The Dating of Revelation
A Formal Written Debate
Dr. Lloyd Olsen– Late Date Advocate
Don K. Preston– Early Date Advocate
Second Affirmative: Don K. Preston
Submitted to the Yahoo Debate Forum on 10-7-08
I was hoping for more from Dr. Olsen. Instead of a serious presentation of a negative, what we got was petitio principii (begging the question), a priori, ad hominem arguments without any attempt at proof, just bold, unsubstantiated claims, and blatant untruths.
Dr. Olsen argues that I am mistaken to focus on Revelation 1:1-3, i.e." these things must shortly come to pass…the time is at hand". He claims that all scholars see Revelation 1:19 is the true crux interpretum (key to interpretation) of the book. Let’s see if this helps him.
Revelation 1:19 told John to write concerning past things. Those past events could not be at hand, and coming quickly.
He was told to write of things then present. These things could not be at hand and coming quickly; they were already present.
He was told to write of things to come (literally, "about to come", from mellein. The Blass-DeBrunner Greek Grammar, (Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1961, p. 181) says mello indicates imminence).
Now the things about to come, were without any doubt, the "things which must shortly come to pass", "for the time is at hand" of 1:1-3. While Mr. Olsen divorces verse 19 from v. 1-3, the connection is inseparable, and thus, his entire objection is nullified.
Dr. Olsen claims that all the time words rendered at hand, quickly, shortly, etc. must be understood adverbially, to indicate the rapidity of action versus the nearness of occurrence. This is patently false, and is the invention of a theology that cannot accept the normal definition of words. For someone who claims that we must interpret language literally, Dr. Olsen’s refusal to take time words literally is revealing. He essentially divorces time from the entire family of time words. This is due, not to lexical evidence or context, but, is solely because of his presuppositional theology. Let me illustrate by giving one his "arguments."
Mr. Olsen appeals to Acts 22:18, claiming that tachus is used, "to indicate manner, when it says, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly.’"
More accurately, this is "en tachei"; a look at the text dispels my opponent’s claim.
Paul was being told to leave town due to impending persecution. Now ask yourself: Was Paul being told, "Brother Paul, don’t worry about when you leave town. Take as long as you like. But, when you finally get around to leaving, make sure that you take the fastest chariot out of town!"? Really now, is that what the Lord meant? That is patently false. The issue is clearly TIME OF DEPARTURE!
The same result comes in an investigation of all of the texts that Mr. Olsen lists, but does not exegete. Let me just say that in my book Can God Tell Time? as well as my, Who Is This Babylon?, (available at www.eschatology.org), I examine, exegetically almost every text listed by my good opponent. I show that not one of them supports his faulty argumentation. Since he offered no supportive exegesis, I am under no constraint to waste my time on each of them here.
Notice the application: Mr. Olsen says that rapidity of action, and not temporal imminence is the issue in Revelation. This means that the martyrs who were asking, "How long, O Lord, will you not avenge us on those who dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:9f), were not asking about when they would be avenged, they just wanted to know HOW FAST THE LORD WOULD TRAVEL when He finally got (gets) around to acting. And, when they were told to, "Rest for a little while", (xronon micron), that "a little while" simply means that Jesus would take the fastest cloud out of heaven when he finally decides, one of these millennia, to vindicate them!
Mr. Olsen divorces the response to the martyrs’ prayer, with no exegesis whatsoever, from Jesus’ promise to avenge all of the blood shed on the earth, all the way back to Creation, in his generation. Watch this.
Dr. Olsen admits that Matthew 23 predicted A.D. 70. Jesus said that all of the righteous martyrs’ blood shed on the earth, all the way back to Creation, would be avenged in his generation.
Revelation predicted the avenging of the blood of the martyrs, all the blood shed on the earth, and said it was coming quickly, shortly, and was at hand.
Yet, Mr. Olsen says there is no connection between these predictions! What is his proof? HE GAVE US NONE. JUST HIS CLAIM THAT HE IS RIGHT.
Amazingly, Mr. Olsen attempts to use Ezekiel 12 to mitigate the language of imminence. THIS IGNORES WHAT THE TEXT SAYS. Note that he claimed that Ezekiel 12 foretold the time of the NEW COVENANT, but, THERE IS NOT A WORD IN THE TEXT OF SUCH A THING!
Now note the following:
In Ezekiel 7, YHVH informed Jerusalem- 7 times- that the end had come, and was very near.
In chapter 11:2f, the people responded by essentially taking Mr. Olsen’s position, that when God says something is near, that God can’t tell time, and that time statements are so elastic as to be meaningless. The end was NOT near.
In chapter 12:21f, THE LORD CONDEMNED THE PEOPLE FOR CHANGING HIS "AT HAND" STATEMENTS, and claiming, as Mr. Olsen does, that He really meant it would be a long time. (Go there and read it yourself!). YHVH said that when He said it was near that it would be "in your days O house of Israel."
