Hre is Lloyd Olsen’s First Negative Response to Don K. Preston. We present it here exactly as it is was presented to the Yahoo Debate forum.
Greetings to the owner(s) of Religiousdebates, its moderators, members, and to you Mr. Preston. While the proposition before us pales with respect to justification, it is nevertheless an important topic.
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
I accept Mr. Preston’s definitions save his definition of "Revelation." This is not the "Apocalypse of John." It is the Apocalypse of God given to Jesus Christ and then given to John.
I applaud Mr. Preston’s quest to properly understand the writing "in the specific ‘sitz em leben’ (life situations) of the people to whom they are addressed" and in its "proper historical context." However as nice this sounds, we must not stop there. The proper hermeneutic must involve a consistently literal or normal interpretive framework that follows the common sense rules of context, grammar, and linguistics.
I say in advance as kindly as possible that throughout this debate Mr. Preston has in every point, in every discussion, and in every so-called illustration violated the common sense historical context and closed his eyes to his own self-stated quest. By NOT using these common sense rules he has failed to rightly divide God’s Word. Sadly, he is content to errantly use just the parts of each context that seem to support his views.
II. Gone awry from even the introduction
The importance of the right interpretive framework surfaces even before Mr. Preston can present his first so-called argument. His introduction has two illustrative shortfalls. First, he writes:
. . . Revelation speaks of events that "must shortly come
. . . to pass." (Revelation 1:1-3).
It is crucial – even vital – for us to see that Mr. Preston has violated his own quest for a proper understanding of the proposition. Countless works have identified Rev 1:19 as the key to understand the Book’s three historical contexts:
. . . (1) the things which thou hast seen (past),
. . . (2) the things which are (present), and
. . . (3) the things which shall be (future).
Because Mr. Preston has failed to see the importance of this three part key, he wrongly forces everything to fit his misguided focus on things that "must shortly come to pass" (eggus) and other similar phrases such as "quickly," "near," or "at hand." Behind these words are the important Greek words "tavcos," "eggus," or "mevllw." However, Mr. Preston errs in thinking that these are technical words with precise meanings.
Scripture also uses the same words in a qualitative sense to indicate "how." For instance, Acts 22:18 uses "tavcos" to indicate manner when it says, "Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me." The LXX also displays an adverbial use of these expressions by using them in prophetic contexts that would not be fulfilled for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years or more into the future (Isa 13:22; 51:5; Zeph 1:7, 14; Obad 15; Isa 5:26; 13:6; 58:8; Joel 1:15; 2:1; 3:14).  The fact is that these words have broad semantic ranges. They must be defined by the context in which they are used.
Because the context of Revelation involves global events that have not yet come to pass (Rev 1:19), an adverbial or qualitative meaning – rather than a chronological meaning – should be assigned to these words. While this is no problem for a futurist interpretation, it is a serious problem for Mr. Preston in that he must assume that the Second Advent and the final judgment have already occurred if he is to be consistent with himself. Mr. Preston’s view comes dangerously close to unorthodoxy and heresy.
Second, Mr. Preston makes a major theological guffaw with his covenantal framework. He writes:
. . . 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).
This major theological guffaw has two serious problems.
One problem is that the Book of Revelation is NOT WRITTEN in distinctively covenantal language. The Book of Revelation forms the appropriate conclusion to all aspects of world history. While this includes covenants, the Book is not written in distinctively covenantal language. Mr. Preston speaks of things that he cannot prove. By way of contrast, the distinctively covenantal language of the Mosaic Covenant was written for an already chosen people; Revelation was written to fit the description of Dan 9:24. These aspects are given as follows:
. . . focused on Israel,
. . . focused on Jerusalem,
. . . to finish (complete/end) the transgression,
. . . to make an end of sins,
. . . to make reconciliation for iniquity,
. . . to bring in everlasting righteousness,
. . . to seal up the vision and prophecy, and
. . . to anoint the most Holy.
