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I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells" (Rev. 2:13).
I was checking out at our CVS Pharmacy when the young lady behind the counter noticed that my total came to $6.66. I assured her that the number was insignificant since it applied to someone who lived nearly 2000 years ago and that her Bible most likely had a page numbered 666. She laughed.
When I got home, I found an article I had written on the subject ("Calculating the Number of the Beast") in which I explain that the number 666 in Revelation 13:18 may be a reference to King Solomon (1 Kings 10:14). You can read the article here.
I was going to print it out and take it to her the next time I saw her. As I was reading through it, I noticed that someone named Daniel Scott had written a couple of objections. As is often the case, the disagreement came down to how certain passages are misinterpreted and used as the basis of a critique. Once the starting point is going in the wrong direction, the destination is seriously in doubt. It's a form of "Wrong-Way Corrigan" exegesis. Before any further analysis can be made, the flawed exegetical starting point must be examined and corrected in order to get to the proper destination – sound exegesis.
There are numerous examples of flawed starting points when it comes to the topic of eschatology. "This generation" becomes "this race" or "the generation that sees these signs." In the first case, the Greek word for "race" (genos) is not used in Matthew 24:34. Jesus uses the Greek word genea. Even so, "race" is often cited as a possible translation by dispensationalists. This translation effort was popularized with the publication of the Scofield Reference Bible:
Gr. genea, the primary definition of which is, 'race, kind, family, stock, breed.' (So all lexicons.)  That the word is used in this sense because none of 'these things,' i.e. the world-wide preaching of the kingdom, the great tribulation, the return of the Lord in visible glory, and the regathering of the elect, occurred at the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, A.D. 70. The promise is, therefore, that the generation — nation, or family of Israel — will be preserved unto 'these things'; a promise wonderfully fulfilled to this day. 
Scofield's claim that the use of genea in Matthew 24:34 refers to the Jewish race has been soundly refuted.
Even so, there are remnants of the "race" translation of genea.  For example, the New American Stadard Bible (NASB) translation of "generation" (genea) includes a marginal note that reads "Or race." Genea always means "generation" (Matt. 1:17), and "this generation" always refers to the generation to whom Jesus was speaking and never "race" (Matt. 1:17; 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45; 16:4; 17:17; 23:36; 24:34; Mark 8:12, 38; 9:19; 13:30; Luke 1:48, 50; 7:31; 9:41; 11:29, 30, 31, 32, 50, 51; 18:8; 17:25; 21:32).
In the second case, the near demonstrative "this" must be removed and words added to Matthew 24:34 in order to make "this generation" mean any generation except the generation to whom Jesus was speaking. Matthew 24:33 states without equivocation that "this generation" – the generation that was alive when Jesus addressed a particular audience from the Mount of Olives -- was the generation that Jesus had in view: "so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door" (also Mark 13:29; James 5:9; Rev. 3:20). Jesus is not referencing a future audience. He was referring to the "you" of those who first heard Him. If an interpreter refuses to acknowledge the primary audience, he'll never interpret any piece of literature correctly, and that most certainly includes the Bible.
John Bray comments:
We have to understand the Bible by seeing the meaning of the words as understood by those to whom they were written, and the way they were written. Sometimes translations into English do not give that same meaning. Sometimes translations even give meanings that fit more in with the understanding of the translators rather than the acdtual and literal meaning.
Another way to obfuscate the obvious is to add gaps to fiddle with the timeline of a given prophecy. The most popular one is found in Daniel 9:24-27. Seventy weeks of years (490 years) becomes 69 weeks of years (483 years) plus a gap in time of nearly 2000 years then the final 7 years that commences with the "rapture" of the church. There isn't a single verse that describes such a future prophetic scenario.
It's this popular methodology that Daniel Scott assumes and uses in his critique of the points I made in my article "Calculating the Number of the Beast." His approach is typical of much of today's prophetic speculative hermeneutic.