So, instead of Ezekiel 12 being an example of God using language of imminence, when He did not really mean it, the text is an example of God condemning man for saying that at hand actually means a long time…as Mr. Olsen does. There are other examples of this, but space will not allow an examination of more here.
MY ARGUMENT ON REVELATION AND 1 PETER:
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). Incidentally, in Revelation 6 the martyrs only had to suffer for a little while, until the measure of suffering by their fellow saints was fulfilled, and, Peter told his suffering audience that they would only have to be persecuted for a little while (1 Peter 1:6). The "little while" suffering in Peter is "the little while" suffering predicted in Revelation 6, to fill the measure of suffering.
John wrote that "the hour of the trial," was "about to come (mellousees)," (Revelation 3:10).
Peter, writing to the same folks, said, that they were in heaviness of trial, "through manifold trials, that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tried by fire." 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).
Dr. Olsen agrees that 1 Peter was written before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.
John, in Revelation, said the time of testing, was ABOUT TO COME. (Mr. Olsen’s quibble that the word "fiery" does not appear in Revelation is an argument born of desperation. The Greek word peirasmos is used by both Peter and John to describe the time of trial).
Peter said that the time of trial, by fire, was AMONG THEM!
Since PREDICTION PRECEDES F
ULFILLMENT, then since John predicted the fiery trial that was about to come 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.
How did Mr. Olsen seek to mitigate my argument? In essence, he said:
1.) That just because THE LANGUAGE IS IDENTICAL, and,
2.) Just because THE AUDIENCES ARE IDENTICAL, and,
3.) Just because the THEME IS IDENTICAL, and ,
4.) Just because the TEMPORAL STATEMENTS ARE IDENTICAL,
That we should not see any connection between Peter and Revelation!
Did you catch Mr. Olsen’s admission concerning Peter 4:7, 17?: "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. Olsen JUST SURRENDERED HIS ENTIRE POSITION!
HE ADMITS that Peter was written prior to A.D. 70 and the destruction of Jerusalem.
HE ADMITS that the language of 1 Peter 4:7, 17 is language of objective imminence, to refer to the impending judgment of Jerusalem.
So, Peter’s declarations of the nearness of "the end of all things," and "the appointed time for the judgment" (literal translation of 1 Peter 4:17), are to be taken TEMPORALLY, not adverbially!
Yet, Revelation, using the identical language, writing to the same people, about the identical events, cannot be taken objectively!
This is inconsistency exemplified.
My argument stands untouched.
Prophecy precedes fulfillment.
Revelation predicted what Peter (before A.D. 70), said had come..
Therefore, Revelation was written before A.D. 70.
REVELATION AND COVENANTAL LANGUAGE:
It is not surprising that Dr. Olsen would so vociferously deny that Revelation uses distinctively covenantal language. If the fall of Babylon was the fulfillment of Mosaic Covenant Wrath, then HIS ENTIRE PARADIGM CRUMBLES. His belabored argument concerning the Abrahamic, Davidic and Mosaic Covenants is specious. What he fails to understand is that the Abrahamic Covenant– as well as the Davidic– was to be fulfilled AT THE END OF THE MOSAIC COVENANT AGE. I will demonstrate this momentarily.
Here is something abundantly interesting: Mr. Olsen cites Thomas Ice, with whom I have had four debates, to prove one of his points. Well, in regard to the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and Mosaic Covenant Wrath, here is what Mr. Olsen’s own source says on Luke 21:22, "Those first century days are called the ‘days of vengeance for Jerusalem is under the divine judgment of covenantal sanctions recorded in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. Luke notes that God’s vengeance on His elect nation ‘is in order that all things that are written may be fulfilled.’ Jesus is telling the nation that God will fulfill all the curses of the Mosaic Covenant because of Israel’s disobedience. He will not relent and merely bring to pass a partial fulfillment of His vengeance. Some of the passages that Jesus says will be fulfilled include the following: Leviticus 26:27-33; Deuteronomy 28:49-63; Deuteronomy 32:19-27…." (Thomas Ice , The Great Tribulation, a written Debate with Kenneth Gentry, Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1999, p. 98). So, A.D. 70 was the outpouring of Mosaic Covenant wrath, showing that Revelation could indeed be using Covenantal language!
The curses mentioned in Revelation 5-6 and chapter 8-9 come DIRECTLY from Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28-30. They don’t come from the Abrahamic or Davidic Covenant, but from the Mosaic Covenant. This connection has been noted by many scholars. It is a fact.