While Mr. Preston can make a case for some things in the above list, he cannot say that there is an end of sins. He cannot say that everlasting righteousness has been brought in. He cannot say that all vision and prophecy has been fulfilled. He cannot say that the most Holy has been anointed. Mr. Preston has failed to see this crucial contrast between the Book of Revelation and the Mosaic Covenant.
A second problem is that the language of the Mosaic covenant DOES NOT embrace the Abrahamic covenant! This serious error is worth a debate all by itself and has several important negative consequences to Mr. Preston’s faulty interpretive framework. It is crucial for us to understand just exactly what the gospel is. The gospel is the good news of the PROMISE of salvation. This was established with humanity first with Adam (Gen 3:15). This promise was progressively developed with Abraham through whom would come blessings to Abraham, Israel, and to us Gentiles (Gen 12:1-3). Paul, beginning in Gal 3:15, shows that the Mosaic Covenant had nothing to do with the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant. The Davidic Covenant (2 Sam 7:4-17) progressively developed the promise with David through whom would come Abraham’s blessings. In addition Jeremiah 31; Ezek 11, 18 & 36; and Heb 8 all confirm a special covenant with national Israel that is in effect during the last days. Bear in mind that this new covenant with Israel does not abrogate the Adamic/Abrahamic/Davidic eternal promise.
There are several negative consequences of this serious theological guffaw. First, this means that Mr. Preston is wrong to use the Mosaic Covenant as a lens to interpret the Book of Revelation. Second, Mr. Preston is wrong to think that the blessings promised to national Israel ended with the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. Most of the OT prophets and several NT writers wrote of the restoration of national Israel at the end of this age. Third, it is impossible to argue that Revelation’s contents have already been fulfilled since the destruction of the majority of the world’s population (Rev 6), the greatest earthquake in human history (Rev 16:18), and other major catastrophes obviously have never taken place. Fourth, a theology based on Mosaic conditional obedience has nothing to do with the promise of eternal life. Fifth, Israel’s conditional blessings and curses do not fulfill all of the purposes in Daniel’s 70 weeks.
These two shortfalls are enough to invalidate Mr. Preston’s proposition. His subsequent arguments merely add a corrupted hermeneutic to these foundat
ional shortfalls. What follows is the easy identification of the invalid foundation and a faulty hermeneutic that will not utilize context, grammar, and simple linguistics.
III. ARGUMENT #1: THE TEMPORAL PARAMETERS OF REVELATION IN LIGHT OF MATTHEW 24:36 AND LUKE 21:8
III.A. Violations of Context
Mr. Preston writes:
. . . Matthew 24:36 cannot be used to negate the temporal
. . . nearness of the fulfillment of Revelation.
Here Mr. Preston violates the context of Matt 24 – the very thing he didn’t want to do. Although the fall of Jerusalem is discussed, this is NOT the subject of Matt 24. The pillage of Jerusalem is used only as a springboard to point to the signs of Jesus’ Second Advent and the end of the world (24:3). Mr. Preston missed both of these important context clues.
If Mr. Preston is right, then Jesus has come and is sitting on His throne in Jerusalem ruling the world. If Mr. Preston is right, then Satan is bound in the bottomless pit and there is no more sin, pestilence, or war. If Mr. Preston is right, then the end of the world has already happened. Common sense and the daily newspaper both show Mr. Preston to be very wrong.
Moreover, the context of Matt 24 does not end with chapter 24. Mr. Preston missed two other important clues from context. Context continues to describe the judgment of the Gentiles (25:31-46). This lengthy context ends with everlasting punishment and life eternal (25:46). Context shows that Mr. Preston is very wrong. Oh that Mr. Preston would use context!
Mr. Preston continues by telling us that the 12 disciples themselves would see the signs and know that the end was near. However, the context clearly indicates the adverbial quality of the passage rather than the chronological quality. The desolation spoken of by Daniel (Matt 24:15) has not yet chronologically happened. Rather, the adverbial nature will be experienced by all those who live at the true end of the age. This is verified in Luke 21:32 where it is "this generation" which shall see the signs. The guiding referent for "this generation" (Matt 24:34) is "all these things." This generation is adverbial. It refers to the generation that lives long after the 12 disciples passed on.
Let me expose Mr. Preston’s faulty link to the Book of Revelation in another way simply by listing all the things that were NOT fulfilled in the first century – things that cannot support his personal opinion.
. . . Christ has come again (24:3)
. . . the world has ended (24:3)
. . . many anti-christs (24:5),
. . . hated of all nations (24:9),
. . . the abomination of desolation (24:15)
. . . great tribulation such as was not since the beginning (24:21),
. . . the Second Advent (24:27) [the 2nd use of this clue],
. . . sun darkened, moon not give light, and stars falling from heaven (24:29),
. . . the WHOLE world sees the sign of Jesus coming (24:30),
. . . the judgment of people (24:31),
. . . the judgment of Gentile nations (25:31)
. . . everlasting judgment and eternal life (25:46)
Mr. Preston has ignored easy to see context of the entire chapter. By failing to use context, he has blinded himself to the real topic – the Second Advent and the end of the world (24:3). Matthew 24 does not provide proof for an early date of Revelation. Mr. Preston is guilty of using the Bible to prove his views rather than using the Bible as the basis of his views. He is only right if everything in the above list happened at the sack of Jerusalem in AD 70. Again, common sense and the daily newspaper teach that Mr. Preston is way wrong.
III.B. The UNTOWARD GENERATION.
Mr. Preston has made a big issue of 1 Peter 4:7,17. Most commentaries assign the date of this Book to before AD 70. Peter himself in Acts 2 tells his countrymen to escape the judgment coming upon their "untoward generation" (Acts 2:38). Recall that only one generation in the entire history of the world has ever been guilty of crucifying Jesus their Messiah. Before Pilate, the crowds cried out, "His blood be on us, and on our children" (Matt 27:25). The judgment on Jerusalem in AD 70 was God honoring this request.
Peter is writing before this judgment has fallen. While Peter’s statements certainly have bearing upon Jerusalem’s plight, it is another matter to link them to the dating of the Book of Revelation. Mr. Preston’s argument is merely his wish in assuming this link. That both John and Peter speak of the nearness of judgment does not mean that they have the same judgment in mind or that "nearness" must be seen as chronological.
Recall again that the Greek words for "nearness," "quickly," and "soon" are not technical terms. They are best understood by context. The context has several key points that can be highlighted by the following few questions:
. . . Have all the nations seen Jesus coming?
. . . Has Jesus judged individuals?
. . . Has Jesus judged the nations?
. . . Has Satan been cast into a bottomless pit for 1000 years?
The answer to all of these questions is all a resounding "NO!" Context thus dictates that the Greek words for "nearness," "quickly," and "soon" are to be understood adverbially. Jesus will come soon for everyone no matter in what chronological time period they now live. Death for us all is near – quick – soon. It is only one heartbeat away.
Peter’s statements must be seen from context as applicable only to that one untoward generation of Israelites that crucified their Messiah. But since Jerusalem was not destroyed and is well populated today, Peter’s writing is of no useful support for Mr. Preston’s proposition.
The nearness of which Jesus speaks in Rev 22:12 is adverbial! Satan has not been bound in a bottomless pit. Jesus does not yet sit on David’s throne ruling the world from Jerusalem. The world has not yet been judged. It is wrong to think that Jesus came just after the Book of Revelation was written.
The nearness of which Isaiah wrote in Isa 13:22 is adverbial. Although Israel was judged by God by means of a foreign nation, the great and terrible Day of the LORD has not yet happened. It is wrong to think that the great Day happened after Israel’s temporal judgment.
The nearness of the Day of the LORD (Zeph 1:7,14; Joel 1:15) is adverbial. The sun has not yet been turned into darkness (Acts 2:20). The Day of the LORD was preceeded by Elijah the prophet (Mal 4:5). The nearness of which Zephaniah and Joel wrote was several centuries. In fact, Peter tells us that one day with the Lord is like a thousand years (2 Pet 3:8). God’s infinite view of history is quite different from our finite view. It is wrong for Mr. Preston to demand that nearness means a short time chronologically.
