Skip to comments.Preterism & the Date of the Apocalypse (Revelation)
Posted on 09/19/2005 9:13:46 AM PDT by xzins
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The date of the writing of Revelation has been hotly disputed by preterists. Until the last century, Christian tradition has placed John's exile to Patmos during the reign of the emperor Domitian (AD 81-96).
The dispute over the date of the composition of Revelation is a crucial one. If it was composed by John after AD70 and the fall of Jerusalem preterism is at once refuted. Revelation is a prophetic book, predicting the coming of Christ in the future. A post-AD70 date makes equating the coming of Christ with the destruction of Jerusalem utterly impossible.
There is no question that Revelation was written while John was a prisoner of the Roman state, exiled to the prison island of Patmos. That much can be gathered from the first chapter of Revelation. "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."
There were only two Roman emperors who persecuted Christians on a large scale in the first century, Nero and Domitian. The other Emperors were either indifferent to Christianity, or did not consider it a serious threat to Rome. The first Roman persecution under Nero took place in the decade of the 60s, just before the fall of Jerusalem. Nero was responsible for the deaths of both Peter and Paul in Rome in AD67, Peter by crucifixion, and Paul by being beheaded.
There is no record of Nero's banishing Christians to Patmos, only his brutality against the Christians of Rome. It was Nero who made a sport of throwing Christians to the lions for the entertainment of the crowds, and who burned many at the stake along the road leading to the Coliseum merely to light the entrance.
After Nero's death Rome left the Christians alone until the rise of Domitian to power in AD81. Although not as cruel and insane as Nero, Domitian had some Christians killed, the property of Christians confiscated, Scriptures and other Christian books burned, houses destroyed, and many of the most prominent Christians banished to the prison island of Patmos.
All ancient sources, both Christian and secular, place the banishment of Christians to Patmos during the reign of Domitian (AD81-96). Not a single early source (within 500 years of John) places John's banishment under the reign of Nero, as preterists claim. All modern attempts to date Revelation during Nero's reign rely exclusively on alleged internal evidence, and ignore or seek to undermine the external evidence and testimony of Christians who lived about that time, some of whom had connections to John.
Eusebius the Christian historian, living only two hundred years after Domitian's reign, gathered evidence from both Christian and secular sources that were still extant at the time (some of which are no longer extant today). All of the sources at Eusebius' disposal placed the date of John's Patmos exile during the reign of Domitian. Eusebius' earliest source was Irenaeus, disciple of Polycarp, disciple of John. But he also used other unnamed sources both Christian and secular to place the date of the Patmos exile of Christians during Domitian's reign (AD81-96). "It is said that in this persecution [under Domitian] the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, was condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos in consequence of his testimony to the divine word. Irenaeus, in the fifth book of his work Against Heresies, where he discusses the number of the name of Antichrist which is given in the so-called Apocalypse of John, speaks as follows concerning him: 'If it were necessary for his name to be proclaimed openly at the present time, it would have been declared by him who saw the Revelation. For it was seen not long ago, but almost in our own generation, at the end of the reign of Domitian.' To such a degree, indeed, did the teaching of our faith flourish at that time that even those writers who were far from our religion did not hesitate to mention in their histories the persecution and the martyrdoms which took place during it. And they, indeed, accurately indicated the time. For they recorded that in the fifteenth year of Domitian Flavia Domitilla, daughter of a sister of Flavius Clement, who at that time was one of the consuls of Rome, was exiled with many others to the island of Pontia in consequence of testimony borne to Christ." 
While Eusebius quoted Irenaeus' statement, notice that he also indicated that other secular histories at his disposal accurately indicated the banishment of Christians to Patmos occurred during Domitian's reign.
Eusebius continues: "Tertullian also has mentioned Domitian in the following words: 'Domitian also, who possessed a share of Nero's cruelty, attempted once to do the same thing that the latter did. But because he had, I suppose, some intelligence, he very soon ceased, and even recalled those whom he had banished.' But after Domitian had reigned fifteen years, and Nerva had succeeded to the empire, the Roman Senate, according to the writers that record the history of those days, voted that Domitian's horrors should be cancelled, and that those who had been unjustly banished should return to their homes and have their property restored to them. It was at this time that the apostle John returned from his banishment in the island and took up his abode at Ephesus, according to an ancient Christian tradition." 
