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The Dating Of Revelation – Part 2 of 3

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Notes condensed from original video series by Don K. Preston

Original Video Series Link

Video #7:

One of the most helpful ways to determine the dating of Revelation is to determine the dominant theme of the book.  Here’s why that is important.  Without any controversy whatsoever, the dominant theme in Revelation is martyr vindication.  From the very beginning until the end, this theme is repeated over and over again; martyr vindication.  In almost every chapter, martyr vindication is laying right there at the top of the page, and yet, this theme and motif is one of the most IGNORED topics when men go to actually interpret the book of Revelation.  Yet nothing is more critical to understanding the book of Revelation and here’s why.  From Genesis 4 to Revelation 22, the story of the Bible is repeated over and over again, which includes the story of the coming of the Kingdom, the story of the Resurrection, and all of these doctrines and motifs are inextricably tied to the doctrine of martyr vindication.  For example, the Millennium is absolutely about martyr vindication.  Those who have been beheaded for the word of God are given robes and thrones and reign for 1000 years until the judgment of their persecutor (Satan) comes at the end of the Millennium.  We will develop this much more over the next few videos.

Video #8:

There is not another concept that is more directly related to the dating of the book of Revelation than the vindication of the martyrs.  It is mentioned either explicitly or implicitly in almost every chapter of the book.  Here’s a quick, informal chronology:

Chapter 1, those who pierced Jesus would see him, John said I am your brother IN the great tribulation. Letters to the seven churches:  Two of these churches are specifically said to be under persecution at the hand of the Jews and promised vindication at the coming of the Lord (Chapters 2 & 3).  Chapter 5, the Lamb who was slain was counted worthy, that’s martyr vindication. Chapter 6, the souls under the altar who had been beheaded and martyred for the word of God were promised vindication at the Great Day of the Lord.  Chapter 7, the 144,000 are those who have come out of the Great Tribulation and are about to be vindicated at the Day of the Lord.  Chapter 8, we find the prayer of the saints from Chapter 6 now coming up before the Lord and the Seventh trumpet blows to bring in the Great Day of the Lord which is their vindication.  Chapter 11, we find the city where the two prophets of God are, but that city slays those two prophets.  By the way, this city is also where the Lord was slain, but the two prophets are raised from the dead and ascend up on high, their vindication at the Great Day of the Lord in the destruction of that city, it is the time of the rewarding of the prophets.  Chapter 12, Satan is the great persecutor who attempts to kill the man child, failing that, he then pursues the seed of the man child to destroy them, but they are protected.  Satan knows he has only a little while until he’s destroyed…at martyr vindication.  Chapter 13, two beasts appear, one out of the sea and one out of the land. These beasts persecute the saints.  Chapter 14, the declaration of the impending judgment of Babylon…who is Babylon and what is her main offense?  She is the Land Beast in partnership with the Sea Beast to persecute the Saints!  Chapter 16, the beginning of the description and judgment of this persecuting power and the prophets are told to rejoice because their vindication is at hand.  Chapter 17, the Sea Beast (Rome) who has been in a partnership with the Land Beast, Babylon, against the saints, now turns on Babylon, hates her and burns her with fire.  This is the judgment of the persecuting power, the Great Whore who rides the Sea Beast.  Chapters 18 & 19, the description of the judgment of Babylon and in Chapter 19 the great Paean of Victory is sung, “Rejoice for he has avenged the blood of his martyrs!” Chapter 20, a recapitulation of the entire vision, or at least the recapitulation of Chapters 6 and 12.  Those who had been beheaded by the beast are seated on thrones and reign with Christ for 1000 years until the Great White Throne Judgment where Satan, the persecutor, is destroyed at the end of the Millennium.  The New Heaven and New Earth follow as the rewarding of all of God’s saints and martyrs. Vindication has come!

We’ve probably even missed a few things here, but I think this is quite sufficient to demonstrate the great significance and pervasiveness of the doctrine of the avenging of the blood of the martyrs in the book of Revelation.  In following segments, we will demonstrate that, not only is martyr vindication the dominant theme of Revelation, but also how it agrees with the Old Testament promises of martyr vindication, how it agrees with Jesus and with Paul in their doctrines, and how all of this definitively demands that the book of Revelation was written prior to the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and was predictive of the judgment of Old Covenant Israel in 70 A.D.

Video #9:

Since the dominant theme of Revelation is the vindication of the martyrs, then identifying their persecutors and the time of their judgment settles the issue of eschatology in the book of Revelation.  So then, who are the persecutors?  Without question in Chapter 1, the Lord’s coming would be seen by those who pierced him…that would be the Jews.  In Chapters 2 and 3, at least three of the seven churches were being persecuted by “the synagogue of Satan”, those who say they are Jews, but are not for they are liars, of the throne of Satan.  In chapter 11, we have the two prophets who lie slain in the city where the Lord was slain…this can be no other city but Old Covenant Jerusalem.  In chapter 16, Babylon is the city guilty of the blood of the Prophets.  The term “the Prophets” or “Prophets” when used without any textual qualifier, is invariably a reference to the Old Covenant Prophets.  What city, biblically, was guilty of killing the prophets of God? Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Chronicles all say that Jerusalem is the city that killed the Prophets.  Jesus himself said that it was not possible for a prophet to perish outside of Jerusalem.

Luke 13:33 [KJV]

Nevertheless I must walk to day, and to morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.

 

Jesus also said to the Scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem:

Matthew 23:34-35 [KJV]

Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Catch the power of this…unless we have some overwhelming evidence to divorce Revelation from the rest of the Biblical evidence and testimony about who it was that killed the prophets, then it could ONLY be Old Covenant Jerusalem, and NO OTHER CITY, that killed the prophets of God.  Since Revelation depicts Babylon as the city that killed the two prophets, the city that had slain the Prophets, and that had slain the apostles and prophets of Jesus, this is absolutely definitive proof as to the identity of the persecutors.  So when was judgment coming on the persecutors of the Prophets?  Jesus said:

Matthew 23:35-36 [KJV]

That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

 

This is absolutely definitive!  Once you identify the persecutors, then unless you can divorce Revelation from ALL prior testimony, then Jerusalem IS BABYLON and her judgment was imminent, this means that Revelation was written BEFORE Jerusalem fell in 70 A.D.

Video #10:

Again, it is absolutely critical to properly date the writing of Revelation because it undeniably declares that the things written therein would be fulfilled very, very soon and that the time was at hand.  There is not one syllable of evidence in the book to suggest that it was going to be fulfilled over a broad panoramic scope of human history involving thousands and thousands of years.  We have already identified the dominant theme and motif of Revelation is undeniably that of martyr vindication.  We have also suggested that to identify the persecutors of the martyrs is to identify the proper TIMING of Revelation.  We also demonstrated that it was the Jews being identified as the persecutors of Revelation.  What many people miss, particularly true of the dispensationalists, is that they fail to see Israel as the persecutor of the martyrs.  Instead, they see Israel as the VICTIM being persecuted.  This is patently FALSE.

Let us demonstrate something else that is absolutely critical.  Revelation, in its promise of vindication, utilizes and appeals to Old Covenant prophecies of the Last Days vindication of the martyrs in the judgment of Israel.  The first text is from Isaiah 2 through 4.  This is a united discourse set in the “Last Days”, climaxing in the Great Day of the Lord (Isaiah 2:19-21).

Isaiah 2:19-21 [KJV]

And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth.

It would be the time of “the war” when Israel’s men would fall by the edge of the sword.

Isaiah 3:25 [KJV]

Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war.

 

It would also be the time of the glorious appearing of the Branch (Isaiah 4) and the salvation of the Remnant (Isaiah 4:4) and it would be the time in which God would avenge the blood-guilt of Jerusalem by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of fire.

Isaiah 4:2 [KJV]

In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.

 

In Isaiah 2:19-21 shown above, Isaiah predicted the coming of the Great Day of the Lord, the time in the Last Days, the judgment of Jerusalem for her blood guilt, when men would run to the hills and cry out to the mountains “Fall on us, hide us from the presence of the Lord!”  In Revelation 6, the martyrs under the altar cry out for vindication and the answer to their prayer is the Great Day of the Lord.  This day is described as the day when men would run to the mountains and rocks, crying for them to fall upon them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb.  This is the fulfillment of Isaiah 2.

