A Response to Steve Whitsett’s Review of the Sergius Bale – V- Preston Debate on the Dating of Revelation
Steve Whitsett is a self-proclaimed defender of orthodoxy, with whom I have had the unfortunate experience of interacting some years ago. A good while back I decided not discuss the Bible with him because of his unsettling willingness and practice to overtly distort the Biblical texts. (You will see that illustrated below). Just recently, Whitsett found that I had a written debate with an individual who identified themselves as “Sergius Bale.” It turned out that “Bale” flat out lied about his true identity. His true identity is Lance Conley. Yet, he repeatedly lied, claiming that he was a professor of history, married with children, etc.. Not one word of his claims were true. I did not know of his lies until the last negative in our debate, when I informed the readers of his deception.
Whitsett was clearly not pleased with the job “Bale / Conley” had done, (and rightly so) so he wrote an article of review, hoping to “rescue” the late date of Revelation. He has failed, badly. What follows below is my response to Whitsett’s article which was posted on FaceBook as well as on Academia.edu.
One will seldom read a more presuppositonal, logical fallacy filled, article than Whitsett’s “review” of my arguments presented in that written debate with “Sergius Bale”– IE. the liar Lance Conley.
Note: Due to some family health issues, I am more than hectically busy, and don’t have the time (or much interest) in interacting with Mr. Whitsett more extensively than I will do here.
Whittset, in discussing my interactions with the liar Lance Conley, who portrayed himself as a professor of History in Greek, (lying repeatedly in “confirmation” of his real identity), said this of me: “Preston failed to properly vet the claims made by “Sergius Bale” and therefore received what
he asked for.” This illustrates, to me, how utterly biased Whitsett is. When he says that I should have “vetted” Conley, what does he mean? He never explains, he just accuses, to make me look bad.
The fact is that Conley portrayed himself as Sergius Bale, a professor of History in Greece. I pointedly asked him in our early interactions if that was his true, honest, actual name and he said, “Yes.” So, exactly how much more “vetting” was I obligated to do, to satisfy Whitsett?
What is more disturbing is that Whitsett admits that he caught on early that Sergius Bale was Conley. But, did he share those suspicions with others? No. So, he had the opportunity to expose Conley’s lies, and chose not to do so! This tells us a lot about Whitsett.
Whitsett tells us the following about himself. (I have not vetted him very much beyond what he claims of himself, so I am not sure if he is telling the truth!!!)
Here is what Whitsett tells us of himself:
//1.I am a historical premillennialist, not “dispensational premillennial.”
2.I affirm that the Olivet was all fulfilled in AD 70.
a. It has never been established as fact by any Full Preterist that Christ returned in AD 70 or that the resurrection of the dead took place.
3. I affirm the late date of the Revelation composition based on the historical evidence provided by men of high character and honor.//
For the purposes of this article I will respond to his claims that I lost the debate. Keep in mind that my entire approach in the debate with Conley was to prove from scripture that Revelation was written before AD 70. Conley wanted the discussion to focus on the patristic writers and history. It is shocking (well, not really) that Whitsett says my approach was flawed. Why? Because “Preston’s goal was to use scriptures to present a picture of verses that demonstrate the early date of Rev. The inherent problem is scriptures are subject to the person’s bias, presuppositions, and assumptions so that both sides cry foul when presenting their arguments.”
(Note: all topological and grammatical errors in the citations from Whitsett are his own. I copied and pasted directly from his article).
So, my approach to use the internal evidence of Revelation was flawed because the scriptures are subject to different interpretations, bias and presuppositions! This is an incredibly illogical and bad argument?
Do scholars never debate and speculate on the meaning of “history” and historical testimony– on any subject? Whitsett is trying to give the impression that understanding history is not subject to biases, prejudices, presuppositions, and assumptions! What about science? Do scientist debate about the meaning of the “scientific evidence,” because of their presuppositions and prejudices? The claim denies the reality of human history! Has Whitsett never read how the Nazis had a presuppositional view of ancient history, anthropology, geology, etc.? Is he not aware that they interpreted “history” through the lens of their biases on these matters?? Whitsett’s argument here is unbelievably flawed.
