Written Debates

Written Debate On the Dating of Revelation

We are glad to present to our readers and visitors a formal written debate on the important topic of the dating of the book of Revelation. This debate was originally scheduled for the church of Christ debate forum on Yahoo.com, and can be read there as well. However, we wanted to present it here for our visitors, to give it as wide distribution as possible.

I am presenting the debate here precisely as it was posted on the Yahoo forum.

Don K. Preston 

The Dating of Revelation

A Formal Written Debate

Disputants

Dr. Lloyd Olsen– Dispensationalist, Late Date Advocate

Don K. Preston– Preterist, Early Date Advocate

First Affirmative: Don K. Preston

 

Proposition: Resolved: The Bible teaches that the book of Revelation was written before the fall of Jerusalem that occurred in A.D. 70.

Affirm: Don K. Preston

Deny: Dr. Olson

To Dr. Olsen, the members of this board, the moderators, and all, greetings! It is a distinct pleasure and honor to engage in this discussion, of what is a very important issue.

 

Let me define my proposition.

By the scriptures, I mean the 66 books of what is commonly called the Bible, inclusive of the "Old Covenant" and the "New Covenant."

By "teaches" I mean presents facts, imparts the evidence and understanding of the truth.

By "Revelation" I mean the Apocalypse of John, what is known as the last book of the New Testament.

By written before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, I think is self defining.

 

Just a note. I will sometimes use caps since this site does not work well with italics, or at least hasn’t in the past. I am not shouting. 🙂

 

The Importance of the Issue

The proper dating of the book of Revelation is not just a mundane intellectual exercise. The proper dating of the book is vital to properly interpret the book.

To illustrate: the judgment of Babylon in Revelation is the centerpiece of focus. If we mis-identify Babylon therefore, our entire eschatology will be wrong! The parousia of Christ in Revelation is in judgment of Babylon. Therefore, whoever Babylon of Revelation was, or is, it is in her judgment that our Lord was / is to come.

If we identify Babylon as the Roman Catholic Church, therefore, as Dr. Olsen does, and as I once did, then, inevitably, we must have an eschatology focused on the destruction of the RCC. A future posit blatantly violates the temporal statements of the text, however, that tell us in as many ways as possible to express it, that fulfillment was near, and to occur soon, shortly and quickly. Any way that you want to slice it, a yet future destruction of the RCC violates this nearness.

The prophecy of the book is not, in a very real sense, timeless, although we today can take great comfort in what was written, and done. Revelation was written within a very real historical context of persecution (Revelation 1:9: "I am your brother in tribulation").

Revelation speaks of events that "must shortly come to pass" (Revelation 1:1-3).

The book of Revelation was written in symbolic language ("he sent and signified" 1:1). Symbols are not timeless. They are written in, and properly understood in the specific "sitz em leben" (life situations) of the people to whom they are addressed. These symbols are taken from their times, their culture and literature, (in this case, the O.T. prophetic scriptures). To impose modern social, cultural, political, military, etc. interpretations on ancient symbols is misguided and anachronistic.

The book of Revelation is written in distinctly covenantal language, the language of the Mosaic covenant between YHVH and Israel (which of course embraces the Abrahamic covenant as well). Revelation is about the consummation and fulfillment of God’s promises to Old Covenant Israel, and as such, had to be fulfilled in the first century– of course, this is part of our debate– in the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem.

Thus, we must seek, as much as is possible, to understand the proper historical context of the book, so as to properly ascertain the meaning of its message, the proper understanding of its symbolism.

In this first affirmative, I will present a few basic arguments will demonstrate the validity of the points I have made above, and that will prove that Revelation was written before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, and was predictive of that catastrophe.

ARGUMENT #1

THE TEMPORAL PARAMETERS OF REVELATION

IN LIGHT OF MATTHEW 24:36 AND LUKE 21:8

My first argument builds on what I just noted: The book of Revelation affirms, in the clearest, most unambiguous manner, that the fulfillment was near: "These things must shortly come to pass…the time is at hand" (1:1-3); "The time is at hand"… do not seal the vision, for the time is at hand… Behold, I come quickly." (Revelation 22:6-12).

Fact: Revelation foretold the Second Coming of Christ. I trust that Dr. Olsen will not deny this.

: Revelation foretold the Second Coming of Christ. I trust that Dr. Olsen will not deny this.

Fact: In Matthew 24:36, speaking of his parousia, Jesus said, "of that day and hour knows no man, but my Father only."

: In Matthew 24:36, speaking of his parousia, Jesus said, "of that day and hour knows no man, but my Father only."

Fact: In John 16:7-16 Jesus said that after his ascension, the Father would send the Spirit to inspire the apostles and show them "things to come."

: In John 16:7-16 Jesus said that after his ascension, the Father would send the Spirit to inspire the apostles and show them "things to come."