Mr. Scott's three numbered objections (bold face) begin with this:
The book of Revelation never mentions "seven years," therefore it's a stretch to relate the 70th week (seven years) of Daniel's 70-week (490 years) prophecy -- a prophecy supposedly about a yet future seven-year tribulation period that begins with the "rapture" of the church in Revelation 4:1 -- to the events outlined in the book of Revelation. There is no evidence in Scripture that the 70th week in Daniel's "70 weeks of years" is separated from the other 69 weeks by an interminably long time period that supposedly stopped the prophecy clock at the end of Daniel's 69th week (the 483rd year of the prophecy). The "70 weeks of years" is based on the 70 years of captivity (Dan. 9:2; 2 Chr. 36:21; Ezra 1:1; Jer. 25:11, 12; 29:10; Zech. 7:5). There was no gap in the 70 years of captivity that served as a basis for Daniel's inquiry, and there is no indication of a gap in the 70 weeks of years (490 years). There is no place in Scripture where a set number of days, weeks, or years is given that includes a gap in time and/or a postponement.
"Desolations are determined" (Dan. 9:26) in the 70th week, not carried out. Jesus says as much in Matthew 23:38: "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" The actual desolation would take place before that generation passed away (Matt. 24:34). The judgment had been given by Jesus in the 70th week. Daniel does not say "after sixty-nine (7+62) weeks, but not in the seventieth." Since we're told that "70 weeks is [the verb is singular] decreed" -- and the number 70 follows the number 69 -- after the 69th week naturally means in the 70th week. Milton Terry (1840-1914), author of Biblical Hermeneutics and Biblical Apocalyptics, notes that while "weeks" is a plural noun, it is connected "with a verb in the singular (is decreed). The seventy heptades are conceived as a unit, a round number, and are most naturally understood as so many sevens of years." 
Old Testament scholar E. W. Hengstenberg (1802-1869) describes the period of seventy weeks of years "as one that will continue uninterruptedly from its commencement to its close, or completion, both with regard to the entire period of seventy [weeks of years], and also as to the several parts (7, 62, and 1) into which the seventy are divided. What can be more evident than this? Exactly seventy weeks in all are to elapse; and how can anyone imagine that there is an interval between the sixty-nine and the one, when these together make up the seventy?" 
Scott then makes his second argument:
Of course, Revelation is a prophecy about future events. Who argues otherwise? There's a great deal of internal evidence that shows that Revelation was revealed to John prior to the destruction of the temple that took place in AD 70. There are the time texts (Rev. 1:1, 3, 22:10; 3:10) and the fact that the temple seems to be still standing with a distinction between Israel and the nations (11:1-2) that was very evident in the first century prior to the temple's destruction. By AD 95, Israel was scattered and the temple was in ruins (Matt. 24:1-3).
Kenneth L. Gentry's book Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation presents an exegetical and historical defense of a pre-AD 70 date for Revelation. Also, see Francis X. Gumerlock's Revelation and the First Century: Preterist Interpretations of the Apocalypse in Early Christianity.
There is no reliable historical information on how Antipas was martyred (Rev. 2:13), who Mr. Scott claims died during the reign of Domitian around AD 92. He bases his argument on some fanciful history about an Antipas  of Pergamum who is claimed to have been martyred when he was placed in a heated brazen bull-shaped altar in the temple of Artemis.
I've checked quite a few sources and in almost every case commentators do not accept the story as fact.
Simeon Metaphrastes, a tenth-century Christian who collected stories of martyrs, wrote that Antipas was executed by being sealed inside a hollow statue of a bull – made of brass – which had been heated until it was red hot and that Antipas called out prayers and thanksgiving from inside the bull. According to Metaphrastes, Antipas was martyred during Domitian's reign (r. AD 81-96).
On the other hand, some historians – such as Philip Schaff  – and Bible commentators – such as Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown  – doubt Metaphrastes' identification of Antipas. They note that Metaphrastes seems to accept fantastical and dubious accounts uncritically. Furthermore, no written record of Antipas exists from the time between Revelation and Metaphrastes; therefore, no one can check the sources of his account. For these reasons, those who argue for an earlier date of Revelation (during Nero's reign, AD 54-68) do not accept Metaphrastes' account as reliable evidence against their position. 
Tertullian (c. 155-c. 240 AD) mentions Antipas in his Scorpiace: Antidote for the Scorpion's Sting (Chap. 12) but curiously does not mention how he died. Henry B. Swete offers the following in his commentary on the history of the martyrdom of Antipas:
There is little to be gleaned about this primitive martyr from post-canonical writings. Tertullian's allusion to him (scorp. 12) . . . shows no independent knowledge. 
