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The Supernatural Rulers Portrayed in Daniel and Revelation

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By Duncan - Posted on 26 March 2007

by Duncan McKenzie
In Revelation 17-18 the beast throws off the harlot and burns her with fire (Rev. 18:8). After this, the beast is destroyed at the AD 70 Second Coming (Rev. 19:11-21). This is usually interpreted by preterists as Rome (the beast) which throws off unfaithful Israel and destroys her. This is essentially correct but do you notice a glaring problem here? If the beast was Rome, how is it that Rome wasn’t destroyed in AD 70? In Revelation 17-18 the beast throws off the harlot and burns her with fire (Rev. 18:8). After this, the beast is destroyed at the AD 70 Second Coming (Rev. 19:11-21). This is usually interpreted by preterists as Rome (the beast) which throws off unfaithful Israel and destroys her. This is essentially correct but do you notice a glaring problem here? If the beast was Rome, how is it that Rome wasn’t destroyed in AD 70? In beginning to answer this question let me ask two more. The beast comes out of the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). Did Rome or any of its emperors come out of the abyss? (no) The beast is made up of eight kings (Rev. 17:10-11). Did the Roman Empire have only eight emperors before it was destroyed? (no). The answer to these questions is an obvious “No.” OK, if the rulers that make up the beast that is shown in Revelation 17-19 are not the physical rulers of Rome, what are they? In this article I will argue that the kings that make up the beast of Revelation (and Daniel) are not physical rulers but spiritual rulers. I will argue that what was destroyed in the lake of fire (Rev. 19:19-20, cf. Dan. 7:11) at AD 70 was not the Roman Empire but the confederation of spiritual rulers behind the pre AD 70 Roman Empire.

Most of these rulers that are shown in Daniel and Revelation are ultimately spiritual rulers. The books of Daniel and Revelation contain what are known as apocalyptic writings. The word apocalyptic is taken from the Greek word apokalypsis which means “to unveil.” Usually, it is assumed that what is being unveiled in the apocalyptic writings of Daniel and Revelation is the future. While this is mostly true, the primary unveiling of the Biblical apocalyptic writings is of the spiritual realm. That is, the apocalyptic language of these writings is unveiling the invisible realm of the spirit, making it visible by way of symbols. These writings are showing us the spiritual realm that lies behind the physical realm. The rulers that are being shown in Daniel and Revelation are not simply human rulers, but the spiritual rulers behind the human rulers. Understanding this is crucial for understanding the kings and princes to whom the biblical apocalyptic writings refer.

In Ephesians, Paul emphasized the reality of the spiritual rulers that make up the true power behind earthly rulers: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). Ladd had the following comments on the terminology that Paul uses in talking about these spiritual rulers and authorities:

Paul refers not only to good and bad angels, to Satan and to demons; he uses another group of words to designate ranks of angelic spirits. The terminology is as follows:

“rule” (archē), 1 Cor 15:24; Eph. 1:21; Col. 2:10

“rules” (archai; RSV, “principalities”), Eph. 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:15; Rom. 8:38

“authority” (exousia), 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21; Col. 2:10

“authorities” (exousiai: RSV, “authorities”), Eph. 3:10; 6:12; Col. 1:16; 2:15

“power” (dynamis), 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21

“powers” (dynameis), Rom 8:38

“thrones” (thronoi), Col. 1:16

“lordship” (kyriotēs; RSV, “dominion”), Eph. 1:21

“lordships” (kyriotētes), Col. 1:16

“world rulers of this darkness,” Eph. 6:12

“the spiritual (hosts) of evil in the heaven lies,” Eph 6:12

“the authority of darkness,” Col. 1;13

“every name that is named,” Eph. 1:21

“heavenly, earthly and subterranean beings,” Phil 2:10

That this terminology designates supernatural beings is quite clear from Ephesians 6:11ff., where the believer’s struggle is against the devil and against principalities, authorities, world rulers of this present darkness, spiritual hosts of wickedness. [George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament, Revised Edition, Donald A. Hagner, Ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdamns:, 1993, reprinted 2002), 441.

The NT teaches that these spiritual rulers were “coming to nothing” in the first century (1 Cor 2:6-8; 2 Cor. 4:4; cf. Rom. 16:20). While Daniel and Revelation are showing us these rulers of darkness who are behind earthly empires, they usually provide enough information to help one identify the human ruler that a given spiritual ruler worked through. For example consider the “prince to come” in Daniel 9:26. While I believe this prince was ultimately a spiritual prince of the Romans (“the people of the prince to come” cf. Dan. 12:1), it is pretty easy to figure what human ruler this prince worked through in his destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Again, the understanding that we are ultimately being shown spiritual rulers is crucial for understanding the kings and princes that are spoken of in Daniel and Revelation. In 1 John we are told that the Antichrist is a spirit (1 John 4:1-3). The book of Revelation supports this as it shows the Antichrist (the beast) ascending out of the bottomless pit (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). Ladd had the following comments of this, “The abyss or ‘bottomless pit’ from which the beast ascends was the source of the demonic plagues of the fifth and sixth trumpets [of Revelation 9]. The beast too is of satanic origin and power, and derives his authority from the demonic realm.” [George Eldon Ladd, A Commentary on the Revelation of John, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), 156-157]. The abyss is the abode of demons. It is where Satan is cast at the beginning of the millennium (Rev. 20:1-3). Similarly, the legion of demons that Jesus cast out of the Gadarene demoniac begged Him not to send them “into the abyss” (Luke 8:31). It is not a human ruler that Revelation shows coming out of the abyss; it is a demonic ruler.

The kings of Revelation 17:9-11 are not simply referring to Roman emperors (who were not properly referred to as kings) but to demonic kings that were behind the emperors. If the eighth of these kings was demonic, coming out of the abyss, it makes sense that the other seven were also (cf. Dan. 10:13). This is one of the reasons why the understanding of the rulers of Revelation 17 calls for a “mind which has wisdom” (Rev. 17:9). It was ultimately a demonic ruler, not a human ruler, which came out of the abyss to oppose Jesus at the His Parousia in AD 70 (Rev. 19:11-21).

In Daniel 10:13, the heavenly messenger sent to Daniel speaks of fighting “with the kings of Persia” (Daniel 10:13) and of how one of the chief princes, Michael, helped out in this struggle.

Then he [the glorious Man of Daniel 10:5-6] said to me, “do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty- one days and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been alone there with the kings of Persia. Daniel 10:12-13 emphasis added

The glorious Man of Daniel 10:12-13 was either an angel, or more likely, a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus (compare Dan. 10:5-12 with Rev. 1:12-18). The kings and princes He was fighting against were not the physical rulers of Persia but the spiritual rulers. The same is true of the prince that helped him (Michael, the angelic prince of the Jews; Dan. 12:1; cf. Rev. 12:7). The glorious Man goes on to say how after He was finished talking with Daniel He would again fight with the prince of Persia and then the prince of Greece would come.

Then he said, “do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.” Daniel 10:20-21

Again, the princes referred to here are spiritual rulers. Michael is the angelic prince of the Jews (Daniel 12:1), the princes of Persia and Greece were the demonic rulers over those empires. That we are being shown spiritual rulers in Daniel helps to explain the somewhat strange statement of Daniel 9:26, “and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Why doesn’t the text just say, the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary? Futurists have used this somewhat strange wording of Daniel 9:26 to separate the prince to come from the people who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. They say it was not the prince to come (whom they see as a future Antichrist) who destroyed the Temple in AD 70, but his people, the Romans. In doing this they attempt to avoid having to admit that the prince to come was the one who destroyed Jerusalem in AD 70 (i.e. Titus). Thomas Ice wrote the following on this.

