Apologetics Empty-House

Published on February 8th, 2011 | by Gary DeMar

30

Don’t Be Afraid to Put Your Prophetic Views to the Test

Every time American Vision posts an article on eschatology or sends out an email promoting a prophecy product, we get quite a few emails from people who get upset with us, actually with me. The email advertisement promoting John Bray’s Matthew 24 Fulfilled was no exception. I got the usual rants:

“You’re ignorant when it comes to the topic of Bible prophecy . . . God’s timing is not our timing . . . There are multiple fulfillments . . . You must be an idiot to claim that prophecy is not being fulfilled right before our eyes . . . ‘This generation’ does not mean the generation of Jesus’ day; in fact it means anything but that.”

I’m used to it. I’m only bothered by these types of comments because the emailers generally can only see things one way as if their way has been the only way for thousands of years. Too much is riding on their prophetic theology for them to consider any other view, even if it has been thoroughly studied, analyzed, and debated “over, under, sideways, down, backwards, forwards, square and round.”(1) Many Christians are so focused on just a few elements of the Bible that they can’t see anything else. Consider this brainteaser to help illustrate the point:

I’ll wager that I can come to your house or apartment, remove every piece of furniture from a room of your choosing, place a book on the floor, and you won’t be able to jump over it.

Most people can’t figure out how this would be possible because they are focused on the book and the floor. But a room is made up of more things than a floor. There are walls, and there are corners to the walls. If I put the book on the floor up against the wall in a corner of the room, you won’t be able to jump over it unless you’re the size of Tom Thumb. There is more to Bible prophecy than “signs.” Context and time indicators must also be taken into account. But so many Christians have been focusing on signs (floors) that they have missed the structure that gives true meaning to the signs, context, audience, and time indicators (walls and corners).

Then there’s the “you’ve heard it said” problem. Over the years, we accumulate information on a topic without ever checking out to see if the information is accurate. One emailer challenged me on when Revelation was written. Typically, he argued for an A.D. 95 date, that Revelation was written during the reign of Titus Flavius Domitianus, commonly known as Domitian, who served as Roman Emperor from AD 81 to 96. I pointed out that this was impossible since John was told to measure the temple (Rev. 11:1–2). Since the temple was destroyed in A.D. 70, there wouldn’t have been a temple to measure in A.D. 95. He wrote back that Ezekiel had been told to measure a future temple that to this day has not been built. So if Ezekiel could measure a future temple, then John could as well. As we’ll see below, Ezekiel did not measure the visionary temple in Ezekiel 40. He also claimed that the dating issue had been settled by second-century apologist Irenaeus. I won’t spend time going over extra-biblical evidence for the dating of Revelation. There is more than enough information available on the subject (see Kenneth L. Gentry’s Before Jerusalem Fell. Ken will be discussing this issue at American Vision’s National Prophecy Conference, June 1-4, 2011.) You might want to take a look at my chapter “Irenaeus and the Dating of Revelation” in my book (co-authored with Frank Gumerlock) The Early Church and the End of the World.

The most significant problem that modern-day prophetic speculators have is that there is no temple in Jerusalem, something Matthew 24:2 requires for any part of the Olivet Discourse and the book of Revelation to be fulfilled. In addition, according to dispensationalism, no prophecies this side of the “rapture” can be taking place. I realize that dispensational writers don’t pay attention to these built-in restrictions. If they did, they couldn’t sell very many prophecy books. I’ve discussed this problem at length in my book 10 Popular Prophecy Myths Exposed and Answered.

Let’s take a look at the claim that the Bible teaches that a temple must be built again in Jerusalem. Third-temple advocates try to muster support for their position by referencing Revelation 11:1–2. They begin by assuming that Revelation was written nearly three decades after the temple was destroyed.(2) From this unproven assumption, they conclude that John must be measuring a rebuilt temple that still hasn’t been built. The passage says nothing about a rebuilt temple. The words “shortly” and “near” (Rev. 1:1, 3; 22:10) are used to describe the time when the events outlined in Revelation were to take place.

