Category Archives: Revelation

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF AD 70

Temple destroyedPMW 2021-060 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Today we are so distant from the events of AD 70, so removed from the ancient culture, so little acquainted with the first-century Jewish outlook, and so accustomed to the Christian perspective, we tend to overlook the enormous redemptive-historical significance of AD 70. Those events are not merely another sad instance in the history of “man’s inhumanity to man which makes countless thousands mourn.” They serve not as demonstration of “nature, red in tooth and claw.” Neither do they merely remind us of “the carnage of war, the blood-swollen god.”

But such is mistaken. Rather the devastating events of the Jewish War are the historical manifestations of the furious wrath of the offended God of Israel. Transcendent realities stand back of these temporal events. With Nahum we see the smoke of destruction as the dust clouds from God’s feet (Na 1). We learn that truly “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:27) for “our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 10:31). Continue reading

PROBLEMS WITH REVELATION’S EARLY DATE (3)

Nero redivivusPMW 2021-057 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I am continuing a brief series on problems scholars have with the early (pre-AD 70) date of Revelation. I am using his Leon Morris’ book: The Revelation of St. John (2d. ed.: Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987) as my main source. Let’s get to work!

A most unusual phenomenon seems to appear in Revelation, according to Morris. His third argument is very popular among late-date theorists. This evidence regards the very unusual and ancient legend known as the Nero Redivivus myth. Morris briefly explains the myth and confidently employs it: “Again, it is urged that the book shows evidence of knowledge of the Nero redivivus myth (e.g. xvii. 8, 11). After Nero’s death it was thought in some circles that he would return. At first this appears to have been a refusal to believe that he was actually dead. Later it took the form of a belief that he would come to life again. This took time to develop and Domitian’s reign is about as early as we can expect it” (Morris 37). Continue reading

PROBLEMS WITH REVELATION’S EARLY DATE (2)

Roman persecutionPMW 2021-056 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Revelation’s early date is generally held by modern postmillennialists of the preterist variety. I have argued elsewhere positively for the early date. So here I am offering a short series that briefly responds to late-date evidences. I am focusing on Leon Morris’ arguments, due to their cogency, succinctness, and his stature as a Revelation commentator.

Morris discovers “indications that Revelation was written in a time of persecution.” This evidence is felt to accord “much better with Domitian.” [1] W. G. Kümmel is quite confident that “the picture of the time which the Apocalypse sketches coincides with no epoch of the primitive history so well as with the period of Domitian’s persecution.” [2] Morris, Kümmel, and a number of other scholars list this as among their leading arguments for the A.D. 95-96 date. Continue reading

WHY WILL SATAN BE LOOSED?

Broken chainsPMW 2021-053 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

I continue to receive this question on a regular basis. So I thought it a good idea to re-visit it.

In Rev 20 John focuses briefly on ultimate eschatological events that look well beyond the short time frame of the book. This is anticipated in his referring to the thousand years (Rev 20:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7), which by definition must extend beyond the “near” / “at hand” time frame. “Now, although the closing part of the Revelation relates beyond all doubt to a distant period, and some of it to a future eternity, yet the portion of the book which contains this is so small, and that part of the book which was speedily fulfilled is so large, that no reasonable difficulty can be made concerning” the book’s claim to focus on near-term events” (Moses Stuart, Apocalypse, 2:5).

But you may ask why Satan will be loosed. You will have to ask John, not me — for he does not say. Just as God surprisingly allows Satan to enter Eden and tempt Adam and Eve, so does he allow Satan’s re-release to tempt the nations live for a long time under Christ’s rule (cf. G. R. Beasley-Murray, Revelation, 291). Continue reading

THE TEMPLE IN REVELATION 11

Temple 2PMW 2021-052 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Revelation is an important book in eschatological discussions. The most vigorous Revelation debate in ecclesiastical circles today revolves around the dispute between preterism and futurism. Preterism holds that Revelation was largely fulfilled not long after John wrote it. Futurism holds that it deals largely with events yet to come.

Because of this debate, the identity of the temple in Rev 11 arises as a serious matter. In Revelation 11:1, 2 we read:

And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months.

Here we find a Temple standing in a city called “the holy city.” Continue reading

HISTORICAL EVIDENCE FOR PRETERISM

PMW 2021-050 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

Evangelical preterism is virtually the opposite of dispensational futurism. Because of this, dispensationalists are alarmed at the spread of orthodox preterism among some of its claimants. One means by which they try to dissuade their followers from adopting preterism is by charging that it was a late creation by a Jesuit priest named Luis Alcázar around 1600. Continue reading

THE DEAD JUDGED AT THE 7TH TRUMPET (2)

PMW 2021-046 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.

This is the second in a two-part study of the debated phrase in Rev. 11:18b, which reads: “and the time came for the dead to be judged.” In my last article I argued that it refers to the vindication of the first-century saints who were being severely persecuted by Israel and Rome alike. In this article I will respond to objections to the interpretation presented by the leading evangelical commentator on Revelation today, G. K. Beale.

Regarding kirthēnai which I translate “vindicated,” Beale (617–18) presents an extended argument against the preterist view which, he believes, “stumbles” here. He argues that “without doubt . . . this passage is a description of the last judgment” (615). I will summarize his argument first, then reply to it point-by-point. Continue reading