Written Debates

Written Debate on the Dating of Revelation: Olson’s First Affirmative

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 AFTER the fall of Jerusalem around A.D. 96.

Resolved: The Bible teaches that the Book of Revelation was written AFTER the fall of Jerusalem around A.D. 96.

Affirm: Dr. Olson

Deny: Don K. Preston

 

Outline of Dr. Olson’s 1st Affirmative

I. External Evidences

. . . A. Israel

. . . B. Early Church Fathers

. . . C. "The Tyrant"

II. Internal Evidences

 

I. EXTERNAL EVIDENCES

I.A. ISRAEL

Preterism holds that the prophecies to which Dispensationalists ascribe to the future 7 year Tribulation occurred in the AD 70 pillage of Jerusalem. A consistent application of Preterism denials many aspects of orthodoxy held dearly throughout the centuries since Christ such as the rapture. Preterism teaches that the Antichrist and the Second Coming happened in AD 70. Preterism teaches that we are not living in the last days and Christ’s kingdom is here now. Furthermore, everything written in the NT that refers to the last days refers to the time its writers were living in the first century.

 

The date of the Book of Revelation is crucial for Preterism alone. If the late date is true, then it totally demolishes the preterit eschatological view. By contrast, an early date doesn’t demolish the Dispensationalist view unless ALL of the events recorded in were truly fulfilled in AD 70.

 

The future prophecies given to national Israel give rise to the cornerstone of Preterism: replacement theology. Preterism holds that all future prophecies given to OT national Israel have been transferred to the NT Church. The eternal promises given to Abraham regarding land, posterity and blessings to the nations have been transferred to the NT Church. Preterism teaches that God’s plan for Israel ended with its AD 70 destruction.

 

Christian scholarship has only identified two dates for the writing of the Book of Revelation: an early date of AD70 and a late date around AD 96. Thus, proof of the early AD 70 date eliminates the late AD 96 date and denial of the early AD 70 date automatically establishes the late AD 96 date. So if we can establish that Israel is still in God’s plan we automatically demolish Preterism’s cornerstone. This removes the early date (AD 70) as an option and by default establishes the late date (around AD 96).

 

The following verses are crucial in demolishing the early AD 70 date and proving the late AD 96 date for the writing of the Book of Revelation. First, let’s look at the land promise.

 

. . . And Jehovah said to Abram . . . for all the land that thou

. . . seest will I give to thee, and to thy seed for ever.

. . . Gen 13:14-16

 

God promised Israel their land FOR EVER. How do you define "for ever" Mr. Preston? Dispensationalists take a common sense approach to that phrase and define it as "for ever." In the next passage, this is verified and we have another unpleasant surprise for Mr. Preston: an everlasting covenant!

 

. . . And I [God] will establish my covenant between me and

. . . thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations, for an

. . . EVERLASTING COVENANT, . . . And I give to thee,

. . . and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojourning, all

. . . the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I

. . . will be a God to them. Gen. 17:7-8

How do you define "everlasting" Mr. Preston? Dispensationalists take a common sense approach to that phrase and define it as "everlasting." It gets worse for Preterism. In the next passage, we see that God makes an everlasting promise to King David!

. . . I will establish his kingdom. It is he who shall build a

. . . house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his

. . . kingdom FOR EVER. I will be his father, and he shall be

. . . my son. . . . My mercy shall not depart away from him,

. . . as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before thee.

. . . And thy house and thy kingdom shall be made firm FOR

. . . EVER before thee: thy throne shall be established FOR

. . . EVER. According to all these words, and according to all

. . . this vision, so did Nathan speak to David. 2 Sam. 7:10-17

It will be interesting to see how Preston redefines or qualifies the word "everlasting" and the phrases "for ever" and "everlasting covenant." Scripture continues Its demolition of Preterism.

. . . Blessed be Jehovah thy God, who delighted in thee, to set

. . . thee on his throne, to be king to Jehovah thy God! Because

. . . thy God loved Israel, to establish them FOR EVER,

. . . therefore did he make thee king over them, to do judgment

. . . and justice. 2 Chron 9:8

Let there be no mistake. God has plans for national Israel FOR EVER. Even during temporal judgments, God makes it clear as to His plans for Israel’s future.

. . . Israel shall be saved by Jehovah with an everlasting

. . . salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded, unto

. . . the ages of ages. For thus saith Jehovah who created the

. . . heavens, God himself who formed the earth and made it,

. . . He who established it, — not as waste did He create it: He

. . . formed it to be inhabited: — I am Jehovah, and there is

. . . none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of

. . . the earth; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek Me in

. . . vain: I am Jehovah, speaking righteousness, declaring

. . . things which are right. Isa. 45:14-19, 25

Israel’s future is as certain as is God’s faithfulness. In Jeremiah 31 God affirms His faithfulness to Israel in terms of the heavens above.

