I received the following question from a young man– a minister. I will not give his name at all, to help protect his identity. He is one of many, many ministers that I hear from that are attempting to share the truth of Covenant Eschatology, and when it is presented in a context of simple Bible study it is accepted. Yet, as we all know, there are “heretic hunters” out there, who are interested only in church history, the creeds and orthodoxy, so, caution is needed to share what the Bible so clearly teaches. It is sad, but, just as Jesus told his disciples that he had many things to share with them, but, they were not yet mature enough to bear it, anyone teaching the truth today, must similarly give their audiences what they are able to grasp.
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 5:19 PM
To: Don K. Preston
Subject: Question regarding Revelation 1
My friend Don,
I am preaching through Revelation now (five lessons down, and we just finished 1:3). The biggest question, personally, regarding Revelation being written about the overthrow of Jerusalem, Judaism, and the Old Covenant so that Christianity will shine forth as the glorious bride of Christ is this: why is a book about the destruction of Jerusalem addressed to Christians in Asia?
I’ve not come across anything that really seems like a satisfactory answer. Most preterist commentaries I’ve seen either don’t address the issue or say, “Well God wrote about the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem to the Jews in captivity (Ezekiel),” and though it is true, I don’t find that very convincing when Revelation was written with urgency so that the recipients could OBEY the things written in the book (1:4).
Any thoughts? I’ve already got a couple of the members looking at me funny because they’ve never heard anyone teach that it is about the violent end of Judaism and the Jewish state. But they are listening. 🙂
Thanks in advance,
Here is my answer …
Dear +++++, let me just offer some bullet points for your consideration.
1.) The saints in Asia were not Gentiles unconnected to Israel. They were in fact part of the diaspora. This is clear from 1 Peter 1:1-2 where Peter uses the term diaspora, the technical term for the scattered tribes of Israel (not lost, scattered!). This is one of the most misunderstood issues about Peter’s epistles. When I was in preaching school, we were instructed that 1 Peter was written to a Gentile audience, essentially having nothing to do with Israel or the OT. Nothing could be further from the truth.
2.) Peter is writing to them about the salvation of their souls– the end (goal) of their faith (1:9).
3.) That salvation was foretold by the OT prophets (1:10-12).
4.) The arrival of that salvation would be in fulfillment of those OT promises, made to OC Israel– take note of 2:9-10 where he says that Hosea 1:9-10f was being fulfilled.
5.) That salvation would be realized at the coming of the Lord which was near (1 Peter 4:5-17).
6.) In the OT prophecies, the New Creation (i.e. salvation) is inextricably tied to the passing of the Old Jerusalem, the Old People (Isaiah 65:13ff-66:15ff). It is likewise tied directly to the Rejected Stone motif, which Peter develops extensively in 1 Peter 2. I discuss this in-depth in my The Elements Shall Melt With Fervent Heat book. Peter’s appeal to the Rejected Stone passages proves beyond any doubt that A.) Salvation was near, and B.) Judgment (for rejecting the Stone) was likewise near.
7.) So, for those in Asia, cognizant that the consummation of their salvation was dependent on the passing of the Old City, Temple, People, can we not see why they would have an intense interest in the goings on in Judea?
8.) A final, critical element to consider is that Jerusalem was the source of the persecution that those in Asia were experiencing and suffering. And, when Peter was written, Nero had either already given, or was about to give the Jews free reign to carry out their bloody persecution. So, if you were suffering persecution at the hands of the Jews, and knew that judgment was about to fall on them for that persecution, would you have any interest in the events in Judea? Would it not be encouraging to you to know that the very source of your suffering was about to be the brunt of God’s judgment?
Hope this helps!