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Revelation, the Fulfillment of the Covenant Curses of Leviticus and Deuteronomy

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By Duncan - Posted on 30 June 2002

Revelation is a book full of strange images and judgments. A number of these judgments are very similar to the plagues of Egypt (waters turned to blood, Rev. 16:5; frogs, Rev. 16:13; great hail, Rev. 16:21, etc.). Is there any special reason why Revelation uses the particular images that it does? I believe the answer to this question is a definite yes. The book of Revelation is borrowing many of the images for its judgments from the covenant curses that God said would come on His Old Covenant people when they broke the covenant.REVELATION: The Book of Fulfillment of the Covenant Curses of Leviticus and Deuteronomy

By Duncan McKenzie, Ph.D.

Revelation is a book full of strange images and judgments. A number of these judgments are very similar to the plagues of Egypt (waters turned to blood, Rev. 16:5; frogs, Rev. 16:13; great hail, Rev. 16:21, etc.). Is there any special reason why Revelation uses the particular images that it does? I believe the answer to this question is a definite yes. The book of Revelation is borrowing many of the images for its judgments from the covenant curses that God said would come on His Old Covenant people when they broke the covenant. These covenant curses are recorded in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

In Leviticus chapter 26 God told the children of Israel that if and when they broke the covenant He would set His face against them (Lev. 26:14-17). If Israel did not repent God spoke of four sets of plagues and punishments He would visit on them (Lev. 26:18, 21, 24 and 28). Each one of these sets of punishments was to have a sevenfold fulfillment.

I. Leviticus 26:18: "if you do not obey Me I will punish you seven times more for your sins"

II. Leviticus 26:21. Then, if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me, I will bring on you seven times more plagues, according to your sins.

III. Leviticus 26:23. And if by these things you are not reformed by Me, but walk contrary to Me, 24. Then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you yet seven times for your sins.

IV. Leviticus 26:27. And after all this, if you do not obey Me, but walk contrary to Me, 28. then I also will walk contrary to you in fury; and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins.

This pattern of covenant punishments provides an outline of the plagues and punishments found in the book of Revelation, four sets of punishments each with a sevenfold fulfillment. The four sets of sevenfold punishments in Revelation are I. The seven seals (Rev. 6:1-17; 8:1). II. The seven trumpets (Rev. 8:2-10:7). III. The seven thunders (Rev. 10:3&4). IV. The seven bowls (Rev. 16:1-21). A note on the seven thunders, John was instructed not to write down what they uttered so we don’t know exactly what they entailed. Seeing as how the other three sets of seven (the seals, trumpets, and bowls) were plagues and punishments, it would seem safe to assume that the seven thunders were also a set of seven punishments. I think this is especially true in light of the fact that thunder was often associated with God’s voice of anger and judgment (2 Sam. 22:14-16; Ps. 18:13-15; Is. 29:6). Using the connection between thunder and God’s judgment, Jesus (showing a sense of humor) referred to James and John as the "Sons of Thunder" in Mark 3:17 (cf. Luke 9:54 "Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?"). If John had been permitted to write down what the seven thunders uttered it probably would have been something like "the first thunder uttered (and a certain judgment happened), the second thunder uttered (another judgment) etc.

Besides providing an outline for the four sets of sevenfold judgments found in Revelation, some of the other connections between the covenant curses of Leviticus 26 and the book of Revelation are the following:

A. Leviticus 26:3 if you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them…

Leviticus 26:6 I will give peace in the land, and you shall lie down, and none will make you afraid; I will rid the land of evil beasts, and the sword shall not go through your land.

Revelation 6:3,4 3. When He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, "Come and see." 4. And another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth [land], and there was given to him a great sword.

The Greek word "ge" which is usually translated "earth" in Revelation is often more properly translated as "land" (i.e. the Promised Land). For example in Revelation 1:7 we are told that all the tribes of the "earth" would mourn at Jesus’ Second Coming. This contains a reference to Zechariah 12:10-14. When you examine the Zechariah 12 it is the tribes or families of the land (of Israel) that would mourn not the tribes of the earth. Another example of this is found in Revelation chapter 13. Revelation 13:11 should read that the second beast came out of the land (of Israel) not out of the earth. This second beast was Jewish ("out of the land") he is referred to as the false prophet (Rev. 19:20).