Fact: Revelation was written by John, inspired by the Spirit sent by the Father who knew the time of the parousia. (In point of fact, all N. T. books were written by men inspired by the Spirit, sent by the Father who knew the time of the parousia.)

: Revelation was written by John, inspired by the Spirit sent by the Father who knew the time of the parousia. (In point of fact, N. T. books were written by men inspired by the Spirit, sent by the Father who knew the time of the parousia.)

Fact: In Revelation 1:1-3 we find this: "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass." It was the FATHER revealing that the time of fulfillment was near.

: In Revelation 1:1-3 we find this: "The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass." It was the FATHER revealing that the time of fulfillment was near.

Fact: Revelation 1:1-3 cannot be dismissed as a mere hope of John for the soon fulfillment. It cannot be taken as a statement of Jesus, with the claim that he did not know the time. All time statements in Revelation are the inspired revelation from the Father, WHO KNEW THE TIME, and inspired John to say and write that fulfillment was near.

: Revelation 1:1-3 cannot be dismissed as a mere hope of John for the soon fulfillment. It cannot be taken as a statement of Jesus, with the claim that he did not know the time. All time statements in Revelation are the inspired revelation from the Father, WHO KNEW THE TIME, and inspired John to say and write that fulfillment was near.

So, Matthew 24:36 cannot b
e used to negate the temporal nearness of the fulfillment of Revelation based on a (misguided) argument that John could not know the time, since Jesus did not know. THE "IGNORANCE" OF JESUS IN MATTHEW 24:36 DOES NOT APPLY IN REVELATION, SINCE IN REVELATION IT WAS THE FATHER WHO WAS EMPHATICALLY, CLEARLY, AND REPEATEDLY SAYING THE TIME WAS NEAR.

It cannot be argued that God does not see time like man, since Jesus himself said the Father knew the "day and the hour." Furthermore, Paul said God had "appointed a day" (Acts 17:30f). Now, if the Father knew the day and hour, and had appointed the day, then it is prima facie evident that He not only knew how to tell time, but, was truthfully communicating that knowledge when He caused John to write: "These things must shortly come to pass…. the time is at hand."

In support of that last statement, note now the correlation of Matthew 24:33 with Luke 21:8.

Notice Jesus’ words in Luke 21: "Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘the end has drawn near.’ Do not go after them."

In Jesus’ discussion of the end in Matthew, Jesus gave the disciples the signs of the end, and said "When you see all of these things know that it is near, even at the door." (Matthew 24:33).

Notice several facts here:

#1.) The presence of the signs of the end would indicate the OBJECTIVE NEARNESS– not some ambiguous, elastic imminence, but, the true nearness of the end. Now, catch this: Dr. Olsen believes that when the signs come, believers today can know the end is OBJECTIVELY NEAR. So, he will apply the "at hand" time statements literally and objectively, when, as he believes, the signs appear. Yet, Jesus’ first century disciples are the ones who were told: A.) Not to believe (or make) premature declarations of the nearness of the end. B.) That they would see the signs. C.)When the signs appeared, they could know the end was near. The question is therefore, why can we not take THEIR time statements literally, since they were told not to believe or make statements concerning the nearness of the end until they saw the signs? Were they mistaken about seeing the signs, or in their statements of the nearness of the end?

The presence of the signs of the end would indicate the OBJECTIVE NEARNESS– not some ambiguous, elastic imminence, but, the true nearness of the end. Now, catch this: Dr. Olsen believes that when the signs come, believers today can know the end is OBJECTIVELY NEAR. So, he will apply the "at hand" time statements literally and objectively, when, as he believes, the signs appear. Yet, Jesus’ first century disciples are the ones who were told: Not to believe (or make) premature declarations of the nearness of the end. That they would see the signs.When the signs appeared, they could know the end was near. The question is therefore, why can we not take THEIR time statements literally, since they were told not to believe or make statements concerning the nearness of the end until they saw the signs? Were they mistaken about seeing the signs, or in their statements of the nearness of the end?

#2.) Jesus said that all declarations of the nearness of the end were to be rejected before the end was truly near, as indicated by the signs. Thus, anyone saying "the end has drawn near," before the appearance of the signs of the end, was to be rejected as a false prophet "Do not go after them!"

Jesus said that all declarations of the nearness of the end were to be rejected before the end was truly near, as indicated by the signs. Thus, anyone saying "the end has drawn near," before the appearance of the signs of the end, was to be rejected as a false prophet "Do not go after them!"

#3.) Peter and John heard Jesus’ warnings about believing (and thus, against making), premature declarations of the nearness of the end. They knew– better than anyone– not to believe or make premature declarations of the nearness of the end.