Mr. Olsen says concerning my claim that Deuteronomy 32 is paradigmatic for the N. T.: "GASP! This is SCANDALOUS and REPREHENSIBLE!" (His emphasis) Well, if this is so reprehensible, one can only wonder why virtually every N. T. writer cites or alludes to the Song. Why did John’s vision foresee the fulfillment of the Song (Revelation 15, 19)? It is lamentable that Dr. Olsen refuses to submit to the inspired testimony of these N. T. writers as they apply the Song of Moses to their generation. More on the Song momentarily.
THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT AND THE WRITING OF REVELATION
While I strongly disagree with Dr. Olsen’s understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant, I nonetheless agree that Revelation is concerned with the consummative fulfillment of God’s promise to him, AND TO HIS SEED. This is why Revelation uses Israel’s Covenantal language. However, as I suggested above, Dr. Olsen fails to see that this fulfillment was to come at the end of the Old Covenant world of Israel. I will be as succinct as possible but, will establish several points.
#1– Abraham looked for a heavenly city and country as the ultimate fulfillment of YHVH’s promises to him (Hebrews 11:13f).
– Abraham looked for a heavenly city and country as the ultimate fulfillment of YHVH’s promises to him (Hebrews 11:13f).
#2– The Hebrew writer says that they had approached that longed for city– "You have come to Mt. Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the church of the living God." (Hebrews 12:21f– Note that ZION, in Messianic prophecies, was to be the capital of the Davidic kingdom. Thus, when Hebrews says they had, at that time, COME TO ZION, he was saying that the time of fulfillment had arrived. No postponement, no failure, no delay!)
– The Hebrew writer says that they had approached that longed for city– "You have come to Mt. Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem, the church of the living God." (Hebrews 12:21f– Note that ZION, in Messianic prophecies, was to be the capital of the Davidic kingdom. Thus, when Hebrews says they had, at that time, COME TO ZION, he was saying that the time of fulfillment had arrived. No postponement, no failure, no delay!)
#3– This "heavenly Jerusalem" is the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21.
– This "heavenly Jerusalem" is the New Jerusalem of Revelation 21.
#4– The Heavenly Jerusalem– the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant– would come when Old Covenant Israel was destroyed, and YHVH created a New People with a New Name (Isaiah 65:13f).
– The Heavenly Jerusalem– the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant– would come when Old Covenant Israel was destroyed, and YHVH created a New People with a New Name (Isaiah 65:13f).
Notice Isaiah 65:11f: "But you are those who forsake the LORD, Who forget My holy mountain, Who prepare a table for Gad, And who furnish a drink offering for Meni. Therefore I will number you for the sword, And you shall all bow down to the slaughter; Because, when I called, you did not answer; When I spoke, you did not hear, But did evil before My eyes, And chose that in which I do not delight. Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, My servants shall eat, But you shall be hungry; Behold, My servants shall drink, But you shall be thirsty; Behold, My servants shall rejoice, But you shall be ashamed; Behold, My servants shall sing for joy of heart, But you shall cry for sorrow of heart, And wail for grief of spirit. YOU SHALL LEAVE YOUR NAME AS A CURSE TO MY CHOSEN; FOR THE LORD GOD WILL SLAY YOU, AND CALL HIS SERVANTS BY ANOTHER NAME; So that he who blesses himself in the earth Shall bless himself in the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Shall swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My eyes. FOR BEHOLD, I CREATE NEW HEAVENS AND A NEW EARTH; AND THE FORMER SHALL NOT BE REMEMBERED OR COME TO MIND. BUT BE GLAD AND REJOICE FOREVER IN WHAT I CREATE; FOR BEHOLD, I CREATE JERUSALEM AS A REJOICING." (My emp.)
trovertibly posited the New Creation, the New Jerusalem, (the hope of Abraham), at the time of the destruction of the Old Covenant people. This is precisely what we find in Revelation.
In Revelation we find the destruction of the city "where the Lord was slain", the city that killed the prophets, and the apostles and prophets of Jesus, followed by the New Creation, and New Jerusalem.
HERE IS MY AFFIRMATIVE ARGUMENT:
Revelation 18-21 anticipated the New Creation (the Abrahamic promise), promised in Isaiah 65.
But, the New Creation (the Abrahamic promise), predicted in Isaiah 65 would be fulfilled at the time of the destruction of Old Covenant Israel (Isaiah 65:13-19).
Therefore, the New Creation (The Abrahamic promise), would be fulfilled at the time of the destruction of Old Covenant Israel.
This means, indisputably, that Revelation was written prior to the fall of Jerusalem, that is, unless Mr. Olsen wants to say that YHVH will one day in the future, destroy Israel, and create a New People, with a New Name! Mr. Olsen, do you believe that?
Mr. Olsen argues that YHVH would never cast off Israel. This is patently wrong. When YHVH had fulfilled all of His promises to her, the need and purpose for the Old Covenant, nationalistic, genealogically based people would cease. Read Genesis 28:13f : "And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: "I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14 Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. 15 Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you UNTIL I HAVE DONE WHAT I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU."