Here again Eusebius mentioned an ancient Christian tradition, but did not quote his sources, that placed John's return from exile on Patmos after Domitian's fifteen year reign, and Nerva's rise to power (AD96).
There is more early evidence, both explicit and implicit, from other early writers prior to Eusebius, as follows:
Victorinus, bishop of Pettaw (Italy), agreed with Irenaeus. That Victorinus did not rely on Irenaeus for his information is clear from the fuller details of his statement not referenced by Irenaeus. "'And He says unto me, Thou must again prophesy to the peoples, and to the tongues, and to the nations, and to many kings.' He says this, because when John said these things he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the labor of the mines by Caesar Domitian. There, therefore, he saw the Apocalypse; and when grown old, he thought that he should at length receive his quittance by suffering, Domitian being killed, all his judgments were discharged. And John being dismissed from the mines, thus subsequently delivered the same Apocalypse which he had received from God." 
A little farther, Victorinus again made the same claim. "The time must be understood in which the written Apocalypse was published, since then reigned Caesar Domitian; but before him had been Titus his brother, and Vespasian, Otho, Vitellius, and Galba."
Clement of Alexandria (AD150-220) recounted a story about John shortly after his return from exile, while a very old man. "And that you may be still more confident, that repenting thus truly there remains for you a sure hope of salvation, listen to a tale, which is not a tale but a narrative, handed down and committed to the custody of memory, about the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrants death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit." 
The expression "the tyrant's death" can only refer to the death of either Nero or Domitian, the only two "tyrants" that ruled in the first century. Eusebius related that upon the death of Domitian, the Roman senate voted to release those exiled by Domitian. This seems to parallel Clement's statement above. However, the above statement COULD refer to Nero, except for one fact. In the story that Clement related, he clearly stated that John was a very old and feeble man.
The story is about a young new convert whom John entrusted to a certain elder to disciple in the Faith. The man had formerly been a thief and robber. Upon John's return from exile on Patmos, he heard that this young man had returned to his old life of crime. Upon hearing this, he sharply rebuked the elder in whose custody he had left him. John immediately set out for the place where this robber and his band were known to lurk. Upon reaching the place, he was assaulted by the band of robbers. He demanded of them to take him to their leader. They brought John to the very man whom John had formerly won to Christ, and left in the custody of the elder. When the young man saw John approaching, he began to run away. John began to run after him, calling, Why, my son, dost thou flee from me, thy father, unarmed, old? Son, pity me. Fear not; thou hast still hope of life. I will give account to Christ for thee. If need be, I will willingly endure thy death, as the Lord did death for us. For thee I will surrender my life. Stand, believe; Christ hath sent me. John then explained to him that forgiveness and restoration was still possible. Clement then stated, "And he, when he heard, first stood, looking down; then threw down his arms, then trembled and wept bitterly. And on the old man approaching, he embraced him, speaking for himself with lamentations as he could, and baptized a second time with tears, concealing only his right hand. The other pledging, and assuring him on oath that he would find forgiveness for himself from the Savior, beseeching and failing on his knees, and kissing his right hand itself, as now purified by repentance, led him back to the church." 
From this account we see that upon John's release from exile on Patmos, he was a feeble old man. John could have been in his teens or twenties when Jesus called him. He and his brother James were working with their father as fishermen (Matt. 4:21-22). Assuming John was in his twenties, he would have been in his eighties in AD96. If he was in his teens when Jesus called him, he would have been in his seventies at the end of Domitian's reign. However, if the "tyrant" referred to by Clement was Nero, then John would have still been fairly young by the time of Nero's death, perhaps in his forties, fifties, or early sixties. He would hardly be spoken of as a feeble old man by Clement.
That John lived until after the reign of Domitian is also shown by Irenaeus' repeated references to his own mentor, Polycarp, being John's disciple. Polycarp was born in AD65, and died in AD155. He was five years old when Jerusalem was destroyed. He was two years old when Nero died. His being tutored by John therefore must have been at least a decade after the destruction of Jerusalem, and more likely two or three decades afterward.
More than one early writer mentioned the persecution of the Apostles under Nero. They spoke of the martyrdom of Peter and Paul, but made no mention of John's exile during this persecution.