Peter and John heard Jesus’ warnings about believing (and thus, against ), premature declarations of the nearness of the end. They knew– better than anyone– not to believe or make premature declarations of the nearness of the end.

#4.) In full knowledge that Jesus warned against believing or making premature declarations of the nearness of the end– and yet, writing by the inspiration of the Spirit sent by the Father to reveal things to come…

In full knowledge that Jesus warned against believing or making premature declarations of the nearness of the end– and yet, writing by the inspiration of the Spirit sent by the Father to reveal things to come…

PETER wrote: "The end of all things has drawn near." (1 Peter 4:7) "The time has come for the judgment to begin…" (1 Peter 4:17).

Furthermore,

JOHN wrote– and JESUS SAID: "These things must shortly come to pass…the time is at hand"; "Do not seal the vision of this book, the time is at hand… Behold, I come quickly." (Revelation 1:1-3; 22:6-12)

So, Peter and John heard Jesus warn against believing (or making) premature declarations of the nearness of the end.

Jesus gave them signs to indicate the actual nearness of the end.

Peter and John, in full knowledge of the prohibition of making premature declarations of the nearness of the end, BOTH AFFIRMED THAT THE TIME OF THE END WAS NEAR. (Is it not remarkable that Peter used almost the precise words that Jesus told them the false teachers would use?) Furthermore, please catch the power of this: IT WAS JESUS HIMSELF IN REVELATION 22:6,10-12, 20 THAT SAID FULFILLMENT WAS AT HAND, AND COMING QUICKLY.

SO, IF THE END AND PAROUSIA WAS NOT TRULY NEAR, JESUS BECOMES ONE OF THE VERY FALSE PROPHETS MAKING PREMATURE DECLARATIONS OF THE NEARNESS OF THE END, THAT HE HIMSELF WARNED ABOUT!

Now, we have but two choices here:

Peter and John’s (AND JESUS’!), declarations of the nearness of the end were in fact, some of the premature declarations of the nearness of the end that Jesus condemned! In this case, we must reject Peter and John (AND JESUS), as false prophets. Yet, they claimed to be writing through the Spirit sent from the Father, who, remember, knew the time of the end!

Peter and John’s declarations of the nearness of the end were true. However, if Peter and John’s statements that the end had drawn near 2000 years ago are true, then patently, all declarations of the nearness of the end that came after their generation, are prima facie FALSE. Near does not mean 2000 years, for the signs would, remember, mean that the end was RIGHT AT THE DOOR!

Here are a few questions for Dr. Olsen to answer. We hope he will not be evasive or refuse to answer.

DR. OLSEN, DID PETER AND JOHN MAKE PREMATURE DECLARATIONS OF THE NEARNESS OF THE END? YES OR NO?

DID JESUS MAKE PREMATURE DECLARATIONS OF THE NEARNESS OF THE END IN REVELATION?

WERE PETER, JOHN AND JESUS RIGHT WHEN THEY SAID THAT THE END HAD DRAWN NEAR, 2000 YEARS AGO? YES OR NO?

We look forward to your answers to these questions.

In harmony with the above, let me take note of the following:

Peter (1 Peter) and John wrote TO THE IDENTICAL AUDIENCES, the churches of Asia.

Peter and John both wrote of the IDENTICAL PROBLEM, the persecution of the saints (1 Peter 1:5f; Revelation 1:9f).

John wrote that there was a fiery trial the hour of trial, that was "about to (mellousees), come" (Revelation 3:10).

Peter, writing to the same folks, said, that they were in heaviness of trial although for only a little while "through manifold trials, that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gol
d that perishes, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise, and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." He then said, "Do not be surprised at the fiery trial that is among you." (Te en humin, 1 Peter 4:12, there is no future tense in 1 Peter 4:12).

Peter and John both said the time of the end and the judgment had drawn near.

I trust that Dr. Olsen will agree that 1 Peter was written before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. If not, he can tell us why.

John, in Revelation, said the fiery trial, the time of testing, was ABOUT TO COME.

Peter said that the time of trial, by fire, was now ALREADY AMONG THEM!

Since PREDICTION PRECEDES FULFILLMENT, then since John predicted the fiery trial that was coming on the Asian Christians, and Peter affirmed that the fiery trial had become a reality among the Asian Christians, this is proof that Revelation was written before Peter, and thus, BEFORE THE FALL OF JERUSALEM IN A.D. 70.

To negate this argument, Dr. Olsen must prove BEYOND DOUBT, that Peter and John wrote of different fiery trials, different persecutions, of different peoples, at different times. He cannot prove these things.

He cannot negate the objective nature of the nearness of the events, without impugning the inspiration of Peter, John– and Jesus himself– in light of Luke 21 and Matthew 24, as just proven.

