WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

Bible Studies
Post Reply
User avatar
Philip
Board Moderator
Posts: 8615
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:45 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Location: Betwixt the Sea and the Mountains
Has liked: 410 times
Been liked: 648 times

WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#1

Post by Philip » Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:48 am

We've previously discussed the possibility of preterism - that is, the belief that the events John wrote of in Revelation refer to events in HIS immediate future - likely fulfilled by the evils of Nero. Or was he warning of events in OUR future? In reading about the various thoughts on this, I came across Norman Geisler's defense of the view that those prophecies about the beast and the fate of those carrying his "mark" WILL be in OUR future.

Geisler's comments below were written as a portion of his response to Hank Hanegraaf's, "The Last Disciple." He makes some strong reasons to consider the beast being in the latter days of earth's future:

It is often claimed by others: “There is also remarkable evidence for Nero as the Beast and his persecutions as the great tribulation” (I, #3).

Norman Geisler's Response - his 10 reasons for refuting the contention above:

Actually, the opposite is true. There is strong evidence that Revelation was written in the 90s well after Nero was dead during Domitian’s reign. If so, this would make the LD false. Briefly stated the evidence for dating Revelation in the 90s A.D. is as follows:

First, this futurist view of the Tribulation, Antichrist, and/or even Millennium was held by many of the earliest Fathers including Irenaeus (2nd century) who said “It was seen not very long ago, almost in our own generation, at the close of the reign of Domitian” (Against Heresies 5.30.3). This was confirmed by Victorinus (3rd century) who wrote: “When John said these things, he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the mines by Caesar Domitian” (Commentary of Revelation 10:11). Likewise, Eusebius (4thcentury) confirmed the Domitian date (Ecclesiastical History 3.18).

Second, other early Fathers after A.D. 70 refer to the Tribulation or Antichrist spoken of in Revelation as yet future (see Commondianus [3rd century], Instructions 44, and Ephraem of Syria [4th century], On the Last Times, 2).

Third, the conditions of the seven churches (Rev. 2-3) fit this later period rather than that reflected in Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Timothy which were written in the 60s. For example, the church at Ephesus in Revelation had lost its first love (Rev. 2:4) and others like Laodicea (Rev. 3:14f.) had fallen from the Faith.

Fourth, it was not until the reign of Domitian that emperor worship as reflected in Revelation was instituted.

Fifth, Laodicea appears as a prosperous city in Revelation 3:17, yet it was destroyed by an earthquake in c. A.D. 61, during Nero’s reign, and would not have recovered so quickly in a couple of years.

Sixth, John’s exile on the island of Patmos implies a later date when persecution was more rampant (1:9).

Seventh, the references to persecution and Martyrdom in the churches reflect a later date (cf. Rev. 2:10, 13 cf.).

Eighth, Polycarp’s reference to the church at Smyrna (to the Philippians 11.3) reveals that it did not exist in Paul’s day (by A.D. 64) as it did when John wrote Revelation 2:8.

Ninth, the Nicolaitans (of Rev. 2:6, 11) were not firmly established until nearer the end of the century.

Tenth, there is not sufficient time on the early date for John’s arrival in Asia (late 60s) and replacement of Paul as the respected leader of the Asian Church (see discussion in Donald Guthrie,New Testament Introduction, vol. 2, chapter 7).

User avatar
Stu
Esteemed Senior Member
Posts: 1116
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:32 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Undecided
Has liked: 12 times
Been liked: 34 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#2

Post by Stu » Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:59 pm

Jesus said that we would experience tribulation like never before.
I think we can safely say that what was experienced back then doesn't even come close to WWI or WWII, so that pretty well rules out preterism.
These users liked this post by Stu:
claysmithr (Tue May 19, 2020 10:00 am)
Only when the blood runs and the shackles restrain, will the sheep then awake. When all is lost.

User avatar
Philip
Board Moderator
Posts: 8615
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:45 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Location: Betwixt the Sea and the Mountains
Has liked: 410 times
Been liked: 648 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#3

Post by Philip » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:50 pm

Geisler would agree, Stu, as he notes "many predictions in Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 6-18 were not fulfilled in A.D. 70 – at least not literally. For example, the stars did not fall from heaven (Mt. 24:29), nor were one-third of humans killed (Rev. 9:18), and neither did all the creatures in the sea die (Rev. 16:3) in A.D. 70." And he further points out that, "if it is taken literally, then it cannot be placed there (1st century) since Jesus did not visibly return to earth in A.D. 70 (Matthew 24:30 cf. Revelation 1:7 and Acts 1:10-11. Nor did Christ literally execute all the judgments listed in Revelation 9 and 16 at that time."

