PP15: The Man of Lawlessness (II Thess. 2) Part 1


This is now the fifteenth post in our series on “A Partial-Preterist Perspective on the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.” This is the same title as a term paper I recently submitted to Northwestern College. All the previous posts can be found here, and it’s recommended that they be read in order before reading this post:

[1] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/brief-explanation-of-partial-preterism/
[2] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/pp2-references/
[3] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/pp3-external-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation/
[4] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp4-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-1/
[5] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp5-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-2/
[6] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp6-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-3/
[7] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp7-internal-evidence-for-an-early-date-revelation-part-4/
[8] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/14/pp8-daniels-70-week-prophecy-part-1/
[9] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/pp9-daniels-70-week-prophecy-part-2/
[10] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/pp10-jerusalems-destruction-foretold-in-the-olivet-discourse/
[11] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/pp11-did-jesus-come-in-70-ad-part-1/
[12] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/15/pp12-did-jesus-come-in-70-ad-part-2/
[13] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/pp13-signs-of-the-close-of-the-age/
[14] https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/pp14-abomination-of-desolation/

We now turn from a discussion of the Olivet Discourse to the man of lawlessness spoken of in II Thessalonians 2. This will be a two-part study in which we will consider the relevance to the first-century Church of Paul’s prediction of a man of lawlessness and a rebellion. We will also consider the identity of this man of sin.

Adam Maarschalk

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F. The Man of Lawlessness (II Thessalonians 2) [Part 1]

Just like the seven churches who first received the book of Revelation, Paul wrote to a church in Thessalonica that was under persecution (II Thessalonians 1:4-7). This persecution was evidently coming from the Jews, based on Acts 17:1-13 and I Thessalonians 2:14-16. Also the first Imperial persecution against Christians under Nero had not yet begun, since this book was written around 52 AD.[1] The Thessalonians would experience relief from their affliction, they were told, when Jesus came in vengeance, and to be glorified in and marveled at by His people (verses 7-10).

In this regard, Paul writes to a church that was concerned that they had missed this coming, for Paul writes: “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to Him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come” (II Thess. 2:1-2). The nature of their expectation must be considered. For if their expectation of the Lord’s coming was that it would be visible, it would bring an end to the world, or it would result in the instant removal of all believers from the earth, it’s hard to imagine how they could be led to believe that these things had already occurred. Referring to their concern, David Lowman (2009 [1]) writes:

This Day of the Lord is commonly argued to be the Second Coming, but the context simply does not allow for it. As mentioned in a previous post, it would literally make no sense for the Thessalonians to write a letter asking if the Day of the Lord has passed if the Day of the Lord was the Resurrection or rapture. Should the Thessalonians expect Paul to still be around if the day of the Lord meant “rapture”? If the Day of the Lord truly was understood to be the “rapture” then writing to Paul would be fruitless! Now, if on the other hand, the Thessalonians believed the Day of the Lord to be the coming judgment against apostate Israel, then asking about that event would make sense. And if they had friends or relatives in the Judean area it would easily explain their concern that the Day of the Lord had passed.

When the term “day of the Lord” is used elsewhere in Scripture, it almost exclusively speaks of an instance of God’s judgment. Therefore, it should be easy enough to conceive of Paul using the term in this text to refer to a day of the Lord against Jerusalem, if that’s what the context demands.

Paul states that two events had to occur before the day of the Lord would come: [1] the rebellion, and [2] the revealing of the man of lawlessness (II Thess. 2:3). Paul reminded the Thessalonians that he had already discussed these things with them in person (verse 5), and his language indicates that we are not given all the details of their conversation. Apparently, Paul had privately discussed with them the identity of the man of lawlessness and the entity that was restraining him, because he says, “And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time” (verse 6). This points to a first-century fulfillment, as does Paul’s next statement: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way” (verse 7).

James Stuart Russell, whose book, Parousia, in 1878 had a profound effect on both Charles Spurgeon[2] and R.C. Sproul, wrote the following about the immediate relevance of this subject to the Thessalonians (Todd Dennis [26], 2009):

Is it not obvious that whoever the man of sin may be, he must be someone with whom the apostle and his readers had to do? Is he not writing to living men about matters in which they are intensely interested? Why should he delineate the features of this mysterious personage to the Thessalonians if he was one with whom the Thessalonians had nothing to do, from whom they had nothing to fear, and who would not be revealed for ages yet to come? It is clear that he speaks of one whose influence was already beginning to be felt, and whose unchecked and lawless fury would ere [before] long burst forth.

But why does not the apostle speak out frankly? Why this reserve and reticence in darkly hinting what he does not name? It was not from ignorance; it could not be from the affectation of mystery. There must have been some strong reason for this extreme caution. No doubt; but of what nature? Why should he have been in the habit, as he says, of speaking so freely on the subject in private, and then write so obscurely in his epistle? Obviously, because it was not safe to be more explicit. On the one hand, a hint was enough, for they could all understand his meaning; on the other, more than a hint was dangerous, for to name the person might have compromised himself and them…

But how striking are the indications that point to Nero in the year when this epistle was written, say A.D.52 or 53. At that time Nero was not yet ‘manifested;’ his true character was not discovered; he had not yet succeeded to the Empire. Claudius, his step-father, lived, and stood in the way of the son of Agrippina. But that hindrance was soon removed. In less than a year, probably, after this epistle was received by the Thessalonians, Claudius was ‘taken out of the way,’ a victim to the deadly practice of the infamous Agrippina; her son also, according to Suetonius, being accessory to the deed. But ‘the mystery of lawlessness was already working;’ the influence of Nero must have been powerful in the last days of the wretched Claudius; the very plots were probably being hatched that paved the way for the accession of the son of the murderess. A few months more would witness the advent to the throne of the world of a miscreant whose name is gibbeted in everlasting infamy as the most brutal of tyrants and the vilest of men.

Kurt Simmons (2009 [2]) relates that there was no shortage of early church writers who agreed that Paul spoke of events in his own generation:

This has long been recognized as referring to Claudius Caesar and the restraining power of the religio licita…[3] Victorinus [???-303 AD], in his commentary on the Apocalypse, states:  “[John tells us that the beast] was in the kingdom of the Romans, and that he was among the Caesars. The Apostle Paul also bears witness, for he says to the Thessalonians: ‘Let him who now restraineth restrain, until he be taken out of the way; and then shall appear the Wicked One, even he whose coming is after the working of Satan, with signs and lying wonders.’ And that they might know that he should come who then was the prince, he adds: ‘He already endeavours after the secret of mischief’ – that is, the mischief which he is about to do he strives to do secretly; but he is not raised up by his own power, nor by that of his father, but by command of God.”

Victorinus here connects the “beast” from the abyss with the Roman empire and the “Wicked One” with the one who was prince when Paul wrote (Nero), and would follow his father (Claudius) to the throne.

Augustine (A.D. 354-430) is even more explicit: “Some think that these words refer to the Roman empire, and that the apostle Paul did not wish to write more explicitly, lest he should incur a charge of calumny against the Roman empire, in wishing ill to it when men hoped that it was to be everlasting. So in the words: ‘For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work’ he referred to Nero, whose deeds already seemed to be as those of Antichrist” (emphasis in original).


[1] This date has been determined, in part, because the authors (Paul, Silas, and Timothy; see II Thess. 1:1) were all together in Corinth at that time (Acts 18:5), where Paul dwelt for 18 months (Acts 18:11).

[2] Charles Spurgeon had this to say in his review of Russell’s book: “Though the author’s theory is carried too far, it has so much of truth in it, and throws so much new light upon obscure portions of the Scriptures, and is accompanied with so much critical research and close reasoning, that it can be injurious to none and may be profitable to all” (The Sword and the Trowel [magazine], October 1878 issue).

[3] This is Latin for “tolerated religion,” and it meant that adherents of a certain religion could enjoy various benefits under the Roman Empire, including exemption from following the official Imperial Cult. In Paul’s time, Judaism was the only tolerated religion in Rome, although Tiberius (who ruled from 14-37 AD) sought to change this during his time. Claudius (ruler from 41-54 AD), feeling much the same way, actually protected the Christians from the Jews, restraining them from more openly persecuting the Christians as they wished to do. Suetonius records that Claudius even banished the Jews from Rome at one point for rioting over the spread of the Christian faith (cf. Acts 18:2). When Claudius was poisoned by Agrippina, Nero’s mother, Judaism again enjoyed royal favor under Nero. Nero’s wife, Poppaea, was a Jewish proselyte, and Nero himself expressed interest in the Jewish religion.

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57 thoughts on “PP15: The Man of Lawlessness (II Thess. 2) Part 1

  1. The Man of Lawlessness, part two
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    By Duncan – Posted on 21 May 2010

    Hey Adam,

    I put my chapter (from The Antichrist and the Second Coming) on the man of lawlessness up here (in a few parts).
    http://planetpreterist.com/content/man-lawlessness-part-one
    http://planetpreterist.com/content/man-lawlessness-part-two

    Personally, I do not find Nero to be a very good candidate for the man of lawlessness. He never even set foot in Judea, let alone the Temple! Here is an excerpt from the chapter.

    WHY NERO COULD NOT HAVE BEEN THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS

    Some attempt to identify Nero as the man of lawlessness. This is impossible, however. The man of lawlessness was to be worshiped in the Temple (2 Thess. 2:4), something never accomplished by Nero. In spite of this fact, Gentry holds that an intention of Nero to be worshiped in the Temple would be enough to fulfill this prophecy. Gentry maintains that the grammatical construction of 2 Thessalonians 2:4 “indicates a purpose intended—not necessarily a purpose accomplished” (emphasis in original).27 The unlikely assertion that the mere intention to be worshiped in the Temple was enough to fulfill 2 Thessalonians 2:4 is a rather strained attempt by Gentry to bolster his position that Nero was the man of lawlessness. Unfortunately, he cannot even show this much; there is no record that Nero ever had the intention of being worshiped in Jerusalem’s Temple.28

    The almost certain identification of the man of lawlessness with the beast of Revelation (both are portrayed as the evil ruler who opposes Jesus and is defeated by the sword/breath of Jesus’ mouth at his parousia, 2 Thess. 2:8, Rev. 19:20-21)29 also presents a considerable problem for those who say Nero was the man of lawlessness. First, Nero died in mid-AD 68; how then could he be the one who was defeated by Jesus’ coming in AD 70? Second, Nero never set foot in Judea; how then could he be the one to capture the Temple and be worshiped there?

    Not only does Nero not fit the criteria for the man of lawlessness, he does not fit the criteria for the (individual) beast. The beast was to be the one who would destroy harlot Babylon (Rev. 17:11-17). Gentry correctly says that first-century Jerusalem is the harlot city spoken of in Revelation. Nero didn’t destroy Jerusalem, Titus did. Nero was the sixth king—he was on throne when Revelation was written. The individual beast would be an eighth king—he had not come out of the abyss yet (Rev. 17:8-11). Nero can not be both the one who is and at the same time the one who has not come yet!

    Nero certainly does not fit Daniel’s description of the king of the North (the ruler that Paul is referencing in his description of the man of lawlessness, cf. 2 Thess. 2:4 with Dan. 11:36-37). Nero never invaded the Holy Land; how could he be the one who led the attack against God’s holy mountain in Jerusalem (Dan. 11:40-45)?

    Even Gentry has to acknowledge that the only Roman leader who actually fulfilled the prophecy of 2 Thessalonians 2:4 of being worshiped in the Temple was Titus. Gentry writes the following on this: “the future emperor Titus actually accomplishes this ‘intention’ [of being worshiped in the Temple] when he completes the devastation of Jerusalem set in motion by Nero. Titus invades the Temple in A.D. 70 and his soldiers worship Rome within.”30 Gentry is attempting to associate Nero with Titus here in an effort to bolster his assertion that Nero was the man of lawlessness. The simple fact, however, is that it was Titus, not Nero, who fulfilled the prophecy of the man of lawlessness being worshiped in the Temple.

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    • Hi Duncan,

      Thank you for this information, and for pointing to what you have written on this subject. I’ve only quickly skimmed your two posts so far, but it will be good to read them in depth and to seriously consider what you have to say. I’m especially interested in your study of Daniel 11, for its own sake, and also as it may relate to II Thessalonians 2.

      I have to admit that initially the one factor which made me doubt at first that Nero was the man of lawlessness was the fact that he died in June 68 AD, two years before Christ’s coming in judgment in 70 AD at the time of Jerusalem’s destruction. At the time, I set aside my doubt because of this quote from James Stuart Russell which appears in the following post (II Thess-part 2):

      In this significant expression we have a note of the time when the man of sin is destined to perish, marked with singular exactitude. It is the coming of the Lord, the Parousia, which is to be the signal of his destruction; yet not the full splendour of that event so much as the first appearance or dawn of it. Alford (after Bengel) very properly points out that the rendering ‘brightness of his coming’ should be ‘the appearance of his coming,’ and he quotes the sublime expression of Milton, —‘far off His coming shone.’ Bengel, with fine discrimination, remarks, ‘Here the appearance of His coming, or, at all events, the first glimmerings of His coming, are prior to the coming itself.’ This evidently implies that the man of sin was destined to perish, not in the full blaze of the Parousia, but at its first dawn or beginning. Now what do we actually find? Remembering how the Parousia is connected with the destruction of Jerusalem, we find that the death of Nero preceded the event. It took place in June A.D. 68, in the very midst of the Jewish war which ended in the capture and destruction of the city and the temple. It might therefore be justly said that ‘the appearance, or dawn, of the Parousia was the signal for the tyrant’s destruction.

      I’m willing to consider, though, that Russell’s reasoning may have fallen short. Another factor which I took into account in the following post is the fact that the man of lawlessness is said to take his seat “in the temple of God” (II Thess. 2:4). I have a hard time conceiving of Paul referring to the Second Temple in this way, considering that Jesus proclaimed to Jerusalem and the Jewish religious leaders that “your house is left to you desolate” (Matt. 24:38). I find myself agreeing with John Calvin that “the wing of abominations” spoken of by Daniel (Dan. 9:27) referred to the period from (roughly) 30 AD to 70 AD when every sacrifice offered up in the temple was nothing but an abomination in light of the truth that Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice, had come.

      However, I suppose it’s possible that Paul spoke of the temple in this way because God’s presence had previously resided there, i.e. making an appeal to the status it once had. I’m not sure why he would do this, though. In seeing Paul’s reference to “the temple of God” as being an indication of the body of Christ, as I have up until this point, I haven’t viewed this to mean that the man of lawlessness would indwell each believer individually, but only that he would attempt to usurp the place of Christ as the head of the church. Because of my interpretation, I didn’t see the necessity for the man of lawlessness to physically enter the Second Temple in Jerusalem, which in my mind left Nero as a viable candidate if all other factors checked out.

      Another question I have in this regard is this: In the account of Josephus, as I recall, Titus tried to stop his soldiers from burning the temple, because he wanted to preserve it. If this account is accurate, then Titus must have entered the temple ahead of time and proclaimed himself to be God. I’ve never read of him doing that. Perhaps you go into this, though, in one of the posts you linked to.

      And probably the most crucial point which I will need to come to terms with, if I’m to believe that Titus was the man of lawlessness, is what we read in verse 8:

      “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of His mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of His coming.”

      Titus outlived 70 AD and went on to become an emperor of Rome. He wasn’t killed in 70 AD. As I was skimming one of your posts, I did notice where you addressed this briefly. If I understand correctly, you believe that only the demonic power behind Titus was killed in 70 AD, right? As difficult as it will be for me to wrap my head around that idea, I will consider it as I process these things.

      You also noted “(t)he almost certain identification of the man of lawlessness with the beast of Revelation.” Whether it’s possible that John spoke of one character while Paul spoke of another I’m not sure, but coming into this discussion I would agree that they are likely to be one and the same. With that in mind, if I end up convinced that Titus was the man of lawlessness, I have many things to consider as well regarding the beast of Revelation. For I’ve offered up 10 reasons for believing this beast, individually considered, to be Nero:

      https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/11/16/revelation-chapter-13-part-5-ten-fulfilled-prophecies/

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      • Well you are three up on me 🙂 I just have 7 connections between the little horn of Dan. 7 and the individual beast of Revelation see here http://www.theos.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=3203

        I answer most of the questions you ask (which are quite logical) in the three sections of the chapter. I also go into detail on Daniel 11:36-12:13 in my book (I have two chapters on it).

        My basic thesis is that what was destroyed at AD 70 was not a man nor the Roman Empire, but the beast from the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). The kings of Revelation are the same as the kings and princes of Persia and Greece in Dan. 10:13, 20-21. The eighth of these demonic kings would work through Titus in his destruction of unfaithful Israel. Nero was the sixth emperor, he was the one who “was” when Revelation was written (Rev. 17:10-11) the individual beast had not yet come at that time (Rev. 17:8). Nero can not be both the one who is and the one who has not yet come. Of course it was Titus who destroyed the harlot (cf. Dan. 9:26) in his attack against Jerusalem (Dan. 11:45-12:13). This ended with the destruction of the Jewish nation (Dan 12:7). By the way when Paul talks about the man of lawlessness in 2 Thess. 2:4, he is teaching on the king of the North (cf. Dan. 11:36-37) and his attack against God’s Holy mountain at the end of the age.

        The little horn is an 11 th ruler but becomes an 8th when 3 are removed before him (Dan. 7:23-27). This equates with the eighth ruler in Revelation (who destroys harlot Jerusalem). Here is a chart (not sure if it will come out right on the website)

        1. Julius Caesar (49-44 BC)
        2. Augustus (31BC- AD 14)
        3. Tiberius (AD 14-37
        4. Gaius a.k.a. Caligula (AD 37-41)
        5. Claudius (AD 41-54)
        6. Nero (AD 54-68)
        Galba (AD 68-69———
        Otho (AD 69)————- 3 horns removed
        Vitellius (AD 69)———
        7. Vespasian (AD 69-79)
        8. Titus in AD 70, the little eleventh horn of Dan. 7

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      • Adam,

        Here is something from my book on Josephus’ claim that Titus was a good guy who wanted to preserve the Temple.

        EVALUATING TITUS’ INTENTIONS
        Evaluating the actions and intentions of Titus in the Jewish war is not always an easy task. The reason for this is simple: Josephus, the one who supplies the vast majority of our information about Titus during this period, was an apologist for Titus. Josephus was so dedicated to Titus that he took the Flavian family name (Flavius).

        Flavius Josephus claimed that Titus did not intend to destroy the Temple. Josephus said that its burning was the action of some out-of-control troops.40 In evaluating this claim, it should be remembered that Josephus’ writings about the Jewish war were both financed and given final approval by Vespasian and Titus.

        Something else that makes Flavius Josephus less than forthcoming on the actions and intentions of Titus is that Josephus had been Titus’ right-hand man in dealing with the Jews during the Jewish war. After the war, Josephus was concerned about how his fellow Jews (and no doubt posterity) would view him. In his writings he did not want to make himself look like a traitor to his countrymen. If Josephus had admitted he had been the right-hand man of the tyrant who willfully destroyed God’s Temple, he would have been even more hated by his fellow Jews than he already was. Imagine a Jew who had been Hitler’s right-hand man during the Holocaust who then wrote a history defending his and Hitler’s actions during that period. Imagine also that Hitler both financed and gave final approval of this history. Such a history would contain a considerable number of rationalizations and minimizations (and, no doubt, exclusions) of what actually happened. This is analogous to Josephus’ account of Titus’ actions during the holocaust of AD 70.

        Most historians agree that Josephus whitewashed many of Titus’ activities and motivations regarding his hostility toward the Jewish religion. Commenting on the unlikely assertion that the Temple was destroyed contrary to Titus’ wishes, Paul Spilsbury writes:

        he Jewish War’s description of the events surrounding the fateful burning of the Temple is notorious for its disingenuousness. Josephus reports that on the night before the event itself Titus held a council of war in which he argued against the advice of most of those present that the Temple should be spared. In the actual event, though, the Temple was burned to the ground after an unruly soldier, “moved by some supernatural impulse,” (War 6.252) threw a firebrand into the sanctuary. Titus’ personal efforts to extinguish the fire, we are told, were thwarted by the recalcitrance of his men (War 6.260). The majority of modern historians find this account of events implausible. G. Alon [Jews, Judaism and the Classical World. Studies in Jewish History in the Times of the Second Temple and Talmud, trans. Abrahams (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1977), 253] states unambiguously that “we cannot avoid the almost certain conclusion that the Temple was put to the torch at Titus’ behest.” [emphasis original to Alon]. His argument is based on: (1) comparison with other sources, most notably Sulpicius Severus’ Chronica, perhaps derived from Tacitus’ lost Histories, which attributes the decision to burn the Temple to Titus himself; (2) examination of the events immediately preceding and following the burning of the Temple, which indicate that it was always part of the Roman intention; and (3) indication in other parts of Josephus’ works where he seems to betray that he knew Titus was to blame for the burning of the Temple (e.g., War 7.1; Ant 20.250). Alon’s conclusion is that Josephus distorted the truth and “adjusted” his history to meet “the demands of his benefactors” [Vespasian and Titus].41

        Roman historian Dio Cassius presents a very different picture of Titus’ intentions concerning the Temple. Dio said the Roman troops were afraid to violate the sanctity of the Temple and that it was Titus who compelled them to enter it: “. . . the Temple was now laid open to the Romans. Nevertheless, the soldiers because of their superstition did not immediately rush in; but at last, under compulsion from Titus, they made their way inside.”42

        The suggestion that the Temple was destroyed by out-of-control troops is especially unlikely when you read Josephus’ own description of how disciplined the Roman army was: “Military law demands the death penalty not only for desertion of the ranks but even some slight neglect of duty . . . .”43 Burning the Temple in violation of a (supposed) direct order from Titus Caesar44 would have been far worse than some slight neglect of duty. Technically, this would have made the troops’ actions worthy of death.

        An example of an obvious omission of Titus’ actions by Josephus can be found in his failure to even mention Titus’ relationship with the Jewish queen Bernice. Titus met Bernice in AD 67 when he first came to Judea. She lived with Titus and essentially became his common law wife, and yet Josephus fails to mention her or their scandalous relationship. The reason for this is that, since the time of Mark Antony’s disastrous relationship with Cleopatra, the Roman public was very leery of alliances between its leaders and foreign queens. If one depends only on Josephus’ record, the relationship between Titus and Bernice (who has been referred to as the “little Cleopatra”) never happened. This should make one suspicious of what other items Josephus left out of his account of Titus’ actions during this time.

        TITUS’ EXTERMINATION OF THE PRIESTHOOD
        One action that Josephus could not hide which speaks volumes about Titus’ intentions toward the Jewish religion was his extermination of the Temple priesthood. This act was especially heinous because the priests had been noncombatants in the war. When Titus captured the Temple, he ordered the execution of all the surviving priests. According to Josephus, he felt that the priesthood should perish along with the Temple.45 If this were not enough to reveal Titus’ true intentions, the Christian historian Eusebius (citing the second-century writer Hegesippus)46 recorded that, after the conquest of Jerusalem, Vespasian gave orders that all those who belonged to the line of David should be sought out and eradicated so that none of the lineage of the Messiah (who was to be a descendant of David) would remain.47 Vespasian’s order may have, in actuality, been given by Titus, as he was the one in charge of subduing the Jews after mid-AD 69 and possessed the authority to draft edicts in the name of his father.48

        Titus’ actions to destroy the Jewish nation, its Temple, the priesthood, and any remnants of the messianic line are consistent with the little horn’s waging war against Daniel’s people for “a time and times and half a time” (Dan. 7:25). The outcome of this three-and-a-half-year period of AD 67-70 was the destruction of the Jewish nation and old covenant order (Dan. 12:7).

        As one can imagine, the Jews had a very negative view of Titus, whom rabbinical literature refers to as “Titus the miscreant.”49 Josephus put the number of Jews killed in the Jewish war at 1,100,000, while 97,000 were taken prisoner and either sold into slavery or killed in gladiatorial games.50 While modern scholars (rightly or wrongly) consider the figure of a million-plus Jews killed to be inflated, the fact remains that many Jews were slaughtered by Titus’ three-and-a-half-year campaign in Judea.

        Note that the length of time that Titus waged war against Israel was equal to the length of time that Jesus preached to Israel; each had a three-and-a-half-year ministry (cf. Luke 13:6-9). This is not a coincidence, as Jesus’ three-and-a-half-year ministry, which brought an end to the legitimacy of sacrifice (cf. Heb. 10:12), completed the first half of Daniel’s seventieth week, while Titus’ three-and-a-half-year “ministry,” which made the Jewish nation desolate, completed the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:26-27). It is also interesting to note that Titus began his campaign against the Jews in Galilee, the very place where Jesus began his own ministry. Moreover, Titus concluded his campaign while camped opposite Jerusalem’s Psephinus tower,51 located just a stone’s throw away from Golgotha, where Jesus finished his ministry.

        Endnotes:
        40. Josephus, The Jewish War, 6, 4, 5-8.
        41. Paul Spilsbury, “Josephus on the Burning of the Temple, the Flavian Triumph and the Fall of Rome,” The Preterist Archive; http://www.preteristarchive.com/JewishWars/pdf/2002_spilsbury_josephus-temple.pdf.
        42. Dio Cassius, Roman History 15, 6, 2, in Dio’s Roman History, vol. VIII, trans. Earnest Cary (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982), 269.
        43. Josephus, The Jewish War 3, 5, 7, trans. Gaalya Cornfeld, 221.
        44. Titus was given the title of Caesar by his father when Vespasian became emperor in AD 69.
        45. Josephus, The Jewish War 6, 6, 6 (a most appropriately numbered reference for the Antichrist!).
        46. Hegesippus was a second-century Jewish-Christian writer; most of his work is lost.
        47. Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3, 12.
        48. Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Titus 8.
        49. Samuel Krauss, “Titus” in The Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. XII, ed. 163.
        50. Josephus, The Jewish War, 6, 9, 3.

        Duncan McKenzie The Antichrist and the Second Coming, 122-126

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  2. Hi Adam

    I find myself agreeing with John Calvin that “the wing of abominations” spoken of by Daniel (Dan. 9:27) referred to the period from (roughly) 30 AD to 70 AD when every sacrifice offered up in the temple was nothing but an abomination in light of the truth that Jesus, the ultimate sacrifice, had come.

    Adam,John Calvin does make an excellent point here.

    This time period(roughly)would have afforded Israel 40 years to repent,from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry to them unto the coming of the people of Titus ‘the prince’ son of emperor Vespasian.His armies destroyed Jerusalem and set the temple/ sanctuary ablaze.As Josephus stated,the burning the temple was apart from Titus’ will or command.Perhaps this is why Daniel wrote that the people of the prince would destroy the sanctuary.(Dan 9:26)

    Sadly enough,instead of repentance,Israel used this time before the destruction,to continue the abominable practice of animal sacrifices,in light of Jesus’ perfect sacrifice of himself.

    Like you,i also find it hard to imagine that Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:4,would have spoken of this stone temple which Jesus declared desolate,and destined for total destruction,as the temple of God.Determining the spiritual,literal,metaphorical and or symbolic meaning of various passages of scripture is indeed a task.

    For instance Daniel’s week (9:27a).Could he have been telling us that Jesus would confirm the New Covenant in a literal seven days? Possibly the very week of the Feast/festival of unleaven bread? His triumphal entry into Jerusalem,all that he taught and preached in the temple.The middle of the week,perhaps Wednesday, the cross.

    Moreover,there is no doubt that Jesus meant what he said,that he would be in the heart of the earth for a literal three days and three nights,three consecutive sabbath days,sundown to sundown.Would this not also be the only ‘sign’ given that he was indeed the Son of man,Lord of the Sabbath day? (Matthew 12:8,39,40)

    This is also another of my own partial preterist views, however,Adam.What do you think of the promised regathering of Israel? Could it have been accomplished at Pentecost? This was the first Harvest festival after Jesus’ ascension,and what better place and time for a gathering,then a Harvest festival?

    These Jews,devout men,were indeed from and born in every nation under Heaven (Acts 2:8) and may very well have been the children/offspring of those scattered by God.(Acts 2:1-42)Cf Joel 2:28,29,Isaiah 44:3,4 and Ezekiel 11:16-20.

    Well is guess i went beyond rambling.I really like you blog Adam, and intend to read all of your posts.

    Seroled

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    • Hi Seroled,

      I too agree that Adam et al have a great site. I like the way the bring a lot of different veiws together. As to what temple Paul was talking about here is what I wrote in my chapter. http://planetpreterist.com/content/man-lawlessness-part-two

      WHAT TEMPLE WAS THE MAN OF LAWLESSNESS TO TAKE CONTROL OF?
      Some commentators, unclear on a first-century identification of the man of lawlessness, argue that the temple Paul was talking about really refers to the church. Beale writes the following along these lines:

      What does it mean that the antichrist will sit in the temple of God? It does not refer to some future rebuilt temple in Israel, nor is it likely to refer to some past desecration of the temple in Jerusalem . . . It is more probable that the temple is a more specific metaphorical reference to the church as the continuation of the true cultus . . . Consequently, [2 Thess.] 2:3-4 teaches that the latter-day assailant will come into the midst of the church and cause it to become predominantly apostate and unbelieving. He will then try to take control of the church by carrying out further deception in it.31

      Beale argues that the other places in Paul’s writings where he uses the phrase God’s temple, it is always a symbolic usage.32 While this is true, and initially sounds persuasive, it is not so compelling when one actually looks at the verses cited. Although Paul elsewhere uses the temple as a metaphor for both the church and the believer’s body (see below, underlined emphasis mine), he makes it quite clear that the literal Temple is not meant in those contexts:

      Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
      1 Corinthians 3:16-17

      Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?
      1 Corinthians 6:19

      And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
      2 Corinthians 6:16

      Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostle and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
      Ephesians 2:20-22

      Now look at 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; the obvious symbolism in the above verses simply does not exist:

      Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. (underlined emphasis mine)

      If we are going to follow Beale’s lead and allow the other places that Paul uses the phrase God’s temple to dictate the meaning of temple in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, one could almost as easily conclude that Paul was teaching that the man of lawlessness would take his place in the physical bodies of believers some time in the future! Martin makes the following cogent point on this question of whether Paul was referring to the literal Temple.

      Paul commonly used naos [temple] metaphorically of the believer as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:16). But here it must be used literally if the passage is to depict an observable, symbolic event the church could recognize as an indication of the nearness of the day of the Lord.33

      It would be very strange if, in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, Paul was not talking about the Jerusalem Temple. First, Paul was writing c. AD 50, when the Temple was still in existence and would remain standing for another twenty years. Given that there is no indication whatsoever of a symbolic reference to the Temple in verse 4, the Thessalonians would have logically concluded that Paul was talking about the physical Temple in Jerusalem.

      A second (more decisive) indication that Paul is referring to the Jerusalem Temple is the fact that he draws from Daniel 11:36-45 in his teaching in 2 Thessalonians 2. Daniel 11:36-45 describes the king of the North’s attack against God’s holy mountain (v. 45), his attack against the literal Jerusalem Temple at the end of the old covenant age. Thus, Paul is expounding on a section of Scripture that describes a physical assault on the Temple in Jerusalem. To say that Paul is, in this context, using the Temple as a symbol for the church makes absolutely no sense. Lastly, the object of Paul’s discussion is Jesus’ parousia (2 Thess. 2:1, 8). When Jesus discussed this topic of his Second Coming, it was clearly in the context of the assault and destruction of the Jerusalem Temple at the end of the age (Matt. 24:1-3).

      One last point. One could argue that the “holy city” in Rev. 11:2 could not be Jerusalem because Jerusalem is the harlot city (Rev. 17-18) and John would never call it the holy city. He does though–he is referencing Dan. 9:24 (Seventy weeks are determined for your people and your holy city). The forty two weeks of Rev. 11:2 is the last half of Daniel’s 70 week. This was the time of the coming of the one who would make Israel desolate (. . . And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate . . .).

      Duncan

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      • Thanks Seroled,

        I spent 10 years working on my book. It became so long I had to make it into two volumes (only volume one is out so far)! I thus have a lot to say.

        As to the abomination of desolation I think the NKJV gives the clearest rendering of what it means (“And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate . . .”)–this was the coming of Titus. This explains Matt. 24:15-21. It was when this happened (the coming of Titus and the Romans) that those in Judea needed to flee (v. 16); this would be the beginning of the great tribulaltion (v. 21). Titus came in March/April of AD 67. Forty two months later (in Aug/Sept) the Jewish nation was shattered (Dan. 12:7 cf. Dan. 7:25; Rev. 11:2 13:5). Here is something else you might find interesting:

        DANIEL 9:26 AND 27 PARALLEL EACH OTHER

        To gain a better understanding of Daniel 9:27 it is helpful to look at Daniel 9:26, as the two verses parallel each other.26 That is, the first part of each verse gives the actions and resulting consequences of the ministry of the Christ; the second part of each verse gives the actions and resulting consequences of the “ministry” of the Antichrist. I have put Christ and Antichrist in brackets before the sections in each verse that apply to them.

        26. [Christ] And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off but not for Himself; [Antichrist] and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
        27. [Christ] Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. [Antichrist] And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate. Even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.

        The Christ would be killed (v. 26); his death, being the ultimate sacrifice (cf. John 1:29), would put an end to need and legitimacy of the sacrificial system (v. 27, cf. Heb. 10:5-18). After this the Antichrist would come and destroy Jerusalem and the Temple (v. 26); his coming would result in Israel being made desolate (v. 27). Keep in mind that the seventy sevens, or weeks, of Daniel 9:24-27 were specifically related to the Jews and the city of Jerusalem: “Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city . . .” (Dan. 9:24).

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      • Duncan,

        I echo Seroled’s gratitude. Thank you very much for laying all this out. There’s a lot of very good information and well-expressed thoughts here (also from you, Seroled), all worth considering. I haven’t quite caught up with it all yet, but reading and studying these matters is on my “soon to-do list,” and I’m already working on it as I have the time. The information regarding Josephus’ close relationship to Titus, and thus his motivation to write in a pro-Titus manner, is very interesting.

        Thanks to both of you for your kind words about this site.

        I’ll answer briefly to a couple things brought up here within the last couple of days. I’m glad that Revelation 11:2 was mentioned, where John referred to “the holy city.” Yes, it does appear to be a reference to Daniel 9:24. This is something quite important to consider, with regard to Rev. 11 and also to II Thessalonians 2.

        Regarding Daniel 9:24-27, I’m very much on board with the a-b-a-b structure you (Duncan) laid out for verses 26-27. That is, Jesus is spoken of in verse 26a and also in verse 27a, and the one who makes desolate is spoken of in verse 26b and verse 27b.

        In my term paper on 70 AD (part 1 and (part 2), I discussed two different ways of looking at the 70th and final week of the prophecy:

        [1] the first half (3.5 years) fulfilled during Christ’s earthly ministy, and the second half fulfilled from early spring 67 AD – late summer 70 AD; this position features a nearly 40 year gap;
        [2] the first half (3.5 years) fulfilled during Christ’s earthly ministry, and the second half fulfilled during the very next 3.5 years as the gospel was proclaimed almost exclusively to the Jewish people before then going forth to the Gentiles as well; this position features no gap at all.

        These two options is another thing I’m still trying to take a closer look at.

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    • Seroled,

      As mentioned already, thanks very much for your thoughts and questions. You asked about the “promised regathering of Israel.” Is this a reference to Ezekiel 36-37, or which passage(s) do you have in mind? I would agree with you, in any case, that what took place at Pentecost was a part of this regathering. Concerning Ezekiel 36-37, for example, I believe that Ezekiel spoke of both [1] the soon-coming return of the Jews under Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah; and [2] the future (to Ezekiel) New Covenant age.

      I don’t, however, see the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy as taking place over a literal 7 days. I see that final week as being 7 years in length, just like the previous 69 weeks were. Of course, I see this prophecy as completely fulfilled by the first century AD, as already discussed in my last comment.

      Blessings to you. I look forward to hearing other thoughts you have on various matters.

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      • Hello Adam

        Thank you for your response(s)Concerning the regathering of Israel,it was this post by David Lowman (though not directly related to Peter sermon at Penetecost)and the study of the correlating passages of Acts 2,that caused me to believe that both the physical as well as spiritual regathering of Israel took place at Pentecost.I wanted to know if there were others who believed this also.

        http://low5point.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/the-olivet-discourse-coming-on-the-clouds/

        Also Polycarp wrote a very nice post over a year ago ‘Was Pentecost the regathering of Israel’ You can view David’s comment there is well.

        http://thechurchofjesuschrist.us/2009/02/was-pentecost-the-regathering-of-israel/

        Thank you for your answer concerning the 70 weeks of Daniel.I look forward to reading and chatting with you on future posts.Very nice Job on what you have written so far.

        Seroled

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      • I do agree, yes, that any “regathering of Israel” prophesied in the Old Testament, which pointed to a fulfillment later in history than the time of Zerubbabel / Ezra / Nehemiah, began to be fulfilled at Pentecost. It continues to be fulfilled through the Church. I took the time to browse through Polycarp’s post (a good one indeed) and the comments there (some were painful to read). Thanks for posting that link.

        Are you sure the link to David Lowman’s post is the one you meant to post? It’s a great post, but he doesn’t seem to speak of the regathering of Israel in that post, which happens to be a discussion of Matthew 24:30. I would imagine that subject would come up in a discussion of Matthew 24:31 instead.

        By the way, if I can ask, are you the one who posted as “Yehoshuamyking” at David’s site, and as “Yeshua the Lord of Glory” at Polycarp’s site? It’s just a guess on my part…

        Thank you again for your kind words regarding what you’ve read at this site so far.

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  3. Hi Duncan and thanks again

    A few questions.

    Is it significant or just coincidence,that from the birth of Christ to the destruction of the temple,that 70 yrs were fulfilled? The same length of the captivity in Babylon that Daniel was praying about.

    What if anything would change if Daniel in 9:27a,was speaking of a literal week,seven days,not seven years? If this passage was specifically written to identify the Messiah to a certain ‘generation’ Those who saw and heard him,witnessed the cutting of the New Covenant/his death,and later the destruction of the temple.

    Can it just be coincidence,that Daniel spoke of a week and Jesus in fact died in the middle of the Holiest of all weeks,the feast of Unleaven bread?

    Moreover,Jesus was laid in the tomb before sundown and we know that the new day,which was also a Sabbath/Holy convocation,began at sundown.His burial to his resurrection-three days and three nights,would certainly cover the remaining three and a half days of the Holy week…

    Do you use the Hebrew Calender,which adds an additional month, every three years,when calculating the seventy weeks of Daniel?

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    • Seroled and Adam.

      Seroled,

      Yeooo, It is kind of like Columbo where he would have just one more question (you guys may be too young to get that), except you have a bunch more questions (difficult ones at that!). I think Jerusalem had become like Babylon. She had destroyed God’s ultimate Temple (Jesus John 2:19) and was persecuting God’s people. So the 70 years could be likened to the Babylonian Captivity. the other questions I am not sure.

      Adam,

      Do not fear the gap! You agree with the ab ab sturcture of 9:26-27, the b part of that happened from AD 67-70. The end of the time of 31/2 always brings one to the AD 70 full establishment of God’s kingdom.

      Here is something from volume II.

      EXCURSUS 8A: THE TIME PERIOD OF THREE-AND-A-HALF: THE TIME OF TRIAL FOR GOD’S COVENANT PEOPLE

      Before I leave Revelation 13, I want give a brief refresher on the time period of three-and-a-half—the time of trial right before the Second Advent. This brings together some things that I covered in more detail in volume one.

      Revelation 13:5-7 contains a reference to the forty-two months (i.e., three-and-a-half years) that the individual beast would be allowed to make war with God’s people. This time period of three-and-a-half appears in various forms in both Daniel and Revelation. It represents a time of trial for physical Israel as well as God’s new covenant people right before the coming of God and the full establishment of his kingdom (cf. Dan. 7:21-22, 25). It consists of the following variations:

      The last half (3 ½) of Daniel’s seventieth week: Daniel 9:27.
      A time (and) times and half a time (a time period of three-and-a-half): Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 12:14.
      Forty-two months (three-and-a-half years): Revelation 11:2; 13:5.
      1260 days (forty-two months of 30-day months): Revelation 11:3; 12:6.
      Three-and-a-half days: Revelation 11:9, 11.

      What these scriptures all have in common is that they refer to a time period of three-and-a-half that was to be a time of trial and testing for God’s covenant people just prior to the full establishment of God’s kingdom. While a single chronological sequence of all these references is not possible, these scriptures for the most part do fit into two related time periods—one literal, the other more symbolic. All of the references to the period of three-and-a-half end with the full establishment of God’s kingdom at the Second Advent in AD 70.

      THE LITERAL USE OF THE TIME OF THREE-AND-A-HALF
      The first way the time period of three-and-a-half is used is in a literal sense, as the period of three-and-a-half years or forty-two months (March/April of AD 67- August/September of AD 70) that Titus waged war against the Jews. This was the time of the great tribulation and is the most common way that the period of three-and-a-half is used. It is used this way in Daniel 7:25; 9:27; 12:7 and Revelation 11:2 and 13:5 (underlined emphasis mine).

      He [the little eleventh horn] shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.
      Daniel 7:25-27

      Then he [the Messiah of v. 26] shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week [i.e., at the end of the first 3 ½ of the seventieth week] he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And [happening in the last 3 ½] on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.
      Daniel 9:27

      At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation . . . And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, “How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?” Then I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven and swore by Him who lives forever, that it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished.
      Daniel 12:1, 6-7

      Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.”
      Revelation 11:1-2

      So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
      Revelation 13:4-5

      This literal period of three-and-a-half is the three-and-a-half years that the Antichrist (the little eleventh horn/individual beast) makes war against God’s people. It refers to the coming of the prince who would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple (Dan. 9:26). Titus’ three-and-a-half-year campaign against Israel would be the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week and would end with the desolation and destruction of the Jewish nation (Dan. 9:27; 12:7).

      THE SYMBOLIC USE OF THE TIME OF THREE AMD A HALF
      The second way the time period of three-and-a-half is used is in a more symbolic sense. It is used this way in Revelation 12, where it is symbolic of the time between the cross (AD 30) and the destruction of Jerusalem (AD 70).

      Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days.
      Revelation 12:6

      Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent.
      Revelation 12:13-14; cf. Dan. 12:7

      The symbolic use of the period of three-and-a-half refers to the forty year period between the cutting off of Messiah in AD 30 and the desolation of Israel in AD 70. This is shown in Revelation 12 where the New Jerusalem is pictured as a mother (cf. Is. 66:7-13). This is the Jerusalem from above; she represents the new covenant mother of believers (“but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all” Gal. 4:26). Jesus is shown as the firstborn of this “mother” (Rev. 12:5)—the firstborn of many brethren (Rev. 12:17; cf. Rom. 8:29). The “birth” of the male Child represents Jesus’ spiritual birth as the firstborn from the dead (“You are my Son, Today I have begotten You,” Acts 13:33-34; cf. Col. 1:18; Rev. 1:5). Thus, the male Child after being born immediately ascends to the throne of God—the ascension at AD 30.

      Revelation 12 shows Satan being cast out of heaven at Jesus’ ascension (Rev. 12:1-10; cf. John 12:31-32). The kingdom of God is established in heaven at this time, but not yet on earth (Rev. 12:10-12). The new covenant mother and her children (Rev. 12:17) would need protection from Satan until the end of “a time and times and half a time” (Rev. 12:14). This would be until the AD 70 shattering of the Jewish nation (cf. Dan. 12:7). This was the time of the full establishment of the kingdom of God and was analogous to the children of Israel entering the Promised Land. Thus, the time period of three-and-a-half in Revelation 12:6, 14 is symbolic of the spiritual exodus that believers were participating in the time between AD 30 and AD 70 (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1-12; Heb. 3:7-4:11).

      Finally, in Revelation 11:7-9 we are shown the Antichrist (the beast from the abyss) making war with the saints and overcoming them; he prevails for three-and-a-half days. The allusion here is to the little horn of Daniel 7 and his overcoming of the saints for a time and times and half a time (Dan. 7:21-27). This again refers to Titus and his three-and-a-half-year campaign against the Jews/saints. The figure of three-and-a-half days is used here (as opposed to the usual three-and-a-half years that the Antichrist overcomes God’s people, cf. Rev. 13:5-7) because a parallel is being made between the ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus and the ministry, death and resurrection of the two witnesses (Rev. 11:3-14). The two witnesses’ are a corporate symbol of the saints (cf. Acts 1:8; 2:32; 5:32, etc.).[1] While the two witnesses being brought back to life after “three-and-a-half days” does equal the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week (taken as a literal week), there is probably also an allusion to Jesus’ resurrection being “after three days” (Mark 8:31). Notice that both the literal and symbolic uses of three-and-a-half bring one to the AD 70 full establishment of God’s kingdom.

      DANIEL’S SEVENTY WEEKS
      The primary source for the time of trial of three-and-a-half is the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24-27. The context of the seventy weeks (lit. seventy sevens) has to do with the Jews and Jerusalem (“seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city” Dan 9:24; cf. Rev. 11:2). The time period of three-and-a-half is the last half of the seventieth week. While this tribulation period would come upon the whole world, it would focus on the Jews, those who dwelled on the Land (Rev. 3:10). In Daniel 9:26-27, Daniel’s seventieth week is given as the time during which God would establish and confirm his covenant; it is divided into two parts (3 ½ and 3 ½) in verse 27. It should be noted that these two verses present a juxtaposition of the activities of Christ and Antichrist—I have added brackets accordingly.

      26. [Christ] And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; [Antichrist] and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
      27. [Christ] Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. [Antichrist] And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.

      Daniel 9:26 and 27 parallel each other—they each address the same two topics. The first part of each verse contains a reference to the killing of Messiah and the resulting end of the legitimacy of the sacrificial system

      26. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off . . . .
      27. . . . in the middle of the week He shall bring and end to sacrifice and offering . . . .

      The death of Jesus brought an end to the legitimacy of the sacrificial system (cf. Matt. 27:50-51; Heb. 10:11-18); it happened after seven and sixty-two weeks, Dan. 9:25 (i.e., during the seventieth week, at the end of its first half).

      The second part of verses 26 and 27 contain a reference to the coming of the one who would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple; this would be the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week. This period of three-an-a-half would be the time of the coming of Antichrist, the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate:

      26. …and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
      27….And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate.

      It is this last half of Daniel’s seventieth week that the time period of three-and-a-half is referencing.

      SUMMARY

      The time period of three-and-a-half that is found in Daniel and Revelation is derived from the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week. It describes the time when, after the Christ had been cut off, that the one who would make Israel desolate—the Antichrist—would come (Dan. 9:26-27). This time period was to be a time of trial just prior to the full establishment of God’s kingdom in AD 70; it would come upon the whole world (Rev. 3:10) but would focus on the Jews (“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city . . .” Dan. 9:24). That the Jews would be the focus of the seventy weeks is also seen in the fact that this time period would end with the great tribulation and shattering of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:1-7).

      There are two ways one can view the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week. The first way is more literal, as a three-and-a-half-year bookend (of March/April of AD 67 to August/September of A.D. 70) at the end of the seventieth week. The initial bookend of Daniel’s seventieth week being Jesus’ three-and-a-half-year ministry (c. AD 27-30) at the beginning of the week. This makes the two halves of the seventieth week into two bookends, AD 27-30 and AD 67-70, with a gap in between.[2] This more literal use of the time of three-and-a-half is found in Daniel 7:25 (“a time and times and half a time”); 12:7 (“a time, times and half a time”); Revelation 11:2 (“forty-two months”); and 13:5 (“forty-two months”).

      The other way the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week can be seen is more symbolic, as the 40 year time period from when Messiah was cut off in AD 30 to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 (Dan. 9:26). Notice that in this symbolic use there is no gap; the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week is the time between the crucifixion and the desolation of Israel (Dan. 9:27). This symbolic use of the time of three-and-a-half is found in Revelation 12:6 (“one thousand two hundred and sixty days”) and 12:14 (“a time and times and half a time”). This wilderness time (v. 14) symbolizes the spiritual exodus of believers in the transition period of AD 30-70 (cf. 1 Cor. 10:1-12; Heb. 3:7-4:11). Again, both the literal and symbolic uses of the time period of three-and-a-half bring one to the same point in time, the full establishment of God’s kingdom at AD 70.

      Endnotes:
      1. This explains the allusion in Revelation 11:11 to Ezekiel 37:9-14, where the breath of God brings the dead body of Israel back to life. The resurrection of the two witnesses is a picture of the resurrection of the body of Christ, not a literal resurrection of two fire breathing individuals (cf. Rev. 11:5); this helps to explain why it is the singular “body” is used in reference to the two witnesses not “bodies” (vv. 8, 9). See Beale, Revelation, 572-582.
      2. While a gap does exist, it is not the thousands of years between the sixty-ninth and seventieth week that dispensationalists claim. Some preterists, in reaction to the huge gap proposed by dispensationalists, argue that there is no indication in the text of a gap between the first half and second half of Daniel’s week. With the aid of historical hindsight, however, it seems clear that the first half of the seventieth week ended when Jesus was cut off in AD 30 and the second half ended when Titus made the Jewish nation desolate in AD 70. God was establishing and confirming the new covenant during this time. During the first half of the seventieth week He established the new covenant through the death of Jesus. During the second half He confirmed the new covenant by abolishing the old covenant Temple system.
      What is essentially the same gap between the first and second half of Daniel’s seventieth week occurs in Isaiah 61:2.

      The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; he has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord [fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry], and the day of vengeance of our God [fulfilled in Titus’ destruction].
      Isaiah 61:1-2

      In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus quotes this section of Isaiah up to the last half of vs. 2. He stopped his reading at that point and left out the part that referred to “the day of vengeance of our God.” The first half of Isaiah 61:2, “the acceptable year of the Lord” was being fulfilled in Jesus’ ministry. The last half, “the day of vengeance” would be fulfilled some forty years later in Titus’ AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem and the scattering of the Jews into the nations. Luke wrote the following on this: “For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled . . . and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations.” (Luke 21:22, 24).

      That the second half of Daniel’s seventieth week is separated from the first half is also shown by the fact that the last half of the seventieth week keeps showing up in Scripture as the time period of three-and-a-half right before the AD 70 Second Coming (cf. Dan. 7:21-25). This last half of Daniel’s seventieth week would be the period when the Antichrist would overcome the Jews/saints (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5-7). It would be the time of the great tribulation; it would end with the resurrection at the time of the destruction of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:1-7). This hardly fits AD 33, which would be the end of the seventy weeks if there was no gap between Messiah being cut off and the coming of the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate.

      In addition to the above points, the purpose of the seventy weeks was related to the Jews and Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24). It was AD 70 (not AD 33) that accomplished the destruction of Jerusalem and the shattering of the power of Daniel’s people (Dan. 12:7). Furthermore, the events that the seventy weeks were to complete (“To finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy.” Dan. 9:24) were fulfilled at the Second Coming in AD 70 not in AD 33.

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      • Duncan,

        Do not fear the gap!

        Thanks for the advice. 🙂 Very good stuff once again. I also agree with your interpretation of the two witnesses as a corporate symbol of the saints.

        Yes, I must be too young (I’m 31) to understand your reference to Columbo. I do have one question, though, that I’ve been meaning to ask:

        If Titus is the little horn of Daniel 7, and the beast of Revelation 13, does history record that he targeted the followers of Christ for persecution (Daniel 7:21 and Revelation 13:5-7)? I know that Nero specifically persecuted the saints, and I wrote about his campaign of persecution here:

        https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2009/11/07/revelation-chapter-13-part-1-verses-1-10/

        I haven’t studied as much about the life of Titus, and I don’t know whether or not he was involved in the persecution of the saints during the time period leading up to Jerusalem’s destruction in 70 AD. I only know that he went after the Jewish people as a whole, the majority of whom would not have been counted as saints because of their spiritual unbelief.

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      • Hi Adam,

        The Antichrist’s focus is on the Jews. I hope this makes sense. I threw it together way too fast.

        1. The little horn seeks to make alterations in the time of religious observance and law (Dan. 7:25). This happened in Ad 68 when Vespasian and Titus allowed the equivalent of a new Sanhedrin to be set up in Yavneh.

        2. The prince to come destroys Jerusalem and the Temple, making Israel desolate Dan. 9:26-27.

        3. The king of the North attacks Jerusalem (Dan. 11:45) this is the the time of the great tribulation, it results in the shattering of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:1-7).

        4. This is supported in the NT. The time of the great tribulation would be the time for those in Judea to flee (Matt. 15-21).

        5. This would be the time that the Antichrist would capture the Temple (Paul is teaching from the king of the North and his attack against Jerusalem here (cf 2 Thess. 2:4 with Dan. 11:36-37).

        6. The individual beast requires those who dwell on the Land (of Israel) to take his mark or face death. “Ge” is usually translated as “Land” in Revelation not “earth”

        7. The individual beast destroys harlot Babylon (unfaithful Jerusalem and her Temple) in Rev. 17-18

        None of this fits Nero (who never even set foot in the Land of Israel). It all does fit Titus, however.

        Notice Rev. 13. The corporate beast has a mortal head wound (v. 3). This was the death of Nero (cf. Rev. 16:10). It is after the recovery of the corporate beast (when Vespasian and Titus took over the Roman Empire) that we are told of the individual beasts requiring those on the Land to worship him (everyone, Jew and Gentile). Here is something from my ch. on Rev. 13.

        THE DWELLERS ON THE LAND THAT WOULD NOT WORSHIP THE BEAST WOULD BE KILLED

        Revelation 13:3 says that the entire “world” would follow the beast. The chapter goes on to say that those who dwell on the “earth” (vv. 8, 12, 14), whose names were not in the Lamb’s Book of Life, would worship the beast. These references to “world” and “earth” (vv. 3, 8, 12 & 14) use the same Greek word, gē. As I discussed earlier, gē is usually better translated as “Land” in Revelation. It was those who were dwelling on the land of Israel, those whose names were not in the Lamb’s book of life that would follow and worship the beast (by acknowledging Titus Caesar as Lord). Some would do this sooner, others later, but eventually every knee of those dwelling on the Land would bow to Titus or face death (Rev. 13:15). Chilton, commenting on Revelation 13:3-4, notes the following on the meaning of earth/Land in Revelation 13

        St. John is not speaking of the world (the “earth” following the Beast; the word he uses here should be translated Land, meaning Israel. We know this because the context identifies his worshipers as those who dwell on the Land (Rev. 13:8, 12, 14)—a technical term used twelve times in Revelation to denote apostate Israel.

        That the dwellers on the Land in Revelation 13 is referring to those who dwelt in Judea is supported by the fact that the second beast (the false prophet, Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10) comes out of the Land (Rev. 13:11). The false prophet was Jewish, coming out of the land of Israel (cf. Deut. 13:1-5).

        Also supporting the fact that the reference to the dwellers on the Land is speaking of the land of Israel is the time period of forty-two months (Rev. 13:5) that the individual beast is allowed for his reign of terror. Forty-Two months is three-and-a-half years; it is a reference to the last half of Daniels’ seventieth week. The seventy weeks of Daniel were to focus on the Jews and Jerusalem (“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city . . .” Dan. 9:24). The last half of the seventieth week was the time of the coming of the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate: “And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation which is determined is poured out on the desolate.” (Dan. 9:27; cf. Matt. 23:29-38; Luke 21:21-23). Forty-Two months is how long it took Titus to destroy the Jewish nation (cf. Dan. 12:7).

        A further indication that the dwellers on the Land in Revelation 13 are the Jews is the form of worship the Land beast/false prophet requires them to adopt. The mark of the beast on the hand or forehead (Rev. 13:16) alludes to Jewish worship. The hand (or arm) and forehead are the location of the phylacteries ( little leather boxes containing portions of Scripture that Jewish men wear when praying; cf. Ex 13:9, 16; Deut. 6:8; 11:18). I will be going into detail on this later in the chapter. For now I just want to highlight that Revelation 13 (especially from vs. 5 on) is primarily talking about the individual beast. This is referring to the Antichrist and his war on the Jews; this was the demonic prince whose people would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, (Dan. 9:26). This culminates with his destruction of harlot Babylon (unfaithful Israel) in Revelation 17-18.

        WORSHIP CAESAR OR DIE
        With the title of Caesar (given to him in AD 69 by his father), Titus could now demand the worship of the dwellers on the Land, demanding that they make the confession that he, as Caesar, was Lord. Josephus recorded that under the Flavians those who would not acknowledge Caesar as Lord were put to death:

        The next incident occurred in Egypt, and cost the lives of many Jews. Some members of the party of the Sicarii [Jewish revolutionaries] had managed to escape to Alexandra, where not satisfied with being still alive they started a subversive movement, urging many of their hosts to claim their freedom and to regard the Romans as no whit their superiors, honouring God as their only master . . . They [the Jewish elders of Alexandria] . . . urged the gathering [of Jews] to take care that these men [the Sicarrii] did not bring them to ruin: they could justify themselves to the Romans by handing them over. Recognizing that the danger was very real the audience accepted their advice, and making a furious rush at the Sicarii rounded them up. Six hundred were caught then and there: a number escaped into Egypt and Egyptian Thebes, but were soon apprehended and brought back. There was universal astonishment at the fortitude and desperation—or was it strength of mind?—that they displayed. Subjected to every form of torture and bodily suffering that could be thought of, for the one purpose of making them acknowledge Caesar as lord, not a man gave in or came near to saying it, but rising above the strongest compulsion they all maintained their resolve, and it seemed as if their bodies felt no pain and their souls were almost exultant as they met the tortures and the flames. But nothing amazed the spectators as much as the behaviour of young children; for not one of them could be constrained to call Caesar lord.

        The events above happened around AD 74 when Vespasian had been emperor for over four years; this is significant because it was a time when the Empire was settled. If these events were happening in AD 74, they certainly would have been happening in the much more tense times leading up to AD 70. The whole Empire was on the line in AD 68-69; ascertaining which of the competing Caesars a given Roman subject was loyal to was of utmost importance (remember, AD 69 saw the reigns of four different Caesars). Saying one was a Christian and could not confess Titus Flavius Vespasianus (the name of both father and son) as Lord would have been a very perilous thing to do. As Josephus notes, the sentence for honoring God as one’s “only master” would have been death. Notice how even children were required to worship the Flavian Caesar as Lord or face death. This parallels Revelation 13:16, where all of those on the Land, “both small and great” had to worship the beast.

        The word “Lord” (Heb. adonai) was the title that the Jews would substitute for the sacred name of Yahweh in their public reading of Scripture. Thus for a Jew to call Caesar “Lord” was in essence calling him God, which was blasphemy. This helps to explain why the children could not be forced to call Caesar “Lord,” to do so would have been to deny God. In like manner, to Christians (the first Christians being Jewish) the word “Lord” was associated with God (kyrios being substituted for the name of Yahweh in the LXX) and was the title that belonged to the Lord Jesus. Professing Jesus as “Lord” was a mark of a Christian (1 Cor. 12:3). To call Caesar “Lord” was the antithesis of God’s command “that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…” (Phil. 2:11). Confessing Caesar as Lord was denying Jesus and would result in Jesus denying that person (Matt. 10:28-33). Worshipping the beast was worshipping Satan (Rev. 13:4; cf. 12:3). Revelation condemns this worship in no uncertain terms.

        If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of this name.
        Revelation 14:9-11

        Revelation 13:4 reveals that what ultimately gave Titus his power was not simply title of Caesar or the mighty army behind him, but the satanic authority that he possessed: “So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” Rev. 13:4. With Titus’ total control over the land of Israel, what is said in Psalms about the Christ could also be said about the Antichrist; “Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way” (Psalm 2:12). Those who dwelled in the Land that wouldn’t acknowledge Titus Caesar as Lord would be losing their lives (Rev. 13:15)—those who did acknowledge him as Lord they would be losing their souls (Rev. 14:9-12).

        HOW WOULD THE GREAT TRIBULATION AFFECT THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA?

        A legitimate question at this point is, if most of what is talked of in Revelation 13 has to do with the dwellers on the land of Israel, what was the relevance of all of this to the seven churches of Asia? In answering this question, first notice the difference between what was in store for the dwellers on the Land and what was in store for the seven churches of Asia. All the dwellers on the land of Israel that wouldn’t worship the image of the beast would be killed (Rev. 13:15). This is quite different from what God said was about to happen to seven churches:
        The church at Ephesus was told to continue to persevere and have patience (Rev. 2:2-3); no mention is made of impending martyrdom. The church at Smyrna was to have tribulation and some of its members (not all or even many) would be thrown in prison (Rev. 2:10). The church at Pergamum was commended for their faithfulness even when one of its members was martyred (Rev. 2:13); no mention is made that many more (let alone all) were about to face martyrdom. The church at Thyatira was told that only those who were following a so called prophetess would face great tribulation (Rev. 2:20-23); the rest of those at Thyatira were told to continue doing what they were doing until Jesus came (Rev. 2:24-25). The church at Sardis was told its biggest threat was its spiritual deadness (Rev. 3:1-2); as with the other six churches, no mention is made of impending widespread martyrdom.

        The church at Philadelphia was told it would be kept from the time of trouble that was coming on the whole world. This time of trouble would focus on those who dwell on the Land (Rev. 3:10). Again, Revelation 3:10 clarifies the relationship between the land of Israel and the rest of the Roman Empire in terms of the great tribulation. The great tribulation would come upon the inhabited world but it would focus on Judea. Jesus said it was to be a time of “great distress in the land [tēs gēs] and wrath on this people” (Luke 21:23; cf. Dan. 9:26-27; 11:36-12:7).

        Looking at the last of the seven churches, the biggest problem the church of Laodicea had was its wealth and complacency (Rev. 3:15-18); these masked its spiritual bankruptcy. No mention is made that the church’s complacent state was about to be significantly changed by persecution or martyrdom.

        To summarize, those in the land of Israel would face certain death for not worshipping Titus Flavius Vespasianus (the father and/or son) as Lord. In contrast to this, those in the rest of the empire would face varying degrees of persecution for not worshipping Titus Flavius Vespasianus (the father) as Lord. This is not to say those outside of Judea would not face any persecution; quite to the contrary. Boxal notes some of the pressures that those in the province of Asia would have faced.

        The worship of the monster [the beast] refers to the imperial cult, which far from being imposed from on high seems to have merged ‘from below’ within provinces such as Asia (modeled on the local traditional phenomenon of the ruler cult). By the first century CE, all but Thyatira among Revelation’s seven cities had temples of the imperial cult, while there is evidence in five for imperial altars and priests (Laodicea and Philadelphia excepted). Given its influence on public buildings, statuary, coinage and city festivals, the worship of the emperor, alongside that of the gods, would have pervaded virtually every aspect of life. Non-participation would have been severely frowned upon by the local authorities and probably the local populace. Bold indeed would have been the Christian who attempted to avoid it completely. brackets mine

        What Boxal is describing would be classified as ordinary times. As mentioned, AD 69-70 were not ordinary times—they were extraordinary times. Four Caesars came to the throne in AD 69 and there had been two back to back civil wars that year. The need to establish which Caesar was Lord for each subject in the Roman Empire was of supreme importance during this tumultuous time. To refuse to acknowledge any of the four Caesars of AD 69 as Lord could have easily resulted in persecution or even death.

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      • Here is a bit more.

        THE FLAVIAN BEAST PASSED THROUGH THE PROVINCE OF ASIA IN AD 67 AND AD 69

        One last point on how the events of Revelation 13 related to the seven churches in Asia. In early AD 67 Vespasian and his army had passed through the province of Asia (probably passing through some of the seven cities of Revelation) on their way to Judea. The army would have been carrying the name of Nero on their standards. Two years later when Vespasian made his bid for the imperial throne in the second half of AD 69, the Flavian army (this time led by the general Mucianus) marched back to Rome. This time they would have had the name of Titus Flavius Vespasianus on their standards. According to Josephus, the returning Flavian army took the land route to Rome through Cappadocia and Phrygia. This route was more to the north than the route taken in AD 67, but it still would have taken the Flavian army through the northern part of the province of Asia.

        The loyalty of the citizens of the province of Asia to the Flavian cause (recognizing the Titus Flavius Vespasianus as Lord) would have been of primary importance to the Flavian army on their way back to Rome. Roman historian Barbara Levick notes the following about how the province of Asia (as well as the other provinces of Asia Minor) had sworn allegiance to Vespasian by mid AD 69: “[Mucianus] had secured all the Syrian cities by 15 July, and the provinces of Asia Minor . . . according to Josephus all the cities were holding festivals in Vespasian’s honour and offering sacrifices on his behalf; some sent crowns and congratulatory decrees.” Dio Cassius writes that Vespasian even allowed special sacred games to be held at Ephesus to celebrate his accession to the throne; this special festival of Caesar worship was “a privilege that he granted to no other city.” It would not be an overstatement to say that Ephesus led the world in the worship of the Flavian beast.

        One can get an idea of what the festivals that “all the cities” in Syria and Asia Minor were holding entailed from the following description by Wellesley of the festival that was held in Alexandria Egypt in AD 69 to honor Vespasian’s accession.

        Some account of the pronouncement of 1 July has survived in a papyrus now at Cairo. Its dreadfully mutilated state makes it difficult to give more than a conjectural version of the document as a whole; but even so what remains is of capital interest. If we confine ourselves to what is probable, it seems that the account states that on the day of days crowds collected and filled the whole hippodrome. Presumably the largest structure in Alexandria, this lay on the eastern outskirts of the city, beyond the Canopic Gate and towards Nicopolis, where the legions had their barracks. No doubt by this time the oath had already been administered to the troops. Now comes a gathering of the civil population. In a speech the governor seems to have addressed his ‘Lord Caesar’ in his absence, praying for his health and preservation and describing him in traditional phraseology as the ‘one saviour and benefactor’. Then comes a word or words recalling the description in Alexander’s edict of Galba’s ‘rising like the sun to shine on mankind’. The fragment continues” ‘Preserve for us our emperor . . . O Augustus, benefactor, Sarapis . . . son of Ammon’ the crowd thereupon seems to reply, ‘We thank Tiberius Alexander.’ Then the governor remarks that ‘the divine Caesar prays for your well-being’. His reference to the emperor is echoed in slightly different terms by the crowd’s exclamation ‘O Lord Augustus Vespasianus.’

        The province of Asia was a hotbed of support for the Flavian cause in AD 69. As I mentioned, this was especially true of Ephesus. In AD 69 it is likely that Titus went to Ephesus to meet with the governor of Asia to discuss the impending Flavian takeover of the Empire. In AD 89, the city would show its devotion by building a temple exclusively for the worship of Titus, Domitian and Vespasian.

        To summarize, to be a member of one of the seven churches of Asia during AD 69-70 and not be willing to submit to Titus Flavius Vespasianus (the father) as Lord could have resulted in persecution or even cost one his life. To be in the land of Israel during this time and not be willing to submit to Titus Flavius Vespasianus (the son) as Lord would have resulted in death. In Judea even those taken as slaves would have had to confess Titus Caesar as Lord or face death.

        THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT OF REVELATION 13

        Historically, commentators have debated whether the background of Revelation is the persecution by Nero or Domitian. Friesen notes the following on this.

        In the writings of nineteenth-century New Testament scholars, the atrocities committed by Nero against members of the churches in Rome provided a plausible social setting for Revelation. As the twentieth century began, the scholarly consensus about the date of Revelation shifted from the end of Nero’s reign (i.e., ca. 68-70) to late in Domitian’s reign (i.e., 95-96). One facet of this shift was the development of arguments for a Domitianic persecution of Christians. These arguments have largely been abandoned in recent years. It is now clear that political executions in the imperial center increased late in Domitian’s reign, but there is no support for a systematic campaign against Christians in Rome or elsewhere. The rejection of the Domitianic persecutions in recent literature has not caused a return to a Neronic date for Revelation. Rather, there has been a general move away from crisis theories as a way of understanding Revelation.

        My position is that the immediate background of the book of Revelation is neither the Neronic or Domitianic persecutions. These persecutions were relatively limited and not empire-wide. Ladd noted the following on this point: “The persecution under Nero (AD 54-68) was limited to Rome and involved only a relatively few martyrs; the persecution under Domitian (AD 81-96) was of very limited scope.” The tribulation that Revelation is referencing was more widespread than either the persecution of Nero or Domitian was (cf. Rev. 7:9-17). The historical context of Revelation is not the persecution of Nero, rather it is the time just after Nero’s death in AD 68. This was the time when the Roman beast had suffered its mortal wound and then come back to life with the accession of Vespasian and Titus. Although John was probably banished to Patmos under the Neronic persecution it is not that persecution that Revelation is focusing on. Instead Revelation is referring to the then soon coming (in the first century) three-and-a-half-year period (42 months) of AD 67-70. This time period would see the demise of the Roman Empire with the death of Nero (cf. Rev. 16:10) and its rebirth with the rise of the Flavian dynasty (Rev. 13:1-5).

        Again, the primary focus of Revelation 13 is the individual beast’s war against the inhabitants of the land of Israel. This time of crisis would have manifested itself to those outside the Land not as a direct persecution against Christians but as the need to swear allegiance to one of the various factions fighting for control of Rome in the empire-wide upheaval of AD 68-70. With Galba, Otho, Vitellius and Vespasian/Titus vying for supremacy in AD 69, showing loyalty (manifested as worship) to a potential emperor would have been of premier importance during this most unsettled time.

        Consider the following from Roman historian Gwyn Morgan on how all those living in Syria were required to swear loyalty to the Flavian Caesar: “As for Syria . . . Mucianus administered the oath to all the legions and all the civilians there before 15 July” (emphasis in original). It would have been similar in the other provinces. This would have been the fourth time in a year that someone living in the Roman Empire might have been called upon to acknowledge a given Caesar as Lord (again, AD 69 was “the year of four emperors”). For a Christian to say they would not take an oath of loyalty to one of the competing Caesars could have resulted in death. Unlike the persecutions of Nero and Domitian, this need to show loyalty in AD 69-70 would have been empire-wide.

        As for Friesen’s observation of scholars moving away from crisis theories as a way of understanding Revelation, it simply shows that they have not been on the right track. There is a plethora of crises if one is focusing on the correct historical period. The 42 month period of AD 67 to AD 70 (Rev. 13:4-5; cf. Dan. 7:25, 9:26-27; 12:1-7) was a time that was full of crisis. In the physical realm, the Roman Empire almost collapsed in AD 68-69 (cf. Rev. 13:3; 16:10). As Wellesley notes concerning the year of AD 69, “In all the records of Rome there can scarcely be another year that is so full of calamity . . . .” While the Roman Empire almost collapsed, the Jewish nation did collapse, being destroyed by Titus in AD 70.

        In the spiritual realm (which is ultimately what Revelation is unveiling), the old covenant order went up in flames in the holocaust of AD 70 (Rev. 17:16; 19:1-3). In its place the kingdom of God was fully established (symbolized by a new heaven and new Land, Rev. 21:1). The kingdom of God was taken from God’s unfaithful old covenant people and fully given to his new covenant people at this time (Matt 21:33-43). This is shown in Revelation in the form of the harlot being destroyed at the time that the bride becomes married (Rev. 19:1-9; cf. Matt. 22:1-10). The demonic confederation of rulers behind the pre-AD 70 Roman Empire was destroyed at AD 70 (Dan. 7:7-12; Rev. 19:20) as God’s people fully possessed the kingdom of God (Dan. 7:17-27). Note the collapse of Nebuchadnezzar’s image at this time of the tenth ruler of Rome (Vespasian, Dan. 2:31-45)—this was the time that the kingdoms of the world became the kingdom of God (Rev. 11:15-18; cf. Mark 8:38-9:1). At this time Satan was bound in terms of his ability to deceive the Gentile nations (Rev. 20:1-4) and his domain (symbolized by the sea, cf. Is 27:1) disappeared (Rev. 21:1).
        Clearly there is no shortage of crises (in both the physical and spiritual realms) if one is looking at the right time period. If one believes that Revelation was written around AD 95 then one does have a problem finding the crises it is referring to. One may come up with a worse time of crisis in terms of physical loss of life but there will never be a worse time of trouble in terms of the spiritual crises leading up to Jesus’ parousia and the full establishment of the kingdom of God in AD 70 (cf. Matt. 24:21).

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      • Hi Adam,

        Sorry if I put too much up. Your question about the saints being believers not the Jews is a very good one. I have had it raised before. Yes believers are believers, but the context of Rev. 13 is the dwellers on the Land (Rev. 13:8).

        1. The reference to forty two months (Rev. 13:5) is the last half of Daniel’s 70 week (which would focus on the Jews and Jerusalem, Dan. 9:24).
        2. The worship involving the head and hand alludes to Jewish worship (Rev. 13:16, cf. Deut. 6:6-8).
        3. The time period in Rev. 13 is after the resurection of the corporate beast (ie after the death of Nero and the three short live emperors, Galba Otho, and Vitellius, cf. Dan. 7:23-25.

        Here is a bit more.

        THE INDIVIDUAL BEAST’S FORTY-TWO MONTH REIGN OF TERROR

        In Daniel 7 the little eleventh horn is said to prevail against the saints for “a time and times and half a time” (Dan. 7:25). “A time and times and half a time” is a reference to three-and-a-half: a time = one; times = two, half a time = a half (cf. Dan. 7:25 NRSV, “a time, two times, and half a time”). While it is open to debate how specific a time period “a time and times and half a time” refers to, it is usually taken to be three-and-a-half years. Revelation 13:5 supports this as it gives the length of time of the individual beast’s authority as forty-two months, which is three-and-a-half years: “And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.”

        This time period of three-and-a-half references the last half of Daniel’s seventieth week (Dan. 9:27); it would culminate with the parousia (Dan. 7:21-25). Forty-two months is the length of Titus’ campaign of destruction against the Jews. Titus began this campaign with his father around March/April of AD 67—he finished it (by himself) forty-two months later in August/September of AD 70. Remember, the seventy weeks are given in the context of the Jews and Jerusalem (“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city . . .”). This time period resulted in the shattering of the Jewish nation (. . . . it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered al these things shall be finished” Dan. 12:7).

        Daniel 7:20-25 shows that the little eleventh horn “making war against the saints, and prevailing against them” (v. 21). Daniel would have been understood the “saints” as being his people (Dan. 9:24-27; 12:1-3). In Revelation the concept of “saints” is generalized to believers, both Jew and Gentile: “It was granted to him to make war with the saints and overcome them” (Rev. 13:7). The spirit of Antichrist working through Titus would be warring against both God’s new and old covenant people. Sulpicius Severus writes the following about Titus’ negative intentions toward both Jews and Christians.

        Titus is said to have first summoned a council and deliberated whether or not he should destroy such a mighty temple, for some thought that a consecrated shrine, which was famous beyond all other works of men, ought not to be razed to the ground. Their argument was that to preserve it would bear witness to the moderation of Rome, while its destruction would forever brand her as cruel. Others, however, including Titus himself, opposed this view and said that the destruction of the Temple was a prime necessity in order to wipe out more completely the religion of the Jews and the Christians; for they urged that these religions, although hostile to each other, nevertheless sprang from the same sources; the Christians had grown out of the Jews: if the root were destroyed, the stock would easily perish.’ (Chronica 2.30.6-7)

        THE GREAT TRIBULATION

        While the individual beast would seek to overcome both Jews and Christians, his focus would be on the dwellers on the Land—the Jews (Rev 13:8, 12, 14). The three and half year reign of terror of Antichrist (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5) was the time of the great tribulation; it would culminate with the Antichrist’s attack against Jerusalem (Dan. 11:40-12:3). This would result in his capture the Temple (2 Thess. 2:4; cf. Dan. 11:36-37). It would end with the destruction of both Jerusalem and the Temple (Dan. 9:26) at the AD 70 shattering of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:7). This Jewish focus of the great tribulation is highlighted in the gospel of Luke:

        But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance that all things which are written may be fulfilled. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. Luke 21:20-24

        Notice that this time of great distress on the Land and the Jews is clearly referring to the time right before the AD 70 dispersion of the Jews into the nations (Luke 21:24). When one looks at the parallel section in Matthew, it refers to this time of great distress in the Land as the time of “the great tribulation” (cf. Dan. 12:1-7 LXX). Luke and Matthew are talking about the same event, the time when those in Judea would need to flee to the mountains.

        Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take anything gout of this house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. Matthew 24:15-21

        The “abomination of desolation” in Matthew 24:15 is a reference to Daniel 9:27 (and Dan. 12:7-11). It refers to the coming to the Holy Land of the Romans and especially the one who would make the Jewish nation desolate. Luke, writing to a more Gentile audience, explains this in terms of Jerusalem being surrounded by invading armies. Both are referring to the time when those in Judea would need to flee the coming Roman invasion.

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      • Hi Duncan,

        Not a problem. I’m glad to have the information here, not just for my sake but for the sake of others as well. A lot has been posted in a short amount of time, though, so I know I’ll need to take some time to process it all.

        I do very much agree that the phrase “those who dwell on the earth,” used frequently in Revelation, is a reference to apostate Israel, and that “earth” could be translated “land.” I wrote a 3-part series on this back in February, beginning with this post:

        https://kloposmasm.wordpress.com/2010/02/19/the-earth-as-a-common-reference-to-israel-in-revelation-part-1/

        It was a very fascinating study.

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      • Thank you for the challenge Adam,

        You made me go back in supplement my position (as I am currently writing vol II). One point I just put in the manuscript is that other than the 42 months that the beast overcomes the saints (Rev. 13:5-7), the only other place in Revelation that 42 months is mentioned is the 42 months that the holy city (of Jerusalem) would be trampled by the Gentiles (Rev. 11:2). Jerusalem being referred to as the “holy city” (as opposed to the harlot) because a reference is being made to Dan. 9:24 and the 70 weeks determined on the Jews and their “holy city.” I think this supports what I am saying.

        That is not to say that the saints are just the Jews, the saints are believers (cf. Rev. 11:1-10) but the context of Rev. 13 is the judgment on the dwellers on the Land. If you have some time in the future I would be glad to send you my chapter on Revelation 13.

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  4. Hi Adam

    That was the correct post on David’s blog.I had and still do a habit of going off topic.You are correct,the regathering of Israel was not mentioned by David or myself in that post,but is where my thoughts of it came from.

    It was Peter’s sermon at Pentecost,that i was thinking of while reading David’s post ‘Coming in the clouds’ David’s answer to my off topic question (that he thought was not so off topic as others i have had)

    His mentioning that Peter was speaking to ‘devout Jews’ not Gentiles,turned the wheels so to speak and is the reason i began studying mainly Old Testament correlating/Parallel passages to Acts chapter 2.

    I had not studied Ezekiel 36-37 on this subject-you mentioned these chapters in an earlier comment.

    I may have,but i do not think that i asked David if he believed that the regathering of Israel took place at Pentecost,prior to Polycarp’s post,Was Pentecost the regathering of Israel? I did however,ask him to leave a comment/his thoughts on the subject, and he did.

    So i think that i have given you the answer to your last question,then?

    Thank you again Adam

    Seroled

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  5. Adam

    I have a question concerning Titus,the passage below and the context in which it is written.

    The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 2 Thessalonians 2:9 Esv.

    Is Paul saying here that the ” demonic power ” behind the lawless one (man of sin/lawlessness) was Satan? If this the case, and if Titus was the lawless one, yet he was not destroyed at Jesus’ coming in judgment in A.D 70 – then is the only conclusion and position one could hold would be that of FF who believe that Satan and evil was destroyed in A.D 70?

    I know that you remain a partial preterist,so do i,however,can one truly believe that Titus was the man of lawlessness and not be(come) a full Preterist?

    Seroled

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    • Hi Seroled,

      Yes, it does seem clear that Paul is saying that the spiritual power behind the lawless one is Satan (verse 9). In verse 8, we read that the lawless one will be killed “with the breath of His [Jesus’] mouth and [brought] to nothing by the appearance of His coming.” If you look at the previous comments, you’ll see that Duncan proposes that the lawless one himself is not physically killed, but only the demonic force behind him. In the following post, I recorded the thoughts of James Stuart Russell on this matter (Russell believed Nero to be the lawless one):

      In this significant expression we have a note of the time when the man of sin is destined to perish, marked with singular exactitude. It is the coming of the Lord, the Parousia, which is to be the signal of his destruction; yet not the full splendour of that event so much as the first appearance or dawn of it. Alford (after Bengel) very properly points out that the rendering ‘brightness of his coming’ should be ‘the appearance of his coming,’ and he quotes the sublime expression of Milton, —‘far off His coming shone.’ Bengel, with fine discrimination, remarks, ‘Here the appearance of His coming, or, at all events, the first glimmerings of His coming, are prior to the coming itself.’ This evidently implies that the man of sin was destined to perish, not in the full blaze of the Parousia, but at its first dawn or beginning. Now what do we actually find? Remembering how the Parousia is connected with the destruction of Jerusalem, we find that the death of Nero preceded the event. It took place in June A.D. 68, in the very midst of the Jewish war which ended in the capture and destruction of the city and the temple. It might therefore be justly said that ‘the appearance, or dawn, of the Parousia was the signal for the tyrant’s destruction.

      I’m personally not convinced that Titus was the lawless one, or the beast of Revelation. I’m still considering Duncan’s challenges on this subject. Before hearing what he had to say, I was convinced that Nero was the beast/man of lawlessness. The two passages which I see as possibly bringing my premise into question are Revelation 19:20 and a detail or two in Daniel’s description of the little horn (Daniel 7). I admit that I’ve been more focused on other areas of study (and life) recently, though, and haven’t given this too much thought in the last few weeks.

      To the question of whether believing that Titus was the man of lawlessness makes one a full-preterist, I have to say I’m not sure. I’m pretty sure that Duncan doesn’t teach that Satan and evil were destroyed in 70 AD. Do full-preterists teach that? Who is FF, by the way?

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  6. Hi Adam

    Thanks for taking the time to respond.

    FF should have been FP (full Preterists) thanks for catching that. Full Preterists believe that all biblical prophecy,Matt 24 and the entire book of Revelation was fulfilled by A.D.70. Which means to me that they believe that thousand years are finished, Satan was released, deceived the nations and was cast into the Lake of fire by 70 A.D.

    http://www.preteristarchive.com/Administrative/index.html

    If someone believes that the demonic spirit,power or force energizing the man of sin was destroyed in A.D. 70, this mean that they believe that Satan was destroyed – whether they say so or not. The Apostle Paul said that the man of sin was empowered by Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:9)

    James Stuart Russell believed that Nero was the man of sin. That he was destroyed by the brightness or appearance of Christ – before his Parousia. He did not say that the power behind Nero which was Satan,was destroyed.

    Duncan believes that Titus was the man of sin. That the power behind him (which was Satan) according to 2 Thessalonians 2:9) was destroyed at Jesus’ coming in judgment in A.D.70.

    Duncan says that he is not a full Preterist and he should know whether he is or is not.

    My question to you was can one believe that Titus was the man of sin, and not be(come)a full Preterist?

    If one believes what is written in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and still believe that Satan (the power behind whomever the man of sin was) was destroyed in A.D.70,then they must also believe that all biblical prophecy was fulfilled,whether they say so or not.

    Your answer ( that you were not sure) if believing that Titus was the man of sin makes one a full Preterist was sufficient to end this discussion…

    Thanks Adam as always.Blessings to you.

    Seroled

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  7. Hi Seroled.

    Here is my take on the demise of Satan.

    SATAN WAS DEFEATED AT THE CROSS

    Hebrews 2:14 talks of Jesus’ defeat of Satan at the cross, “inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil.” (Heb. 2:14) It should be noted that the word for destroy here (Gr. katargeo) means to reduce to inactivity, or render useless. Satan was not destroyed in the sense of ceasing to exist at the cross but in the sense of being completely defeated (cf. Col. 2:14-15). This is seen in the fact that Satan is still around and still active after the cross (Eph. 6:11; James 4:7).

    At Satan’s defeat at the cross he was judged and thrown out of heaven. Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus said, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:31). Revelation 12 shows this casting of Satan out of heaven to the earth at the ascension of Jesus. It is important to notice that Satan was cast to the earth unbound at this time; he was not cast into the abyss (as those who want to start the millennium at AD 30 like to say). This was at the time of Christ’s ascension, the time the male Child is caught up to God’s throne (Rev. 12:5-10). The kingdom of God was initiated in heaven at this time, but not fully on earth:

    Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down . . . Therefore rejoice, O heaven and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time. Revelation 12:10, 12

    The time between the ascension and the Second Coming was the time of the already and not yet of the kingdom (cf. Luke 19:11-27). While Jesus won all authority in heaven and earth at AD 30 (Matt. 28:18), He wouldn’t fully exercise that authority on earth until the AD 70 Second Coming (Matt. 16:27-28, 25:31; cf. Rev. 11:15-18). Thus in 1 John 3:8 we read, “. . . For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” Two chapters later, however, we are told, “. . . the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). That does not sound like the time of the millennium just yet 😉

    At AD 30 Satan had a short time until he would be bound for the millennium (Rev. 12:12). This short time was the forty years from AD 30 to AD 70 (ironically this is the time that full preterists say was the millennium). This is why the NT (which was written prior to AD 70) portrays Satan as loose and active during this time (2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 6:11-12; 1 Thess. 2:18; 2 Thess. 2:9; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8).

    Revelation 12 refers to this period as “a time and times and half a time,” (Rev. 12:14). This was the time that the new covenant mother and her children (Rev. 12:17; cf. Gal. 4:21-31) would need protection from Satan. Daniel defines the end of this time period of “a time, times and half a time” as the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation (…it shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished” Dan. 12:7). Thus Satan was thrown to the earth at Jesus’ ascension; he was loose on earth until his binding at the destruction of the Jewish nation in AD 70 (the end of a time and times and half a time of Dan. 12:7 and Rev. 12:7). It was the AD 70 destruction of those who were destroying the Land that God fully implemented His reign in the earthly realm (Rev. 11:15-19; cf. Dan. 2:34-35, 44-45; 7:21-27; Luke 19:11-27).

    Now look at Daniel 7:21-22. The little horn overcomes the saints, then God comes and defeats the little horn and the saints possess the kingdom. This parallels Revelation 19:11- 20:4 where the Word of God comes and defeats the individual beast and then Satan is bound as the saints possess the kingdom (as the millennium begins).

    Look at the defeat of the little horn in Dan. 7:11-12. While the whole fourth beast is destroyed at this time, the first three beasts are allowed to continue into the time of the kingdom. The four beasts are demonic confederations of rulers behind Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and pre AD 70 Rome(cf. Dan. 10:13, 20-21 also notice that the individual beast comes out of the abyss Rev. 11:7; 17:8). It is only the fourth of these confederations that is destroyed (the demonic rulers behind pre AD 70 Rome). The demonic rulers behind Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece are allowed into the time of the kingdom reign (minus their authority of course). This shows Satanic evil existing past the AD 70 full establishment of the kingdom of God.

    This is for Adam.

    The individual beast of Revelation was to be an 8th king. Revelation was written when the 6th king was reigning (Rev. 17:10, that was Nero. The individual beast had not yet come out of the abyss when Revelation was written (Rev. 17:8 NASB). One can not have it both ways. One can not say Nero was the one ruling when Revelation was written and at the same time say he was the one who had not yet come. Here are the 11-3 rulers of Daniel 7 that equate with the 8 kings of Revelation 17 (11-3=8):

    1. Julius Caesar (49-44 BC)
    2. Augustus (31BC- AD 14)
    3. Tiberius (AD 14-37
    4. Gaius a.k.a. Caligula (AD 37-41)
    5. Claudius (AD 41-54)
    6. Nero (AD 54-68)
    Galba (AD 68-69———
    Otho (AD 69)————- 3 horns pulled out (Dan. 7:8)
    Vitellius (AD 69)———
    7. Vespasian (AD 69-79)
    8. Titus in AD 70, the little eleventh horn of Dan. 7

    Nero was the 6th ruler, he was not the 11/8th ruler that the little horn/individual beast is. The individual beast destroys harlot Babylon in Rev. 17-18 and then is defeated by the Second Coming in Revelation 19:11-21. That was Titus (or more properly, the demonic king from the abyss working through Titus).

    Duncan

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  8. This blog needs an edit button, or at least an erase button. I meant to bold a passage of Scripture and apparently messed up and bolded most of the text (D’ooh!)

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    • Duncan,

      I’m happy to “be the edit button.” It’s fixed. At least I believe it’s now highlighted in the way you intended for it to be. Please let me know if it’s not…

      Look at the defeat of the little horn in Dan. 7:11-12. While the whole fourth beast is destroyed at this time, the first three beasts are allowed to continue into the time of the kingdom. The four beasts are demonic confederations of rulers behind Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and pre AD 70 Rome(cf. Dan. 10:13, 20-21 also notice that the individual beast comes out of the abyss Rev. 11:7; 17:8). It is only the fourth of these confederations that is destroyed (the demonic rulers behind pre AD 70 Rome). The demonic rulers behind Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece are allowed into the time of the kingdom reign (minus their authority of course). This shows Satanic evil existing past the AD 70 full establishment of the kingdom of God.

      This explanation is something to think about. Daniel 2:44 says, “And in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed…” Whether one is a premillennialist (i.e. the kingdom is not yet set up) or closer to the amillennialist position (i.e. the kingdom was set up in the first century AD), we all have to grapple with the fact that the kingdom is said to be set up “in the days of those kings.” Following the events of 70 AD, do you see the demonic rulers who were previously behind Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece receiving other “national” or “empire” assignments, since there is no indication that those three empires were to be resurrected? Or would you say they were to continue to exist, but without ever taking up that kind of authority again?

      One remaining question would seem to be what Seroled has asked a couple of times regarding I Thessalonians 2:8-9. I understand that you’re saying the destruction of the fourth demonic entity (the one behind Rome) in 70 AD was simultaneous with the binding of Satan (Revelation 20:1-3). Does this binding of Satan then equal his being “killed” in II Thessalonians 2:8? And if so, why does the text say that the lawless one himself, and not the Satanic power behind him, was to be killed? Is this a case of needing to examine the original Greek text? Also, was the demonic entity behind Rome the same demonic entity behind the man of lawlessness? If so, it was “brought to nothing,” yet Rome still persecuted believers beyond 70 AD. Forgive me if you have already addressed this elsewhere (or earlier…I know we covered some of this same ground earlier in this comments section).

      Regarding Revelation 17:8, I found that to be just about the most difficult verse to consider while going through our study of Revelation some months ago. You’ve made a couple of thought-provoking points for sure. This verse begins with the words, “The beast that you saw was…” In what sense would you say Titus “was” at the time John wrote this (perhaps 65 AD)? Titus accompanied Vespasian on his march toward Jerusalem beginning in early 67 AD. Did he have a significant role before then? I realize the same question applies if this beast is to be thought of as Nero. This is the explanation Kenneth Gentry gives regarding this verse (tied in with verse 11), as I wrote here:

      Kenneth Gentry believes that the key to understanding this reference to “an eighth” is found in the language of the text. He notes that up until this phrase is mentioned, the definite article “the” is used when referring to the seven kings. However, it is “conspicuously absent in the reference to the eighth head/king…the eighth is “an eighth.” He continues,

      This indicates that John is not concerned with the number of the particular emperor arising after the seventh in the Roman Civil War. Rather he is interested solely with the fact that there is one coming soon, who will, as the empire’s stabilizing head bring life back to the empire. There is a very important sense in which the revival of the Empire under Vespasian, was a revival under “an eighth,” who is “of the seven.” It is the same Roman Empire that is brought to life from the death of Civil War. John’s concern is particularly with the contemporaneous events, i.e., here the Roman Civil War that occurred within the compass of the reign of the seven kings… The fact that this revival is of an eighth head, however, indicates the rapid recovery of the Beast. That recovery will come shortly after the demise of the original seven (Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell, pp. 315-316).

      If you don’t mind the question, what would you say are the holes in Gentry’s reasoning here?

      —————————————————————————-

      Seroled,

      Blessings to you too. Thanks for your follow-up comment and for the clarification regarding “FF.” I was wondering if you meant the teacher F.F. Bruce, although I didn’t think he believed that… By replying to your question that I wasn’t sure, I didn’t mean that the discussion needed to end (if that’s what you meant in your last comment). I just wasn’t sure that what you were saying was a necessary conclusion. I understand your thought process on the matter more, though, after reading your last comment. I was actually thinking of Duncan, who I know believes that Titus was the man of lawlessness, yet also believes (as we do) that the Millennium is still ongoing at this present time. I’m trying to be cautious before jumping to conclusions. But, like you, I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around Titus fulfilling II Thess. 2:8 because of the language used there, and because of the possible implications of coming to this conclusion.

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      • Hi Adam

        No,it wasn’t your response that you did not know.As you said you have not thought about this much in a few weeks and are studying other things( it is summertime too) I thought that i may have been running you down with all the off topic questions and comments and conclusions about A.D.70

        I agree that belief that That Titus was the man of sin is not enough to come to the conclusion that someone is a full preterist…

        Hey i wish Duncan were a FP, then i could ignore everything he says 😉

        Seriously though i have come to the conclusion that Jesus in his own words did not promise a coming beyond A.D.70.

        So my thoughts are everywhere (more so than usual) at this point, i am not sure how to feel about it…

        Thank you again Adam

        Seroled

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      • Hi Adam,

        I am breaking this into thirds to see if the blog will take it.

        2 Thess 2:8 does not say that Satan is destroyed at that time, it says the man of sin is neutralized.

        THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ANTICHRIST
        In 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9 Paul discusses the revelation and then destruction of the Antichrist.

        8. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
        9. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders.

        The lawless one would be revealed only when whatever was restraining the evil forces that would work through him was taken out of the way. Just as Jesus would be revealed at his Second Coming, verse 8 (Gr. parousia; cf. 2 Thess. 1:7), so too would the man of lawlessness be revealed at his own coming, verse 9 (Gr. parousia).

        Wanamaker refers to the Antichrist’s parody of Jesus’ parousia as “the anti-parousia.”43 I believe the parallel between the two parousiai goes even further. Titus’ AD 70 invasion of the Holy Land from Egypt (cf. Dan. 11:40-45) was his second coming to the Holy Land, his first coming being in conjunction with his father in AD 67. Unlike Jesus’ Second Coming, which resulted in salvation (Heb. 9:28), the second coming of Titus resulted in desolation; he would be allowed to prosper until God’s wrath against Israel was accomplished (Dan. 11:36; 12:7; cf. 9:27).

        The second advent of Titus was the revelation of the man of lawlessness; it would lead to the destruction of the Antichrist spirit working through him (2 Thess. 2:8). At first there appears to be a problem with saying Titus was the man of lawlessness, seeing as Titus was not killed in AD 70. Second Thessalonians 2:8 says that Jesus’ parousia would “destroy” the lawless one. If Titus was the man of lawlessness, how is it he was not killed at Jesus’ parousia? Discussing the word “destroy” (Gr. katargeō) in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (“whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming”), Vine writes:

        lit. to reduce to inactivity (kata, down, argos, inactive) . . . In this and similar words no loss of being is implied, but loss of well being . . . [Thus,] the Man of Sin is reduced to inactivity by the manifestation of the Lord’s Parousia with His people.44

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      • The Greek word for “destroy” here does not necessarily entail physical destruction. The parousia of Jesus, “the manifestation of his presence” (2 Thess. 2:8 YLT), did not kill Titus; rather, it rendered useless the demonic forces working through him. This is similar to how Jesus’ death on the cross did not put an end to Satan’s existence, it destroyed his power: “inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same that through death He might destroy [Gr. katargeō] him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14).

        Satan was not destroyed in terms of ceasing to exist at the cross; rather, he was neutralized, his spiritual authority destroyed (cf. John 12:31-32; 1 John 3:8). Vine writes the following on this: “Katargeō = to render inactive, or useless, as the barren fig tree did the ground it occupied, Luke 13:7, and as the death of Christ makes ineffective, prospectively, the power of the Devil, Hebrews 2:14.”45 In a similar manner to how Satan’s position of authority was destroyed at the cross, so the man of lawlessness had his dominion taken away at the parousia, as God’s people inherited the kingdom of God (cf. Dan. 7:21-27).

        As I have said previously, ultimately the Antichrist was not Titus but the demonic spirit working through Titus (i.e., the demonic prince of the Roman people, Dan. 9:26). This was the spirit of Antichrist (1 John 4:3), the beast from the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). It was this demonic spirit, not Titus, that was cast into the lake of fire at Jesus’ Second Coming (Dan 7:11; Rev. 19:11-21). With this in mind, it is not correct to refer to Titus as the Antichrist after AD 70, as the Antichrist spirit working through Titus was destroyed by Jesus’ parousia in the autumn of AD 70. According to Paul, the demonic rulers of the pre-AD 70 age would be “coming to nothing” (katargeō, 1 Cor. 2:6) at Christ’s Second Coming (cf. Rom. 16:20; Rev. 11:15-18).

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      • As for Gentry’s position, The (or an) eighth king was about to come out of the abyss (Rev. 17:8-11). Was it Vespasian and a revived Roman Empire that was about to come out of the abyss? Was it the Roman Empire that was about to be thrown in the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20)? How was it that the Roman Empire was destroyed at the AD 70 parousia? Anyone who is just looking at physical rulers and a physical empire is on the wrong track to begin with.

        Anyone who is not incorporating Daniel 7 into the 8 kings will also get lost:

        1. The little horn/beast is an eighth ruler. The little 11th horn becomes an 8th ruler when 3 rulers are removed before him (Dan. 7:8; Rev. 17:11). Galba Otho and Vitellius came before Titus and after Nero (these short lived rulers came right after the death of Nero).

        2. The little horn/beast speaks great blasphemies against God (Dan. 7:8, 11, 20, 25; Rev. 13:5-6).

        3. The little horn/beast wages war against the saints and overcomes them (Dan. 7:21; Rev. 13:7).

        4. The little horn/beast has a three-and-a-half-year reign of terror (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5) which is ended by the parousia (see below).

        5. The little horn/beast is defeated in AD 70 by the coming of God/Christ (Dan. 7:21-22; Rev. 19:11-20).

        6. The little horn/beast is thrown into the lake of fire at the time of the Second Coming (Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:19-21).

        7. The kingdom of God is established (what the NT shows as the beginning of the millennium) at the AD 70 defeat of the little horn/beast (Dan. 7:7-11, 21-27; Rev. 19:11-20:4).

        It seems pretty clear that the little 11th horn and the individual beast are the same. I can easily show you how Titus was the eleventh Caesar. I doubt Gentry can show how Nero was an 11th ruler.

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      • Thanks, Seroled. I’m a little bit run down (or maybe “stretched” is a better way to put it), but I’m hanging in there. I do generally enjoy discussions with hard-thinking people, and in that regard having input from both you and Duncan here is a great blessing.

        Just a quick heads up… If this discussion (or any other) carries on into the second half of this week (which is fine), don’t be surprised if I don’t respond for a few days. I’ll be entertaining guests from out of town Wednesday-Friday (plus working each day), and then I’ll be out of town myself for the weekend without internet access. Just wanted to throw that out there real quick…

        Seroled, you said:

        Seriously though i have come to the conclusion that Jesus in his own words did not promise a coming beyond A.D.70.

        I believe I’m with you there. And we’re in good company, then, for this is what Jonathan Edwards said on this subject (in his work titled “Miscellany #1199″):

        Tis evident that when Christ speaks of his coming; his being revealed; his coming in his Kingdom; or his Kingdom’s coming; He has respect to his appearing in those great works of his Power Justice and Grace, which should be in the Destruction of Jerusalem and other extraordinary Providences which should attend it [So in Luke 17:20 – 18:8].

        I have a feeling that we will continue to explore whether or not the New Testament, aside from the words of Jesus, promises a coming beyond 70 AD (outside of the idea that He comes for His own at the time of their physical death).

        Duncan, on this note, I don’t know if you caught a question that I asked you elsewhere about Revelation 20:7-10… But, knowing that you believe there is no future corporate coming of Christ (I hope I’m saying that accurately), and also knowing that you believe (as I do) that this passage is future, how do you view the transition from the events of this passage to the eternal state? Fire will come down from heaven (verse 9) and consume the enemies of the saints. If there’s no Second Coming and no physical rapture (a physical catching away of God’s people who are alive) at this point, what else do you see as happening here? How are those who are alive at that time joined together with those who have previously died in Christ and gone on to their reward? Thanks for any feedback you may have on this.

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  9. Adam,

    I just spent over an hour answering your questions and then the blog did not take what I wrote. That definitely took the wind out of my sail : ( Below is the only part that I made a copy of.

    As to the eighth king that was and is not and is to come, he was currently in the abyss when John wrote but was about to come out (Rev. 17:8 NASB). How that applies to a revived Roman empire or Nero I have no idea.

    The individual beast had been loose before John wrote but was now confined to the abyss. I go back to Daniel 11 to answer this. In Daniel 11:21-35 the king of the North clearly is speaking of Antiochus IV. In 11:36 (some say 11:40) the events do not fit Antiochus and all of a sudden we are at the end of the age, the time of the great tribulation (and resurrection Dan. 12:1-3). My hypothesis is that there is a shift from Antiochus to Titus at 11:36. This shift is seemless because it was the same demonic ruler working through both men. Here is something from my book on this.

    Many of those who believe in biblical prophecy say that the prophecies of Daniel 11:2-35 are indeed true prophecies and that a switch takes place from Antiochus IV in the second century BC to the Antichrist beginning at Daniel 11:36. I am in agreement with this view, although I see a first-century fulfillment as opposed to a future fulfillment. At Daniel 11:36 we are no longer being shown Antiochus IV but rather the Antichrist (i.e., Titus). I believe this for four reasons. First, the description of the king of the North suddenly begins not to fit the historical facts of Antiochus IV starting at verse 36. Second, the language used about the king of the North starting at verse 36 parallels that which has traditionally been associated with the Antichrist. For example, the king of Daniel 11:36 is said to “exalt and magnify himself above every god.” Paul, in elaborating on this ruler, describes the man of lawlessness as the one “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God” (2 Thess. 2:3-4).

    Third, the king of the North is defeated at the time that events associated with the Second Coming take place (e.g., the abomination of desolation, Dan. 12:11; 9:27; cf. Matt. 24:15; the great tribulation and resurrection, Dan. 12:1-2; cf. Matt. 24:16-21; 25:35-46). The king of the North being defeated at this time is consistent with other places in Scripture that show the Antichrist being defeated by the Second Advent (Dan. 7:20-22; 2 Thess. 2:1-8; 1 John 2:18; Rev. 19:11-21). Finally, it is said that the king of Daniel 11:36 speaks “blasphemies against the God of gods.” This blasphemous attitude of the Antichrist corresponds to the “pompous words against the Most High” that the little horn of Daniel 7 speaks (v. 25), as well as to the beast from the sea of Revelation 13 opening “his mouth in blasphemy against God” (Rev. 13:5-6). These are all references that have been traditionally (and I believe correctly) associated with the Antichrist.

    THE KING OF THE NORTH WAS ULTIMATELY A SPIRITUAL RULER

    A logical question arises at this point: how can Daniel 11:21-35 be talking about Antiochus IV and then at verse 36 suddenly jump ahead in time to the Antichrist and the end of the old covenant age? The fact that we are ultimately being shown spiritual rulers may help to explain this abrupt shift. Daniel has clearly shown us spiritual kings in this section (“. . . and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia.” Dan. 10:13). This may explain the generic designations of “king of the North” and “king of the South,” although details of human rulers are obviously incorporated here as well (cf. Dan. 11:6-10).

    I propose that the sudden jump from Antiochus to Titus is due to the fact that the same demonic ruler may have been working through both men. Notice how the little horn of Daniel 8:24 (Antiochus) is described as being “mighty but not by his own power”; this suggests a superhuman source of power. Ultimately it was a spiritual power that defeated him (“. . . But he shall be broken without human means” Dan. 8:25). The mention of demonic princes of Persia and Greece in Daniel 10:20 also supports the idea that we are being shown spiritual rulers as the true power behind the Persian and Greek empires (Antiochus IV coming out of one of the four divisions of the Greek Empire, Dan. 8:21-24). That the little horn of Daniel 8 fights against the stars, the (angelic) host of heaven and even God, also points to him ultimately being a spiritual ruler (Dan. 8:8-11).

    I showed the connections between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the individual beast of Revelation in the previous chapter.16 The beast of Revelation clearly refers to a spiritual ruler; he would come out of the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8), which is the abode of demons (cf. Rev. 9:1-12; 20:1-3). Revelation tells us that this demonic king had been loose on the earth before the time that Revelation was written (the beast “was, and is not,” Rev. 17:8). I propose that the demonic ruler that was in the abyss when John wrote was the spiritual ruler that had worked through Antiochus IV in the second century BC. It may be that this demonic ruler was banished to the abyss at that time (the second century BC) and would be let out right before the end of the old covenant age in AD 70 to work through Titus (cf. 2 Thess. 2:6-8).

    Ladd provides a similar line of thought to what I am suggesting (although he does not see Titus as the Antichrist). In talking about the beast “that was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss” (Rev. 17:8 NASB), he writes the following:

    The clue to the understanding of this [Rev. 17:8] is the prophecy of Daniel, on which John draws for his symbolism of the beast. In Daniel, the great enemy of God’s people is Antichrist, who has previously been manifested in history in the person of Antiochus Epiphanes (Dan. 8:9, 21). In typical prophetic manner, these two figures are sometimes blended together so they seem to be practically one. The beast that you saw was (vs. 8), i.e., it was embodied in Antiochus Epiphanes; it is not, i.e., it does not exist in the same malevolent form; it is to ascend from the abyss [vs. 8] in the person of Antichrist.17

    It may be that it is one spiritual ruler being portrayed in Daniel 11:21-45, a demonic king of the North that worked through the two different human rulers. Thus, the transition from Antiochus to Titus at Daniel 11:36 is seamless because it was ultimately the same ruler working through both men. This may explain why there are so many parallels in Daniel between Antiochus IV and Titus. For example, both Antiochus and Titus are portrayed as little horns (Antiochus in Dan. 8:8-9, Titus in Dan. 7:7-8). Both Antiochus and Titus have an abomination of desolation associated with them (Antiochus in Dan. 11:31 and 8:13, Titus in Dan. 9:27 and 12:11). Both exalt themselves against God (Antiochus in Dan. 8:25; Titus in Dan. 7:25).18
    In discussing Daniel 11:36-39, Keil also suggests a line of thinking similar to mine:

    vv. 36-39, partly goes far beyond what Antiochus did, partly does not harmonize with what is known of Antiochus, and finally, partly is referred in the N.T. expressly to the Antichrist; cf. v. 36 with 2 Thess. 2:4 and ch. 12:1 with Matt. 24:21. These circumstances also are not satisfactorily explained by the remark that the prophecy regarding Antiochus glances forward to the Antichrist, or that the image of the type (Antiochus) hovers in the image of the antitype (Antichrist); they much rather show that in the prophetic contemplation there is comprehended in the image of one king what has been historically fulfilled in its beginnings by Antiochus Epiphanes, but shall only meet its complete fulfillment by the Antichrist in the time of the end.19

    Whether my hypothesis (that Daniel 11:21-45 ultimately refers to a demonic king of the North that worked through Antiochus in the second century BC and Titus in the time just before AD 70) is correct or not, there is definitely a shift somewhere between Daniel 11:35 and verse 40 to the end of the old covenant age. In Daniel 11:35 we are told that the time of the end is still future (“it is still for an appointed time”). At Daniel 11:40 we are told the time of the end has arrived (“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him”). In Daniel 11:40 to the end of Daniel we are shown this time of the end of the age (the time of the great tribulation and resurrection, Dan. 12:1-2). This means that somewhere between Daniel 11:35 and 11:40 a shift from the second century BC to the end of the age occurs. As I have said, I believe that shift happens at Daniel 11:36 where the subject shifts from Antiochus IV and the second century BC to Titus and the end of the old covenant age in AD 70.

    It should be noted that Titus was given authority over the province of Syria (domain of the king of the North) in mid-AD 69. It was at this time that Vespasian turned his attention to taking over the Roman Empire and Mucianus (the previous governor of Syria) led the Flavian troops as they marched on the city of Rome.20 Thus, the authority of the king of the North was fully transferred to Titus at this time. Less than a year later (in spring of AD 70) Titus would make his second invasion of the Holy Land (from Egypt) to finish off the Jewish nation (Dan. 11:42-45; 12:7).

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    • Duncan,

      I’m sorry that you had trouble posting to the blog earlier. Thanks for taking the extra time to post all this, regardless of the trouble. I hope that doesn’t happen to you again. I’ve had a similar thing happen to me when posting elsewhere (not on this blog), and have now generally learned when posting longer comments to type them out and save them ahead of time.

      The writings of Daniel which you’ve brought into this discussion are very interesting indeed. I admit that when my Bible study group went through the book of Revelation, in the second half of last year and in the early part of this year, we didn’t utilize the book of Daniel very much. Our study was intense enough as it was, but Daniel’s writings clearly do play a key role when it comes to the content of Revelation. I’m looking forward to the day when I can do a serious study of the book of Daniel, but for now I appreciate what you’ve brought to the table here.

      I agree with you about the shift at verse 36 of Daniel 11. For a time I considered Philip Mauro’s viewpoint that this section (or at least some portion of verses 36-45) had to do with Herod the Great (e.g. Mauro believed that where verse 44 says “…he shall go out with great fury to destroy and devote many to destruction…” it referred to Herod’s command to destroy all children below the age of two). But it seems there are holes in his theory (I still have a lot of admiration for Mauro, though).

      Your examples from Daniel of demonic rulers being shown to be in authority over empires (e.g. Daniel 8:24-25, 10:20) are helpful. These are also good points:

      That the little horn of Daniel 8 fights against the stars, the (angelic) host of heaven and even God, also points to him ultimately being a spiritual ruler (Dan. 8:8-11)… The beast of Revelation clearly refers to a spiritual ruler; he would come out of the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8), which is the abode of demons (cf. Rev. 9:1-12; 20:1-3).

      This is also very informative:

      At Daniel 11:36 we are no longer being shown Antiochus IV but rather the Antichrist (i.e., Titus). I believe this for four reasons. First, the description of the king of the North suddenly begins not to fit the historical facts of Antiochus IV starting at verse 36. Second, the language used about the king of the North starting at verse 36 parallels that which has traditionally been associated with the Antichrist. For example, the king of Daniel 11:36 is said to “exalt and magnify himself above every god.” Paul, in elaborating on this ruler, describes the man of lawlessness as the one “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God” (2 Thess. 2:3-4).

      Third, the king of the North is defeated at the time that events associated with the Second Coming take place (e.g., the abomination of desolation, Dan. 12:11; 9:27; cf. Matt. 24:15; the great tribulation and resurrection, Dan. 12:1-2; cf. Matt. 24:16-21; 25:35-46). The king of the North being defeated at this time is consistent with other places in Scripture that show the Antichrist being defeated by the Second Advent (Dan. 7:20-22; 2 Thess. 2:1-8; 1 John 2:18; Rev. 19:11-21). Finally, it is said that the king of Daniel 11:36 speaks “blasphemies against the God of gods.” This blasphemous attitude of the Antichrist corresponds to the “pompous words against the Most High” that the little horn of Daniel 7 speaks (v. 25), as well as to the beast from the sea of Revelation 13 opening “his mouth in blasphemy against God” (Rev. 13:5-6). These are all references that have been traditionally (and I believe correctly) associated with the Antichrist.

      One day I need to make a comprehensive chart bringing into consideration all these things (the Biblical descriptions of the beast/the little horn/the man of lawlessness, and how they do or do not fit Nero and Titus). I find visuals like that to be helpful. Right now my head kind of hurts considering all these things, with pieces of the puzzle here and there, but this isn’t entirely a bad thing. What you wrote here is a start:

      Anyone who is not incorporating Daniel 7 into the 8 kings will also get lost:

      1. The little horn/beast is an eighth ruler. The little 11th horn becomes an 8th ruler when 3 rulers are removed before him (Dan. 7:8; Rev. 17:11). Galba Otho and Vitellius came before Titus and after Nero (these short lived rulers came right after the death of Nero).

      2. The little horn/beast speaks great blasphemies against God (Dan. 7:8, 11, 20, 25; Rev. 13:5-6).

      3. The little horn/beast wages war against the saints and overcomes them (Dan. 7:21; Rev. 13:7).

      4. The little horn/beast has a three-and-a-half-year reign of terror (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5) which is ended by the parousia (see below).

      5. The little horn/beast is defeated in AD 70 by the coming of God/Christ (Dan. 7:21-22; Rev. 19:11-20).

      6. The little horn/beast is thrown into the lake of fire at the time of the Second Coming (Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:19-21).

      7. The kingdom of God is established (what the NT shows as the beginning of the millennium) at the AD 70 defeat of the little horn/beast (Dan. 7:7-11, 21-27; Rev. 19:11-20:4).

      And your conclusion, I have to admit, would be pretty hard to get around:

      It seems pretty clear that the little 11th horn and the individual beast are the same. I can easily show you how Titus was the eleventh Caesar. I doubt Gentry can show how Nero was an 11th ruler.

      I wonder if Gentry has attempted to do this in any of his writings? I haven’t read much from him on Daniel either.

      I also wonder why John, in Revelation 17, never seems to mention 10 emperors (instead he mentions seven, with an eighth yet to come which “belongs to the seven”) or the three fallen horns. He does mention 10 horns (verse 12), but they hadn’t yet received authority at the time he wrote this, and they seem to be 10 Roman provincial leaders as many have proposed. Is that how you view the 10 horns of Rev. 17:12-14, by the way? I don’t remember if you’ve mentioned this before or not…

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      • Adam,

        Here is a little summary for you (You really should read my book 🙂 If nothing else read my chapter on Daniel 7. I believe it is the single most important chapter of Bible prophecy.

        SUMMARY OF THE ANTICHRIST PROPHECIES OF DANIEL
        THAT WERE FULFILLED BY TITUS

        Keeping in mind that the Antichrist was ultimately the demonic ruler from the abyss that worked through Titus (cf. Rev. 11:7; 17:8), the following are the prophecies of Daniel concerning the Antichrist that were fulfilled in Titus:

        1. Although Titus would become the eleventh Caesar of Rome (the fourth beast), he was only a general when he destroyed the Jewish nation, hence his designation as a little (eleventh) horn (Dan. 7:7-8). This agrees with the traditional Jewish understanding of the little horn of Daniel 7 (e.g., Rashi). See here http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/16490/showrashi/true

        2. Vespasian and Titus were victorious over three rulers (Galba, Otho, and Vitellius) in their takeover of the Roman Empire in AD 69 (the year of four emperors). These were the three horns removed before the little eleventh horn (Dan. 7:8). According to Roman historians, Titus was a major force behind the Flavian takeover of the empire.

        3. The little eleventh horn was to speak great blasphemies against the Most High God (Dan. 7:8, 11, 20, 25). Jewish sources say that Titus spoke extraordinary blasphemies against God when he captured the Temple (cf. Dan. 11:36-37; 2 Thess. 2:4; Rev. 13:5-6).

        4. The Antichrist was to have a three-and-a-half-year reign of terror (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5). Titus persecuted Daniel’s people for a time, times, and half a time (three-and-a-half years, or forty-two months), from March/April AD 67 to August/September AD 70 (cf. Rev. 11:2). This time period ended with the shattering of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:7).

        5. Titus and his father changed the times of religious observance and rules of Jewish law when they set up the equivalent of a new Sanhedrin in Yavneh (Dan. 7:25).

        6. Titus was the one who the demonic prince to come worked through in his destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple (Dan. 9:26).

        7. The coming of Titus was associated with abominations (i.e., idols). He came on the wing of an army full of abominations (the images of Caesar on the Roman standards); this resulted in the Jewish nation being made desolate (Dan. 9:27; cf. 12:6-11).

        8. Titus exalted himself above every god when his troops sacrificed to his name/image as they worshiped the Roman standards in the Temple (Dan. 11:36-37; cf. 2 Thess. 2:4).

        9. The destruction of the Jews by Titus was assisted by the help of a foreign god named Sarapis; this god was not one of Titus’ ancestors’ gods. In recognition of this, Sarapis was elevated to the position of one of the Roman gods (Dan. 11:38-39).

        10. After Titus’ destruction of the Jewish nation in AD 70, the land of Israel was divided up by the Romans and leased out for profit (Dan. 11:39).

        11. Titus first invaded the Holy Land in AD 67 with his father. In late AD 69 Titus and Vespasian were in Egypt securing its precious things to help finance their takeover of the Roman Empire (Dan. 11:40-43).

        12. In mid-AD 69 Titus was given sole authority over Syria (the domain of the king of the North) as well as Judea. In the spring of AD 70, with tidings from the north (a revolt in Germany) and east (the continuing revolt in Judea) troubling him, Titus invaded the Holy Land from Egypt (Dan. 11:44). This was the Antichrist’s second coming to the Holy Land.

        13. In the final siege of Jerusalem, Titus set up his camp between the Mediterranean Sea and the glorious holy mountain of God (Dan. 11:45; cf. 9:26). It was at Jerusalem that the demonic king of the North (cf. Dan. 10:13), the spirit of Antichrist working through Titus (cf. 1 John 4:3), met its end as it was destroyed in the lake of fire (Dan. 7:11; cf. Rev. 19:20).

        14. The length of time between the abomination of desolation (the coming to sacred Jewish soil of the one who would make desolate, Dan. 9:27 NKJV) until the shattering of the power of the Jews was 1,290 days (Dan. 12:6-11). Titus came to the Holy Land around February of AD 67; 1,290 days later the Jewish nation was left shattered.

        Duncan
        The Antichrist and the Second Coming 249-251

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      • Duncan,

        You’re correct. I do need to read your book, chapter 7 in particular. Thank you again for this insightful information. Do you have any thoughts on Revelation 17:12-14 and the 10 horns representing those who had not yet received royal power when John wrote Revelation?

        Revelation 17:12-14 (English Standard Version)

        12And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

        My own viewpoint up to this point, as mentioned earlier, is that they were 10 provincial Roman leaders who helped to oversee the persecution of the Church at that time. These 10 horns seem to be distinct from the 10 horns seen in Daniel’s vision (Dan. 7:7-8), because of the description given by John versus the description given by Daniel of the 10 horns he saw. Is that how you would see this (Rev. 17:12-14) as well?

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      • Hi Adam,

        Well, there you go again (said with a Ronald Regan voice 🙂 You are putting a Nero spin on the beast, the 10 horns do not help the beast persecute the church, they help the individual beast destroy the harlot (Rev. 17:16, it was Titus who destroyed the harlot not Nero!)

        Here is something from my chapter on Rev. 13. After that I give a little something from my ch. on Rev. 17. Let me first give you my summary.

        To summarize, the symbolism of the ten horns of the beast shifts somewhat in Revelation 17. In chapter 13 the ten horns have crowns and represent the ten Caesars (Julius-Vespasian). In Revelation 17 the ten horns do not have crowns and represent the client kings that would be given authority for a short time to assist Titus in his destruction of harlot Israel. (Rev. 17:12-13, 16)

        A REVIEW OF THE RULERS PORTRAYED IN DANIEL AND REVELATION

        Before I discuss Revelation 13 in detail I shall first give a review of the rulers of the fourth empire in Daniel 2 and 7 and how they relate to the rulers represented by the corporate beast in Revelation. As I mentioned earlier, Revelation is an elaboration of the prophecies of Daniel, not a reinterpretation. Both books are talking about the time of great tribulation that would happen right before the AD 70 full establishment of the kingdom of God.

        While it is clear that Revelation is influenced by the book of Daniel (Beale estimates that approximately two-thirds of all the OT references in Revelation 13 come from Daniel), the nature of this influence is debated. If Daniel is mainly dealing with the events of the second century BC and its images are being re-used in Revelation simply because of similarities between that time and John’s time, then looking at Daniel will be of little help in understanding the specifics of Revelation. If on the other hand Daniel is true prophecy relating to the same end of the age events (in chapters 2, 7, 9 and 11:36-12:13) that are portrayed in Revelation, then Daniel can be of immense value in supplying information about the rulers (the heads and horns of the beast) that we find in Revelation.

        In my overview of the rulers of Daniel and Revelation I will be referring to the Roman Caesars; keep in mind, however, that ultimately the rulers shown in these two books are the spiritual rulers behind these Caesars not simply the human rulers (cf. Eph. 6:12).

        The fourth kingdom portrayed in Daniel 2 (the legs and feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, Dan. 2:33, 40-42) speaks of the confederation of spiritual rulers behind the first ten Caesars of the Roman Empire (represented by the ten toes of the image, Dan. 2:40-45) While we are not specifically told that Nebuchadnezzar’s image had 10 toes, when we see the fourth beast of Daniel 7 (which corresponds to the legs and feet of Daniel 2) it has ten horns (Dan. 7:7). It is thus safe to conclude that the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had ten toes. The kingdom of God would be fully established early in the reign of the tenth Caesar of Rome (Vespasian AD 69-79). The rulers of Daniel’s fourth empire (Rome) are referring to the demonic rulers behind the following Caesars (I have included Titus, the little eleventh horn):

        1. Julius Caesar (49-44 BC)
        2. Augustus (31BC- AD 14)
        3. Tiberius (AD 14-37
        4. Gaius a.k.a. Caligula (AD 37-41)
        5. Claudius (AD 41-54)
        6. Nero (AD 54-68)
        Galba (AD 68-69———
        Otho (AD 69)————- 3 horns pulled out (Dan. 7:8)
        Vitellius (AD 69)———
        7. Vespasian (AD 69-79)
        8. Titus in AD 70, the little eleventh horn of Dan. 7

        Daniel 7 adds a little eleventh horn (Titus) to the count of the ten rulers (Dan. 7:7-8). Titus would become the 11th Caesar (reigning from AD 79-81) but Daniel and Revelation are showing him in AD 70 at the time he destroyed the Jewish nation. At that time he was just a general, the son of the emperor, hence his designation as an eleventh “little horn.” (Dan. 7:8). Daniel 7 modifies Daniel 2 in that it shows that the real power would not reside in the tenth ruler, the one on the throne in AD 70 (Vespasian) but in the little eleventh horn (Vespasian’s son Titus).

        Daniel 7 shows this little eleventh horn which comes up among the first ten rulers (Dan. 7:7-8). With the rise of the eleventh horn three of the first ten horns are removed (Dan. 7:7-8). The removal of three horns refers to the failed reigns of Galba, Otho and Vitellius, the three short-lived emperors that came and went in AD 68-69. The removal of these three rulers left Daniel’s fourth beast with eight rulers, which is how Revelation 17:7-11 shows the corporate beast; it is composed of eight kings.

        THE ANTICHRIST AS AN ELEVENTH/EIGHTH RULER

        The concept of the little horn of Daniel 7 being an eleventh/eighth ruler (depending if one counts the three rulers removed before him) is maintained in Revelation. The individual beast can be counted as either an eleventh ruler or an eighth ruler. If one is looking at the physical rulers symbolized by the ten horns of the corporate beast (which in Revelation 13:1 have ten crowns and represent the ten Caesars, Julius through Vespasian) then the individual beast is an eleventh ruler. Titus would be the eleventh Caesar. If one is looking at spiritual rulers (the seven heads of the corporate beast) then the individual beast is an eighth demonic king (Rev. 17:7-11). He was the demonic spirit of Antichrist that was about to come out of the abyss and work through Titus. Thus, the horns of the corporate beast in Revelation 13 refer to ten physical rulers (Julius-Vespasian) with the beast itself being an eleventh ruler (Titus in AD 70).

        The heads refer to the seven demonic rulers that were behind these Caesars with the beast itself being an especially powerful eighth demonic king.
        Apparently the reason that Galba, Otho and Vitellius could not hang onto the Roman throne is because there was no demonic ruler behind them; that is, none of the three had a corresponding head on the beast. They came on the scene during the year and a half when the corporate beast was mortally wounded (at Nero’s death in mid AD 68, Rev. 13:3). With Nero’s death, the confederation of demonic rulers behind the imperial throne was put out of commission. This left the Roman Empire like a ship without a rudder (cf. Rev. 16:10 where darkness is poured out on the throne of the beast). With the accession of Vespasian in December of AD 69 the corporate beast would come back to life as Vespasian went to sit on the throne and Titus (the individual beast) came to destroy the unfaithful Israel and her Temple (harlot Babylon, Rev. 17-18).

        To summarize, in Revelation 13 the seven heads of the corporate beast refer to seven demonic kings while the ten horns refer to the first ten Caesars they worked through. The beast itself is an eleventh ruler if one is counting human rulers; he is an eighth ruler if one is counting spiritual rulers.

        THE CORPORATE BEAST IN REVELATION 17

        In Revelation 17 the beast is again shown with its seven heads and ten horns but it has no crowns on the horns as it did in Revelation 13. As in Revelation 13, the heads represent spiritual rulers; they are demonic kings (the eighth of these kings coming out of the abyss Rev. 17:8-11). The lack of crowns on the ten horns in Revelation 17 is significant and represents a shift in the meaning of the horns in that chapter (which I will explain shortly). We are told in Revelation 17 that the seven heads are seven (demonic) kings; five had fallen, one was currently ruling, a seventh would have a short reign, after which, the beast (who was an eighth king) would come out of the abyss (Rev. 17:8-11).

        The five fallen kings were the five demonic rulers that worked through Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius and Claudius, the one ruling was the demonic ruler that was working through Nero (Revelation was written towards the end of Nero’s reign, c. AD 65). The seventh king that would have a short reign (Rev. 17:10) was the demonic ruler that would work through Vespasian. Apparently this demonic ruler only reigned for a short time, probably the months from when Vespasian was proclaimed Emperor in December of AD 69 to March of AD 70 when Titus left Egypt for his second coming to the Holy Land (cf. Dan. 11:42-45). While this proposition does not lend itself to empirical validation, the fact that supernatural forces were working through Vespasian during this short time is evidenced by his sudden ability to do miracles (e.g., making the lame walk and the blind see). Vespasian’s miraculous powers during these few months of late AD 69 and early AD 70 was impressive enough that both Suetonius and Tacitus wrote about them.

        The eighth demonic king, the individual beast, would come out of the abyss sometime in early spring of AD 70 to work through Titus as he destroyed unfaithful Israel on the ultimate day of the Lord. In Revelation 17 neither the heads nor horns have crowns on them, but we are told that the heads are kings (Rev. 17:8-11).

        Revelation 17’s the focus is on the individual beast and his destruction of harlot Babylon. In contrast, Revelation 13’s focus is on the corporate beast and how it died and came back to life with the coming of the individual beast (Rev. 13:1-7). The reason that the horns of the beast have no crowns in Revelation 17 is probably because they represent the Roman client kings and authorities that assisted Titus (the individual beast) in his destruction of harlot Israel (Rev. 17:12-17). We are told that these authorities were to “receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast” (Rev. 17:12), thus they have no crowns. I will discuss this further when I get to Revelation chapter 17.

        To summarize, the symbolism of the ten horns of the beast shifts somewhat in Revelation 17. In chapter 13 the ten horns have crowns and represent the ten Caesars (Julius-Vespasian). In Revelation 17 the ten horns do not have crowns and represent the client kings that would be given authority for a short time to assist Titus in his destruction of harlot Israel. (Rev. 17:12-13)

        I have painted with broad brushes in my overview of the complex subject of the relation between the horns of Daniel’s fourth beast and the heads and horns of the beast in Revelation. The interpretation I have presented is complex but I am afraid that (as the saying goes) that is the nature of the beast. As Revelation says in talking about the heads of the corporate beast, “This calls for a mind that has wisdom: . . .” (Rev. 17:9, NRSV). Again the key to the identification of the rulers that make up the corporate beast of Revelation is found in Daniel 7; this is why Revelation 13 contains so many references to Daniel 7.

        Here is a little something from my chapter on Rev. 17.

        THE HORNS OF THE INDIVIDUAL BEAST
        We are told that the ten horns of the beast are ten kings who receive authority with the individual beast for “one hour as kings” to help in the destruction of the harlot (Rev. 17:12-13, 16). It is important to note that the ten horns of the beast in Revelation 17 do not have crowns on them like the ten horns of the corporate beast do in Revelation 13:1. In Revelation 13:1 the ten horns of the corporate beast have crowns on them because in that context they represent the same ten emperors (Julius to Vespasian) that the ten horns of Daniel’s fourth beast do (Daniel 7:7). In Revelation 17 the focus is on the individual beast and his destruction of the harlot. The horns here receive authority “as kings” to assist the individual beast. Thus, the ten horns in this chapter probably represent the allied authorities and client kings that assisted Titus in his destruction of the Jewish nation.

        Of the Roman governors and authorities that helped Titus in the destruction of the harlot there were at least four client kings of Rome. These were, Antiochus IV of Commagene (not to be confused with the second-century BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes), Herod Agrippa II of northern Palestine (cf. Acts 25:13-26:32), Sohaemus of Emesa, and Malchus II of Nabataea (Arabia). Wellesley writes the following about the kings and authorities that united with Titus in AD 69—he mentions at least seven client rulers.

        The Flavians soon received the support of a number of native rulers, among them Sohaemus, sheikh of Homs, a fertile and independent enclave in the province of Syria . . . also Antiochus IV Epiphanes, ruler of Commagene east of Cilicia . . . Then Titus’ traveling companion, King Agrippa II, sheikh of Anjan and Golan . . . After this, we are not surprised to learn that the governors of all the provinces of Asia Minor, though disposing of no legionary garrisons, had promised such support in supplies, facilities and auxiliary forces as they could give and Vespasian might require. Among them were the proconsul of Asia, Gaius Fonteius Agrippa, and the legate of Galatia-with-Pamphylia, Lucius Nonius Calpurnius Asprenas . . . In addition, there was Cappadocia, still a procuratorial province governed by a knight without the legionary garrison which Vespasian himself was to give it; its governor in 69 is unknown, and equally unknown is the governor of Pontus, added to Bithynia five years before. In late July [of AD 69] Vespasian, Mucianus, Titus and the commanding and senior officers of the legions, together with the potentates who supported the Flavian cause, met to formulate precise plans at Beirut.

        Of the gathered Flavian forces, approximately 15,000-20,000 went with Mucianus to secure Rome (he would pick up other forces on his march to Rome). The majority went with Titus. By the time Titus’ forces were gathered at Caesarea, the strength of his army was approximately 50,000-60,000.
        With the picture of a beast with horns in mind, consider Josephus’ description of Titus and the advancing Roman army and how the allied kings were at its head.

        Titus advanced into enemy territory behind a vanguard consisting of the contingents of the kings and the whole body of auxiliaries. Next to them came the road-builders and camp-measurers, then the officers’ baggage; behind the troops which protected them came the commander-in-chief, escorted by his lancers and other picked soldiers , and followed by the legionary cavalry. These marched before the engines and behind them the tribunes and prefects of cohorts with a picked escort. After them came the eagle surrounded by the standards, preceded by their trumpeters, and after them the solid column, marching six abreast. The servants belonging to each legion followed in a body preceded by the baggage train. Last of all came the mercenaries and their guards in the rear. Heading his forces forward in the orderly array, according to Roman custom, Titus advanced . . . .

        The allied kings were at the head of the Roman beast; they were its horns. We are told that God had “put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled” (Rev. 17:17).

        In Revelation 17:16 we are told that these kings would “hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.” Tacitus notes the hatred some of the allied troops had for the Jews.

        Waiting for him [Titus] in Judea were the three legions that had long served under Vespasian-the Fifth, Tenth, and Fifteenth. To this force he added the Twelfth from Syria and the drafts from the Twenty-Second and the Third brought up from Alexandria. He was attended by twenty cohorts of allied infantry and eight regiments of cavalry, as well as by the two kings Agrippa and Sohaemus and the supporting forces offered by King Antiochus. Then there were strong levies of Arabs, who felt for the Jews the hatred common between neighbors . . . .

        Revelation 17:16 says that the harlot would be stripped naked and burned with fire. Burning was the sentence of death prescribed in Leviticus for a harlot who was the daughter of a priest, “The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, she profanes her father. She shall be burned with fire” (Leviticus 21:9). The punishment of harlot Babylon is burning; she was of the priestly class and had profaned her heavenly Father. The Temple and much of Jerusalem were destroyed by fire in the holocaust of AD 70. Aune notes the following about Revelation 17:16 and its OT allusions to the destruction of Jerusalem:

        This is an allusion to Ezek 23:26-29, where Jerusalem is compared to a woman stripped naked and to Ezek 23:25 where the survivors of Jerusalem will be burned with fire. Several OT prophets . . . also threaten the harlot Judah with being stripped naked (Jer 13:26-27; Ezek 16:37-38; 23:10, 29; Hos 2:5, 12).

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      • Here are some of the footnotes from what I wrote above. The numbers did not pull through so you will just have to figure out what footnote belongs where!

        1. In Daniel, the little horn of chapter 7 is an eighth horn (after three horns are removed before him). Given this, it would seem more consistent for the Antichrist to be an eighth head on the beast. I believe the reason he is not, is to give the Antichrist (the individual beast) seven heads, thus mimicking the Lamb (with seven eyes and horns, Rev. 5:6) and showing himself as God (cf. 2 Thess. 2:4).

        2. Many of those who do not believe Daniel is a true prophecy base their belief on an a priori assumption that there is no such thing as true prophecy. Those who hold this assumption have their minds already made up; in their thinking Daniel can’t contain true prophecy because there is no such thing as true prophecy. Because of this assumption they believe that Revelation must be a reinterpretation (or possibly a sharing of common literary tradition) of the pseudo prophecies of Daniel. The assumption that there is no such thing as true prophecy is imbedded in much of modern day scholarship.

        3. Beale, The Book of Revelation, 729. Beale seems to imply that the reason that John makes so many references to Daniel is because John saw himself as in a parallel situation as did the writer of Daniel (who Beale thinks was talking about the second century BC). My position is that the fourth beast that Daniel had prophesied about was Rome and that John was being given more information supplementing Daniel’s prophecies about this empire that would be in existence when kingdom of God was fully established.

        4. Tacitus writes the following on Vespasian brief time of being a miracle worker:
        In the course of the months [of early AD 70] which Vespasian spent at Alexandria [Egypt], waiting for the regular season of summer winds when the sea could be relied upon [so he could set sail for Rome to assume his position as Emperor], many miracles occurred. These seemed to be indications that Vespasian enjoyed heaven’s blessing and that the gods showed a certain leaning towards him. Among the lower classes at Alexandria was a blind man whom everybody knew as such. One day this fellow threw himself at Vespasian’s feet, imploring him with groans to heal his blindness. He had been told to make this request by Serapis, the favorite god of a nation much addicted to strange beliefs. He asked that it might please the emperor to anoint his cheeks and eyeballs with the water of his mouth. A second petitioner, who suffered from a withered hand, pleaded his case too, also on the advice of Serapis: would Caesar tread upon him with the imperial foot? At first Vespasian laughed at them and refused. When the two insisted, he hesitated . . . Vespasian felt that his destiny gave him the key to every door and that nothing now defied belief. With smiling expression and surrounded by an expectant crowd of bystanders, he did what was asked. Instantly the cripple recovered the use of his hand and the light of day dawned again upon his blind companion. Both these incidents are still vouched for by eye-witnesses, though there is now nothing to be gained by lying. Tacitus, The Histories, 1, 10, trans. Kenneth Wellesley (New York: Penguin Books, 1975), 263-264.
        Vespasian began performing his “many miracles” at the exact time that my position theorizes that the seventh demonic king began working through him (the time when the corporate beast came back to life with Vespasian’s accession to the throne in December of AD 69). This is something Vespasian had not done before this time and would not do after. By the time Vespasian came back to Rome in the second half of AD 70 he was no longer performing these miracles. To see Suetonius’ version see, Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Vespasian, 7. Suetonius says it was a lame man, not a man with a withered hand, that was healed—these were Messianic miracles, cf. Matt. 11:5.

        5. Beale, The Book of Revelation, 681.

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      • Duncan,

        Yes, there I go again. 🙂 Once again, your reply is both thought-provoking and appreciated. And, as you said, this interpretation is complex. I do see that the ten horns (ten kings) pursue the harlot (Rev. 17:16-17), which I agree with you is to be identified as not only the city of Jerusalem but also Old Covenant, temple-based Judaism. At the same time, the reason I viewed verse 14 as speaking of persecution against the Church is because of the similarities between that verse and Acts 9:1-5, which read as follows:

        ”But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting…’”

        Jesus took the persecution of His body, His followers, personally. That’s what I naturally see happening here in Rev. 17:14, where we read:

        They [the ten kings] will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with Him are called and chosen and faithful.

        Would Jesus take it personally if an entity targets those who have rejected Him and are marked for judgment; i.e. would He take it personally in the same way as He took personally the persecution of His faithful people at the hands of Saul? That’s the question in my mind.

        This is related to the same barrier I have in regarding “the saints” (Rev. 13:7, 10) as a reference to anyone but faithful followers of Jesus. After all “the saints” are called to endurance and faith (verse 10), something which is only possible for believers. “War” is waged against them (verse 7), just as it is against the Lamb (Rev. 17:14). I believe you addressed this briefly, but I don’t remember where. I don’t know so much about Titus having the authority to go after followers of Christ throughout the Roman empire during the reign of Nero, the three emperors who ruled briefly after him, or during the beginning of Vespasian’s reign (69 AD ); or that he conquered them in any significant way. I do know about Nero’s systematic targeting of believers in Christ, and of his barbarity in putting many of them to death. I’m referring to verse 7, which says, “Also it [the beast] was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them…” My difficulty is in conceiving of an inspired author of Scripture (John), in the New Testament era no less, referring to mainly unregenerate Jews as “saints” (even if this is, as it certainly appears to be, a reference back to Daniel 7:25).

        I know that Titus spoke blasphemous things against the God of heaven, whom even the apostate Jews claimed to be following (I’ve now read what you wrote about that on page 117 in your book). On page 120 of your book, you wrote with regard to Daniel 7:25, “Daniel would have understood the saints of the Most High to be his people, the Jews (cf. Dan. 9:24; 12:1), although in the NT the concept of saints is expanded to include believing Gentiles as well as Jews (cf. Rev. 13:7).” Isn’t the NT concept of “saints,” though, strictly confined to those who trust in Christ for salvation, regardless of ethnic background? Or are we saying the same thing? I’ve read what you quoted from Severus (also on page 120 of your book) about Titus’ misguided aim to destroy both Judaism and Christianity in one swipe by destroying the temple in Jerusalem, and am pondering on that. I wonder if there is any more evidence out there of his systematic “conquering” (Rev. 13:7) of God’s people (the body of Christ)?

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      • Hi Adam,

        I wrote this, this morning in addressing some full preterists on when the millennium began. I modified this a little to address some of what we are talking about. Anyway some of what I wrote below relates to what you are talking about, some does not. Hope it makes some sense!

        I will be addressing the sequence of Revelation 19-20 in general. First it is important to look at what people’s paradigms will and will not allow. This is important because it will let you know where they are likely to be less than objective (at which point you need to evaluate very carefully what they are saying).

        For example, the “orthodox” partial preterist’s paradigm will not allow for an AD 70 beginning of the resurrection. Thus they have to somehow twist the meaning of scriptures like Daniel 12:1-7 and Rev. 11:3-18 which show the resurrection and judgment as beginning right after the great tribulation.

        Now full preterists have their own creed. It is the de facto creed that all prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70. If they deny this they are no longer a full preterist (and most of them would rather eat a bug and die rather than let that happen!) This is important because full prets have to make the millennium end before AD 70. If the millennium begins at AD 70 (as I and JS Russell propose) then there is still prophecy awaiting fulfillment (the final disposal of Satan in the lake of fire, Rev. 20:7-10).

        Anytime one’s paradigm is on the line, one is often less objective. This is true for partial prets on the timing of the resurrection; this is true of full prets on the timing of the millennium. I of course have my own paradigm (that the Second Advent happened at AD 70, which was the beginning of the millennium and resurrection) but it is so close to full preterism that I would have no problem embracing full preterism—if that is what I saw Scripture teaching. And for the last 25 years that is not what I see Scripture teaching.

        Let me start with the parallels between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the individual beast of Revelation.

        1. The little horn/beast is an eighth ruler (three horns are removed before the little eleventh horn making him an eighth ruler, Dan. 7:8; Rev. 17:11). Titus was the eleventh Caesar, he was a general when he destroyed Israel (a little horn); the three horns removed are Galba Otho and Vitellius. How is Nero an eleventh horn, how is he an eighth horn. (He was the sixth Caesar.)

        2. The little horn/beast speaks great blasphemies against God (Dan. 7:8, 11, 20, 25; Rev. 13:5-6). Talmud records Titus doing this in the Temple (cf. 2 Thess. 2:4), see Gittin 51b

        3. The little horn/beast wages war against the saints and overcomes them (Dan. 7:21; Rev. 13:7). You want to say this is Nero in Rev. 13 but it sure isn’t Nero in Dan. 7 (unless you can make him a little eleventh horn). It is the dwellers on the Land that the beast focuses on (Rev. 13:8, 12, 14). Yes, the saints are differentiated from the dwellers on the Land (Rev. 13:7-8) but the main focus is still the Land. Anyone would not acknowledge Titus Flavius Vespasianus (the name of both father and son) as Lord would be put to death. The great tribulation would come on the whole world but would focus on the dwellers on the Land (Rev. 3:10; cf. Dan. 12:1-7; Matt. 24:15-22). Nero never even set foot in the Land. Notice that the whole thing of the mark of the individual beast happens after the corporate beast had died and come back to life (Rev. 13:3, 14). This is after the death of Nero when Rome went through its death throes with Galba Otho and Vitellius (remember 3 horns are pulled out before the little 11th horn not after him). The corporate beast would come back to life with the ascension of Vespasian and then the beast from the abyss that would work through Titus. Also note that the head and the hand (Rev. 13:16) specifically relates to Jewish worship (Duet 6:8).

        4. The little horn/beast has a three-and-a-half-year reign of terror (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5). Nero is the wrong three and a half years. The great tribulation always ends at AD 70 (cf. Dan. 7:21-22; Dan. 12:1-2, 7; Rev. 11:2)

        5. The little horn/beast is defeated in AD 70 by the coming of God/Christ (Dan. 7:21-22; Rev. 19:11-20). This did not happen at the AD 68 death of Nero.

        6. The little horn/beast is thrown into the lake of fire at the time of the Second Coming (Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:19-21).

        7. The kingdom of God is fully established (what the NT shows as the beginning of the millennium) at the AD 70 defeat of the little horn/beast (Dan. 7:7-11, 21-27; Rev. 19:11-20:4).

        I want to focus on point 7. The sequence of Daniel 7:21-22 could not be clearer.

        I was watching and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom.
        Daniel 7:21-22

        Daniel 7 clearly shows a premillennial sequence; it is right after the AD 70 coming of God to defeat of the Antichrist (the little horn) that the saints possess the kingdom. This parallels the sequence of Revelation 19:11-20:4. It is right after the AD 70 coming of the Word of God to defeat the Antichrist (the beast, Rev. 19:11-21) that the saints possess the kingdom (as the millennium begins; Rev. 20:1-4; cf. Dan. 7:7-11). Notice how Daniel 7 shows God’s people having gone through the great tribulation just prior to possessing the kingdom (i.e., the little horn prevailing against the saints in verse 21; cf. v. 25). It is the same in Revelation 20:4; one of the groups that come alive at the beginning of the millennium consists of those who had been killed for not taking the mark of the beast.

        Then I saw thrones, and those seated on them were given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
        Revelation 20:4

        Thus, Revelation 20:4 also contains a clear reference to God’s people having gone through to the great tribulation of AD 67-70 (cf. Rev. 13:7-18); they had been killed by the Antichrist. That speaks of an AD 70 beginning of the millennium not an AD 30 beginning (the martyrs of the beast coming back to life at AD 30 does not make sense; they would not even be killed for another 37 or so years!)
        This sequence of God’s people fully inheriting the kingdom at AD 70 is also shown in Luke 19.

        Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them; ‘Do business until I come.’ But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’ And so it was that when he returned having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned fine minas.’ Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities . . . But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’”
        Luke 19:11-19, 27; cf. Matthew 19:28

        Jesus received worldwide dominion in AD 30 (Matt. 28:18); this equates with the nobleman going away to receive his kingdom. Jesus would return forty years later to fully share that dominion with his followers at his parousia (which equates with the long journey of the nobleman prior to his return). Note the destruction of the subjects that did not want the nobleman to rule over them (i.e., the Jews; cf. John 1:11-12; 19:15-22). This is referring to the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation at the full establishment of God’s kingdom (cf. Dan. 12:1-7; Matt. 8:11-12; 22:1-10; Rev. 11:15-18). This was the time of the parousia, the time when Jesus’ followers shared in his reign as the saints inherited the kingdom of God (Dan. 7:21-27; Rev. 19:11-20:4 cf. Matt. 21:33-45).

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  10. Hi Adam

    Enjoy your guests and your weekend.Duncan’s book will be arriving in a few days – that should keep me occupied for a year or two maybe three! 😀

    He’s been great.His take on the Demise of Satan [comment # 8] on this page was scripturally (this is not a word i know) excellent!

    Adam you said

    ” I have a feeling that we will continue to explore whether or not the New Testament, aside from the words of Jesus, promises a coming beyond 70 AD (outside of the idea that He comes for His own at the time of their physical death).”

    Amen and Amen! God bless you Adam

    Seroled

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    • Thanks Seroled,

      Many futurists are still waiting for Satan to be cast out of heaven (Rev. 12:1-9). If that is true then he is still accusing us day and night before God’s throne (Rev. 12:10). How is it I am the heretic when I say this is just plain wrong. Satan was kicked out of heaven at the cross (John 12:31-32). He had a short time at that point(Rev. 12:12) till he was bound for the millennium at AD 70 (the end of “a time and times and half a time” Rev. 12:13-14; cf. Dan. 12:7).

      By the way, most people say my book is pretty easy reading.

      Duncan

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    • Thank you, Seroled. I appreciated your blessing. I did have a good time with my guests, and also being out of town two weekends ago. I’ve been doing a lot of catching up ever since, with school work, etc. What a busy summer it’s been, but a beautiful one here in Minnesota. May God bless you as well!

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  11. Adam,
    Since you are a pretty prolific writer, maybe the topic for a future essay could reveal the correlation (if there is one) between Israel’s march around Jericho while blowing the trumpet 7 times, and the 7 trumpets of Revelation. It seems that Jericho may have been a shadow of Jerusalem’s demise.

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  12. Really interesting discussion. Here is my take on the passage. The rebellion would be the Jewish war. Those who were holding back or restraining would be the Jewish priest collaborators with Rome–they were able to hold off the zealot movement. Ultimately they are taken out of the way by the zealots. The man of sin would be the head of the Zealot movement who is ultimately destroyed by the Roman army. The zealots clearly had a different view of kingdom of God than that which John and Jesus presented. If you think about it—it is pretty much the same as Christian Zionism. How shocked they must have been when God did not deliver “the apple of his eye” in 70 AD. Really liked the discussion about why II Thessalonians can’t refer to any second coming of Christ. Studying passages in content, rather than pretext, really helps does it not?
    t

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    • You are the first person I’ve come across that interprets that section the way I do. When I read the ESV (I believe it was), that uses “rebellion” instead of “falling away”, it hit me like a ton of bricks that it wasn’t a modern-day apostasy from Christianity, but the Jewish rebellion that is being discussed. From there, I figured that the man of lawlessness was probably someone from the zealots who was also claiming to be the messiah. There is so much we don’t know about the events back then, but I’m sure this character came on the scene and fulfilled what was predicted.

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  13. When I read the Final Week by Marcus Borg, I became aware of the collaboration between the Temple Priests and the Roman Empire. Borg makes a big point about Roman coins being in High Priest pockets. They had no trouble securing a Roman coin for Jesus to use for his illustration. The coins are evidence of the contract between the two parties. The priests promised to keep the peace and the Romans promised to keep the temple open. The Zealots ultimately broke that agreement.

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  14. To Patrick and Steve,

    Much appreciation for your points on the identity of the Lawless One. Up until recently, my understanding of this character followed Russell’s writing: Nero, the Man of Sin, was being restrained by Claudius, until the emperor was taken out of the way by being poisoned. However, I never was comfortable with the idea of Nero “sitting in the temple of God showing himself that he is God”, since, (as Duncan states), Nero never made an actual appearance in Jerusalem or its temple to fulfill this.

    If, as you two are saying, the rebellion of the Jewish war is the apostasy spoken of in II Thess. 2:3, (and I agree), then it becomes a simple matter to identify a restrainer as one of the Jewish temple leadership who would be a collaborating, pro-Roman individual. He would have been a contemporary of Paul at the time of II Thessalonian’s circulation, and would be holding back the revelation of one favoring the rebellion’s cause who would be vying for the coveted position of the “messiah” for Israel. Neither of you put names on these two characters, so here is by best guess as to their identity.

    Ananias is the II Thess. 2 restrainer (high priest from AD 47 – 59?). Paul’s guarded and veiled language in II Thess. 2 ( in AD 52) when he refers to this restrainer who was then in existence could have had a two-fold purpose. First, Paul may have wanted to show an obedience to the law that one “should not speak evil of the ruler of thy people” (Acts 23:5). Second, there would have been dangerous repercussions for Paul and the church if he had openly discussed a predicted death for a high priest, even though Paul had obviously spoken with the church about it in person (II Thess. 2:5). Paul himself in the future would pronounce this soon-coming judgment on Ananias when he commanded that Paul be struck on the mouth when he was on trial. “God is about to smite thee, thou whited wall”, Paul told him at that time (in AD 60). Sure enough, soon after that in the fall of AD 66, Ananias the pro-Roman, former high priest is murdered and “taken out of the way” in Jerusalem by the radical Menahem (or Manahem) and those under his command who were killing Roman sympathizers.

    Manahem was the son or grandson of Judas the Galilean who had formerly led a revolt against the Romans and was killed (Acts 5:37). Perhaps this fulfills the II Thess. 2:3 label of “the son of perdition”? It would explain why this mystery of iniquity was already working, if Manahem was preparing to follow in his father’s or grandfather’s footsteps. The more I read in Josephus concerning the actions of this relatively unknown character Manahem, the closer he fits the description of the Lawless One. He is one of many antichrists (as I John 2:18 says), since there were many contenders for the “messiah” role, most notably Eleazar, John of Gischala, and Simon, among others. The one who emerged as the most powerful would have the distinction of not only conquering the Romans, but of becoming master of the known world according to a misinterpreted prophecy of the time (Ussher’s Annals of the World – 6932).

    In Josephus (Wars, Book 2, ch. 17 – 8,9) Manahem left Jerusalem with some of his party, and traveled to Masada to raid the armory, and also apparently to pick up Herod’s royal regalia to wear. He then returned to Jerusalem “in the state of a king”. (What a contrast to our Lord’s lowly entry on an ass.) It is at this time that he and his seditious followers kill Ananias, the former high priest, and Hezekiah his brother, and besiege their other opponents in the Jerusalem towers. Such rapid advancement of his party’s success went to Manahem’s head. Josephus says he turned into an insupportable tyrant, and decided “in a pompous manner” to go up to worship in the temple adorned in royal garments (those stolen from Masada).

    Here we have Manahem, actually present in the temple of God, exalting himself above every so-called god or object of worship, showing himself in royal garb as the King of the Jews – a title reserved only for Christ since Calvary. If this doesn’t fulfill II Thess. 2:4, I don’t know what does. (Note: II Thess. 2 never makes the point that the Man of Sin succeeds in receiving worship – only that HE EXALTS HIMSELF)

    Of course, such presumption on the part of a common, impudent upstart goaded a jealous Eleazar and his seditious party into assaulting Manahem in the temple and driving him and his followers out. Manahem escaped, but was caught, tortured, and killed along with his main henchmen, which then left Eleazar in the prominent position. Manahem was destroyed almost in the very moment of his coming into a lead position over Jerusalem. This is the true meaning of the man of lawlessness being destroyed by the brightness of his (own) coming. THIS IS NOT THE BRIGHTNESS OF CHRIST’S COMING (PAROUSIA) under discussion in II Thess. 2:8. That would be impossible, because the “brightness of his (Manahem’s) coming is according to the working of SATAN, with all power, and signs, and LYING wonders” (v. 9). This could not possibly be describing Christ’s actions here, unless you want to say that Christ comes like Satan, and is a liar.

    It says in II Thess. 2:8 that the Lord will consume this Lawless One with the “spirit of his mouth”. Again, this is NOT the spirit of Christ’s mouth. This is an unclean spirit coming out of this man’s own mouth that is his own undoing. Remember Rev. 16:3 with the three unclean spirits coming out of the mouth of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet that go out to deceive the nations? Somehow this symbolism is connected with the lying spirit of his (Manahem’s) mouth in II Thess. 2:8, assisting in Manahem’s own destruction.

    I believe the strong delusion sent by God in II Thess. 2:11 so that the unbelievers would believe a lie, is referring to the sense of invincibility these contenders had as they struggled for the supremacy and manipulated their own countrymen in order to gain an advantage over each other. God, they thought, was obligated to defend their temple, their place, and their nation against all odds. The ultimate prize was not just ridding themselves of Roman control, but for one man to finally gain the “messiah” position of king over all kingdoms. As some of you have already said, it was 1st century Zionism, long before the 20th century’s version of it.

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    • Frankly, I wasn’t even thinking of this subject until I read your May 6th comment here. Iron really does sharpen iron. Keep it up, everyone. And thank you again, Patrick.

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