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Notes condensed from original video series by Don K. Preston
To say that the dating of the book of Revelation is a critical element to understanding this book of prophecy is a HUGE understatement. Clearly, if Revelation was written in the AD90’s then it’s not predictive of the fall of Jerusalem in AD70 and the end of the Old Covenant age and, therefore, it contains an eschatology which is outside of the boundaries of COVENANT eschatology. Determining the proper dating of this book is absolutely critical. Likewise, determining the identity of Babylon in Revelation is equally critical. Both of these elements go hand in hand because the judgment of Babylon was at hand, coming shortly, and coming soon at the Day of the Lord. So we must do an examination of both elements; the dating of Revelation standing on its own merits, but also the dating of Revelation as it relates to the topic of “WHO is this Babylon?” Any interpretation or study of the book of Revelation that does not take seriously the language of Revelation 1:1-3 as the framework and context is not doing proper justice to the investigation of the book of Revelation. Notice what the beginning of the book says:
Revelation 1:1-3 [KJV]
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
The first and most critical thing to understand about Revelation will be, for most people with a futurist eschatological paradigm, an eye opening shock. It is an absolutely glaring truth which you will wonder why you never saw it before. Yet, when you do see this truth for the first time, you will NEVER look at the book of Revelation again in the same way. The key to understanding the book of Revelation has been hanging right on the doorpost all along mostly ignored by the commentators. Here it is.
Please read carefully the first verse of Revelation 1:1 above. The first statement is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” The word “revelation” means “unveiling.” The next statement is “which God gave unto him.” This means that God the FATHER gave this message to CHRIST. Christ has now received a major Revelation about himself from God the FATHER. This is VERY significant!! The next part of the verse explains WHY the Revelation was given and says “to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.” So, we have the Father giving an important revelatory message to Jesus Christ the Son for the purpose of showing (revealing) things to his (Christ’s) SERVANTS (the body of Christ) things which must SHORTLY come to pass. Do you catch the power and significance of the imminent time statement “things which must SHORTLY come to pass”??
One of the primary arguments used to negate all of the time statements contained in Revelation is the claim that John couldn’t honestly be saying the time for fulfillment was truly at hand. After all, Jesus said he didn’t know the day or the hour, so if JESUS didn’t know the day or hour, then surely JOHN did not know either. There is a major problem with that position. Notice what Jesus says in Matthew 24:36:
Matthew 24:36 [KJV]
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
So the FATHER knew the hour of the Day of the Lord, the parousia of Christ. And Revelation 1:1 shows the FATHER, who knew the day and the hour, was now revealing, unveiling all the details of the entire event, to HIS SON JESUS CHRIST who then shows it to his servants through John’s vision! AND…these things would SHORTLY come to pass!
This wasn’t John expressing his hope or wishful thinking about the nearness of these events. It wasn’t Jesus in his incarnate ignorance expressing some vague generality about when these things would take place. It was the FATHER HIMSELF, who knew the day and the hour, who sent the Holy Spirit, to tell John, to REVEAL to the 1st century churches that these things MUST (Greek: dei = divine necessity) SHORTLY COME TO PASS! If the FATHER, who knew the day and the hour, was revealing through the Spirit, through Jesus, through John, to the churches that the time was AT HAND….then you and I have NO basis whatsoever for saying:
- That God cannot tell time and…
- That John could not know the day or the hour because Jesus himself did not know it.
Any interpretation of Revelation that seeks to distort, ignore, or deny the FACT that it was the FATHER HIMSELF who knew the day and the hour, who was revealing the IMMINENCE of those events is a WRONG interpretation. The traditional views and applications of Revelation fall far OUTSIDE the parameters of “SHORTLY COME TO PASS.”