The subject of this sentence is “the people,” not “the prince who is to come.” Thus, it is the people of the prince who is to come that destroy the city and the sanctuary. We have already identified the people as the Romans, who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in A.D. 70 under the leadership of Titus. Yet I believe that “the prince who is to come” is a reference to the yet-to-come Antichrist. Dr. Dwight Pentecost explains, ‘The ruler who will come is that final head of the Roman Empire, the little horn of 7:8. It is significant that the people of the ruler, not the ruler himself, will destroy Jerusalem. Since he will be the final Roman ruler, the people of that ruler must be the Romans themselves’ [J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, the Bible Knowledge Commentary: Old Testament (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985, p. 1364]…Why should we not see ‘the prince who is to come’ as a reference to Titus, who led the Roman conquest in A.D. 70? Because the emphasis of this verse is upon “the people,” not the subordinated clause, “the prince who is to come.” Apparently this passage is stated this way so that this prophecy would link the Roman destruction with the AD 70 event, but at the same time, set up the Antichrist to be linked to the final week of years to the first ‘he’ in verse 27. He is not described as the prince coming with the people, but instead, as one who is coming. This suggests that the people and the prince will not arrive together in history [Thomas Ice, The Seventy Weeks of Daniel in The End Times Controversy, Tim Lahay and Thomas Ice eds, (Oregon, Harvest House, 2003), 335-336].

This severely strained dispensationalist attempt to separate the prince to come from his people is not very convincing. Ultimately Ice is partially right, however; the prince here is not simply Titus but the demonic prince of the Romans that worked through Titus. It was the people of this demonic prince (i.e. the Romans) that would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. Daniel 12:1 supports this interpretation. In Daniel 12:1 there is a similar verse of a ruler and his people (“At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;…”). The prince in Daniel 12:1 is clearly a spiritual ruler (the angel Michael); his people are the people of Israel. It is the same with the prince to come and his people in Daniel 9:26 (...And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary…). The prince who was to come was a spiritual ruler; this prince’s people were the Romans. This demonic prince didn’t destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, his people did.

Daniel is unveiling the spiritual realm and the spiritual kings and princes that were the true power behind the Babylonian, Medo Persian, Greek and pre-AD 70 Roman Empire. Because this is addressed so fleetingly, it is easy to miss this point. In the space of just three verses, Daniel 9:26; 10:20-21, we are told of four spiritual rulers of four different peoples. These were the spiritual rulers of the Persians, the Greeks, the Jews and the Romans. In addition to this, Daniel 10:13 shows that a given spiritual ruler can be part of a confederation of such rulers. At the beginning of Daniel 10:13 the glorious Man said that “the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me.” At the end of verse 13 He indicates that actually more than one spiritual ruler of Persia was involved; He said He was “left alone there with the kings of Persia.” Compare this with the kings of Revelation 17:7-11 and the fact that at least one of these kings (of Revelation) is said to come from the abyss (v. 8).

In Daniel 8:10-11 the little horn of that chapter (who most commentators agree, myself included, is Antiochus IV) is shown going against the host of heaven and casting some of the stars to the ground; he even rises against God, “the Prince of Princes” (Dan. 8:25). Goldingay noted that this has spiritual connotations that go beyond Antiochus’s physical attack on the Jewish people.

In the interpretation of the small horn’s attack on the heavenly army [in Dan. 8] similar issues arise to those raised by chap. 7. References to the earthly sanctuary in vv 11-12 could suggest that the heavenly army is the Jewish people, or the priesthood in particular, viewed as of heavenly significance because of their relationship with the God of Heaven. They are the Lord’s armies (Exod 7:4; cf. 6:26; 12:17,51; Num 33:1; they are his heavenly children (2 Macc 7:34). It is they who are attacked by Antiochus (1 Macc 1:29-38). Yet the people attacked include “some of the stars,” which rather points to the heavenly army being a supernatural body. Elsewhere “the heavenly army” denotes the actual stars in the heaven (Isa 34:4; cf. Gen 2:1; Ps 33:6), and more commonly the stars as personalized objects of worship (Deut 4:19; Jer 8:2; Zeph 1:5). [John Goldingay, Daniel, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 30, eds., David A. Hubbard, Glenn W. Barker and John D. Watts (Dallas: Word Books, 1989), 209-210.]

Collins makes a similar observation about the reference to the host of heaven in Daniel 8:10.

Many commentators have assumed that the stars are an allegorical representation of the persecuted Jews, but the use of this language to refer to human beings would be highly exceptional…The host of heaven connotes both the stars and heavenly beings, either gods or angels. The stars were the visible manifestation of the heavenly beings…[thus] the host must be identified with the “good angels,” and the “prince of the host (8:11a, if indeed the reading is not corrupt) is the God of the traditional Jerusalem cult. brackets mine [John J. Collins, A Commentary on the Book of Daniel, Hermeneia- A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Augsburg Press, 1993), 331-333.]

Collins talks about a “synergism between the heavenly and earthly world” that is often found in the references to rulers in Daniel. [Ibid 333. He cites Andre Lacocque on this; The Book of Daniel (trans. David Pellauer; Atlanta: John Know, 1979), 162] Goldingay similarly notes that in Daniel there is fluidity in the references to spiritual and physical rulers. In the following quote Goldingay is using a literary device in which he imagines what Daniel might say if he were commenting on his own writing: “I [Daniel] used the ordinary word leader too, without qualification, both for celestial beings and for earthly ones (10:13, 20, 21; 11:15; 12:1; cf 1:7-11, 18; 8:11, 25; 9: 6, 8), and the ordinary word for “king” in 10:13 in a context where I was talking about supernatural figures.” [John Goldingay, Daniel, Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 30, eds., David A. Hubbard, Glenn W. Barker and John D. Watts (Dallas: Word Books, 1989), 313-314] Goldingay (speaking for himself here) goes on to say,

Perhaps the fluidity and the ambiguity in such usage reflects a duality about all entities that embody power (Wink, W. Naming the Powers, [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1984]; Unmasking the Powers, [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986]). There is something human, earthly, structural, political and visible about them. There is also something heavenly, invisible, suprahuman, immaterial, and spiritual. The powers have an inner and an outer aspect, an outer form and an inner driving spirit. They are not merely metaphors for structures of power within the nation itself, but neither do they exist in themselves, as independent persons or disembodied sprits. They have no profile of their own; their significance is only as agents of God and/or foci of human societies. [Goldingay, Daniel 314]

While Goldingay would apparently not go as far as I do (in saying that many of the rulers that we are shown in Daniel are either supernatural or include aspects of the supernatural), he does at least acknowledge that some of the rulers are supernatural. Of course given Daniel 10:13 (“I had been left alone with the kings of Persia”) it is next to impossible to deny this point. Goldingay also correctly acknowledges a certain fluidity in Daniel’s references to rulers, that there are both spiritual and physical aspects in the rulers that are portrayed in the book. The little horn of Daniel 7 has “eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words” (Dan. 7:8). If this is just a reference to a man then the information about him having eyes and a mouth (even if it is a big one) hardly needs to be stated. If this is a reference to a spirit that works through a man, however, then the information is more pertinent.

This combining of the spiritual and physical aspects of rulers is also be found in Revelation. The beast is ultimately shown to be a spirit (he comes out of the abyss, Rev. 11:7; 17:8) but is also said to work through a certain man. Thus the mark of the beast “is the number of a man” (Rev. 13:18). Johnson wrote the following on this.

The statement “it is a man’s number” [in Rev. 13:18] alerts the reader to some hidden meaning in 666. From this we may conclude that the number of the beast is linked to humanity. Why would it be necessary for John to emphasize this relationship unless he assumed his reader might have understood the beast to be otherworldly without any connection to humanity. Might it be, then, that the statement signifies that the satanic beast, which is the great enemy of the church, manifests itself in human form?” [Alan F. Johnson, Revelation in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Revised Edition: vol. 13 Hebrews-Revelation, Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland gen. eds. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006), 716.].