The fact that Revelation PREDICTED what Peter– writing before A.D. 70– said HAD NOW COME, establishes that Revelation was written before A.D. 70, my proposition is established.

ARGUMENT #2

REVELATION RECORDS THE FULFILLMENT OF DEUTERONOMY 32– THE SONG OF MOSES– AT THE FULL END OF ISRAEL’S COVENANTAL HISTORY.

Deuteronomy 32 is paradigmatic for the New Testament gospel message, and particularly the ministry of Paul. Throughout his writings, Paul both directly cites and alludes to the Song as being fulfilled in his ministry. Perhaps more on this later.

Furthermore, the Song of Moses is directly alluded to in Revelation 15, when the great multitude stood on the sea shore and sang the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb (there are two songs in the text). Not only is the Song alluded to, thematically, the Song underlies a great deal more of Revelation than is generally acknowledged. See my book Who Is This Babylon, for a detailed discussion of this.

We cannot fully analyze the entire chapter of the Song. However, here are a few facts:

 

1.) Moses directs the Song to be written down as YHVH’s witness against Israel, to serve as a reminder of God’s foreknowledge of what would happen to them (Deuteronomy 31:18f).

2.) Moses informs Israel that he is aware that after his death, she will become utterly corrupt, and in the last days, evil will befall her as a result (Deuteronomy 31:29).

3.) As the many generations pass, Israel is to rehearse the Song as a reminder of God’s sovereignty, and their propensity to sin (32:7f), and a prediction of their final end. This projection into the distant future from Moses is important.

4.) YHVH foretells that Israel will become apostate; "Jeshurun" (i.e. the beloved), would grow fat and sinful (32:15f).

5.) As a result of Israel’s sinfulness YHVH would hide His face from them and, "I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation." (Deuteronomy 32:20).

So, in Israel’s last days, her latter end would come, because she would become a perverse generation and become "utterly corrupt."

Significantly, PETER, ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST, SAID THAT JOEL’S PREDICTION OF THE LAST DAYS– THE SAME LAST DAYS FORETOLD BY MOSES– WAS BEING FULFILLED: "THIS IS THAT WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY THE PROPHET JOEL…"(ACTS 2:15F). HE CALLED ON HIS AUDIENCE, "SAVE YOURSELVES FROM THIS PERVERSE GENERATION!" (ACTS 2:40). There could not be a more irrefutable declaration that Israel’s last days had arrived than Peter’s words.

In Acts 3.21f Peter said all of the O.T. prophets "spoke of these days." Those were Peter’s days, not our days, or our future days. Peter again affirmed that the O.T. prophets did not foretell their own days, but Peter’s days, which he called the last times (1 Peter 1:10-12, 20).

Jesus appeared in the last days (Hebrews 1:1-2)– the last days of Old Covenant Israel (Galatians 4:4)– to confirm the O.T. promises to the fathers (Romans 15.8). If Jesus did not appear in the last days of Israel– as foretold by Deuteronomy, THEN HE COULD HARDLY FULFILL THE LAST DAYS PROPHECIES.

Paul said the end of the ages had arrived (1 Corinthians 10.11), and that Christ had appeared in the end of the age (Hebrews 9:26).

John said, "It is the last hour. As you have heard that anti-christ should come, even now there are many anti-christs, thereby you know that it is the last hour" (1 John 2:18).

There can be no question that the N. T. writers affirmed that they were living in the last days foretold by the O.T. prophets.

Here are the facts:

1.) Deuteronomy 32 foretold Israel / Jerusalem’s final end, in the last days. By the very nature of the case, there are no last days, no "latter end" of Israel, beyond that predicted in Deuteronomy 32. Moses did not predict the "next to the latter end." If so, we would call on Dr. Olsen to prove it.

Deuteronomy 32 foretold Israel / Jerusalem’s , in . By the very nature of the case, there are no last days, no "latter end" of Israel, beyond that predicted in Deuteronomy 32. Moses did not predict the "next to the latter end." If so, we would call on Dr. Olsen to prove it.

2.) Peter and the rest of the N. T. writers said they were living in the days foretold by the O.T. prophets, and judgment was coming on that generation.

Peter and the rest of the N. T. writers said they were living in the days foretold by the O.T. prophets, and judgment was coming on that generation.

3.) Revelation foretold the last days destruction of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8f– DR. OLSEN AGREES THAT REVELATION 11 PREDICTED A FUTURE (TO JOHN) DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM.

Revelation foretold the last days destruction of Jerusalem (Revelation 11:8f– DR. OLSEN THAT REVELATION 11 PREDICTED A FUTURE (TO JOHN) DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM.

4.) Revelation says that judgment was at hand according to the Father Himself (Revelation 1:1-3).

If John’s statements of the nearness of that judgment are wrong, then he is one of the false prophets Jesus warned him about.