The fact that John is told to “rise and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and those who are worshipping in it” (11:1), is prima facie evidence that the temple was still standing when John received the revelation. “Worshipping” is in the present tense; it’s what the people were doing as John measured the temple. How could John have measured a temple that did not exist in his day? Ice and Price insist the temple that John is told to measure is the literal temple, not a “spiritual temple.” “For example, in Matthew 24 Jesus is speaking about a literal Temple, since in the context of the passage he is standing and looking directly at the second Temple.”(3) Following Ice and Price’s argument, how could the temple John was told to measure be a literal temple if it hadn’t been built yet? On the contrary, John was told to measure the literal Temple that still had worshipers in it, the same temple that Jesus stood in and Titus destroyed in A.D. 70. There is no indication that Revelation 11 is describing a future rebuilt temple. Here’s how Ice tries to explain away what Revelation 11:1–2 clearly states about the temple:

[I]t must be remembered that in the Book of Revelation John is receiving a vision about future things. He is transported in some way to that future time in order to view events as they will unfold. The word “saw” is used 49 times in 46 verses in Revelation because John is witnessing future events through a vision. It does not matter at all whether the Temple is thought to be standing in Jerusalem at the time that John sees the vision since that would not have any bearing upon a vision. John is told by an angel to “measure the temple” (Rev. 11:1). Measure what Temple? He is to measure the Temple in the vision. Even if there were a temple still standing in Jerusalem, John was on the Island of Patmos and would not have been allowed to go and measure that Temple. Ezekiel, during a similar vision of a Temple (Ezek. 40–43) was told to measure that Temple. When Ezekiel saw and was told to measure a Temple there was not one standing in Jerusalem (Preterists agree). Thus, there is no compulsion whatsoever to conclude that just because a temple is referenced in Revelation 11 that it implies that there had to be a physical Temple standing in Jerusalem at the same time.(4)

Let’s deal with the obvious mistake in Ice’s analysis. Ezekiel was not told to measure the temple. Ezekiel saw “a man whose appearance was like the appearance of bronze . . . who measured the thickness of the wall” (Ezek. 40:3, 5). Ezekiel sees this man doing the measuring. Ezekiel is a bystander. Being a visionary temple, Ezekiel did not have access to it because it existed only in a vision, and there is no indication that it was ever designed to be built.(5)

Mark Hitchcock makes the same mistake when he writes, “Ezekiel, like John, is told to measure the Temple he sees in his vision. The words ‘measure’ and ‘measured’ occur 44 times in Ezekiel 40–48. Ezekiel is measuring a temple that must be future to his day because no temple is standing on earth in Jerusalem for him to measure.”(6) Like Ice, Hitchcock fails to note who is really doing the measuring. So then, since John is doing the measuring in Revelation 11, unlike Ezekiel who was with a man who measured the temple “in the visions of God” (Ezek. 40:2), we can only conclude that the temple was still standing in Jerusalem when John was given the Revelation by Jesus.

The temple John is told to measure is a functioning temple with worshippers and an altar (Rev. 11:1). John saw the temple in a vision, but it was a vision of the temple that was still standing in Jerusalem in his day. The historical circumstances fit a pre-A.D. 70 Jerusalem that still would have been described as “the great city” (11:8), the place where “their Lord was crucified” (11:8), and was occupied by a foreign power (Rome) at the time (11:2). Henry Cowles (1803–1881), in his commentary on Revelation, offers the following argument:

[H]ere is one of the landmarks of our prophetic interpretation. We know that the temple, altar and holy city were standing at the time of this vision; we know they were on the very eve of their desolation; we know therefore that this desolation—so “shortly” after these visions were seen and recorded—can not possibly be any other than that effected by the Roman armies in A. D. 70.(7))