As is obvious to the unbiased reader, the early external evidence that Revelation was written under the reign of Domitian is indisputable. No evidence exists, from the first three centuries of Christian tradition, placing the composition of Revelation during the reign of Nero. Nor is there any evidence (Christian or secular) that Nero exiled any Christians to Patmos.
Preterist argument from internal evidence.
However, this argument is flawed at its very foundation. The Old Testament is full of the same Temple imagery. Any Gentile Christian familiar with the Old Testament (LXX) would be sufficiently familiar with the Temple imagery. Furthermore, familiarity with the New Testament book of Hebrews would also be sufficient. Even a cursory reading of Revelation reveals that John's visions and comments reference Old Testament prophecy on every page.
Ezekiel saw a future Temple in his prophetic visions.  Yet, his visions occurred during the Babylonian captivity years after Solomon's Temple was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. Many of those who returned after the seventy year captivity to rebuild the Temple had never seen Solomon's Temple, or observed its rituals.  Their familiarity with the Temple was based solely on the Torah and scrolls like Ezekiel's and Daniel's.
The Temple destroyed by the Romans has been gone for nearly 2000 years. If preterists' claim is correct, we should not be able to understand Revelation or write about Temple worship today because we have no personal first-hand knowledge of the Temple and its rituals. Such a position is absurd, since our knowledge of the Temple comes from the Scriptures. Neither the writing nor understanding of Revelation requires or implies first hand knowledge of the Temple. The Old Testament is sufficient. John certainly was himself familiar with the Temple, having been there with Jesus on several occasions. And his readers were well trained in the Old Testament Scriptures.
That John was told in his vision to "measure the Temple and them that worship therein," is likewise no indication that the Temple was still standing in Jerusalem. This prophetic vision clearly parallels Ezekiel's vision.  Ezekiel saw his vision during the Babylonian captivity, fourteen years after Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. Yet, in his vision, Ezekiel was taken to Jerusalem, shown a glorious Temple far larger than Solomon's Temple, and proceeded to record all the measurements of the Temple in great detail. John saw his prophetic Temple vision during Domitian's reign (AD81-96). We don't know exactly when during his reign he was exiled, nor how long prior to his release he wrote Revelation. But, the possible timespan covers anywhere from eleven to twenty six years after the destruction of the Temple by Titus. It certainly COULD have also been fourteen years following the Temple's destruction, just like Ezekiel's Temple vision. It is obvious that the command given John to "measure the Temple" was meant to parallel Ezekiel's vision. Since Ezekiel saw his Temple vision fourteen years after the first Temple had been destroyed and lay in ruins, there is every reason to conclude that the same situation existed when John wrote Revelation. Ezekiel's Temple vision and prophecy was clearly intended to indicate a future rebuilt Temple. Ezekiel did not see the former (Solomon's) Temple that had been destroyed, or a Temple that was currently standing. Therefore, John's vision of the Temple in Jerusalem should be seen in the same way, being an indication and prophecy that the Temple will indeed be rebuilt. Contrary to the claim that John's Temple vision indicates that Herod's Temple was still standing, when compared to the parallel account in Ezekiel, it seems obvious that both prophecies of measuring the Temple were given shortly after the Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed. The former in Ezekiel's day by Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, and the latter in John's day by Titus and the Romans.
That this is how the early Christians understood Revelation, even after the destruction of the Temple, is clear from their statements to the effect that the Temple in Jerusalem will be the seat of the Antichrist in the last days. 
The preterist's attempts to date Revelation before the destruction of Jerusalem fail on both internal and external evidence. This failure is indicative of their whole system, which is forced upon the Scriptures, and in this case, upon history as well. Preterist scholarship on this question is clearly agenda driven.
Just to add to Warner's article:
Many of the Church Fathers since John have written of the mystery of the identity of the Anti-Christ.
If John had just known it, why hadn't he revealed it to them? Why all these puzzled early fathers still wondering who it WILL be? (Note future tense.)
Excellent article for your files.
Just to add to Warner's article:
Many of the Church Fathers since John have written of the mystery of the identity of the Anti-Christ.
If John had just known it, why hadn't he revealed it to them? Why all these puzzled early fathers still wondering who it WILL be? (Note future tense.)
The dating of the book of Revelation plays a central role in how the book may be interpreted. Was Revelation a warning to churches of impending persecution prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70? Or did persecution occur much later, in A.D. 95-96 after Jerusalem was destroyed? The argument for preterism, the belief that the destructive prophecies in Revelation described events leading up to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, depends on the book of Revelation having been written before that date. Premillennialists, who believe these prophecies of destruction are yet future, are quick to argue for the late date because it "destroys this entire theory" of preterism.
Some significant research on the dating of Revelation has recently been conducted by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., in his doctoral research which is contained in the book Before Jerusalem Fell and in an excellent, but less technical summary entitled The Beast of Revelation. Gentry describes the history of the scholarly opinion as an ebb and flow with respect to the dating of Revelation. As liberalism grew in the 1800s, there was considerable pressure to assign late dates to many of the New Testament books. This bolstered the argument by liberals that redactors had added to, modified, or deleted portions of the Bible. Toward the late 1800s, however, the evidence for an early dating of Revelation was considered so compelling that a "strong majority" of scholars favored an early date. Since then, however, opinion has shifted back towards a late date with little apparent reason for doing so.
Gentry lists 145 scholars who advocate an early dating of Revelation, including the great church historian, Philip Schaff, and others such as Jay Adams, Greg Bahnsen, F.F. Bruce, Alfred Edersheim, John A. T. Robinson, and Milton Terry.
The theme verse of Revelation reads "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen" (Rev. 1:7). Cloud comings refer to swift judgment upon God's enemies (Ps. 18:7-15; Joel 2:1,2, Zeph. 1:14,15) in this case upon "they who pierced him." The Jews were covenantally responsible for Christ's death: they sought His death, paid for His capture, brought false witness, convicted Him, turned Him over to Roman civil authority, and declared "His blood be on us and on our children" (Matt. 27:25). The Greek word for "earth" can also be translated "land," thus the reference here likely refers to the twelve "tribes of the [promised] land," the Jews.
Thus, the judgment Christ prophesied against the Jews (Matt. 21:40-45; 23:32-24:2, Luke 23:23-30) is echoed throughout the book of Revelation. Whereas Christ warned that these prophecies would come within a generation (Matt. 12:41-45, 23:36, 24:34), similarly John in Revelation warns that these events will occur "shortly" (1:1), "the time is near" (1:3), "the hour . . . is about to come" (3:10 NASB), Christ is coming "quickly" in judgment (22:7), and "must shortly take place" (22:6). These judgments culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem under multiple armies under Roman command. Over a million Jews were slaughtered, hundreds of thousands of others were enslaved, the city left in ruins, and the great temple was utterly destroyed within a generation (40 years) of Christ's prophesy (Matt. 24:2).
The late date advocates who believe that Revelation was written around A.D. 95-96 have a problem on their hands. They suggest that persecution under the emperor Domitian was what is described in Revelation, but there is scant evidence that persecution of Christians by Domitian ever took place--a fact that many late date adherents readily admit. The author of Revelation, John, repeatedly alludes to a "great city" which is very likely a reference to Jerusalem and describes the temple as if it were still standing (Rev. 11:2). How can late date advocates make such claims of a city that history records was left in ruins in A.D. 70? Much has been made by late daters of a statement by Irenaeus in Against Heresies that seems to associate John or the book of Revelation with Domitian, but there are a number of translational, interpretational, and historical problems that caution against an overreliance on this ambiguous passage.
Bahnsen and Gentry cite external evidence for an early date: "Clement of Alexandria . . . asserts that all revelation ceased under Nero's reign. The Muratorian Canon (ca. 170) has John completing Revelation before Paul had written to seven different churches (Paul died in A.D. 67 or 68). Tertullian (A.D. 160-220) places John's banishment in conjunction with Peter's and Paul's martyrdom (A.D. 67/68). Epiphanius (A.D. 315-403) twice states Revelation was written under `Claudius [Nero] Caesar.' The Syriac version of Revelation (sixth century) has as a heading to Revelation: `written in Patmos, whither John was sent by Nero Caesar.'"
Since Nero died in A.D. 68, the writing of Revelation must have preceded that date, most likely having been written sometime between A.D. 64 and 67.
The Dating of Revelation by Jack Van Deventer
1 Dave Hunt, Whatever Happened to Heaven? (Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House, 1988) p. 249.
2 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem Fell, Dating the Book of Revelation (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989).