. . . Thus saith Jehovah, who giveth the sun for light by day,

. . . the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for light by

. . . night, who stirs up the sea so that the waves thereof roar,

. . . — Jehovah of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart

. . . from before me, saith Jehovah, the seed of Israel also shall

. . . cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith

. . . Jehovah: If the heavens above can be measured, and the

. . . foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also

. . . cast off the whole seed of Israel, for all that they have

. . . done, saith Jehovah. Jer 31:35-37

In case Preston discounts the OT, let’s look at a few passages from the NT where God again declares His faithfulness to Israel.

Compare Jeremiah 31:31-34 with Hebrews 8:8-12. In the NT God clearly and unambiguously affirms His OT promises by using a direct quote. Even after AD 70 God is as faithful to Israel as He was in the days of Jeremiah.

Paul has a lot to say about Israel:

. . . Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption,

. . . and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the

. . . law, and the service of God, and the promises.

. . . Rom 9:4-5

Even in punishment and dispersion, Israel is still God’s. Notice how Paul calls them "HOLY."

. . . For if the first-fruit b
e holy, the lump is also holy: and if

. . . the root be holy, so are the branches. Rom 11:16

In verses 25-27 Paul declares:

. . . For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of

. . . this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits;

. . . that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the

. . . fullness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall

. . . be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion

. . . the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from

. . . Jacob: For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall

. . . take away their sins.

Notice verse 26 where God promises that "ALL ISRAEL SHALL BE SAVED." God will not let them go. In spite of their hardness, He will save the entire nation in one future day for the gifts and the call of God are "IRREVOCABLE" (Rom 11:29 – RSV).

 

In the Book of Revelation, we see nothing but a continuation of God’s covenantal faithfulness to national Israel. In Rev 17, (sic, DKP) God seals 144,000 Israelites for His service. God closes the Book of Revelation with two chapters detailing the Holy City New Jerusalem. On its gates are written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel (21:12). In the New Jerusalem the River of Life flows from God’s throne (Rev 22).

 

Preterism should never have developed. It came to rise only after many centuries where there was no visible state of Israel. With nothing for our human eyes to see, people were led astray to a replacement theology. But now, as we near the end of world history, we can visible see that God is faithfully restoring national Israel. He is regathering them from their dispersion to the four corners of the world. National Israel is a visible sign that preterism is wrong. God has never given up on national Israel. National Israel was not destroyed in AD 70 or at any other time period. There is yet a future prominent world-wide position of leadership waiting for national Israel.

 

Israel is proof that there are no grounds for an early date for the Book of Revelation thereby establishing the late date.

 

 

I.B. EARLY CHURCH FATHERS

Let me introduce this point by way of an advanced mini-summary. Negatively, there is not a single early source that places John’s banishment to the reign of Nero. By early source, I mean within 400 years of John. Positively, all of the reports place John’s banishment toward the end of Domitian’s reign. What follows now will be the quotes from the early Church fathers.

 

IRENAEUS.

Irenaeus writes:

 

. . . We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing

. . . positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were

. . . necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in

. . . this present time, it would have been announced by him

. . . who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no

. . . very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the

. . . end of Domitian’s reign. [1]

EUSEBIUS, the noted Christian historian notes that Nero was the first to persecute Christians [2]. Only Nero and Domitian persecuted the Christians [3]. This is verified also in footnote #712. Eusebius then quoted Irenaues’ statement as well as indicating that other secular histories at his disposal also confirmed the banishment of Christians to Patmos occurred during Domitian’s reign [4]. Eusebius then writes:

 

. . ."Tertullian also has mentioned Domitian in the following

. . . words: ‘Domitian also, who possessed a share of Nero’s

. . . cruelty, attempted once to do the same thing that the latter

. . . did. But because he had, I suppose, some intelligence, he

. . . very soon ceased, and even recalled those whom he had

. . . banished. ‘But after Domitian had reigned fifteen years,

. . . and Nerva had succeeded to the empire, the Roman Senate,

. . . according to the writers that record the history of those

. . . days, voted that Domitian’s horrors should be cancelled,

. . . and that those who had been unjustly banished should

. . . return to their homes and have their property restored to

. . . them. It was at this time that the apostle John returned

. . . from his banishment in the island and took up his abode at

. . . Ephesus, according to an ancient Christian tradition." [5]

 

 

VICTORINUS

Victorinus was a bishop of Pettaw Italy. He agreed with Irenaeus but added details beyond Irenaeus showing that his report is truly independent.