In Daniel 7 the four empires shown in chapter 2 are shown again in the form of four beasts: Babylon, as a lion; Medo-Persia as a bear; Greece as a leopard; and (pre-AD 70) Rome as a dreadful non-descript beast (Daniel 7:4-8). Each of these beasts represents a confederation of demonic rulers behind each of the four respective empires. In terms of the fourth beast representing pre-AD 70 Rome, consider the fact that the Roman Empire had many more emperors than just the eleven that are shown in Daniel 7:8 (or the eight shown in Revelation 17:8-11). It is the spiritual rulers behind the pre AD 70 Roman Empire that we are being shown here. It should be noted that Daniel 7’s fourth beast with eleven horns (rulers) loses three of them (Dan. 7:7-8); this left it with eight rulers (11-3=8). These rulers correspond to the eight kings of Revelation 17:8-11. This confederation of spiritual rulers shown in Daniel and Revelation ends up in the lake of fire (Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:19-20). For more on the connections between the beast of Revelation and the fourth beast of Daniel see my article, “The Connections Between the Little Horn of Daniel 7 and the Individual Beast of Revelation”

After AD 70 the only kingdom shown is the kingdom of God. This establishment of God’s kingdom on earth is shown in Revelation 11 where kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of God (Rev. 11:15 NASB) at the time God destroys those who were destroying the Land (of Israel), Rev. 11:8, cf. Dan. 12:7; Matt. 21:33-44. That the beasts of Daniel 7 are ultimately confederations of spiritual rulers can be seen by the fact that when the kingdom of God intervenes in history (Dan. 7:7-12), the fourth beast is destroyed in fire (cf. Rev. 19:19-20:4) but the first three beasts are allowed to exist past that time, into the time of the kingdom of God.

Dan. 7:11-12

I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the [little] horn was speaking: I watched till the [fourth] beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame. As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion take away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. brackets mine

Daniel 7:11-12 shows the lives of the first three beasts being extended past the AD 70 destruction of the fourth beast. It is impossible to adequately explain this if we are only being shown physical empires and rulers. It wasn’t Cyrus of Persia or Alexander the Great of Greece that had their lives prolonged into the time of the kingdom of God at the AD 70 destruction of the fourth beast. Rather, it was the demonic confederations of rulers behind these earthly rulers and empires (Dan. 10:13, 20-21) that were allowed into the kingdom at that time (minus their authority, Dan. 7:12). This counters the usual full preterist teaching that all satanic evil was destroyed in the lake of fire at AD 70. The authority striped from these spiritual rulers at AD 70 was given to God’s people at this time of the coming of God (Dan. 7:21-22, 27). Revelation will show this as the Second Coming, the coming of the Word of God to defeat the beast and establish the millennial reign of the saints (Rev. 19:11-20:4).

It should be noted that the seeming contradiction between Daniel 2 and 7 disappears when one realizes that it is spiritual rulers that are ultimately being shown in these chapters. In Daniel 2:34-35 and 44-45, the human image that Nebuchadnezzar’s saw (which represents the same four empires as the four beasts in Dan. 7) is destroyed all at once. In Daniel 7:12, however, we are told that the first three empires continue to exist after the destruction of the fourth empire. How can these differences be reconciled?

The destruction of Nebuchadnezzar’s image all at once in Daniel 2 is symbolic of the destruction of Satan’s rule in the kingdoms of man. Satan was the god of the pre-AD 70 age (2 Cor. 4:4), the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). He was the ruler of this world John 14:30. This can be seen in the fact that when Satan offered the authority of the kingdoms of the world to Jesus, Jesus did not question his right to do so (Luke 4:5-6; cf. Rev. 13:2). At AD 70, Satan’s rule in this world (which was lost at the cross, John 12:31-32; cf. Matt. 28:18) was taken from him as God fully exercised His great authority. Thus although Satan lost his authority at the cross, God did not fully exercise His authority until AD 70 (this was the AD 30-AD 70 already/not yet of the kingdom).

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’ And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was and who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and destroy those who destroy the earth’[Land]. Rev. 11:15-18

It was at AD 70 that the kingdom of this world became the kingdom of God (Rev. 11:15 NASB); this was at the AD 70 destruction of those who were destroying the Land of Isreal, cf. Matt 21:33-43.

Like Daniel 2, Daniel 7:11-12 also shows the sudden destruction of Satan’s rule in the kingdoms of man when it says that the authority of all four beasts was taken away at once. The first three beasts, although overthrown from the premier place of rulership at the fall of their respective empires, still had retained a degree of authority after their downfalls. This is similar to Revelation 17:10 where we are told that five (demonic) kings (cf. Dan. 10:13) had fallen from their place of authority when John was writing. Being spiritual rulers, these kings were not dead; they had merely lost their place as the current head ruler of the beast. It is the same with the first three beasts of Daniel 7; they were still in existence after their fall and still retained a degree of authority. The spiritual dominion taken from all four beasts at AD 70 is given to God’s people at that time (Dan. 7:11-12, 21-27).

Even though all four beasts in Daniel 7 lose their authority at the same time (which again, parallels the image in ch. 2 being broken all at once), it is only the fourth beast that is thrown into the fire at that time, at AD 70 (Dan. 7:11-12; cf. Rev. 19:20). Daniel 7 is thus adding to the information given in Daniel 2. While the first three beasts lose what authority they still possessed after their successive falls, they are not destroyed at the time of the coming of God. Instead “they had their dominion taken away [at the AD 70 defeat of the little horn, Dan. 7:21-22], yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.” Dan. 7:12, brackets mine. Again, this confirms the fact that we are not just being shown physical rulers or empires here. No matter what four collections of rulers one says that chapters 2 and 7 are representing, it is impossible for four successive earthly empires to all fall at once (as happens in Dan. 2:44-45). Similarly, the continuation of the first three empires after the destruction of the fourth (as Dan. 7:11-12 shows) doesn’t make sense if it is just physical empires that are being shown. How could three physical empires who had been destroyed earlier than the fourth then survive past the destruction of the fourth? The answer is, we are not being shown physical empires; we are being shown confederations of spiritual rulers behind physical empires.

Consistent with what I am saying here is the authority that is taken from the four beasts and given to the saints (Dan. 7:22, 27); it is a spiritual authority. The dominion given to the people of God is a spiritual dominion; the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom not a physical kingdom (John 18:36; Rom 14:17; cf. Mark 8:38-9:1). In Daniel 7 the authority of this world is taken is taken from nonhuman (demonic) beasts and given to humans, the saints of the Most High (Dan. 7:21-22). The dominion of this world that Adam lost to Satan was taken back by Jesus (the second Adam) at the cross (John 12:31-32) and then given to God’s people at the Second Coming. The rule of this world is given to the Son of Man at the AD 30 resurrection and enthronement of the Messiah (Dan. 7:13-14; cf. Matt 28:18) and then ultimately to the people of God at the AD 70 coming of God (Dan. 7:21-27; cf. Matt. 21:33-44 Rev. 2:26-27; 3:21).

That we are being shown spiritual rulers in Daniel and Revelation helps to clarify that the AD 70 destruction of Daniel’s fourth beast was not the destruction of the Roman Empire, but the destruction of the confederation of demonic rulers that was behind pre AD 70 Rome. No doubt this is why many of the pre AD 70 Roman Emperors were so depraved, they were demon possessed. Rome was obviously not thrown into the fire at AD 70. Revelation will reveal that the fire that the fourth beast of Daniel is thrown into (Dan. 7:11) is the lake of fire (cf. Rev. 19:20). No physical empire has, or ever will be, thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the destination of individuals, both natural and supernatural (Rev. 20:10, 15; cf. Rev. 14:9-10). The lake of fire is the second death (Rev. 21:8); it is not the destination of physical empires.

As to who the demonic spirit of Antichrist (the opponent of God/Christ that is defeated by the Second Coming, Dan. 7:21-22; 2; Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21) worked through, I go into detail on that in my book. The book is done (910 pages double spaced) but I am still revising it and still need to get it edited (let me know if you know of a good book editor). The book unifies the passages dealing with the Antichrist in one historical figure.

The Antichrist and the Second Coming

A Preterist Examination

Duncan McKenzie, Ph. D.