3 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Beast of Revelation (Tyler, Texas: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989).
4 Gentry, Beast, p. 90-91.
5 Ibid, p. 54-55.
6 Bahnsen, Greg L. and Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. House Divided, The Break-Up of Dispensational Theology. (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989) p. 259-260.
Preterism utterly fails on multiple fronts, but the dating of the Revelation is the final nail in the coffin.
The resolution to the preterist/end-time-intepretation controversy is very simple: the Apocalypse of St. John the Theologian is a description of all of history from the time it was written until the end.
St. John himself in his epistles uses "antichrist" not as an escatological figure, but as any who oppose or seek to supplant Christ.
The text applies to St. John's times, to the rise of Napoleon, to WW II, to now, whether ours is the end-times or not. Thus, we can see the rise of antichrist in our times, without knowing whether the last great Antichrist has arisen.
In this way we can both read the signs of the times, and repent, for the end is nigh, and have no idea of the time known only to the Father.
All of the arguments of your post seem clearly refuted in the posted article.
Additionally, there is no evidence of the death of the Apostle John around 70 AD. That would appear to end speculation about the date of Revelation.
Actually, no. It doesn't seem to deal with the extent of the persecution under Nero vs. Domitian and it also doesn't deal with the time texts ("things which must shortly take place", 1:1; 22:6; "Surely I am coming quickly", 22:20).
How so? There's nothing in Revelation regarding the timing of John's death.
Does not Paul teach that Jesus will destroy the antichrist - the man of sin - upon his return to earth?
I assume you are referring to:
"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming." (2 Thess 2:8)
The Lord Will Consume
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders. (2 Thess. 2:8-9)
As just indicated, the lawless one was eventually openly revealed. The mystery form of his character gave way to a revelation of his lawlessness in Nero's wicked acts. This occurred after the restrainer [Claudius, who maintained religio licita] was "taken out of the way," allowing Nero the public stage upon which he could act out his horrendous lawlessness.
According to Hendriksen verse eight destroys any preterist interpretation identifying the Man of Lawlessness with the Roman emperor, because it ties the events to the era of the Second Advent. The strong preteristic indications in the passage heretofore, however, demand a different understanding of the destructive coming of Christ here mentioned. As already shown in the discussion of verse 1, Matthew 24:30 is most relevant here: "Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." And that verse is specifically applied to the first century (Matt. 24:34), as is Revelation 1:7 (cp. Rev. 1:1, 3); Matthew 26:63-65; and Mark 9:1. Christ comes in judgment upon Jerusalem in the events of A.D. 67-70.
In that judgment-coming against Jerusalem there is also judgment for the Man of Lawlessness, Nero. There is hope and comfort in the promised relief from the opposition of the Jews and Nero (2 Thess. 2:15-17). Not only was Jerusalem destroyed within twenty years, but Nero himself died a violent death in the midst of the Jewish War (June 8, A.D. 68). His death, then, would occur in the Day of the Lord in conjunction with the judgment-coming of Christ. He will be destroyed by the breath of Christ, much like Assyria was destroyed with the coming and breath of the LORD in the Old Testament (Isa. 30:27-31) and like Israel was crushed by Babylon (Mic. 1:3-5). In fact, by God's providence Nero's death stopped the Jewish War briefly so that Christians trapped in Jerusalem could escape (cp. 1 Thess. 1:10). The Man of Lawlessness/Beast, Nero Caesar, dies in the Day of the Lord with the Great Harlot, Jerusalem (Rev. 19:17-21; cf. Rev. 22:6, 10, 12).
The Man of Lawlessness: A Preteristic Postmillennial Interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2 by Dr. Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Such imperial arrogance would produce alleged miracles as confirmation. Vespasian is called "the miracle worker, because by him "many miracles occurred." Tacitus, Histories 4:81; Suetonius, Vespasian 7. Notice that Paul speaks of these as "lying wonders."
Hendriksen, I and II Thessalonians, 173.
See my Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation (Tyler, Tex.: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), ch. 8.
See: Josephus, Wars 4:11:5. Cp. Luke 21:18, 20-24, 27-28; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3:5:3; Epiphanius, Heresies 29:7. See also: Rev. 7:1-17 in Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell, 243-244.
