Preterism is that teaching which says that all or most prophecy was fulfilled in or around 70 A.D. when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.
J.C.Ryle (1816-1900) was a famous English preacher. Spurgeon considered him "the best man in the Church of England" (Future Israel by Barry Horner, p. 339). He wrote more than one hundred tracts and pamphlets on doctrinal and practical subjects. He published a number of books of sermons and devotional literature, much of which is still widely read today. Especially helpful is his set of books on the four gospels, called Expository Thoughts on the Gospels.
Under his discussion of Matthew 24:15-28, in his Expository Thoughts, Ryle clearly states that these verses (speaking of the abomination of desolation, the great tribulation, etc.) most probably refer not to that which has already been FULFILLED but that which is yet FUTURE.
But we must not suppose that this part of our Lord's prophecy is exhausted by the first taking of Jerusalem. It is more than probable that our Lord's words have a further and deeper application still. It is more than probable that they apply to a second siege of Jerusalem, which is yet to take place, when Israel has returned to their own land--and to a second tribulation on the inhabitants thereof, which shall only be stopped by the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. Such a view of this passage may sound startling to some. But those who doubt its correctness would do well to study the last chapter of the prophet Zechariah, and the last chapter of Daniel. These two chapters contain solemn things. They throw great light on the verses we are now reading, and their connection with the verses which immediately follow.
Ryle, in this same discussion added this enlightening footnote:
I think it well to say, that Irenaeus, and Hilary among the fathers, and Ferus in the sixteenth century, all refer the fulfillment of this part of our Lord's prophecy to the end of the world, when a personal Antichrist shall appear. Hilary considers that the verse which speaks of "the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place," will be fulfilled by the rise of a mighty personal Antichrist, who shall be worshipped by infidels. In connection with this verse 2 Thessalonians 2:4 deserves attentive study (pages 317-318).
It's amazing that over 100 years later dispensationalists are being strongly lambasted for simply believing that these prophecies, if understood literally, await future fulfillment and that they have never yet been fulfilled in human history. Ryle was right!
For a fascinating discussion of Ryle's views on prophecy and the future of the nation Israel, see Barry E. Horner's book, Future Israel--Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must Be Challenged, Appendix B, "J. C. Ryle and the Future of Israel," pages 339-348 (B & H Academic, Nashville, Tennessee). For the original source, see J. C. Ryle, Are You Ready For the End of Times? (Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2001) 183; reprint of Coming Events and Present Duties.
Other Related Documents:
J. C. Ryle and the Literal Interpretation of Prophecies
J. C. Ryle and the Future of Israel
The Middletown Bible Church
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