When God communicates in time and when he makes promises in time ABOUT time, God is bound by his word to act within the parameters of TIME. God cannot lie. What many people overlook or miss, is the word TIME. The Greeks had a couple of different words for time. The generic word for time without any specificity is “chronos.” However, that is NOT the word used in Rev 1:3. The word used here is “kairos.” Kairos means “the divinely appointed time.” In other words the specific day and the hour that God KNEW and had decisively appointed and determined for those events to come to pass. God APPOINTED the Last Days period and KNEW the DAY and HOUR of judgment. All of these are in the divine counsel and the divine purpose of God in which he determined the “kairos,” the divinely appointed time. It is impossible to overemphasize that this is the FATHER who knew the day and the hour and who had appointed the TIME for the Last Days and HE was saying the judgment was now AT HAND.
The Greek word for “at hand” was “eggus” (pronounced “en-goos”) which can be used in both a special geographical or a temporal manner. To use eggus in a special geographical way to say Jesus was near to Jerusalem would normally indicate that he was close to Jerusalem TEMPORALLY. So, there’s really no huge disconnect between the special geographical use and the temporal use of eggus. The main point is that, in the context of Revelation, the appointed time IS AT HAND. Therefore, without any doubt, the temporal use is being emphasized.
So, Revelation emphatically tells us, that the appointed time was NEAR. But here’s the problem as relates to the late dating of the book of Revelation. What event, POST 95 A.D., qualifies as the Day of the Lord? What event, POST 95 A.D., that was “shortly, soon to come to pass, coming quickly”, actually occurred as a judgment on Babylon, whomever you choose to identify as Babylon? The answer to that is there were absolutely NO other events that could qualify. If, however, we take the early date of Revelation, then all of the URGENT time statements make absolutely PERFECT SENSE. But if we take the 95 A.D. dating of Revelation and say that Revelation was talking about events that haven’t happened yet 2000 years LATER…then all of those time statements mean NOTHING. But remember….God CAN tell time. When God communicates in time, makes promises about time, God is bound by his own character to keep his time promises…and HE DID!
Many commentators have said that establishing the date of the writing of the Revelation is one of the most critical issues to interpreting the book of Revelation. If we place the book of Revelation in the wrong historical, temporal context, then we must be able to find events that match the imminent context. The late dating of Revelation provides NO EVENTS that fulfill the “at hand”, “must shortly come to pass” framework after 98-95 A.D. which match the Biblical definition of the “The Day of the Lord” against this enigmatic city “Babylon.”
Let’s consider the issue of the transfiguration of Christ and the dating of Revelation. John said “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” More than a few commentators have stated, we believe correctly, that John was saying that he was taken to see the Day of the Lord through the Spirit in visionary form. He saw a vision of Christ. What John saw has a tremendously significant similarity to the vision of the Transfiguration in Matthew 17. John did not see Christ as a regular Jewish man, he saw a vision very similar to the glory in which Jesus appeared on the mount of Transfiguration. The Transfiguration was a vision of Christ in his 2nd coming glory according to Peter:
2 Peter 1:16-18 [KJV]
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
We must understand that the Transfiguration was NOT a vision of the end of the Roman Empire, not of the end of time, not of the destruction of planet Earth, it was not of the raising of physical bodies out of their graves, it was a vision of the END OF THE LAW OF MOSES AT THE COMING OF THE LORD. Both of these Hebrew fathers, Moses and Elijah, appeared with Jesus in glory, but then Moses and Elijah disappeared when the voice came from Heaven declaring “This is my beloved Son, HEAR HIM!” Christ was left alone appearing in the glory of his 2nd coming. His glorified appearance was a very radical transformation of Jesus’ incarnate body, so much so that the disciples were greatly frightened. Moses and Elijah faded away, but the voice of the Father said that his glorified Son was the one to HEAR! PLEASE catch the power of this! This vision signified the passing of the Old Covenant Law of Moses at the coming of the Lord in the glory of his Father! Christ’s coming in judgment of Babylon would be the END of the Mosaic Law and Prophets.
Peter, James and John all saw the vision of the Transfiguration of Christ which Peter later testified was the vision of Christ’s coming in glory, the Day of the Lord. John ALSO saw a vision of The Day of the Lord in his Revelation in which there were many statements that Jesus said he would come quickly and that the time was at hand. Revelation 1:1 says the vision was given to show the servants of Christ “things which must shortly come to pass.” But the coming of the Lord in the Transfiguration was the END of the Law and Prophets! This is a very troublesome issue for those who insist that the Mosaic Law and the Prophets passed away at the cross because Peter said the Transfiguration was a vision of the 2nd coming…not of the cross! John was seeing the fulfillment of the Transfiguration, the Transfiguration was a vision of the 2nd Coming, and the 2nd Coming was to be at the end of the Law and the Prophets. If, therefore, you say Revelation is about the coming of the Lord at the fall of Rome, then you posit the ending of the Mosaic Law and the Prophets at the fall of Rome! Likewise, if you say that Revelation is about the coming of the Lord and you claim it hasn’t happened, then you are saying the MOSAIC LAW AND THE PROPHETS HAVE NOT PASSED!
Only the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the Old Covenant Age of Israel AT THAT EVENT qualifies:
- to be the time of the passing of the Law and the Prophets and…
- to match the “coming quickly, at hand, must shortly come to pass” language of the book of Revelation.
John’s Revelation was a vision of the fulfillment of the Day of the Lord, the same thing seen at the vision of the Transfiguration. But what they saw at the Transfiguration was the END of the Mosaic Law and the Prophets. Therefore, wherever you put the fulfillment of Revelation, the coming of the Lord, it is THERE that the Law and the Prophets pass away.
If we wrongly date the writing of the book of Revelation, then we are doomed to a false interpretation of Revelation, and thus, a false interpretation of eschatology as a whole. Very clearly, John’s eschatology in Revelation is the same as that of Jesus in the Olivet Discourse, and the same eschatology of Paul in Thessalonians. So, if we have the wrong context and setting for our understanding of Revelation, then we have the wrong context and setting for our understanding of Jesus’ eschatology, and Paul’s, James’, and Peter’s!
Revelation 1:7 is one of the most often quoted verses to prove that it HASN’T been fulfilled..that it refers to OUR future.
Revelation 1:7 [KJV]
Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
We are told the time is coming when every person on the globe will see him coming on the clouds. This interpretation overlooks the actual wording of the text and who is the real focus of the text. “And every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him.” Despite the poor translation of the KJV, this is very clearly a judgment against those who killed Jesus. We must take Revelation 1:7 and conflate it with Revelation 11:8 which tells us of the two witnesses who were slain in the city where the Lord was slain. You have Revelation 1:7, the judgment of those who pierced him. You have Revelation 11:8, the judgment of the city where the Lord was slain. It seems that we have absolutely perfect correlation between Revelation 1:7 and Matthew 27:25. Jesus was on trial, Pilate found him innocent and attempted three times to release him, but the Jews would have nothing of it. Finally, Pilate said “Would you then have me release Barabbas?” “Yes!” they replied. Pilate said “My hands are innocent of the blood of this innocent man.” They responded, “Let his blood be upon us and on our children.” In Matthew 27:25 we have the Jews acknowledging their blood guilt for killing Jesus. Revelation 1:7 is the coming of the Lord against those who were guilty of piercing him! When was the blood of Jesus avenged? When did the blood guilt for killing Jesus fall upon Israel? There is really no debate about this…it was at the destruction and fall of Jerusalem and their temple in 70 A.D. And that means that Revelation 1:7, as it predicts the coming of the Lord against those who pierced him, is the same thing as when Jesus said “There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death till they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” It applied, and was to be fulfilled, and WAS fulfilled at the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. This means that the book of Revelation WAS WRITTEN BEFORE that time.
Those who adhere to a late date (98-95 A.D.) for the writing of Revelation generally proclaim that the evidence for this is CLEAR. However, once you begin to look into this issue, you soon discover, quite stunningly so, how very little evidence actually exists for this view. Most of this evidence is tenuous at best, not independent, and, most importantly, it is not internal evidence taken from within the book of Revelation itself. The only evidence for the late date is purely external evidence which surprisingly violates and contradicts what the book of Revelation says about itself; its application, its framework, and its context, and thus, its dating. I am of the opinion that if a person does an in-depth, objective study of the book of Revelation with regard to its dating, that will come to no other conclusion but that it was written BEFORE the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and applied directly and prophetically to that event.
As Jesus speaks to the church at Philadelphia, they are being persecuted by the Jews (which is significant of itself), but Christ says in Revelation 3:10
Revelation 3:10 [KJV]
Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall [Greek “mello” = IS ABOUT TO] come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Take note of the fact that John was writing to the churches in Asia who were being persecuted the Jews and yet there is MORE persecution about to come and the Lord says “I will keep you from the trial that is about to come.” Now, everyone admits that 1 Peter was written before the fall of Jersualem in 70 A.D. Peter is writing to the very same identical churches of Asia that John was writing to in Revelation. Except that in 1 Peter 4, Peter writes to them and says
1 Peter 4:12 [KJV]
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
This is an unfortunate translation and Smith’s Literal Translation renders this much better:
1 Peter 4:12 [SLT]
Dearly beloved, be not astonished at the refining of fire in you, being for trial to you, as a strange thing happening to you:
The fiery trial was already happening AMONG THEM in the present tense.
Jesus, through John in Revelation, predicts the coming of a trial on the churches of Asia and says “It’s about to come!” They were already being persecuted by the Jews, but more is coming. Peter, writing to the same identical churches, says “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is already among you.” Why were they not supposed to think it strange that it was happening to THEM? I suggest it is just exactly like 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4 where Paul says:
1 Thessalonians 3:2-4 [KJV]
And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto. For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
I also suggest to you that John said the fiery trial is coming, it’s about to come…which is future tense. Peter, then writing to the identical people said the TRIAL IS HERE. But Peter was writing BEFORE the Fall of Jerusalem. So, if Peter, writing to the very same people, about the very same issue, says it is HERE, and if Peter is writing about what John and Jesus predicted, then since Revelation said “it is COMING”, but Peter said “IT IS HERE”, then of absolute necessity, the book of Revelation MUST have been written before 70 A.D.
Revelation 2:12-15 [KJV]
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
There are those who suggest that the condition of the churches in Asia mentioned in Revelation demands a late date for the writing of the book of Revelation. I suggest that the conditions of those seven churches in Asia demand exactly the opposite, an early dating. First of all, notice the problem at Pergamos is a Jewish persecution issue. The Lord says they dwell where Satan dwells and where his throne is. Notice that in the previous letter to Smyrna, they were being persecuted by those who say they are Jews, but are not, they are the synagogue of Satan. In rhe letter to the church at Philadelphia, they were engaged against those who say they are Jews, but they are not, they are the synagogue of Satan. Now, if the synagogue of Satan in Smyrna and Philadelphia represent the forces of Jewish persecution, then we have every reason to believe that Pergamos, “where Satan dwells” and “where his seat is”, was likewise facing those very same forces of Jewish persecution as Smyrna and Philadelphia.
Now also notice that the issue at Pergamos mentioned in Revelation was specifically the doctrine of eating of meats sacrificed to idols. However, it is important to understand this issue was an early issue of controversy within all the churches with brand new converts coming out of paganism and idolatry. With these converts now learning that the idol was nothing, they were now eating meat sacrificed to idols. However, the Jewish converts, who had been taught by Torah, that the eating of meats or anything sacrificed to pagan idols was an abomination were in conflict and controversy with these new converts. So Paul had to write in the 50’s to the church at Rome and address this issue as early as the Jerusalem controversy. This was a very early in the church’s existence. When Paul wrote the letter to the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 8 & 10, he addressed this same controversy between Jew and Gentiles. But with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the division between Jews and Gentiles then being made very clear, the issue of Torah observance became a moot issue, especially by the time of the 90’s when the book of Revelation is proclaimed to have been written. These facts strongly suggests an EARLY dating of Revelation.
Notes condensed from original video series by Don K. Preston
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.