(This article is very long, but you need to conmsider it carefully see all the implications.)
Indirectly, there is. It says it was penned while John was in exile on Patmos. We know from numerous Church fathers, Irenaeus and Eusebius among them, that Yochanan was exiled to Patmos during Domitian's reign. Therefore, the Apostle couldn't have died before Domitian's reign and was around in the 90s AD.
Gentry lists F.F.Bruce as an advocate of an early writing (pre 70 A.D.) of Revelation. However in Bruce's introduction to the Gospel of John he states the following:
"But within John's general Hellenistic environment can we think of one particular category of reader that he might have in mind? Whom are the arguments deployed in the great debate of his central chapters designed to convince? These central chapters are largely devoted to one sustained debate between Jesus and the religious leaders in Jerusalem--a debate which was carried on in the following decades between the followers of Jesus and the synagogue authorities.
The destruction of the Jerusalem temple and the cessation of the sacrificial worship in AD 70 made little difference to Jewish life in the dispersion. The debate between the disciples and the synagogue authorities reached a critical stage around AD 90, when one of the prayers in the synagogue service was reworded so as effectively to exclude the followers of Jesus.45 It was probably against this background that the Fourth Gospel was published, in order to bring members of synagogue congregations in that area of the dispersion where the Evangelist and his associates lived (and in other areas too) to faith in Jesus as the Messiah of Israel, the Son of God, the Revealer of the Father.46 Among members of synagogue congregations those most likely to be impressed were perhaps Gentile God-fearers who regularly attended synagogue services (the record of Acts illustrates how this was so in Paul's mission-field a generation earlier)."
If Bruce is correct, it would seem that the destruction John writes about in Revelation was not the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple from 66-70 A.D. but some later cataclysmic event.
Are these the same church fathers that replaced "authentic Christianity", aka Messianic Judaism, with the gentile church?
That tradition comes to us primarily from Irenaeus through Eusebius. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the testimony of Irenaeus still amount to a tradition and is open to interpretation. He was not a firsthand witness of these events. His accuracy and precision as to what he was describing is not universally accepted.
This is how Schraff records Irenaeus' words: "We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitians reign."
The ambiguity exist in how to interpret the phrase "For that was seen", does "that" refer to John, his vision, or the account of his vision.
John could very well have been exiled under Domitian, yet had his revelation during an earlier exile under Nero. No one has claimed that he was only exiled once.
I'm not following. How do you conclude that from Bruce's comments?
Actually, if you understand Jewish thought at that time you'lll see they have only one event in mind. The destruction of the temple was intimately related to the "end of the age", that is the Jewish economy under which they were living. It is a misunderstanding to push "end of the age" out to mean some time far in our future. As we are told in Hebrews 9:26, Christ appeared at the "consummation of the ages" when He came the first time to deal with the sin problam of Israel.
I vaguely remember a post millennial interpretation that has Christ in a mini-advent in AD 70. I think this is clearly a faulty exegesis. We were clearly promised,
The confusion is that some people fail to distinguish between Christ's "cloud coming" in AD70 and what we call His second coming that is yet to be revealed. Matt. 24:4-31 and the parallel passages in Mark 13 and Luke 21 describe the former, passages like Acts 1 and 1 Cor. 15 describe the latter.
"The destruction of the Jerusalem temple and the cessation of the sacrificial worship in AD 70 made little difference to Jewish life in the dispersion."
The destruction in the vision in Revelation makes a big difference to Jewish life.
Obviously since the power of Rome was now the power of the church, they couldn't have a book predicting that the evil Roman Powers would be directly overthrown by Christ himself. It just didn't sit right.
Missler has said that while the Reformation reformed its views on soteriology and theology, they failed to make the necessary reforms to the Roman views on eschatology. IOW the preterist position is a throwback to the Holy Roman Empire eschatology. Earlier eschatology (prior to the marriage of the Roman government to the Roman Church) leaned towards a futurist interpretation and most of the early church fathers (prior to Augustine) held to the 95 AD date for the book of Revelation.
Only in Jerusalem. The effect would be negligible on Jews living in the diaspora. The only thing that would be affected is annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the various festivals. Revelation, like Matt. 24, was directed primarily against the Jews living in Jerusalem.
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