Before beginning an examination of Whitsett’s arguments the reader needs to know that he admits, from the outset, that his entire argument is based on his own theological presuppositions and biases! Catch the power of that admission! Notice what he says: //Since the second coming of Christ has not occurred yet in history the historical context of Revelation is steeped in a Zits en Leoben of the days leading up and to the still future second coming based on the events which are surely to come to pass in fulfillment of the Rev narrative ccount of events.”
So there you have it: Preterists are wrong because the Second Coming has not occurred. Revelation is about the second coming. Therefore, preterists – Preston particularly- are wrong. Whitsett does not attempt to prove his major premise or his stated minor. (Preterist agree that Revelation is about the second coming of the Lord, but honor the fact that it was imminent when John wrote, which negates Whitsett’s claims. So, Whitsett does not even try to prove his presuppositonal claims but they serve as the foundation of his entire argument.
Whitsett begins to “answer” my arguments– something that Conley did not do. He offers this first:
He (me, DKP) begins by asserting that Rev 16:4-7 posits that Jerusalem is Babylon. It should be nted (sic) that in this passage “Babylon” is never mentioned, but in Preston’s assumptions it is Jerusalem that is guilty of the blood of the prophets based on Mathew (sic) 23. Preston never establishes that these passages of Rev and Matt are of the same context.
Textual fallacy #1 – Whitsett says the word Babylon is not found in Revelation 16. Of course, he is wrong – see Revelation 16:19! To say that the word Babylon is not in chapter 16 is simply sloppy. BTW, Revelation 11 speaks of “the great city” where the prophets were slain and where the Lord was crucified. Revelation 16 speaks of “the great city” Babylon that killed the prophets. Are those two different “great” cities, both guilty of the same bloody crimes?
Logical Fallacy – #2 – What Whitsett was – seemingly – trying to argue was that since the word Babylon is missing in Revelation 16 this somehow proves my position wrong. Well, he conveniently fails to point out that “Rome” is not mentioned in chapter 16, either! So, if Jerusalem is ruled out as the reference because the word “Babylon” is not found, then Rome is equally disqualified. He is guilty of a Negative Fallacy here.
Logical Fallacy – #3 Divorcing Matthew 23 from Revelation. Whitsett says it is merely an assumption to make the connection between Matthew 23 and Revelation 16. But notice:
☛ Jerusalem killed the prophets and Babylon killed the prophets.
☛ Jesus identified Jerusalem as the city that had killed the prophets.
☛ Stephen said it was Jerusalem that had killed all the prophets.
☛ Paul said it was Jerusalem that had killed the prophets.
What “evidence” does Whitsett give for divorcing Revelation’s reference to Babylon as the city that killed the prophets from Matthew 23? He gives not one keystroke of Biblical, exegetical evidence. The fact is that Jesus said: “it is not possible for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem.” But what does Whitsett set out to do? He tries to prove Jesus wrong by pointing out how some followers of Jesus did die outside Jerusalem! Evidently, Whitsett thinks that to find an exception to what Jesus said proves Jesus wrong! Let that soak in. Whitsett has to accuse Jesus of being wrong, perhaps misguided or just over-zealous, in order to answer my arguments! This is, to use a non-Latin, Latin term that I coined many years ago: Argumentum Ad Desperatum.
Whitsett finds an example (or claims to) of a prophet perishing outside Jerusalem. (He cannot produce any proof that any city other than Jerusalem ever killed an OT prophet, and this is critical). He then claims that because that ONE prophet, perhaps even two, died outside of Jerusalem, that this applies to all the prophets who were martyred! But again, Whitsett is saying that Jesus’ words were not true!
I have and do make the argument that in Revelation 16 the reference to “the prophets” must be to OT prophets. This is based on the following, (from my book, Who Is This Babylon?):
When the New Testament uses the term “the prophets” without a qualifier, it is Old Testament prophets in view. The term “the prophets” is used 72 times in the New Testament. (This count does not include the term “the prophet” singular, or the term “prophets” without the definite article. In the instances where “the prophet” is used, it almost invariably cites a specific Old Covenant prophet. When the anarthrous “prophets” is used it also generally refers to Old Testament prophets although there are some exceptions (e.g. Acts 11:27; 13:1; 1 Corinthians 12:28, 29; 1 Corinthians 14:29, 32; Ephesians 2:20). Only 12 times does the term refer to prophets of Jesus. In each of the 12 instances, the context demands that the prophets be identified as New Covenant prophets, (Acts 13:1f; 15:32; Ephesians 2:20; 3:8, etc.). In Revelation 16, there is no indication that New Testament prophets are in view. (See my fuller discussion of the Biblical use of the term “the prophets” in my Who Is This Babylon?, P. 87f).
Does Whitsett address this evidence? He tries, desperately, to counter the power of these fact by simply re-asserting his foundational presupposition– Revelation is about a future second coming, therefore, any first century application is false. But then he claims:
The context of the Martyrs of Jesus were killed in Rome this should and would be NT prophets as mentioned in Rev 17. There is no hermeneutic which would identify the “prophets” as two different groups of prophets, one of OC and the other of NT prophets.
He did not prove that Rome is the city of killing the prophets. He is implying that because Peter and Paul were killed there, that this identifies Rome as the city that killed “the prophets.” So, Whitsett is asking that his readers ignore that Jesus, Paul (and even Peter, 1 Peter 5:9-1), spoke of Jerusalem as the city guilty of killing the prophets, of killing Jesus and Jesus’ apostles and prophets. Indeed, we are to ignore the fact that Jesus said that Jerusalem was guilty of, “all the blood shed on the earth,” just as John described Babylon, the Harlot, as guilty of shedding all the blood shed on the earth (almost a direct quote from Jesus!) We are to ignore all of this, and the additional fact that Jesus said it was Jerusalem that would, “fill up the measure of your father’s guilt” by killing his apostles and prophets, and we are to accept Whitsett’s claim that Rome filled up the cup of her blood guilt by beginning to persecute the church in 64 AD! What took Jerusalem a generation (actually many generations) to do, Whitsett ascribes to Rome in just one persecution by Nero!
And so, without attempting to prove his case, Whitsett simply reiterates his unproven– but absolutely critical presupposition: “As stated in the premise the Rev events being prophecies are 2000 plus years removed from the events of AD 70 as is being slowly exposed through argument, is still future. Rev 17:5, 6 demonstrates a NT context.” He offers no evidence. He offers no exegesis. He offers no history, even. He merely asserts.
And then he claims: //Since the old testament prophets were all killed but not as martyrs for Christ.”//
Whitsett exposes his ignorance of how the Bible posits an organic unity between the Old Covenant martyrs and the New as martyrs of Jesus. He evidently has never read Hebrews 11:25-26 where it speaks of Moses:
choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
From the perspective of the writer of Hebrews, Moses was a martyr of Christ! Thus, Whitsett’s claim is totally falsified. While there was a chronological – even covenantal – distinction between the Old Covenant prophets and the New, they were all united in God’s eyes. And the grammatical fact that I established above, on the Biblical use of “the prophets” is enough to demonstrate this distinction in Revelation. That means that Babylon had killed the OT prophets. And that eliminates Rome as Babylon.
Whitsett claims that in 1 Peter 5:13, where Peter addressed the churches in Asia from Babylon, that he was in Rome. Don’t you find it ironic that Whitsett would try to prove his point based on a text (but without exegesis) since, after all, he told us that my approach to proving the dating of Revelation based on the Biblical text was flawed: “The inherent problem is scriptures are subject to the person’s bias, presuppositions, and assumptions so that both sides cry foul when presenting their arguments.”
Remember that he told us openly of his bias, his presuppositions and assumptions, calling my reliance on the scriptures flawed. Yet, he appeals to a text that has been and continues to be highly controversial and open to debate. I will not take the time or space to address this but point the reader to my article on this. It effectively refutes Whitsett’s claims.
But then, I must confess that I was stunned to read this:
The image depicted of the beast riding on the harlot Babylon is one of cooperation with the kings of the earth. This could never be construed as Jerusalem as Jerusalem would “shun” the gentile world let alone engage with her in trade and such as is described in Rev 18. Nor did the beast turn on Rome in AD 70 (inconsistency with scriptures) .
Do you catch what Whitsett has done here? He literally turns the text of Revelation upside down, inside out– 180% out from what it actually says! This is a MASSIVE TEXTUAL FALLACY (perversion)!
Revelation 17 does not say that the beast rode the Harlot! The WOMAN RODE THE BEAST!!
Honestly, we have a right to ask how anyone should take Whitsett seriously when he distorts the text in such a blatant manner. Notice that he did say just once that the beast rode the woman, but twice. Therefore, it was not an “accidental” referent, but purposeful – and it perverts what the text says: //I will tell you the mystery of THE WOMAN AND OF THE BEAST THAT CARRIES HER, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.// … //The seven heads are seven mountains ON WHICH THE WOMAN SITS. There are also seven kings.// (Revelation 17:7-10).
It cannot be argued that this alteration does not matter. Whitsett’s alteration totally changes the meaning of the text. The woman did not turn on the beast that rode her and destroy it. The beast that carried the Harlot turned on HER and destroyed her.
To say that Whitsett’s claims are sloppy is an understatement. They are an overt, inexcusable perversion of the text.
Whitsett then makes another massive mistake / error / misrepresentation when he claims: //The image depicted of the beast riding on the harlot Babylon is one of cooperation with the kings of the earth. This could never be construed as Jerusalem as Jerusalem would “shun” the gentile world //
First of all, observe, once again, that the Harlot and the Beast are in a partnership of persecution against the saints. (The focus of Revelation 17 & 18 is NOT on a commercial partnership. It was a partnership of persecution. This was absolutely true under Nero, BUT there is no other time in history that fits this scenario than the period under Nero.
Note the following from my Babylon book:
Adolph Harnack said, “Unless the evidence is misleading, they (the Jews, DKP), instigated the Neronic outburst against Christians; and as a rule, whenever bloody persecutions were afoot in later days, the Jews are either in the background or the foreground” (Mission, 57+).
Edward Gibbons said the cause of the Neronian persecution was the Jews (Edward Gibbon, Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, Vol. I (New York: The Modern Library, Random House), 459f).
William Barclay adds, “Nero was the first persecutor of the Christians, and…his favorite actor, Aliturus, and his infamous harlot, empress, Poppea, were both Jewish proselytes; and there is little doubt that it was their slanderous and perverted information which turned Nero against the Christians. The Jews whispered their slanders against the Christians into the ears of the Roman authorities with calculated and poisonous venom.” (William Barclay, Letters to the Seven Churches (New York: Abingdon, 1957).
Finally, Kenneth Gentry says, “The fact that the Harlot is seated on the seven headed beast (obviously representative of Rome) indicates, not identity with Rome, but alliance with Rome against Christianity” (Before Jerusalem Fell, (Fountain Inn, SC.: Victorious Hope Publishing 2010), 241, n. 26).
So, we know that there was a partnership of persecution between Nero and the Jews, i.e. between Rome and Jerusalem. We know that Nero – at the instigation of his inner circle of Jews – turned on the Jews, and burned Jerusalem! We know that it was the Jewish instigation that caused Nero to kill Peter and Paul. This totally debunks Whitsett’s claim that Israel would never be in a partnership with Rome. But of course, Whitsett ignores these historical facts and claims that because Nero killed them, this proves that Babylon was Rome. That is an absolute non-sequitur.
