Notes condensed from original video series by Don K. Preston
We’ve previously discussed that Revelation is about the fulfillment of the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32. The Son of Moses speaks of Israel’s Last Days and speaks of the avenging of the blood of the martyrs and that Revelation 19 at the fall of Babylon cites Deuteronomy 32:43 as now fulfilled.
There is an apparent contradiction where Deuteronomy 32:7f says this song is for many generations to come, yet Deuteronomy 32:35 seems to also say these things are “at hand.” However, this phenomenon is found very often in the Old Testament and it is called “projected imminence.” The Old Testament writers knew that what they were speaking about, whenever it concerned the Last Days, was not for their day. Also, Peter emphatically tells us that the Old Testament prophets, when speaking of Messiah, the Last Days, and their eschatological expectations, knew they were not speaking of their own day. So any claim that the Old Testament prophets foretold the time of the end as being near in THEIR day and, therefore, that time doesn’t mean anything, such claims are entirely specious and false. Peter says that the Old Testament prophets, when speaking of the parousia of Christ, the salvation to come at the Day of the Lord, knew they were not speaking of their OWN DAY, but they were speaking of Peter’s day! (1 Peter 1:9-12).
1 Peter 1:9 [KJV]
Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
Now, here is Moses speaking of Israel’s latter end and Last Days, saying that it would be for many generations to come after Moses’ death, and yet saying those things were seemingly near. So what’s going on? Moses is being projected through the Spirit into the Last Days to speak of what would be near, imminent, and at hand when the Last Days finally arrived. We find many instances of this in the Old Testament. For example, Isaiah 60 speaks of the New Jerusalem, the time when there is no need of the sun or the moon, the walls of the city are all precious stones. But this is Revelation 21 and notice in Isaiah 60:22, the Lord says, “the LORD will hasten it in his time.” This is projected imminence.
In Joel chapters 2-3, it is a prediction of the Last Days, when the Spirit would be poured out and the Lord would save the Remnant of Israel, leading to the salvation of all men who would call on the name of the Lord. Notice in 3:1, “in those days and in that time” which wasn’t actually near in Joel’s day. Now, there was an “at hand” day of the Lord in Joel’s day, but the statement above, “in those days and in that time” delineates this day of the Lord from the “at hand” day of the Lord which actually occurred in Joel’s day. Joel was now being told of events that would occur in the future Last Days at that time. W then, what would be true in the Last Days? Joel 3:14…the Day of the Lord is near in the valley of Jehoshaphat. But did this mean that Joel was actually saying that this day that he’s speaking of as the Last Days was near to HIM? No, he just told us that the Day of the Lord he’s talking about in 3:14 comes AFTER the previous Day of the Lord that he was first speaking about. There are TWO “Days of the Lord” in Joel. The first one is found here:
Joel 1:15 [KJV]
Alas for the day! for the day of the LORD is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.
Joel 2:1 [KJV]
Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;
The second one begins here:
Joel 2:28-32 [KJV]
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
And Joel references the second “Last Days” coming of the Lord again here, saying that “in those days, and in that time…”
Joel 3:1 [KJV]
For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem,
…That it would then be considered “near…” This is projected imminence.
Joel 3:14 [KJV]
Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.
Remember that Peter said that when the Old Testament prophets spoke of the Last Days, the eschatological “Day of the Lord”, the coming of eternal salvation at that Day of the Lord (1 Peter 1:3-5), they knew they were not speaking of THEIR OWN day, but of Peter’s day. And, thus, we find passages like Daniel 12:
Daniel 12:9 [KJV]
And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.
Daniel 12:13 [KJV]
But go thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days.
Joel predicted that in the Last Days, the Holy Spirit would be poured out, Jerusalem (Zion) would be the capital of the Messianic Kingdom, the Remnant would be saved and all nations would then be brought into the presence of God, those who would flow to Jerusalem. Notice that chapter 3, verse 1 says “in those days, and in that time” (What days? What time? In the Last Days) God will gather all nations to judgment. This the same thing as we find in Revelation 16:16 where God gathers the nations to Armageddon where God’s great and awesome day would take place.
Now let’s look at Joel 3:17.