But, if we accept– as we should–John’s inspired statements, then the only judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem that fits Revelation 11 is the A.D. 70 judgment, and this establishes my proposition.

Succinctly, my argument would be this:

Deuteronomy 32 foretold the last days destruction of Israel / Jerusalem.

The first century generation was the last days time foretold by Deuteronomy 32. This can be proven in a multiplicity of ways, if Dr. Olsen wants to challenge it.

This can be proven in a multiplicity of ways, if Dr. Olsen wants to challenge it.

Revelation 11 foretold the last days, SOON COMING, destruction of Jerusalem (Rev. 1:1-3; 11.8).

NOW, PRIMA FACIE, THERE WAS NO AT HAND, COMING QUICKLY, LAST DAYS DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM, OTHER THAN A.D. 70.

Since Revelation was written before the destruction of Jerusalem that it foretells, and says that destruction was coming quickly, this proves that Revelation was written before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

THE FILLING UP OF THE MEASURE OF ISRAEL’S SIN AND REVELATION.

Moses said that after his death– in the generations to come, at Isra
el’s latter end, Israel would become "utterly corrupt" (Deuteronomy 31:29; 32:15f. See also Isaiah 59; 65:6f).

In her last days, Israel would in fact, become like Sodom (Deuteronomy 32.32– and Dr. Olsen admits that the "great city" of Revelation 11:8, "spiritually called Sodom" is none other than Jerusalem.

As a result of Israel becoming utterly corrupt, YHVH would judge His people, now, please, catch the power of this, in Israel’s latter end, YHVH would "AVENGE THE BLOOD OF HIS SAINTS" (Deuteronomy 32:35-43).

Question:

When would Israel / Jerusalem:

1.) Become "utterly corrupt", filling up the measure of her guilt/sin?

2.) When would she be judged for that guilt?

3.) When would the vindication of the blood of the martyrs occur?

Jesus answers the question definitively and irrefutably:

Matthew 23:29f "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. 31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. 32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. 33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."

Jesus spoke of Israel’s internecine history of killing the martyrs.

Jesus said that he was going to send his apostles and prophets to Israel / Jerusalem, and that she would kill them.

Jesus said that by killing his apostles, prophets and saints (cf. Luke 11.49f), Israel would fill up the measure of her sin– she would become utterly corrupt. (Notice in Matthew 12:43-45 that Jesus described Judah / Jerusalem of his generation as the worst of all.)

Jesus said that all of the blood of all of the righteous, ALL THE WAY BACK TO CREATION, would be avenged / judged in his generation, in the judgment of Jerusalem– "Verily I say unto you, all of these things shall come upon this generation" (Matthew 23:34-36).

Now, let me take note that Jesus accused Israel of killing the PROPHETS.

Of course, they were going to kill HIM as well (Matthew 21:33f).

They were going to kill THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS that he sent to them.

In doing so, they were going to fill the measure of their sin.

Judgment would fall on them– in that generation in the A.D. 70 fall of Jerusalem.

I trust that Dr. Olsen will concur with all of the above from Matthew 23. If not, he can tell us why.

NOW, NOTICE THE CORRELATION WITH WHAT PAUL SAYS:

"For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans,

15 who KILLED BOTH THE LORD JESUS AND THEIR OWN PROPHETS, AND HAVE PERSECUTED US; and they do not please God and are contrary to all men, 16 forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always TO FILL UP THE MEASURE OF THEIR SINS; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost. (1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; My emphasis).

Just like Jesus in Matthew 23, Paul rehearses Israel history.

They had killed the PROPHETS.

They had killed JESUS.

They were now killing THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS OF JESUS.

In doing so, they were FILLING UP THE MEASURE OF THEIR SIN.

They were about to be judged.

There is no doubt that Paul wrote Thessalonians before the fall of Jerusalem, and predicted that judgment, and Dr. Olsen will agree. If not, he tell us why.

LET’S CORRELATE THIS WITH REVELATION.

Revelation says of Babylon:

:

SHE HAD KILLED THE PROPHETS (Revelation 16:6-7). Note that Jesus said of Old Covenant Jerusalem, "It is not possible that a prophet perish outside of Jerusalem" (Luke 13:31-33).

There is an important point here. The term "the prophets" is used 72 times in the N.T.. When used without a contextual qualifier the term "the prophets" or even the anathrous "prophets", it INVARIABLY refers to the Old Covenant prophets. Thus, when Revelation describes Babylon as the city that killed the PROPHETS, this means the Old Covenant prophets!

DR. OLSEN, DID THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH– THAT YOU IDENTIFY AS BABYLON OF REVELATION– EVER KILL AN OLD COVENANT PROPHET? Yes or No? Please do not fail to answer this.

SHE IS "WHERE THE LORD WAS SLAIN" (Revelation 11:8).