This partnership of persecution is fatal for anyone like Whitsett taking the late, i.e. Domitianic, date of Revelation. (Of course, you have to keep in mind that Whitsett not only takes the late date of Revelation, but he essentially ignores or denies any first century relevance of ANY of the promises of Revelation). Why is this fatal for his view? Because, even if one takes a Domitianic date of Revelation, and identifies Domitian as the persecutor, there are massive problems with this:
★ First, scholarship is increasingly admitting that the evidence for a Domitianic persecution of the saints is scarce, almost non-existent. See the abundant historical and scholarly documentation of this in my Babylon book.
Sebastian Solarz makes the following observation: “Scholars opting for the late date have not found enough historical evidence for a persecution of Christians by Domitian. Consequently, some of them have abandoned the persecution theory and turned to other arguments to accommodate the late dating.” (Sebastian R Smolarz, Covenant and the Metaphor of Divine Marriage in Biblical Thought (Eugene, Ore.: Wipf and Stock, 2011), 235).
★ Second, even if it could be shown that Domitian persecuted the church (it can’t be proven) there is absolutely ZERO evidence to show that he / Rome was in a partnership with Israel or with ANYONE!!! – to persecute the church! So, that would mean that Whitsett would have to prove a future partnership of persecution between two entities that he never tries to identify in his post.
The reality of that partnership of persecution in Revelation, the historical confirmation of that partnership between Jerusalem and Nero, followed by Rome turning on Jerusalem and burning her with fire amounts to extremely powerful proof that Babylon was Jerusalem.
Amazingly, Whitsett then makes the following fatal admissions and false claims. He quotes my claim: “No city in the entire Bible – other than Jerusalem – was ever accused of killing God’s prophets.”
He responds by claiming that it is true that my claim is true, nonetheless, beginning in AD 64 that changed:
But in the events of AD 64 onward Rome is. Since supposedly these were the last days, then Rome becomes the focal point of history who were killing the saints not Jerusalem. Meaning in the years leading up to AD 70 Rome was the great city that was killing the saints. Not Jerusalem. It is also fact that yes, “Jesus identified Old Covenant Jerusalem as the city guilty of that crime.” BUT in the NT and Revelation “Rome is identified as the city that is killing the saints. In the verses Preston quotes is all true of OT context, where prophets of Israel were always killed by the Kings of Israel who they prophesied against. Now Preston slips in one of his presuppositions into a text that does not support his assertion. Preston wrote, but was pointing out that Jerusalem was the source for the death of all of God’s OT prophets- and would be the cause of the death of his apostles and prophets.
So, Whitsett admits that Jesus (and one could say) Paul, since he wrote well before AD 64, and even Peter, all identified Jerusalem as the persecutor of God’s people. (It should be noted that there is strong evidence that Peter actually wrote AFTER Revelation). Yet, in spite of this unified testimony, we are to believe that the book of Revelation is a dramatic break chronologically, thematically, conceptually, from all of that earlier testimony. What is the justification for this? It is Whitsett’s presuppositonal theology that rejects the temporal delimitation of the book, as well as the sitz em leben (life situation) of the entire narrative.
Whitsett arbitrarily asserts that from AD 64 following, Rome was the persecutor described as the Harlot City. But this would mean that what Jesus and Paul spoke of – the judgment of Jerusalem for persecuting the saints – was not fulfilled when Rome became the persecutor, and in spite of that, John changes the identity of the persecutor from Jerusalem to Rome. Of course, one strong irony here is that Whitsett claims that Rome became the persecutor in AD 64. And he believes that Revelation was written under Domitian. This is problematic.
Nero was the first Roman emperor to persecute the church. She (supposedly) had filled the cup of her sin by killing the prophets, Jesus and his apostles and prophets. What Whitsett conveniently ignores is that Vespasian became emperor after Nero, and he did not persecute the church. His son, Titus, followed him, and he did not persecute the church! He was followed by Domitian who, as shown, cannot be shown to have persecuted the church! So, in one four year outburst of persecution – which was instigated from the very beginning by the Jews, displaced Jerusalem as the city that had shed all the blood of all the righteous shed on the earth!
