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

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Philip
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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).

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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.
Only when the blood runs and the shackles restrain, will the sheep then awake. When all is lost.

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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."

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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.

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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
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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.

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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)."

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