I asked Francis X. Gumerlock, author of numerous Latin translations of ancient commentaries, if he had any source material related to the martyrdom of Antipas. Here are his conclusions based on the commentaries he surveyed:
So in all of the Revelation commentaries that are extant from [AD] 200-700, not one of them states that Antipas was martyred during the reign of Domitian. That would have to be inferred if the author of the commentary held to a Domitianic date, but even if the author did hold to the date of Revelation during Domitian's reign, who knows what he thought about the date of Antipas' martyrdom, which could have been some years earlier. But in the comments on Rev 2:13 in the Apocalypse commentaries from 200-700 there are no explicit references to Antipas being martyred during the reign of Domitian . . . . From the eighth through fourteenth centuries, I have not found in the Revelation commentaries any explicit reference that Antipas was martyred in the times of Domitian.
The only early commentary he could find that claimed that Antipas was martyred "by being roasted in a bronze bull in the tenth year of Domitian" was written by Cornelius a Lapide, Jesuit of Flanders (1627). This doesn't mean, of course, that there are no commentaries. In fact, John Wesley (1703-1791) includes the following in his commentary on Revelation 2:13, "Antipas — Martyred under Domitian,"  but he does not cite a source.
Moses Stuart offers a summary of the scant historical source for the claim that the Antipas in Revelation 2:13 was martyred during the reign of Domitian:
Of the Antipas here named we know nothing further; excepting of Andreas (Commentary  written near the close of the fifth century) mentions that he had read a martyrology of him. . . . In the Acta Sanctorum (II, pp. 3, 4) is a martyrology of Antipas from a Greek MS.; but it is full of fable and fiction, which a later age had added to the original story." 
In addition to discounting the fabled martyrdom of Antipas during the reign of Domitian, Stuart has a great deal to say about the dating of Revelation.
It seems indisputably clear that the book of Revelation must be dated in the reign of Nero Caesar, and consequently before his death in June, A.D. 68. He is the sixth king; the short-lived rule of the seventh king (Galba) "has not yet come" [17:10]. 
The manner of the declaration here seems to decide, beyond all reasonable appeal, against a later period than about A.D. 67 or 68, for the composition of the Apocalypse. 
R.C.H. Lenski also questions the veracity of the martyrdom story by noting that it is based on "a legend that appeared in the tenth century." 
The most recent defense of the Domitian composition date for Revelation was written by Mark L. Hitchcock, a popular prophecy writer. "A Defense of the Domitianic Defense of the Date of the Book of Revelation" (2005) was written "In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy" at Dallas Theological Seminary. While Hitchcock refers to Antipas on page 197 of his dissertation, he does not use his martyrdom as a defense for the late date. If there was an impeachable historical source for the claim that Antipas was martyred during the reign of Domitian, Hitchcock would have used it.
Curiously, however, he does use the martyrdom of Antipas in defense of the Domitian date in his co-authored book Breaking the Apocalypse Code: Setting the Record State About the End Times. Breaking the Apocalypse Code is a popularly written book designed as a critique of Hank Hanegraaff's book The Apocalypse Code. Unlike Antipas' absence as a defense for the late date for Revelation in "A Defense of the Domitianic Defense," Hitchcock and his co-author Thomas Ice do use unsubstantiated history as a source for the late debate in Breaking the Apocalypse Code. Here's what they write in the body text under the heading "The Martyrdom of Antipas":
Revelation 2:13 mentions the martyrdom of a man named Antipas in the city of Pergamun. According to church history, Antipas was martyred during the reign of Domitian in either AD 83 or 92. Since the martyrdom of Antipas is in the past when Revelation was written, Revelation could not have been written before the reign of Domitian in AD 81. 
And what do the authors reference as a source for their claim that Antipas' martyrdom took place during the reign of Domitian "according to church history"? You'll have to look at the end note which states, "The tradition of Antipas' martyrdom in AD 92 by being roasted alive in [a] bronze bull comes from a Byzantine hagiographer named Simeon Metaphastes [sic] (AD 900-984)."  Note the word "tradition." They cite a work that is nearly a thousand years removed from the time when Antipas was martyred.
If Hitchcock had used the Antipas martyrdom "tradition" in defense of the late date of Revelation in his dissertation, I suspect that his examining committee would have pointed out that his historical source for his claim was exceedingly weak. Most people reading a popularly written work would not question the historical source, maybe not even look at the end note.
The thing of it is, there is no written documentation prior to the 10th-century writings of Symeon Metaphrastes that can substantiate that the "tradition" of Antipas' martyrdom is true. It is more legend than fact, a "legend . . . half fraudulent, half imaginative." 