It cannot be stressed enough that Whitsett offers no substantive historical or exegetical proof for his claim, other than his presupposition that Revelation can’t be about AD 70, because it is about Rome! Assertion does not prove anything. But there is something else.
Babylon is identified as the Harlot city. This is highly significant in light of the fact that John cites, echoes, and draws from the Old Testament, repeatedly. Why is this important?
Smolarz astutely observes:
It is often overlooked that the statement in 18:20 concerning Babylon would better suit Jerusalem, in line with Christian witnesses concerning the place of prophetic martyrdom (e.g. Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:33-34; cf. 11:49-51). If John is allowed to be a Christian prophet, somebody who drew from Jesus’ tradition, this is demonstrated to be a plausible claim…. These considerations seem to imply that scholars have tended to assume much in their claims concerning ‘Babylon.’ … “There is, at least, a possibility that if John had OT prophetic development in mind, for a city to be called a ‘harlot’ would require her to have had an earlier covenant relationship with God. This would surely not be the case with Rome, but it certainly was the case with Jerusalem.
He adds the following linguistic evidence:
Of the 91 metaphorical applications of this word (for harlot, dkp) or its derivatives, 43 are to be found in Ezekiel (38 of these in Ezekiel 16 and 23 alone). …One can see from these numbers alone, that the prostitute metaphor was adopted and elaborated mainly by the prophets, starting with Hosea’s preaching in the Northern Kingdom of Israel (786 BC-746 BC). A century and a half later, it was taken up by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 3-4) in his prophecies against Jerusalem (around 609-587 BC), but it found its most intensive application in the preaching of his contemporary Ezekiel (around 597-587 BC). Ezekiel’s use of the metaphor (Ezekiel 16; 23) partly reflects Jeremiah’s use and shows familiarity with his text, but greatly elaborates and intensifies its imagery to warn of the impending destruction of Jerusalem.
Most significantly of all is the fact that in the OT, almost all of the occurrences of the prostitution metaphor (86/ 91) apply to the people of the Covenant (Israel, Judah or Jerusalem). Once (1/ 91) it applies to the original ‘inhabitants of the land’ (Exodus 34:15) and in the remaining few occurrences (4 / 91) it is used of Nineveh (Nahum 3:4. 4.4) and Tyre (Isaiah 23:17).
The metaphor of prostitution therefore, appears to have a particular significance for the people of God, for reasons that are well known; The Covenant between God and the people of Israel was conceived metaphorically as a marriage, so the idolatrous worship of other gods represented infidelity to that marriage and was therefore described in terms of sexual misconduct.” (EOQ). (2011, page 8).
Of course, Whitsett does not mention any of this, although I presented it in my debate with “Sergius Bale.” Aka, Lance Conley. Conley ignored it, just like Whitsett.
Whitsett says this:
Preston (sic) of thinking then goes, Because Jerusalem is Babylon, and Jerusalem is Sodom of Rev 11, therefore Babylon is Jerusalem (Sodom).”so Preston again repeats the same error, “Babylon is the city that killed the apostles and prophets of Jesus- all the martyrs.” As we have demonstrated above it was Rome who killed NT Apostles. (All topological and grammatical errors are Whitsett’s).
A couple of quick facts that I produced in my debate with “Sergius Bale”– which Whitsett ignored. The reason is simple: they refute his entire eschatology!
Concerning the identity of Babylon as Sodom:
Deuteronomy 32:32 says that in Israel’s last days, she would become “the vine of Sodom.” We know that Jesus came in the last days (1 Peter 1:20 / Hebrews 1:1-2), and was born under the Law (Galatians 4:4) at “the end of the ages” (Hebrews 9:26- patently not the end of time or the Christian age ).
