You are hereThe Rapture

The Rapture

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 842.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/vaduva/planetpreterist.com/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 149.

By Duncan - Posted on 25 November 2005

by Duncan McKenzie
According to the OT, the grapevine of the Land (Rev. 14:18) was the nation of Israel, God’s vineyard (Is 5:7; cf. Matt. 21:33-43). This is why the Temple had golden grapevines with a huge cluster of grapes (the size of a man) above its entrance (Josephus The Jewish War, 5,5,4). By the way the grapes hung right above the huge curtain that covered the entrance to the sanctuary; not coincidently, the colors of this Babylonian tapestry (blue, scarlet, purple and fine linen) are the colors of harlot Babylon (Rev. 17:4; 18:16).According to the OT, the grapevine of the Land (Rev. 14:18) was the nation of Israel, God’s vineyard (Is 5:7; cf. Matt. 21:33-43). This is why the Temple had golden grapevines with a huge cluster of grapes (the size of a man) above its entrance (Josephus The Jewish War, 5,5,4). By the way the grapes hung right above the huge curtain that covered the entrance to the sanctuary; not coincidently, the colors of this Babylonian tapestry (blue, scarlet, purple and fine linen) are the colors of harlot Babylon (Rev. 17:4; 18:16).Is the Gathering of the Saints in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 and Matthew 24:29-34 the Same as the “Rapture” of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18?

The following is from a forthcoming book (in 2006) entitled The Antichrist and the Second Coming.

Paul begins 2 Thessalonians 2 by referring to the gathering of God’s people that was to happen at Jesus’ Second Coming.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

1. Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,

2. not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

3. 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,

4. 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.

In the Olivet Discourse Jesus had said that this gathering was to happen before the generation that was listening to Him had passed away.
And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other….Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Matt. 24:31,34

Gentry said the following about this gathering together of God’s people that was to happen at AD 70.

The “gathering together to Him” of 2 Thessalonians 2:1 picks up on the Lord’s reference in Matthew 24:31. The word translated “gather together” here is… (episunagoge). We find this word elsewhere only in Hebrews 10:25, where it speaks of a worship assembly. But its cognate verb form appears in Matthew 24:31, where the gathering relates to “this generation” (Matt. 24:34). There it signifies calling the elect into the church by the trumpeting of the archetypical Great Jubilee (cf. 2 Thess. 1:1; 2:14). Here it functions the same way: with the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple, from that point on Christians will be “gathered together” in a separate and distinct “assembly”… episunagoge- the Church is called a... (sunagoge) in James 2:2. After Jerusalem’s destruction God no longer tolerates Temple worship- indeed, he (sic) makes it impossible. [1]

The question arises at this point as to whether the gathering of the saints in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 and Matthew 24:31 that was to happen in the lifetime of Jesus’ hearers is the same as the saints being caught up (a.k.a. the rapture) that Paul talks of in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ sill rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

A partial preterist (such as Gentry) would say that the gathering in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, because it speaks of the resurrection (vs. 16), is talking about a future Second Coming. He distinguishes the AD 70 gathering of the saints (at what he sees as the AD 70 judgment coming of Jesus on Israel) that 2 Thessalonians 2:1 speaks of from the rapture of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. [2] Preston correctly counters this mistaken notion that the gathering of the saints of Matthew 24: 31 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1 is different from the saints being caught up of 1 Thessalonians 4:17. He wrote,
I want you to focus on the opening line of Paul’s comments [in 1 Thess. 4:15-18]: “According to the Lord’s own word.” Paul is letting us know that what he says in these verses is straight from Jesus’ own teaching. So, here is the question: where in Jesus’ discourses do we find the prediction of his coming that fits the language of 1 Thessalonians 4? Where in Jesus’ teachings could Paul have found the very words and descriptions that he repeats here in Thessalonians? Where in Jesus’ teachings do we find every constituent element listed by Paul? The answer to that question is very simple, in the Olivet Discourse, and specifically Matthew 24:29-34. [3]

Here is Matthew 24:29-34

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with the great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When it s branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.