 

Revelation 6:9-11 [KJV]

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.

 

Revelation 6:14-17 [KJV]

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

So, Isaiah predicted the Last Days vindication of the martyrs at the Day of the Lord when men would run to the mountains and cry for the rocks to fall on them to hide them from the presence of the Lord.  This would be when Jerusalem was judged for her blood guilt.  Revelation promises vindication of the martyrs at the Great Day of the Lord in the Last Days when men would run to the mountains and rocks and cry out for them to fall on them to hide them from the presence of the Lord.  This is a direct citation of Isaiah.  Isaiah is clearly a prediction of the judgment of Jerusalem at the time of vindication of the martyrs and John quotes Isaiah verbatim. Therefore, the Great Day of the Lord of Revelation 6 is the Day of the Lord in judgment of Jerusalem in vindication of the martyrs.

Video #11:

The book of Revelation does not project itself forward into many generations to come. Instead, it was something extremely imminent.  Again, the dominant theme of this book is the vindication of God’s martyrs.  Absolutely critical to understand is that the book of Revelation is about the fulfillment of Old Covenant promises made to Israel about events (i.e. martyr vindication) to occur in Israel’s Last Days…not at the end of time, not at the of the Christian Age, but in ISRAEL’S Last Days.  One of the pivotal Old Covenant prophecies of this, absolutely paradigmatic, is Deuteronomy 32, the Song of Moses.  This was Jesus’, Paul’s, Peter’s, and John’s template as they developed their eschatologies.  In the preamble of the Song of Moses, Moses said:

Deuteronomy 31:29 [KJV]

For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

Moses is telling us that Israel will become utterly corrupt in her Last Days.  In Deuteronomy 32:7, Israel is called upon to look down through time to realize that these events would take place after many generations to come in her latter days.

Deuteronomy 32:7 [KJV]

Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

Thus, the subject matter is of the Last Days after many generations.  In verses 19f and 29f, we are told twice that Deuteronomy 32 has to do with Israel’s Last Days.  So what would happen in those Last Days?

Deuteronomy 32:43 [KJV]

Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

In Deuteronomy 32, in Israel’s Last Days, God “will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries.”  In Revelation 19:1-2, in the judgment of Babylon, the heavens declare the victory of God at the fall, judgment, and destruction of Babylon, for he “HATH avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.”  This is a verbatim, direct echo and fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32:43!

Deuteronomy 32 predicted what would happen to Israel in her last days. In Revelation 19, in describing the fall of Babylon (for shedding the blood of the saints!), the song is sung, “God HATH AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS SERVANTS AT HER HAND!”  It is widely recognized that Revelation 19, which as we have already seen depicts Jewish persecution of the saints and depicts the Last Days , is a direct echo of Deuteronomy 32.  This means that Revelation 19, at the very LEAST, is about the judgment of Israel for shedding the blood of the saints.  Did Jesus say anything about this topic?  He absolutely did…

Matthew 23:35 [KJV]

That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

 

Unless you can divorce Matthew 23 from Deuteronomy 32 and from Revelation, this means that Revelation is about the imminent fall of Jerusalem in fulfillment of Matthew 23 and Deuteronomy 32.  This further means that Revelation was written BEFORE the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

Video #12:

As we’ve already stated, without dispute, the dating of Revelation is absolutely critical to the subject of eschatology.  All scholars admit this, and yet, strangely enough, it is largely taken for granted that the book was written in the 90’s after the fall of Jerusalem.  Yet, no one can seem to provide an event that was imminent to John and his audience in 98-95 A.D. that matches the destruction of “Babylon” that was truly imminent when he wrote.  Most assuredly, any suggestion that Babylon is New York City, or the Roman Catholic Church, or America lies far, far outside of the purview of “things which must shortly come to pass…for the time is at hand.” And yet, this very fact seems to be largely ignored by most scholars and the church in general.

We’ve been discussing the fact that THE DOMINANT THEME of Revelation is martyr vindication.  As noted in the last segment, many people seem to overlook the fact that Revelation is about the fulfillment of God’s Old Covenant promises made to Old Covenant Israel.  This alone suggests that the book of Revelation is about the end of Old Covenant Israel…Israel’s covenant age, not about the end of the Christian church age. Furthermore, we are told by many that the Church is completely unrelated to Israel and the fulfillment of her promises.

One of the prophecies of the fulfillment of the theme of martyr vindication is found in Isaiah 25 through 27.  In Don Preston’s debate with Joel McDermon, he appealed to Isaiah 24 through 27 extensively, demonstrating that the prophecy of the defeat of death of Isaiah 25 is the source of Paul’s eschatology of his “end of the Millennium resurrection hope” of 1 Corinthians 15.  Amazingly, McDermon’s only defense against this was to say he didn’t see the word “final” for resurrection in Isaiah.  It is an absolutely horrible and invalid hermeneutic to suggest that two passages must be different merely on the basis of one passage not using one specific given word that appears in the other. Paul said his doctrine of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15 would be in fulfillment of Isaiah 25:8.

1 Corinthians 15:54 [KJV]

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

 

Isaiah 25:8 [KJV]

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it.

 

McDermon said because Isaiah did not include the word “final” it could not be referring to the end of the Millennium Resurrection.  Paul believed it did and we’ll accept Paul’s word on the matter.  But in regard to the doctrine of the Resurrection and of the vindication of the martyrs, notice that Isaiah 25:8 very clearly posits the Resurrection also at the time of the Messianic Banquet.

Isaiah 25:6 [KJV]

And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.

As we continue on in Isaiah 25-27, we discover that chapter 26 predicts the Resurrection:

Isaiah 26:19-22 [KJV]

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.

 

But also notice that the Resurrection is also at the Coming of the Lord out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth.  This is also the time when the earth shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain!  This is the vindication of the martyrs!  The Resurrection, the Coming of the Lord, and the Vindication of the Martyrs all at the same time!  This Resurrection is the “end of the Millennium” Resurrection from Isaiah 25:8 which serves as the source of Paul’s Resurrection doctrine in 1 Corinthians 15.  Now, also note that this is ALSO the time of the destruction of Leviathan (Satan!) in Isaiah 27:1!

Isaiah 27:1 [KJV]

In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

This is the destruction of Satan at the end of the Millennium of Revelation 20, but it’s also the time of the vindication of the martyrs in which the earth gives up her slain…the resurrection of Revelation 20, at the END of the Millennium.  But when would all this take place?  Isaiah 27 is very emphatic…that all of this would take place when…

Isaiah 27:9 [KJV]

By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up. Yet the defenced city shall be desolate, and the habitation forsaken, and left like a wilderness: there shall the calf feed, and there shall he lie down, and consume the branches thereof. When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, and set them on fire: for it is a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour. 

 

…when the Lord maketh the stones of the altar like chalkstones that are beaten asunder and the fortified city shall be desolate, the habitation forsaken, when he that made them will not have mercy on them and show them no favor.  Without doubt, this is clearly a prediction of the fall and destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

So, the end of the Millennium Resurrection of Revelation 20 will be when Leviathan, Satan, would be destroyed at the end of the Millennium, when the earth would disclose the blood of the martyrs, when God would turn the stones of the altar to chalkstones and would forsake and no longer remember the people that he had created, and turn the fortified city into a heap….and don’t forget that the Messianic Banquet is also posited at this time as well.  All of this is just like Revelation teaches that at the destruction of Babylon, the Resurrection and the vindication of all the martyrs would take place at the end of the Millennium.

Since Isaiah predicted the vindication of the martyrs, the destruction of Satan, the coming of the Lord, the Messianic Banquet, the Resurrection, all at the time of the destruction of the city, the altar, and the forsaking of the people that he had created, and since Revelation puts all of this at the END of the Millennium, then this means Revelation was written PRIOR to the Fall of Jerusalem.  And by the way, this also proves that the Millennium was a forty year period of time, not 1000 years, ending with the destruction of Satan, the city of Jerusalem, and the vindication of the martyrs.

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