Now, if Dr. Olsen wants to delineate between "the great city" of Revelation 11 and "the great city" Babylon, I will be happy to show that they are in fact the same city. BUT, REMEMBER THAT DR. OLSEN AGREES THAT REVELATION 11:8 REFERS TO JERUSALEM.

SHE WAS KILLING THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS OF JESUS (Revelation 18:20, 24– she was in fact guilty of ALL THE BLOOD SHED ON THE EARTH, cf. Matthew 23:34f again). Notice that Jesus said it was to Old Covenant Jerusalem / Israel to whom he would send "my apostles and prophets, and some of them you shall crucify…" (Luke 11:49f). JESUS IDENTIFIED JERUSALEM AS THE CITY THAT WOULD KILL HIS APOSTLES AND PROPHETS!

Paul likewise identified Old Covenant Jerusalem / Israel as the entity that was killing Jesus’ apostles and prophets.

WHAT IS THE AUTHORITY FOR CHANGING JESUS AND PAUL’S IDENTIFICATION OF THE CITY THAT WAS KILLING THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS OF JESUS?

Furthermore, Dr. Olsen, please tell us, did the Roman Catholic church kill any of the apostles and prophets of Jesus? Yes or No?

The answer is: THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH NEVER KILLED AN APOSTLE OR PROPHET OF JESUS! To say otherwise is anachronistic, or, it demands that at some point in the future, THE RCC WILL KILL THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS OF JESUS!

If the Roman Catholic Church had not killed the apostles and prophets of Jesus– although Revelation says she had!- then, will the apostles and prophets of Jesus one day be resurrected from the dead, to be slain, again, this time by the RCC? Will there be more apostles and prophets of Jesus in the future? Yes or No?

BABYLON’S CUP OF SIN WAS NOW FULL (Revelation 17:6f; 18:5). Dr. Olsen, give us the TEXTUAL AND CONTEXTUAL EVIDENCE that the filling up of the measure of sin, of Babylon, is to be divorced from Jesus and Paul’s testimony, and from the consistent testimony of scripture that it was Jerusalem and Israel that would fill the measure of her sin in the last days. We will not be convinced by presuppositional theological reasons. We need text and context.

HER JUDGMENT WAS NOW NEAR, and coming soon (Revelation 18-22). Remember, it was the Father– who knew the time of the parousia perfectly– who was revealing that the judgment of Babylon was near, at hand, and coming quickly!

Now, please catch the power of the following: In that judgment of Babylon, the Revelator recorded the paeon o
f praise to YHVH:

"After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! 2 For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her." (Revelation 19:1-2).

JOHN IS CITING DEUTERONOMY 32:43 IN HIS SONG OF PRAISE, THANKING YHVH FOR AVENGING THE BLOOD OF THE MARTYRS IN THE JUDGMENT OF BABYLON!

It should not be forgotten that Revelation is about the fulfillment of the O.T. prophets (Revelation 10:7f). So, if Revelation 19 is not the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32, and its promise of the avenging of the blood of the saints in Israel’s last days, we will call on Dr. Olsen to give us the O.T. prophecies of the avenging of the blood of the saints THAT ARE NOT RELATED TO ISRAEL’S LAST DAYS as is Deuteronomy 32.

So, Deuteronomy 32 foretold Israel’s last days, and her latter end.

Deuteronomy said Israel would fill the measure of her sin- and become utterly corrupt- in her last days.

Deuteronomy 32 said that Israel would be judged, and the blood of the saints would be vindicated, in Israel’s last days.

Jesus who appeared in the last days, taught that everything that Deuteronomy predicted would happen IN HIS GENERATION.

Paul reiterated what Jesus said: judgment for shedding the blood of the saints would be brought on Jerusalem IN HIS GENERATION.

Revelation reiterates EXACTLY what Deuteronomy 32, Jesus and Paul had to say about the killing of the saints, becoming utterly corrupt, the impending judgment, and says that in the judgment of Babylon, Deuteronomy 32:43 would be fulfilled (Revelation 19:2)!

SO, MY ARGUMENT GOES LIKE THIS:

Revelation describes the soon coming destruction of Babylon, because she had killed the PROPHETS, JESUS, and THE APOSTLES AND PROPHETS OF JESUS, filling the measure of her sin.

The judgment of Babylon would be the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32:30-43, and YHVH’s promise that in Israel’s last days, He would judge her and avenge the blood of His saints.

Jesus and Paul said that all of the blood of all of the martyrs, all the way back to Creation, would be avenged / vindicated in the judgment of JERUSALEM in A.D. 70.