The days of fruitfulness under a new covenant that are "at hand" (Ezek 12:23, 36:8) have not yet happened for those days are adverbial – not chronological. The writer of the Book of Hebrews shows that the covenant that was "at hand" has not yet come to being (Heb 8).
Mr. Preston has cherry picked scriptural references and mindlessly pasted them together in willful ignorance and disdain of context.
III.C. John’s fiery trial
Let us continue documenting Mr. Preston’s cherry picking hermeneutic. He writes that John said that the "fiery trial, the time of testing" was about to come. However, "fiery trial" isn’t used in the Book of Revelation. Mr. Preston alludes to 1 Pet 4:12 and wrongly assumes that this is used in the Book of Revelation. It isn’t surprising that "time of testing" isn’t found in the Book of Revelation either. Mr. Preston is writing just to sooth his own strained conscience. Since he has no real Bible from which to use, he desperately seeks for any prop to support his errant propositio
As mentioned earlier, Peter writes before the sack of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple. Mr. Preston must do more than show the similarities of the words of impending doom for Peter and John write of two distinct dooms. The Book of Revelation is the bookend for the Book of Genesis. Genesis documents the beginning corruption of humanity; Revelation God’s judgment on humanity, the restoration to the Garden of Eden normalcy, and the glorious reign of Christ. Matthew 24 is linked to the end of human history – not the end of a particular temple – not one particular fiery trial among an uncountable number of trials – and certainly not the destruction of Jerusalem.
Let us note the right use of the concept of "fiery trial." The Book of Revelation has a warning of all the calamities that are contained within its pages "for the time is at hand" (Rev 1:3). However, a right view of context using the key found in Rev 1:19 shows that this passage is speaking of . . . (2) the things which are (present). Rev 1:3 is certainly NOT TALKING about the destruction of the temple for the temple will be rebuilt (for one example note that Ezekiel devotes the final eight (8) chapters to the new temple). Rev 1:3 is certainly NOT TALKING about the ruin of Jerusalem for Jerusalem rose up out of its plunder.
Where is the link to the date of the Book of Revelation? The sack of Jerusalem is a completely different moment than what the Book of Revelation discusses. It is the height of folly to try to link them together for an early date to the Book of Revelation. Mr. Preston has ripped the phrase out of its context and twisted it to fit his unsupportable personal opinion. Many heresies have been promulgated upon Christ’s Church by this faulty method.
Again, Mr. Preston is only right if
. . . All the nations seen Jesus coming.
. . . Jesus has judged individuals.
. . . Jesus has judged the nations.
. . . Satan has been cast into a bottomless pit for 1000 years.
Since none of these events have happened, Mr. Preston is very wrong. There are no temporal (chronological) parameters in Revelation that can support an early date.
IV. ARGUMENT #2: REVELATION RECORDS THE FULFILLMENT OF DEUTERONOMY 32 – THE SONG OF MOSES – AT THE FULL END OF ISRAEL’S COVENANTAL HISTORY.
IV.A. The Gospel
Mr. Preston writes:
. . . "Deuteronomy 32 is paradigmatic for the
. . . New Testament gospel message."
GASP! This is SCANDALOUS and REPREHENSIBLE!
It is abundantly clear that Mr. Preston does not understand the gospel message. The gospel message is the Promised Seed as given in a nutshell to Adam (Gen 3:15), described with more details to Abraham (Gen 12), and described even more perfectly with the Word Who became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ. The gospel message has nothing to do with Deuteronomy 32. Deuteronomy 32 is part of the Mosaic Covenant, a conditional covenant of blessings and curses for one special nation: Israel. Conditionality for Israel has nothing to do with the universal and unconditional gospel plea for the look of faith to Jesus.
This tragic mistake parallels and confirms Mr. Preston’s earlier guffaw by which he stated that the Mosaic covenant embraced the Abrahamic covenant! This second statement now confirms that the first guffaw was not a momentary slip or oversight. Mr. Preston’s support for his second argument is based upon a violent misunderstanding of very basic theology.
IV.B. Fanciful Leaps of Personal Opinion
Again, Mr. Preston builds his argument of the Book of Revelation upon the writings of those who lived BEFORE the conquest of Jerusalem. Yes – Peter did warn his fellow countrymen to escape the judgment coming on that untoward generation (Acts 2:40). No – this is not a proof that the Book of Revelation was written before the judgment on Jerusalem in AD 70.
Again, Mr. Preston cherry picks the NT. He is right in that Jesus did appear in the last days (Heb 1:1-2) born under the law (Gal 4:4) to confirm the OT promises (Rom 15:8). However, these verses will not support the leap to his proposition of an early date. Merely quoting scripture is of no service to theology if one does not understand context or elementary covenants.
Mr. Preston must do must than quote verses. He must prove the linkage with something of substance beyond his personal opinion that the destruction of the temple and the sack of Jerusalem is the message of the Book of Revelation. Of course, from my side, I know that he has nothing biblical from which to work. I know that he cannot find any such provable link and so he scurries to use anything – even wild fanciful leaps of personal opinion.
IV.C. The Right Key.
Mr. Preston turns to Rev 1:1-3 for support in this argument. However, we have already seen that this is not the right key to understanding the Book of Revelation. Mr. Preston makes no mention of Rev 1:19, the right key.
IV.D. Rev 11.
Mr. Preston’s proof for Rev 11 is nothing but his personal opinion that we should see Rev 11 as the AD 70 judgment on Jerusalem. An unsupported unproven personal opinion is no proof of anything. The CONTEXT of Rev 11 is one of the Gentiles trampling the holy city for 42 months. Let us examine the CONTEXT in the right manner to see of what it is talking.
The event of Rev 11 will be accompanied by two prophets who can call down fire from heaven and destroy their enemies (11:5). There was nothing like this written about the AD 70 destruction. Mr. Preston has ignored the context.
These two prophets have power to shut up the sky so that it will not rain (11:6). There was nothing like this written about the AD 70 destruction. Mr. Preston has ignored the context.
When the two prophets have finished their mission the beast from the Abyss will kill them. People from every nation will see their deaths and rejoice because the two prophets tormented the entire earth (11:7-10). There was nothing like this written about the AD 70 destruction. Did people from every nation see the Roman armies? Mr. Preston has ignored the context.
After 3.5 days, those two dead prophets will come back to life and be visibly taken into heaven (11:11). There was nothing like this written about the AD 70 destruction. Mr. Preston has ignored the context.
At that very hour there is a severe earthquake in which one tenth of the city collapses and seven thousand people die (11:13). There was nothing like this written about the AD 70 destruction. In fact, what was written about the AD 70 downfall of Jerusalem is in the millions of lives lost. Mr. Preston has ignored the context.
Immediately after this judgment the LORD takes control of the world (11:15), judges the dead (11:18), and opens God’s temple such that the Ark is visible (11:19). I simply ask the following questions:
. . . Has the LORD taken visible control of the world?
. . . Has judgment happened?
. . . Can we now see God’s Ark?
The answer to all of these questions is all a resounding "NO!" Mr. Preston is guilty of pearl stringing his cherry picked verses. He has not given any support that can stand the scrutiny of CONTEXT. No one I know can see God’s Ark.
IV.E. Filling Up The Measure Of Israel’s Sin.
Mr. Preston writes that the AD 70 judgment on Jerusalem filled up (completed – finished) Israel’s sin. Does Mr. Preston dare think that Israel has not sinned after the judgment of AD 70? It is the height of folly to assume that God’s judgment on one city at one point in history would fill up the measure of the nation’s sin for the rest of history. This haphazard relationship is a good example of how Mr. Preston cannot find anything of substance to support his proposition.
Mr. Preston is right in documenting Israel’s sins as given throughout the Bible. Sadly, he wasted many words on this incontrovertible fact. However, this truthfulness i
s not a valid proof for either the filling up of Israel’s sin or for an early date for the writing of the Book of Revelation.