DBowling
Prestigious Senior Member
Posts: 1642
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:23 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Has liked: 29 times
Been liked: 181 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#4

Post by DBowling » Sun Aug 25, 2019 9:29 pm

Philip wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:50 pm
Geisler would agree, Stu, as he notes "many predictions in Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 6-18 were not fulfilled in A.D. 70 – at least not literally. For example, the stars did not fall from heaven (Mt. 24:29), nor were one-third of humans killed (Rev. 9:18), and neither did all the creatures in the sea die (Rev. 16:3) in A.D. 70." And he further points out that, "if it is taken literally, then it cannot be placed there (1st century) since Jesus did not visibly return to earth in A.D. 70 (Matthew 24:30 cf. Revelation 1:7 and Acts 1:10-11. Nor did Christ literally execute all the judgments listed in Revelation 9 and 16 at that time."
The issue here involves whether or not imagery in John's vision in Revelation are meant to be taken literally.
John answers that question pretty directly when he actually takes time to define and interpret some of the symbolic imagery in his vision throughout the book of Revelation.
So John explicitly tells us that the images in his vision in Revelation are symbolic in nature.

Regarding stars falling from heaven.
I think Peter gives us some perspective on the prophetic use of cosmic cataclysm language.

In Acts 2:16-21, Peter tells us that Joel's prophecy was fulfilled at Pentecost, including the cosmic language in verses 19-20. So the Holy Spirit inspired Peter explicitly tells that whatever Acts 2:19-20 is referring to occurred at Pentecost.

So the Apostles John and Peter tell us that the symbolic imagery in Revelation and the prophetic use of cosmic imagery are not meant to be taken literally.
That's not my opinion, that's the opinion of the apostles Peter and John as stated in Scripture.

In the Olivet Discourse thread
http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... c303556c5e
There is a detailed discussion regarding what John and Jesus say about the timing of the Great Tribulation and how these prophecies were fulfilled around the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD... just when Jesus and John said they would.

post #27
http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... 15#p241748
provides links to an online book about the Beast of Revelation by Kenneth Gentry (which includes internal evidence from Revelation and external historical evidence that indicates John saw his vision prior to 70 AD)
as well as a couple of videos by Kenneth Gentry.

DBowling
Prestigious Senior Member
Posts: 1642
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:23 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Has liked: 29 times
Been liked: 181 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#5

Post by DBowling » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:05 pm

Philip wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:48 am
Geisler's comments below were written as a portion of his response to Hank Hanegraaf's, "The Last Disciple." He makes some strong reasons to consider the beast being in the latter days of earth's future:

It is often claimed by others: “There is also remarkable evidence for Nero as the Beast and his persecutions as the great tribulation” (I, #3).

Norman Geisler's Response - his 10 reasons for refuting the contention above:

Actually, the opposite is true. There is strong evidence that Revelation was written in the 90s well after Nero was dead during Domitian’s reign. If so, this would make the LD false. Briefly stated the evidence for dating Revelation in the 90s A.D. is as follows:

First, this futurist view of the Tribulation, Antichrist, and/or even Millennium was held by many of the earliest Fathers including Irenaeus (2nd century) who said “It was seen not very long ago, almost in our own generation, at the close of the reign of Domitian” (Against Heresies 5.30.3). This was confirmed by Victorinus (3rd century) who wrote: “When John said these things, he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the mines by Caesar Domitian” (Commentary of Revelation 10:11). Likewise, Eusebius (4thcentury) confirmed the Domitian date (Ecclesiastical History 3.18).

Second, other early Fathers after A.D. 70 refer to the Tribulation or Antichrist spoken of in Revelation as yet future (see Commondianus [3rd century], Instructions 44, and Ephraem of Syria [4th century], On the Last Times, 2).

Third, the conditions of the seven churches (Rev. 2-3) fit this later period rather than that reflected in Ephesians, Colossians, and 1 and 2 Timothy which were written in the 60s. For example, the church at Ephesus in Revelation had lost its first love (Rev. 2:4) and others like Laodicea (Rev. 3:14f.) had fallen from the Faith.

Fourth, it was not until the reign of Domitian that emperor worship as reflected in Revelation was instituted.

Fifth, Laodicea appears as a prosperous city in Revelation 3:17, yet it was destroyed by an earthquake in c. A.D. 61, during Nero’s reign, and would not have recovered so quickly in a couple of years.

Sixth, John’s exile on the island of Patmos implies a later date when persecution was more rampant (1:9).

Seventh, the references to persecution and Martyrdom in the churches reflect a later date (cf. Rev. 2:10, 13 cf.).

Eighth, Polycarp’s reference to the church at Smyrna (to the Philippians 11.3) reveals that it did not exist in Paul’s day (by A.D. 64) as it did when John wrote Revelation 2:8.

Ninth, the Nicolaitans (of Rev. 2:6, 11) were not firmly established until nearer the end of the century.

Tenth, there is not sufficient time on the early date for John’s arrival in Asia (late 60s) and replacement of Paul as the respected leader of the Asian Church (see discussion in Donald Guthrie,New Testament Introduction, vol. 2, chapter 7).
Here is a discussion by Kenneth Gentry on the external evidence to support a pre-70 AD date for the book of Revelation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQat84yBUvs

Here Kenneth Gentry discusses the internal evidence to support a pre-70 AD date
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZngW7fp_wvk
These users liked this post by DBowling:
PaulSacramento (Wed Aug 28, 2019 8:07 am)

User avatar
Philip
Board Moderator
Posts: 8615
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:45 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Location: Betwixt the Sea and the Mountains
Has liked: 410 times
Been liked: 648 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#6

Post by Philip » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:53 pm

VERY compelling, DB!

It is important to note that Geisler's criticism of preterist views were directly related to his premillinialist, dispensationalist views.

User avatar
Philip
Board Moderator
Posts: 8615
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 7:45 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Location: Betwixt the Sea and the Mountains
Has liked: 410 times
Been liked: 648 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#7

Post by Philip » Tue Aug 27, 2019 5:36 pm

I just happened across the following - concerning one verse people have used to support a rapture, Carm.org notes the following:

"Please note that the verses found in Matthew 24 and Luke 17, that deal with two men in the field and one is taken while the other is left, are not dealing with the rapture. This is a common misunderstanding about those verses. Upon close examination of the texts in Matthew 24 and Luke 17, you will find that the ones who were taken are the wicked. In fact, Jesus' disciples ask where they are taken, and He gives them an answer: “Where the body is, there also will the vultures be gathered,” (Luke 17:37)."

User avatar
UsagiTsukino
Valued Member
Posts: 322
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:10 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Female
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 6 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#8

Post by UsagiTsukino » Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:51 pm

So what about Jesus with the sword? Was that meant to be taken literally?

DBowling
Prestigious Senior Member
Posts: 1642
Joined: Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:23 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Has liked: 29 times
Been liked: 181 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#9

Post by DBowling » Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:31 pm

UsagiTsukino wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:51 pm
So what about Jesus with the sword? Was that meant to be taken literally?
Let's see if Scripture can help us interpret Scripture.

Let's start with the vision of Jesus that is described in Revelation 1:12-16
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
Our first clue is that in Revelation 1 a sharp double-edged sword is coming out of Jesus' mouth.

Our next clue can be found in Hebrews 4:12
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
So if we interpret the imagery in Revelation 1:16 with Hebrews 4:12 in mind, we see that the sharp double-edged sword coming out of the mouth of Jesus in Revelation 1 refers to the Word of God.

PaulSacramento
Board Moderator
Posts: 9228
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:29 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Location: Ontario, Canada
Has liked: 124 times
Been liked: 349 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#10

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:42 am

What I have noticed with apocalyptic writing ( Revelation and Daniel for example) is that, when it comes to interpreting ( certain)imagery concretely, the writer does that for us.
It seems to me that symbolism is huge in revelatory visions.
You had Stephen's before he was stoned ( as he was being stoned) and even Jesus' statement to the Sanhedrin that he would be vindicated and they would see the Son of Man come ( which was fulfilled by the fall of Jerusalem less than 40 years later).
These are images and symbolism that the people would understand AFTER, when the event(s) would happen.

User avatar
UsagiTsukino
Valued Member
Posts: 322
Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:10 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Female
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 6 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#11

Post by UsagiTsukino » Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:52 am

So the heads that he cuts on the people who didn't want to listen. So if Nero was the beast who was the anti christ?

PaulSacramento
Board Moderator
Posts: 9228
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:29 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Location: Ontario, Canada
Has liked: 124 times
Been liked: 349 times

Re: WAS Nero the Beast written of in Revelation - or NOT?

#12

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:48 pm

UsagiTsukino wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 11:52 am
So the heads that he cuts on the people who didn't want to listen. So if Nero was the beast who was the anti christ?
Which one?
As per the 1 Letter of John:
Warning Concerning Antichrists
18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.[d] 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. 24 Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is the promise that he made to us[e]—eternal life.

26 I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you. 27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Post Reply