Israel was told in Leviticus 26:6 that if she obeyed the Lord there would be peace in the land and the sword would not go through it. The second seal of Revelation shows peace being taken from the land and a sword given to a conqueror to go out and conquer the land. That conqueror was Vespasian who invaded Judea with the Roman armies in AD 67.

B. Leviticus 26:26 When I have cut off your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall bring back to you your bread by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied.

Revelation 6:5,6 5. when He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come and see." And I looked, and behold, a black horse, and he who sat on it had a pair of scales in his hand. 6. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures sayings, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and wine."

The third seal shows the supply of bread being cut off. The price of grain in Revelation 6:6 indicates that the supply of bread had been cut off as the price described was ten to fifteen times the usual price. As God had warned in Leviticus the bread is carefully measured by weight. The Jews supply of bread was so cut off in the Jewish war (AD 66-70) that Josephus recorded people bartering their possessions for a single measure of wheat or Barley.

Many secretly bartered their possessions for a single measure of wheat, if they happened to be rich, barley if they were poor. Then they shut themselves up in the darkest corners of their houses; in the extremity of hunger some even ate their grain unground, while others baked it, guided by necessity and fear. Nowhere was a table laid- the food was snatched half-cooked from the fire and torn into piece. Josephus, The Jewish War 5,10,2

C. Leviticus 26:22 I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, destroy your livestock and make you few in number; and your highways shall be desolate.

Leviticus 26:25 And I will bring a sword against you that will execute the vengeance of My covenant; when you are gathered together within your cities I will send pestilence among you

Revelation 6:7-8

7. When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, "Come."

8. I looked, and behold, an ashen horse and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth (land) to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth [land]. NASB

The fourth seal shows the death by wild beasts, the sword and pestilence that God had threatened in Leviticus 26:22&25. Again I think "earth" should be translated as "land" here. It was a fourth of the inhabitants of the land Judea that were killed by the plagues of AD 66-70, not a fourth of the inhabitants of the earth.

The book of Deuteronomy also describes the curses that would come on Israel when they broke the covenant. Some of the connections between the covenant curses described in Deuteronomy and the judgments of Revelation are the following:

A. Deuteronomy 28:26 Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and no one shall frighten them away.

Revelation 19:17 Then I saw and angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in the midst of heaven, "Come and gather together for the supper of the great God.

Revelation 19:21 And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

Revelation 19 shows the birds of the air being invited to feast on the slain at the destruction of unfaithful Israel (harlot Babylon) at AD 70. There were few survivors left in Israel to frighten away the scavenging birds.

B. Deuteronomy 28:41 You shall beget sons and daughters, but they shall not be yours; for they shall go into captivity.

Revelation 13:10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints. NASB

Those Jews who were not killed in the Jewish war were taken captive as slaves

C. Deuteronomy 29:19-20

19. and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying ‘I shall have peace, even though I walk in the imagination of my heart’- as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.

20. The Lord would not spare him; for then the anger of the Lord and His jealousy would burn against that man, and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him, and the Lord would blot out his name from under heaven.

Revelation 3:5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

God promises the overcomer that they would not have their life blotted out as those who came under the covenant curses would.

D. Deuteronomy 28:59-60

59. then the Lord will bring upon you and your descendants extraordinary plagues- great and prolonged plagues-and serious and prolonged sicknesses.

60. Moreover He will bring back on you all the diseases of Egypt, of which you were afraid, and they shall cling to you.

God told the children of Israel that he would send "extraordinary plagues" on them for breaking the covenant. I think it is safe to say that the plagues described in Revelation are extraordinary. God also said that He would also bring the plagues of Egypt on His unfaithful Old Covenant people. As I have said the judgments of Revelation have strong parallels with the plagues of Egypt. The judgments in Revelation bring to mind at least seven of the ten plagues that God brought on Egypt.