Confusion about covenants blinds Mr. Preston to the wealth of information regarding the restoration of national Israel after they have experienced God’s wrath and judgment. Indeed, most of the major and minor prophets speak not only of Israel’s punishments but also of their undeserved blessings that follow their punishments.
Israel provides not an either/or view into covenants but the both/and interplay between the universal and unconditional Abrahamic Covenant of promise and the conditional Mosaic Covenant of Israel’s national obedience. Within the Abrahamic Covenant God promised personal blessings to Abraham and the promise of a future great nation complete with land and worldwide blessings. The conditional stipulations of Deuteronomy affect only whether or not Israel dwells in the land that is rightfully theirs. Disobedience will result in punishment – not loss of land. The land is theirs in perpetuity. Even within the conditional obedience stipulations there is a promise of ultimate restoration of national Israel to their land at the moment when the nation believes.
. . . But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you
. . . will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart
. . . and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these
. . . things have come upon you, in the latter days, you will
. . . return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For
. . . the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not
. . . fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with
. . . your fathers which He swore to them. (Deut. 4:29-31).
God has promised NEVER to reject national Israel (Lev 26:44-45; Isa 30:26, 60:1-22). God is especially vocal about this in Jeremiah 31:35-37. There He notes that He will only cast off Israel if the moon and stars stop shining. He will only reject Israel if the heavens can be measured and the foundations of the earth discovered.
One day, after their current punishment to the four corners of the world, Israel will be regathered and restored to world-wide prominence. Ezek 36:24-28 foretells Israel’s future regathering and cleansing. Zechariah 12:10 foretells how God will pour blessings upon Israel. Many other passages speaks of God’s work for them (Isa 61, Jer 31:31-40, 50:4-5; Ezek 11:19-20, 34:25-26, not to mention this is the theme for the whole book of Amos).
Mr. Preston uses Deuteronomy as a measure of the wrong destruction. Yes! The temple was destroyed in AD 70. Yet the Bible (especially the last 8 chapters of Ezekiel) foretells of the future greatness of the rebuilt temple. Yes! Jerusalem was ruined in AD 70 and millions lost their lives. No! Neither Jerusalem nor Israel was destroyed in AD 70. The city/nation that will be completely destroyed is the Babylon of Rev 18. Since Israel will never be destroyed and Jerusalem has been rebuilt, the Babylon of Rev 18 can never be Israel or Jerusalem. The pillage of Jerusalem in AD 70 has nothing to do with the destruction of tiny national Israel. God emphatically guarantees that Mr. Preston’s folly will never happen.
Mr. Preston has failed to prove the link from Israel’s temporal punishment to the total destruction of Babylon in Revelation 18. There are two different unrelated judgments. The conquest of Jerusalem in AD 70 has nothing to do with the either the destruction of Babylon or the dating of the Book of Revelation.
Mr. Preston links the filling up of Israel’s sin with 1 Thess 2:14-16. He quotes the passage but then comes to the wrong conclusion.
Yes! 1 Thess was written before AD 70. Yes! The wrath of God fell upon them in AD 70. However, as noted above one must not use personal opinion that this is a proof of an early date for the writing of the Book of Revelation.
Mr. Preston should have turned to 2 Thess 2. There Paul dealt with Mr. Preston’s error. Even back in Paul’s day, people were confused about the judgment on Jerusalem and the time of the great and final judgments. Some – like Mr. Preston today – argued that the Day of Christ had already happened. Paul answered Mr. Preston’s error by noting that God’s judgment does not come until AFTER the man of lawlessness is revealed (2 Thess 2:3). This is accompanied by counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders (2 Thess 2:9-10).
I simply ask:
. . . has that man of lawlessness set himself up in God’s temple?
. . . was there documentation of signs and wonders in AD 70?
There was nothing like this written about the AD 70 destruction. Mr. Preston has ignored the context and jumped to the wrong conclusion. Nothing in the letters written to the Thessalonians can be linked to the date of the Book of Revelation. Context is so important!
IV.G. An Old Covenant Prophet.
