Revealing Revelation – The Early Date Theory Part 2

22Mar11

In the previous post we discussed the External Evidence and the first of the four Internal Evidence categories. We discovered that the external evidence is lacking. But we also found that the Internal Evidence is strong and will continue to discover this the more we examine the different categories of evidence within the internal evidence files.

The previous post discussed the Thematic Evidence found within the pages of the Revelation. The use of terms of imminence like soon, now, at hand and near, coupled with the “type” of coming (judgment) that is referenced. There was also the additional fact that the author proclaims that those alive at the time would see or perceive this “coming” and this included even those who pierced his side.

We took note that John was partner in the current tribulation and that it was imperative that his initial audience receive this witness of the vision as this message was directly for them. This initial Thematic Evidence points to events more closely resembling the events of the mid first first century than any time in history.

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE

In this section we will deal with events and persons described with the Revelation and try to discover at what point in history these events should occur. This is very strong evidence that points to the early dating of the book. The majority of the Historical Evidence is related to the Seven Headed Beast of Revelation 13 and 17.

THE SEVEN HEADED BEAST

We spent a great deal of time dealing with the individual and corporate nature of the Beast so I will not use up too much space dealing with that issue other than to say that the Beast is recognized as a a “nation” and as an individual The individual heads of the best represent seven individual kings while the entire beast represents the nation is symbolizes. The clues as to when the Revelation was written is found by an easy deciphering of the passage related to the Beast in Revelation 17. I will bullet point the issues below

  • We are introduced to a seven headed beast in revelation 12 that represented Satan, the evil serpent of old, the dragon.
  • Another similar appearing beast shows up in Revelation 13 representing a nation
  • One of the beasts’ heads receives a mortal wound but the beast comes back to life

Then is Chpater 17 we are given the explaination of the Beast and our best clue at determining when the Revelation was witnessed and written.

Rev 17:9 This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; 10they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while.

The identity of the Beast, as previously mentioned, was dealt with in great detail previously, but to sum up…

  • The city or nation on seven hills is Rome
  • The seven heads also represent the first seven kings of Rome
  • The 6th head – the one that “is” at the time of the writing – was Nero
  • The 7th head or king was Galba who reigned for six months – or just a little while
  • Nero died in June of 68AD
  • If the 6th head (king) was around when John wrote the apocalypse then it had to have been written before June of 68AD

THE TEMPLE

In Revelation 11 we read about the Temple and how John was told to measure it…

Rev 11:1 Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told, “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, 2but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.

If this was seen and written about after 70 AD there would be no Temple for John to measure. The measuring points ultimately to the coming destruction of the Temple and City found in verse 2. But the point here is that John is told to measure a physically standing Temple.

Some have argued that John is told to measure a “spiritual” Temple like what is found in Ezekiel. There are a few difficulties that make that hypothesis troubling.

  • In Ezekiel an angel is told to measure the Temple and here John, a human, is told to measure the Temple
  • John does not question the command to measure the Temple. This is in stark contrast to other portions of Revelation in which questions what is happening. In this instance he simply does as commanded
  • The context is the city of Jerusalem and her coming “trampling” at the hands of the Gentiles

Again, as the second point above notes John often struggled with the things he was seeing and would question the visions, even breaking down in tears at times. Here he is compliant and unquestioning. But more importantly, the Ezekiel Temple is a picture of a Temple that was to be built while the Temple John is measuring is one that was to be trodden under and destroyed. Why “spiritually” measure a temple fitted for destruction?

THE CITY

The entire book is filled with commentary about the “city” and what was happening and going to happen there. Here again John makes no comment nor does he question since in 95 AD the City of Jerusalem was a desolate, defeated and destroyed city with little or no inhabitants.

It would be more than odd for John to make no c0mment whatsoever that the city and temple was destroyed. Even the birth of Christ, the casting out of Satan and other historical events are considered and one would assume that something as terrific and horrific as the destruction of the city and Temple would be raised, especially considering how the location is the centerpiece of the book!

