God comes upon the world, and apostate Israel is destroyed, vindicating the righteous dead.
Chapter 12: John's visions start over. A "woman" (natural Israel) gives birth to a "male child" (Christ) despite the opposition of the dragon (Satan). (Circa 4 BC) Christ is taken up to God's throne (symbolically representing his victory upon the cross), and Satan and the fallen angels are exiled from heaven because of the power of Christ's sacrifice (symbolically depicted as a war between the righteous angels, led by Michael, and wicked angels, led by Satan). (30 AD) The dragon attempts to destroy the woman (Satan's attempts to destroy the Jewish apostles when they founded the Church), but fails. (30-35 AD) He goes on to make war upon "the rest of the woman's offspring" (the Church as it grew to include more members, particularly the Gentiles). (35-64 AD)
Chapter 13: Satan gives his power to the Roman Empire and its Emperors (depicted as a sea-beast with seven heads). John gives a prophecy about the Empire's death and subsequent resurrection that took place following Nero's suicide. (68-69 AD) John describes the present persecution of the Christians by the Roman Empire, prophesying that it would last for 42 months. (November 64 - June 68 AD) John sees apostate Israel (depicted as an earth-beast disguised as a lamb) ally itself with the Roman Empire in this persecution. Apostate Israel's false prophets perform false miracles in order to deceive people into rejecting Christ and following Caesar. (30-67 AD) The "mark of the beast" is Hebrew gematria that codifies the name of Nero Caesar into the number 666. The name is not believed to have been codified because John was afraid of persecution (he was already being persecuted), but because of the symbolism behind the number 666. The "mark" is not a literal tattoo, but refers to how apostate Israel required its opponents to submit to the Roman Emperors or face persecution. Anyone who took the mark was spared from the wrath of Rome and apostate Israel.
Chapter 14: John sees the 144,000, representing the whole Church, standing upon Mount Zion with Christ, a symbolic depiction that the Church will overcome the persecution of the Roman Empire and apostate Israel. John sees a "soul harvest" upon the earth by Christ, a symbolic representation of Christ's divine protection of his followers during the wrath that God. Another "soul harvest" takes place, this time resulting in God's wrath being poured out upon apostate Israel depicted as a "great winepress of the wrath of God". John sees blood-wine flow out of the winepress, spreading for 1600 stadia. This is the approximate length of the Land of Israel; John is seeing a symbolic representation of God's wrath being poured out upon the entire nation of apostate Israel. (67-70 AD)
Chapter 15: John's visions start over. He sees seven bowls containing seven plagues, ready to be poured out upon apostate Israel.
Chapter 16: The seven plagues (summarizing the events of the Jewish-Roman War: 67-70 AD) are poured out, intentionally alluding to the ten plagues of Egypt. [Deuteronomy 28.27,60] Satan, the Roman Empire, and apostate Israel incite each other into war at "Armageddon". The word literally means "Mountain of Megiddo". This location does not literally exist, but is a symbolic representation of the Church's salvation (the symbol of the "mountain") being founded upon the destruction of God's enemies (symbolized by Megiddo, which has a history of God's enemies being destroyed there). [Luke 21.20,28,31] Jerusalem "the great city" is "split into three parts", corresponding to the three factions of Zealots that took over the city in 67 AD, ultimately being the reason why the city was conquered by the Romans in 70 AD.
Chapter 17: John's visions start over. He sees the harlot "Babylon the great", which he is explicitly told is a symbolic representation of "the great city" Jerusalem. The harlot is "drunk with the blood of the saints", showing Jerusalem's guilt of persecuting the Church. The harlot is allied with the scarlet beast, showing apostate Israel's alliance with the Roman Empire. John is told that the seven heads represent seven kings; these are the first seven emperors of the Roman Empire, beginning with Julius Caesar. This results in the sixth king being Nero Caesar, who was singled out by John's prophecies in Revelation 13. The scarlet beast itself is the "eighth" king. The number 8 is the symbolic numeral of resurrection; hence the beast (the Roman Empire) is prophesied to die and resurrect, corresponding directly to the "mortal wound" that the beast receives and heals from in Revelation 13. (68-69 AD) The Roman Empire is described as attempting to destroy the Church, but failing (symbolically depicted as the beast warring upon the Lamb). (64-68 AD) In anger at failing to destroy the Church, the Roman Empire turns vengeance upon apostate Israel, the harlot, and destroys her. (67-70 AD)
Chapter 18: John records a lament by the world over Jerusalem's death. He ends the lament with the statement that "in her was found the blood of ... all who have been slain on earth", directly linking to Christ's statement that Jerusalem held the guilt for "all the righteous blood shed on earth".