Mr. Preston points to Rev 16:6-7 and asks: "Did the Roman Catholic church – that you identify as Babylon of Revelation – ever kill an old covenant prophet?"
This question shows the systemic flaws of Mr. Preston’s theology. Sadly, he twists common sense passages to suit his own personal opinion. There are two aspects of this vile twisting that we need to address here.
First, Mr. Preston has not even quoted the passage correctly. The correct quotation deals with shedding the blood of saints and prophets. Mr. Preston has twisted this to mean Old Covenant prophets. In this he ignores the fact that all those who believe in Jesus are kings (Rev 5:10) and priests (1 Pet 2:5-9). While all are not prophets, God has abundantly filled His Church with prophets (1 Cor 12:28, 14:20-37).
So when we rightly see that Rev 16:6-7 is open to NT saints and prophets, then the answer is an easy "YES!" Only a predetermined twisting of God’s Word could give rise to such a deceptive question.
Second, Mr. Preston’s question again shows his misunderstanding of covenants. There is no difference between an old covenant prophet and a new covenant prophet. In fact, the use of "old covenant" is a misguided reference to the Mosaic Covenant of obedience for one particular people which I’ve repeatedly shown has nothing to do with the universal and unconditional gospel of faith in Jesus Christ. The reference to "old covenant" is meaningless since the truth of the gospel of faith in Jesus is taught in both testaments. The gospel is the promise first given to Adam (Gen 3:15), refined with Abraham (Gen 12), refined with David (2 Sam 7), and revealed personally through Jesus the Incarnate Word.
The appeal to covenants for the dating of the Book of Revelation is nothing more than a rabbit trail that has no real bearing on the proposition. Mr. Preston thinks he can dismiss the Roman harlot with a vile redefinition of words and blind ignorance to world history.
IV.H. The Place Where The Lord Was Slain
Mr. Preston points to Rev 11:8 which notes the place where the Lord was slain. Yes. This is Jerusalem in particular and Israel in general. What Mr. Preston fails to see is that the great Babylon of Rev 18 also encompasses tiny Israel. Hence the place where the Lord was slain also applies to the old Roman Empire and also to the modern day harlot who is the essence of the OT spirit of Babylonian rebellion. Mr. Preston is again guilty of redefining common sense words to fit his preconceived errant wishes.
V. Use of the Book of Revelation.
One would think that in a debate over the date of the Book of Revelation we would see arguments and data from the Book of Revelation. Mr. Preston has only used Revelation indirectly. His first argument started with the ignorance of the context of Matthew 24. So without the right guidance from context, he jumped to the wrong conclusion about his untested assumption for Revelation. His second argument was based on the misunderstanding of the Mosaic Covenant and its non-application to the dat
e of the Book of Revelation. By restricting his focus to one passage, Mr. Preston rejected the bulk of prophetic messages detailing the restoration of national Israel.
Mr. Preston failed to provide any internal evidences that support an early date. It is not my duty to write his part of the debate. It is only my part to call to the reader’s attention the scarcity of relevant data. Two easily shot down arguments not directly related to the topic is good only for a losing proposition.
Mr. Preston’s affirmation failed to substantiate his proposition on two levels: overarching systemic flaws in his theological framework and the violent abuses of hermeneutics.
First, from an overarching theological perspective, his systemic weakness involves violations of hermeneutics involving context, grammar and common sense linguistics. This weakness plagued both of Mr. Preston’s arguments. This type of mistake is common to those whose loyalty to their denominational creed takes precedence over submission to the Word of God. We must do more than pay lip service to a proper hermeneutic. However, Mr. Preston’s systemic failure also involves the confusion of the conditional Mosaic Covenant given to a particular people – with – the universal and unconditional Covenant of promise received by faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, Mr. Preston’s second argument was an even greater disaster because he added a serious misunderstanding of basic Bible covenants to a corrupted hermeneutic.