E. Earle Ellis writes that “the present existence of the Jerusalem temple (11:1) and its future desolation (11:2) are fairly strong indicators of a pre-AD 70 date for Revelation.”(8) In order for a post-A.D. 70 composition and futurist interpretation of Revelation to work, a rebuilt temple must be assumed, but it cannot be proved by anyone who claims to interpret the Bible in a literal fashion. There is not a single verse in the New Testament that says anything about a rebuilt temple, something that even dispensationalists acknowledge. Here’s what temple rebuilding advocates Tommy Ice and Randall Price admit: “There are no Bible verses that say, ‘There is going to be a third temple.’”(9)

So the next time you want to take issue with someone on a debatable matter, make sure you consider the walls and corners of room and not just the floor.Endnotes:

  1. From “Over Under Sideways Down” by the Yardbirds (1966).()
  2. For a defense of a pre-A.D. 70 date of composition for Revelation, see Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation, 2nd ed. (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1999); The Beast of Revelation (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision); Gary DeMar and Francis X. Gumerlock, The Early Church and the End of the World (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2006).()
  3. Ice and Price, Ready to Rebuild, 200.()
  4. Thomas Ice, “The Date of the Book of Revelation.” Some commentators believe the use of temple language in Revelation 11:1–2 “is a symbol of the true church that worships the triune God” (Simon J. Kistemaker, Revelation: New Testament Commentary [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001], 324). The geographical context is the city where Jesus was crucified (11:8). This is a significant clue that the physical temple is in view. Mark Wilson writes: “Historically, the only group eligible to worship at the temple in Jerusalem were Jewish believers, and these are numbered earlier as part of the 144,000 (Rev. 7:4–8).” (Mark W. Wilson, “Revelation,” Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Hebrews to Revelation, ed. Clinton E. Arnold, 4 vols. [Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002], 4:311).()
  5. Ezekiel is told that the altar will be built: “These are the statutes for the altar on the day it is built, to offer burnt offerings on it and to sprinkle blood on it” (Ezek. 43:18). We know that a new temple and altar were built, animals sacrificed, and Levitical priests attended to their priestly duties after the exile (Neh. 11:11).()
  6. Mark Hitchcock, “The Stake in the Heart—The A.D. 95 Date of Revelation,” The End Times Controversy: The Second Coming Under Attack, eds. Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 2003), 140.()
  7. Henry Cowles, The Revelation of John (New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1887.()
  8. E. Earle Ellis, The Making of the New Testament Documents (Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, Inc., 2002), 214.()
  9. Thomas Ice and Randall Price, Ready to Rebuild: The Imminent Plan to Rebuild the Last Days Temple (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1992), 197–198.()
Print Friendly


About the Author

Gary is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He is the author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, His most recent book is Exposing the Real Last Days Scoffers. Gary lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and four grandchildren, Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).



30 Responses to Don’t Be Afraid to Put Your Prophetic Views to the Test

  1. Roderick says:

    Indeed we should put our prophetic views to the test. In one case, the “full” or “hyperpreterists” seem to be afraid to put to test their overarching premise. A certain hyperpret named “Rivers Of Eden” has been consistent in saying ALL THINGS were fulfilled in AD70 yet his fellow hyperprets have been hypocritically silencing him. See more: AD70.net And Preterist Hypocrisy

  2. Nelson Swiger Jr. says:

    Why is it that a temple cannot be rebuilt in Jerusalem? A few years ago the skeptics thought the idea of the nation of Israel being a nation again was an impossibility and wrote it off as some kind of spiritual Israel or that the Church replaced Israel. Now Israel is back and that throws a wrench in the spoke of the skeptics. The Temple will be rebuilt.

    Mr. Demar, you have grossly misrepresented the teachings of the end times. Maybe a few hold to the views you claim are being taught, but I have studied for 30 years and some of your accusations are completely wrong. So many wrong that I cannot really cover them all in one message. One thing I will say is that many of the things you claim have to be done after the beginning of the Tribulation do not have to be done in that time frame. God can do it anytime.

    “I’m only bothered by these types of comments because the emailers generally can only see things one way as if their way has been the only way for thousands of years.”
    This statement is really arrogant of you, ever thought that maybe the reason so many hold to teachings that have been around for thousands of years is that maybe they are right and you are wrong? We are all fallible.

    • Gary DeMar says:

      Show me a verse that says another temple must be built as some type of end-time scenario. Telling me I’m wrong is certainly your right, but it does not enhance your position. Deal with the content of the article and the points I’ve made.

      Also, the view that is popular today has not been held for thousands of years. The idea of pre-trib rapture has only been around since about 1830. Looking forward to your response.

  3. E Harris says:

    Gary, I have one quick question (I believe that all of eschatology, quite possibly, hinges on this one question):

    What is the Temple of God that the man of lawlessness takes his seat in? (2 Thess 2:3-5)

    • Gary DeMar says:

      It was the temple that was still standing in Jerusalem. I deal extensively with this question my book “Last Days Madness.”

    • Gary says:

      E.Harris, are you eluding to the fact that a human cell is laid out in the same fashion as the 2nd Temple? and that changing man’s DNA is infact the violation of the Temple of God?

  4. Tammy says:

    Here’s another view that I believe contradicts futurist. Our study group is doing Nehemiah and in verse 8 and 9 Nehemiah mentions God’s conditions on the return to the land for the Jews.

    Nehemiah 1:8-9 Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: 9But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

    It seems to me that for the Jews to return to the Promise Land they have to become a Christian nation. They have to accept Jesus as their Messiah before they can return not after.

    • E Harris says:

      Notice: they were scattered to the uttermost parts of heaven (not earth). The earthly Jerusalem was itself a metaphore (an important metaphore) for the heavenly New Jerusalem.

      The same principles that brought about punishment or banishment in the Old Covenant are the same principles that hold true in the Spirit, today. The Jews (as an earthly nation) are not yet gathered. To be gathered together by God, means to be gathered together in His Name (and for His Sake). He is the only true and real Unity provided for mankind. And right now, most of the Jews still reject Him (just as the Muslims do).

      • Matthew says:

        Indeed, it can not be said that they “turned to him.” Even if the LORD’s requirements were based exclusively on the OT and not the NT, they still have not “turned to him.”

  5. Gary DeMar says:

    Historicism’s problem is similar to that of dispensationalism and various forms of amillennialism, although Jay Adams would be an exception since he is a preterist when it comes to the dating and interpretation of Revelation (see his “The Time is at Hand”). Revelation states in the first chapter several time indicators. In Rev. 1:1 we find, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which MUST SOON TAKE PLACE.” This is confirmed in 1:3: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; FOR THE TIME IS NEAR.” John writes that he is a “fellow partaker in the tribulation” (1:9). The final chapter serves as a capstone to the book: “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, FOR THE TIME IS NEAR” (22:10).

    Historicism is like Silly Putty. Almost any series of historical events can be fashioned to fit the prophetic mold. Read five different historicists at five different periods of history and you’ll end up with five or more different interpretations.

    • Matthew says:

      Seems to me that those phrases are excellent when debating against futurism, but historicism starts in the the 1st century and continues past the judgment and into the new heavens and hew earth (chpts. 20-22). Those phrases are just as valuable to a historicist as a preterist. Side (but related question), how does preterism define the events of chapter 9?

      • Matthew says:

        I should also note, the problem with the “five different historicists at five different periods of history and you’ll end up with five or more different interpretations” is a matter of historical convenience. Preterism has a much smaller space of time to analyze, and that space of time is complete. Historicism lacks both of these advantages.

        • E Harris says:

          Wouldn’t it be great if (IF) Revelation is demonstrated to be a continuous storyline, that reveals all of the general movements in the last 2000 years (and in the future) that are important to God’s Heart? Wouldn’t it be great if all of the nations could read it, and understand it in hindsight? This would be a great testimony. A healing balm for God’s People (who often feel lost in a great wilderness). And it would be a GREAT curse to those who are revealed to be on “the wrong side of history.” (attention statists)

        • E Harris says:

          I can’t help but note: after something important is “revealed” in Rev 15, there are very difficult plagues (judgements) that soon follow in unhalting succession. I believe that it is the general storyline of Revelation, confirmed with a fully fleshed-out and consistent hermeneutic. It will be practically undeniable to anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the last 2000 years. It will draw people to the pages of Scripture, even though they may hate to look at it.