 

. . . ‘And He says unto me, Thou must again prophesy to the

. . . peoples, and to the tongues, and to the nations, and to

. . . many kings.’ He says this, because when John said these

. . . things he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the

. . . labor of the mines by Caesar Domitian. There, therefore,

. . . he saw the Apocalypse; and when grown old, he thought

. . . that he should at length receive his quittance by suffering,

. . . Domitian being killed, all his judgments were discharged.

. . . And John being dismissed from the mines, thus subse-

. . . quently delivered the same Apocalypse which he had

. . . received from God. [6]

 

. . . The time must be understood in which the written

. . . Apocalypse was published, since then reigned Caesar

. . . Domitian; but before him had been Titus his brother, and

. . . Vespasian, Otho, Vitellius, and Galba. [7]

 

 

CLEMENT

Clement of Alexandria (150-220) told a story about John. The story was just after the time when John had returned from exile. John was a very old man at that time.

 

. . . And that you may be still more confident, that repenting

. . . thus truly there remains for you a sure hope of salvation,

. . . listen to a tale, which is not a tale but a narrative, handed

. . . down and committed to the custody of memory, about the

. . . Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant’s death, he returned

. . . to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being

. . . invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to

. . . appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there

. . . to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit. [8]

 

The story continues about how John had appointed a young man to Christian service. Somehow, the young man fell into great evil and departed from the faith. After a certain time, church leaders sent for John. John sought out the young man now a robber. As time passed, the robber’s men caught John and led him to the young man. When the young man saw John, he fled. The story con
tinues:

 

. . . Why, my son, dost thou flee from me, thy father, unarmed,

. . . old? Son, pity me. Fear not; thou hast still hope of life. I

. . . will give account to Christ for thee. If need be, I will

. . . willingly endure thy death, as the Lord did death for us.

. . . For thee I will surrender my life. Stand, believe; Christ

. . . hath sent me.

 

. . . And he, when he heard, first stood, looking down; then

. . . threw down his arms, then trembled and wept bitterly.

. . . And on the old man approaching, he embraced him,

. . . speaking for himself with lamentations as he could, and

. . . baptized a second time with tears, concealing only his

. . . right hand. The other pledging, and assuring him on oath

. . . that he would find forgiveness for himself from the Savior,

. . . beseeching and falling on his knees, and kissing his right

. . . hand itself, as now purified by repentance, led him back

. . . to the church. Then by supplicating with copious prayers,

. . . and striving along with him in continual fastings, and

. . . subduing his mind by various utterances of words, did

. . . not depart, as they say, till he restored him to the Church.

 

Clement shows us that John was a feeble old man at this time. If John was twenty when Jesus called him, then John would have been in his eighties in AD96. But if the "tyrant" referred to by Clement was Nero around AD70, then John would have been in his late 50’s or early 60’s and could hardly be spoken of as a feeble old man.

 

 

JEROME

. . . John…saw in the island of Patmos, to which he had been

. . . banished by the Emperor Domitian as a martyr for the

. . . Lord, an Apocalypse containing the boundless mysteries

. . . of the future. [8B]

 

 

THOMAS ICE

This quote must hurt Preston. He has probably seen some variation of this in his four losing debates with Thomas Ice.

. . . Further support for Irenaeus’ statement is seen in some of

. . . the early enemies of Irenaeus’ interpretation of Revelation.

. . . Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Eusebius, to name just

. . . a few, support Irenaeus’ statement of a Domitian date. [8C]

 

 

I.C. "The Tyrant"

Clement’s reference to "The Tyrant" is important for dating the Book of Revelation. As was shown above, John was clearly identified as being an old man when he returned to Ephesus. There is more information than this as to who "The Tyrant" might be. What follows are a few quotes from early writers who commonly identify Domitian as "The Tyrant."

 

. . . Apollonius of Tyana lived during the reign of Domitian

. . . and suffered persecution under that emperor. He was born

. . . at the beginning of the Christian era and died during the

. . . reign of Nerva (A.D. 96-98). Although not a follower of

. . . Christ (he was a neo-Pythagorean philosopher), he went

. . . about speaking against the excesses of the pagan system.