Preston provides the following chart for comparison of Matthew 24:29-34 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. (Good stuff Don) [4]

Matthew 24:29-34 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Words of Jesus “According to the Lord’s own word”
The Coming of the Lord Jesus The Coming of the Lord Jesus
On the Clouds In the air
With the angels With the angels [cf. 2 Thess. 1:7]
With the sound of a trumpet With the sound of a trumpet
The gathering of the elect The gathering of the elect
This generation shall not pass until it all fulfilled “We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord.”

The “word of the Lord” that Paul is drawing from in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 comes from the Olivet discourse. Quoting Preston again, “Keep in mind that Paul emphatically tells us that what he says in Thessalonians is directly from the words of Jesus. Further, keep in mind that the only place in all of Jesus’ teachings where we find every one of the elements listed by Paul is in Matthew 24:29-34.” [5]

Clearly the AD 70 gathering of the saints in Matthew 24:31 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1 is the same as the rapture of the saints 1 Thessalonians 4:17. All are talking about the same gathering, not two different gatherings thousands of years apart. Jesus in Matthew 24:15-34 is talking about the time of the great tribulation (Matt 24:21) and then in Matthew 25:15-46 the judgment (and thus the resurrection). The rapture of 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 is also talking about this time of the tribulation (“the wrath to come,” 1 Thess. 1:10; cf Dan.11:36, 44-45) and the resurrection (1 Thess. 4:16). Daniel 12:1-2 connects these two events and ties them to the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:7).

Daniel 12:1-2, 7
At that time [the time of the king of the North’s attack on the Temple in Jerusalem, Dan. 11:45] 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 , even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt...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.

By the way, in his discussion of the man of lawlessness (the one “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God” 2 Thess. 2:4), Paul is expounding on the king of the North of Daniel 11:36-45 (the one who would “exalt and magnify himself above every god.” Dan. 11:36). Both are vanquished by the Second Coming (2 Thess. 2:8; Dan. 11:45). Daniel doesn’t actually show the Second Coming, but shows events that are associated with the Second Coming (the great tribulation and resurrection) as happening at that time (Dan. 12:1-2). This is Antichrist, the opponent of Jesus that appears at the end of the old covenant age (1 John 2:18) and is defeated by the Second Coming in AD 70 (cf. Dan. 7:21-22; Rev. 19:11-21).

In Matthew 24 Jesus gives the same sequence as the book of Daniel. He talks about the coming of Antichrist and the great tribulation (Matt. 24:15-21) and that immediately after that tribulation period the gathering of the saints would happen (Matt. 24:29-31). This is what Daniel 11:36-12:13 shows. The Antichrist (the king of the North) comes and attacks the Holy Land (Dan. 11:41, 45); this results in the great tribulation (Dan. 12:1). Immediately after this the resurrection happens (Dan. 12:2; cf. Rev. 20:4). It should be noted that the resurrection is a continuing process from AD 70 on, as believers in Jesus put on their resurrection bodies at death from that time on. Heaven is not still populated with souls (which would by now number in the millions) waiting for the resurrection (as it was during the time period of AD 30-70; cf. Rev. 6:9-11).

This same sequence for the gathering/rapture is shown in Revelation 11:7-18. The Antichrist (the beast) has his reign of terror (the tribulation) as he overcomes the saints in v. 7 (“When they [the two witnesses] finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them and overcome them and kill them”). Right after this the two witnesses (symbolic of God’s people, the saints cf. Rev. 13:7) [6] are caught up to heaven (vv. 11-12). The resurrection happens at this time as the dead are judged (v. 18). This all happens at the time that God destroys those who were destroying the Land, the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation.

The gathering of God’s people at the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation is also shown in Revelation 14. Revelation 14 shows Jesus, the Son of Man, gathering the harvest of the Land (vv. 14-16); immediately after this the grapes of the Land (which are the focus of God’s wrath, are gathered and destroyed (vv. 18-19. See Matt 13:24-30, 36-43; and 22:1-14 for more symbolic representations of this AD 70 gathering). This happens at the time the Antichrist (the beast) destroys unfaithful Israel (harlot Babylon, Rev. 14:5-11; 17:16-17). According to the OT, the grapevine of the Land (Rev. 14:18) was the nation of Israel, God’s vineyard (Is 5:7; cf. Matt. 21:33-43). This is why the Temple had golden grapevines with a huge cluster of grapes (the size of a man) above its entrance (Josephus The Jewish War, 5,5,4). By the way the grapes hung right above the huge curtain that covered the entrance to the sanctuary; not coincidently, the colors of this Babylonian tapestry (blue, scarlet, purple and fine linen) are the colors of harlot Babylon (Rev. 17:4; 18:16).

My interpretation here is confirmed by the area that the blood covers in Revelation 14:19-20. The blood spreads out over an area of “one thousand six hundred furlongs” (about 184 miles). This was the length (north to south) of the Holy Land. Ladd wrote the following on this.

“The metaphor suddenly changes from the treading of grapes to a military slaughter. The flow of blood is incredible, literally conceived; one thousand six hundred stadia is a distance of about a hundred and eighty-four miles- the entire length of Palestine. The entire land is pictured as being inundated in blood to a depth of about four feet” emphasis in the original. [7]

The gathering of God’s people took place at the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation. Seeing as how the festivals of Passover and Pentecost were fulfilled at the time of those feasts, it is probable that the ingathering of God’s people took place around the time of the feast of Tabernacles (which is also known as the Feast of Ingathering Ex. 23:14-17). The Feast of Tabernacles/Ingathering takes place in autumn (Sept/Oct). It concludes the yearly cycle of religious festivals for Israel and celebrates the final gathering of the harvest.
Whether the gathering together/rapture in AD 70 was a spiritual gathering of the living saints (into the new covenant) or involved a physical gathering of them (a physical rapture) as J.S. Russell, [8] and more recently Stevens, [9] and Harding [10] have proposed, I do not know. I tend to think it was a spiritual gathering, that it fulfilled the prophecy concerning Jesus, that He “would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad” (John 11:52). The important point for me, however, is that Jesus said that the gathering/rapture of the saints (whatever it involved) was to happen before the generation listening to him passed away (Matt. 24:31, 34).

Footnotes:

1. Kenneth Gentry, Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil (Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Press, 1999), 101.

2. Kenneth Gentry, Perilous Times: A Study in Eschatological Evil (Texarkana, AR: Covenant Media Press, 1999), 100-102.

3. Don Preston “The Second Coming: Why We Should Still be Waiting – A Response to Dr. Russ Jurek (Part 3)” Accessed 10-01-2005, http://planetpreterist.com/news-2554.html.

4. Don Preston “The Second Coming: Why We Should Still be Waiting – A Response to Dr. Russ Jurek (Part 3)” Accessed 10-01-2005, http://planetpreterist.com/news-2554.html.

5. Don Preston “The Second Coming: Why We Should Still be Waiting – A Response to Dr. Russ Jurek (Part 3)” Accessed 10-01-2005, http://planetpreterist.com/news-2554.html.

6. Beale (Revelation, 574-575) gives a number of reasons to support the idea that the two witnesses are used as a symbol of the new covenant community. Essentially they are the following. 1.) In Revelation 11:4 the witnesses are said to be “two lampstands”; in Revelation 1:20 lampstands are used as a symbol for the seven churches which were representative of the whole of God’s church. That there are two lampstands in Revelation 11 (as opposed to seven) may be due to two being the required number for legal witnesses (Deut. 19:15) as well as referring to the Jewish and Gentile components to the church (Eph. 2:14-16. 2.) The beast is said to make war with the two witnesses and overcome them (v. 7); this is what was said in Daniel 7 about what the little horn would do to the community of the saints (Dan. 7:21). 3.) The 2 witnesses prophesy for 1260 days, which is the same length of time that the new covenant community (the new covenant “mother,” Gal 4:24-26. and her children) spend in the wilderness (Rev. 12:6, 17). 4.) The two witnesses are said to give “testimony” (Rev. 11:7), elsewhere in Revelation it is the community of believers that gives testimony to Jesus (Rev. 6:9; 12:11, 17; 19:10; 20:4). 5.) Finally the two witnesses are prophetic twins, that is, the powers of Moses and Elijah are attributed equally to both the witness, not divided among them.

7. George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), 202.

8. James Stuart Russell, The Parousia, New Edition (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983) Preface to the New Edition; Originally published in London by T. Fisher Unwin in 1887. See also pages 165-169.

9. Edward Stevens, Expectations Demand a Rapture (Bradford, Pennsylvania: International Preterist Association, 2002).

10. Ian D. Harding, Taken to Heaven in AD 70 (Bradford, Pennsylvania: International Preterist Association, 2005).

Barry's picture

Hi Duncan,
Great job! Very informative and helpful.
It would seem that the more we dig and strive for consistency, the more we must accept first century fulfillment even concerning resurrection.

A small point or question if you don’t mind.
You said (emphasis mine in the form of capitalization),
“The “gathering together to Him” of 2 Thessalonians 2:1 picks up on the Lord’s reference in Matthew 24:31. The word translated “gather together” here is… (episunagoge). We find this word elsewhere only in Hebrews 10:25, where it speaks of a WORSHIP ASSEMBLY.”

Since you did not expound on this point, it obviously not being the focus of your article, I could very much be reading more there than is actually there. IMHO the “gathering” of Heb. 10:25 is the same gathering as that of Matt. 24 and 1 and 2 Thess. In this view, the “gathering” that was being forsaken is equal to the “drawing back to perdition” (35-39), which was the “custom” of the Jews. They were forsaking their being gathered together by Christ who “OFTEN” desired to gather the children of Jerusalem like a hen would “gather” her chicks.
Here the “often” of Matt. 23:37 would contextually link to the “custom” (Heb. 10:25) of the Hebrews.

In any case this was just a minor question not in any way to subtract from a very helpful article. This would at first glance, seem to strengthen even further your already weighty conclusions concerning the point of your article. Much thanks to you and your efforts, and I hope that you will not mind too much my bringing up this question on such a small side point.
Peace, Barry

we are all in this together

davo's picture

Yes Barry I believe this is correct – many were forsaking the great gathering together in returning to Judaism, and hence the writer's salient warning [Heb 6:4-8 etc]. This would be in line with Peter's "…scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?" 2Pet 3:3-4. c.f. Jude 1:18-19; thus they were forsaking that which was promised – the great gathering.

Thanks for the good article Duncan.

davo

valensname's picture

Good article...I was wondering what your postion was on the "rapture" but there it was at the end. I do wonder about your view using the term "antichrist?" You seem to make it singular? Does not 1 John use it in the plural? The man of sin is singular but John clearly says there were antichrists in the world, plural, at that time. My current understand is that the antichrists were the Jews who rejected Christ or those Christian Jews who decided to go back to the old covenant.

Glenn

Ed's picture

This is quite true Glenn, but of course, if there were plural antichrists, that means that there are individual antichrists too - know what I mean?

Anyway, he is a verse I think is significant in 1 John 2. It is verse 22: Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? F9 This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.

IOW, anyone in the first century who denied that Jesus was Israel's promised Messiah was a liar. This liar was an antichrist who, because he denied the son, also denied the Father.

This is reiterated by John in the fourth chapter of this same epistle, in the first three verses: 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world.

There are some in the preterist movement who have argued with me that these antichrists were some kind of gnostic heretics of the first century. This is a denial of the scriptural proof laid out in front of all to see. Those Jews who denied that the Messiah had come "in the flesh" iow, as an Israelite born under the law, and subject to sin and death, was NOT of God. These antichrists were unbelieving Jews, not gnostics, not backslidden Christians, not anything else, even in this present age of righteousness.

Good points Glenn. Good article Duncan. Blessings to all

ed

Papa is especially fond of us

Erick's picture

Great article Duncan. The obvious comparison of the passages is why partial preterism is as gut-busting funny as pretribulationalism. These passages are why many of us partial prets. amil./postmil. folks became full-prets. It is as plain as day - eh hem,... that is if one's income and good name doesn't depend on refuting it ;^)

Kentry echos Rushdoony in "When Shall These Things Be?" stating, 'the creed is the door to the house of faith.' (p.2)

Compare the Word of God:
"Then Jesus said to them again, 'Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep...I am the door. If anyone enters by Me he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture."

Partial preterists (i.e. futurists) need to move on to greener pastures.

Thanks again,
Erick

chrisliv's picture

Hey,

The article was very helpful. It shows the Preterist a simple refutation of how certain so-called, partial-preterists do try to make the Coming of the Son of Man, at Mat. 24, less than what it obviously is.

Yeah, Rev. 17 is certainly talking, prophetically, about the 1st-century destruction of Temple/Whore by making a sarcastic reference to the Tetragrammaton/Mitre worn on the forehead of the High Priest at the Day of Atonement:

"And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
"And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration."

The partial-preterists are really just Dispensationalists with a different name, since they do little more than accept the fact the that Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed in 70AD, like Jesus said it would. But, even the typical Dispensationalist admits as much, yet the Dispensationalist don't discount the term Coming of the Son of Man (they say it's still futuristic), like the partial-preterists tend to do, and who, like the Dispensationalists, go on to promote a futuristic Third Coming/Rapture, because they don't want to accept the reality of a total fulfillment of everything Christ said was about to be fulfilled within the lifetimes of many of those living in the 1st-century AD.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

ThomasS's picture

Linvingstone,

You seem somewhat confused.

The name written "upon her forehead" was not YHWH -- where does the angel/John say that? According to the text in question, the name was "Babylon". Now, which great city was well-known as "Babylon" in the 1st century (B)CE?

Regards

Thomas S.

chrisliv's picture

Well,

Either I haven't made myself clear enough, or you've missed the obvious sarcasm in the text.

The inscription, via the golden plate affixed to the mitre headress at the forehead of the High Priest stated "HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD." It was worn as the Priest went into the Holy of Holies once per year, on Atonement Day.

Now the text of Rev. 17:5 states: "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH."

The identification and sarcasm is pretty obvious. There should be no confusion at all on this point.

The seven angels with the seven vials told John, at Rev. 17:1, that they were talking about the upcoming judgment of the Great Whore, which was fulfilled with the complete destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.

Earlier, in Rev. 11:8, Jerusalem is identified and referred to as an existing city pre-70 AD, and is called the Great City, Sodom and Egypt, "where also our Lord was crucified."

Of course, that's more pregnant sarcasm directed toward the tiny Jewish nation, only using different figures.

The Great Whore, Babylon, Sodom and Egypt, The Great City in Revelation all refer to the tiny Roman-occupied Jewish nation right before its complete destruction in 70 AD.

In one of Peter's epistles, he refers to his hometown of 1st century Jerusalem as "Babylon." Did you skip that part of the Bible?

Is it that you read the Bible through a Dispensational lens that such things seem confusing to you?

So, if I'm not mistaken, Thomas, you're not a Preterist.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

ThomasS's picture

Livingstone,

There are several errors in your message.

(1) The great city in Rev 11 is not called Jerusalem; it's spiritually called "Sodom and Egypt". You may very well identify this city with Jerusalem; that does not make the great city in Rev 17 what you want it to be.

(2) Again, "Babylon" was a well-known cipher for Rome; there is absolutely no evidence for Jerusalem called "Babylon". As you should know, "Babylon" in 1 Peter is normally identified with Rome. There is nothing (!) in 1 Peter that demands an identification of "Babylon" with Jerusalem.

(3) The Book of Revelation was addressed to local churches in Asia Minor, not Jerusalem. They were already outside Jerusalem, but they were living in a world heavily dominated by Roman culture.

Is it that you read the Bible through a Full Preterist lens that such things seem confusing to you?

Regards

Thomas S.

chrisliv's picture

Dear, Thomas,

If you actually read the complete verse, at Rev. 11:7, you'll quickly see that the Great City in Rev. 11 is identified as Jerusalem which was about to be destroyed, as was also being called Sodom and Egypt. Should it surprising to any reader that Jerusalem is also called the Great Whore and Babylon?

Rev. 11:7 follows:

"And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."

The Great City is Jerusalem, "where also our Lord was crucified."

The identification is inescapable. And the Dispensational lens fails once more. Or, are you actually suggesting that our Lord was crucified at Rome?

So, even a confused person couldn't miss that, if they actually read it.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

ThomasS's picture

Livingston,

You continue to demonstrate that you are ignorant and/or reading the text with your full preterist bias.

Have you actually read the Greek text of Rev 11:7? It does not look like that. Thus, the following information especially for you:

(1) As I have stated before (why didn't you get that?), you may very well identify the city in Rev 11:7 with Jerusalem. The city is not called Jerusalem but the phrase "where also our Lord was crucified" could be understood as 'in Jerusalem'. Thus, I do accept that an identification of the city in Rev 11:7 with Jerusalem is *possible*.

(2) However, if you look at the Greek text (hopefully, you are able to read NT Greek), you too should be able to see that "spiritually" is a modifier not only for "called [Sodom and Egypt]" but also "where [also our Lord was crucified]". Thus, your identification of the city with Jerusalem is only possible; it's not certain. Even a confused person couldn't miss that, if s/he actually was able to read the Greek text.

(3) Whereas Jerusalem was called "Sodom", it was never called "Babylon". Neither was Jerusalem well-known as situated on seven hills. Rome was.

I guess you just have to be either a full preterist or a dispensationalist in order to miss the correct identification of "Babylon the great" with Rome.

Hope this helps!

Regards

Thomas S.

chrisliv's picture

Oh,

You do admit that the identification of Rev. 11:8 as Jerusalem has nothing at all to do with "what I want it to be" since you now say and can see from the text that it's "possible" that Rev. 11:8 could actually be referring to Jerusalem.

Yet you still vacillate, and deny that Rev. 11:7 identifies Jerusalem, preferring that it somehow refer to Rome, since Rome has seven hills. It is well-known why the Dispensational lens wants to make Rev. 11:8 refer to a futuristic Rome instead of 1st century Jerusalem right before its destruction.

But, Rev. 11:8 follows:

"And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the Great City, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."

And, Thomas, you did mention a valid point of concern, since Revelation does mention the city as being on seven hills. So, I'll include an exerpt from an article by a futurist no less, named Ernest L. Martin, which demonstrates that Jerusalem, to the Jews, was the well-known seven-hilled city.

And, to answer what I think may be Bigmike's question, the Preterist usually understands that the two witnesses who testified and preached in the streets of Jerusalem, before its destruction, were none other than the two Apostles, James the Just and Peter, who were heading up the Church at Jerusalem, until they were both martyred there.

Peace to you both,
C. Livingstone

------------------------------------------------------

But strange as it may seem, the City of Jerusalem as it existed in the time of Christ Jesus was also reckoned to be the "City of Seven Hills." This fact was well recognized in Jewish circles. In the Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer, an eighth century midrashic narrative (section 10), the writer mentioned without commentary (showing that the understanding was well known and required no defense) that "Jerusalem is situated on seven hills" (recorded in The Book of Legends, edited by Bialik and Ravnitzky, p. 371, paragraph 111). And, so it was. Those "seven hills" are easy to identify. If one starts with the Mount of Olives just to the east of the main City of Jerusalem (but still reckoned to be located within the environs of Jerusalem), there are three summits to that Mount of Olives. The northern summit (hill) is called Scopus [Hill One], the middle summit (hill) was called Nob [Hill Two], the highest point of Olivet itself, and the southern summit (hill) was called in the Holy Scriptures the "Mount of Corruption" or "Mount of Offence" [Hill Three] (II Kings 23:13). On the middle ridge between the Kedron and the Tyropoeon Valleys there was (formerly) in the south "Mount Zion" [Hill Four] (the original "Mount Zion" and not the later southwest hill that was later called by that name), then the "Ophel Mount" [Hill Five] and then to the north of that the "Rock" around which "Fort Antonia" was built [Hill Six]. And finally, there was the southwest hill itself [Hill Seven] that finally became known in the time of Simon the Hasmonean as the new "Mount Zion." This makes "Seven Hills" in all.

This does not end the significance of "Seven Hills" for the urban areas that the ancients looked on as being the centers of divine sovereignty on this earth. We are all familiar with Babylon on the Euphrates (which became the capital of the world in the time of Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century B.C.) as being the "Seven Hilled City." And, it may be surprising for some to learn this, but when Constantine the emperor wanted to build a "new Rome" in the eastern part of the Roman Empire (because most of the economic life of the Roman Empire in the fourth century was centered in the eastern half of the Empire and he felt he needed a capital city much nearer the economic center of the Empire), he finally selected a spot on the Bosporus called Byzantium. The reason he selected this spot to be the "New Rome" was because it was a small village also located on "Seven Hills." This made "New Rome" as a City of Seven Hills.

What we observe is the fact that the ancients symbolically looked on the various capitals of the world as having "Seven Hills." The significance of this fact even had a meaning for the apostle John who, under the influence of Christ Jesus himself, wrote the Book of Revelation. We find that the last world capital would be "Mystery Babylon" and that it would have "seven mountains" (Revelation 17:9) associated with it. The fact that history has "Seven Hills" (or "Mountains") associated with FOUR world kingdoms: Babylon, Rome, Byzantium, and Jerusalem, there has been some confusion about which of these (or, perhaps, another "New City") was the intention of the apostle John who was writing for Christ Jesus in the Book of Revelation. The truth is, however, when one looks at the subject of the Book of Revelation carefully, there is only one of those "Cities of Seven Hills" that could possibly be the subject of the End-Time revelation. That is the City of Jerusalem. The "Mystery Babylon" of the Book of Revelation is none other than Jerusalem!

ThomasS's picture

Livingston,

You still are very confused.

(1) I have never said that the great city in Rev 11 is Rome? (Where did you get that idea?) Again, try reading the Greek text without any "Full Preterist" bias. Perhaps that will do the trick for you?

(2) Re: the seven mountains, you really have missed the point. Applying to a 8th century source is sweet, but hardly convincing. Try ancient Jewish sources from the first century (B)CE. They seem to locate Jerusalem on two (possibley five) hills, not seven.

(3) As to the identity of the two witnesses, you seem to be in error. I think one should accept the identification of them suggested by the text itself (cf. Rev 1:19).

(4) As pointed out by K. L. Gentry in his Before Jerusalem Fell , the imagery in Rev 17 strongly supports an identification of the seven mountains with the seven mountains of Rome. I guess one just has to be a full preterist in order to be missing that.

Again, hope this helps!

Regards

Thomas S.

chrisliv's picture

Gee,

You deny your earlier assertion, yet by the end of this post you reassert it again.

So, to summarize what you said so far: Rev. 11:8 could "possibly" be Jerusalem, but you see "strong support" for it being Rome because of what Gentry says about Rev. 17.