Of course, John is speaking / writing in the last days. He is writing about the fulfillment of the OT prophets. He even quotes from the Song of Moses, (Deuteronomy 32:43– Revelation 19:1-2) to rejoice over the destruction of Babylon, for killing the saints! The Song of Moses had not one thing to do with Rome! Why would John apply the Song of Moses, which is about Israel and her last end, (and specifically the promise of the avenging of the martyrs), when what John was discussing ostensibly had not one thing to do with the avenging of the blood of the martyrs in fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32– Israel’s last days prophecy?
As I proved in the Bale-V-Preston Debate, no other city in all the Bible is ever spiritually designated as Sodom (Cf. Isaiah 1 / Ezekiel 16 / Ezekiel 23). When you couple this with the fact that Babylon, the great Harlot, persecuting city, is, “where the Lord was crucified,” this is firm proof that Babylon was Old Covenant Jerusalem.
This raises the question: What is Whitsett’s justification for ignoring the prophetic background – and historical testimony- of the identity of Jerusalem as Sodom?
Babylon in Revelation was “where the Lord was slain.” Whitsett never denies this! He simply says I am wrong to make it a point! But, the language could not be clearer. Not only was Babylon the city “where the Lord was crucified” meaning, irrefutably, that Babylon was not Rome, but, since the destruction of that city where the Lord was crucified was still future when John wrote, Whitsett is wrong! It was not only still future, that destruction was coming soon, shortly, quickly and was at hand. Whitsett has to totally deny the temporal imminence, or pervert the language of imminence to maintain his view.
There is a world of additional error in Whitsett’s article that could be examined, but at the moment, other pressing issues prevent taking the time. What has been presented here is, however, more than sufficient to demonstrate the following:
1 – Whitsett’s entire article is based – as he admits – on his presuppositonal view of the future. That unproven assumption colors and controls his entire article. But, he assumes the very thing that he must prove!
2. His post is full of logical fallacies that he does not seek to justify.
3. He blatantly and egregiously altered / perverted the text of Revelation, claiming that the text posits the beast riding on the woman, instead of the woman riding the beast. This was not accidental. And his distortion totally, absolutely alters the meaning of the text. This is sloppy and inexcusable.
4. His attempt to divorce the theme of martyr vindication in Revelation from the united testimony of Jesus, Paul and Peter is specious and has no probative value whatsoever. Revelation is about the martyrdom of the same saints mentioned by Jesus and Paul, and John’s discussion and promise of the coming vindication of the martyrs at the parousia is the identical promise given by Jesus and Paul: The Lord was coming soon, shortly and quickly to vindicate the martyrs.
5. Whitsett ignores the long, extended history of Jerusalem as the city that killed the prophets, and substitutes Rome as that city, in spite of the fact that Rome did kill the prophets under Nero until the Jews instigated that persecution. He likewise ignores the fact that Vespasian did not persecute the Christians. Titus did not persecute the church. And there is little, scant and highly dubious, evidence to suggest that Domitian persecuted the church. Yet, Revelation identifies Babylon as the city with a long, long history of persecuting the saints.
6. Whitsett ignores the linguistic meaning of Harlot, which spoke of a marriage covenant. Of course, that could never be said of Rome as a city that had been in a marriage covenant with the Lord!
7. Whitsett brushes aside the indisputable fact that Babylon was “where the Lord was crucified” and the destruction of that “great city” was still future when John wrote.
8. Whitsett ignores the fact that the only city in all the Bible that was ever spiritually designated as Sodom was Old Covenant Jerusalem.
9. Whitsett ignores the fact that John quotes from the Song of Moses, a prophecy of Israel’s last days. In that Song, it was foretold that God would avenge the blood of the martyrs, and at the destruction of “Babylon” John cites that Song as fulfilled! This not only proves the identity of Babylon as Jerusalem, but firmly establishes the early dating of the Apocalypse.
In sum, Whitsett’s “review and response” fails on every count.