God’s purpose for the literal seed was temporary from the beginning, and His original intent was that when the "better things" foreshadowed by the Old World came, the material, shadow world of Old Covenant Israel was supposed to pass (Hebrews 9:6-10). Mr. Olsen lamentably makes the shadow to be the substance, in violation of YHVH’s plan and purpose..
LET ME REITERATE AN AFFIRMATIVE ARGUMENT based on Deuteronomy 32, Hebrews and Revelation– an argument that Mr. Olsen totally ignored.
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 Deuteronomy 32 TWICE (v. 30–Deuteronomy 32:35-36).
The author said their vindication 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 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, the time had come.
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– millennia removed from Hebrews.
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.
DR. OLSEN DID NOT TOUCH THIS ARGUMENT TOP, SIDE OR BOTTOM, and yet, it fully establishes my affirmative.
ANOTHER AFFIRMATIVE ON THE AVENGING OF THE BLOOD
THE GREAT DAY OF THE LORD (Revelation 6:12F, 16:6-17) is the time of the avenging of the martyrs in the judgment of Babylon.
Jesus said all of the blood shed on the earth, ALL THE WAY BACK TO CREATION, would be avenged in the A.D. 70 judgment of Jerusalem.
Therefore, the Great Day of the Lord in Revelation was the A.D. judgment of Jerusalem, in Jesus’ generation.
Thus, the pre-A.D. 70 dating of Revelation is established.
MR. OLSEN HAS FEW OPTIONS TO NEGATE THIS ARGUMENT:
1.) HE MUST PROVE- definitively- that the martyrs in Revelation CANNOT INCLUDE the martyrs in Jesus’ prediction of Matthew 23. HE CAN’T DO THIS because Jesus said that the A.D. 70 judgment would be for killing his "apostles and prophets," and the judgment of Babylon would be for killing Jesus’ "apostles and prophets" (18:20-24)!
2.) HE MUST PROVE THAT:
A.) Although Jesus and John speak of THE IDENTICAL THEME (vindication of the martyrs), and,
B.) Although both draw their prophecy from the O.T. promises to Israel, and,
C.) Although the O. T. prophecies spoke of fulfillment for THE LAST DAYS OF ISRAEL, and,
D.) Although Jesus and John give the IDENTICAL TIME FRAME FOR FULFILLMENT, i.e. it was coming soon, it was at hand, and coming quickly, in Jesus’ generation, and,
E.) Although Jesus and John use THE IDENTICAL LANGUAGE of the scope and identity of the martyrs…
That in spite of these identical PROPHETIC, THEMATIC, TEMPORAL ELEMENTS, that Jesus and John did, in fact, speak of two disparate events, separated in time by two millennia so far, and yet, both deal with Israel’s last days judgment for shedding innocent blood!
Mr. Olsen, HOW MANY LAST DAYS JUDGMENTS OF ISRAEL, FOR SHEDDING INNOCENT BLOOD ARE PREDICTED IN THE O.T. PROPHETS?
Now, Mr. Olsen tries to deflect the force of my argument on Revelation 16:6f by claiming that the prophets there are not Old Testament prophets.
My argument was- and is- Babylon had killed the prophets.
When the N. T. uses the term "the prophets" or "prophets" without a textual qualifier, it invariably refers to O.T. prophets. Mr. Olsen conveniently ignored this fact.
There is no textual qualifier in Revelation 16 to delineate between Old Testament prophets and New.
Therefore, the prophets of Revelation 16 were Old Testament prophets.
This means, of course, that Babylon of Revelation had killed the O.T. prophets!
Whoever you identify as Babylon of Revelation, she had already killed the O.T. prophets, and the Roman Catholic church had patently not done this! This is FATAL to Mr. Olsen’s theology.
REVELATION AND THE LAST DAYS
You simply MUST catch the power of Mr. Olsen’s admission: "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)."
I want the reader to pay close attention here, for this issue has a direct connection to the topic before us, as well as the entire topic of eschatology.
In what last days was Messiah to come and establish the kingdom? Answer: ISRAEL’S LAST DAYS.
Jesus came in the last days FORETOLD BY THE OLD TESTAMENT –Mr. Olsen admits!
As shown, Deuteronomy 32 foretold the avenging of the
blood of the saints in the last days.
So, Jesus came in the last days, to confirm the Old Covenant promises to Israel, and said the saints would be avenged IN HIS GENERATION.
Yet, Mr. Olsen says that what Jesus predicted (Matthew 23) is NOT what Deuteronomy predicted! He tells us that Matthew 23 and 1 Thessalonians 2 speak of a DIFFERENT LAST DAYS, a different avenging of the blood of the martyrs from that foretold in Deuteronomy 32 and Revelation!
WHAT IS Mr. Olsen’S PROOF? Did he give us an O.T. prophecy of what Jesus and Paul foretold, that was different from Deuteronomy 32? HE DID NOT EVEN TRY. He just declared them different, and expects us to accept his word for it. He gave us not a jot or tittle of proof.
If Matthew 23 and 1 Thessalonians 2 are not based on Deuteronomy 32, I want Mr. Olsen to give us the following:
The Old Testament prophecy (prophecies) of ISRAEL’S LAST DAYS…
Avenging of the blood of the saints…
At the judgment of Israel…
In the first century…
That both Jesus and Paul WERE drawing from.
(Remember that Paul said HIS ENTIRE GOSPEL was nothing but the hope of Israel, based on "Moses and the prophets", Acts 24:14f; 26:6f; 26:21f).
Since Mr. Olsen cannot divorce Matthew 23 and 1 Thessalonians from Deuteronomy 32 and / or Revelation, here is my argument, again:
Deuteronomy 32 foretold the avenging of the blood of the martyred saints, in Israel’s last days.
Jesus came in the predicted last days, and said that all of the blood of all the martyrs, all the way back to Creation, would be avenged in his generation, in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Therefore, Deuteronomy 32 would be fulfilled in Jesus’ generation, in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Now, here is the follow up, that establishes my affirmative:
Deuteronomy 32 would be fulfilled in Jesus’ generation, in the destruction of Jerusalem.
But, Revelation 19:2 anticipated the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32 in the destruction of Babylon.
Therefore, Babylon of Revelation 19 was first century (Jesus’ generation), Jerusalem.
JESUS- ISRAEL- REVELATION- THE LAST DAYS
Mr. Olsen has admitted that Jesus came in the last days. YOU MUST SEE WHAT AN ADMISSION THIS IS!
To appreciate this you must understand the dispensational view. Let me give it briefly.
Jesus appeared in Israel’s last days, and offered the kingdom to Israel. But, Israel rejected the kingdom. As a result, the kingdom offer was withdrawn. The prophetic countdown, i.e. the Seventieth Week of Daniel, WAS POSTPONED, until the imaginary rapture, the supposed end of the Christian age, when Israel’s last days countdown will resume.
Now, catch this: Israel’s last days were NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PRESENT ON PENTECOST OR AT ANY TIME IN THE N. T. PERIOD!
Let me lay a basic foundation for my argument in regard to the dating of Revelation.
#1– Dr. Olsen believes that Revelation is concerned with the fulfillment of Israel’s last days prophecies, i.e. the fulfillment of the Seventieth Week of Daniel 9– and Deuteronomy 32.
#2– But, if Israel’s last days prophecies were still present AFTER THE CROSS, and were to be fulfilled in the judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem, my affirmative is established beyond doubt.
As proof of #2, I offer the words of Peter: "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel…" (Acts 2:15f).
Peter cited, verbatim, the promise of Joel 2:28f that in Israel’s last days, the Spirit would be poured out, to restore Israel and establish the kingdom. Peter’s emphatic, inspired declaration, "This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel" cannot be distorted into, "This is NOT that" or, "This is something like it will eventually be." (Notice also Romans 10:13– "Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."; THIS A DIRECT QUOTE FROM JOEL 2:32. What Joel said would come in the last days was present when Paul wrote, circa 57 A.D.)!
It is IRREFUTABLY TRUE THEREFORE, that Israel’s last days (of Deuteronomy 32 / Daniel 9) had not been postponed at the Cross or during Jesus’ ministry.
Furthermore, BACK TO DEUTERONOMY 32. Notice that YHVH said that in Israel’s last days, He would make Israel jealous with those who were not a people, He would call the Gentiles to Him (Deuteronomy 32:19f).
Keep in mind at this juncture that Paul tells us, repeatedly, that his gospel, his eschatology, was NOTHING BUT THE HOPE OF ISRAEL, taken from "the law and the prophets" (Acts 24:14f; 26:21f; 28:18f). Now, according to Mr. Olsen, Paul could not be preaching the fulfillment of God’s O.T. promises to Israel through his ministry, because, remember, God had supposedly suspended His dealings with Israel at the Cross (or perhaps, even in Matthew 12).
Yet, Paul tells us that his gospel was indeed the hope of Israel, in fulfillment of the O.T. promises to Israel, including Joel 2. Now, THIS IS WHERE IT GETS REALLY GOOD. In Romans 10:19 Paul quotes Deuteronomy 32:19, VERBATIM, to justify his ministry to the Gentiles (the "no people" of Deuteronomy 32). And, in 11:11f he alludes to Deuteronomy 32 again!
SO, THE LAST DAYS PROPHECY OF DEUTERONOMY 32 WAS BEING FULFILLED IN PAUL’S GENTILE MINISTRY.
Notice also that Revelation described the conversion of the nations– i.e. Paul’s ministry!– as the message of the imminent demise of Babylon goes out (Revelation 14:6f– "The hour of her judgment has come!").
This means, unequivocally, that Israel’s last days were not postponed.
If Deuteronomy 32 was being fulfilled in the ministry of Paul– WHICH IS UNDENIABLY TRUE– then there is no temporal disconnect between Paul’s generation and Revelation, which predicted the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32 in the destruction of Babylon!
Deuteronomy 32 foretold the last days of Israel, when the Gentiles would be called to provoke Israel to jealousy, and, YHVH would avenge the blood of the saints.
Paul said that the calling of the Gentiles in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32 was taking place through his ministry. He also, as in Hebrews, quotes Deuteronomy 32:35 to promise the judgment of the persecutors of the Roman saints! (Romans 12:19).
Therefore, the last days of Israel foretold by Deuteronomy 32 were present during Paul’s ministry.
Now, since the last days of Israel were undeniably being fulfilled in Paul’s ministry, then it is patently obvious:
1.) That Israel’s last days had not been suspended at the Cross or earlier.
2.) That Paul’s generation– and thus John’s– was the generation for the fulfillment of the avenging of the blood of the saints foretold by Deuteronomy 32.
3.) This means that Revelation 19, which foretold the avenging of the blood of the saints in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32 was to be fulfilled in Paul and John’s generation.
Thus, Paul’s ministry and the conversion of the Gentiles establishes that Deuteronomy 32 was to be fulfilled in Paul’s generation, meaning that Revelation 19, the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32, was likewise to be fulfilled in Paul’s generation. This establishes the pre-A.D. 70 date of Revelation.
ANOTHER ARGUMENT ON DEUTERONOMY 32
Since I am focusing on Deuteronomy 32, let me make another argument that impacts the issue before us.
Deuteronomy said that in Israel’s last days:
She would fill the measure of her sin (become utterly corrupt 31:29).
She would become like Sodom (v. 32).
She would be a generation of vipers (32:33). (You know, the "PERVERSE GENERATION" that Peter said was HIS GENERATION! Cf, Deuteronomy 32:5–> Acts 2:40!)
(You know, the "PERVERSE GENERATIO
N" that Peter said was HIS GENERATION! Cf, Deuteronomy 32:5–> Acts 2:40!)
She would be judged (32:35f).
When God would avenge the blood of the saints (32:43).
FACT: THE N. T. REFERS TO 1st CENTURY ISRAEL AS A GENERATION OF VIPERS!:
: THE N. T. REFERS TO 1 CENTURY ISRAEL AS A GENERATION OF VIPERS!:
Matthew 3:7– John the Immerser said to the Pharisees and Sadducees,"Brood of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath about to come?"
Matthew 12:34– "Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things?"
Matthew 23:33– "Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?"
So, watch this:
Jesus said that Israel of his generation would fill the measure of their sin (Matthew 23:29F)
Jesus said that Israel of his generation was the worst of all (Matthew 12:43-45).
JESUS CALLED THE JEWS OF HIS GENERATION A BROOD OF VIPERS!
Jesus said that Israel of his generation would be judged.
Jesus said that Israel of his generation would be judged for shedding the blood of the saints.
Every element foretold by Deuteronomy 32 for Israel’s last days was present in the first century!
Yet, Mr. Olsen insists that we dare not link Jesus’ generation with Deuteronomy 32! (Because of course, this would be to admit that Revelation was to be fulfilled in the first century judgment of Israel!)
Now watch: Mr. Olsen ADMITS THAT "SODOM" IN REVELATION 11:8 IS JERUSALEM!
But, he insists that the judgment of Jerusalem in Revelation is not that of A.D. 70. It is the future fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32. Let’s see if this ACTUALLY fits his theology.
DOES Mr. Olsen believe that Israel, during the Great Tribulation between the imaginary rapture and the second coming, will fill the measure of her sin, through the persecution of the saints? No, he believes that ISRAEL IS THE PERSECUTED in that period. She is CONVERTED during that time! Actually, most millennialists believe that Israel is, for all practical purposes, an "innocent victim" of the anti-christ during the Tribulation period.
DOES MR. OLSEN BELIEVE that Israel, during the millennium, will fill the measure of her sin– through persecuting the saints? No, not unless he holds a position that I have never read in ANY millennial literature. Israel is most assuredly NOT depicted as the persecutor of the saints in the millennium!
Mr. Olsen, AT WHAT POINT OF TIME IN YOUR MILLENNIAL SCHEME DOES ISRAEL FILL THE MEASURE OF HER SIN THROUGH THE PERSECUTION OF THE SAINTS, BECOME LIKE SODOM, A GENERATION OF VIPERS, AND IS JUDGED / DESTROYED FOR THOSE SINS, IN FULFILLMENT OF DEUTERONOMY 32?
And to my AFFIRMATIVE ARGUMENT,
I know where my Lord put the burden of guilt for killing the saints– On Israel.
I know where my Lord put the filling of the measure of sin– Israel of the first century.
I know where my Lord identified the generation of vipers– Israel of the first century.
I know where my Lord posited the avenging of the blood of the saints- in A.D. 70.
So, since what Jesus said of Israel of the first century is what Deuteronomy 32 foretold, and, since what Deuteronomy foretold is what Revelation was predicting, it therefore follows, inexorably, that Babylon of Revelation was Old Covenant Jerusalem, and that Revelation was written prior to her destruction in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32.
FILLING THE MEASURE OF SIN:
YOU HAVE TO CATCH THE POWER OF WHAT Mr. Olsen HAS DONE IN REGARD TO THIS CRITICAL ISSUE. I argued, based squarely on the divine words of Jesus, and Paul, that Israel would fill the measure of her sin, in the first century generation, and be judged in A.D. 70. I argued, based on the words of the text, that Babylon of Revelation had, WHEN JOHN WROTE, now filled the measure of her sin, and was about to be destroyed. The connection between Jesus, Paul and John cannot be broken. What was Mr. Olsen’s response? Nothing but RIDICULE!
Mr. Olsen says: "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?" (A corrective here, I DID NOT SAY that the DESTRUCTION filled Israel’s sins, I said that HER PERSECUTION OF THE SAINTS FILLED THE MEASURE OF HER SIN, which is PRECISELY what our Lord said).
Of Paul’s words in Thessalonians, Mr. Olsen says: "Yes! 1 Thess was written before AD 70. Yes! The wrath of God fell upon them in AD 70." (Note Mr. Olsen’s TOTAL EVASION of Paul’s words about Israel filling the measure of her sin in the first century)!
Dr. Olsen can ridicule me all he wants, but, I will stand on the words of Jesus and Paul! The issue is this: Did Jesus say that Israel would fill the measure of her sin in his generation?
Mr. Olsen: DO YOU DENY THAT ISRAEL FILLED THE MEASURE OF HER SIN IN THE FIRST CENTURY, IN FULFILLMENT OF OUR LORD’S WORDS IN MATTHEW 23:29F? PLEASE ANSWER THE QUESTION.
Likewise, Paul said due to their persecution of the prophets, of Jesus, and the apostles and prophets of Jesus, that Israel was, WHEN HE WROTE, filling the measure of their sin, and that judgment was about to fall. Remember that Mr. Olsen has admitted that Paul was speaking of A.D. 70!
Mr. Olsen: DO YOU DENY THE INSPIRED WORDS OF PAUL, WHEN HE SAID THAT ISRAEL WAS FILLING THE MEASURE OF HER SIN IN THE FIRST CENTURY?
As the negative, Mr. Olsen has to prove, definitively, that there is no link between Jesus, Paul and John, and the theme of the filling the measure of sin. But, watch the Biblical progression.
Jesus said that Israel WOULD FILL the measure of her sin in his generation, through killing his apostles and prophets.
Paul said Israel WAS FILLING the measure of her sin in his generation, through killing the apostles and prophets.
John said that Babylon HAD FILLED the measure of her sin through killing the apostles and prophets (17:6f; 18:20-24)!
Now watch, as we go back to Revelation 1:19.
If John was writing of what was PAST, OR PRESENT, in regard to Babylon filling the measure of her sin by killing the apostles and prophets, then this means that Babylon had to have been a first century entity, AND THIS FALSIFIES MR. OLSEN’S VIEW. And of course, Revelation 17-18 says that BABYLON HAD, WHEN JOHN WROTE, FILLED THE MEASURE OF HER SIN.
If, however, Babylon had not yet filled the measure of her sin through killing the apostles and prophets, it is Mr. Olsen’s responsibility to divorce the theme of filling the measure of sin by killing the apostles and prophets from Jesus and Paul’s emphatic declarations. Of course, he cannot do this.
Also, if Babylon had not yet filled the measure of her sin through killing the apostles and prophets, she had to be "about to" do so, within the "the time is at hand," "shortly" time frame established by the Father!
There is no room for Mr. Olsen’s (or any other) futurist paradigm here.
Let me offer further evidence, as a continuation of my affirmative argument.
JESUS AND PAUL SAID THAT IT WAS OLD COVENANT ISRAEL THAT HAD KILLED THE PROPHETS.
Note the following:
JESUS NEVER IDENTIFIED ANY ENTITY OTHER THAN JERUSALEM AS GUILTY OF KILLING THE PROPHETS.
JESUS SAID it was Jerusalem that would kill his apostles and prophets, "Behold, I send to you apostles and prophets, some of them you shall crucify…" (Luke 11:49). John said it was Babylon that had now killed the apostles and prophets of Jesus.
JESUS SAID: "It is not possible that a prophet perish outside of Jerusalem." (Luke 13:31f) Jesus was not giving a woodenly literal geographical statement. He was saying that J
erusalem was the SOURCE of the persecution of the saints.
JESUS SAID that it was Old Covenant Jerusalem that was guilty of shedding all the blood shed on the earth (Matthew 23:34f). Just as John identifies Babylon as the city guilty of shedding all the blood shed on the earth (18:24).
Even Stephen, standing in the Temple, said to his Jewish audience, "Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they have killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you have now become the betrayers and murderers." (Acts 7:52).
Neither Jesus or Paul, or any other Biblical writer, ever accused any city or entity OTHER THAN JERUSALEM of being guilty of killing the prophets. Not so much as a hint.
John in Revelation uses the very words that Jesus did when he accused Jerusalem of that crime. So, what we need from Dr. Olsen is PROOF, from Revelation, where John delineates between Babylon as the killer of the prophets, and Jerusalem as killer of the prophets. Show us some PROOF, Dr. Olsen. Your ad hominem, presuppositional arguments will not do.
MY ARGUMENT ON MATTHEW 24:36 AND LUKE 21:8
My goodness, Dr. Olsen threw up more smoke than you can imagine!
Here is the argument that I offered, stated succinctly:
Jesus gave signs to indicate the true nearness of his parousia (Matthew 24:4-33).
Jesus told his first century apostles not to believe (and thus not to make), premature declarations of the nearness of his parousia (the end- Luke 21:8).
But, Jesus’ first century, inspired apostles did say that the end and Christ’s parousia had drawn near, (Hebrews 10:37; James 5:8-9; 1 Peter 4:5-17).
Therefore, it must be true that Jesus’ first century, inspired apostles did see the signs of the true nearness of Christ’s coming, or,
It must be true that Jesus’ first century, inspired apostles actually made premature declarations of the nearness of the end and Christ’s coming.
In response, Mr. Olsen made the totally unsubstantiated, fallacious claim that Matthew 24 does not discuss A.D. 70. (The disciples undeniably linked the fall of the temple with Christ’s coming and the end of the age!) The fact is, that HE TOTALLY IGNORED MY CORE ARGUMENT!
Note carefully the following:
The presence of the signs of the end (Matthew 24:33) would indicate the OBJECTIVE NEARNESS OF THE END– not some adverbial "rapidity of action." If the signs were not present, in the first century, then Jesus’ own apostles were deluded in thinking they were, for they said the end had drawn near!
The question is therefore, why can we not take THEIR time statements literally, since they were told not to make statements concerning the nearness of the end UNTIL THE SIGNS APPEARED? Why do we have to take their time statements ADVERBIALLY, when Mr. Olsen believes that when the signs appear, they will indicate OBJECTIVE NEARNESS?
PETER –who was warned not to make premature declarations of the nearness of the end- 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). You can’t apply these texts "adverbially" of manner except through overt distortion.
JOHN –who was warned not to make premature declarations of the nearness of the end- wrote: "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).
JESUS, who was the one that warned of making premature declarations of the end, said, "Do not seal the vision of this book, the time is at hand… Behold, I come quickly." (Revelation 1:1-3; 22:6-12).
Mr. Olsen ignored my questions, so, I will ask them again. Mr. Olsen, please answer, without evasion:
DID PETER AND JOHN MAKE PREMATURE DECLARATIONS OF THE NEARNESS OF THE END? YES OR NO?
DID JESUS, WHO WARNED OF MAKING PREMATURE DECLARATIONS OF THE NEARNESS OF THE END, THEN MAKE PREMATURE DECLARATIONS OF THE NEARNESS OF THE END? YES OR NO?
If the inspired statements of Jesus and his apostles were not premature, (and of course, they WEREN’T), then a first century, pre-A.D. 70 provenance and application of Revelation is the ONLY viable interpretation and application. So, my argument stands unmoved and unshakable.
Mr. Olsen claimed: "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."
The reader will instantly recognize this as a smoke screen springing from desperation. I used the specific words of Revelation for my arguments. I most gladly admit, however, that I have appealed to other texts that help us synthesize that message. It is called ANOLOGIA SCRIPTURA, comparing scripture with scripture. It is interpreting scripture with scripture.
But, notice Dr. Olsen’s inconsistency. He says we can use Deuteronomy 32 to understand Revelation, but, we can’t use Matthew 23 or 1 Thessalonians 2. Yet, these texts speak of the same theme, same people, same problem, same promises and the same temporal statements as Revelation!
I have responded to every pertinent negative objection offered by Mr. Olsen, and shown them to be specious. Mr. Olsen’s arguments are not exegetically nor logically based, but, theological inventions, and false.
I have buttressed my original arguments, that Mr. Olsen has not refuted. I have now made new arguments, and Mr. Olsen cannot overthrow them either. My affirmative is firmly established.
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