Revealing Revelation – What Time Is It? Part 1


With this post we will be discussing the often confusing and sometimes controversial usage of “time text” within the book of Revelation. Unlike other prophecies there are no actual numbers given in relation to when one would expect fulfillment, but rather the immediacy is shown by words that denote a soon to come fulfillment.

In Daniel 9 we are told about a time period of 490 years. In the Olivet Discourse we are given the limitation of a generation for fulfillment. In other instances, such as the Babylonian Captivity we are told the time would 70 years, 40 years, 40 days and so on.

Here, though, we are told that the events were at hand, would happen soon, were approaching quickly and were near their appearance. These words denote an immediate fulfillment. These words, though, have been the bone of contention for those who wish to postpone these prophecies since their normal, “literal” meaning would necessitate a preterist interpretation if those words were to maintain their significance.

But seeing that the vast majority of evangelicalism believes these events are yet future, we must take the time to understand their usage and how those same concepts and phrases are used elsewhere in the Scriptures.

Before examining the usages of those passage in Scripture let us first examine other time text within the book of Revelation that lead to a preterist understanding of their fulfillment and the proper placement within the annals of history.


Rev 1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him

This declaration by John clearly announces that His coming (whatever that coming may be) will take place within a time frame with which those who pierced His side would be aware. Many have argued that since every one has sinned then everyone who has ever lived or whoever would live would qualify as one who “pierced His side.”

But is this the intent of the term? John here is laying claim to the “when” of His coming and in doing so limits the time frame by stating that those who did this act would still be alive. This is no different then when Jesus said there would be some standing in His midst that would see Him coming on the clouds with power and great glory (Matt 16). Jesus extends that concept to stating that even the High Priest would see Him on the clouds (Matt 26).

Also John here is not making some sort of philosophical or theological statement about whose acts actually placed Jesus on the cross. John is speaking about time and is using a literary device to limit the time frame in question.


Rev 1:9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation

Here John is using his present circumstance to argue that the tribulation discussed within the pages are things that he too is experiencing. He is a fellow partaker in this tribulation and limits the time frame by stating his involvement.


Rev 22:10 And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.

In this interesting quote from the angel who gave John this prophecy comes another clue as to the expectation of the events described. John is told not even to seal up the scroll he writing on because the time is so short. It would not be unlike handing someone an important document in an envelope and not even bothering to lick the seal and shut it. This was so urgent and so imminent that even the time wasted unsealing it would have an impact.

This is especially important since a similar, yet opposite command is given to Daniel.

Daniel 12:9 He said “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end”

So, here Daniel is told to seal up the prophecy because these things would not begin to take place for a great length of time. But the prophecies contained within the book  in question saw their fulfillment begin within a couple hundred years and saw their primary completion by the middle of the first century AD. That was about 500 years or so.

So, taking this understanding and noting that events that were about 100 to 500 years off were considered a long time and worthy of sealing (even though the beginning of those prophecies started centuries previous), it seems completely illogical then to say that the events in Revelation should NOT BE SEALED because they would start as soon as 2,000 years later or more. This is what is meant by near?

Oh, where are the true “literalist?”

100 to 500 years is a far off while 2,000 plus years is soon, near and at hand?

I will end this post with this. I have mentioned this before but it worth repeating over and over until a reasonable response is offered. This is admittedly directed at today’s popular prophecy prognosticators.

Why is that I should trust you when you proclaim that Jesus is coming soon and that the events in Revelation are near and at hand? You openly proclaim that those words obviously do not mean what they mean when God employs their usage, but I should somehow believe you when you use those terms?

Why would the modern prophecy experts use the terms near, soon and at hand, when they obviously do not mean what the plain meaning of the words demand? Why do those words mean what they actually mean when today’s prophecy experts use them, but not when the Bible does?

Does anyone else have a problem with this?

The immediate response given is that from the perspective of the eternal God soon, near and at hand could mean a very long period of time. A day is like a thousand years they shout!

But the problem is the book of Revelation wasn’t written for God! It was written for us, and especially for the Churches to whom it was addressed. It was written for our understanding and to reveal Christ, not cover things up!

Next we will examine the other usages of these terms in Scripture and how removing the natural, “literal” meaning of the words in question does damage to the word of God and the truths contained within the pages of this amazing book.


7 Responses to “Revealing Revelation – What Time Is It? Part 1”

  1. 1 Yeshua the Lord of Glory

    Hi again David

    I just wanted to double check something with you…Since it is said that the Apostle Paul was be-headed under Nero 37-68 Ad…Which means that he did not live to see the actual destruction of the temple in Ad70…

    But he certainly witnessed it from Heaven…So if all the other Apostles had been martyred by the time that Revelation was written [i think not sure] then the Apostle John saw all of their souls and many martyred bretheren,under the alter too right? Hence…They lived and reign with Christ a thousand years…This is the first resurrection…

    They participated in the first resurrection because it was/is a spiritual resurrection.They were saved.John 5:24…They were absent from the body and present with the Lord… so NO LITERAL MILLENNIAL REIGN or KINGDOM…Christ received his Kingdom at his ascension…Daniel 7:13,14 Acts 1:11.His Dominion is and everlasting dominion…

    His Dominion is as head over/of the [church] the children of God…His Kingdom [church] shall not be destroyed…The Gates of hell will not prevail against his church [kingdom]… The scriptures do teach that Christ will reign as King…But KING of kings and LORD of lords…The Son is first in Rank of/over the children of God,who are joint heirs with HIm…So the saved of God are the lords and kings…The Father will reign and rule the Earthy Kingdom forever and ever.1 Cor 15:24 and Revelation 11:15 and 21:3…

    Ok teacher i trying to get a least and B…For paying attention in class at least…So be nice and cut me some slack here. 🙂 Ok, for being off topic i can live with a c+ If i am wrong then…Just leave me a smiley…

    • 2 low5point

      I have no problems with what you say, but be careful because that line of thinking could lead to a Full Preterist view…

  2. 3 Yeshua the Lord of Glory

    Hey David:

    This guy Nero who died in Ad68 could be the other reason for the opening of the fifth seal…revelation 6:1-11…This would have been before the temple in Jerusalem was finally destroyed in Ad70.But not before the war began that lead to its destruction…

    Perhaps the Lord multi-tasked? and this is why it seems that the book of Revelation goes from location to location or from NHNE’s, so to speak…He very well may have avenged his own “speedily” while exacting revenge on his enemies of “this generation”.Just a thought and based on something that you wrote/spoke before…

    • 4 low5point

      We will get to this…you may be surprised by how I view the “seals,” but that, of course, is something left for a future post

  3. 5 Yeshua the Lord of Glory

    Ok ..I dont want that! Thanks for the warning David…

  4. 6 Yeshua the Lord of Glory

    Hi David:

    I should have finished my last thought with this:

    No matter how i see the book of Revelation…If full Preterists believe that the physical and literal return of Christ along with the physical resurrection of the dead,both of the just and the unjust and the final judgment of ALL,has taken place already.

    Then there is no way that what i am saying here,could ever lead ME to a full Preterist view.Since i believe as you do,these things are yet future…The partial Preterist/Amillennial hopeful Postmill view,is what i hold to just like you…Just wanted to clarify that in case i had to 🙂

  1. 1 PP2: References « Dave's Bible Study Group: Minneapolis

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