Therefore, the judgment of Babylon of Revelation was the judgment of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

The only way for Dr. Olsen to counter my argument is to show:

1.) That Deuteronomy 32 foretold a different last days judgment on Israel from that foretold by Jesus (Mt. 23), or Paul (1 Thessalonians 2:14f). Yet, Jesus came to confirm the O.T. prophets, and Paul repeatedly says that his gospel and eschatology was nothing but the hope of Israel (Acts 24:14; 26:6f; 26:21f)!

2.) That although Jesus identified Jerusalem as the city that killed the prophets, she would kill him, and his apostles and prophets, and although Paul said the same thing, that in Revelation, a totally different entity is identified as the one guilty of killing the prophets, Jesus and Jesus’ apostles and prophets!

3.) Dr. Olsen must prove that the vindication of the blood of the martyrs in Revelation 18-19 is not the vindication of the martyrs in Israel’s last days– as foretold by Deuteronomy 32. Now if he admits that Revelation is Deuteronomy 32, then the fact that fulfillment was FAR OFF IN DEUTERONOMY, but NEAR IN REVELATION proves beyond all doubt that you cannot elasticize the time statements in Revelation into ambiguity and meaninglessness.

4.) If Dr. Olsen admits that Revelation 18-19 is the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32, this is prima facie demonstration that Babylon could be none other than Old Covenant Jerusalem. That is, unless DR. OLSEN CAN FIND THE RCC IN DEUTERONOMY 32!

5.) He must show that although Jesus said it was Jerusalem to whom he would send his apostles and prophets, and that she would kill them, that now, John is radically altering Jesus’ words, and applying them to an entity and events millennia removed from the landscape of Jesus prediction. Yet, John’s at hand statements match Jesus’ "all of these things shall come upon this generation" perfectly.

6.) He must prove that the vindication of the martyrs in Revelation 18-19 is not the vindication of the blood of the martyrs foretold by Jesus in Matthew 23, or Paul in Thessalonians, even though the identical constituent elements are found in these passages, and the identical time frame is given.

7.) He must prove that the soon coming, at hand, coming quickly judgment on Babylon was actually A PREMATURE DECLARATION OF THE END BY JOHN. But, of course to do this DESTROYS JOHN’S– AND JESUS’– INSPIRATION.

8.) Dr. Olsen must prove that, although it was the Father, who knew perfectly the time of the parousia, He did not intend that "at hand, quickly, and shortly" be a genuine, truthful declaration of the objective nearness of the end.

LET ME OFFER AN IMPORTANT AND RELATED ARGUMENT AT THIS JUNCTURE, BASED ON HEBREWS AND DEUTERONOMY 32:

JESUS APPEARED IN THE LAST DAYS– the time predicted by Deuteronomy 32 (Hebrews 1:1-2; 9:26)- and of course, Jesus said that Judah / Jerusalem would fill the measure of her sin, and be judged in his generation, when the blood of the saints would be avenged, just as Deuteronomy foretold.

In Hebrews, WRITTEN BEFORE A.D. 70, the saints were being persecuted (Hebrews 10:30-35).

The author of Hebrews offered them comfort and vindication at Christ’s parousia, by citing the prophecy of Deuteronomy, not once, but TWICE (v. 30–Deuteronomy 32:35-36).

The author said that vindication of their suffering and the judgment of their persecutors, AS PROMISED IN DEUTERONOMY, was coming "in a very, very little while, and will not delay" (v. 37– Cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:4-12).

DEUTERONOMY 32– the prophecy of the vindication of the saints in Israel’s last days, WAS ABOUT TO BE FULFILLED!

Now watch: Revelation 18-19 likewise anticipated the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32:33-43, the last days judgment of Israel when God would avenge the blood of the martyrs.

Revelation posits that fulfillment in the judgment of Babylon.

And, like Hebrews, the author of Revelation promised that the judgment was coming soon, it was at hand, and coming quickly.

Now, unless Dr. Olsen can divorce, DEFINITIVELY, the context of Hebrews from the context of Deuteronomy 32 and Revelation, and / or show conclusively that although both Hebrews (again, written before A.D. 70), and Revelation cite the identical prophecy from Deuteronomy, and both say the fulfillment of Deuteronomy was near, then, since Hebrews was written prior to A.D. 70, this proves that Revelation was likewise written before A.D. 70.

Dr. Olsen cannot prove that Hebrews and Revelation spoke of two disparate judgments, at two different last days of Israel frame works. He cannot prove that Hebrews speaks of one fulfillment of Deuteronomy, while Revelation speaks of another.

So,

Hebrews, written before A.D. 70, anticipated the soon coming fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32 TO AVENGE THE BLOOD OF THE SUFFERING SAINTS.

Revelation anticipated the soon coming fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32 in the judgment of Babylon TO AVENGE THE BLOOD OF THE SUFFERING SAINTS

Therefore, Revelation was written before A.D. 70.