Chapter 19: The John sees the Marriage Supper of the Lamb begin as a direct result of the death of apostate Israel. In essence, Israel, God's wife [Ezekiel 16.32] had committed apostasy, which was the same thing as "sexual immorality" [Ezekiel 16]. According to Christ, divorce could be issued on account of "sexual immorality". [Matthew 5.31-32] Hence, God divorced his adulterous wife Israel by having her destroyed with fire, which was the Old Covenant death sentence for women who were "sexually immoral" (if they were related to priests, which Israel was). [Leviticus 21.9] God divorced apostate Israel in order to marry true Israel, which is the Church. The overarching theme of Revelation 16-19 perfectly fits Christ's parable of the wedding feast [Matthew 22.1-15], right down to the burning of "their city" being immediately followed by the wedding feast. The second half of the book symbolically represents the victory of Christ's victory over the world, including the Roman Empire and apostate Israel, where the two are cast into the lake of fire.
Chapter 20: John sees Satan bound up so that he could not deceive the nations, a symbolic representation of the power of Christ's sacrifice over Satan's deception. The "first resurrection" refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ "the firstfruits". [1 Corinthians 15.20] Hence, the righteous dead (Rev. 14.13: "blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on") are described as "sharing" in Christ's resurrection and rule, in perfect correspondence to Paul's statements in his letters. [1 Corinthians 15.22; Ephesians 2.6; Colossians 2.12-13] The "thousand years" are symbolic of the era of the Church, and the beginning of the "thousand years" corresponds to the Kingdom of God being established upon the world [Luke 21.31-32; Revelation 11.15], marked by the destruction of apostate Israel. [Matthew 21.33-46] The number 1000 is a symbolic numeral for "completion". Thus, when the "thousand years" come to their end, the plan of God will be brought to completion. Satan will be released from his binding, bringing about a great deception. The enemies of the world (symbolized as "Gog and Magog") will attempt to destroy the Church (symbolized as "God's holy city"), but they will be prevented by the Second Coming of Christ. Satan will be cast into the lake of fire. Christ will sit upon his throne, and he will bring about the resurrection of the dead. All of mankind (and angels) will be judged. John sees the wicked cast into the lake of fire. Finally, John sees Death itself destroyed by Christ. After the resurrection, the final judgment, and the defeat of Death, Christ delivers the Kingdom of God up to the Father in order for it to be consummated. [1 Corinthians 15.23-28,54-55]
Chapter 21: John sees the New Jerusalem, a symbolic representation of God's perfect Church with imagery drawn from Ezekiel's description of Eden. [Ezekiel 28.13] Whereas the priestly garments of the Old Covenant had 12 different stones, each with a name of one of the 12 tribes engraved upon it [Exodus 28.17-21], John sees the New Jerusalem built on a foundation of 12 different stones, each with a name of the one of the 12 apostles engraved upon it. Since the New Jerusalem is the Church, it has no temple within it, because the Church is the temple of God, and God resides within the New Jerusalem. John sees that the wicked are not allowed into the New Jerusalem, corresponding to the fact that only those who believe in Christ and repent of their sins become members of the Church, which is the Body of Christ.
Chapter 22: John sees the river of life (Jesus' salvation) flowing from the throne of God and of Jesus. He also sees the tree of life (eternal life) bearing fruit each month, corresponding to the Church's growing numbers over time. He states that the tree's leaves are "for the healing of the nations", corresponding to how the gospel of Jesus Christ brings healing to mankind. John states that only the "those who wash their robes" [in the blood of Jesus: Revelation 7.14] may enter the New Jerusalem, corresponding to the fact that only those believe in Christ and repent of their sins become members of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. The New Jerusalem, as depicted in Revelation 21-22, is a present reality for the Church [Galatians 4.22-31; Hebrews 12.22], made real by the sacrifice of Christ, but it also awaits perfect fulfillment at the Second Coming of Christ.
- I cannot repeat it enough times: Partial preterists do not believe that the Second Coming took place in 70 AD. God had several, unique "judgment comings" throughout the Old Testament, in which God "came" and destroyed a wicked nation by using another nation as his tool of judgment. Likewise, the "coming of the Son of Man" is interpreted by partial preterists as referring to Christ's "judgment coming" in 70 AD, in which he "came" and destroyed apostate Israel by using the Roman nation as his tool of judgment. Partial preterists do believe that the Second Coming is still in our future, in which Christ will physically return to the earth.
- Partial preterism does not teach "replacement theology", it teaches "covenant theology".
- "Replacement theology" is the teaching that ethnic Israel was replaced by the Church.
- "Covenant theology" is the teaching that the Old Covenant was replaced by the New Covenant. The Church is considered to be the same thing as Israel. The Church/Israel consists of Christ-believing ethnic Israelites, and goes on to "graft on" Christ-believing ethnic Gentiles. Similarly, the Church/Israel "breaks off" Christ-rejecting ethnic Israelites, and excludes Christ-rejecting ethnic Gentiles.
And for the love of God, if you have something to say in response to this thread, do not quote the entire OP.