I.                    Introduction

II.                 The Coming of the Kingdom of God (Daniel 2)

III.               The Little Horn of the Daniel’s Fourth Beast (Daniel 7)

IV.              The King of the North and the Time of the End (Daniel 11:36-12:13)

V.                 The Day of the Lord

VI.              The Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2)

VII.            Introduction to the Book of Revelation

VIII.         The Beast and the False Prophet (Revelation 13)

IX.              The Beast and the Harlot (Revelation 17)

X.                 The Beast and the Fall of Babylon (Revelation 18)

XI.              The Second Coming (Revelation 19)

XII.            The Millennium and New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 20-22)

XIII.         Where Are We Now?

davo's picture

In Ephesians, Paul emphasized the reality of the spiritual rulers that make up the true power behind earthly rulers: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

Again, the understanding that we are ultimately being shown spiritual rulers is crucial for understanding the kings and princes…I'm not convinced that Paul's non "flesh and blood" foes necessitates them being apocalyptic type "supernatural beings". Paul could just as easily be using "metaphoric language" to describe those old covenant hacks who were in that dark age [1Cor 2:6, 8] persecuting the Church – for example: the "spiritual wickedness" evidenced by those potentates, i.e., the Jewish hierarchy, was very real and down to earth, nothing ethereal about it at all – particularly so as Paul names those against which he contended as the "BEASTS at Ephesus" 1Cor 15:32. It should be noted also that it is pure unadulterated translational bias to insert "hosts" [personages] into the text here, as opposed to identifying the "wicked nature" of the afore mentioned Judaist rulers.

And IF there be any doubt on this, check Paul's words here and see IF it still makes sense to claim "supernatural" status to those so identified:

Tit 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.


DougShuffield's picture

Ephesians 3 also references the principalities and powers, specifically the ones in the heavenly places:8 To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
Was the church "making known" the manifold wisdom of God to supernatual beings, or "those old covenant hacks" that davo mentions?

- Doug

Duncan's picture

Good scripture Doug. What Davo's comment does bring up is that one has to look at the context to see if the principalities and powers are heavenly or earthly. In the Ephesian passages it is pretty clear that the powers are not flesh and blood (i.e. earthly) but heavenly; they are spiritual powers (spiritual hacks in heavenly places).

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

It is like the word "King;" in most places in the Bible it speaks of earthly kings. In Dan. 10:13 the kings of Persia that the glorious Man and Michael fight against were spiritual kings. I would argue that the 8 kings in Revelation (the last of which comes out of the abyss, Rev. 17:8) are similarly spiritual kings. I just did a quick (very inexact) count of the Roman emperors. It looks like their were at least 75+ before Rome fell

davo's picture

Duncan: In the Ephesian passages it is pretty clear that the powers are not flesh and blood (i.e. earthly) but heavenly; they are spiritual powers (spiritual hacks in heavenly places).

G'day Duncan . My only contention on that score might be that from a consistent prêteristic hermeneutic we tend to speak of the "heavenly/earthly" realm in terms of the "old covenant creation world" of Israel, so why any difference here? Especially considering the greater covenant context of Paul where his use of "principalities and powers" can clearly be seen as pointing to those in these religious positions of power, that is, those spiritually wicked old covenant rulers. "Spiritual wickedness" in Paul's day did not need "supernatural" origins to be real.

Thus Paul's "flesh and blood" reference speaks of "carnality" [2Cor 10:4-5], as opposed to the high-minded [spiritual nature] of those ruling Jewish elite, of whom Paul elsewhere identifies as "enemies of the gospel" – those with whom he contends.

I'm not disputing your proposition re Daniel etc in this regard, I'm just not so convinced you can use 'Paul' to make this same argument, based on what I've pointed out previously etc.

Just a thought.


mazuur's picture


You open up the article by stating, "In Revelation 17-18 the beast throws off the harlot and burns her with fire (Rev. 18:8). After this, the beast is destroyed at the AD 70 Second Coming (Rev. 19:11-21)." [bold mine]

Who says this beast is Rome? Where is the Beast from Rev. 19 equated with the Beast from Rev. 17-18? Could it not be the land beast from Rev. 13:11-18?



Duncan2's picture

No. I don't have my Bible (I am at work) but in Rev. 19:11-21 the beast and false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire. The false prophet is the land beast; the one who makes men take the mark of the sea beast (cf. Rev. 13).

mazuur's picture


I disagree. In verse 19 the beast is associated with the "kings of the earth", then here in verse 20 the beast is associated with the false prophet. I think this clearly shows they are connected.

The "kings of the earth" are identified in Acts 4:26, 27 as Herod, Pontius Pilate, and the other rulers of the Jews, which represent the civil power (which was given to them by Rome). Also, the "earth" from the phrase "kings of the earth" just about always (if not always) refers to physical Israel in Revelation (thus Rev 20 informing us of a new heavens and new earth).

I think the false prophet is the ecclesiastical power of the priesthood, the Sanhedrin (also called the anti-Christs [thus non-believing Jews]) whose objective was to overthrow faith in Christ through their false doctrines (thus false prophets), and were attacking the Church.

Clearly both are Jewish in nature, thus, the beast here is clearly the land Beast not the sea Beast (Rome). It was fleshly Israel that was destroyed, not Rome. The book of Revelation is about the battle between the old and new Israels and their relationship to Christ. Rome was only involved is as much as she relates to the Israels, a tool that God used to judge and destroy the old Israel.

" The false prophet is the land beast"

This can't be because in Rev 19:20 it reads as follows, "And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence". [bold mine]



Ransom's picture

I'm just hoping that some preterists will drop their little, "Dispy's are silly and they believe in an Antichrist : Duncan believes in an Antichrist, so he must be silly" tack. I think Duncan's position deserves full consideration, without interference from blind prejudice.

Duncan2's picture

Hey Stephen,

The book is anything but silly. You have read about half of it, wouldn't you agree?

ThomasS's picture

Dear Duncan McKenzie,

I do hope that you will have your book published soon.

Your observation that according to apocalyptic thinking there are parallels between the spiritual (or supernatural) world and human history is essentially correct. Obviously, one should not look for 1:1 correspondence, but I do find it very problematic that your candidate for "antichrist" grew more powerful AFTER 70 CE, at least if your really suppose that the "antichrist spirit" was killed in 70 CE. The same goes for the Roman Empire -- how can the fourth kingdom in the Book of Daniel be The Roman Empire? The Roman Empire grew more powerful after 70 CE and lastet for more than 300 years after the Jewish War. I do hope that you will address these problems in your book.

Best regards


Duncan2's picture


How is it that the prince of this world lost his place of authority and was cast out at the cross (John 12:31). Judging by all the persecution of the church after AD 30 he only seemed to get stronger. As you said there is not always a 1 to 1 correspondence between what happens in the spiritual realm and the physical realm.

You seem to think harlot Babylon was Rome. I am waiting for you to give your explanation of the beast (and its 8 rulers) and the fall of the harlot.

ThomasS's picture

Dear Duncan McKenzie,

It still is a problem for your interpretation that the Roman Empire and your candidate for "antichrist" both got more powerful after 70 CE than before.

"Babylon the great" = the City of Rome. In the first century (B)CE, only Rome was called "Babylon" and famous for its location (viz. on seven hills).

The 7/8 kings are probably emperors, possibly starting with Augustus. As you know, Domitian was called a "second Nero" and he may be identified with emperor no. 8 (who we are told is also one of the seven emperors).

As you probably know, the city of Rome fell because the imperial force left for Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire. If you are interested in how Rev 17 may be seen as historically fulfilled, you may want to consult H.B. Swete's classic commentary (1907).



chrisliv's picture


Revelation certainly demands a 1st-Century AD destruction of The Whore who rides a Beast, which ultimately turns on Her.

Of course, we Preterists easily identify Jerusalem as the Whore, and the Roman Empire certainly did level Jerusalem in 70 AD, fulfilling many prophecies by Christ, the Prophets of old, and various statements of certain Apostles.