Second, given the violations of hermeneutics and the glaring systemic corruption – it is only natural and expected that Mr. Preston would come to wrong ideas, wrong concepts, and a wrong theology in every particular point, in every particular discussion, and in every so-called illustration. His proposition is also debunked for the following particular reasons:
1. Mr. Preston does not understand covenants. He repeatedly confused the conditional Mosaic covenant of obedience given solely and only to national Israel – with – the progressively developed unconditional covenants of promise associated with the gospel given to the entire world.
2. Mr. Preston uses material written before AD 70 and about Jerusalem without providing any valid link to the Book of Revelation. Merely quoting a passage and giving personal opinion is not proof that the passage applies to the Book of Revelation. I shudder to think how many words Mr. Preston wasted quoting good Bible verses without providing any real linkage to the date of the Book of Revelation beyond his own personal opinion.
3. As a corollary to #2, Mr. Preston does not use the Book of Revelation as the basis for discussing the date of the Book of Revelation. If you read through his arguments, they were from Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Deut 32. Sadly, he ripped all three of these passages from their contexts so as to be able to force his own flawed opinions upon them.
4. Mr. Preston ripped Matthew 24 and Luke 21 out of context. He stopped his analysis with the first two verses which drew our attention to the destruction of the temple. The context is NOT of the destruction of the temple or the ruin of Jerusalem. The context is about the signs of Jesus’ Second Advent and the end of the world.
5. Deut 32 foretold a different judgment on Israel than that foretold by Jesus (Matt 23) or Paul (1/2 Thess). Jesus used the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem to foretell His Second Coming and the signs of the end of history. Paul wrote that the Day of Christ would not happen until the man of lawlessness was revealed and accompanied by signs and wonders.
6. Jerusalem is claimed by Israel, the old Roman Empire, and the Babylon of Rev 18. Mr. Preston has failed to see this important duality.
7. Mr. Preston deviously misquoted verses (Rev 16:6-7) to make them appear as if they supported his proposition. Really, what devious misrepresentation he presented openly in this verse is the substance of his entire presentation.
8. Mr. Preston has forced his faulty narrow definition upon Rev l1:8.
9. One day with the Lord is like a thousand years (2 Pet 3:8). God’s infinite view of history is quite different from our finite view.
10. Mr. Preston ignored the internal evidences of the Book of Revelation. This is very strange – especially when we realize that the proposition pointedly refers to the Book of Revelation.
11. Apparently, Mr. Preston does not understand how a formal written debate operates. In this part of the debate, the onus of proof lies upon him. My part as the negative speaker is to show his mistakes of context, grammar and linguistics. Therefore, it is quite sad to see that he wasted many words in many places demanding that I prove this or that. As shown throughout this response and here in the mini-summary, Mr. Preston has not proved his proposition – either from an overarching theological perspective or from the exegetical particulars. His proposition has failed the test of an honest scrutiny by means of theology, context, grammar and linguistics.
12. The fact that God judged that untoward generation of national Israelites is no proof that the date of the Book of Revelation has an early date. The many references to biblical literature written BEFORE the Roman conquest of Jerusalem are no proofs that the date of the Book of Revelation has an early date. One must do more than reference Bible verses and appeal to personal opinion. One must show the link between the verses using sound context, grammar and linguistics. This Mr. Preston has repeatedly failed to establish any viable link.
13. His 6586 words are noteworthy only to the extent that they show his willful ignorance of context, deceptive redefinition of common sense words. His 6586 words demonstrate abject confusion over covenants. His 6586 words show an alarming failure to use the Book of Revelation as the basis of analysis. He wrote 6586 words and didn’t prove anything.
Mr. Preston’s proposition is in flames. Due to systemic weakness in his overarching theological framework and violent abuses of the particulars of exegetics, his proposition was easily debunked. It stands only in the minds of those who will not rightly divide God’s Word.
May you be blessed by this study as we eagerly look forward to the visible Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Let us magnify the precious name of Jesus for His grace is broader than the scope of our transgressions and greater far than all our sin and shame. Praise the LORD. May God receive all the glory!
Footnotes: Thomas Ice, "Has Bible Prophecy Already Been Fulfilled? (Part 2)," Conservative Theological Journal, Vol 4, Dec 2000: 306.