Joel 3:17-21 [KJV]
So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the LORD, and shall water the valley of Shittim. Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land. But Judah shall dwell for ever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: for the LORD dwelleth in Zion.
Notice a few key elements in this passage. First we see that “in that day” there would be the fountain that would flow from Zion. Here is Revelation 21:6 with the “fountain of the water of life flowing freely out of the city of New Jerusalem!” And also from Revelation 22:1 with the “pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the the Lamb!” This is ZION, the New Jerusalem!
Also, at that time, YHWH would dwell in Zion. Zion is the capital of the Kingdom, the New Jerusalem. John said, “I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven…And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and be their God.” (Revelation 21:1-2) Joel predicted God dwelling in Zion and here is God doing that very thing in new Jerusalem in Revelation 21. And God promised the avenging of the blood of his martyrs. We have shown that Revelation is about the final defeat of the enemies of God…Babylon. This city is spiritually called “Egypt” in Revelation 11:8. Joel said that Egypt would become a desolation.
Joel 3:19 [KJV]
Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah, because they have shed innocent blood in their land.
These are “code words”, spiritual terms being applied to this last days period “in that day.” The book of Revelation, in every point, follows the book of Joel. But Joel is told that “in those days” the Day of the Lord will be near (Joel 3:14). Remember that Peter, on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit has fallen upon them and they have spoken in tongues, they’ve been accused of being drunk, Peter stands up and rebuts the accusations saying…
Acts 2:15-16 [KJV]
For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
So what did Joel predict? The coming of the Last Days, the Coming of the Lord! When the Last Days arrived, the Day of the Lord would be AT HAND. When the Last Days arrived, the Lord would dwell in Zion and when the Last Days arrived, God would avenge the blood of his martyrs. Peter said they were IN THE LAST DAYS. “This is THAT which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” And then he said, in Act 2:40, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation!”
Isaiah 60:22, predicted the events of the Last Days, just like Joel. In Isaiah 60:22, YHWH said “in his time,” in other words, when the Last Days finally arrive, “I the LORD will hasten it.” You must catch the power of that!
Joel said when the Last Days arrived the Day of the Lord would be near. When the Last Days arrived YHWH would avenge the blood of the saints. Peter, quoting Joel, said “We’re living the Last Days…save yourselves from this untoward generation.” What is the application of this to Revelation? Revelation anticipated the fulfillment of Joel which Peter said was being fulfilled in THIS GENERATION. The fulfillment of Joel, as foretold in Revelation, was to be in THAT 1st century generation and this means that Revelation was written before the fall of Jerusalem in the 1st century.
Martyr vindication was one of Jesus’ favorite topics. This should come as no surprise because Paul says in Romans 15:8 that Jesus was made a servant to the circumcision to confirm the promises made to the fathers. So if Jesus came to confirm the Old Covenant prophecies made to Old Covenant Israel, then surely he should have spoken of martyr vindication. We find this to be exactly the case everywhere we look in Jesus’ stories. Look at Matthew 16 beginning from verse 21 where Jesus spoke of his own impending personal death. He then spoke of those who would follow him and of his coming in that generation in judgment. In Matthew 21, we find the story of the vineyard and the evil servants who killed other servants sent to them. They finally killed the Son and the Father would miserably destroy those servants and take the kingdom and give it to another nation who would produce the fruits of the vineyard. In Matthew 22, the wedding feast of the King’s Son, the invitations were sent out, the guests refused to come and mistreated the King’s servants and killed them. The King was extremely wroth and sent out his armies to destroy the wicked servants and burned their city. Matthew 23, Jesus spoke of how it was Old Covenant Jerusalem and Israel who had killed all of the prophets and would kill HIS apostles and prophets. Then all of the blood of all the righteous shed on the earth all the way back to Abel would be required and vindicated in THAT generation. In Luke 18, Jesus said, urging his disciples to pray constantly to be avenged for the vindication of their suffering.
Now, here’s the key. In every story that Jesus told of martyr vindication, that vindication would come at his coming in judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem. Matthew 16: “There be some standing here which shall not taste of death until they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” Matthew 21: “He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.” These wicked men also killed the Son of the Lord of the Vineyard. Who killed the Son? Without question, it was Jerusalem. Matthew 22: Whose city was burned by the King of the Wedding after they killed the King’s servants? Obviously it was Jerusalem. When Jesus spoke about all of the blood of all of the righteous being vindicated? What did he say? “Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.” Luke 18: “I tell you that he will avenge them speedily.” The Greek term here, “ἐν τάχει”, never emphasizes rapidity of action over imminence of action. Every occurrence of Jesus’ promise of martyr vindication is linked with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
So, here’s the question. Did John speak of a totally, radically different vindication of the martyrs than that which Jesus spoke of? NO…because Revelation is about the vindication of all of the martyrs of God. It’s the vindication of all of the prophets and Jesus said that Jerusalem had slain all of the prophets. Revelation even alluded directly to many of Jesus’ wordings in promising the vindication of the martyrs. And we must not forget that Babylon was “the great city…where also our Lord was crucified.” (Revelation 11:8) It was the city that would be destroyed for killing the Lord and his prophets. Unless one can 100% divorce the martyr vindication doctrine of Jesus, inextricably bound, undeniably related to the 1st century judgment of Old Covenant Israel, and unless you can divorce Jesus’ teaching from John’s doctrine of martyr vindication in Revelation, then martyr vindication in Revelation was to take place at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. There hasn’t been one shred of evidence or syllable of proof to suggest that martyr vindication in Revelation is different from that taught by Jesus. If you can’t prove they are different, then Revelation was written before 70 A.D. and spoke of that same impending, soon to come to pass, martyr vindication.
In Matthew 21 to 23, Jesus spoke parabolically first of all and then prosaically. He talked about how Old Covenant Israel had killed the prophets. He accused the Jews of being the sons of those who killed the prophets. In Matthew 21, he pointed out that they were going to kill HIM in the parable of the wicked husbandmen of the vineyard. Jesus then predicted that Israel was going to kill the apostles and prophets that he was going to send them, in doing so, they would fill up the measure of their sin and judgment was coming in THAT generation. I don’t know of any commentators who disagree that Jesus predicted the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. as a judgment on Israel for killing him and his apostles and prophets. It is virtually undisputed.
Now we see Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 2:14:16, recounted how Old Covenant Israel and Judah had killed the prophets of the past, they’ve now killed Jesus, and were now in the process of killing the apostles and prophets of Jesus. In doing so, they are filling up the measure of their sin and judgment was just about to fall on them. I don’t know of any commentators who deny that Paul was speaking about Israel and their guilt, filling up the measure of guilt with judgment coming in 70 A.D.
1 Thessalonians 2:14 [KJV]
For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.
Now catch the power of this… In Revelation, we find the city, enigmatically and spiritually called “Babylon”, and Babylon has killed the prophets (Rev 16:6f). Here is an interesting fact…any time the New Testament uses the term “the prophets” or “prophets” with no textual qualifier, it invariably refers to the Old Covenant prophets. Also, Babylon was the great city where the Lord was slain. Babylon was guilty of killing the apostles and prophets of Jesus (Rev 18:20,24). In doing all of this, the cup of her sin was now full. Her sins had reached up to heaven (Rev 18:4-5) and her judgment at the Day of the Lord was very, very near.
Jesus said it was Old Covenant Israel that had killed the prophets, would kill him, kill his apostles and prophets, fill up the measure of their sin, and be destroyed in judgment in his generation. Paul said the identical thing…that judgment was coming on Old Covenant Israel for killing the prophets, Jesus, the apostles and prophets OF Jesus, filling up the measure of their sin, and again judgment would come in that generation. Then we come to Revelation, and Babylon killed the prophets, killed Jesus, was killing Jesus’ apostles and prophets, her sin was almost full and her judgment was about to fall at the coming of the Lord.
And we’re supposed to think that BABYLON is New York City, or literal Babylon in Iraq, or America, or the European Union or something else?? No…Babylon did what Jesus said Jerusalem did. Babylon did what Paul said Jerusalem and Israel did. Unless you can prove definitively that some other entity besides Jerusalem of the 1st century, then Babylon of Revelation was 1st century Jerusalem. And this proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the book of Revelation was written PRIOR to the fall of “Babylon” (i.e. Old Covenant Jerusalem) in 70 A.D.
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