Research insights into the Date of Revelation, Part III

More Word usage and “internal evidence for an early date:”

The eight kings mentioned in Revelation 17:9-14, may present a date of early 70 A.D. just before the destruction of the Temple which happened in the fall season. The argument goes that if the kings were the Roman emperors, and if it started with the first, 1. Augustus, with the next seven being 2. Tiberius, 3. Caligula, 4. Claudius, and 5. Nero (who died June 9, 68 A.D. and may be the “deadly wound” in Rev. 13:3-14), then after Nero’s murder which left the Roman Empire in chaos, there were three very short lived “pocket emperors” 6. Galba, 7. Otho, and 8. Vitellius, who sought to take advantage of the situation and consolidate power, but each was quickly assassinated. Then, after the eighth one came Vespasian, who restored order in 70 A.D. but also did not live long (Job security was not good then). The date can be predicated because the “deadly wound” was healed by Vespasian (Rev. 17:10). If you did not count the pocket emperors, Vespasian would be sixth and Titus the seventh and Domitian the eighth. So an argument can be made using this system for both date theories. Even though the length of a Roman Emperor’s reign might be short, he was still the king.

Another wording of note is how the tense of word and context of “beast” is used. In Revelation 17:8-11, it says, the beast, which you saw, once was, now is not. If the “beast” represents the Roman Empire and its megalomaniac emperors like Nero and Domitian, then Revelation could not have been written during the reigns of either Nero or Domitian; rather, just before either one! Now this just confounds things a bit more.

Another “internal evidence” is how John addressed his personal situation. John was still to experience a lot of life after this writing, not that he was ready to die of old age. In Rev. 10:11, John is told that he “must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings.” If John received this message around 96 A.D., how could he be able to walk and travel? Of course, an assist from God would be an answer too. If he was told this in 65-70 A.D., then he had lots of time and the enablement to do it.

An O.T. word example in Daniel 9 is the term “the abomination of desolation.” This is an image of extreme evils, oppression, sexual exploitations, and the seductions of the world, referring to the evils of paganism and immorality and rationalizing it as OK (Lev 18:23; Jer. 3:3; Ezek-. 27; Hos. 2:2; Rev. 2:23; 7:3; 13:6). Antiochus IV Epiphanes destroyed the Temple in 167 B.C., at which time he also desecrated an idol of Zeus resembling himself. But wait; there is more! Herod rebuilt it, and it was just being finished at the time of Christ (Daniel 8:12, Daniel 9:24-27, Daniel 11:31, 12:11, Matthew 24:15, Revelation 11). This also refers to Matthew 24, and the most despicable apostasy and sacrilege that a Jewish person could conceive of that caused the desolation of the most holy place of the Temple. Daniel predicted this would happen after the death/rejection of the Messiah, which was also fulfilled at the crucifixion and the Temple’s destruction in 70 A.D. (Dan. 9:25-27; 11:31).

We will also see that Matthew 24 addresses the same issues as Revelation and the same period of time as Daniel 9. In Matthew 24, Jesus is not talking about the end of the future world, but the destruction of the Jewish temple, marking the end of the Jewish system or “age”. He is not teaching about “The Last Day” (of history), but the last days of the Jewish economy, the false religious system of the Jews, and the beginning of the New Covenant era. This is what John’s readers and hearers were going through.

Exegetical look at Matthew 24, Part III

Vs.15-28: Abomination of Desolation, refers to the most vile reasons (apostasy and sacrilege) causing the desolation of the holy place of the Temple. Daniel predicted this would happen after the death/rejection of the Messiah, which was also fulfilled at the crucifixion and the Temple’s destruction in 70 A.D. (Dan. 9:25-27; 11:31).

· A lot of prophecy, such as this example, is fulfilled in stages! The Temple was defiled (Abomination) and became empty (as the Romans took all the sacred things) and useless because it was destroyed as a result (Desolation). Some have said this is a name for Satan; it is not, although he uses this tactic.

· Most Jews thought this was fulfilled when, in 168 B.C., Antiochus Epiphanes built a pagan altar to Zeus on the altar of the Temple and slaughtered pigs on it, which was, according to God, the most disgusting and revolting thing that could be done to the Temple! A warning for us today is not to become apostate, so to mess with God or His Holy people and places (2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:14-15)!

· Zealots stormed the Temple in 66 A.D., killing priests and Romans and starting the siege and destruction of Jerusalem! They also desecrated the alter by shedding human blood on it. This was the ultimate sacrilege before God, and possibly the “straw that broke the camel’s back,” causing judgment to commence.

· Flee. Jesus basically says, when it comes, leave, and leave fast (1 Sam. 23:26; 1 Macc. 2:28)! Early church fathers said the Christians fled to Pella in the Judean hillside.

· Housetop. Houses then had flat roofs, and people entertained, slept, and lived there when it was too hot to be inside. Also, it was considered the best place for prayer by reverent Jews and early Christians.

· Clothes. This refers to the outer garment worn by field workers when it was cold, and then taken off when it was hot, but not referring to being naked.

· Pregnant referred to being expectant when traveling is difficult. My wife says, “Imagine what it must have been like before modern conveniences and in the midst of persecution!”

· Winter makes anything a source of exasperation, from severe cold to rushing rivers without bridges, especially before industrialization!

· Sabbath referred to the “Sabbath Year.” Because of food regulation, they would run out of food quickly (Lev. 25:1-7).

· Shortened referred to Daniel’s 1,260 days; maybe the time would be shortened to preserve life (Dan. 12:11-13).

· Look, here is the Christ. This was a call to be aware of false prophets and false teachers, even when they seemingly perform miracles! People are easily deceived; just watch a good magician!

· I told you referred to advance warning and the need to heed it (Isa. 48:5).

· Lightening, produced on command, was something a false prophet could not do; only God could (Zech. 14:3-8). Jesus’ second coming will not be as subtle as His first; it will be spectacularly noticeable!

· Carcass for the eagles. Being eaten was considered the worst fate for a dead Jewish body; the best was to be buried (Duet. 28:26; 1 Sam. 17:44; Psalm 79:2; Ezek. 32:4-6; 39:17-20).