          (No. I don’t believe that they are physical plagues… I believe that they are probably plagues on certain cultures and institutions that have much respect in the human world. They are judgements on the frameworks that we have set up that are not of God.)

  6. E Harris says:

    The largest weapon against “the third temple” view (which the entirety of the futurist viewpoint seems to hinge on) is this: what IS a “temple of God” in the incarnation, and then post-ascension upon the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost? The Temple of God CANNOT be a blasphemous ’3rd temple’ even if one gets built. Never. (After all, that was why the second one was destroyed.)

    The Temple of God (and that is what it says the guy sits in) is built with living stones. Period. The temple of God that this man sits in… is the house of God. This man is seated in false authority upon God’s own people…in their hearts.

    I realize that this doesn’t fit in with Preterism.

    I also know, for a fact, that this is the easiest, fastest, most logical way to get people away from a dispensational (comic book) view of “Antichrist.”

    The man of sin sits in THE Temple of God. … and what is the Temple of God???

    I have used this argument many times with my firmly-believing dispensational friends… and it works every time. It opens their eyes, if only for one conversation. I always enter any conversation on futurism, with that very point. It works effectively, without making an enemy out of either “side” of the debate. Because the answer is obvious: WE ARE the temple of God. The threat is not from outside of Christianity, the threat comes from within our own hearts and what we allow to happen to our own hearts and lifestyles.

    The most effective answer to futurism isn’t preterism (at least not at first). The most effective way to wean people from futurism is historicism (the papacy being the fullest exaltation of the pride of the man of sin that is in our own fleshly natures). First Historicism, THEN Matthew 24. That will win the futurists. (“End Time Delusions” was a good start for me.)

    The old covenant was full of types & shadows of the faith-realities of the new covenant. Same holds true for the physical Jerusalem that Jesus set his face toward. Jesus was not lamenting over a physical city. He was lamenting over what that city REPRESENTED to God and to His People. God deals (most of the time) in physical metaphore (and that is why we have morality). God yearns for a time when Jerusalem will come down from heaven, prepared, as a Bride for her husband.

    • Matthew says:

      Matthew 24 surely was in reference to 1st century people. The issue of John measuring the temple as proof of Revelation’s pre-70 AD dating, isn’t very convincing for me. A good deal of reformed thinkers read that portion of Revelation, and remained Historicists. Even if the temple was already in the past (95 AD), John still would have remembered it from his own life. Besides, Revelation is written in prophetic language, I don’t see a literal 2nd or 3rd temple in chapter 11.

      • Matthew says:

        Also, I would agree that the description of the Whore is better suited for Jerusalem than Rome, but the defining the heads of the Beast from the Sea as Roman emperors seems pretty arbitrary. There have been a vast sum of Roman emperors, and there seems to be no reason to settle at seven (or eight). The seven forms of Roman government (and the revival of one in the Papacy) seems much definite and discrete in giving meaning to the heads of the Sea Beast.

        • Matthew says:

          Plus, this historicism approach better explains the Ten kingdoms (toes, horns, etc), along with the one horn that displaces the three that came before. There was nothing “clay” about the Roman empire prior to 70 A.D. Only with the fall of the western empire do we see the ten kingdoms and then the one that displaced the three.

        • E Harris says:

          “seven forms of Roman government” … interesting. I don’t truly know that much about historicism. I only know the generalities. I do know and feel that things tend to come together, in just the right way, when one assumes that one is in the middle of a continuous “storyline” that has meaning to the heart of God. I am more apt to think that Revelation represents generalities and movements and “forms of government” than anything else. Because I believe that Revelation will continue to have meaning, even after it is completed, for ages to come. It’s meaning is not in the “actual fulfillment” so much as in the WHY and HOW and WHAT. God is eternal and does not change, and our distance from His Heart dictates our vantage point.