Richard Baxter's Paraphrase of the New Testament, first published in 1685, states the following about the Antipas legend:
We have no other certain History of Antipas, and his Case but only his uncertain Stories of Metaphrastes, and the Menology. No doubt there are many Martyrs, whose histories have not come down to us: But Christ has Honoured Antipas by this Sacred Record [in Rev. 2:13]: The time of his suffering is unknown. 
In conclusion, long before the rise of dispensationalism and the dating issue became an issue, there were questions about the authenticity of the Antipas legend that found its way into books like The Lives of the Saints. 
In all that I've read, there is no reliable historical source to substantiate the claim that the Antipas of Revelation 2:13 was martyred during the reign of Domitian, therefore, the most likely fictional account should not be used to support the late-date position.
Finally, Mr. Scott provides this third argument:
Indeed, the Bible does interpret itself. If the book of Revelation was written prior to the destruction of the temple that took place in AD 70 and the events "must soon take place" (1:1) because "for the time is near" (1:3), the passing of nearly 2000 years does not fit with what the Bible states regarding time. John is directed not to "seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near" (Rev 22:10). Compare this command with what Daniel was told: "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the time of the end; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase" (Dan. 12:4). What end? What knowledge?
The New Testament is the fulfillment of the command that was given to Daniel. What Daniel was told to conceal and seal, the book of Revelation revealed. The "end of the age" (Matt. 24:3; see 24:34), "in these last days" (Heb. 1:2), "now once at the consummation of the ages" (9:26), "in these last times" (1 Pet. 1:20), "the end of all things" (4:7) were "near." James wrote, "for the coming of the Lord is near" for that generation. "Near" is defined as "standing right at the door" (James 5:7-9; see Matt. 24:33). The words "near" and "shortly" are never used for passages of time that extend nearly two millennia.
Since "the Bible interprets itself" (on this we agree), how does the Bible define an antichrist and when does he or they appear? The Bible tells us.
First, there were "many antichrists" in John's day (1 John 2:18). Second, John's definition of an antichrist is very specific: "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist" (2 John 7). Third, John writes that these "many antichrists" had manifested themselves in his day. That's why he writes "even now many antichrists have appeared." "Now" is an important time word. Fourth, because of their "now" appearance "from this we know that it is the last hour." These time references line up with the nearness of the "end of the age" that was to be accomplished when "this generation," the generation to whom Jesus was speaking, "passed away" (Matt. 24:34).
These antichrists were most likely (a) Jews who denied that Jesus was the incarnate son of God (John 8:31-59), (b) opposed the gospel (Acts 20:3, 19; 21:20-40; 23:12-35), and (c) Jews who had been a part of the Christian fellowship but who then abandoned the faith because it was not Jewish enough (Acts 15:1, 24; Gal. 2:4; 2:12; 6:12; cf. Phil. 3:2): "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us" (1 John 2:19). Antichrists are religious figures, not political.
In this sense, "Judaizers" refers to Jewish Christians who sought to induce Gentiles to observe Jewish religious customs: to "judaize." It appears that these individuals agreed with much of the apostolic kerygma but sought to regulate the admission of Gentiles into the covenant people of God through circumcision and the keeping of the ceremonial law. Insisting that "Unless you are circumcised … you cannot be saved" (Acts 15:1), these "believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees" (Acts 15:5 ) posed a serious threat to the gospel of grace and the universality of the Christian mission." 
As to the beast; there are two beasts. A sea beast (Rev. 13:1), most likely Rome, and a land beast that "had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon" (13:11). If the events in Revelation were to take place "soon" (1:1) because the time was "near" (1:3; 22:10), and the temple was still standing (11:1-2), and the sixth king was alive at the time of the writing (17:10), then there is no need to project such a prophecy into a time that is nearly two millennia distant from the time of writing.
Does it mean that because these events in Revelation (and the Olivet Discourse) have been fulfilled that they have no relevance for us today? Not in the least. Are the many prophecies that predicted the coming of the promised Messiah and their fulfillment irrelevant for us today? May it never be. Prophecies of the city where the Messiah would be born (Micah 5:1-2 and Matt. 2:5-6; Luke 2:4) and the manner of His death (Psalm 22:16, 18; 34:20 and Matt. 27:35; John 19:24, 36) and so many other fulfilled prophecies too numerous to list here  have great meaning and application for us today even though they are fulfilled prophecies never to be duplicated or serve as a so-called "dual fulfillment."