Greetings to the owner(s) of Religiousdebates, its moderators, members, and to you Mr. 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
Mr. Preston reads my negative responses as he does his Bible – only so as to find what he thinks supports his view. In neither case does he use context. Both of Preston’s arguments stem from ripping verses from context and redefining the key words to obey his denominational rhetoric.
Preston’s argument fails for many reasons. His biggest single failure is failure to use context. Let’s look at some examples.
Preston’s first argument appealed to Matt 24:36 to show the OBJECTIVE NEARNESS of the sack of Jerusalem. This is an indirect approach to quantify nearness as support for the pillage of Jerusalem in AD 70. However, the context of Matt 24 is that of the disciples asking,
. . . "when will these things happen?" and
. . . "what will be the sign of your coming"
. . . "what will be the sign of the end of the age?"
To see whether or not this happened in OBJECTIVE NEARNESS or in QUALITATIVE NEARNESS we only need to ask a few easy questions:
. . . Did the "abomination of desolation" (Matt 24:15)
. . . . . . happen in AD 70?
. . . Did the sun darken (Matt 24:29) in AD 70?
. . . Did the moon stop shining (Matt 24:29) in AD 70?
. . . Did the stars fall from the sky (Matt 24:29) in AD 70?
. . . Did the Son of Man appear (Matt 24:30) in AD 70?
. . . Did all nations see Jesus come (Matt 24:30) in AD 70?
. . . Were all the elect gathered (Matt 24:31) in AD 70?
The simple and easy answer to these questions from context is an easy "NO!" Now since Preston has demonstrated in his first two straight affirmative posts that he cannot use context, it is only natural to see him continue to violate context in his final affirmative.
Preston’s argument fails because he fails to use context. Now, let’s look at another reason why his argument fails: elemental linguistics.
Violations of context allow Preston to equate a word from one context to a word in another context. Let the reader note that this is the same as taking the word "run" from sentence 1 below and using it in sentence 2.
. . . 1. You run a race.
. . . 2. Your nose runs.
It would be funny to think about a nose with legs going down a race track. Yet this is the hilarity of Preston’s arguments. This type of willful abuse of context combined with ignorance of elementary linguistics brings Preston to some hilarious conclusions.
For example, Preston argues for an OBJECTIVE NEARNESS for phrases such as "the time is at hand." Preston violates context because this phrase has been ripped from Rev 22:10 where Jesus seals the Book of Revelation with these very words. Now Preston thinks that he can force a definition from one passage ripped out of context on yet another passage. After all this, he thinks he has proven something other than the wrong way to do a God-honoring Bible study. Yet Preston dares say
. . . you cannot make ‘the time is at hand’ an adverbial
. . . statement no matter how hard you try.
Actually, I don’t have to try very hard at all. I only have to use CONTEXT. I simply ask how long has it been since the Book of Revelation has been written until the present? 1 year? 2 years? 5 year? 25 years? How about 100 years? No there have been some 2000 years that have passes since Jesus boldly declared "the time is at hand." This is an adverbial use of the word – not the objective nearness that blinds Preston. Further context shows us that Satan has not been cast into his bottomless pit, the world has not been judged, and the terrible judgments of Revelation have not yet happened. Jesus’ words are indeed adverbial. The nearness to which He refers is adverbially near for each one of us no matter in which objective time period we live. Preston’s argument fails for lack of common sense.
I chastised Preston for foolishly ripping a phrase or word out of one context and forcing it upon another context. Preston responds by claiming that this is what I do when I appeal to other texts. He claims this is "double speak" on my part. This is just another confirmation of his hermeneutic that fails to use context. He is so used to ripping verses out of context and pearl stringing them together that he simply cannot use a verse – or an argument – in context.
What he fails to see is that I appealed to these other texts to show that the definition of a word depends on its context. In one context, "quickly" may be objective – in the next few minutes or so. Yet in another text (like Rev 22:10) "at hand" hasn’t happened in some 2000 years! One can’t mindlessly appeal to different contexts for linguistic support of a definition ripped out of context.
Preston continues his blindness by claiming that his appeal to Ezekiel proved that my arguments were false. However, this only proves that he fails to use context in his arguments. Ezekiel 7 is an example of where "very near" was some 20 years – certainly not objective nearness. Yet because Preston refuses to use context, he thinks the opposite.
The debate has boiled down to Preston’s arguments based on personal whims completely divorced from context versus my unceasing appeals to let scripture interpret itself through context.