SYMBOLIC EVIDENCE

With symbolic evidence we must consider how the symbols of revelation are used and how the best fit into natural and physical history. This will not take much time, but will help in understanding how the symbolism employed must be best understood and then determine what the timing is. There is some overlap with the Thematic and Historical Evidence of these items

  • City on Seven Hills – This clear representation of Rome should not be removed from the contemporary understanding of the first century reader who would recognize that symbol as representing the current (now historical) nation of Rome
  • Seven Heads as Seven Kings – This was explored above
  • 666 – This equals the spelling of NRWN QSR – Nero Caesar
  • 616 (many translations) – this equals the spelling of NRW QSR
  • The Temple – see above
  • The Mark – The restrictions of buying and selling during the years preceding the destruction of the city were documented previously
  • The Destructive Seals, Horns and Bowls – represent events that took place at Jerusalem’s demise (as also seen in the Olivet Discourse)

If the above symbols are accurately applied it leaves little doubt that they represent events that took place before 70 AD, making the writing of this prophetic something that had to take place before those events, probably no later than 68AD.

BIBLICAL SIMILARITY EVIDENCE

I really need to find a better term for this form of evidence. Within this category we will discover how similarly discussed events took place before 70AD. We will also note John’s discussion, or lack of it, in his Gospel.

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

On a somewhat related side note, the reader may recall a discussion of the poor Greek grammar and language used in the Revelation in comparison to the more mature and refined Greek in John’s Gospel. It is true that it was quite possible that John used scribes and translators to write his Gospel while he had no such help available to him on the island of Patmos. There is another possibility worth considering as well.

It is also quite possible that John wrote the Gospel much later than the Revelation and by that time he would have improved steadily in thinking and writing in Greek. One other important fact should also be noted in relation to the timing of the authorship of the two different books. John’s is the only Gospel that does not include the Olivet Discourse.

There may be many reasons why John would exclude this important portion of Jesus’ ministry, but one worth considering is that since the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation deal with the same subject there was no need for John to include the lengthy teaching in his Gospel since he had dealt with it previously in the Revelation. This would also point to an earlier timing for the writing of Revelation.

THE OLIVET DISCOURSE

More than a handful of commentators on both sides of the theological spectrum had argued that the book of Revelation and the Olivet Discourse deal with the same subject matter and events. The similarities are not only vague and supposed, but in some instances quite stark. Not the identical messages below.

First off if you recall the judgment found in the Olivet Discourse is as the result of the Jews persecution of the Saints, Prophets and eventually the Son of God. This found in Matt 23. This was dealt with previously but fits here as well in understanding the similarity between the two passages.

Matt 23:34 Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.35 And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation.

Rev 16:6 for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets,
and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”

So, now let us consider the Olivet Discourse and how it directly relates to the events described in Revelation.

Luke 23:30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.

Revelation 6:16 calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb,


Matthew 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Revelation 8:12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining


Matt 24:7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.

Luke 21:11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.

Revelation 6:8 And I looked, and behold, a pale horse! And its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed him. And they were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by wild beasts of the earth.

Matt 24:30 “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

Rev 1:7 Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.

I could go on and on, but suffice it to say there is plenty of Biblical evidence that the book of Revelation and the Olivet Discourse are dealing with the same subject matter. We spent weeks walking through the Olivet Discourse discovering that as the result of the events and the time text demands the Olivet Discourse was clearly discussing events surrounding the destruction of the City and Temple in 70AD at the hands of the Roman army!

If this is true, then the events in Revelation are discussing those same events and therefore demands that the prophetic book of Revelation be written prior to those events.

For further study I will highly recommend the books listed in the previous post. This only scratches the surface, but does gie plenty of evidence that the Revelation was clearly seen and written before the fall of Jerusalem. At worst, the evidence demonstrates that the early date cannot be easily dismissed and must be given consideration when the issues of futurism and preterism is involved.

Next we will begin to examine the many theme and structural positions of the Revelation.

Advertisements


No Responses Yet to “Revealing Revelation – The Early Date Theory Part 2”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: