Jerusalem, a Dwelling Place of Demons


Series: “Little Gems from Our Study of the Book of Revelation”

And [the angel] cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!” (Revelation 18:2)

A survey of the Old Testament reveals a common theme, as God repeatedly proclaimed that Israel, Jerusalem, and the temple were His dwelling place. Consider the following texts (this is just a sample):

You will bring them in and plant them In the mountain of Your inheritance, In the place, O Lord, which You have made for Your own dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Your hands have established” (Exodus 15:17).

But you shall seek the place where the Lord your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go” (Deuteronomy 12:5).

In Jerusalem also is His tabernacle, and His dwelling place in Zion” (Psalm 76:2).

For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place(Psalm 132:13).

At the same time, God’s dwelling place was in heaven (e.g. I Kings 8:30, 39, 43, 49):

“And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear in heaven Your dwelling place; and when You hear, forgive…”

A survey of the Old Testament also reveals that Israel and Jerusalem often proved unworthy of serving as a dwelling place for God. In these times of unfaithfulness, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea were among those who referred to Israel as a harlot:

The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlotAnd I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also” (Jeremiah 3:6-8).

But you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it” (Ezekiel 16:15).

I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: There is the harlotry of Ephraim; Israel is defiled” (Hosea 6:10).

When Jesus came, He summed up what had become of Jerusalem in this lament:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38).

Strong’s Concordance defines the word “desolate” (#2048), used by Matthew here, as “lonesome, waste, desert, solitary, wilderness.” In the New Testament, we see indications that demons are attracted to such places:

For Jesus had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness” (Luke 8:29; some translations say “solitary places” or “deserted places”).

Similarly, recall what Jesus said would be true of the nation of Israel in His generation:

The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here. When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation” (Matthew 12:41-45).

John wrote the book of Revelation in Jesus’ generation, and there we see a tragic picture of what had become of His former dwelling place, as John describes “Babylon the great”:

And [the angel] cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!” (Revelation 18:2).

Someone may object here and say that Babylon the great is not Jerusalem. However, if we pay attention, John does positively identify the great city, Babylon. In the previous chapter, John is shown “the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication” (Rev. 17:1-2). She is shown sitting on a great beast (verse 3), and on her forehead are written these words: “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (verse 5). John sees her drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs (verse 6). The angel says to John, “The woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (verse 18). So the following is clear:

The harlot = Babylon the great = the great city

The “great city” is mentioned five times in Rev. 18 (verses 10, 16, 18, 19, and 21). In verses 10 and 21 it’s referred to as “the great city Babylon.” (See also Rev. 14:8.) Yet it’s in the first mention of “the great city” where we see the positive identification of that city. We see this in the scene of the two witnesses who are killed by the beast:

 “And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8).

Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem. Therefore, “the great city” is Jerusalem. This title was also given to Jerusalem by Josephus (Wars 7:8:7) and Appian, a Roman historian of the same era. It may also be a throwback to Jeremiah’s words when he described the soon-coming judgment upon Jerusalem by Babylon, which took place in 586 BC:

And many nations will pass by this city, and every man will say to his neighbor, “Why has the Lord dealt thus with this great city?” And they will answer, “Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them” (Jeremiah 22:8-9).

The great city, Babylon, is further confirmed as Jerusalem in at least the following three ways:

[1] This would not be the first time that Israel was referred to as “Sodom.” Isaiah did the same thing: Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of SodomGive ear to the law of our God, you people of Gomorrah: ‘To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?’ says the Lord…” (Isaiah 1:10-11)John invokes the names of two of Israel’s oldest enemies, Sodom and Egypt, and uses them to describe first century Jerusalem.

[2] John describes the great city using the imagery of a harlot. As discussed above, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea referred to Israel as a harlot in their day. Israel was in a covenant relationship with God, and therefore capable of spiritual adultery, unlike other nations in John’s day (or the United States or any other nation in our own day).

[3] John sees the harlot, Babylon the great, drunk with the blood of martyrs and saints (Rev. 17:6), and filled with the blood of prophets and apostles (Rev. 18:20, 24; see also Rev. 16:6, 19:2). Jesus said that Israel would be held responsible and judged in His generation for shedding this very blood (Matthew 23:29-36). He also said that “it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem” (Luke 13:33). 

In all this we see that a terrible thing had happened to Jerusalem, God’s former dwelling place. It was given over to spiritual adultery and had become overrun by demons:

“Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!” (Revelation 18:2).

With God having abandoned Jerusalem as His dwelling place, was He then without a dwelling place of His own? Not at all. In the next post, we will see that God has chosen as His dwelling place the new Jerusalem, the community of saints who abide in His Son, Jesus.

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For more information and details on the content in this post, see our studies on Revelation 17 (verses 1-6 and verses 7-18) and Revelation 18.

If time allows, consider also our study on Revelation 9, where John sees an army of torturing locusts emerging out of the abyss. There is good reason to believe John witnesses a horde of demons sweeping through the land of Israel. The locusts didn’t touch any vegetation, but were given authority to torment only those who were not God’s servants, and this torment was to last for five months. In Judea, locusts typically came between May and September (a 5-month period), and this is roughly the same period when Rome laid a 5-month siege upon Jerusalem in 70 AD leading to Jerusalem’s downfall in September of that year.

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25 thoughts on “Jerusalem, a Dwelling Place of Demons

  1. Hello Adam

    In your quote of Matthew 33:27-28, you omit verse 39,( For I say unto you, Ye shalL not see me henceforth TILL you say ” Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” Clearly then, Jerusalem will not always be desolate, as Jesus predicts a time when she shall welcome Him. This is further emphasized by Luke 21, taken also from the Olivet Discourse when our Lord says ” Jerusalem will be trampled of the gentiles UNTIL the time of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled.” Clearly then, Jerusalem will not always be ruled by gentiles, so her desolation is not final.

    Paul

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    • Hi Paul,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. It was actually Matthew 23 (not 33), and verses 37-38 (not 27-28), but I know what you mean. Even though Jesus didn’t say that the whole city of Jerusalem would see Him when the city of Jerusalem (collectively) would welcome Him with words of blessing, I’m aware of that interpretation. What’s to say that this is not an individual promise – that each one who accepts Jesus as having come in the name of the Lord (instead of continuing to reject Him) will see Him and know Him?

      I believe “the time of the Gentiles” reflects Daniel’s visions and what he wrote about: the kingdoms of Babylon (from the time of Nebuchadnezzar), Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome and their domination over the place where God chose to dwell. In the first century, God’s dwelling place broke free. His people are a spiritual entity, the new Jerusalem, spread throughout the known world (then) and throughout the entire world (now). In any case, the trampling of the Gentiles was not to last for centuries. It was to last for only 3.5 years:

      “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 11:2).

      And it did. It took the Romans 3.5 years to overrun Jerusalem, from the time that Nero declared war on Israel in February 67 AD until Jerusalem was overthrown in August 70 AD.

      The smoke of Jerusalem’s burning was “to rise forever and ever” (Rev. 19:3). This was common language in the Old Testament for the final overthrow of a nation, empire, or great city. There is a city today in the Middle East called Jerusalem, but it’s not God’s dwelling place. His dwelling place is in the new Jerusalem and in His church (more on that in the next post).

      Earthly Jerusalem was cast out, but the heavenly Jerusalem is the mother of God’s people (Galatians 4:21-31). The type and shadow has seen its fulfillment. God is not looking to resurrect earthly Jerusalem in order to resume special purposes and plans with her.

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    • For I say unto you, Ye shalL not see me henceforth TILL you say ” Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”

      Many take this as a prophetic word, but i don’t believe it is. Jesus is simply saying that any which recognize Jesus as the Messiah will say “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”. This has been taking place for the last 2000 years, as individual Jews have “recognized” Jesus as the true Messiah and been grafted into the body of Christ. It will continue in this manner until Jesus appears: which then will be too late for those who reject Him prior to His appearing.

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    • Interesting point but I don’t think it means what you think. Audience analysis would tell us that Jesus is addressing the Jewish collaborators who rejected him in this text. Not some future audience beyond that generation. That is an exegetical leap of 2,000 years. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord requires acceptance of Messiah –and we know that some priests did convert to Christ during the Apostles ministry in Jerusalem. We also know that Jesus told the collaborators that they would see him coming in the clouds as the son of man. His parousia at Jerusalem in 70 AD. The whole thrust of the passage is curse not future promise for 1948.

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  2. Hi Adam

    Yes, indeed, it should have been Matthew 23, not 33. Jesus was speaking to the city of Jerusalem and its people, the Jews. Individual Christians did not kill the prophets and stone those who were sent to them. One cannot shift the meaning to that of the individual Christian, or read into the text anything other than what it says. The Bible is it’s own best interpreter.

    Similarly, Luke 21 makes it abundantly clear that Jerusalem will not always be trodden of the gentiles.

    Rev 19:3 does not refer to Jerusalem. The texts of Revelation are replete with examples that prove this, but for the sake of brevity, at no point did Jerusalem rule the kings of the earth. The only city that fits this description is Rome. It was common practice to refer to Rome esoterically as Babylon .

    As a matter of interest, whom do Preterists say the two witnesses were, especially as this was supposed to have happened before 70 AD?

    Best

    Paul

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    • Paul, concerning Matthew 23:39 (“for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’”), I suppose a simple way to look at this is to ask this question: Was Jesus making a prediction here, or stating a condition? In other words, was He saying, “City of Jerusalem, one day in the far distant future, everyone who lives within your borders will say to Me all at once, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’, and then they will see Me”? Or was He saying to His listeners, “If you don’t receive Me as having come from the Father to lay down My life in your place, you will never see Me”?

      I really believe it’s the latter, that Jesus was stating a condition. And therefore, on the day of Pentecost, when 3000 Jews in Jerusalem heard Peter preach the gospel and believed, they blessed Jesus as coming in the name of the Lord, and they saw Jesus. You’re free to view this verse as you wish, of course.

      I agree with you that Jerusalem would not always be trampled by the Gentiles. According to Luke 21, this would take place by the time the temple fell (verses 5-7) and before His generation passed away (verse 32). And Revelation 11:2 clarifies that the city would only be trampled for 42 months, or 3.5 years. Then history confirms that Rome began its attempt to capture Jerusalem in February 67 AD and completed that capture in August 70 AD, precisely 42 months later. It’s a remarkable example of Jesus and John giving prophecies which came to pass just as they said they would.

      (I’ll address the last half of your comment in a follow-up reply.)

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    • Paul, regarding Revelation 19:3 (“Again they said, ‘Alleluia, her smoke rises up forever and ever.'”), it’s good to note that this is in reference to “the harlot,” which was found guilty of shedding the blood of God’s servants (verse 2; see also Rev. 16:3-6, 17:3-6, 18:20, 18:24). Jesus told the religious leaders of Israel that their generation in Israel would be held responsible for shedding the blood of prophets and saints. Furthermore, the harlot is one and the same with “the great city” and “Babylon the great” (see the post above). “The great city” is clearly identified as Jerusalem – “where our Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8).

      It’s also good to note that Jerusalem was literally burned by Rome in 70 AD. It’s no coincidence that Revelation 17-19 contain so many references to the harlot and Babylon the great being burned and going up in smoke. Jesus also predicted that armies would burn up the city of those who turned down His wedding invitation and abused His servants:

      And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city” (Matthew 22:1-7).

      Jerusalem did rule over the kings of the earth. Keep in mind that the Greek word for “earth” can be, and sometimes is, translated as “land.” Peter said that Herod and Pilate were two of these kings:

      “The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ. For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together” (Acts 4:26-27).

      Lamentations, written shortly after Jerusalem fell the first time in 586 BC, begins this way: “How lonely sits the city that was full of people! How like a widow has she become, she who was great among the nations! She who was a princess among the provinces has become a slave.” Jerusalem in John’s day was also known internationally as a great city, and she believed she was more than a princess: “I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see” (Rev. 18:7). When Jeremiah prophesied of Jerusalem’s soon coming destruction in his day, he wrote:

      “And many nations will pass by this city, and every man will say to his neighbor, ‘Why has the Lord dealt thus with this great city?’ And they will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and worshiped other gods and served them’” (Jeremiah 22:8-9).

      I believe David Chilton was correct when he wrote this commentary on Revelation 17:18. Chilton wrote: “If the City is Jerusalem, how can it be said to wield this kind of worldwide political power? The answer is that Revelation is not a book about politics; it is a book about the Covenant. Jerusalem did reign over the nations. She did possess a Kingdom which was above all the kingdoms of the world. She had a covenantal priority over the kingdoms of the earth.”

      Regarding the two witnesses, I don’t know of any unified view among preterists. If you ask this question to ten preterists, you might get several answers. Instead of giving a long or complicated response here, I’ll point you to our post where we discussed several possibilities concerning their identity:

      http://kloposmasm.com/2009/11/02/revelation-chapter-11/

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  3. quote:
    “When Jesus came, He summed up what had become of Jerusalem in this lament:

    “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate” (Matthew 23:37-38).

    Strong’s Concordance defines the word “desolate” (#2048), used by Matthew here, as “lonesome, waste, desert, solitary, wilderness.” In the New Testament, we see indications that demons are attracted to such places….. end quote

    One can’t help but think of Jesus referencing Daniel’s words in Matthew 24:15 when reading the above word “desolate”:

    “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand–”

    I’m convinced that the first part of Matthew 24 (up until verse 36) is a prophecy which “that generation” (during the following 40 years) would see fulfilled…and that everything up to verse 36 was indeed fulfilled by 70ad. Not sure but i think this is your belief as well?

    Is the word translated as desolate in Matthew 23, the same word we read as translated “desolate” in Matthew 24?

    Paul mentions Luke 21. Was not the verse he is referring to (verse 24) already fulfilled?

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    • Thank you, PJ, for your questions and observation. Yes, I also believe that Matthew 24:15 (“…the abomination that causes desolation…”) is related to Matthew 23:38). In Strong’s Concordance, the word “desolate” in Matthew 23:38 is #2048, and the word “desolation” in Matthew 24:15 is #2049. The definition there is:

      “from 2048; to lay waste (lit. or fig.): -(bring to, make) desolate (-ion), come to nought.”

      So it’s from the same word as in Matthew 23:38 (from #2048). Whereas Matthew quotes Jesus as telling His followers to flee Jerusalem and Judea when they see the “abomination of desolation,” a phrase that Matthew’s Jewish audience would be familiar with, Luke quotes Jesus differently for his mostly Gentile audience:

      “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…” (Luke 21:20-21).

      The word “desolation” in Luke’s account is #2050 in Strong’s Concordance, and Strong’s simply points back to #2049, the word used in Matthew 24:15.

      The words “desolate” and “desolation” barely show up in the rest of the New Testament. “Desolation shows up in Matthew 12:25, where Jesus responds to the Pharisees who question by what power He was casting out demons: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.” And “desolate” shows up in Acts 1:20 regarding Judas Iscariot: ““For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, and let no one live in it.” It also shows up in Galatians 4:27, in Paul’s argument that God’s people belong to the Jerusalem above, and not the Jerusalem below. He quotes Isaiah 54: “For it is written: ‘Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.’” The Strong’s entry for Acts 1:20 and Galatians 4:27 is #2048, the same as in Matthew 23:38, and the entry for Matthew 12:25 is #2049.

      There are only two other places where this word shows up in the New Testament, and very interestingly they are in Revelation 17:16 and Revelation 18:19, regarding the burning of the harlot and the great city:

      “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.”

      “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’

      The Strong’s entry for “desolate” in Rev. 17:16 and 18:19 is #2049, the same as in Matthew 24:15.

      I’m so glad you asked that question. Seeing this same word used in Galatians 4 concerning earthly Jerusalem, and in Revelation 17 and 18 concerning the harlot and the great city, is good confirmation that John (in Revelation) was showing Jerusalem to be every bit the desolate place that Jesus said it was.

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    • PJ, you also asked about my belief concerning the fulfillment of Matthew 24. Yes, I agree with you that everything in Matthew 24:1-36 was fulfilled by 70 AD. I do go further, though, and I believe that verses 37-51 were fulfilled by that time as well. Luke 17 is a big reason why I believe this.

      Four portions within Luke 17:22-37 directly echo content found within Matthew 24:1-34, and two portions within Luke 17:22-37 directly echo content found within Matthew 24:35-51. In Luke 17, Jesus blends these six portions together, without any distinctions related to time. So I don’t see any way to tie Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:1-36 to His own generation, but to tie what He said in Matthew 24:37-51 to our future. Otherwise, in Luke 17:22-37, Jesus arbitrarily switched back and forth between speaking of first century events and events 1940+ years later.

      I wrote about this in one post about the Olivet Discourse, and included a chart that I made in Microsoft Word, but WordPress’ new format messed it up to some degree:

      http://kloposmasm.com/2012/02/13/matthew-2435-51-part-1-of-2/

      Yes, I definitely believe Luke 21:24 (mentioned by Paul) was fulfilled in the first century:

      “They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

      Josephus tells us that nearly 1.2 million Jews were killed in Jerusalem, and that the Romans carried off 97,000 Jews into international slavery.

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  4. Hi Adam

    Regarding Jerusalem being trodden of the Gentiles, we must not confuse the siege of Jerusalem with this term. Times of the gentiles always refers to Gentile control of Jerusalem. Even a cursory glance at the context shows one this .Jerusalem has been under gentile control for two thousand years. It did not end in 70 AD. It was the Temple that was completely destroyed then. Rome continued to rule Jerusalem until the 6th century, followed by the Arabs, the Mamluks, the Turks, and the British. Gentile control of Jerusalem ended in 1967, and even then, this is still partial. Luke 21 shows therefore that there would be an indeterminate period of time between the destruction of the Temple and the Second Coming. 2 Peter 3 makes this even clearer. Peter was present at Olivet and he would have understood the predictions of our Lord. Yet in 2 Peter 3 he makes it clear that he does not expect the Second Coming to have a definite time date, saying that a day in the eyes of the Lord is as a thousand years. ” The Lord is not slow to carry out His promises, as anyone else might be called slow, but He is being patient with you all, not wanting anybody to be lost, and everybody brought to change his ways. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar, the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, and all that it contains will be burnt up.

    Jerusalem in Rev 11:8 is referred to as Sodom and Egypt because of the moral
    corruption under the rule of the man of sin. It is not called Babylon, and John is consistent in this. As I pointed out, Jerusalem never ruled the kings of the earth. The Greek is translated from Aramaic any way, so the linguistic argument does not answer. The idea of Pilate and Herod being the Kings it ruled is really stretching the point. Firstly, Jerusalem did not rule them They ruled Jerusalem ( illegally, I might add ) as Pilate was represented a colonial force, and Herod was not a Jew although he styled himself as one . Besides, if as you say this was covenant rule, and not political, why bring Pilate and Herod into it anyway, as this now points to an influence extending beyond Israel’s borders. The ruler was obviously Rome, and there is much to point to a reference of false religion dominating the world in the last days.

    I think the reason why, as you say, one might get ten different answers from Preterists regarding the two witnesses, is because, their presence in this chapter gives an important context that places the Jerusalem under discussion in the future.

    Regards

    Paul

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    • Hi Paul,

      Regarding Jerusalem being trampled by the Gentiles, what do you do with Revelation 11:2?

      “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. 2 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'” (Rev. 11:1-2).

      I believe it’s clear that John is told precisely how long the trampling mentioned in Luke 21:24 was to last: for 42 months, i.e. for 3.5 years.

      I agree with you that “the times of the Gentiles” refers to Gentile control of Jerusalem – i.e. in relation to the people of God. Even though Jerusalem/Israel was under various empires since the days of Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome), Jesus came and built up a spiritual temple, the household of God representing many nations/languages, and a new Jerusalem community that couldn’t be subjected to foreign domination. This Jerusalem, the heavenly one, is free. The old Jerusalem, with its old covenant temple and ceremonies, remained under Gentile control until the Gentiles completely overran that city, burned it, and destroyed the temple. Old Jerusalem was shaken (Hebrews 12) and fell, but new Jerusalem remained, and it was manifestly clear that God had left old Jerusalem/the temple, and was with and had chosen new Jerusalem. The purpose for “the times of the Gentiles,” in relation to God’s dwelling place, was over. The Gentiles weren’t gone, but that purpose/that status/that relationship was gone. The final 3.5 years of “the times of the Gentiles,” dating back to the days of Daniel, was marked by the city being trampled and then overthrown. This is my understanding, in any case.

      You said, “Even a cursory glance at the context [of Luke 21] shows one this .Jerusalem has been under gentile control for two thousand years.” Whether a cursory glance or a thorough one, I really don’t see what you’re seeing. I’ll summarize the context that I see: The disciples admired the temple (verse 5). Jesus says the whole complex is going to come down (verse 6). The disciples ask Jesus when that would happen, and what signs would point forward to that event (verse 7). Jesus proceeds to share the signs that would take place before the temple would fall (verses 8-31). Jesus says that they would all take place before His generation would pass away (verse 32). About 40 years later, the temple fell. I don’t see the context or foundation for a 2000 year period in any of that.

      The name “Babylon” doesn’t appear in Revelation 11:8, or anywhere in that chapter, but “the great city” does. And later the angel refers to “the great city Babylon” (Rev. 18:10, 21), and in Rev. 16-18 Babylon the great is called “the harlot”, the harlot is called “the great city,” etc.

      The religious leaders of Israel, in Jerusalem, declared, “we have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15). Caesar, of course, was the Roman emperor. These religious leaders in Jerusalem really stirred up the crowds (Jews gathered from many nations for the Passover feast), with their obvious influence – the gospel accounts are very clear about this. Herod and Pilate followed the will of the people, the crowds in Jerusalem, when they gave up Jesus to be crucified. Peter was accurate in Acts 4 when he said that Herod and Pilate, as “kings of the earth,” stood with the religious rulers of Jerusalem against Jesus.

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  5. Hi Adam

    Revelation 11;2 is a good example to use. Our Lord made it clear that with regard to the Temple contemporary to the disciples, not one stone would be left standing. This happened, just as he predicted. Revelations 11;2 makes it clear that only the outer courts would be handed over to the gentiles ( correct translation here would be pagans ) The inner court was the Sanctuary and the Holy of Holies, and obviously remained intact. In 70 AD, the sanctuary was also destroyed, not reserved ” for the people who worship there ” as in Revelation11.2 The international rejoicing at the murder of the two witnesses their signs and wonders, and their resurrection also places this as a future event.

    The veil of the Temple was rent in two at the Cross, and it is at this point that that the old ceremonies associated with the temple ended, not 70 AD. it is in fact rabbinically recorded that no sacrifice was made during that 40 year period. The trampling by the gentiles both in Luke 21 and Revelation 11’2 is used in a negative sense, and cannot possibly refer to the rule of the Church , which was not specifically gentile anyway. Jews and gentiles in the body of Christ are one – see Galatians. Similarly, in Luke 21 stating ” Jerusalem will be trampled of the gentiles until the times of the gentiles will be fulfilled, it is obvious that the trampling by the gentiles is connected with the times of the gentiles being fulfilled, by that keyword UNTIL. I see no basis to assume in mid sentence that these gentiles who have just committed murder and trampled Jerusalem should suddenly be included in the same sentence with another group of gentiles who form the Church . If the Jerusalem in question represents the heavenly Jerusalem, how can it be physically trampled by anyone ?Besides, if the times of the gentiles will be fulfilled, that is ,come to an end, how can one apply this to the Lord Jesus’ kingdom, which will last forever? It is always more sound exegesis to let the text speak for itself,

    Again, when we look at 1 Peter 3, it is clear that Peter did not expect the second coming occur in one generation, and as he was present at the Olivet discourse would not have misunderstood it. Note also how he mentions the destruction of the earth by fire. Did this happen in 70 Ad?

    Kind regards

    Paul

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  6. Hi Adam

    On rereading your note I think I did not interpret your meaning correctly.
    I am also not sure that some of my comments above about Jerusalem are correct on reading the text. I think I will bow out of this conversation until I understand more about the Book of Revelation. The subject is too holy to make strong statements until the Lord has revealed more truth to one – so I will wait on Him.

    Kind regards

    Paul

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    • Hi Paul,

      That’s a humble response and I’ll respect your wishes. Blessings as you wait on the Lord regarding these subjects.

      In case you still hoped for a response to your question about II Peter 3, I’ll respond briefly that I do believe “the destruction of the earth by fire” (verses 7, 10) took place in 70 AD, giving way to “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (verse 13). I agree with Bishop John Lightfoot (1601-1675) who wrote in his Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles (Vol. 3, p. 452),

      “Compare this with Deut. 32:22, Heb. 12:26, Gal. 4:9, Coloss. 2:20: and observe that by elements are understood the Mosaic elements: and you will not doubt that St. Peter speaks only of the conflagration of Jerusalem, the destruction of the nation, and the abolishing of the dispensation of Moses.”

      Galatians 4:9 and Colossians 2:20 make use of the same word translated as “elements” in II Peter 3:10. It’s clear that Paul was speaking in these passages about the law of Moses and the old covenant:

      [1] “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years!” (Galatians 4:9-10).

      [2] “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—‘Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch’ (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?” (Colossians 2:20-22).

      This and more was discussed in a post on Matthew 24:35.

      http://kloposmasm.com/2012/02/13/matthew-2435-51-part-1-of-2/

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  7. Hi Adam

    Thank you for your understanding.

    Yes. regarding Peter, you are right – I was hoping for your response to that verse. Where I would disagree with Bishop Lightfoot is that Peter was not referring to the principles of the world or the elementary spirits of the world as mentioned in the verses above, but the heavens and the earth. To back up this, if one looks at the comparison with the ” heavens and the earth which are now” we see that is the “heavens of old”, and the “world that was ” which ‘, ” being overflowed with water , perished.” Hence the example offered is a physical one , not a figurative one. Moreover, Peter here refers to the judgment of the world not only of Jerusalem .

    However, there are a couple of comments you made about Jerusalem in Revelation which I am thinking about, hence my silence until I know more!

    Many blessings meanwhile

    Paul

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  8. Peter uses the time tag, “the last days” which references the last days for Jerusalem. The prediction made by Jesus concerning the destruction of the temple was well known by his enemies and used against him at his trial–he said he was going to destroy the temple. There would be scoffers saying its been years and the temple is still standing. Peter looks beyond the destruction of the temple to a period of newness, new covenant, new Jerusalem, new heaven’s new earth. A period in which the kingdom of God can grow throughout the earth with Christ on the throne ruling from heaven. If you think about it, the veracity of Christianity depended upon the destruction of the temple in 70 Christ’s authority was tied to it.

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  9. Dear Adam, some thoughts from my morning devotions that I think fit here nicely here. In Matthew 10 :15 Jesus says it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for the towns that reject his mission. (Rev. 11:8) Mt. 11:23 says he will come in judgement before his Apostles finish their post-resurrection first phase mission. (time text 70AD) He says whoever disowns me I will disown before my Father in heaven. High Priest tore his garment and spit in Jesus’ face. At the Session at the right hand of the father. (Psalm 110:1-2) Then finally I have come not to bring peace but a sword. (Can I add…to Jerusalem?) Passage is contextual and the reading certainly not force.

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    • Thanks, Patrick, for those thoughts. What Jesus said about Sodom and Gomorrah is definitely striking. I recall that Ezekiel compared Judah/Jerusalem to Sodom in his day, just before destruction came at the hands of Babylon in 586 BC. Then John was told that “the great city…where our Lord was crucified,” Jerusalem, was like Sodom and Egypt in his day (Revelation 11:8), just before destruction came at the hands of the Romans in 70 AD.

      It is quite possible, even probable, that Jesus was referring to what was about to happen to Jerusalem when He spoke of bringing a sword.

      Just a small correction to what I’m sure is a typo: It’s Matthew 10:23 where Jesus said, “…you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.”

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  10. Returning to the main focus of this post – Babylon/Jerusalem being plagued with demons – unless I am greatly mistaken, this imprisonment of demons at Jerusalem in the last days surrounding AD 70 was predicted in Isaiah 24:21-22.

    “And it shall come to pass in that day”, (when the foundations of the earth/land of Israel will shake and fall, never to rise again), “that the LORD shall punish the host of the high ones that are on high”, (the host of demonic evil spirit beings), “and the kings of the earth upon the earth”, (Israel’s governing leaders, or would-be leaders of that time), “and they shall be gathered together”, (both evil demonic spirits and Israel’s leaders), “as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison”, (the prison for every foul spirit in Rev. 18:2), “and after many days shall they be found wanting.” (Which means they will be gone – no more demonic evil inhabiting this planet after that time.) Isaiah 34:4 also repeats the same theme of the elimination, or dissolving of the demonic host in “the day of the LORD’S vengeance” (v.8)

    If, in the time of the last days surrounding AD 70, you have the city of Babylon/Jerusalem subjected to the presence of EVERY foul demonic spirit ever to exist, this can truly define a tribulation period that is like no other before this time, nor any other time subsequent to it. (Matt. 24:21) If demonic evil is eliminated from the globe at this point, as Isaiah 24:22 seems to be saying, then it is not possible for any other civilization to endure this same level or type of tribulation ever again. Israel of that day paid the penultimate price for the penultimate crime of crucifying the Savior (and by inclusion, the slain blood of all the righteous who were in Him).

    Satan also appears to suffer the same fate as the demons at this time, as Isaiah 27:1 states, “In that day”, (when the LORD punishes the inhabitants of the earth/land of Israel for their iniquity of breaking the everlasting covenant – Is. 24:5), “the LORD with His hard and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent, and He shall slay the dragon that is in the sea”. The titles of “the dragon” and “the serpent” are linked with the identity of Satan and the Devil in Rev. 12:7-9 as being one and the same entity. So apparently, Satan and his demonic hosts are eliminated from this world simultaneously “in that day” via their exit from the location of the “prison” of Jerusalem during its siege. Sounds like a good way to describe a “New Earth” to me. There are quite a few other passages that also refer to this as the time for the elimination of Satanic evil from this world, which I won’t bring up, as it would make this reply tediously long.

    On a side note, for those who can’t bring themselves to limit the definition of “the kings of the earth” in Isaiah 24:21 to the leadership of Israel alone, I would suggest they look again at Rev. 16:14, where “the kings of the earth” are distinguished from the kings of the whole (habitable) world as targets of demonic deception. They are distinct from each other, although both groups were subject to being deceived at that point. We have more references that help define “the kings of the earth” found in I Kings 4:21,24 that describe the extent of Solomon’s reign “over all the kingdoms from the river (Euphrates) unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt…” “For he had dominion over all the region on this side of the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over ALL THE KINGS on this side of the river…” To further confirm this, we have I Kings 10:26 (III Kings 10:26 b in the Septuagint) describing the same dimensions of Solomon’s kingdom. And prophetically, David also claims the same extent of his son Solomon’s dominion in Psalm 72:8, “from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” (This is NOT Christ’s dominion being discussed, by the way, because it’s a prophetic prayer for Solomon.)

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    • Patricia, I appreciate your comment, and you’ve shared a number of good thoughts here. I agree with you that “the kings of the earth” refer to the leadership of Israel, and that Revelation 16:14 versus Revelation 17:18 is a good example of this. Also, in Acts 4:25-27 we can see that Herod and Pilate are referred to as “kings of the earth,” meaning Israel and not the entire planet:

      “You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.’ Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.”

      Actually, in light of this point, I’m curious why you believe that Isaiah 24:22 suggests demonic evil being “eliminated from the globe” instead of simply cleansed from the land of Israel.

      Please do feel free to share more about “other passages that also refer to this as the time for the elimination of Satanic evil from this world.” It may be lengthy, but if you have the time I’m interested in hearing more.

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      • Adam, you make a reasonable objection when you ask if this elimination of Satanic evil could be merely referring to the land of Israel, and not the entire globe. I have encountered this very same objection when I presented this view on another site for their consideration.

        I’m not sure if this addresses the point, but if Isaiah 27:1 states that God will slay the dragon that is in the sea (typically symbolic of the Gentile nations throughout scripture), then this would seem to indicate that Satan is disposed of from a location other than the prison that Jerusalem became for every one of his host of unclean spirits. Which would mean that not only the land of Israel was cleansed of the presence of every demonic spirit, but that the Gentile nations were purged of Satan’s presence also. Feel free to challenge this point.

        There are two possible meanings when you propose that Satanic evil is eliminated only from the earth/land of Israel. You could be speaking of an invisible line in the sand along the perimeter of Israel’s geographic borders beyond which demons operating in the rest of the world could not pass into Israel. I don’t doubt God could establish such a line of demarcation for a spiritual entity, but where exactly would anyone draw such a line? The ancient borders of an OT Israel? Or the AD 70 borders? Or the fluctuating borders of Israel from either pre or post-1948? What about the air space above the earth/land of Israel? Rationally, this interpretation doesn’t have a clear answer, so we are left with the other proposed meaning – that demonic activity is dispelled from the “Israel of God” – the church.
        Well, all that would mean is that demonic powers cannot possess any child of God who is inhabited by His Spirit. But this has been true all along for the children of faith, in every generation. What we are looking at in Rev. 18:2 is a new phenomenon for the demonic kingdom – Jerusalem IS BECOME a dwelling place and a prison for the ENTIRE host of unclean spirits, whereas before that time it wasn’t. As Patrick stated earlier, that wicked generation was predicted to become demon possessed 7 times worse than before (Matthew 12:45). The number seven represents completeness, I believe.

        So I prefer to take it on faith that if Rev. 18:2 specifies that EVERY unclean spirit, or demon, is imprisoned in Jerusalem at that time, that it means every single one was gathered from the entire world, concentrated in that one city, and disposed of from that location.

        If we really believe in the time constraints that bracket Revelation’s prophecies at its beginning (Rev. 1:1-3) and at its ending (Rev. 22:6,10,12), then the casting of Satan into the lake of fire in Rev. 20:10 is encompassed within those brackets, and has already occurred. This would also include his demonic hosts, as already described in the Isaiah 24 and 27 passages where their fates are linked together “In that day”.

        To say that Rev. 20, or parts of it, will be delayed until some time in our future is to play pick-and-choose with Revelation’s self-proclaimed imminence. This is the very same torturous process that Matthew 24 is subjected to by those who deny that Matthew’s predictions were intended for that first century generation. (In case anyone wonders, so far I only see Rev. 10:4 as an exception to fulfillment, that the book claims for itself.)

        As you can well imagine, this view on the elimination of Satanic evil is not held by a single person in our local assembly, including my own family, so it rather startles me that anyone would actually request that I submit further scriptural proof for this. Holiday entertaining is restricting me this weekend, but I will submit another comment with further witnesses next week. And thank you for expressing interest in this, Adam. We unorthodox types appreciate it.

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  11. Patricia excellent post, I can only confirm your hypothesis by adding Matthew 12:42 Jesus predicts that the wicked generation will be demon possessed 7 times worse. Matthew 12:32 leads to the conclusion that the wicked generation also committed the unpardonable sin which could not be forgiven. You add all this up and it is pretty terrible state of affairs for the wicked generation in Jerusalem in 70 AD.

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  12. To Adam,

    You had asked me last week for a more detailed list of passages that pinpoint the occasion when demonic evil was to be purged from the planet. You’ll have to pardon the amateur level of this attempt – I am not a professional exegete by any stretch of the imagination. And as I already mentioned, this is rather tedious in length.

    Of course, all this will run counter to many a missionary’s testimonial of what they perceive to be a close encounter with a demon-possessed individual. If preterism has taught us anything though, it is that traditional doctrinal systems are riddled with firmly-entrenched beliefs that are nowhere near the truth of scripture. Just so with people’s conception of demon possession and Satan’s supposed activities in today’s world.

    God has already provided proof in various places in His word of how and when He intended to rid this world of unclean spirits, once and for all. If a stack of missionary testimony is aligned against this, unfortunately it isn’t the only time that the church has held to error. Respectfully, I would disagree with them, and ask them to look a little more intently at some of the following passages.

    (#1) Hebrews 2:5 “For not to angels did he subject the habitable world which is to come, of which we speak.” The author had just been speaking previously in Hebrews 1 of the salvation that the saints were ABOUT TO INHERIT after the heavens and the earth were to be changed. We understand this language of the change to a new heaven and earth to include the final passing of the Old Covenant trappings that took place in AD 70. The habitable world (not just the earth/land of Israel) soon to come in the experience of the readers of Hebrews would have one notable characteristic – it would not be under subjection to the angels as the ages before that time had been.

    If any of you have researched the sermon series by Pastor Dave Curtis on “spiritual warfare” or the “divine council” that God set up before man was created, you will be able to make the connection to this Hebrews 2:5 verse. Satan as “king” over his demonic hosts (Rev. 9:11) wielded a certain level of power over the nations since mankind’s fall, as God had allowed. This demonic influence over the nations is emphasized in places like Daniel 10:13,20, where spiritual warfare between demonic princes operating in Persia and Greece is waged against Michael and the righteous angel of Daniel’s vision.

    Were it not for Adam and Eve’s abdication of their dominion over the earth, Satan and his hosts would never have been able to claim any sort of kingdom in this world. When this couple yielded obedience to Satan’s temptation, they essentially removed the crown of dominion over the earth (given to them by God) from their own heads, and handed it over to the Father of lies. “His servants ye are to whom ye yield yourselves to obey…” (Romans 6:16)

    There are numerous references to Satan as the “god of THIS world/age” (the OC age, but not the next age! – II Cor. 4:4), the “prince of this world” (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11), the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), with the “whole world lying in the power of the evil one” at the time of I John 5:19. All these indicate a kingdom of sorts that Satan and his hosts were using to oppress mankind, with varying levels of intensity throughout history. However, the habitable world about to come in Hebrews 2:5 would not be experiencing this plague anymore in the age that followed after AD 70.

    To continue further in this Hebrews 2 context, “But now, NOT YET do we see to him (mankind) all things subjected;” (Hebrews 2:8) This NOT YET phrase is anticipating the end of the transition period in AD 70, when Christ would “destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Hebrews 2:14). The New Covenant age would be fully manifested at that point, minus the oppressive, subjugating powers of Satan and his demons. Thereafter, the blame for any evil existing on the planet would lie squarely at the feet of depraved mankind alone.

    (#2) We encounter the same extinction of Satan’s kingdoms (plural) in Rev. 11:15 – “And the seventh angel sounded his trumpet; and were voices great in the heaven, saying, Are become the kingdoms (plural) of the world our Lord’s and His Christ’s, and He shall reign to the ages of the ages.” Why do I emphasize that this is plural kingdoms? Because Satan did the same thing in his boasting offer while tempting Christ in the wilderness (Luke 4:5-7). “And the devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms (plural) of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto Him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me,” (thank you very much, Adam and Eve) “and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” The temptation here was for Christ to take a shortcut that would bypass the agony of a death on the cross, and separation from the Father, in order to claim power instantaneously over the kingdoms of the world. Thankfully, our Jesus believed in delayed gratification. For the joy set before Him in bringing many sons to glory, He was willing to go the long route to reach His exaltation over the kingdoms of the world in Revelation 11:15.

    This Revelation 11:15 context tells us just when Satan’s grip on the world’s kingdoms was removed. It occurs just after the last, seventh trumpet sounds. It is the time of the judgment of the dead, the vindication and the reward of the saints, servants and prophets, and the destruction of those corrupting the earth/land of Israel. Again, this is language describing the latter days of AD 70. Some would argue that this simply means Satan and his hosts lost their power, but not their place in this world. That would be a fair objection to raise, were it not for the fact that the timing for the judgment of the dead is linked with Satan’s disposal in the lake of fire in Revelation 20:10-15.

    (#3) The world today may not acknowledge the elimination of Satan and his demonic forces, but the demons themselves were all too aware of their impending doom, with a pretty fair idea of approximately when it would take place. The prophecies of Isaiah 24:21-22, Isaiah 27:1, and Isaiah 34:4-8 about their destruction could hardly have escaped their notice. Likewise the Genesis 3:15 promise, which gave a hint of their master’s destruction to come. “…the devils also believe, and tremble”, James 2:19 reminds us. We see this dread of their fate indicated by the couple of demoniacs in Matthew 8:29. “And, behold, they cried out saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us BEFORE THE TIME?” So, here they publicly admit that they are aware that there is a set time for an impending judgment for themselves, which would result in a tormenting punishment.

    Another verse and its context, I Peter 1:12, illustrates the wicked angels’ knowledge of the general time frame for this punishment to take place, as well as their fervent desire to pinpoint the season accurately. This single phrase – “which things the angels desire to look into” – has been commonly twisted to mean something entirely opposite to what Peter intended to convey. Every preacher I’ve heard, as well as a song or two, has taken this phrase to mean that righteous angels stand amazed, trying to understand why God would lavish His sacrificial love on such undeserving creatures as rebellious mankind. True, this thought may have occurred to them, but it has nothing to do with I Peter 1:12’s interpretation.

    Instead, it speaks of the angels desiring to “look into” or turn sideways in order to peer intently (parakupto) into what things were being spoken of in the previous verses – I Peter 1:3-11. That is, to WHAT TIME, or WHAT MANNER OF TIME (kairos – season) the Spirit was giving a sign of when it foretold of the sufferings of Christ, and the glories that would follow after His death. A triumphant, glorified and ascended Christ was bad, bad news if you happened to be the Devil or a member of his forces. It meant that after Christ’s first glorified ascension to heaven, (the morning after His resurrection), that you would be cast out and lose your former access to heaven’s realm for all time (Rev. 12:8). This would leave only mere mortals inhabiting the earth (land of Israel) and the sea (Gentile lands) to vent your hatred upon (Rev. 12:9-12). And even that realm would be only temporarily available to them for just a short time (Rev. 12:12, 20:3).

    The prophets themselves also researched diligently to try to discover exactly what time and season in the latter days that Christ’s suffering and the glories afterward would take place. “For verily I say unto you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them”, Christ says in Matthew 13:17.

    The righteous angels were also no less invested in knowing when these latter day events would play out in history. No doubt they were looking forward to waging war on the devil and his angels, and ridding heaven of their accusing presence after Christ’s resurrection and ascension, as Revelation 12:12 shows that they do rejoice once this is accomplished.

    (#4) Next, I would like to pull out the two verses from above that speak of the “short time” and the “little season” after the crucifixion and ascension in which Satan and the demons were banned from heaven and limited to operating in this world only – Rev. 12:12 and Rev. 20:3. These verses are both referring to the same episode of Satanic activity. (It’s part of the recapitulation pattern in John’s writing to cover the same eschatological ground from different angles.)

    Just how long is a “short time” and a “little season”, anyway? Well, it’s short enough to immediately provoke a furious, ramped up level of activity on Satan’s part – the “great wrath” exhibited in Rev. 12:12, and the waging of open warfare on the remnant of the woman’s seed in Rev. 12:17. Also, if you wish to compare scripture with scripture, Joshua 24:7 describes Israel’s 40 years of dwelling in the wilderness as “a LONG SEASON”. So, anything less than a 40-year time frame would qualify as a “SHORT” season, yes? I would say that 37 years from Christ’s ascension in AD 33 up until AD 70 would fit the description. What does NOT fit the description of a “short time” is a period that lasts from AD 33 up until our present day and beyond, to the end of human history. Thirty-seven years is also comparatively short when preceded by a literal thousand years of Millennial binding for Satan.

    I can’t stress enough how important this Rev. 12:9 casting out of heaven for Satan and his angels is when it comes to dating the Millennium period and determining when demonic evil is destroyed. Jesus’ words in John 12:31 and 14:30 are absolutely critical for establishing the time for both of these points. A mere five days before His death at Passover, Jesus was saying, “NOW is the judgment of this world”, (the Rev. 12:9,12,13 woeful judgment when the Devil and his angels are loosed on the world’s inhabitants), “NOW shall the prince of this world be cast out” (cast out of heaven, that is, into the earth). In John 14:30, Christ utters the same warning at the close of the last supper. “…The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me”. This “coming” of Satan is only 4 1/2 days future to that point, which happened after the resurrection and Christ’s first ascension the morning following it. Think about it – “It is finished” doesn’t mean what we always thought it did.

    At that point in history, the literal thousand-year Millennium time clock is finished and expires (968 BC – AD 33), with God resetting the clock for Satan to operate for a comparatively short 37 years more – only this time without the “chains” of the Millennium restricting him. Satan and his legions make the most of their last opportunity to deceive the nations. False prophets abound (I John 4:1), deceiving and being deceived (II Timothy 3:13). It is not an exaggeration for Paul at this time to call Satan a “roaring lion walking about, seeking whom he may devour”.

    Rev. 8:13 shows how the intensity of harassment by demonic forces graduated from “woe to the inhabitants of the earth and sea” in Rev. 12:12, up to a “woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the EARTH (emphasis on the land of Israel only). This triple warning precedes a description in Rev. 9:1-12 of a tumultuous five-month period when locust/demonic activity is loosed on the land of Israel. It is Satan’s last attempt at a Hail Mary pass, if you will. I believe this involves the May-September of AD 66 torment of Judea’s citizens by Gessius Florus and his troops.

    This governor of Judea, appointed by Nero in AD 64 through his wife’s friendship with the Empress Poppaea, was a governor who surpassed all those preceding him with his level of corruption, greed, and cruelty. A great deal of blame can be placed on this man and his troops for creating unendurable conditions in Judea that goaded the people of the country (like the torment of a swarm of locusts) into the inevitable rebellion. And the swarm of locusts/demons from the pit, under the leadership of their “king”, Apollyon, are behind it all – whipping the evil intentions of both citizens and governing powers alike into a boiling froth that spills over into unavoidable conflict between Rome and the Jewish nation.

    The main reason I don’t see this five-month period of Rev. 9 occurring toward the final five months of the Jerusalem siege in AD 70 is that there is a particular emphasis in Rev. 9:5 that the main object of these creatures is not to kill their victims, but only to torment them. In contrast, during the last five months of the Jerusalem siege in AD 70, they were dying by the cartload. Another reason is that there are two more woes to follow this five months of locust/demon torment (Rev. 9:12), which could not have happened if the five months was timed to occur at the very end of AD 70.

    Although it isn’t scripture, the supernatural activity of AD 66 at the Jews’ festival times – documented by Josephus and Tacitus – dovetails perfectly with this five-month period of torment by demonic forces. The chariots and soldiers in the clouds near the second Passover time – the shaking of the temple and the sound of a multitude saying “Let us depart hence ” at Pentecost – sounds as if any righteous angels left in the temple complex were clearing out before the “short time” and “little season” was over, when every unclean spirit from the world would arrive for their confinement in Jerusalem during the 3 1/2 year conflict (Rev. 18:2, Isaiah 24:21-22).

    (#5) Here’s a relatively simple reference to demon disposal found in Zechariah 13:1-2. I believe Don Preston touches briefly on this in his Zechariah series of studies. The surrounding context covers prophetic references to Christ’s betrayal and crucifixion, including details of Jerusalem’s AD 70 siege at the close of the Old Covenant age. “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered;” (Anything after the crucifixion that is held up as a rival to Christ’s ultimate sacrifice – such as the temple and its rituals, etc – is an idol, and will be removed.) “and also” (in addition to cutting off these idols), “I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land”.

    This last phrase pairs the cessation of the revelatory prophetic ministry together with the passing away of any unclean spirit out of the land. If we are willing to admit that all new prophetic revelation has ceased since AD 70 (I Cor. 13:8 – “…but whether prophecies, they shall be done away…”), then we must acknowledge that all unclean spirits have passed away also, since they are linked together in this phrase. Even if this should be interpreted as false prophets passing out of the land, this would still be speaking of the AD 70 era, when God would purge the land of these false teachers, as II Peter 2:1,12,13 (written before AD 67) said He was about to do. So the unclean spirits passing out of the land would still apply to a AD 70 time frame.

    (#6) This next evidence for demon disposal is a triangulation of a set of verses – Haggai 2:6-9, Hebrews 12:26-28, and Mark 13:24-27/Luke 21:26-27. Haggai’s verses speak of the surpassing glory of Zerubbabel’s temple, which would be filled with more glory than Solomon’s, since an incarnate Christ would set foot in it. It talks about the heavens and the earth shaking, also the sea and the dry land, and all nations. Then the desire of all nations would come (i.e., Christ, our peace, would come in human form and show up bodily in the temple, which was the only reason for that less impressive temple structure to have exceeded Solomon’s in glory.)

    Skipping over to Hebrews 12, the author describes the literal shaking of the earth at Mt. Sinai when God came down on the peak of it to speak to Moses. He then goes on to employ Haggai’s words of prophecy as something that was going to apply to his own readers (Hebrews 12:26) “Whose voice then shook the earth, but NOW he hath promised, saying Yet once more I shake not the earth only, BUT ALSO HEAVEN. And this word, “yet once more”, signifieth THE REMOVING OF THOSE THINGS THAT MAY BE SHAKEN, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

    Both heaven’s realm of spirits and earth’s sphere would soon be affected by this shaking process. At Mt. Sinai, it was a literal physical sensation that was felt, seen, and heard by the children of Israel, but the soon-to-come symbolic shaking of Hebrews 12:26-27 would have infinitely more far-reaching effects than anything Mt. Sinai ever produced.

    The results of this shaking are described in the Mark 13:24-26 account, and its companion verses in Luke 21:26-27. “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give her light. And the stars of heaven shall fall,” (sun, moon, and stars are Joseph’s dream symbolism representing the family of Israel – here being depicted as about to be extinguished), “AND THE POWERS THAT ARE IN THE HEAVENS SHALL BE SHAKEN. And then (tote – at that time) shall they see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. And then (tote – at that time) shall he send his angels, and shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven.”

    From this we see that the angelic, spirit powers of heaven’s realm are shaken. Hebrews 12:26 says that anything that may be shaken will be removed. Guess what we don’t see being shaken and removed here – the “elect” angels, who are still part of God’s kingdom, (which Hebrews 12:28 says can’t be shaken), and are still serving Him by gathering the elect saints together. Demonic powers ARE shaken, and therefore are destined for removal. And all of these things are to happen before that generation of Christ’s passed away, according to Mark 13:30. This means the removal of demonic powers by AD 70. And Luke 21:26-27 duplicates the same language as we find here in Mark 13, for a second witness.

    One caution I have been given is to not regard heaven and earth as locations, but as a metaphor for the Old Covenant system which would pass away. It is true that, when Mark 13:31 says, “heaven and earth shall pass away…” that the Old Covenant elements did finally dissolve completely and disappear. But I think it is a mistake to limit the definition of a New Heaven and a New Earth exclusively to only a metaphor. In scripture, heaven’s spiritual realm and earth’s physical realm are also presented as distinct from each other, not lumped together as one unit. Otherwise we wouldn’t have the angels announcing Christ’s birth going back into heaven, and Christ wouldn’t keep emphasizing in John 13-17 that He was leaving the disciples and going to the Father, where they would not be able to come yet. If they were not two distinct, separate realms, we would not have Satan and his angels cast out of one and sent to the other. Neither would we have the gift of the New Jerusalem come down from God OUT OF HEAVEN to the earth.

    So when I read that heaven and earth pass away in that first-century generation, I not only comprehend that the Old Covenant elements passed away, but that the conditions as the disciples knew it in the physical world were changed also, as much as the conditions in a spiritual heaven were changed. If you have a planet cleansed of demonic evil, (even though human depravity still populates it), with an unshaken New Covenant and Kingdom in place – you have a New Earth. Likewise, if you have a heavenly realm populated by the physically resurrected, incorruptible bodies of the whole House of Israel, and no demonic presence there either (since AD 33) – you have a New Heaven. These exact conditions had never existed before in either realm.

    (#7) Romans 16:20 “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet”. Here is a promise to the church (of AD 60 approximately) that God will bruise/crush the Adversary under their feet SHORTLY (en tachei). The connection to an approaching AD 70 era seems appropriate here.

    There are two interpretations for Satan – the Adversary – and I believe they both apply here. One would be the adversarial members among their own countrymen who were violently opposed to Christ’s followers. These would be crushed in vengeance by God in the AD 70 judgment, as prophesied in Malachi 4:3. “And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts”. This “day” is the same as the “great and dreadful day of the LORD” that would come and “burn as an oven” – Malachi 4:1,5.

    But we shouldn’t limit God by thinking that He couldn’t take care of mankind’s other adversary – Satan himself and his legions – on the same Day. After all, we have the long-promised prophecy from Genesis 3:15 that The Seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent, even though that serpent would have bruised His heel in the crucifixion. The church as the “seed of the woman” shared and participated in the victory of The Seed, (which is Christ our representative), just as the adversarial Jews had shared and participated in the guilt of their representative, Satan, in the bruising of Christ at His crucifixion.

    As a result, the victory on this “great and dreadful day of the LORD” would soon crush in vengeance both human and demonic foes under the feet of the believers. “Do ye not know”, Paul asks in I Cor. 6:2, “that the saints shall judge the world?…” And in v. 3, “Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” Based on Paul’s context here, this judgment of both the world and the angels (non-elect ones) would take place in the life to come for his readers. It would be at the judgment of the “great day of the Lord” which would fall upon that first-century generation (Matthew 12:41-42).

    (#8) To extend the consideration of this day of judgment, I bring up the following verses – Jude 6 and II Peter 2:4. Both references speak of the destiny of the fallen angels, and compare their approaching judgment to the virtually UNIVERSAL destruction of humanity by Noah’s flood (8 souls excepted), the COMPLETE incineration of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, and the destruction of the ENTIRE original, numbered group that made the exodus out of Egypt (Caleb and Joshua excepted). This doesn’t sound as if God intends to leave any members of the demonic world left after “the judgment of the great day”. And I have no doubt this is speaking of the same “great and dreadful day of the LORD” in Malachi 4:3 – the day that would culminate in the throne judgment and the lake of fire punishment for the devil and his angels.

    “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness UNTO THE JUDGMENT OF THE GREAT DAY.” (Jude 6)
    “For if God the angels who sinned spared not, but to chains of darkness having cast them to the deepest abyss delivered them for judgment having been kept” (II Peter 2:4 – Interlinear). This set of “chains of darkness” should not be confused with the chain put upon Satan that limited his ability to deceive the nations during the Millennium of 968 BC – AD 33. The chains of darkness were an eternal set that prevented their fallen status from ever changing. The other set place on Satan was a temporary thousand – year limitation on his favorite occupation of deception.

    (#9) This last set of references – Mark 3:24-26 and Matthew 1:25-26 – proclaim a definite end to Satan’s kingdom, but only hint at when it will take place, which is why I place this last on the list. In Mark 3’s context, Jesus has been accused of casting out devils by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. He says in response, “And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.” Luke 11:18 duplicates the theme with this question. “If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand?…” And again in Matthew 12:26, the same question, “And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand?” It’s a rhetorical question, presupposing a negative response, but also presupposing that Satan actually has a kingdom that can be lost.

    Just who or what was in this kingdom? As already covered under point #1, that would include any human or any spirit being that yielded obedience to him, rather than to God. “Ye are of your father the devil,” Christ bluntly told the scribes and Pharisees, “and the lusts of your father ye will do” (John 8:44). So Satan could be described as the “prince of the devils” here in Matthew 12:24, but also the “prince of this world” as in John 12:31 and 14:30. Why is this important to establish that he acted as a prince in both physical and spirit realms? Because in the five months in AD 66 preceding the 3 1/2 year imprisonment in Jerusalem of every one of the unclean spirits, Satan and the legions of his demonic kingdom (Rev. 9) are tormenting the members of his own “human” kingdom – the ones without the seal of God in their foreheads. This is civil war in Satan’s ranks between the demonic forces from the pit and his wicked, human subjects. He was “divided against himself” at that point. And what is the end result of a divided kingdom? Absolutely, it cannot stand, but has an end. And by every other indication listed above, that end occurred by the close of AD 70.

    For those willing to slog through this entire list of references, I am most grateful, even if you are not in agreement with some or all of them. Those of us operating on the fringe of preterism have a scant number of people willing to give us the time of day, anyway. If there is error in any form in what is presented here – and there surely must be with this amount of words – I am more than willing to change where it doesn’t agree with the rest of scripture. As I have commented before, the primary value of websites like this is the benefit of sharpening one another.

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