Water into blood, The first plague of Egypt (Exodus:7:17-21).

Revelation 16:3&4

3. Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.

4. Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water and they became blood

2. Frogs, The second plague of Egypt (Exodus 8:2-4).

Revelation 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

3. Pestilence, The fifth plague of Egypt (Exodus 9:3-7).

Revelation 6:8. I looked, and behold, an ashen horse and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth [land] to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth [land]. NASB

4. Boils, The sixth plague of Egypt (Exodus 9:8-12).

Revelation 16:1&2

Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth"[land].

So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth [land], and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.

5. Hail, The seventh plague of Egypt (Exodus 9:18-26).

Revelation 16:21 And great hail from heaven fell upon men, every hailstone about the weight of a talent. And men blasphemed God because of the plague or the hail since that plague was exceedingly great.

6. Locust, The eighth plague of Egypt (Exodus 10:4-20).

Revelation 9:1-3

Then the fifth angel sounded; And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth (land). And to him was given the key to the bottomless pit.

And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. And the sun and the air were darkened because for the smoke of the pit.

Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth [land]. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

Locust are also mentioned in Deuteronomy 28:42, "Locusts shall consume all your trees and produce of your land."

Darkness, The ninth plague of Egypt (Exodus 10:21-27).

Revelation 16:10. Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain.

J. Massyngberde Ford suggests that the destruction of the harlot city (which she sees as Jerusalem) in Revelation chapters 17 and 18 was a fulfillment of the tenth plague of Egypt, the death of the firstborn (J. Massyngberde Ford, The Anchor Bible: Revelation pg. 282&283). If this is true it would make for eight of the ten plagues of Egypt that Revelation shows coming on the covenant breaking dwellers on the land. The 3rd and 4th plagues (lice and flies) are apparently left out of Revelation (perhaps to keep the book’s structure of sevens?).

Not only did God promise to send the plagues of Egypt on His disobedient covenant people, He also said the land would end up the same as when He overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

E. Deuteronomy 29:22-23

22. so that the coming generation of your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, would say, when they see the plagues of that land and the sicknesses which the Lord has laid on it:

23. ‘The whole land is brimstone, salt and burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass grow there, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, which the Lord overthrew in His anger and His wrath.’

Revelation makes the connection between "the great city" ("where also our Lord was crucified") and both Sodom and Egypt.

Revelation 11:8 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.

God had said in Deuteronomy that His disobedient Old Covenant people would incur the plagues of Egypt and the Land would be burned up like Sodom. Revelation makes the connection between "the great city" and Sodom and Egypt. Notice that "the great city" of Rev. 11:8 (where the Lord was crucified) is the same city as Babylon in Revelation chapters 17&18 which is also referred to as "the great city" (Rev. 17:18). That makes the harlot-city of Babylon Jewish, representing unfaithful Israel. The judgment of harlot Babylon (unfaithful Israel) in AD 70 was the consummation of God’s judgment on the unfaithful dwellers on the land.

F. Deuteronomy 31:16-17

16. And the Lord said to Moses: "Behold, you will rest with your fathers;; and this people will rise and play the harlot with the gods of the foreigners of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake Me and break My covenant which I have made with them.

Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’

Revelation 17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters…

The image of a harlot was commonly used in the Old Testament to represent unfaithful Israel (Jer. 2:31-32; 3:1; Hos 1:2). Israel breaking the covenant and going after other gods was like a wife breaking her marriage covenant and playing the harlot with other lovers (Ezek. 16:31-34). God actually had Hosea marry a harlot as an object lesson of what it was like to be in relationship with His unfaithful covenant people (Hosea 3:1). Revelation chapters 17, 18 and 19 are the climax of God’s judgment on the unfaithful dwellers on the land as He has the Roman beast destroy the harlot-city of Babylon. Again harlot Babylon was "the great city" where the Lord was crucified (cf. Rev. 11:8 with Rev. 17:18), it represented all of unfaithful Israel.

G. Deuteronomy 31:19-22

Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel.

When I have brought them to the land flowing with milk and honey, of which I swore to their father, and they have eaten and filled themselves and grown fat, then they will turn to other gods and serve them; and they will provoke Me and break My covenant .

Then it shall be, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify against them as a witness; for it will not be forgotten in the mouths of their descendants, for I know the inclination of their behavior today, even before I have brought them to the land of which I swore to give them.

Therefore Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the children of Israel.

Revelation 15:2-4

2. And I saw something like a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who have the victory over the beast, over his image and over his mark and over the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass having harps of God.

3. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb saying: "Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are Your ways O King of the saints!

Who shall not fear You O Lord, and glorify Your name? For you alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested."

The song of Moses was to be sung as a witness against the children of Israel when God’s judgment came upon them for breaking the covenant. This song of Moses is sung in Revelation just prior to God’s wrath being poured out on the land in Revelation chapter 16 (Rev. 16:1). As God had said in Deuteronomy it testifies against the dwellers on the land as a witness as God’s judgments come on them.

While Israel had violated the covenant and incurred God’s judgment before (Daniel 9:10-14), the ultimate judgment for violating the covenant would come in AD 70. This was because Israel’s rejection and murder of Jesus was the ultimate breaking of their covenant with God. Consider the parable of the wicked vinedressers in Matt. 21:33-46 (also found in Mark 12:1-12 and Luke 20:9-19). In this parable Jesus told of how a certain owner with a vineyard leased it out to some vinedressers. The owner in the parable represented God, the vinedressers were the leaders of Israel, the vineyard was Israel (see Isaiah 5:1-7 for the background of this parable). In the parable the owner sent His servants (the prophets) to the vineyard who the vinedressers persecuted and killed. Eventually the owner sent his only son (Jesus, Mark 12:6) whom the vinedressers ended up killing. This was the last straw for the owner of the vineyard, he was going to come and destroy the wicked vinedressers and the vineyard would be given to others. This parable spoke of Israel’s rejection and killing of Jesus and the judgment that was coming on her as a result ("Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the vinedressers, and give the vineyard to others" Mark 12:9). That the Jews listening to Jesus understood that this parable contained a reference to severe judgment coming on Israel is evident from their response as recorded in the gospel of Luke "And when they heard it, they said, "May it never be!" Luke 20:16 NASB. The final judgment for Israel’s unfaithfulness came in AD 70 with the destruction of Israel at the Second Coming of Jesus. Again, the killing of Jesus was the ultimate breaking of the covenant and God’s covenant judgments were coming on Israel with Roman invasion of AD 67.

Keeping in mind that the symbol of Rome was the eagle consider what God said about the nation He would bring against Israel when He visited the covenant curses on her.

Deuteronomy 28:49-52

49. The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand,

50. a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young

51. And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of you land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of you cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you

52. They shall besiege you at all you gates until you high and fortified walls in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates and throughout all your land which the Lord your God has given you.

53. You shall eat the fruit of your own body, the flesh of your sons and your daughters whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you.

54. The man among you who is sensitive and very refined will be hostile toward his brother, toward the wife of his bosom, and toward the rest of his children whom he leaves behind,

55. so that he will not give any of them the flesh of his children who he will eat, because he has nothing left in the siege and desperate straits in which you enemy shall distress you at all your gates.

56. The tender and delicate woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because of her delicateness and sensitivity, will refuse to the husband of her bosom, and to her son and her daughter,

57. her placenta which comes out from between her feet, and her children whom she bears; for she will eat them secretly for lack of all thing s in the siege and desperate straits in which your enemy shall distress you at all your gates.

When the Roman armies came in AD 67 they systematically besieged the cities of Israel. Jerusalem was such a strong city that one of Rome’s main tactics was to surround the city to cut it off from essential resources such as food. The resulting famine was so bad that the desperate quest for food pitted family members against each other (Deut. 28:54-56). Josephus recorded the hostility that developed between family members because of the desperate straits of the Roman siege.

All human emotions yield to hunger, but of nothing is it so destructive as of shame; what at other times would claim respect is, in the time of famine, treated with contempt. Thus it was that wives snatched food from their husbands, children from father, and most pitiful of all- mothers out of the very mouths of their infants; while their dearest ones were dying in their arms, they did not hesitate to deprive them of the life-giving morsels. Josephus, The Jewish War 5,10,3

The famine in Jerusalem became so bad that Josephus recorded an incident where a mother secretly killed, cooked and ate her infant son (Josephus, The Jewish War, 6,3,4). The woman was discovered when her fellow starving Jews smelled cooking meat and went to investigate. This act (which fulfilled Duet. 28:57) shocked even the Romans. There were undoubtedly other acts of cannibalism that occurred in the siege that were not recorded.

Deuteronomy 28:50 says how the nation enforcing God’s covenant judgments would be "a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly or show favor to the young". Josephus recorded how the Romans showed no favor to young or old, slaughtering all indiscriminately

They [the Roman army] poured into the alleys, [of Jerusalem] sword in hand, massacring indiscriminately all whom they met, and burned the houses with all who had taken refuge inside. Josephus, The Jewish War 6,8,5

God goes on in Deuteronomy 28 to say how when the covenant judgments came He would pluck the children of Israel off the land and scatter them from one end of the earth to the other. This was also fulfilled at AD 70 when the Romans scattered Israel among the nations.

Deuteronomy 28:63-64

63. And it shall be, that just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess.

64. Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor you fathers have known-wood and stone.

Finally God said that the Jews would be brought back to Egypt as slaves.

Deuteronomy 28:68 And the Lord will take you back to Egypt in ships, by the way of which I said to you. ‘You shall never see it again.’ And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.

Josephus recorded the fulfillment of this happening at the end of the Jewish war (AD 70).

The sentries, however, were unable to cope with the deserters, for although great numbers were killed, far more escaped. The Romans accepted them all, Titus through kindness disregarding his former announcement, and his men, being satiated with blood and in hope of gain, abstaining from slaughter. Only the citizens were allowed to remain; all the rest were sold, along with the women and children for a trifling price per head, as supply was far in excess of demand…Josephus the Jewish War 6,8,2

All those who had taken part in sedition and brigandage (they informed against each other) he executed. He picked out the tallest and most handsome of the lot and reserved them for the triumph. Of the rest, those who were over seventeen he put in chains and sent to hard labor in Egypt, while great numbers were presented by Titus to the provinces to perish in the theaters by sword or by wild beasts… Josephus The Jewish War 6,9,2

Thus many of the Jewish survivors were sent to Egypt as slaves. The price paid for them was "trifling" as supply far outweighed demand. As God had promised in Deuteronomy 28:68 there were few buyers as the large numbers of Jewish slaves glutted the market.

I think it is clear that there are connections between the covenant curses of Leviticus and Deuteronomy and the judgments in the book of Revelation. I think it is also clear that the covenant curses of Leviticus and Deuteronomy as well as Israel’s scattering among the nations came in AD 70. This ties in the events of Revelation with the covenant judgments that came on unfaithful Israel in AD 70. The question I think many non-preterists would have is, "OK, so how were the extraordinary plagues of Revelation fulfilled in the Jewish war of AD 66-70?" I am not going to go through all the fulfillments of the plagues of Revelation here as that would take a commentary on Revelation. I would, however, like to make a comment on one of Revelation’s strange plagues. The seventh bowl (Rev. 16:21) contained a plague of great hail that weighed a talent (about a 100 pounds).

Revelation 16:21

And great hail from heaven fell upon men, every hailstone about the weight of a talent. And men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.

As I have mentioned this plague brings to mind the seventh plague of Egypt (Exodus 9:18-26) where God rained great hailstones on the Egyptians. The hailstones of Exodus were said to be very heavy but the hailstones in Revelation weighed a talent each (around a hundred pounds!). Such heavy hail is a natural impossibility. Hail is the result of frozen drops of water bouncing up and down in the atmosphere due to strong updrafts. Every time a piece of hail goes up in the atmosphere it freezes some more and forms another layer of ice, getting bigger and heavier. When the hail gets too heavy for the updrafts to keep it in the air it falls to the ground. Thankfully this happens way before hailstones reach a weight of a hundred pounds. As of 1999 the world record for hail (set in the early 1970’s) was 1.67 pounds. This would be pretty serious if it hit you on the head but it is nothing compared to the 100 pound hailstones described in Revelation. The hundred pound "hailstones" of Revelation were not natural hail they were the giant white stones that the Romans were catapulting on Jerusalem during its siege. Josephus tells us that these stones were shiny white (like hail) and weighed 100 pounds each (a talent).

The engines of all the legions were masterpieces of construction, but those of the tenth were supreme. Their quick-firers were more powerful and their stone-throwers bigger, so that they could repulse not only the sorties but also the fighters on the ramparts. The stone missiles weighed a talent and traveled two furlongs [approx. 375 m.], and their impact not only on those who were hit first, but also on those behind them, was enormous. At first the Jews kept watch for the stone-for it was white-and its approach was intimated, to the eye by its shining surface, as well as to the ear by its whizzing sound. Josephus, The Jewish War 5,6,3

Eventually the Romans blackened these white stones so they would not be so easy to spot. The reason that Revelation dresses up these 100-pound stones like one of the plagues of Egypt is because this was a fulfillment of one of the curses that God had said he would bring on His people when they broke the covenant. God had said He would bring the plagues of Egypt on His covenant breaking people. Thus these 100 pound white stones that the Romans were raining on Jerusalem are portrayed as 100 pound hailstones. Again this event was portrayed as one of the plagues of Egypt because it was part of the fulfillment of the covenant curses that were coming on the unfaithful dwellers on the land.

The book of Revelation was written around AD 65 under Nero the sixth emperor of Rome (Rev. 17:10). We are told in the beginning of Revelation (Rev. 1:3) as well as at the end (Rev. 22:6, 7&10) that the time for the events contained in the book was close at hand. The time for the events of Revelation was so close that there almost wasn’t time for a person to change their ways (Rev. 22:11). This nearness of the events in Revelation spoke of the nearness of the covenant judgments that were coming on Israel, the unfaithful dwellers on the land. These covenant judgments were visited on the land by the Romans with their invasion of AD 67-70 ("a nation…as swift as the eagle flies" Deut. 28:49). In the words of Jesus (referring to the eagles on the Roman standards) "wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together" Matt. 24:28). This gathering of the eagles was to happen at the time of Jesus’ Second Coming in AD 70 (Matt. 24:27).

Deuteronomy 30:1-6

1. Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord you God drives you.

2. And you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul,

3. That the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord God has scattered you.

4. If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you.

5. Then the Lord will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.

6. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

God said that after all the blessings and curses of the covenant had come upon the Jews and he had scattered them to the nations that He would not forget them. Again, God’s ultimate judgment came on Israel in AD 70 with the destruction of the Jewish nation and their scattering to the nations. Even after this devastating judgment God promised to bring the Jews back to their land. For more on my views on Israel see my paper “A New Preterist Perspective” (on the Preterist Archive) under the sections “Gog and Magog” and “Israel”. Saying that current day Israel is a fulfillment of prophecy is quite unpopular in preterist circles. I think it reminds partial preterists too much of dispensationalism. It also threatens the theoretical foundation (that all prophecy was fulfilled by AD 70) of full preterism. Be that as it may God said that after he had brought all the covenant curses on His disobedient Old Covenant people and had scattered them among the nations He would bring them back to their land.

Corey_X's picture

A nice summary of the plagues/curses. The author seems to take the veiw of the 7 seals as the final 3.5 years of the siege. Others like D.Chilton see this as the 3.5 yrs under the persecution of Nero. Your summary seems to tie Ch 6 in nicely with the plagues/curses.

Your view is a nice answer to Deu 30:1-6. However, most preterists no longer see the physical land of Israel as important, nor the heritable nature of the new covenant implied by this passage.

Regarding the premillennial preterist view, a problem arises concerning Ezekiel 38:16. I see this as a duplicate prophesy to Rev 1:17.

Revelation 1:7 Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.

Ezekiel 38:16
You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.

Gog destroyed about this time...

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