MY PRETERIST TESTIMONY
"My Paradigm Shift: I took the RED PILL"
Hi, my name is Tuese Ahkiong. I grew up in a Roman Catholic home and was not exposed much to eschatology apart from reciting the Apostles’ Creed at mass. That’s until my Seventh Day Adventists cousins would come around when I was ten. They would often speak of the end of the world. This got me excited about reading The Book of Revelation which I did a few times. While in high school (1984-1988) and still not a believer, I had a charismatic friend who shared Hal Lindsey’s teaching about Israel becoming a nation in 1948 and that a generation from then (1988) would mark the end. After 1988 passed, I didn’t think much of prophecy or Christianity. I rejected my father’s Catholicism and lived a godless life. God showed His mercy upon me in 1994 by lavishing me with His amazing grace, His salvation, and His beautiful Holy Spirit. I felt like a powerful ocean wave washed over me and cleansed me of all my evil filthy sins. God had given me a new life and I wanted to live in Him and for Him. I wanted to know Him deep within my soul, so I started reading through the Bible, joining several Bible studies, and almost non-stop listening to Christian radio.
Most of the radio teachers were dispensational premillennialism like Chuck Smith, Jack Van Impe, David Jeremiah, Chuck Swindoll, John MacArthur, Hal Lindsey and Chuck Meilser. These speakers dominated the Christian media airwaves with not many alternative views to challenge them. Since this was the view my Christian friend in high school espoused and somewhat of what my 7th day Adventist cousins, I did not question the teaching mainly because I knew no other perspective. So, I embraced dispensational premillennialism.
In 1996, I took a Bible class in The book of Revelation taught by an amillennialist. I thought this perspective was better than dispensationalism but not completely satisfying. So, eschatology went to the back burner and was not a high priority to me until later.
In 1997, I went into the ministry first with Youth For Christ and then in 2000 with a Christian School as a junior high Bible teacher and with my apologetic, discipleship and evangelism ministry called “ARM: Always Ready Ministries.” I have taught children, teens, and adult Bible classes since. As a middle school Bible teacher of boys, I would assign my students to write 5 questions and 5 topics of interest related to Scripture and life. The top three without fail, would be girls, the afterlife, and the last days with girls being in third place and the last days being the most popular. They would ask questions about a future pretribulational rapture, antichrist, Beast, 666, microchips, Great Tribulation, rebuilt temple, one world government, cashless society, and many other related topics. They were espousing today’s popular dispensational premillennial view.
Along with the students’ questions, Christian adults would often say that, “Eschatology doesn’t really matter; the most important thing is just sharing the Gospel,” “I’m a pan-millennialist; things will all pan out at the end, so it’s not necessary to study,” “studying this topic just raises arguments.” These kinds of statements were unacceptable for me, and motivated me to study many of the views on the matter. These Christians were essentially saying that this large chunk of Scripture (2/3) was not important. -Well, does Truth matter?
In 2004, I began an intensive study on eschatology to see where the facts of Scripture led. At this point in my walk, I had read the Bible cover to cover twice. I stumbled upon Gary DeMar’s American Vision. The first book I read from him was “Is Jesus Coming Soon?” I was so impressed with how Gary honored the Scripture’s time statements, addressing audience relevance, and apocalyptic language, without having to do hermeneutical gymnastics. He simply let Scripture interpret Scripture and it made so much sense. I felt like the disciples on the road to Emmaus whose hearts burned as Jesus revealed the Word to them. I immediately became a preterist or a partial-preterist. [Preterism is the teaching that ALL of the prophecies of Scripture have been fulfilled.] I bought every book, audio, and video he had on eschatology. With a much Bible-honoring hermeneutic than before, I started devouring the Bible like never before looking for treasure everywhere and finding it. I am now going through the Bible for my 15th time. I like to go through a different translation each time.
In 2004 and 2005, I gave a seminar on evangelism at ACSI's Teachers conference which had thousands of Christian teachers. I only had 7 people come out the first year and 3 the following. In 2006, I gave a seminar on "Are We Living in The Last Days?" and had over 100 teachers attend. This caused a disturbance in the force and the President of ACSI contacted my principal stating that he did not think I should be teaching Bible because of my views on the millennium.
Around 2008, I started running out of verses to justify a partial preterist view. Partial preterism was like being partially married; either one is a preterist or one is not a preterist; there’s no in between partial stuff. So, I took on the preterist view, unless I can be shown from Scripture Alone that it is incorrect. I started studying from the likes of David Curtis, Don K Preston, William Bell, Kelly Birks and others listening to preterist podcasts. Their teachings brought greater clarity to issues surrounding the resurrection, great white throne judgment, satan, the return of Christ and other controversial passages that my futurists brethren regularly attacked me with. I have lost several friends but have gain others. It feels like being born-again, again. ;-) Coming into the faith caused some of my non-believing friends to no longer like me, and then becoming a preterist caused some of my Christian friends to not like me.
Some of these supposed friends really enjoy calling me a "heretic." They quote creeds, confessions and traditions but NOT Scripture to refute my view. They have also cowardly declined from facing me in an iron sharpening iron discussion/debate. If they are willing charge me with being a "heretic," they should at least grant me the opportunity to defend myself against their charges and give a reason for why I believe what I believe. I am amazed by the amount of disrespect I have received from Christians since becoming a preterist. They would rather hold to their traditions than be a Berean and see if what I am saying is true.
“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.”
Truth passes through three phases:
Truth passes through three phases:
- First it is ridiculed.
- Second it is fiercely and violently opposed.
- Third, it becomes self-evident.
Ideas have consequences. The way we view the future affects how we live today and plan for tomorrow. If we believe we’ll soon be raptured; that the devil, the Beast and the antichrist will defeat the work of The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit and the Church; that the Great Tribulation means the devil rules, why invest in the future? If the Bible teaches that this world will get worse, which it doesn’t, but if it did and there is nothing we can do about it, why act?
This way of thinking of the future is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If the popular false speculators continue teaching their failed fantasies, what is at stake is not their reputation because they just write another book; what is at stake is the integrity of God’s Holy Word, and ultimately The Gospel. If false speculators continue teaching Jesus is coming soon and He doesn’t return when they say, what is brought into question is not the false prophet, but The Holy Scriptures. Today’s generation of Christians need to be awakened from The Matrix of Hollywood DISPEN-SENSATIONALISM junk food-opium. They need to know the truth that Jesus Christ is The Victorious Triumphant King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The way this is done is the old-fashioned way; let God’s Word speak for Itself and not through the grid of creeds, confessions, and church traditions.
I want to challenge you to compare Scripture with Scripture and not with the National headlines or the CNN news report and you’ll be unplugged from the Matrix. You will see the Bible in a totally fresh light. After becoming a preterist, I felt like I was reading the Bible for the first time. It also felt like coming out of a cult because of all the lies I was taught by well meaning deceived saints. The Bible has been more alive than ever before. The transition is like going from listening to a 1933 transistor radio to experiencing George Lucas’ THX surround sound stereo system.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
May Our Lord bless you with the joy of knowing Him as you seek Him.
Here are some helpful thoughts from sister Tracy Copeland Mayle: