An early date for Revelation Fits: Pre-AD70, not 90s. Here is why...

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by asterisktom, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. asterisktom

    asterisktom
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    An early date for Revelation Fits:
    Pre-AD70, not 90s. Here is why...
    An interesting phenomenon happens to the majority report. As the popularity of a certain view grows the number of authorities to that view likewise grows. Thus there is a seeming weight to the view itself but which is really due, not to argument, but to mere weight numbers, later writers merely following after those few earlier ones. It is not surprising that, as the eschatology itself changed, the view of the date of Revelation (and John) would likewise accommodate.

    This eschatological downgrade should not seem surprising. This "ology" disintegrated along with ecclesiology (church power structure already forming - Ignatius's "Do nothing without your bishop!"), views on virginity, relics, etc.

    Originally the later date view had only Irenaeus and Eusebius as advocates. But later others added their voice - but only on the basis of these two.

    However, over against this view is the internal evidence itself, which I already presented earlier. Also some of the sources often brought forth by adocates for a later date are rather suspect. Or the ancient writer is made to say something he didn't, in fact, teach. For instance, one writer implied that Clement of Alexandria was a late-dater. He wasn't. He also wrote this in his "Stromata":

    "For the teaching of our Lord at His advent, beginning with Augustus and Tiberius, was completed in the middle of the times of Tiberius. And that of the apostles, embracing the ministry of Paul, end with Nero."

    Now notice what is written here. If John was seen as an apostle - and surely he was - and if his teaching ministry was in the 90s, as the futurist position requires, then we have a glaring omission here.

    Here is the Muratorian Fragment:

    "the blessed Apostle Paul, following the rule of his predecessor John, writes to no more than seven churches by name."

    Who are those "seven churches" that John wrote to? Why, none other than the ones mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3!

    Tertullian

    “Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which the apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a passion like his Lord’s; where Paul wins his crown in a death like John’s! where the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile.”

    One does not have a death like someone else by dying after that person!

    Note the comparison:
    Peter's death followed Christ's.
    Paul's death followed John's.
    Did Peter die in the 90s of the 1st-century? No. Neither did John. Both died decades before.

    Others can be adduced, but hopefully this is enough for one to see that there is a good case for this earlier date, not only on the basis of internal indications, but external, historical witness.
     
  2. JesusFan

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    The Thomas Ice Collection
    the date of the Book of the Revelation, By Thomas Ice
    External Evidence
    Today, the overwhelming consensus of scholarship believes that Revelation was written well after a.d. 70. Most have concluded that Revelation was written around a.d. 95, primarily because of the statement by early church father Irenaeus (a.d. 120-202) around a.d. 180.


    "We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen not very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign.[2]


    It is important to note that Irenaeus was from Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The Apostle John was also from Ephesus in Asia Minor. Irenaeus was discipled in the faith by Polycarp who was discipled by the Apostle John. Thus, there is a direct link between the one who wrote Revelation and Irenaeus. This strongly supports the credibility of Irenaeus and his statement. Significantly, no other tradition relating to the date of Revelation developed or gained a following in this part of the world. This is the very area to which the Revelation was given. Later, other traditions developed in the territories of Christendom of a different time of the writing of Revelation. However, these were areas where Revelation was not taken as literally as in Asia Minor. It appears logical that if the theory teaching an earlier date of Revelation were genuine, then it should have had a witness to it in Asia Minor and would have begun earlier than the fifth and sixth centuries. If the early date were really true, then it would have had a 30-year head start to establish itself within early church tradition. However, that is not what happened. Such reality argues against the early date view and is a strong support for the late date view.

    Further support for Irenaeus' statement is seen in some of the early enemies of Irenaeus' interpretation of Revelation. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Eusebius, to name just a few, support Irenaeus' statement of a Domitian date. They did not believe that the statement of Irenaeus was not clear and should be doubted, as many contemporary preterists desperately contend. Yet all the ancients who were on record concerning this mater accept our understanding of Irenaeus, as do modern translators. It is also not true that early date support goes back to a single individual (although there would be nothing wrong with that since the truth of a matter is often traced back to a single source), since Hegesippus' (a.d. 150) testimony pre-dates Irenaeus.[3]

    " The first clear, accepted, unambiguous witness to the Neronic date is a one-line subscription in the Syriac translation of the New Testament in a.d. 550," notes Mark Hitchcock. " Only two other external witnesses to the early date exist: Arethas (c. 900) and Theophylact (d. 1107)." This is scant " evidence," needless to say, upon which to draw such dogmatic conclusion, as is often done by many Preterists. On the other hand, Hitchcock notes that the late date " has an unbroken line of support form some of the greatest, most reliable names in church history, beginning in a.d. 150. . . . The external evidence from church history points emphatically to the a.d. 95 date for the composition of Revelation." [4]
     
  3. asterisktom

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    I gave quotations from the 1st-century, various original sources. Added to this were my own comments.

    You gave modern quotes from Thomas Ice - with only one ancient quote. But it is mainly Ice.

    Do you see an inequity here?
     
    #3 asterisktom, Jan 4, 2012
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  4. preachinjesus

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    I'll be responding later with a more detailed rebuttal to the proposal that Revelation was a pre-70 book.

    One point from the the OP, none of the authors quoted are from the first century.

    Actually they all are from the second, third, and fourth centuries. Though you quote Clement of Alexandria you are confusing him with Clement of Rome. Clement of Rome did live in the final quarter of the first century. His epistle, his only epistle, is from AD 90. Ignatius is from the early part of the second century. Tertullian is from the late second century. The Muratorian Fragment is, at best, late second century but probably early third century. Irenaeus is from the late second to early third century and Eusebius is from the mid third to early fourth century.

    Clement of Alexandria (again not Clement of Rome) is mid-second century.

    All of this is important. However, and I'll return later to reply more fully, none of the quotes or thoughts you've offered have really any bearing on placing Revelation (or the Apostle John) before AD 70.
     
  5. JesusFan

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    Isn't it the case that in order to get to a full pretierism view on the Bible, have to force oneself to accept that the scriptures have no literal intended meanings, that we need to see it all as being symbollic/metaphorical/spiritualized etc?
     
  6. preachinjesus

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    Well I'd argue all eschatological positions require this...but that isn't important.
     
  7. JesusFan

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    problem is that NO other Eschatological position states that jesus already returned!
     
  8. preachinjesus

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    I should add to my reply to JF an important "to one degree or another"...I misread your reply and thought about it again.

    Essentially all eschatology necessitates that certain Scriptures must be taken allegorically/symbolically/spiritually. Yet few do it as aggregiously, and by denying a future return, as full preterism.

    Okay, no back to driving...;)
     
  9. JesusFan

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    That is why those holding to such a view accuse thoselike me holdinga "literal/wooden" view of the scriptures...

    problem is that was basically same view epoused by Jesus, and His Apostles!

    Taking plain and literal sense as meaning of the scriptures unless specified as being some other kind/type of writting, like when paul applied allogorical meaning to the two women in galatians!
     
  10. michael-acts17:11

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    It is not a matter of interpreting Scripture as all literal or all figurative, but in interpreting each literary style in the manner in which it was intended. My trouble with dispensationalists is that they interpret apocalyptic language as literal(but only in the NT) & then force literal passages to fit those interpretations. That is a backward hermeneutic. We should be careful to interpret figurative judgement language in the light of passages which are obviously literal. And when a passage that could be figurative doesn't seem to make sense when compared to a literal passage, then we should withhold forming a doctrinal stance based upon the figurative passage.
     
  11. michael-acts17:11

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    I agree. Just as when the same figurative language is used to describe God's judgement in the OT. Then we must interpret the NT passage via Scripture to Scripture comparison. Christ riding on a cloud, swift clouds, days of blackness, seas of blood, stars falling to earth, darkened moon...you get the idea.
     
  12. JesusFan

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    except when the Bible mentions that ALL eyes shall see Him at his second coming, that jesus will step back down upon mt of olives, hard to see anything anything but a literal fulfillment in those scriptures!
     
  13. michael-acts17:11

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    Revelation 1:7 is a prime example of dispy allegorization. The text claims that "and they also which pierced him" will see Him on the little cloud thousands of feet above the earth. This is taken to mean some other persons who would not live for thousands of years. If you are going to interpret the first part of the verse literally, then be consistent & interpret this part literally. This is another case of confusing the literal & the figurative. Even with our technological advancements, millions would not see an event even though it were broadcast on every television channel. Many parts of the world do not have satellite/cable television or have no tv at all. Heck, many don't even have electricity. A literal translation of "all eyes" is patently ridiculous, yet you claim it to the exclusion of those which pierced Him.

    This is why I no longer adhere or claim loyalty to any particular system of theological thought. Invariably, one will twist Scripture to fit the system instead of rejecting the unScriptural aspects of the system.

    Also, riding on clouds is judgement language. Clouds are used in MANY references to judgement in the OT. This fact with the obvious hyperbole of every eye seeing Him makes the passage figurative.
     
    #13 michael-acts17:11, Jan 4, 2012
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  14. JesusFan

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    those whopierced Him would be the jewish peoples, as on that day, there will be openned up int he City of david a fountain unto salvation, and all Isreal of that time will be literally reborn, as per Ezeckiel prophecy!
     
  15. michael-acts17:11

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    That sounds like an allegorization of the text. It says nothing about Jews who would not be born for thousands of years, in fact, it was Romans who pierced Him. I don't understand how you can honestly divide the verse between literal & figurative like that?

    How will all of Israel be reborn? Is this some sort of Christian reincarnation? Does it include every physical descendant of Abraham? Where does Scripture draw a clear connection between those texts?
     
  16. OldRegular

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    Interesting that you should say this. Dispensationalist John F. MacArthur in his book Charismatic Chaos [page 94] writes on the interpretation of Scripture by Scripture as follows:

    The Reformers used the expression scriptura scripturam interpretatur, or ‘Scripture interprets Scripture.’ By this they meant that obscure passages in Scripture must be understood in light of clearer ones. If the Bible is God's Word, it must be consistent with itself. No part of the Bible can contradict any other part. One divine Author, the Holy Spirit, inspired the whole Bible, so it has one marvelous, supernatural unity. The synthesis principle puts Scripture together with Scripture to arrive at a clear, consistent meaning. If we hold to an interpretation of one passage that does not square with something in another passage, one of the passages is being interpreted incorrectly, or possibly both of them. The Holy Spirit does not disagree with himself. And the passages with obvious meanings should interpret the more arcane [obscure] ones. One should never build a doctrine on a single obscure or unclear text. When I teach a passage of Scripture, I often guide the congregation to different parts of the Bible to show how the passage under study fits into the total context of Scripture.

    Sadly MacArthur does not take his own advice when it comes to his dispensational beliefs.

    Note: I added "obscure" following arcane.
     
  17. OldRegular

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    I don't think it makes any difference whether Revelation was written before or after the destruction of Jerusalem. Scripture teaches the visible return of Jesus Christ and full-preterism is bad doctrine.
     
  18. JesusFan

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    Must take the plain, literal meaning of the passage, unless obvious figures of speech being used, such as metaphor/allogory etc

    And prophecy usually as a sense of both immediate/partial fulfillment, with a view to a fuller future fullment, between the here, and yet to come!

    Get into trouble taking literal intended passages and force a spiritual/metaphorical intent on them!
     
  19. asterisktom

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    Where is your Biblical warrant for this man-made rule? It originated from a BJU grad in the 60s, not from Scripture.
     
  20. preachinjesus

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    Actually I don't think "Jesus and His Apostles" only used a "literal" (whatever that means) hermeneutic. Given their exposure to Jewish Midrashism, and examples throughout the NT, they have a mix of allegorical, literal, symbolic, hyperbolic approaches to Scripture.

    In essence you can't delimit Jesus' method to your own, it is broader than your scope allows.
     

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