PMW 2020-106 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In Revelation 17:9-10 John records a vision of a seven-headed Beast. In this vision we discover clear evidence that Revelation was written before the death of Nero (June 8, A. D. 68), well before the temple’s destruction in August, A.D. 70:
Here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Perhaps no point is more obvious in Revelation than this: Rome is here symbolized by the seven mountains. After all, Rome is the one city in history that is recognized for its seven hills: the Palatine, Aventine, Caelian, Esquiline, Viminal, Quirinal, and Capitoline hills. The Roman writers Suetonius and Plutarch refer to the first century festival in Rome called Septimontium, i.e. the feast of “the seven hilled city.” The Coin of Vespasian (emperor A.D. 69-79) pictures the goddess Roma as a woman seated on seven hills. The famed seven hills of Rome are mentioned time and again by ancient pagan writers such as Ovid, Claudian, Statius, Pliny, Virgil, Horace, Propertius, Martial, and Cicero, as well as by Christian writers, such as Tertullian and Jerome. Indeed, “there is scarce a poet that speaks of Rome but observes it.” Continue reading
PMW 2020-105 Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
As I open my argument for the early dating of Revelation, I will first engage the internal indicators of time discoverable in Revelation. This engages the evidence from Revelation’s self-witness. In that I hold to the full inspiration and inerrency of Scripture, I am convinced that these are the most fundamental evidences. Later I will consider the external evidence, the material derived from church tradition. Generally, the late-date advocates begin with the evidence from tradition, and the early-date advocates with the evidence from self-witness. I am convinced that the late-date reliance upon external indicators is methodologically flawed in this book containing so many historical and cultural indicators. Continue reading
PMW 2020-104 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
Although this topic is basically an academic one, its ultimate issue is extremely practical — hence the popular flavor of my presentation. Resolving the question of Revelation’s compositional date is one of the most — if not the most — important issues facing the interpreter. We may see its significance both regarding the interpretive and the practical questions revolving around the book.
Dating and Interpretation
First, interpretively, Revelation’s date exercises a tremendous influence upon its proper understanding. The current majority of biblical scholars is in fundamental disagreement with the majority of the scholars from 75 years ago and earlier. The current opinion — the late-date view — is that John wrote Revelation while in exile during the closing days of the reign of Domitian Caesar, in about A.D. 95 or 96. This contradicts the nineteenth century view — the early-date view — which held that Revelation was written by John prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70. This position was held by such worthies as B. F. Westcott, F. J. A. Hort, John Lightfoot, Alfred Edersheim, Philip Schaff, Milton Terry, and others. Continue reading
PMW 2018-053 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
This year is the twentieth anniversary of my last edition of Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation. In that work I listed eight full pages of notable advocates for the early dating of Revelation, i.e., a date prior to AD 70. Before too long I hope to update the book altogether. But for now I would like to list some additional early date advocates beyond those found in the book.
More often than not, when a preterist mentions the early date of Revelation he is dismissed with the wave of a hand and the utterance: “the early date of Revelation is held only by a minority of scholars.” That may be true today, but the tide is slowly shifting. Thus, I thought it might be good to put some more scholars’ names in the mix. Of course, counting noses is not the answer to the problem. But it will be helpful in countering a common objection that attempts to cut discussion short. Continue reading
PMT 2014-113 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
This is my final installment for this brief series on Revelation’s date. If Revelation was written prior to the temple’s destruction in AD 70, then we might surmise that its judgments pointed to the temple’s destruction rather than the world’s end. And I believe that is the case. This would work well within the postmillennial system.
The final evidence from Revelation’s self-witness that I will consider is the relationship of the Jew to Christianity in Revelation. And although there are several aspects of this evidence, we will just briefly introduce it. Two important passages and their implications may be referred to illustratively. Continue reading
PMT 2014-111 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
In this brief series I am presenting some of the evidence for Revelation’s early dating, before AD 70. This is helpful for postmillennialism because if it was written prior to the Jewish temple’s destruction, it may well be looking to that judgment. And if so, then its main judgment scenes lie in our past, leaving the future open for the progress of the gospel.
The first line of evidence I would present for the early date of Revelation is the presence of the temple in Revelation 11. 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.”
PMT 2014-110 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
The Book of Revelation is often deemed evidence against postmillennialism. The judgments and woes that build in Revelation appear to contradict any hope for optimism. Yet a proper understanding of Revelation actually enhances the postmillennial argument.
One of the first issues that must be considered in dealing with Revelation is to determine when John wrote it. There are two basic positions Revelation’s, although each has a variety of slight variations. Continue reading