. . . He was arrested by Domitian but was later acquitted. In

. . . The Life of Apollonius of Tyana, by Philostratus (written

. . . in the second century), we read, "Domitian had already

. . . written to the governor of Asia directing the man of Tyana

. . . (Apollonius) to be arrested and brought to Rome …

. . . Apollonius set sail for Achaea and having landed in

. . . Corinth … met Demetrius … the boldest of the

. . . philosophers, knowing that he had moved from Rome to

. . . get out of the way of the tyrant …" [9]

 

Later a young man who spurned the advances of Domitian was thrown into prison with Apollonius and adds that he [the youth] was "not put to death by the tyrant." [10]

 

Pliny the Younger was contemporary with Domitian as a young lawyer in Rome. He later wrote that several of his friends were executed by that Caesar and that he himself had feared at times for his life. Recalling one of the emperor’s inhumane deeds, he writes of Domitian as assuming "the character of high-priest, or rather indeed of a cruel tyrant." [11]

 

Another writer who titles Domitian "the tyrant" is Lactantius, a Christian apologist of the third century known for a major work entitled The Christian Institutions. In his treatise, De mortibus persecutorum (Of the Death of the Persecutors), he writes of Domitian, "who, although his government was exceedingly odious, for a very long time oppressed his subjects, and reigned in security, until at length he stretched forth his impious hands against the Lord. Having been instigated by evil demons to persecute the righteous people, he was then delivered into the power of his enemies, and suffered due punishment. To be murdered in his own palace was not vengeance ample enough: the very memory of his name was erased. For although he had erected many admirable edifices, and rebuilt the Capitol, and left other distinguished marks of his magnificence, yet the senate did so persecute his name, as to leave no remains of his statues, or traces of the inscriptions put up in honor of him; and by most solemn and severe decrees it branded him, even after death, with perpetual infamy. Thus, the commands of the tyrant having been rescinded, the Church was not only restored to her former state, but she shone forth with additional splendor, and became more and more flourishing." [12]

 

 

Domitian’s persecution of those who opposed his cult continued until his death in A.D. 96. Apollonius of Tyana, with whom we have made an earlier acquaintance, turns up in Ephesus at the end of the period. He was delivering a lecture there when he learned of the emperor’s assassination. "Take heart, gentlemen," he announced to those assembled, "for the tyrant has been slain this day." [13]

 

The external evidences point unmistakably to Domitian as the tyrant who banished John to Island of Patmos. On that prison island, John received and recorded the apocalyptic vision. Upon the death of Domitian "The Tyrant" around AD 96, John was released from his banishment and returned to Ephesus.

 

 

II. INTERNAL EVIDENCES

CONTEXT

Dear reader – notice here the abundance of contextual evidences that stand in stark opposition to Preston’s earlier affirmation. Whereas Preston NEVER used the Book of Revelation except indirectly, my affirmation is loaded with direct contextual evidences that show that the Book will not – does not – and never could have been written as a fulfillment of t
he destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

 

Whereas Preston’s first affirmative failed for failure to use context at any point, the case for the late date is founded securely upon CONTEXT. Sadly, since Preston never used the Book of Revelation or context in general in his first affirmative, it is doubtful whether he will be able to bring a valid response to this section either.

 

 

II.A THINGS WHICH ARE

This section begins with some comments from the letters to the seven churches of Rev 2 & 3. This belongs to the "things which are" aspect of the key to the Book of Revelation – Rev 1:19.

 

II.A.1 The Church in Ephesus.

This church receives condemnation because it had lost its "first love" (Rev 2:4). The argument that surround this passage is how long does it take to lose one’s "first love?" Paul founded this church sometime earlier usually give to the time period of 50-60 AD. Could this church have fallen in 10-20 years? Both sides of the argument have their rhetorical answers.

 

A more penetrating argument comes from the fact that they hated the Nicolaitans (Rev 2:6). The etymology of the word nicolatains is from the compounds "nikos" (victory) and "laos" (people; from which we get our English word "laity."). Together it means "destruction of people." This doctrine is also mention to the Church in Pergamos, which accepted this perversion. It is a name that describes a hierarch of a ruling class over the rest of the people. We see this development in church history as leading to the Roman Catholic system of priests, bishops, cardinals and popes. So we have to ask whether or not this system was better evidenced in AD 60 or in AD 96.

 

Did the Church have bishops in AD 70? Or in AD 96? While individuals can quickly turn away from truth, an organization of priests to popes takes time. We must note that Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians contains no mention of this perversion. The Book of Ephesians is a letter to faithful mature believers and filled with the deeper things of Christ.

 

Moffat assigns the Nicolaitans "to pious theosophists of the second centruty whom we know as the Ophites collectively, and as the Nicolaitans, Simonians and Barbelo-gnostics specificially"[13B]. Irenaeus links the Nicolaitans to Cerinthus (AD 115) – not to pre AD 70 [13C]. John wrote his Epistles towards the end of the first century to address the rise of Gnosticism. [13D]

 

The Nicolaitans aren’t mentioned in any of Paul’s letters: I Thess (AD 51), II Thess (AD 51), Galatians (AD 53-56), I Corinthians (AD 56), II Corinthians (AD 56), Romans (AD 57), Ephesians (AD 60-61), Colossians (AD 60-61), Philemon (AD 61), Philippians (AD 62), I Timothy (AD 62-63), Titus (AD 63), II Timothy (AD 67), and Hebrews (AD 64-68).

 

Since it is unlikely that that the Nicolaitan perversion existed at the time Paul wrote his epistle, the early date must be rejected in favor of the later date AD 96.

 

But John writes all three of his epistles in AD 90 that have certain positive criticisms against the traits of Gnosticism! Remember that Moffat linked the Nicolaitans to Gnosticism. Let me ask the question again. Is the Nicolaitan perversion associated with the time of Paul or the time of John? Preston simply must address this or loose the second half of this debate as badly as he lost the first half of the debate.

 

Remember! Nothing about Gnosticism or the Nicolaitan perversion in Paul (AD 51- – AD 68) – – – but very detailed condemnation from John in AD 90! This by itself would disallow the early date and establish the late date for the writing of the Book of Revelation.

 

II.A.2. The Church in Smyrna (Rev 2:8-11)

Thomas Ice writes:

 

. . . Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, said that no church

. . . existed during the ministry of Paul. Paul died around a.d.

. . . 66-67. Thus, there was not even a church in existence at

. . . Smyrna when the early daters say John wrote to them.

. . . Needless to say, this strongly favors the late date. [14]

 

II.A.3. The Church in Laodicea (Rev 3:14-21)

Thomas Ice writes:

 

. . . The church of Laodicea would not have had time to

. . . develop into the church described in Rev 3:14-22 if the

. . . early date is the true one. An earthquake devastated the

. . . city in a.d. 60. History tells us that it took them 25 years

. . . to rebuild. Only the late date view makes sense of Christ’s

. . . statement to church that says, "I am rich, and have become

. . . wealthy, and have need of nothing" (Rev. 3:17). Ten years

. . . would have been enough time for such a condition to

. . . develop, but it could not have been said of them when

. . . they were in the early stages of rebuilding. [15]

 

 

II.B THINGS WHICH SHALL BE HEREAFTER

All the things which belong to the time period after John’s vision of Jesus and the letters to the seven churches belong to the "things which shall be hereafter." Preston failed to note this important key in his first affirmative. Rev 1:19 is the key to the CONTEXT of the Book of Revelation. We must compare Rev 1:19c to Rev 4:1. These two verses tell us that everything from the fourth chapter of Revelation to the end happened AFTER John received his vision.

 

We must ask whether these things were fulfilled in AD 70 or if they are things which never happened and are yet still future. If they never happened in AD 70 then the early date (AD 70) is to be rejected in favor of the late date (around AD 96).

 

 

II.B.1 The Seal Judgments

In Rev 6 we have six seal judgments. Were these judgments fulfilled in the documented history of the Roman conquest of Jerusalem in AD70? Let’s look at them.

 

The first three and the fifth seals are inconclusive. However, the early date has trouble with the other seals.

 

The fourth seal shows that one-fourth of the earth’s population is killed. Did this really happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? You see, Preston can’t answer this question directly. The answer from history is NO. But this means that the fourth seal was not fulfilled in AD 70 which denies an early date to the Book of Revelation.

 

The sixth seal shows that there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood, and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. The kings of the earth hid in caves because Jesus sat on the throne. Did this happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly f
or the answer from history is NO? There is no documentation of any of these acts. This means that the sixth seal was not fulfilled in AD 70 and again denies an early date in favor of the late date.

 

 

II.B.2. The 144,000 Jews

This is covered in I.A. Israel.

 

 

II.B.3. The Seven Trumpets (Rev 8-9)

The First Trumpet destroyed one-third of the trees and grass. Did this happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? There is no documentation of destruction of this magnitude earth-wide. This means that the First Trumpet was not fulfilled in AD 70 and again denies an early date in favor of the late date.

 

The Second Trumpet documents something huge like a mountain that crashes into the ocean and destroyed one-third of the marine life and turned the ocean into something that looks like blood. Did these things happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? There is no documentation of any mountain sized object striking the ocean, destruction of marine life, and the oceans turning to blood. This means that the Second Trumpet was not fulfilled in AD 70 and again denies an early date in favor of the late date.