But, you're right about Rome not perishing with Jerusalem. That is a diffucult detail for a Preterist. And I've always tended to reconcile it with the fact mentioned by Russell, in The Parousia, that it was Nero "The Man of Sin" Caesar who was the Caesar who gave the order to destroy the Temple and level Jerusalem, was the very last Caesar of the Julio-Claudian bloodline or dynasty to be the Roman Emperor, i.e., they were cut off as Nero was assassinated with his own sword or he committed suicide (an arguable historical point).

After Nero, the political power-vacuum was filled by a few Roman generals who slaughtered each other until Vespasian landed in the slot as the so-called Emperor of the World.

The point about the Roman State suddenly and literally becoming the Kingdom of God in 70 AD is unsupportable in theory or in History.

The character of the Roman State remained unchanged post-70 AD. In fact, the Roman State went on to slaughter Christians in the Roman arenas periodically for about 250 years, until Caesar Constantine enticed the Church to become a State Corporation under the Edict of Milan in 313 AD. Of course the Church was immediately corrupted, as the advent of the Roman Catholic Church began, by accepting a position of Power alongside Caesar. Sadly, the Clergy Elite then directed "Christians" to begin to murder and fight on Roman battlefields for the State, which they had never done before that time, since they had previously remained politically Separate from the hostile Roman State.

The character of the State today, nearly 2000 years later, is no different, either. Nor is the State-incorporated "Church".

So, I think you may be moving in the right direction when mentioning a supernatural dimension or shift occuring around 70 AD. But, nothing about the State has changed. God never ordained the State. Cain ordained the first City-State. And God soon destroyed every City-State with the Flood. Then Nimrod was the first Empire Builder at Shinar, and God confounded human language.

By the time of Christ, it was no real revelation, when He said:

"And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But it shall not be so among you... "Luke 22:25 & 26

You see, hostile rulers "exercised" lordship and were "called" benefactors. The State was a shake-down and a scam, and still is.

It was a no-brainer. But the Disciples needed to hear those words from the Master, lest they try to employ hostile, worldly methods at the outset of His Kingdom which He was entrusting them with.

The State cannot literally be transformed into the Kingdom of God because the State is a fiction. It's just an idea, based on force, violence, and threats of violence.

The only way the Kingdom of God comes is through its subjects, i.e, People. People who reject force, violence, and coercion to get things done.

So, it does present a problem, for we who are Preterists and hold that all is fulfilled, where Revelation suggests that the hostile World System is all groovy now, when we know it's not. And I must concur with the late, great, Jewish philosopher of Hebrew University, Martin Buber, "We know more deeply, more truly, that world history has not been turned upside down to its very foundations; that the world has not yet been redeemed. We sense its unredeemedness."

To just say, "Viola, the State has been The Kingdom of God ever since 70 AD" is very reckless, in my opinion, and could easily lead to more atrocities at the hands of churchgoers by promoting blind obedience to every hostile, so-called "authority".

The character of the State, its mindless Enforcers, its State-incorporated "churches", and most of its subjects have nothing at all to do with the Kingdom of God.

The Rule of Satan is alive and well, and its long-established pattern is being carried on by mindless drones, spiritually speaking, even if Satan himself (whatever he is) was annihilated around 70 AD.

That much is more than obvious for anyone who has lived in, by far, the bloodiest century in human history: the 20th Century. The 21st Century could exceed it, though. And I hope most here will not contribute to any bloodshed or violence on behalf of a handful of men and women who hold fictional State "offices" while thinking it has something to do with the Kingdom of God.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Duncan2's picture


I agree that one has to be careful not to confuse their country with the kingdom of God.

chrisliv's picture


Hopefully more people will consider making the Kingdom of God their only country on Earth, while renouncing every hostile, worldly, so-called jurisdiction. Wouldn't that be nice?

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Starlight's picture


I agree that the Roman state did not quit persecuting Christians after AD70 and that is one point that Duncan needs to clarify in my mind.
You make an interesting observation with this statement though.

“The character of the State today, nearly 2000 years later, is no different, either. Nor is the State-incorporated "Church".

I don’t believe we can categorically classify states as evil in comparison with the Rome of post AD70. Many are similar and they would have a higher preponderance for unjust rule just as those nations before AD70. Your statement then “The State was a shake-down and a scam, and still is” is probably over stated and does not correspond entirely with NT scripture. As we look at selected scripture we see that in fact we are not to consider them as “shake down” artist but to consider them a functional necessity.

Rom 13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.

2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.

7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Titus 3: 1 Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men.

1 Pet 2:13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

Col 1: 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.

Matt 22: 15Then the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words. ……17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" 18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax." They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, "Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?"
21"Caesar's," they replied.
Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

In summing up it appears obvious that Christ and the apostles do not cite rebellion or disrespect to governing authorities. Just the converse appears true and an attitude of respect is called for and even honor where honor is due. Moving to extremities of non governmental involvement is indeed a personal position that many may chose out of conscious sake but by no means is a Christian mandate. How else do you rectify the position of those before AD70 such as Cornelius who was a Roman Centurion and was in effect the police/army of that day and he and his subordinates would have been used for those purposes by Rome. This is a strong example that Christians can live under notorious government rulers.

Your final comment “I hope most here will not contribute to any bloodshed or violence on behalf of a handful of men and women who hold fictional State "offices" while thinking it has something to do with the Kingdom of God.” Would be true if one thought they were participants in a religious inquisition and that was their motivation. But I propose that one can serve honorably as Cornelius did and bring respect to God through their Godly lived life. It would be naïve to categorically state that all American soldiers were doing so out of a misguided concept of religious fervor wrapped up in the state. And it would also be naïve to think all Governmental leaders were corrupted and not concerned honorably with providing their number one priority of protecting the health and welfare of those that they govern.



chrisliv's picture

Yeah, Norm,

You argue pretty well for the full-Lordship of Caesar on Earth, while even making it seem biblical. You are a good advocate for obedient worldly citizenship, and will probably never be accused of participating in "turning the world upside down," or "acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar," or "troubling the people and the rulers of the city" as the early Christians were at the Acts 17:6-8.

You have undoubtedly seen my refutations of the statist interpretation of Romans 13 at this website before, so I won't cover old ground, except to say that you position forces Apostle Paul into the position of an evildoer that deserved to have his head chopped-off per the order of Nero Caesar in 67 AD.

You see, it's ridiculous to think that Caesar and State is "The minister of God... to thee for God."

If the crucifixion of Christ didn't make that clear, 250 years of Christian martyrs should have. Re-read Romans 12, and see that the rulers and offices being articulated there are not State offices, and know that Paul's Epistle to the Romans, which had had never visited yet, didn't have any chapter divisions. The added chapter division creates a false new context.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

You see, it's ridiculous to think that Caesar and State is "The minister of God... to thee for God."

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right...honor the king." (1 Peter 2:13-14)

Sts. Peter and Paul are in perfect agreement. You, CLIV, need to agree with them. Your Anabaptist traditions have blinded you from seeing the distinction between divinely instituted government offices and the personal behaviors of individuals in the offices. The offices of king, governor, mayor, etc. are good. However, the individuals in those offices may or may not carry out their duties consistent with God's commands of justice and equity. They will be judged harshly for such lapses. Nevertheless, those who use their position of authority to reinforce the commandments of God will be greatly rewarded.

chrisliv's picture

No, Parker,

If you're right, you will be judged harshly, since as a US Citizen you are a Rebel, along with the Founders of the United State, against you King, George III.

Repent, Parker. Renounce US Citizenship!

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture

CLIV, when are you going to start accepting the views of the prophets? Read them closely:

"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right...honor the king." (1 Peter 2:13-14)

Daniel said, "Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him. "It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings (Daniel 2:20-21)

"You, O king [Nebuchadnezzar], are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. (Daniel 2:37-38)

"O king, the Most High God granted sovereignty, grandeur, glory and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your father. "Because of the grandeur which He bestowed on him, all the peoples, nations and men of every language feared and trembled before him (Daniel 5:18-19)

"in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah--the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, 'Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, `The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah." (2 Chron 36:22-23)

[note: Daniel very clearly makes the distinction between the divine office and the individual actions of a ruler. The office is God-ordained; however, when a ruler governs in a way that is evil, the faithful must resist unto martyrdom, as Daniel shows at 3:17-18 and as the apostles also demonstrated. That is the Bible's teaching on the subject.]

chrisliv's picture


You use the Bible to demand blind obedience to so-called authority just like the Protestant Clergy did in Weimar Germany, the Roman Church did during the Spanish Inquisitions, and a wide variety of preachers did to make it easier to conscript mindless churchgoers to mass murder poor, defenseless men, women, and children in Southeast Asia during the 1960s & 70s.

Those atrocities as well known.

As I've told you before, the US military has lowered its standard for entrance. If you hurry you can get over to Iraq and serve your Imperial Lord seated in the District of Columbia.

May His Peace find you,
C. Livingstone

chrisliv's picture


Here's a recent article by a priest who repented of his mindless service to an anti-Christian Beast:

"...Q: You said the atomic bombing of Nagasaki happened to a Church that "had asked for it." What do you mean by that?

"Zabelka: For the first three centuries, the three centuries closest to Christ, the Church was a pacifist Church. With Constantine the church accepted the pagan Roman ethic of a just war and slowly began to involve its membership in mass slaughter, first for the state and later for the faith.

"Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants, whatever other differences they may have had on theological esoterica, all agreed that Jesus’ clear and unambiguous teaching on the rejection of violence and on love of enemies was not to be taken seriously. And so each of the major branches of Christianity by different theological methods modified our Lord’s teaching in these matters until all three were able to do what Jesus rejected, that is, take an eye for an eye, slaughter, maim, torture.

"It seems a "sign" to me that seventeen hundred years of Christian terror and slaughter should arrive at August 9, 1945 when Catholics dropped the A-Bomb on top of the largest and first Catholic city in Japan. One would have thought that I, as a Catholic priest, would have spoken out against the atomic bombing of nuns. (Three orders of Catholic sisters were destroyed in Nagasaki that day.) One would have thought that I would have suggested that as a minimal standard of Catholic morality, Catholics shouldn’t bomb Catholic children. I didn’t.

"I, like that Catholic pilot of the Nagasaki plane, was heir to a Christianity that had for seventeen hundred years engaged in revenge, murder, torture, the pursuit of power and prerogative and violence, all in the name of our Lord.

"I walked through the ruins of Nagasaki right after the war and visited the place where once stood the Urakami Cathedral. I picked up a piece of a censer from the rubble. When I look at it today I pray God forgives us for how we have distorted Christ’s teaching and destroyed His world by the distortion of that teaching. I was the Catholic chaplain who was there when this grotesque process, which began with Constantine, reached its lowest point – so far.

Q: What do you mean by "so far"?

C. Livingstone

Starlight's picture


"It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings (Daniel 2:20-21)

Does this mean that “1776” was one of the many “comings” that John Noe speaks of after AD70? If so I guess we could say that God came on “clouds” again this time against the British Redcoats ;-)


Parker's picture

Hi Norm.

I believe God's governance of the world falls under the apocalyptic genre. That is, the Hebrews understood the rise and fall of empires and civilizations as comings of God in history, as God's rulership, as God's judgments.

We, too, should have such as our model for understanding the ebb and flow of history. God is the governor over history. As we understand from the prophets, God has been known to appoint even pagans to have authority -- though He will judge them as well if they rule according to evil ways. The book of Daniel is an excellent overview of this understanding of government and the role of the faithful when evil rulers have power.

Starlight's picture


“Pope John crowns Otto "emperor of the Holy Roman Empire" in 962 A.D. Central Europe comes under German control.”

Could we then also say that there have been comings on “Clouds” within the past historic union between European Rulers and the “Catholic Church”? Especially since Otto rescued the Pope and then was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, which eventually was torn away by other “comings.”

We also have the fall of Constantinople which some may declare as another “coming.” Then we have the Protestant rebellion which could be classified as another “coming.”

Just some things to muse about; and I’m in no way supporting Chris’s exclusionary position for Christians regarding state involvement so do not think I’m asking these questions from that standpoint.



JL's picture


Historically, Christians have understood it that way.

But where do you find Scriptural support?

In 1863, both sides of the Civil War sung that song. In 1865, only the winners did. It was justification for their actions.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Starlight's picture


Of course the victors get to write the declaration of prophetic history justifying their actions that they may then claim ;-)

Johnny rebs which happen to have been several of my family including my GGG Grandfather could only sing "when Johnny comes marching home again" to a melancholy tune. Especially since they lost 1 out of 6 in casualties. Completely destroying their way of life. They had to pack up their bags and continue the westward march. My family settled in Texas, then Oklahoma and finally California in the 1930's dust bowl. There was only a "remnant" left ;-)
But as Scarlet O'Hara says "there is a new day tomorrow".
But only for those who survive. Yes the South will rise again. But not like in Daniel 12:1 especially if they don't weed out the Dispensationalist in our churches ;-)


JL's picture


Interesting how the Irish sang "Johnny, I hardly knew ye" and the Scots-Irish sang "When Johnny comes marching home" to the same tune.

My oldest daughter is the Treasurer for her chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. (She adds a bit of color to their meetings.) Orange County was settled by successionists who succeeded in separating from Los Angeles County.

Zorro was a big hit back then. The chivalrous masked man, rescued the Capistranos from the over-taxing and over-bearing Angelenos. Great political theater.

I've been told that in the '50's and 60's, it was standing room only in the CoCs in Orange County. Now there are half as many churchs and they are half empty or worse.

Almost as dead as the Presbys here.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

MiddleKnowledge's picture


This one really got me: "She adds a bit of color to their meetings."

If only the PP audience knew the amazing truth of what you just said! Somehow, I'm having difficulty visualizing one of those meetings. Totally amazing,

Tim Martin

Starlight's picture


There is an interesting write up about the Rural and Urban CoC in the Christian Chronicle this month. We were predominatly a rural/frontier movement but times have changed. In 1906 when we split over the music issue 97% of Americans were rural. Today it's just the opposite. The CoC to survive will have to adapt to the Urban such as the present church I attend. But as with all traditions they would sometimes rather die than change. Heresy you know;-)especially when it comes to the instrument. I hope they don't discover the book of Enoch with it's vivid description of the evil of music causing Seth's lineage to become corrupted. We may have the new 67th book if they start reading it.


JL's picture


The split was really over wealth and taxes in the 1830's. It really just took that long for the split to become official.



JL Vaughn
Beyond Creation Science

Starlight's picture


Yes the article reflects that by stating that the Christian musical branch were more northern urban while the poor rural south especially after the war grew increasingly polarized from each other. The instrument most likely is an emblem of the haves vs the have nots and the resentment that allowed to fester. Thankfully there is somewhat of a reconciliation going on now of which I have been to two of those forums.


Starlight's picture


It’s interesting how you tie this statement together “You argue pretty well for the full-Lordship of Caesar on Earth, while even making it seem biblical”.

Doesn’t that sound like a contradiction to you? All I was doing was letting several scriptures speak toward an attitude of authority that appears to derive from Christ himself. It would be illogical to frame my concept derived from Christ, Paul and Peter as encouraging one to deify governmental authorities.

Chris I actually agree with some of your ideology but I just do not take it altogether without balancing other scripture together. Your statement that “that Caesar and State is "The minister of God... to thee for God” is completely abhorrent to my views and I’m a little surprised you would draw those conclusions from my posting and scriptures. I didn’t intend to infer that tone and am perplexed that you took it in that manner. I think you may be over simplifying my concepts of what it means to me to walk with God and walk with respect and humility with mankind.

Chris I still would be interested in knowing how you think Cornelius dealt with becoming a Christian. Do you think he had to resign his commission to be in compliance with Christ calling?

Rom 7: 20 Each one should remain in the situation which he was in when God called him. 21 Were you a slave when you were called? Don't let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord's freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ's slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brothers, each man, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation God called him to.



chrisliv's picture


You stated to me:

"Chris I still would be interested in knowing how you think Cornelius dealt with becoming a Christian. Do you think he had to resign his commission to be in compliance with Christ calling?"

Yes, of course, he probably did. But the Bible and the Book of Acts only lead us up to his conversion, nothing more.

You don't really think he would be required by God to slaughter pagans for his Pagan employer, do you?

Or, what happens when he is told to slaughter fellow Christians in the Roman arenas? Would it only then be wrong to you?


But, we do have an example of a Roman centurion who became a Christian and resigned his office, which immediately led to his martyrdom, which he willingly accepted.

His name was name was Saint Marcellus. He was a Roman centurion and convert to Christianity who was martyred in 298 AD, during the reign of Emperor Diocletian, after he threw down his sword and declared it is "not right for a Christian, who serves the Lord Christ, to serve in the armies of the world."

Saint Marcellus' bones lie in the altar at Notre Dame University, I believe.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Starlight's picture


You make some good points but I do not totally buy into your belief that Cornelius had to give up his commission in becoming a Christian. I think we will just have to differ in that regard. By the way I enjoyed following yours and Barry’s discussion. I thought you defended your position well and I do appreciate your scholarship and knowledge. But just because a guy is sharp doesn’t mean he has it all figured out ;-)


chrisliv's picture

Thanks, Norm,

I appreciate your understanding.

Yeah, Barry gives some interesting dialogue, which may take full-Preterism beyond where I think the Bible calls for it to go. Although I agree with what he suggests to the point that it can apply to the Body of Christ, but not the Body of the State at-large.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture


As much as I enjoy seeing protestants venerate Catholic saints, Marcellus resigned his post because he refused to participate in the worship of the emperor, Maximian. Such worship of emperor deities (be they Nero or Maximian) made it prohibitive for a Chrisitan to serve in the military--and such was also Marcellus' objection.

So, keep reading the lives of the saints. But, remember to read the facts of their lives as well.

chrisliv's picture

Well, Parker,

You should follow your own advice. I believe the quote of Marcellus was accurate:

Marcellus was a Roman centurion and a convert
to Christianity who was martyred in 298 during the reign of the
Emperor Diocletian, after he threw down his sword and declared it is "not right for a Christian, who serves the Lord Christ, to serve in the armies of the world."

Do you deny the testimony of martyrs that even your Roman Church holds in high esteem, and which also supports what I'm saying?

Too bad when the Roman Catholic Church formed and incorporated, under Caesar Constantine in 313 AD, that it forsook such conviction as was in evidence by the martyrs previous to the Roman State/Church.

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Parker's picture


All the literature we have on Marcellus says that his objection to Emperor worship was the issue. Soldiers were forced to worship the Emperor as god.

You do not advance your cause by denying this fact. Rather, you discredit it.

chrisliv's picture

Wrong again, Parker,

I've often cited how Emperor worship and the refusal to Pledge Allegiance to Caesar resulted in the martyrdom of the saints before the Roman Church was formed under Caesar Constantine.

You deny the testimony of the saints, suggesting that they were wrong for denouncing their former office of violence for the State.

May His Peace find you,
C. Livingstone

chrisliv's picture


Maybe I have oversimplified your position a little bit.

Although, now you seem to be using the Bible to promote slavery.

Cornelius was not a Christian at Acts 10.

It says, "...Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee." (i.e., Peter was going to preach the Gospel to him). Acts 10:22

Further it says, "And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man." Acts 10:25 & 26

You see, Cornelius was sincere, but very ignorant. But so was Apostle Peter, because Peter was seduced by the Judaizers and would not even consider going into the house of Cornelius, until the Holy Spirit knocked Peter out when he was hungry and gave him a lesson in what the Kingdom was all about. And the Holy Spirit repeated the vision three times to Peter, for emphasis.

Apostle Paul even rebuked Peter for that. I mean, that was almost 10 years beyond the Day of Pentecost, and Peter was still convinced that God's Kingdom was Jewish.

So, the most important point about Cornelius was that he was a lesson for Apostle Peter, as a demonstration how God was intending to miraculously use ignorant Gentiles just as much as ignorant Jewish Christians.

The Old Covenant is over.

Once a person becomes a Christian, they are barred from killing for the State, regardless of the consequences. I would even say that a Public School teacher can not continue their employment as a Christian in good conscience, since they are receiving stolen property, as their wages are derived from property taxes that are extorted from so-called homeowners.

Public School teachers are engaged in a criminal activity, along with other State/County actors. If they really had a skill that was in demand, on a fee-for-service basis, they would work for an institution financed by violence and the thread of violence or private property forfeiture.

Besides, Public Schools are monopolized, communistic, statist, child-indoctrination centers, which are the gateway organization for military conscription.

I'm happy to answer any of your sincere questions. But these views really shouldn't suprise a citizen of Christ's Kingdom.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Starlight's picture

I’m assuming that you were not being serious in your last post but just in case you were I went to the trouble to list a couple of scriptures.

You stated “Cornelius was not a Christian at Acts 10”

(Acts 10:34 NRSV) Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him…..

48 So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.. …..

11:17 If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?"
18 When they heard this, they were silenced. And they praised God, saying, "Then God has given even to the Gentiles the repentance that leads to life."

In regards to Cornelius you stated “The Old Covenant is over”

(Heb 8:8 NRSV…"The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
9 not like the covenant that I made with their ancestors, on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in my covenant, and so I had no concern for them, says the Lord.
10 This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord:
13 In speaking of "a new covenant," he has made the first one obsolete. And what is obsolete and growing old will soon disappear.

It doesn’t sound like the Old Covenant is over in Hebrews.

As far as your declarations concerning School teachers being criminals I just have to guess that you’re just having some fun. Otherwise if you’re serious then who knows where you are coming from?


chrisliv's picture


I'm absolutely serious. And it's obvious that you don't know where I'm coming from, Norm.

Murdering for the State, just because you happen to wear a uniform, is still murder. That should be simple enough.

Are you serious, as you suggest that Christians should continue to commit atrocities for the State at the time of their conversion, just because they happen to be employeed by the State at that time?

What about the prostitute? Should she, or he, continue to turn tricks after a Christian conversion commitment.

Receiving stolen or coerced property (in the form of Public School teacher wages) is criminal activity. Don't you get that?

Holding an election with Secret Ballots does not change that fact, any more than putting on a State uniform absolves anyone for their crimes against those they kill for State "leaders".

Even atheists with a moral compass can and have figured that much out.

Why do you have trouble with such simple concepts, Norm?

Is it possible that you might be steeped in statist idolatry, without realizing it?

The Old Covenant is over.

And the Old Covenant was over for all who believed, beginning around the Day of Pentecost, or maybe even by the giving of the Sermon on the Mount. Read it sometime.

Are you really suggesting that Jewish and Gentile Christians were bound to follow both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant up to 70 AD? If so, re-read the Sermon on the Mount.

The Old Covenant never applied to Cornelius, a Gentile, who previous to his Christian conversion was so sincere about wanting to know God, yet so ignorant, that he actually began worshipping Apostle Peter, until Peter stopped him. (Acts 10:25)

Maybe, you, like Peter, were wrongly thinking that Cornelius had to convert to Old Covenant Judaism before becoming a Christian. Of course, both the Holy Spirit and Apostle Paul rebuked Peter for that.

Norm, are you running for a fictional State office? Are you now a State employee? Are you in the US military? Or, are your family so employed?

The Philippians were told that, for some, God is their own belly.

So, if the rudimentary concepts that I pass along here seem so foreign to you that you want to believe I'm kidding, Norm, you might consider becoming objective enough to ask yourself where you're coming from?

Peace to you all,
C. Livingstone

Starlight's picture


I think I'm begining to understand you now.
Thanks for the conversation.


chrisliv's picture


I hope it's for the right reason, namely, universality.

That is to say, if stealing and murder is wrong by individuals, it is also wrong when done by a collection of individuals acting under the color-of-law or via an immunity for criminal acts provided to State actors.

Peace to you,
C. Livingstone

Starlight's picture


I find your article quite interesting and thought provoking, the idea that you propose concerning spiritual rulers has strong support from the earlier Jewish writings preceding Christ. The book of Enoch is rich in this discussion and I thought it might be interesting for some of the readers to see some of the literature that influenced so many in the early church including Jude, Peter and it appears even Christ referred to it in his discussions. I’ll start with Jude who quotes from Enoch and then I’ll quote extensive sections of Enoch to show what the first century Jews and Christians would have been reading and influenced by. Primarily I’m looking at the discussion of angels and evil spirits. Forgive me for the length of quotes but its most likley needed due to many not having an awarenes of Enoch.

(Jude 1:6 NRSV) And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great Day.
9 But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
14 It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "See, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones,

Enoch 1:9
And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones
To execute judgement upon all,
And to destroy all the ungodly:

(2 Pet 2:4 NRSV) For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment;

Enoch 108:7… For some of them are written and inscribed above in the heaven, in order that the angels may read them and know that which shall befall the sinners,
(1 Pet 1:12 NRSV…. --things into which angels long to look!
(Eph 3:10 NRSV) ….might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

I now quote the reference in Genesis that triggers so much of the discussion in Enoch and that is the controversial section concerning “sons of God” marrying daughters of men and producing Giants or as Enoch later says “evil spirits”. This is also a possible confirmation of the apocalyptic nature of Genesis 1 – 11 along with chapters 2 and 3 most definitely helping confirm its nature.

(Gen 6:2 KJV) That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. 5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the
thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Now look at how Enoch takes off with this subject.

Enoch 15:1
And He answered and said to me, and I heard His voice: 'Fear not, Enoch, thou righteous man and scribe of righteousness: approach hither and hear my voice. And go, say to the Watchers of heaven, who have sent thee to intercede for them: "You should intercede" for men, and not men for you: Wherefore have ye left the high, holy, and eternal heaven, and lain with women, and DEFILED YOURSELVES WITH THE DAUGHTERS OF MEN and taken to yourselves wives, and done like the children of earth, AND BEGOTTEN GIANTS (as your) sons? And though ye were holy, spiritual, living the eternal life, you have defiled yourselves with the blood of women, and have begotten (children) with the blood of flesh, and, as the children of men, have lusted after flesh and blood as those also do who die 5 and perish. Therefore have I given them wives also that they might impregnate them, and beget children by them, that thus nothing might be wanting to them on earth. But you were formerly spiritual, living the eternal life, and immortal for all generations of the world. And therefore I have not appointed wives for you;
for as for the spiritual ones of the heaven, in heaven is their dwelling. And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, SHALL BE CALLED EVIL SPIRITS UPON the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because THEY ARE BORN FROM MEN AND FROM THE HOLY WATCHERS IS THEIR BEINNING AND PRIMAL ORIGIN; they shall be evil spirits on earth,
AND EVIL SPIRITS SHALL THEY BE CALLED. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.] And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them.

16:From the days of the slaughter and destruction and death of the giants, from the souls of whose flesh the spirits, having gone forth, shall destroy without incurring judgement
--thus shall they destroy until the day of the consummation, the great judgement in which the age shall be consummated, over the Watchers and the godless, yea, shall be wholly consummated." And now as to the watchers who have sent thee to intercede for them, who had been aforetime in heaven, (say to them): "You have been in heaven, but all the mysteries had not yet been revealed to you, and you knew worthless ones, and these in the hardness of your hearts you have made known to the women, and through these mysteries women and men work much evil on earth." Say to them therefore: "You have no peace."'
We now get into a discussion about what happens to them as judgment.

17: And I saw a flaming fire. And beyond these mountains Is a region the end of the great earth: there the heavens were completed. And I SAW A DEEP ABYSS, with columns of heavenly fire, and among them I saw columns of fire fall, which were beyond measure alike towards the height and towards the depth. And beyond that abyss I saw a place which had no firmament of the heaven above, and no firmly founded earth beneath it: there was no water upon it, and no birds, but it was a waste and horrible place. I saw there seven stars like great burning mountains,

18: when I inquired regarding them, The angel said: 'This place is the end of heaven and earth: this has become a prison for the stars and the host of heaven. And the stars which roll over the fire are they which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord in the beginning of their rising, because they did not come forth at their appointed times.

And He was wroth with them, and bound them till the time when their guilt should be consummated (even) for ten thousand years.'

I though the readers might find it interesting to know which Angel was over what department.
20: And these are the names of the holy angels who watch.
Uriel, one of the holy angels, who is over the world and over Tartarus.
Raphael, one of the holy angels, who is over the spirits of men.
Raguel, one of the holy angels who takes vengeance on the world of the luminaries.
Michael, one of the holy angels, to wit, he that is set over the best part of mankind and over chaos.
Saraqâêl, one of the holy angels, who is set over the spirits, who sin in the spirit.
Gabriel, one of the holy angels, who is over Paradise and the serpents and the Cherubim.
Remiel, one of the holy angels, whom God set over those who rise.

We now look at the holding place for those who sleep in the dust of the earth.

Enoch : Then Raphael answered, one of the holy angels who was with me, and said unto me: 'These hollow places have been created for this very purpose, that the spirits of the souls of the dead should assemble therein, yea that all the souls of the children of men should assemble here. And these places have been made to receive them till the day of their judgement and till their appointed period [till the period appointed], till the great judgement (comes) upon them.' I saw (the spirit of) a dead man making suit, and his voice went forth to heaven and made suit.

And I asked Raphael the angel who was with me, and I said unto him: 'This spirit which maketh suit, whose is it, whose voice goeth forth and maketh suit to heaven?' And he answered me saying: 'This is the spirit which went forth from Abel, whom his brother Cain slew, and he makes his suit against him till his seed is destroyed from the face of the earth, and his seed is annihilated from amongst the seed of men.'

The I asked regarding it, and regarding all the hollow places: 'Why is one separated from the other?' And he answered me and said unto me:
'These three have been made that the spirits of the dead might be separated.

And such a division has been make (for) the spirits of the righteous, in which there is the BRIGHT SPRING OF WATER.
And such has been made for sinners when they die and are buried in the earth and judgement has not been executed on them in their lifetime. Here their spirits shall be set apart in this great pain till the great day of judgement and punishment and torment of those who curse for ever and retribution for their spirits. There

Remember in the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus we see how the spring of water comes into play as Jesus instructs us about it’s characteristics.

(Luke 16:24 NIV) So he called to him, 'Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.'……
26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.'

This is just a little Jewish contemporary background which I believe helps support your proposition. To get the real feel out of Enoch of course one should read it entirely. Many will be astounded at what they find there that is later used in the NT. Of course many other Jewish writings have similar concepts within them and this is not limited to just Enoch. When we understand the mind of the Jew we see how your proposition makes sense concerning spiritual rulers.



Duncan2's picture

Interesting stuff Norm,

I don't want to touch the daughters of man and sons of God stuff with a ten foot pole! it leads to heated debate that goes on and on. I do think it is important to recognize that there is a spiritual realm out there. You are right this would have been a no brainer to first cent. Jews. I think certain elements in preterism downplay the spiritual aspect (which is a mistake). God is a spirit, so are the angels.

Starlight's picture


You are a wise man ;-)
Since I’m “free” I can ask the difficult questions and probe into those dark corners. It is obvious that Jew’s would have a different view than we would as we can determine just by reading their literature. It’s interesting though that some of this angelic discussion permeates NT writings such as Peter and Jude. We really don’t like this talk when it comes to theology as it makes us nervous and it’s interesting that you were willing to stick your big toe into those waters.

I really perceive that the intermarriage of the sons of God and daughters of men is really a physical way of describing how those evil spirits corrupted mankind and can be discussed in that benign manner similar to how you framed your discussion. I think that is the reason the language in Genesis should be looked at as apocalyptically and not strictly historical narrative.
Evil spirits influenced men by leding them astray.


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