        • E Harris says:

          Revelation is highly psychological (for lack of a better term). I believe that beasts are the collective instincts of masses of people. They are given form, shape, and voice. But then… I have changed my mind several times about “historicism” … like DeMar said, it’s like silly putty. That can make it fun to play with. I do believe that once the “hermeneutic” is established, the inner logic and consistency of Revelation will be revealed. And if I am correct, and we are in Rev 14, then this “revealing” of the storyline is about to occur (in Rev 15).

        • Matthew says:

          I should mention the other and often mentioned interpretation of the seven heads: if you look at Daniel 7, you’ll notice that the four creatures combine to have seven heads (i.e. 1 lion, 1 bear, 4 leopard, 1 final beast). Based on the interpretations of Daniel (here and in the statue (chpt 2), we know these to be the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans. Finally, we know that one of these heads will appear to be wounded (probably the Roman portion).

        • Matthew,
          The little horn of Dan. 7 is the same as the individual beast of Revelation (by individual beast I mean the eighth of the line of eight rulers, Rev. 17:9-11).
          Looking at Scripture, one does not have to dig too deep to find the opponent of God/Christ who appears at the last hour (of the old covenant age; cf. 1 Cor. 10:11). Looking at Daniel 7, the little eleventh horn makes war against the saints and is defeated by the coming of God:

          I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.
          Daniel 7:21-22

          Notice that the little eleventh horn has three horns pulled out before it (Dan. 7:8), making him an eighth horn (i.e., ruler), which is exactly what the beast of Revelation is (Rev. 17:11). Just as with the little horn of Daniel 7, the beast of Revelation is defeated by the coming of God. Revelation reveals this as the coming of Jesus, the coming of the Word of God:

          Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war . . . He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God . . . Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword . . . And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured . . . [and] cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
          Revelation 19:11, 13, 15, 19-20

          Consider some of the connections between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation:

          1. The little horn/beast is an eighth ruler (Dan. 7:8; Rev. 17:11).

          2. The little horn/beast speaks great blasphemies against God (Dan. 7:8, 11, 20, 25; Rev. 13:5-6).

          3. The little horn/beast wages war against the saints and overcomes them (Dan. 7:21; Rev. 13:7).

          4. The little horn/beast has a three-and-a-half-year reign of terror (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5).

          5. The little horn/beast is defeated in AD 70 by the coming of God/Christ (Dan. 7:21-22; Rev. 19:11-20).

          6. The little horn/beast is thrown into the lake of fire at the time of the Second Coming (Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:19-21).

          7. The kingdom of God is established (what the NT shows as the beginning of the millennium) at the AD 70 defeat of the little horn/beast (Dan. 7:7-11, 21-27; Rev. 19:11-20:4).

          For more, see here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PretCosmos/message/25338

        • Matthew says:

          But, the Sea Beast also has ten horns. So I suppose the next logical question is, what are the ten kindgoms that belong to the ten horns in Rev 13?

          It seems strange to assign the 42 months to Nero (?) when in fact Christians continued to be persecuted by latter emperors. I’m not even so sure that the persecutions under Nero were the worst.

        • Hey Matthew,

          I am not talking about Nero. I am talking about Titus, or more correctly, the demonic beast from the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8) that worked through Titus. Again, see the link I provided to get some background on what I am talking about.
          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PretCosmos/message/25338

          Below is something from that article that discusses how Nero fits almost none of the scriptures that are traditionally associated with Antichrist.

          No amount of spin, no matter how clever, could make these scriptures fit Nero. Nero was neither an eleventh ruler nor an eighth (11-3=8; Dan. 7:8, 20, 24). The three rulers removed before the little eleventh horn (Galba, Otho and Vitellius) were not removed before Nero, they were removed in the year and a half following his death. Nero was the sixth Caesar, the one on the throne when Revelation was written (Rev. 17:10). In contrast, the individual beast had not come yet (Rev. 17:11). One can not have it both ways; Nero can not be both the one who “is” (Rev. 17:10) and at the same time the one who “is not” yet come (Rev. 17:8, 11).