Preston is adamant that the "end of all things has drawn near" (1 Pet 4:4, 17). He proudly displays his ignorance of context by writing:
. . . I bring my concepts of the nature of the end into
. . . conformity with inspiration.
Yet, the daily newspaper and common sense affirms that history marches on. The end of all things has not yet happened. The context of 1 Peter dictates that "the end of all things" is exactly like Jesus’ exhortation "the time is at hand" from Rev 22:10. They both are adverbial – not objective. They are pertinent to each and every person for all who are living are within one heartbeat of eternity.
Preston’s appeal to 1 Peter 4:7, 17 merely affirms his violation of common sense linguistics. It is wrong to grab a word or phrase from 1 Peter 4:7, 17 and force it upon Matt 24:36 or any other passage. One only looks at 1 Pet 4:7, 17 and other texts to establish the broad semantic domain of the word / phrase in question. The broad semantic domain in no way provides a clue for what the final definition of the word / phrase might be. Only context can supply the correct final definition. Context is what Preston has not used in three successive posts.
Rather than use the simple biblical truth of dispensations, Preston supports his arguments with dreams! In response to the above several questions linked to the context of Matthew 24 that I posed to him, Preston uses the following:
. . . 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."
as a dream support of his denial of Dispensationalism.
Yes! Jesus gave Israel a bona fide offer of His kingdom. However, Israel refused to worship Jesus as their Messiah, and crucified the Lord of Lords, and rejected the bona fide offer. Israel’s rejection does not mean that Jesus’ offer wasn’t a genuine offer. Rather than admitting that Dispensationalism is true, Preston denies the obvious and leaps to errant conclusions.
The nearness of the bona fide offer
. . . does not mean
. . . . . . th
e nearness of the end of the age.
The nearness of the judgment on Israel
. . . does not mean
. . . . . . the nearness of Jesus’ judgment upon the sinful world.
Dispensationalism uses a literal interpretation unless scripture provides the key to interpret the symbolism. There is no such key for us to think that the end of the age has now happened. Since Preston has no real argument, he fabricates these whimsical leaps. So he continues to rip
. . . Peter’s nearness of "the end" (1 Peter 4:7);
. . . John’s "shortly come to pass" (Rev 1:1-3); and
. . . John’s "behold I come quickly" (Rev 22:6-12)
out of context. He continues to force an unnatural objective nearness upon verses that common sense tells us hasn’t happened for nearly 2000 years.
As an attempt to avoid facing the reality of his daydream, Preston dares to say that I’ve ignored his argument – except to ridicule it. I haven’t ignored your argument, Don; I’ve demolished it in light of context. If you think that my open demolition of your daydreams is ridicule, then you’ve internalized your errant theology. It means that you are holding far too tightly to the error that I’m exposing. When your error takes a direct hit then so do you. I advise you to begin using CONTEXT and avoid these whimsical day dreams.
Preston shows more open ignorance of biblical Dispensationalism when he discusses the great red dragon (Rev 12:4). He thinks that dispensationalists mindlessly use a literal hermeneutic. This is another of his dangerous half-truths. We do use a literal hermeneutic – but we also use symbolism when scripture itself gives us the clear key. In Rev 12:9, scripture shows us that the dragon is none other than that "old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world." When we use context as we should, then we don’t make Preston’s hilarious statements. So yet again, Preston doesn’t have a clue as to how to interpret the Bible from an overarching perspective – not to mention his inability to honor the context of any given verse.
Preston continues his folly with open and blatant lies regarding the 144,000 saints in the Great Tribulation. Here, his vain rabbit trail began with his willful ignorance of context. He uses a blatant lies for his support. You see, he desperately wants the AD 70 sack of Jerusalem to be the last days – in spite of context and common sense which tells us that Jerusalem is still thriving today. So he now points out that my common sense questions about the appearance of the anti-christ, Jesus’ visible return, 25% of the earth destroyed by hunger and so on are taken from Revelation. Then, he uses this as a springboard to say that all these arguments pertain to the seven year period between the rapture and the millennium.
Of course, he says this rhetorically, fully disbelieving the rapture and the millennium. So to show that this is really an error, he emphasizes that the 144,000 saints of the tribulation must also be of that time. Unbelievably, he uses the truth all the while denying it.