 

The Third Trumpet documents something huge like a great star that crashes into the rivers and turned the waters bitter. Did this happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? There is no documentation of any great star and waters turning bitter. This means that the Third Trumpet was not fulfilled in AD 70 and again denies an early date in favor of the late date.

 

The Fourth Trumpet documents the sun, moon, and stars losing one-third of their light. It also documents an angel flying through heaven preaching to the inhabitants of earth. Did these things happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? There is no documentation of any changes to the heavenly lights or a visible preaching angel. This means that the Fourth Trumpet was not fulfilled in AD 70 and again denies an early date in favor of the late date.

 

The Fifth Trumpet documents the sun and air being darkened by the smoke coming out of a pit. It also documents locusts as scorpions that scourge people for five months. Did these things happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? There is no documentation of thick smoke or the scourge of locusts tormenting humans for five months. This means that the Fifth Trumpet was not fulfilled in AD 70 and again denies an early date in favor of the late date.

 

The Sixth Trumpet documents the destruction of a third part of mankind. Did this happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? There is no documentation of death of this magnitude. This means that the Sixth Trumpet was not fulfilled in AD 70 and again denies an early date in favor of the late date.

 

 

II.B.4. The Two Witnesses (Rev 11).

Was the pillage of Jerusalem accompanied by two people who prophesied in sackcloth? Does documented history show two people who could call down fire on their enemies? Did any historian write about two people who shut up heaven so that it didn’t rain during the conquest of Jerusalem? At the end of the Roman conquest, did a strange beast make war against these two servants and kill them such that all the people and nations saw their bodies? Did the people of earth exchange gifts because they were so happy that these two people died? Did these two people rise from the dead to the great fear of all the world? Was there a great earthquake that killed 7,000 people? Did these things happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? There is no documentation of two people like this. The simple internal evidence of CONTEXT is a great weight against Preston. The great weight of CONTEXT again denies an early date in favor of the late date.

 

 

II.B.5. Three angels (Rev 14:6-13).

Rev 14 documents one angel who preaches the everlasting gospel, a second angel announcing the destruction of Babylon, and a third angel warning against receiving the mark of the beast. Wow. Did these supernatural messages happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? There is no documentation of three supernatural messages from angels.

 

 

II.B.6. The Vial Judgments (Rev 16).

The First Vial documents a noisome and grievous sore upon those which had the mark of the beast. Was there a universal mark of the beast in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? There never was and is not now any universal mark.

 

The Second Vial documents the whole sea becoming dead. Did this happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? The sea at no time in history became dead.

 

The Third Vial documents the rivers and fountains turning to blood. Did this happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? The rivers and fountains at no time in history became dead.

 

The Fourth Vial documents changes to the sun such that it scorches men with fire. Did this happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? History has never documented such a change to the sun.

 

The Fifth Vial documents world wide darkness to the extent that it was painful. Did this happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? History has never documented darkness of this type.

 

The Sixth Vial documents the drying up of the Euphrates river to allow the kings of the whole earth to assemble in the place called Armageddon. Did this happen in AD 70? What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Here is another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? History has never documented the river Euphrates drying up AND all the kings of the earth gathering in the Armageddon.

 

The Seventh Vial documents every island fleeing and the mountain disappearing. Did this happen in AD 70? Sadly, again, this didn’t happen in history. In fact today, we still have islands and we still have mountains! History (since John’s writing) has never documented these great cha
nges to the earth’s crust.

 

 

II.B.7. Babylon (Rev 17-18).

This city is described in 17:5 as "The Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth." Has there been any city (or nation) which fulfills this description at any time in world history? In this sweeping question, I specifically include the literal OT Babylon.

 

There is much discussion as to whether this is a literal Babylon to be rebuilt or a symbolic system of world-wide evil. There are many arguments for both views. However, as far as the dating of the Book of Revelation, those discussions are not pertinent. We only need to ask one question: Was either the literal Babylon or the symbolic world-wide system was totally destroyed in AD 70?

 

What is your answer Preston? Yes or No?? Sadly, here is yet another question Preston can’t answer directly for the answer from history is NO? In the first half of the debate Preston pressed to have this Babylon be identified as Jerusalem. So I simply ask: Was Jerusalem destroyed in AD 70? The answer again is "NO!"

 

The destruction described in Rev 17-18 total. She is utterly burned (18:8). She will participate in commerce "no more" (18:11). She is made desolate (18:19). Her destruction is permanent (18:22-23). It simply can’t be Jerusalem or Israel because they are both in existence today. Common sense demolishes any fickle move to an early date and thereby establishes the late date.

 

 

II.B.8. Jesus’ Second Coming (Rev 19).

Let common sense rule here. Let’s ask some common sense questions that come straight from the CONTEXT.

 

Did the heavens opened for the heavenly host to descend to earth smiting all the nations in AD 70? Did the kings of the earth gather together to wage war on the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in AD 70? Did the kings of the earth die in AD 70? Did the fowls of the earth fill themselves on the flesh of men and beasts in AD 70? What beast and false prophet were taken and cast into the Lake of Fire in AD 70?

 

The answers to these questions are all an emphatic "NO!" None of those events described took place in AD 70. They are all yet future events. The early date fails for it cannot give a consistent valid symbolic explanation for these events.

 

 

II.B.9. Satan Bound for 1,000 Years (Rev 20).

Again, let common sense rule here.

 

Was Satan bound in a bottomless pit in AD 70 – OR –

. . . is the devil still active in the world today (Eph 2:2)?

 

Was the devil cast into the Lake of Fire in AD 70 – OR –

. . . is he still prowling about as a roaring lion (1 Pet 5:8)?

 

The preterist view violates the biblical teaching of Eph 2:2 and 1 Pet 5:8-9 and other such passages. Preterists hold that the devil was defeated and crushed at the cross and our only enemy is now the lusts of the flesh. This doesn’t square with Scripture which tells us not to give the devil an opportunity (Eph 4:26-27) for we struggle not against rules but against the spiritual forces in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12). A common sense reading of God’s Word tells us that preterism is wrong. All these things were NOT fulfilled in AD 70. The early date is wrong. The late date is the best choice.

 

 

II.B.10. Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20).

Here is some more common sense easy to understand reading and questions.

 

Did all the dead, small and great, stand before God in judgment in AD 70 – OR –

. . . is the final judgment still in the future?

 

Have all those who DO NOT believe in Jesus Christ been cast in the Lake of Fire – OR –

. . . are there still rebels and unbelievers living today?

 

 

II.B.11. New Heaven and Earth (Rev 21-22).

We know that this part of Revelation was not fulfilled in AD 70! After all, this earth still has the marks of Noah’s Flood. Sin still scars the entire landscape. The wolf still eats the lamb. The lion still eats the cow.

 

Heaven has not yet opened to let down the New Jerusalem.

 

We cannot now go to the River of Life to eat of the 12

. . . . different fruits in their seasons.

 

There is still the sun for day light and night time.

 

There is not yet the light which the Lord God giveth.

 

All these things were not fulfilled in AD 70. They await a future fulfillment. The early date of the Book of Revelation is false.

 

 

III. COMMON SENSE LITERAL INTERPRETATION.

Dear Reader: notice how easily my common sense, seek no other sense, proposition is proven. I don’t rip verses out of context and make up wild stories about how things relate as did Preston in his first proposition. My argument is built up from a common sense literal reading of God’s Word. After all, God’s Word was written for the uneducated. The very simple minded can understand it using a common sense reading while the educated stumble all over their clever symbologies.

 

I went to a passage and asked the same question over and over: DID THIS HAPPEN IN AD 70? This is the question that Preston must answer in his negative responses. In the first half of the debate, Preston put forth two main arguments. My job was to show the error of his arguments which I did simply by showing that Preston failed to use context and violated easy rules of linguistics. Here in the second half of the debate, I put forth arguments from context and common sense. Preston’s job as the negative responder will be to show why a common sense literal interpretation is wrong.

 

Preston has a lot of work cut out for him. He has to answer the following;

. . . 1. Israel’s existence (I used 11 verses to prove Israel’s

. . . . . perpetuity). My argument stems from a common sense

. . . . . literal hermeneutic. Preston must show why I am wrong.

. . . . . If he uses symbolism as a refutation, then he must show

. . . . . how each of the verses is explained to every detail.

 

. . . 2. External evidences from the Early Church Fathers.

. . . . . Irenaues, Eusebius, Tertullian, Victorinus, Clement, and

. . . . . Jerome all endorsed the late date. It will interesting to

. . . . . see what support Preston can dream up.

 

. . . 3. The Tyrant is Domitian – not Nero.

 

. . . 4. Internal evidence from CONTEXT. This is the best

. . . . . of my proofs. I put before Preston a simple common

. . . . . sense reading of 11 passages, 25 pieces of information

. . . . . pointing to unfulfilled prophecy, and 34 common

. . . . . sense questions.

 

. . . 5. I issue a sincere challenge to Mr. Preston. Please! Avoid

. . . . . ripping verses out of context as you did in the first half

. . . . . of the debate! Please! Honor the most elemental rules

. . . . . of linguistics. Please! This is (was) supposed to be a

. . . . . debate between equals over a biblical subject. But the

. . . . . first half saw my scholarly context versus Preston’s

. . . . . redefinitions of common sense and denominational

. . . . . rabbit trails to nowhere. I urge you to answer the 34

. . . . . questions on the 25 pieces of information presented.