          Nero did not destroy Jerusalem and the Temple (Dan. 9:26). Nero did not lead the attack against Jerusalem at the end of the age (Dan. 11:40-45). Nero was never worshipped in the Temple (Dan. 11:36-37; 2 Thess. 2:4). Nero never even set foot in Judea, let alone Jerusalem or the Temple! It was Titus who fulfilled these things. Nero was not around for the AD 70 coming of Jesus (Rev. 19:11-21); he had been dead for over two years by the time Jerusalem was destroyed in August/September of AD 70. How could he be the one who destroys harlot Babylon and then is defeated by the parousia Rev. 19:1-3, 11-21)? It was Titus who destroyed Jerusalem, not Nero.

          Even the much-touted Nero solution to the riddle of 666 requires the use of a defective spelling of his name.[1] In addition, the Nero solution does not even appear until the nineteenth century! Regarding the connection between Nero and 666, Kistemaker writes, “When did the writers begin to identify Nero with the number [666] in this particular passage [Rev. 13:18]? There is no reference anywhere in history until the 1830s when four German scholars proposed his name.”[2]

          To put it simply, all the scriptures associated with the Antichrist can be applied to Titus, and almost none can be applied to Nero. The reason for this is simple. Scripture shows the Antichrist attacking and capturing Jerusalem and the Temple (Dan. 9:26; 11:36-12:13; Matt. 24:1-2, 15-21; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 17-18). This was accomplished by Titus not Nero.

          Endnotes:
          1. Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, rev. ed., The New International Commentary on the New Testament, eds. Ned Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, and Gordon Fee (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1998), 262. Mounce writes the following:
          “The solution most commonly accepted today is that 666 is the numerical equivalent of Nero Caesar. It is held to be supported by the variant reading 616, which also yields the name of Nero when the Latinized spelling is followed. What is not generally stressed is that this solution asks us to calculate a Hebrew transliteration of the Greek form of a Latin name, and that with a defective spelling. A shift to Hebrew letters is unlikely in that Revelation is written in Greek and there is no indication that the riddle is to be solved by transposing it into another language. Further, the name of Nero was apparently never suggested by the ancient commentators even though his persecuting zeal made him a model of the Antichrist.”
          2. Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Book of Revelation, New Testament Commentary, vol. 14 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 394-395.

        • Matthew says:

          will review tonight, see if I post any questions for you some time on Thurs.

        • Matthew says:

          Thanks for the link, got a few questions:

          (1) Rev. 17:12-14 – (a) What do these ten kings rule over? (b) What is the one hour? (c) They appear to be at the same time (sidenote: that’s why I prefer the 10 kingdoms after the fall of the Western empire theory much better)?

          (2) Rev. 13:3 – (a) What is the wound? (b) If the kings (7 heads) are spiritual, how could the people marvel at the Beast and his healed wound?

          Sidenote: Six hundred & six score – six also adds up to be either “Roman” or “Latin Man” in both Greek and Hebrew – but that doesn’t help the debate too much in this instance. I agree that Nero is a silly conclusion, considering that the entire Beast is more than just a single emperor, but rather the whole system.

          (3) Rev. 13:11 – (a) What kingdom belongs to the beast from the earth? (b) Who are the kings or kingdoms that make up the two horns? (c) What is the image? (d) what is the fire from heaven?

          (4) Daniel 2:33, 40-43 – (a) If each new material is a new Kingdom form, what is the clay? Clearly it is related to the Roman (iron), and not totally independent, but nevertheless it did receive a new status because it is partly a new material and partly an old material.

        • Roderick says:

          Matthew, just so you know Duncan is a hyperpreterist and the site he referred you to is also a hyperpret site. Buyer beware.

Back to Top ↑

electronic-white
tail-ref