Rev. 11:8 follows:

"And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."

Now, The Great City of Rev. 11 (Jerusalem) is also called The Great City at Rev 18:1, which refers back to Rev.17, making the identification of its "The Great City Babylon" as Jerusalem as well.

See for yourself, Rev 18:1-4:

"And the woman which thou sawest (in Rev 17) is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
"For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
"And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."

At the very beginning of this post, I mentioned the sarcasm regarding the inscription at the forehead of The Great Whore in Rev. 17:5. That verse screams, spiritually speaking, of the coming 1st Century destruction of Jerusalem. And the Christians heeded its warning to "Come out of her, my people" so as to escape Jerusalem's complete destruction by fleeing to the hills and across the Jordan River, to Pella. Of course, the non-Christian Jews were slaughtered en masse or taken as slaves to Rome.

Simple!

Thomas, why don't you just tell us all that you now see that the text seems to be clearly identifying Jerusalem, which was being marked for destruction in the 1st Century AD?

Would your whole eschatological system really begin to unravel by admitting the obvious implication of a single verse in Rev. 11 or Rev. 17, or any number of other verses that seem to have an obvious 1st Century AD fulfillment?

Maybe it would!

Maybe you are a Futurist who just likes to wrangle with us Preterists. That's OK. You help keep us sharp. And, there are others who see our exchanges, who were undoubtedly conditioned in Dispensationalism, yet who may now be inclined to be to come to a more objective conclusion about what the intention of the NT writers was.

So, since we seem to be going around in a circle with this dialogue, I'll end now. But, I'll be happy to interact with you as new topics come up.

Peace to you,
Christian

ThomasS's picture

Christian,

You have missed the point or you are just really slow: In my opinion, the city in Rev 11:7 is not necessarily the same as the city in Rev 17.

The city in Rev 17 is called "Babylon" (not Sodom, not Egypt), which was a well-known cipher for Rome.

The city in Rev 17 is a woman and situated on seven hills -- all of this points towards Rome.

Arguing that "Babylon" = Jerusalem is like saying that "Uncle Sam" = Russia...

Regards

Thomas S.

bigmike's picture

Is that it? are you guys done? I am sitting here on the edge of my seat, and you're just going to leave me here; hanging? Please, some one go back to the part about the "two witnesses"; how is it possible for the whole world to see them lying their (where ever)in the first century (where ever?). Oh and I'm not religious, so I'm not a pre or a post or a dis or a dat!
Thanks

ThomasS's picture

The key to the mystery of their identity is probably found in Rev 1:19.

Hope this helps!

Regards

Th. S.

bigmike's picture

1:19? That really doesn't help at all; or maybe I'm missing something. These appear to be instructions to John to write down the things that he's seen, the things that are, and the things which shall take place after these things. Are you sure you've sent me to the right verse?
Thanks,
Big Mike in Jerusalem!

ThomasS's picture

Big Mikein Jerusalem,

I meant Rev 1:20b: "(...) the seven lampstands are the seven churches".

Regards

Thomas S.

ChristyGrl's picture

You've just confused the heck out of me....are you saing the two witnesses are two churches?

ThomasS's picture

Dear ChristyGirl,

Not exactly. I do not subscribe to a literal understanding of the Apocalypse. I see the two witnesses as symbolizing the Church as witness.

Hope this helps!

Th.S.

ChristyGrl's picture

Dear Thomas,

I was kind of leaning toward Jesus and the Holy Spirit as the two witnesses....but in the long run I guess it really doesn't matter because I know exactly where I'm going when I leave here. YEAH!!

bigmike's picture

Ooops, I ment lying "THERE". And I am really curious, not challenging.

Recent comments

Poll

Should we allow Anonymous users to comment on Planet Preterist articles?
Yes absolutely
23%
No only registered users should comment
77%
What are you talking about?
0%
Total votes: 43