 

 

SUMMARY

For those who use a common sense view to understand God’s Word, the date of the Book of Revelation is not terribly important. After all those events are still future to us. However, for preterists like Preston, the early date is absolutely critical for preterism falls if the early date is false. Therefore, preterists go to absurd lengths to make their view appear to be true. They ignore context, violate the most basic rules of linguistics, and pearl string verses into a merry-go-round dodge-em tactic.

 

Dispensationalism, which understands the prophetic events of Revelation to be yet in the future (like the rapture, the tribulation, Christ’s Second Coming, the New Jerusalem, the Great White Throne Judgment, etc.), is the biblical position. After all God delights in a common sense, seek no other sense, understanding of His Word. With this approach nothing in Revelation contradicts itself. With so many things yet unfulfilled, the early date is blatantly wrong. It needs to be rejected in favor of the late date.

 

 

Dr. Olson

 

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Irenaeus, "Against Heresies," Bk V, Ch XXX, "Although certain as to the number of the name of Antichrist," Par 3b. See: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.vii.xxxi.html.

 

[2] Eusebius Pamphilius: "Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine," Bk III, Ch XXV, "The Persecution under Nero in Paul and Peter were honored at Rome with martyrdom in Behalf of Religion," Par 4, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vii.xxvii.html).

 

[3] Eusebius Pamphilius: "Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine," Bk III, Ch XVII, "The Persecution under Domitian," http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.viii.xxvii.html).

 

[4] Eusebius Pamphilius: "Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine," Bk III, Ch XVIII, "The Apostle John and the Apocalypse," Par 4, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.viii.xviii.html and footnote 711).

 

[5] Eusebius Pamphilius: "Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine," Bk III, Ch XX, "The Relatives of our Saviour," Par 9-11, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.vii.xxviii.html.

 

[6] Clement, Who is the Rich Man that shall be Saved, XLII.

 

[7] Victorinius, Chapter XI, "Commentary on the Apocalypse of the Blessed John," Par 10, http://biblestudy.churches.net/CCEL/FATHERS2/ANF07/ANF0730.HTM#P4546_1741041.

 

[8] Clement of Alexandria, "Who is the Rich Man That Shall Be Saved?" Par XLII, http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf02.vi.v.html.

 

[8B] Jerome, "Treatises," "Against Jovinianus," Book 1, Par 26, Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, 2nd Series, Vol. 6, in "Late Date," http://preacherstudy.com/pdf/revelation.pdf. See also: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf206.vi.vi.I.html.

 

[8C] Thomas Ice, "Has Bible Prophecy Already Been Fulfilled?" http://ldolphin.org/preterism-ice.html.

 

[9] Philostratus, "The Life of Apollonius of Tyana," Vol. I, Book VII, Ch. 10 from Part I, Dating the Revelation, Who was "The Tyrant?" http://www.thechristadelphians.org/htm/books/Apocalypse/p03.htm

 

[10] Ibid., Chapter 42.

 

[11] Pliny, Letters. Book IV.xi, "To Corneliius Minicianus" in http://www.thechristadelphians.org/htm/books/Apocalypse/p03.htm. See also: http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_plinyltrs4.htm#IV.

 

[12] Lactantius, De mortibus persecutorum, ch. III (pp. 166-167) in http://www.thechristadelphians.org/htm/books/Apocalypse/p03.htm.

 

[13] Philostratus, "The Life of Apollonius of Tyana," Book III, ch. 20. See: http://www.thechristadelphians.org/htm/books/Apocalypse/p05.htm].

 

[13B] Moffat, "Pistis Sophia" in Hastings’ Encyclopedea of Religion and Ethics (Edinburgh, 1918), 45-48.

[13C] Edwin Johnson, "Antiqua mater: A Study of Christian Origins," Part I, The External History, Chapter IV "The Haeretics during the Second half
of the Second Century," (London: Trubner & Co., Ludgate Hill, 1887).

 

[13D] Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, "Epistles of John," ed. Ronald F. Youngblood (Nashville, TN: Nelson, 1995), 691.

 

[14] Thomas Ice, "The Date of the Book of Revelation," http://www.pre-trib.org/article-view.php?id=232. See also The Letter of Polycarp, Bishop of Symyrna, to the Philippians, "Introduction," http://www.ccel.org/ccel/richardson/fathers.vi.iii.i.html.

 

[15] Ibid.