However, to avoid sanctioning Dispensationalism, he fabricates the following wrinkle:
. . . the 144,000 Christians were the first generation
. . . of Jews redeemed to Christ.
Where does he get this fairy tale? Well he rips James 5 out of context and violates basic linguistics yet again. Yes! We believers are a kind of first-fruits. But the context is different! The context of James 5 applies to believers – not a city. Willful abuse of context DOES NOT mean that we are the first GENERATION of those redeemed to Christ. There is nothing in the context of Revelation 17 that speaks of "first generation" or "first fruits." As added measure, Preston rips Heb 10:37 "in a very, very little while" out of context and strings it together with these other verses. Incredibly, the whole crux of Preston’s argument hinges on blindness to context.
The issue is far beyond the truthfulness of Dispensationalism. Preston’s tactics have degenerated into open lies and willful disregard of the context of God’s Word.
JESUS’ DECLARATIONS OF NEARNESS.
This is merely beating a dead horse. Preston spent nearly 8000 words repeating the same arguments ripped from context. In this particular strain Preston thinks his violation of context is legitimate because he can rip Jesus’ statements out of context in a similar violent abuse of context. That he can abuse context in several verses is no proof that he has a right argument.
Yes! Jesus made declarations that the end was near.
No! The end has not yet happened.
Preston fails to grasp the fact that the nearness of the end to which Jesus pointed must not be an objective nearness. Now Preston dreams up another parallel. He thinks that because the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy was far off and sealed up, that there should be another sealing to John’s unfulfilled prophecies.
This violates another basic rule of exegesis. We must not go beyond what God has written. We cannot demand that God follow our logic. God did not tell John to seal up the words. This fabricated requirement has no bearing whatsoever upon reality. It is another day dream. Day dreams are the basis of Preston’s arguments.
I’ve actually demolished this argument earlier. However, Preston is so found of his folly that he returns to the same argument over and over with new wrinkles each time. At this point in his third affirmation, Preston thinks that Peter’s declaration of "last days" (Acts 2:17, cf Joel 2) means that the last days were fulfilled in the pillage of Jerusalem in AD 70. He arrives at this by ignoring the contexts of both Joel and Acts 2.
We must note that Jerusalem was never destroyed. Time did not stop. Jesus has not come and judged the world. Satan has not yet been cast into the bottomless pit. The New Jerusalem has not yet been lowered down from heaven above. This earth is the same old earth that has not been burned with fire. The last days did not happen in AD 70.
What Preston cannot grasp is the concept of dual prophecy. There are many such places in the Bible that speak to two events at the one same time. In Isaiah 46:9-12, the prophet foretells of the near term deliverance of Israel and the long term salvation to Zion. Isaiah 9:6-7 points to a ruling Messiah while Isaiah 53:3-6 points to a suffering rejected Messiah. Isaiah 53 is a relative near term prophecy; Isaiah 9:6-7 is a long term prophecy.
In 1 Chronicles 17, Nathan give a dual prophecy to King David. He (speaking for God) says when David’s days are fulfilled, God will set up your seed after you, who will be of your sons; and God will establish his kingdom and his throne FOR EVER. We know that this was fulfilled in the near term through Solomon. Yet Solomon did not reign FOR EVER. This is a far term prophecy to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Preston writes as if he is oblivious to dual prophecies. Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 is another one of these dual prophecies. In the near term, some of the things that Joel spoke of happened. But common sense and context tells us that:
. . . there were no wonders in heaven above, and signs
. . . . . . in the earth beneath (Acts 2:19).
. . . the sun didn’t turn into darkness,
. . . . . . and the moon didn’t turn into blood (Acts 2:20).
. . . the Day of the Lord did not come (Acts 2:20).
These things pertain to the future long term fulfillment that hasn’t yet happened. Preston writes as if he is oblivious to the concept of dual prophecies. Oh that he would use common sense and context!
Since the Day of Pentecost was not the Last Days, then Joel was pointing to a three part prophecy: near term for national Israel, somewhat later for the Day of Pentecost, and at the Last Day. Preston is busted unless he wishes to argue that the sun isn’t shining. But any small child knows the end of that argument.
Here again, Preston is merely repeated his "last days" folly with a new wrinkle. It is amazing that he simply cannot keep an argument straight. In his first affirmative, he wrote:
. . . the language of the Mosaic covenant between YHVH
. . . and Israel (which of course embraces the Abrahamic
. . . covenant as well).
I chastised him for such folly. In my first negative I wrote:
. . . One problem is that the Book of Revelation is NOT
. . . WRITTEN in distinctively covenantal language.
. . . A second problem is that the language of the Mosaic
. . . covenant DOES NOT embrace the Abrahamic covenant!
In his second affirmative Preston responded:
. . . the curses mentioned in Revelation 5-6 come
. . . DIRECTLY FROM Leviticus 26 and
. . . Deuteronomy 28-30.
To which I respond: show me! Still in my second negative, I wrote:
. . . the language of the conditional Mosaic covenant does
. . . not embrace the Abrahamic covenant of promise.
I showed from scripture (Jeremiah 31:35-37) that no conditional judgment on Israel has any part to do with either the last days or the destruction of Israel. Nowhere in his 8000 words did Preston establish his day dream. Instead, Preston runs down a rabbit trail by saying that I don’t believe that the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 was part of God’s Mosaic Covenant wrath. I never said such a thing. The Mosaic Covenant was given strictly, solely, and only to national Israel. It was given to drive them to Christ because the law could not save.
Preston has run from his opening folly and seeks to cover his error by making outlandish statements. That God poured out His wrath on Jerusalem has no support whatsoever to an early date for the Book of Revelation. God’s out pouring of wrath on Jerusalem is not the final destruction of the Babylon of the Book of Revelation. Preston wastes many words here on a rabbit trail that does not support his argument.
Preston’s arguments are merely a chain of half-truths. And we all know that half-truths are usually far more deceptive and deadly than open lies.
JUDGMENT ON JERUSALEM/ISRAEL
Here again, Preston is adding a new wrinkle to his "last days" folly. He again combines willful abuse of context with ignorance of linguistics. Here, he thinks that any Bible verse that talks about Israel’s sin is automatic support for his errant "Israel is destroyed" argument.
Let me say it yet again. Israel was never destroyed. We can look at a modern map and see where Israel is. Israel will never be destroyed – unless according to Jeremiah 31:35-37 – we the sun stops giving its light, or the heavens above can be measured, or the foundations of the earth beneath us can be searched out. Judgment on Israel means nothing for the dating of the Book of Revelation. It cannot be linked to the total final destruction of Babylon in Rev 18.
What Preston has again failed to understand is context.
The context of Israel filling up its sins cannot bring its total final destruction. After all, God has promised that this will never happen. A partial fulfillment of Joel 2 is not total capitulation except to someone who cannot use context. The context of "last days" can mean the revelation of Jesus Christ as Israel’s promised Messiah. It can also mean the Day of the Lord just before the millennium. It can also mean that last days just before God’s wrath falls upon Jerusalem. Taking passages about the first definition and forcing them on other passages is vile ignorance of basic linguistics.
Yet in either case, no judgment upon Israel matches up with the total final judgment on the Babylon of Rev 18. All of Preston’s many words are wasted because he will not honor God’s faithfulness to national Israel. Preston writes:
Daniel foretold Israel / Jerusalem would fill the measure of "her sin." This is another blatantly false statement. The correct reading of Daniel 9:24 is
. . . make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity.
Context clearly tells us that this is a universal judgment. But since Preston is an expert at ripping words from their contexts, he is free to reinterpret it in any foul way that he pleases. At this point, he delights to make us think that a universal judgment on sin happened to one tiny nation at a point in time that was not the last days of earth’s history.
Of course, Preston thinks this is ridiculous. He notes that I think that Israel is the center of God’s eschatological plan. First this is false. Jesus is the center of God’s eschatological plan. God just happens to have made undeniable promises to national Israel that we must honor or unwittingly become defiant rebels. Second, he ignores the fact that the filling up of sin is associated with the rejection of Jesus (see Matt 27:25). The filling up of sin was nothing more than the ending of one particular generation of Israelites. It is certainly not the Dan 9:24 universal end of sin. One must use context or play the fool.
Filling up the measure of their father sin (Matt 23:31-36) resulting in a judgment on one city at one point in time is not the Dan 9:24 universal filling up of sin for the entire world history. One must use context or play the fool.
Even Jesus Himself limited the filling up of sin to the blood of Zechariah (Matt 23:36). The judgment on Israel was not the universal judgment on sin spoken of in Dan 9:24. One must use context or play the fool.
Preston is so confident of his willful violations of context that he pointedly asks:
. . . 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 Deut 32?
The question reeks of ignorance and confusion. First, Preston is ignorant about the context of the book of Deut. There God has promised that even if Israel is judged, He will one day restore them. Preston’s argument that Israel will be totally destroyed as the Babylon of Rev 18 is horrendously false. Second, Preston is confused about the millennial scheme. There is no judgment on Israel in the millennium. The judgment on Israel continues throughout the times of the Gentiles until that one day when all Israel shall be saved (Romans 11:26). Preston is confused about God’s judgment on Israel. God’s judgments on Israel have nothing to do with the universal end of sin described in Dan 9:24. Daniel doesn’t even use the words Preston is ascribing to Daniel. It is denominational rhetoric that he has said so many times he doesn’t bother to look up the verse to see that he has no real support for his prejudice. Third, Israel will never be like Sodom. While Deut 32 describes them as a "crooked and perverse" generation, it never says that they will become like Sodom. This is another of Preston’s deceptively errant twists.
Preston’s repeated argument is based on willful violent abandonment of context. When we see that he has taken a Sharpie to scripture, then we know that he is automatically wrong on everything he writes.
THE COVENANTAL LANGUAGE OF REVELATION
Preston is found of thinking that the Book of Revelation reflects the covenantal language of Deuteronomy. I asked him to show this. His response was merely the denominational parroting of the fact without giving anything of substance. Where in the Book of Revelation is a promise of blessing for Israel’s obedience? Where in the Book of Revelation is there a threat of judgment for Israel’s disobedience?
What do we actually see in the Book of Revelation? We see only unconditional promises of blessings for Israel.
. . . 1. Israel is unconditionally miraculously preserved from
. . . . . the Great Red Dragon (Rev 12). Preston would have
. . . . . us believe that Israel will perish like the Baby
. . . . . Rev 18.
. . . 2. God unconditionally chooses 144,000 Israelites to bring
. . . . . the gospel message to those in the midst of the Great
. . . . . Tribulation (Rev 7).
. . . 3. A New Jerusalem comes down from heaven where the
. . . . . twelve gates are named after the twelve tribes of Israel.
. . . . . (Rev 21:12).
Imagine that. This is a 100% survey. There is no conditional language in the Book of Revelation. Yet Preston insists that Revelation parallels Deuteronomy with conditional promises and conditional curses for Israel. Again, context is the key to avoiding Person’s denominational rhetoric.
We see now why Preston lost four matches to Thomas Ice. We also understand why Thomas Ice doesn’t want a fifth debate. Preston can’t debate on Ice’s level. Ice must be way more tired of explaining context than I am at this point. After all, we see in this debate that Preston can’t even use context much less present a valid argument. You the reader must be as exasperated as I am in watching Preston violate context and ignore common sense rules of linguistic! After all, it is just as hilarious to think about a nose with legs running a race as it is to think that the Book of Revelation having conditional Mosaic-like promises / blessings for Israel.
The Book of Revelation is dealing with the universal end of sin – not the narrow specific fulfilling of sin on one tiny nation at one particular point in time. Yet Preston drones on about Revelation being the fulfillment of the Mosaic Covenant including the blessings and cursings. As noted above, there is not one fulfillment of a curse upon Israel in the entire Book of Revelation. While Deut 32 is about Israel, Revelation is about world history and the end of all things.
Again, we must call attention to a particularly nasty habit of Mr. Preston. While he might be a fine person in a normal setting, in a debate he builds straw men of fanciful leaps and out right lies. I’ve never once in the debate said that Revelation is about the fulfillment of the Mosaic Covenant. Preston arrives at such a lie through an incredible sequence of false assumptions. After all, his argument only makes sense if you buy into these false assumptions that aren’t derived from context.
He tries to tell us that the Roman Catholic Church cannot be under the Mosaic Covenant. Well this is true. But now watch his fanciful leap. He says that Revelation cannot be about the Roman Catholic Church. Where is there any logic behind this wild assertion? The Great Dragon wasn’t under the Mosaic Covenant either – yet the Book of Revelation certainly has a part about him. The great city Babylon wasn’t under the Mosaic Covenant either – yet the Book of Revelation devotes an entire chapter to its total and final destruction. And because of this false fanciful leap away from context, Preston thinks that Revelation was written before AD 70.
Here is another of Preston’s laughers. He denies that Israel stands under God’s judgment today. He asks: "UPON WHAT BASIS?" Well, let’s ask some COMMON SENSE questions.
. . . 1. Is Israel worshipping God as He has revealed Himself
. . . . . in the New Testament?
. . . 2. Does Jesus now sit on David’s throne in Jerusalem?
. . . 3. Has the New Jerusalem come down from heaven?
. . . 4. Has Satan been bound in the bottomless pit?
. . . 5. Have the promises of Isaiah 65 that Preston pointed to
. . . . . happened yet? Does the wolf and lamb feed together?
. . . . . Does the lion eat straw? Can a child play with
. . . . . poisonous snakes?
. . . 6. Does all the world make yearly pilgrimages to Israel?
There are lots of prophecies in the OT that haven’t yet been fulfilled regarding Israel’s future restoration to worldwide prominence. Until that time happens, Israel stands under God’s wrath.
IMPORTANT! Notice how the Book of Revelation teaches the opposite! There is nothing but blessings and favor for Israel in the Book of Revelation. Revelation is the exact opposite of Deuteronomy 32. Revelation tells of unconditional blessings; Deut 32 has conditional blessings and curses. The two contexts are not the same. One cannot equate the Book of Revelation to Deut 32. There is no support for an early date from Preston’s fanciful daydream.
Preston runs back to Daniel 9 and the 70 weeks. I am so pleased that he gave an extended quote from my second negative. I am more pleased that he failed to refute it. In quote asks where the sun became black as sackcloth and the moon became as blood (Rev 6:12). I asked Preston to answer this. Guess what his was?!? He runs to symbolic language. He says these things happened symbolically.
He points out that Daniel does mention the destruction of Jerusalem at the climax of the seventy weeks (Dan 9:26-27). But it is no longer surprising that he fails to use context yet again. The context of these verses is that after 62 weeks the Messiah shall be "cut off." This is the equivalent of a time out during a football game. The context shows that the people who sacked Jerusalem shall be the same people that try to bring war upon Israel at the last days. The leader of these people will confirm the covenant with them for seven years (Dan (9:27). Preston didn’t tell you that. We see at the end times that Israel is NOT destroyed. The context continues that this great leader shall cause sacrifice and the oblations to cease. Revelation tells us that Israel is divinely protected at this time. There is no destruction of Jerusalem associated with either Daniel 9 or the Book of Revelation. Preston’s conclusion is false and built upon context-less day dreams and denominational rhetoric.
Dear reader: note how easily I answer Preston’s question by using context. Notice also how Preston has failed to give valid answers to my questions throughout this portion of the debate! He answers my questions with questions even more extremely divorced from context. When he divorces himself from context, then there is no restraint to his fanciful God-less imagination.
Let’s go on to his next fanciful piece of imagination. He points to Matthew 23:29 where Jesus points to the hypocrisy of the leaders. Wherefore God will send upon them judgment for all the righteous blood shed upon the earth. So what? Preston thinks that this true statement proves his wild fanciful leaps to other conclusions. Yes! God did judge Israel. This is not proof of anything. It is not proof that AD 70 was the last days. We have come some 2000 years since then. That was not the last days. God judged Israel for rejecting Jesus as Messiah. This happened in AD 70. This is not proof that the Book of Revelation was written before AD 70. Other than point out a truthful statement, Preston failed to link it to the proposition.
This failure is an important point for the reader to understand. Preston doesn’t error in everything he says. He is right whenever he quotes God’s Word for God’s Word has no error. However, Preston’s conclusions that come after the quotes are almost always wrong for they are divorced from common sense context and willful abuse of basic linguistics.
Much of what Preston writes falls into this logic trap. Just because one can quote a verse from the Bible doesn’t automatically mean that one rightly divides God’s Word. A right division (understanding) of God’s Word must always begin with an analysis of context. This Preston has repeatedly failed to do. In fact, I’ve spent three complete rounds exposing his failure to use context. EVERY ONE of his arguments is completely divorced from context. EVERY ONE of his responses is another extension to even wilder fanciful day dreams. No wonder Ice is tired of such nonsense! It is a great credit to Thomas Ice that he agreed to the second debate. That could mean as much as twelve rounds of explaining how Preston ignored context. It could mean
that he revisited the same verses many times to show how Preston continuously ignores context and continuously returns to the pig sty of denominational rhetoric.
This is shown yet again when Preston turns to Rev 1:19. This is the crux key to interpreting the Book of Revelation. It speaks of
. . . (1) the things which thou hast seen (past),
. . . (2) the things which are (present), and
. . . (3) the things which shall be (future).
Yet get a look at this! Preston ignores the very key that he discusses! He only thinks the Book of Revelation speaks of things "PAST, OR PRESENT." He then says:
. . . "that this means that Babylon had to have been a first
. . . century entity."
This is another nose with legs running a race. Rev 1:19 shows that the things which thou has seen (past) refer to the vision of Christ in chapter 1. The things which are (present) refer to the descriptions of first century churches. John takes the rest of chapter 2 and 3 to discuss these seven present time churches. Then at the beginning of chapter 4, God calls John "up hither." God will show John the "things which must be hereafter." The rest of the Book of Revelation is about FUTURE events. Babylon is a future event.
Preston’s argument is based upon a willful disregard for the context of Rev 1:19. Preston’s argument is based upon the false notion that Israel was judged just as was Babylon in Rev 18. Let’s turn again to the CONTEXT of Rev 18 and see if the two judgments are the same!
Rev 18:9 tells us that the kings of the earth wail Babylon’s destruction for that great city was the source of their profit. Was Jerusalem in AD 70 a great city? Preston’s argument is hilariously wrong. He didn’t use CONTEXT.
Rev 18:11 and 14 declare: "NO MAN BUYETH THEIR MERCHANDISE ANY MORE." Common sense tells us that people are buying and selling in Jerusalem this very week. Preston’s argument is hilariously wrong. He didn’t use CONTEXT.
Rev 18:19 shows that the great city had no rival. It could not be compared to any other city. Was Jerusalem in AD 70 of this stature? Preston’s argument is hilariously wrong. He didn’t use CONTEXT.
Rev 18:21 tells us that Babylon "shall be found no more at all." Can we go to a map today and find Israel and Jerusalem? Preston’s argument is hilariously wrong. He didn’t use CONTEXT.
Rev 18:22 tells us that there will be no more music or commerce in Babylon. Common sense tells us the opposite. Preston’s argument is hilariously wrong. He didn’t use CONTEXT.
When Preston cuts himself off from context and common sense, then any argument might sound good. It is the task of those who would be truthful to God’s Word to use CONTEXT! Preston – in three successive affirmations – has not done this.
I’m caught somewhere between Proverbs 26:4 and Proverbs 26:5. How does one respond to a person whose entire proposition is built upon a willful disregard of context and an open defiant rebellion against common sense linguistics?
This has not truly been a debate between two equals. The affirmative in this debate has been characterized by the failure to use context and common sense linguistics. Arguments are based on the violent ripping of verses from context and the folly of equating that word to another context. In this regard, I showed how the definition of the word "run" from sentence 1 below looks hilariously silly when we force it to be the definition of the word "run" in sentence 2 below:
. . . 1. I run a race.
. . . 2. My nose runs.
Preston’s posture in this debate has been one where he grabs a definition of a word from one verse and forces it on another text. If we apply this to the two sentences above, we would have a nose with legs running down the avenue. This is a violation of a very basic rule of linguistics: words only have meaning in their contexts.
But when Preston so easily ignores context, then this linguistics error is another error that is routinely made. Ignorance of context and violation of basic linguistics seem to go hand in hand. But it only gets worse. Fanciful day-dreams are the expected results when one’s arguments have been divorced from context and common sense linguistics has been denied. Finally, Preston has failed at every turn to link his fanciful arguments to the proposition at hand.
His first argument was that Matt 24 shows the objective nearness of the destruction of Jerusalem. However, this argument has been ripped from context. Matt 24 speaks of the signs of Jesus’ Second Coming and the end of world history. To show that Preston is wrong, all I had to do was ask several common sense questions from CONTEXT:
. . . Has Christ has come again? (24:3)
. . . Has the world ended? (24:3)
. . . Has the anti-christ been revealed? (24:5)
. . . Are Christians hated of all nations (24:9)
. . . Has we seen the abomination of desolation? (24:15)
. . . Have we seen a great tribulation such as was not since
. . . . . . the beginning (24:21)
. . . Has the sun darkened,
. . . . . . the moon not given its light, and
. . . . . . the stars fell from heaven? (24:29)
. . . Has the WHOLE world seen Jesus come? (24:30)
. . . Has the judgment happened? (24:31)
. . . the judgment of Gentile nations (25:31)
. . . Have we seen everlasting judgment and
. . . . . . have we received visible eternal life? (25:46)
Preston’s first argument ignored the entire context of Matt 24. If Jesus did return in AD 70, as Preston suggests, then he should be able to name the day did He did return! Obviously, Preston’s argument is demolished by context. Preston’s second argument fared no better.
Preston’s second argument was that Deut 32 is a picture of the end of Israel’s covenantal history. Preston was especially excited during his proofs of this point. He repeatedly pointed to Israel’s sin and how this brought God’s wrath. However, this truth was a deceptive smoke screen for his argument for several reasons.
Even though God judged Israel in the AD 70 sack of Jerusalem, we must remember that God judged Israel repeatedly throughout the OT. Even today, God’s hand of judgment is upon Israel. The fact that God’s wrath is upon Israel is not related to any dating scheme of the Book of Revelation.
Preston implied that an early date was seen in the language of Revelation that mirrored the blessings and curses of Deuteronomy. Especially prominent in Preston’s argument is that the Babylon of Rev 18 is Jerusalem. This is an unprecedented argument not supported by scripture for Preston overlooked God’s covenantal promises to national Israel. Though Israel was and is now judged, they will never be destroyed. God promised Israel’s existence in perpetuity (Jer 31:35-37). The Book of Revelation shows us nothing but unconditional blessings for Israel – not the conditional blessings and curses of the Mosaic Covenant that Preston tried to foist upon us. In addition, he tried to make the Babylon of Rev 18 that was totally and finally destroyed the Israel that God promised would never be destroyed or forsaken.
Preston must own a rabbit farm. Rather than facing the issues of context, he eagerly ran down every rabbit trail he could find. Some of his pointless arguments included the following:
The sins of Israel were filled up by the AD 70 judgment. But I say: "So what?" It is common knowledge that Israel has gone through many cycles of judgment. They are currently under judgment. The fact that they are under judgment has no bearing on the date of the Book of Revelation.
Preston has a serious misunderstanding of Dispensationalism. Where did Preston learn systematic theology? Anyone with one course of Systematic Theology should know the main systems of biblical interpretation. Prest
on thinks that a dispensationalist only uses a literal interpretation!?! He wrote that the Great Red Dragon of Rev 12 destroyed my position because it used symbolical language. He doesn’t know that dispensationalists use symbolic language when the context provides the key. Half-wit knowledge like that is usually easy to spot. It is also rather embarrassing for the one who spouts such ignorance.
Preston must own stock in Dodge for he dodged my every point that dealt with context. He dodged the issue that the context of Matt 24 was about the end of the age and the signs of Jesus’ coming. He dodged the issue that the context of Rev 1:19 was mostly about FUTURE events – not the historic AD 70 pillage of Jerusalem. He dodged the issue that his references to Isaiah 65 pointed to the context of the universal peace and happiness associated with Jesus’ millennial rule. He dodged the issue that the context of Revelation was a different context of Deuteronomy. He dodged the issue of God’s covenantal faithfulness to Israel. He dodged the point that Deuteronomy 4 promised the eventual restoration of Israel – even after they were judged and dispersed to the four corners of the earth. As a matter of fact, this is one of the reasons that this has not been a true debate. There hasn’t been an equal exchange on any portion of scripture presented.
Since then, rather than address context, Preston’s affirmative responses have been ever worsening leaps away context. He shamelessly grabs words from 1 Peter and John and twists them into fairy-tale support.
Preston’s arguments show a rather curious and serious omission of the context of the Book of Revelation. After all, this is supposed to be a debate on the date of the Book of Revelation. We would have thought that anyone proposing such an argument would use the internal evidences of the Book of Revelation as one of the basic proofs. Yet Preston only indirectly went to the Book of Revelation to show one of context-less violations of linguistics. Had Preston not shown such a willful disregard for context and jettisoned common sense linguistics, this omission would have been sufficient for Preston to lose the debate all by itself.
In spite of his attempts, Preston at no time ever established a valid supportable link to an early date for the writing of the Book of Revelation. When one purposely rips verses from context and ignores basic linguistics, then no argument is valid. Preston’s supporters and fan club have no doubt been very disappointed in Preston’s weak and defenseless arguments. Perhaps he will fare better from the negative side.
No matter what the biblical topic, no matter what book of the Bible, no matter how we analyze God’s holy Word, we must be honorable in our methods or unwittingly become a defiant rebel.
I now begin the preparations for a God honoring argument for a late date for the Book of Revelation based on context.