Now, keep this critical fact in mind: DR. OLSEN ADMITS THAT REVELATION 11:8 SPEAKS OF A FUTURE TO JOHN JUDGMENT OF JERUSALEM!

But, Hebrews and Revelation say that the judgment of that persecuting power, in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32- was at hand, coming quickly, and would not delay.

So, once again, there was only one, at hand, coming quickly, judgment of Jerusalem for filling the measure of her sin by shedding the blood of the saints, AND THAT WAS THE A.D. 70 JUDGMENT AND D
ESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM.

This is a prima facie demonstration that Revelation– like Hebrews– was written before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

 

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

Here is what we have seen in our first affirmative.

We have shown that the statements of the nearness of the fulfillment of Revelation must be taken at their face value, and not marginalized, elasticized, or denied.

We have shown this by showing that Jesus said that after his ascension, the Father would send the Spirit to the apostles to reveal "things to come." All of the New Testament books were written after the sending of the Spirit, and thus, ALL TIME STATEMENTS OF THE NEARNESS OF THE END ARE FROM THE FATHER, not from Jesus who did not know the time when he was still on earth.

We have shown that Jesus specifically warned John (and Peter) against believing or making premature declarations of the nearness of the end. He told them however, that they could see the signs, and thereby know when the end was near, "even at the doors," (cf. James 5:9-10 by the way), and Peter and John both emphatically said that the end was near! So, either Peter and John became some of the very false prophets to be rejected, or, their time statements were valid, true, and objective. But of course, to admit this destroys Dr. Olsen’s proposition.

We have shown that if the time statements of the nearness of the end were premature, that this means that Jesus himself was guilty of becoming one of the false prophets that he warned the apostles about. Jesus himself said that fulfillment was at hand, and coming quickly. It was the Father that told him that!

The objective nature of the time statements concerning the nearness of the end virtually demands a pre-A.D. 70 dating of Revelation, and positively precludes a futuristic fulfillment of any kind.

We have shown that John predicted the "about to come" fiery trial, that was coming on the churches of Asia. We have seen that Peter, writing to the identical audience, said that the fiery trial was now "among you". This proves that John in Revelation was written before A.D. 70.

We have shown that the New Testament writers affirm, in unequivocal, irrefutable terms, that the last days of Israel foretold by the O. T. Prophets, were present in the first century (e.g. Acts 2:15f).

We have shown that John’s prediction of the avenging of the blood of the saints is from Deuteronomy 32, which predicted the judgment of Israel in her last days, when the blood of the saints would be avenged. This precludes an application of Revelation to the Roman Catholic church.

We have shown that Hebrews– admitted by all to be written prior to A.D. 70– anticipated the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32, in the judgment of the persecutors of the saints. Likewise, Revelation anticipated the fulfillment of the identical verses from Deuteronomy 32, in the judgment of Babylon. This is a clear demonstration of the early date of Revelation.

We have shown that both Jesus and Paul identify Old Covenant Jerusalem as the entity guilty of killing the prophets, Jesus, and Jesus’ apostles and prophets. Yet, it was Babylon of Revelation that John says had done these things! To counter these powerful thematic elements, Dr. Olsen must provide us with some powerful proof indeed. Simple assertions will not do.

Not only do Jesus and Paul identify Jerusalem as the city guilty of killing the prophets, Jesus, and Jesus’ apostles and prophets– as John identifies Babylon as the guilty party in Revelation– Jesus, Paul and John all agree that the judgment of the entity guilty of killing the prophets, Jesus, and Jesus’ apostles and prophets was near, coming soon, and coming quickly.

Dr. Olsen must prove that the near, and soon coming judgment of Matthew 23 and 1 Thessalonians 2 CANNOT BE the soon coming, at hand judgment of Babylon in Revelation.

Remember that Dr. Olsen admits that Revelation 11 predicts a coming destruction of Jerusalem. This leaves him with only two choices:

1.) TO ADMIT THAT THE JUDGMENT OF BABYLON TRULY WAS NEAR– as revealed by the Father Himself. This of course, honors Jesus in Matthew 23 and Paul in 1 Thessalonians, but, negates Dr. Olsen’s eschatology. It honors what Jesus said about the revelatory Spirit.

2.) TO DENY THAT THE JUDGMENT OF BABYLON TRULY WAS NEAR. But, to deny the truthfulness of the "Father revealed" imminence is tantamount to an outright rejection of the Father’s revelation.

There was only one at hand, soon coming, and coming quickly judgment of an entity that was guilty of killing the prophets, Jesus, and Jesus’ apostles and prophets, in fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant prophecies of Israel’s last days, and that judgment was the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem. Since patently, the judgment of Babylon was near, at hand, and coming quickly, this is definitive proof that Revelation was written before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

My proposition stands proven.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *