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Was there an Individual Antichrist?

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By Duncan - Posted on 16 February 2010

In my column I put up on Zechariah 14 there were some comments made that there never was an individual Antichrist. Below is my response; it was too long to just put in as a comment. My basic thesis is that the Antichrist was ultimately a demonic king (notice he comes out of the abyss, Rev. 11:7; 17:8 cf.Dan. 10:13 )that worked through Titus in his three and a half year destruction of Israel. Again you can see the first chapter here
http://sites.google.com/site/antichristandthesecondcoming/

THE ANTICHRIST
It is somewhat surprising that a term as well known as Antichrist is found only four times in the entire Bible. These references occur in the books of 1 and 2 John:

Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son.
1 John 2:18-22

By this you know the spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
1 John 4:2-3

For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
2 John 7

William Biederwolf provides an extensive discussion on the word antichrist (Gr. antichristos):

“antichrist”—the word may mean either “against Christ” or “instead of Christ”, i.e., a false Christ. The decision cannot rest on philology alone, but the context shows plainly that John used the word in a sense antagonistic to Christ, and this is now commonly recognized . . . John was acquainted with the Greek for “false Christ’ [Gr. pseudochristos], but he chose not to use it. He used “antichrist”, showing plainly that he meant the idea of enmity to be read in the word. Furthermore, in the Greek Fathers we do not find a trace of the idea of “false Christ” in Antichrist but it is always the thought of antagonism that is emphasized.

These antichrists in John’s time were the heretical teachers who had gone out from the Church, who were clothed with the attributes, had the spirit of and were the forerunners of the coming personal Antichrist. Does John in this verse [1 John 2:18] mean that the Antichrist is already here, i.e., in a collective sense, being in fact the aggregate of these many antichrists? In other words, is the Antichrist collective or is he personal?

1. Since the antichrists are personal so must the Antichrist be.
2. Christ and Antichrist stand over against each other and if one is personal the law of analogy requires that the other should be personal also.
3. Chap. 4:3 does not say that the spirit then prevalent was Antichrist, but it says that it is the spirit of Antichrist, and in this place the article “the” is used before Antichrist.
4. The present of fixed certainly (cometh), as referred to Antichrist [in 1 John 2:18] is set over against “have arisen” and “is”, as referred to the antichrists, showing that there is a distinction between the Antichrist who is to come and many antichrists who have already come.1

John (c. AD 60-65) was telling his first-century readers that the Antichrist was about to appear.2 He makes a distinction between “Antichrist” and “antichrists” (1 John 2:18). John uses the term “antichrists” to describe those who deny that Jesus was the Christ come in the flesh (1 John 4:3). He cites the fact that many antichrists had come as an indication that it was the “last hour” and that the Antichrist was about to come. It should be noted that John is mostly focusing on these “antichrists” in his epistles not the “Antichrist.”

Some would disagree with my position and say there is no such thing as an individual Antichrist, that there are only antichrists.3 Preterists especially have been attracted to this line of thinking because they have failed to produce a unified picture of Antichrist in one historical figure. If one cannot unify the Scriptures related to Antichrist, it is a clever defense to maintain there is no single Antichrist. One cannot be faulted for not coming up with an answer to a problem that does not exist! This sidestepping of the issue does not work, however; the problem does not go away. Whether one calls him “Antichrist” or not, the Bible consistently shows an opponent of God/Christ who is defeated by the coming of God (see below). To say there is no individual Antichrist does not get around this fact.

THE OPPONENT OF GOD/CHRIST
Looking at Scripture, one does not have to dig too deep to find the opponent of God/Christ who appears at the last hour (of the old covenant age; cf. 1 Cor. 10:11). Looking at Daniel 7, the little eleventh horn makes war against the saints and is defeated by the coming of God:

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

Notice that the little eleventh horn has three horns pulled out before it (Dan. 7:8), making him an eighth horn (i.e., ruler), which is exactly what the beast of Revelation is (Rev. 17:11). Just as with the little horn of Daniel 7, the beast of Revelation is defeated by the coming of God. Revelation reveals this as the coming of Jesus, the coming of the Word of God:

Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war . . . He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God . . . Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword . . . And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured . . . [and] cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 19:11, 13, 15, 19-20

Consider some of the connections between the little horn of Daniel 7 and the beast of Revelation:

1. The little horn/beast is an eighth ruler (Dan. 7:8; Rev. 17:11).

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

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

4. The little horn/beast has a three-and-a-half-year reign of terror (Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5).

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

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

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

There are too many specific correlations between the little horn and the beast for Daniel and Revelation to be talking about different rulers. These links also rule out the proposition that Revelation is retelling a second-century BC (pseudo) prophecy of Antiochus IV. It is the same ruler being shown in Daniel and Revelation, not two different rulers. The little horn/beast is the opponent of God/Christ who overcomes the saints for three-and-a-half years and is defeated at the parousia, ushering in the worldwide establishment of God’s kingdom at AD 70 (cf. Rev. 11). The little horn/beast is the Antichrist.

In Paul’s discussion of the man of lawlessness (the one who captures the Temple and is worshiped there; 2 Thess. 2:1-4), this theme of the opponent of Christ who is defeated by the Second Advent is found again:

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
2 Thessalonians 2:8

Note the connection between Revelation 19:15 (“Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword”) and 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (“the Lord will consume [him] with the breath of His mouth”). The Antichrist is defeated at the parousia by the sword/breath that comes out of Jesus’ mouth. These two sections speak of the same event and the same opponent; both speak of the Antichrist and the Second Coming. Note also that Paul draws from Daniel 11:36-12:13 in his discussion of the man of lawlessness. He is thus linking the king of the North with the man of lawlessness. The Antichrist was the opponent of God who would seek to exalt himself above God (cf. 2 Thess. 2:4 with Dan. 11:36-37).

Looking at the king of the North, he is defeated at the end of the old covenant age (Dan. 11:40-45), at the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation (Dan. 12:7). While the Second Coming is not shown explicitly in Daniel 12, the events associated with the Second Coming (e.g., the great tribulation, Dan. 12:1, cf. Matt. 24:21; the abomination of desolation, Dan. 12:11, cf. Matt. 24:15; and the resurrection and judgment, Dan. 12:2-3, cf. Matt. 25:31-32) are shown as happening at the defeat of the king of the North at the end of the age.

In the king of the North, we again we have the opponent of God who is defeated at AD 70 after a three-and-a-half-year reign of terror (Dan. 12:7; cf. Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:5). As I mentioned earlier, Titus’ campaign against Israel took exactly three-and-a-half years, from March/April of AD 67 to August/September of AD 70.4 Whether one wants to use the term Antichrist or not, the Bible clearly shows an opponent of God/Christ who appears at the last hour of the old covenant age and is defeated by the Second Advent. To merely assert that there is no individual Antichrist does not change the facts of Scripture.

THE SPIRIT OF ANTICHRIST
In 1 John 4, John discusses the concept that Antichrist is ultimately a spirit and that that spirit was already in the world in the first century:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.
1 John 4:1-3

The fact that the word “spirit” is italicized here (“this is the spirit of the Antichrist”) means it is supplied by the translators. When one looks at the context, however, it is clear that this is the intended meaning. First John 4:1-3 is comparing the influence of God’s Spirit as opposed to a spirit that is not of God, the latter spirit being that of Antichrist. Regarding this, Ryrie writes, “The AV [King James Version] rightly supplies spirit, though the omission of it in the Greek text indicates a breadth of thought. Such a false prophet is influenced by many forces and spirits, including demonic ones, and all of these reveal the action of antichrist. Superhuman forces are behind these false teachers.”5

Notice that John was saying the Antichrist spirit was already in the world (1 John 4:3); his manifestation (and thus the Second Coming when he would be defeated) was very near. Understanding that the Antichrist was ultimately a spirit is an extremely important point. The problem most commentators have had in identifying the Antichrist is that they have been looking for a human ruler. The fact is the Antichrist was not simply a human ruler but a demonic ruler working through a human ruler. Consider what we are told about the Antichrist in the book of Revelation: “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction . . .” (Rev. 17:8 NASB; cf. 11:7). That the beast would come out of the abyss shows that he was a demonic ruler not a physical ruler (cf. Luke 8:31; Rev. 9:1-12; 20:1-3). He would work through a certain man, however (cf. Rev. 13:18).

One should also note that John was told the beast was “about to come up out of the abyss” (Rev. 17:8 NASB). The Antichrist was about to come in the first century, not thousands of years later. Those in John’s first century audience with the required knowledge would be able to calculate the number of his name (Rev. 13:18). I shall argue that the Antichrist was the demonic ruler that would come out of the abyss at the end of the old covenant age to work through Titus in his AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation. It was this demonic ruler, not the man Titus, who would be destroyed in the lake of fire at the time of the parousia (Rev. 19:20; cf. Dan. 7:11).

In talking about the man of lawlessness, the one who would capture the Temple and be defeated by Jesus’ Second Coming (2 Thess. 2:4, 8), Vine notes that the word translated as “destroy” in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 (“and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming”) does not necessarily mean to annihilate but rather to make inactive.

Destroy: katargeō, lit. to reduce to inactivity (kata, down, argos, inactive) . . . In this and similar words not loss of being is implied, but loss of well being . . . [Thus,] the Man of Sin is reduced to inactivity by the manifestation of the Lord’s parousia with His people.6

It was the spirit of Antichrist working through Titus that was defeated and rendered inactive at Jesus’ Second Coming. It was the demonic king from the abyss, not Titus, that was destroyed in the lake of fire at Jesus’ parousia (Rev. 19:11-21).
Understanding that the Antichrist was ultimately a spirit helps to explain the somewhat strange wording in Daniel 9:

And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end shall be with a flood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined.
Daniel 9:26

Why does the text not simply say the prince to come would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple? The reason is because the prince to come, the Antichrist, would be a spiritual prince; it was his people that would destroy Jerusalem. Daniel 12 contains a similar statement of a spiritual ruler and his people. In verse 1 the angel Michael is said to be a prince of the Jewish people:

At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time . . . .
Daniel 12:1

It is the same with the prince to come in Daniel 9:26; he was a demonic prince of the Roman people.7 This was the beast from the abyss, the spirit of Antichrist. Consistent with this consider the angelic/demonic kings and princes spoken of in Daniel 10:

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.” . . . Then he [the glorious Man] 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 10:12-13, 20-21

Clearly, these are demonic kings and princes, what the NT refers to as the “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). It is the same with the beast; he was a demonic king about to come out of the abyss when John wrote Revelation (Rev. 17:8-11 NASB). This was the Antichrist, the demonic ruler who worked through Titus in his AD 70 destruction of Israel.

WHAT ABOUT NERO?
Historically, preterists have identified Nero as the beast of Revelation.8 There has been more diversity when it comes to the identity of the man of lawlessness (actually most preterists are uncertain as to his identity). Few credible preterist candidates are offered for the little horn of Daniel 7 or the king of the North of Daniel 11:36-45. Again, preterists have not been able to unify the Scriptures associated with the Antichrist in one person. Nero, the usual preterist candidate for the beast, simply does not fit the descriptions of the little horn of Daniel 7, the king of the North, or the man of sin. Nero was not an eleventh ruler as the little horn is (Dan. 7:7-8, 23-27). Nero was in fact a sixth ruler, the sixth Caesar. He was the one on the throne when Revelation was written (Rev. 17:10-11). Consider the first eleven Caesars:

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

It is impossible to make Nero an eleventh ruler. Notice Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, the three short-lived emperors that Vespasian and Titus were victorious over in their bid to take over the Roman Empire in AD 69. These were the three horns removed before the little eleventh horn (Dan. 7:7-8, 19-22). This made the eleventh horn an eighth ruler, which is how the Antichrist is shown in Revelation 17:8-11.

While the “eleventh ruler” description does not fit Nero, it fits Titus like a glove. In addition to Nero not being an eleventh ruler, he never invaded the Holy Land as the king of the North does (Dan. 11:40-45). The fact is, Nero never set foot in the Holy Land. Moreover, Nero was never worshiped in the Temple, as the man of lawlessness is (2 Thess. 2:4). It was Titus who fulfilled these prophecies in his destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. Of course, when examined closely, Nero does not even fit the description of the beast. Revelation 19:19 shows the beast fighting against Jesus at his parousia in AD 70. Nero died in AD 68; by AD 70 he had been dead for more than two years. Furthermore, Revelation 17-19 shows the beast destroying Babylon (Rev. 17:16-17), which most conservative preterists identify as Jerusalem (cf. Rev. 11:8; 17:18).9 It was Titus who destroyed Jerusalem, not Nero.
Finally, the much-touted Nero solution to the riddle of 666 requires the use of a defective spelling of Nero’s name.10 Added to this, the name of Nero was never suggested by ancient commentators in their discussions of the number of the beast. The Nero solution to the 666 riddle does not even appear until the nineteenth century! Regarding the connection between Nero and 666, Kistemaker writes, “When did the writers begin to identify Nero with the number [666] in this particular passage [Rev. 13:18]? There is no reference anywhere in history until the 1830s when four German scholars proposed his name.”11 In contrast to this, the earliest recorded suggestion as to the meaning of 666 (given by Irenaeus in the second century) may contain a reference to Titus.12

Endnotes:

1. William Biederwolf, The Millennium Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1964), 535. Reprinted from original printing in 1924.
2. I shall discuss the date of John’s epistles as well as the rest of the NT later. My position, similar to that of John A. T. Robinson (Redating the New Testament), is that the entire NT was written before AD 70.
3. Kim Riddlebarger, The Man of Sin: Uncovering the Truth About the Antichrist (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2006), 80-87. Riddlebarger discusses B. B. Warfield and his disagreement with a composite picture of the man of lawlessness and the beast fused into an individual Antichrist. Riddlebarger takes a more moderate view and is thus open to the idea of a single Antichrist. We see Scripture clearly showing an opponent of God/Christ who appears at the last hour and is defeated by the Second Coming. Whether one calls this opponent “the Antichrist” or “the opponent of Christ” is really just a matter of semantics; the concept is the same. Scripture shows a specific individual who opposes God/Christ that is defeated by the Second Coming (Dan. 7:21-22; 2 Thess. 2:8; Rev. 19:11-21).
4. Titus’ campaign against Israel took three-and-a-half years, or forty-two months. It was from around March/April of AD 67 to August/September of AD 70.
5. Charles C. Ryrie, “I John,” The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, 1475.
6. W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, with Their Precise Meanings for English Readers (pp. 5-6 under the word “abolish”) in An Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, eds. W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, William White, Jr. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1984).
7. It should be noted that the Hebrew word for “prince” in Daniel 9:26 is nāgîd, while the word for “prince” in Daniel 12:1 is sar. These two words have the same basic range of meaning, however (although nagid can carry a sense of a more exalted position). Both words can be variously translated as “prince,” “ruler,” “commander” or “chief.”
8. See Kenneth Gentry, The Beast of Revelation, revised ed. (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2002).
9. Liberal preterists are more likely to identify Rome as harlot Babylon.
10. Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, rev. ed., The New International Commentary on the New Testament, eds. Ned Stonehouse, F. F. Bruce, and Gordon Fee (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1998), 262.
11. Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of the Book of Revelation, New Testament Commentary, vol. 14 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 394-395.
12. The earliest suggestion we have to the riddle of 666 is given by Irenaeus (toward the end of the second century) in his work Against Heresies (5.30). The suggestions Irenaeus found noteworthy were Euanthas (the meaning of which is lost), Lateinos (i.e., the Roman Empire), and Teitan. Some commentators have suggested that Teitan may contain a reference to Titus. Along these lines, Barclay writes: “Teitan could be made to yield two meanings. First, in Greek mythology the Titans were the great rebels against God. Second, the family name of Vespasian and Titus and Domitian was Titus, and possibly they could be called the Titans.” William Barclay, The Revelation of John, Vol. 2, The Daily Study Bible Series, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976), 101.

kingdomsaint7's picture

True, brother, but keep in mind that Josephus was a Jew living in Rome. He knew that Jerusalem could only be conquered if God were against it, that was their entire history. So he knew that whomever conquered the city, God must have allowed it. This is why Titus thought their God was with him, but he also did not respect God in any way. They desolated it, and he was even hailed as emperor there. Josephus says the Romans worshiped their ensigns on the Eastern wing of the Temple during all of this. So Josephus believed that God had abandoned Jerusalem and gone out to the Gentiles... and he was right (Acts 28:28). But he also wouldn't admit (because I'm sure he wasn't even aware) that the force that God used to conquer them was demonic and from hell. Then he would lose favor with the Flavians and Rome itself, just as he had lost favor with the Jews already.

Islamaphobe's picture

Duncan,

I have now read most of your book and will throw in a few comments about it. I have been reading it very carefully with copious highlighting and marginal comments.

The bottom line is that I have found it quite interesting and worthy of numerous positive comments that I shall not offer at this point because of time constraints. It's great to see a book like this coming out! With the publication of it, Jordan's book, Kurt Simmons's commentary, and, I trust, my own efforts, as well as such pathbreaking works as John Noe's "Beyond the End Times," a body of preterist literature on Daniel is finally emerging that helps to fill the vast eschatological gap between those biblical scholars who refuse to take the primary fulfillment of Daniel's end-time prophecies past the time of Antiochus IV and those who place it in the future.

While I judge your book to be somewhat repetitive for my taste, it is also easy to understand, conveniently organized, and well-reasoned. Personally, I find it far more useful than Jordan's commentary and closer to the mark on key issues than that of Simmons. Your integration of Daniel with Revelation and the OT is very useful. I am not totally persuaded that you are on the right track with regard to the identification of the little horn of Daniel 7 and the interpretation of Daniel 11:36-45, but neither do I dismiss your analysis as being unworthy of consideration. You make a good case for treating Titus as the little horn, but I have problems with viewing the prince who is to come of 9:26 as the demonic spirit who works through Titus.

For me, I suppose it is your reliance upon the concept of "demonic spirits" that most troubles me about your analysis. I have difficulty accepting this concept and tend to regard Satan as an aspect of human character that we inherit at birth. I am fond of saying that I see Satan when I look in the mirror, and I tend to regard the concept of supernatural beings possessing demonic character as a concept that some people of the Old Covenant picked up from the Persians and others in the Near East. But I do not pretend to be much of a general theologian and readily concede that I still have a lot to learn.

Thanks for all the effort you have put into this project. I hope your book gets the attention from the world of biblical scholars that it deserves.

John S. Evans

Duncan's picture

Thanks for the complimentary feedback John. It means a lot coming from you.

My writing may appear a bit repetitive because you know Daniel so much better than most. I do overwrite at times, however. Given how much (or rather how little) the average person retains of what we write, I think some repetition is helpful.

Allow me to comment on this statement:

"For me, I suppose it is your reliance upon the concept of "demonic spirits" that most troubles me about your analysis. I have difficulty accepting this concept and tend to regard Satan as an aspect of human character that we inherit at birth. I am fond of saying that I see Satan when I look in the mirror, and I tend to regard the concept of supernatural beings possessing demonic character as a concept that some people of the Old Covenant picked up from the Persians and others in the Near East. But I do not pretend to be much of a general theologian and readily concede that I still have a lot to learn."

Look at Ephesians 6:

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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. Eph. 6:11-12

I dare say that is a reference to spiritual rulers as opposed to human rulers (flesh and blood). Also, I do not think it was "an aspect of human character" that offered the authority over the kingdoms of the world to Jesus.

Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountian showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. Then the devil said to Him, All this authority I will give You and their glory; of this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore, if You will worship before me all will be Yours. Luke 4:5-7; c.f. Rev. 13:4

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

Then he [the glorious Man of vv. 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

The glorious Man of Daniel 10:12-13 was either an angel or more likely a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus (cf. Dan. 10:5-12 with Rev. 1:12-18). The kings and princes against whom he was fighting were not the physical rulers of Persia but the spiritual rulers of that nation. The same is also true of the prince who helped him; Michael is an angelic ruler of the Jews (Dan. 12:1; cf. Rev. 12:7). The glorious Man goes on to say how, after he finished talking with Daniel, he would continue conducting spiritual warfare against other demonic rulers:

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

The princes referred to here are spiritual rulers. Michael is an angelic prince of the Jews (Dan. 12:1); the princes of Persia and Greece were the demonic rulers over those empires.

I had a nice talk with John Anderson yesterday. He said the rulers of Persia here are physical rulers. I respect John, but that does not make sense. It was not a human prince of Persia that resisted the glorious Man. Daniel fell at the glorious Man's feet like he were dead Dan. 10:8-9 cf. Rev. 1:17. Human kings and princes would not have slowed the glorious Man down a bit; they would have fallen at His feet also. It is spiritual kings and princes referred to here. Similarly, the eighth king in Revelation comes out of the abyss Rev. 11:7; 17:8, not the place that human rulers usually come from! (cf. Luke 8:30-32; Rev. 9:1-3)

Anyway I hope I am not be too argumentative here, but this concept is very important to what I have written. Thanks again.

Duncan

ThomasS's picture

Oh, I am sure McKenzie's book will get the attention it deserves (from the scholarly world). Trust me! ;)

Regards

Th.S.

Islamaphobe's picture

Duncan,

I have now read most of your book and will throw in a few comments about it. I have been reading it very carefully with copious highlighting and marginal comments.

The bottom line is that I have found it quite interesting and worthy of numerous positive comments that I shall not offer at this point because of time constraints. It's great to see a book like this coming out! With the publication of it, Jordan's book, Kurt Simmons's commentary, and, I trust, my own efforts, as well as such pathbreaking works as John Noe's "Beyond the End Times," a body of preterist literature on Daniel is finally emerging that helps to fill the vast eschatological gap between those biblical scholars who refuse to take the primary fulfillment of Daniel's end-time prophecies past the time of Antiochus IV and those who place it in the future.

While I judge your book to be somewhat repetitive for my taste, it is also easy to understand, conveniently organized, and well-reasoned. Personally, I find it far more useful than Jordan's commentary and closer to the mark on key issues than that of Simmons. Your integration of Daniel with Revelation and the OT is very useful. I am not totally persuaded that you are on the right track with regard to the identification of the little horn of Daniel 7 and the interpretation of Daniel 11:36-45, but neither do I dismiss your analysis as being unworthy of consideration. You make a good case for treating Titus as the little horn, but I have problems with viewing the prince who is to come of 9:26 as the demonic spirit who works through Titus.

For me, I suppose it is your reliance upon the concept of "demonic spirits" that most troubles me about your analysis. I have difficulty accepting this concept and tend to regard Satan as an aspect of human character that we inherit at birth. I am fond of saying that I see Satan when I look in the mirror, and I tend to regard the concept of supernatural beings possessing demonic character as a concept that some people of the Old Covenant picked up from the Persians and others in the Near East. But I do not pretend to be much of a general theologian and readily concede that I still have a lot to learn.

Thanks for all the effort you have put into this project. I hope your book gets the attention from the world of biblical scholars that it deserves.

John S. Evans

ThomasS's picture

A few points (making McKenzie's interpretation rather difficult):

(1) If we let Scripture interpret Scripture, the fourth beast in Dan 7 cannot be equated with the beast in Rev 13:1f.(and rev 17).

(2) There is no "little horn" in the Book of Revelation

(3) The kings of the north (in Dan 11) have to be Syrian kings (there's just nothing in the text indicating a shift in nationality!)

(4) It is very easy to say that an evil spirit was destroyed in 70 CE. (This is something McKenzie has to argue, as the life of Titus after 70 CE is in conflict with the prophecy of the little horn!) But there is no proof for this. A few facts have to be considered:

(a) According to Dan 7, the fourth beast and its little horn were destroyed before the coming of one like a son of man.

(b) Rome was not destroyed in 70 CE. In fact, Rome became more powerful after 70 CE. So much for divine judgement!

According to apocalyptic literature, the wars between good and evil in the spiritual realm have parallels in world history. Thus, if the evil demon antichrist was destroyed in 70 CE, we should expect to see the result of this materialised in world history. If Titus had died in 70 CE, or at least had become less powerful after 70 CE, McKenzie might have had a case here. But the opposite is the truth: As we all know, Titus became emperor in 79 CE.

(5) Identifying "Babylon the great" with Jerusalem is not a conservative interpretation. It is, in fact, a rather new idea. (By the way, several liberal scholars have advocated this view!) According to the oldest Preterist interpretation, "Babylon the great" = the ancient City of Rome.

(6) Most likely, Nero is not the 6th Roman emperor (Rev 17; cf. e.g. the arguments presented in Robinson: Redating the New Testament). It is not quite true that there is no hint of an identification of 666 with Nero before the 19th century. That is a myth. (Of course, a futurist like Kistemaker desperately wants this myth to be true, as an identification of 666 with Nero strongly supports a Preterist interpretation.) Very little, if anything, supports an identification of 666 with Titus.

(7) According to grammar and context, there is good reason to assume that Dan 9:27, 11:31 and 12:11 refer to the same historical event.

Best regards

Th.S.

Duncan's picture

Thomas,

I have talked with you a lot in the past and not found it very productive, so I will not say all that much. Here are a couple of points, however.

First, You should have left point 5 out (that harlot Babylon refers to Rome); it does not play well with this crowd.

Second, No, Rome was not destroyed at AD 70. What was destroyed in the lake of fire at Jesus' parousia (Rev. 19:11-20) was not Titus nor the Roman Empire but rather the beast from the abyss (Rev. 11:7; 17:8). This explains the eight kings that make up the corporate beast(Rev. 17:9-11) [by "corporate beast" I mean the group of 8 kings, I use the term "individual beast" to refer to the eighth of these kings. The individual beast is the Antichrist, he corresponds to the little horn of Daniel 7]. Evidence that the corporate beast is not physical Rome can be seen in the fact that there are only eight kings here. The Roman Empire had well over a hundred emperors in its history.
Revelation is unveiling the spiritual realm; the eight kings here are spiritual rulers, like the kings and princes in Dan. 10:13, 20-21. These were the spiritual rulers of the pre AD 70 age who were "coming to nothing" (katargeō) 1 Cor. 2:6; cf. 2 Cor. 4:4

Ultimately one needs to look at my book for themselves (I am a bit surprised that so few of my fellow preterists are even bothering to do this). It looks at some very difficult but important subjects (e.g. the little horn of Dan. 7; the king of the North of Dan. 11:36-45; the man of lawlessness of 2 Thess. 2). Everyone that I have heard from who has read the book has at least said it is well written. cf. http://www.amazon.com/Antichrist-Second-Coming-Preterist-Examination/pro...

Starlight's picture

Duncan,

I'm a fan of Jordan's Daniel commentary. Could you contrast the differences between yours and his approach and some basic differences so that I might consider whether my investment in time would be worth the exploration.

Norm

Duncan's picture

Hey Norm,

I am not a big fan of Jordan's commentary on Daniel, so you may not be a fan of mine. Too many differences between us to discuss here. You can go to google book preview and get a good taste of my book here http://books.google.com/books?id=ZL89vmcBUJwC&dq=the+antichrist+and+the+... Be sure to click on the full screen icon that expands the screen, so it is a little easier to read.

Starlight's picture

Duncan,

When I say I'm a fan doesn't mean I buy everything Jordan puts out. That was why I was asking if you could summarize a couple of basic philosophical differences in your approach contrasted to his. I might actually be more receptive than you might quess. If I believe that your investigation should help me see some points in a more accurate light then I'm open to those suggestions.

Whatever though I surely appreciate your tremendous effort to this project.

Duncan's picture

Thanks Norm,

On that google preview check out my chapter on Dan. 7 for some differences (starting on pg 99).

Jordan takes Mauro's position and runs with it (he even applies it to Dan. 7, something Mauro did not even do). Here is a little contrast between me and Mauro.

THE DIFFICULT TASK OF PRODUCING A PRETERIST CANDIDATE FOR ANTICHRIST

Dispensational scholar Randall Price notes correctly that “only the futurist school has been able to develop a self-consistent interpretation of the Antichrist concept from the scriptural witness of the two testaments.”32 This sounds impressive at first, but futurists have a much easier task than preterists do. Because futurists say the Antichrist will come in the future, they do not need to provide any historical fulfillment. All that futurists have to do is provide a reasonable futuristic scenario of Antichrist’s actions and harmonize it with the relevant Scripture passages. Preterists, after harmonizing the Scriptures, have to show how they were fulfilled in history—a much more demanding task.

The present work provides a concept of Antichrist that is both consistent with the Old and New Testaments and is unified in one historical figure (Titus) and one three-and-a-half-year period (AD 67-70), cf. Daniel 7:25; 12:7; Revelation 13:5. This is a next to impossible task unless one is on the exact right track. Consider the difficulties Bible expositor Phillip Mauro has in providing a historical fulfillment related just to Daniel 11:36-45.

Mauro applies the description of the king of the North in Daniel 11:36-39 to Herod the Great (37-4 BC). He immediately runs into problems, however. Because Daniel 11:36 says that the king of the North would prosper until God’s wrath against the Jews was accomplished (i.e., AD 70; cf. Dan. 9:26-27), Mauro has to show that the reign of the king of the North extended up to AD 70. Since Herod the Great died around the time of Jesus’ birth (c. 4 BC), Mauro is forced to say the king of the North does not just refer to Herod but to his dynastic successors as well—Herod Antipas, Herod Agrippa I, and Herod Agrippa II.33 Thus, in his exposition of just one verse, Mauro already needs four rulers to produce a historical fulfillment for the king of the North. Needless to say, he is off to a rocky start!

Mauro continues his exposition in Daniel 11:40-43. Because the actions of the king of the North in these verses do not fit Herod, or even his successors, Mauro insists that Daniel 11:40-43 is speaking about Caesar Augustus and the time of the battle of Actium (31 BC).34 Mauro then insists that the identity of the king of the North in Daniel 11:44-45 returns to Herod the Great and the time of Jesus’ birth (c. 4 BC).35

In a span of just ten verses relating to the king of the North (Dan. 11:36-45), Mauro’s theory requires five rulers and a span of more than one hundred years to show a historical fulfillment! Daniel 11:36-45 represents only a small portion of the Scriptures dealing with Antichrist, and Mauro cannot even come close to applying it to one person or one three-and-a-half-year period.36 I say this not to criticize Phillip Mauro but to show how difficult a preterist exposition of Antichrist truly is. Clever exegesis is not enough. Unless there is an inherent fit between one’s position and Scripture, a preterist unification of all the Scripture verses related to Antichrist is impossible.

Below is Daniel 11:36-45 with a brief summary of my position (for a more complete discussion see chapter 5 of this work).

36. Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. 37. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. 38. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. 39. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. 40. At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41. He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand; Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42. He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43. He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. 44. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45. And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.

Daniel 11:36-45 is an intricate prophecy; the ten verses in this section describe a number of very specific events. The following is my proposed fulfillment of this section:

In response to an attack by the Jews on occupying Roman soldiers (vv. 40-41), Nero sent Vespasian and Titus to Judea to subdue the Jewish nation. They led a massive invasion of the Holy Land in AD 67. The campaign was going well until Nero died in mid-AD 68. Nero’s death plunged the Roman Empire into civil war as various factions struggled to determine who would rule in Rome. In AD 69, Vespasian and Titus entered this fray. To finance their takeover of the Empire, they needed the “precious things” of Egypt (vv. 42-43); they also planned to block Egypt’s grain shipments to starve Rome into submission, if necessary. Thus, the Flavians first secured Egypt in their bid for the Empire and then turned their attention toward Rome (note, the family name of Vespasian and Titus was Flavius).37 At this time (mid AD 69), Titus was granted sole authority over both Judea and Syria, possessing sovereignty over the domain of the king of the North (i.e., Syria).

From Egypt, Titus invaded Judea a second time in the spring of AD 70 (vv. 43-45) while his father waited to sail to Rome. At Passover of AD 70 Titus resumed his attack on Jerusalem; the city and Temple would fall five months later (cf. Dan. 9:26-27). Thus, God allowed Titus to prosper in his destruction of the Jews during the three-and-a-half-year period of March/April of AD 67 to August/September of AD 70, the time until God’s wrath against the Jews was accomplished (Dan. 11:36; Luke 21:20-24). This was the time of the “great tribulation” (Dan. 12:1) which resulted in the shattering of the Jewish nation’s power (Dan. 12:7).

Elevating himself above every god, Titus was worshiped in the Temple shortly before it was destroyed (Dan. 11:36-37; cf. 2 Thess. 2:4). The foreign god that assisted Vespasian and Titus in their victory (v. 39) was the Greco-Egyptian deity Sarapis (see Tacitus, The Histories, 4, 81-82). In response to this, the Flavians advanced Sarapis’ glory as they added him to the pantheon of Roman gods. At the AD 70 destruction of the Jewish nation, the land of Israel was divided up and sold for profit (v. 39; see Josephus, The Jewish War, 7, 6, 6).

The king of the North meets his end at the time of his attack on Jerusalem (v. 45). This does not seem to apply to Titus, as he did not die at AD 70. The ruler who met his end at this time, however, was not the man Titus but the demonic king of the North working through Titus. Just as the kings in Daniel 10:13 and Revelation 17:8-11 ultimately refer to demonic rulers, so the king of the North was demonic. It was the demonic ruler from the abyss (cf. Rev. 11:7) who met his end and was cast into the lake of fire at the parousia in AD 70 (Rev. 19:20; cf. Dan. 7:11, 21-22). Thus, it was the spiritual dominion Titus possessed that came to an end at this time (cf. Dan. 7:23-27; 1 Cor. 2:6).

chrisliv's picture

Gee, Duncan,

I like some of your non-carnal interpretations of the imagery at Zech. 14, but I think you go a little too far with your "demonic king of the North" as Antichrist.

I mean, "kings" are relative to human maladaptive social orders. We have no indication that demonic realms follow human organizational structures, too. And "the North" is an objective indicator relative to planet Earth, not demonic realms. Even coming up from an "abyss" is a metaphor and a contradictory term, i.e., a pit is never bottomless, a pit by definition has a bottom. And there seems to be no objective historical evidence that a demonic king was destroyed in 70 AD which had a universal release from bondage for Humanity. I mean, outside of the area of Judea, nothing really changed in Humanity, except that the Body of Christ continued to separate itself from the hostile Body of the State, until 312 AD, when the Church, largely speaking, became a State Corporation under Caesar Constantine and the Edict of Milan, so becoming a defiled Body that infused the Roman Empire/State with more longevity and capacity for evil and bloodshed.

Again, "the man" with a proper pronoun of Nero works best for me, then Titus, maybe.

Of course, I'm not saying that either one of us is completely wrong or right on this obscure point of past fulfillment. There are problems with any of these interpretations, especially the futurist ones, as they missed their window of opportunity in relation to the biblical time statements.

Peace be with you,
C. Livingstone

Duncan's picture

Have to disagree on this one. I do think the princes and kings of Dan. 10:13, 20-21 clearly refer to spiritual rulers. I think this would have been a no brainer for the ancients (i.e. they very much believed in spiritual rulers cf. Eph. 6:12)

WE DO NOT WRESTLE AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD
In Ephesians 6:12, Paul emphasizes 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.” Ladd makes the following comments on the terminology Paul uses in discussing 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 heavenlies,” 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. GE Ladd A Theology of the New Testament, Rev. ed.1993, 156-57

The NT teaches that these spiritual hosts of wickedness were “coming to nothing” in the first century (1 Cor. 2:6-8; 2 Cor. 4:4; cf. Rom. 16:20).

Duncan's picture

Got a bit more to say Chrisliv,

A lot happened at AD 70 that was never seen in the physical realm. The kingdom of this world became the kingdom of God at the AD 70 destruction of those who were destroying the Land (of Israel) Rv. 11:15-18 NASB This is shown in Dan. 2:34-35, 44-45; 7:19-27. I have chapters in my book on both Dan. 2 and 7

What king of the North do you think led the attack against Jerusalem (God's holy mountain Dan. 11:45) at the time of the great tribulation (Dan. 11:40-12:7)? Notice when Paul is talking about the man of lawlessness, the one who captures the Temple and is worshiped there(2 Thess. 2:1-8), he is referring to this king of the North of Dan. 11:36-37. It should be noted that Nero never even set foot in Judea, let alone the Temple. Let me quote one of my favorite authors on this ;-)

In his discussion of the man of lawlessness, the one “who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God” (2 Thess. 2:4), Paul expounds on the king of the North of Daniel 11:36-45, the one who would “exalt and magnify himself above every god [and] speak blasphemies against the God of gods” (Dan. 11:36). Thus, both the king of the North and the man of lawlessness oppose God and try to exalt themselves above God. Both are vanquished at the time of the Second Advent (2 Thess. 2:8; Dan. 11:45). Although Daniel 11:36-12:13 does not actually depict the parousia, it shows the events that the NT associates with it, that is, the great tribulation (Dan. 12:1; cf. Matt. 24:21), the abomination of desolation (Dan. 12:11; cf. Matt. 24:15), and the resurrection and judgment (Dan. 12:2-3; cf. Matt. 25:31-32). All of these events are shown as happening at this time, at the end of the age attack by the king of the North on Jerusalem.

Both the man of lawlessness and the king of the North are defeated after laying siege to the Temple in Jerusalem (2 Thess. 2:4; Dan. 11:45). As I mentioned previously, the Antichrist’s defeat at this time is not talking about the death of a man but the destruction of a demonic ruler that worked through a man (cf. Rev. 11:7; 17:8). This was the end of the spiritual ruler that worked through Titus in his destruction of the Jewish nation. This resulted in the casting of this demonic ruler of the Roman people (Dan. 9:26; cf. Dan. 10:13) into the lake of fire (cf. Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:20). Duncan McKenzie, The Antichrist and the Second Coming, Xulon: 2009, 339

The beast from the abyss working through Titus destroys Babylon (i.e., Jerusalem, cf. Ezek. 16) and then is destroyed in the lake of fire at the parousia of Jesus (Rev. 19). One can disagree with me of couse, but I think what I am saying is at least worth exploring.

chrisliv's picture

Oh,

It looks like I didn't give some direct feedback that you may have wished to elicit from me, Duncan. So, I'll quote most of the the portion you directed to me, that I didn't address, and then say more.
--------------------------------
"A lot happened at AD 70 that was never seen in the physical realm. The kingdom of this world became the kingdom of God at the AD 70 destruction of those who were destroying the Land (of Israel) Rv. 11:15-18 NASB This is shown in Dan. 2:34-35, 44-45; 7:19-27. I have chapters in my book on both Dan. 2 and 7

"What king of the North do you think led the attack against Jerusalem (God's holy mountain Dan. 11:45) at the time of the great tribulation (Dan. 11:40-12:7)?"
--------------------------------
For me, to say "a lot happened at 70 AD that was never seen in the physical realm" is nearly a baseless assertion.

If something really happened in the unseen Dimension at any point in Time, without any resultant effect in the Physical realm, then it probably didn't happen at all in the way we might suspect or is certainly irrelevant to believing human beings on Planet Earth.

The way you mention "destroying the Land" and "God's holy mountain" seems to suggest that you think God still had preference for Jewish DNA and Middle Eastern sand before and during 70 AD. Of course, God did have unfinished business with the Old Covenant that had been broken long before 70 AD, which was a covenant that included both blessing vs curses. And 70 AD was clearly the grotesque fulfillment of the OT Curse (which included starved children known to have been cannabalized by their own parents) incurred by what was left of the Judaean/Israelite nation.

But, even apart from the OT Curse of 70 AD, the Davidic Covenant suggests that God was threw with the Judean nation by the time Christ's Ministry began, i.e., "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes."

I know how the OT Prophets expressed stuff like "holy mountain", "Jerusalem a Rejoicing", the Daughter of Zion", etc., undoubtedly led most ancient Jews/Israelites to believe that Jewish DNA and Middle Eastern sand was more highly coveted by God than that of others. But, Christ and others in the NT clearly refute that faulty and carnal assumption.

I mean, Christ acknowledged the genetic pedigree of the Jews by saying that He knows they are the carnal Children of Abraham (Mat. 37-44), but then He calls them stuff like Faithless, Children of Hell, whose Father is the Devil.

That's not "my holy mountain" talk. So, to me, God wasn't talking so much about Jewish DNA and Middle Eastern sand on those points.

Christ says much the same in the Book of Revelation, with contains imagery and metaphors much like in what we call the Prophets, as you know. He says, right before 70 AD:

"Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee." Rev. 3:9

You see, "the synagogue of Satan" cannot be equated to "my holy mountain" or the even the Temple, in my opinion.

And, of course, Christ is not really arguing in Revelation against a displeasure at Jewish genetic impurity any more than He actually wants His followers to accept actual worship from unbelieving Jews.

No, not at all. But the point is very clear, harsh, and sarcastic.

I know, I'm just giving you more seeming interpretative problems, Duncan.

I'm glad that you, and others, like John Evans, have taken up the Preterist task of trying to help mesh the OT Prophets with their obvious fulfillment at 70 AD. I certainly have not come up with anything to help it all make more cohesive sense. It's tricky business, so to speak, and beyond what I'm prepared to undertake. I haven't looked at the gratuitous Chapter you provided, so maybe I'll bow out of the thread at this point, as I'm getting ready to move in about two weeks.

Keep it up, though, Duncan!

Peace be with you all,
C. Livingstone

chrisliv's picture

Well,

Earthly princes and presidents seem to need no demonic empowerment to commit atrocities that the citizenry later glorifies with patriotic anthems. To me, Paul is firstly referring to earthly principalities of the World System of Darkness (which I think is, obviously, still with us), quite apart from demonic inspiration.

I mean, as Preterists, we see that the Roman Army was executing Judgment against those unbelievers of that Judaean region and generation that crucified Christ. So, was it God and the Demonic working together to destroy Jerusalem? No, I doubt that.

Most Bible readers probably like to think of The Devil as a person like us, only without a physical body, and maybe it is. Maybe it's an elusive spirit within Humanity itself. I'm not dogmatic about whatever the demonic realm really is, or if it still exists, or if it really vanished somehow after 70 AD, like many Preterists seem to suggest.

So, yeah, I agree, that what you're saying is definitely worth exploring.

Peace be with you,
C. Livingstone

kingdomsaint7's picture

Hi, brother CL. Though it is true that any governing powers can be evil without a demon, they can't all be accompanied with false and lying signs, even calling down fire from heaven in full view of men. Somehow the men who declared themselves living gods were able to pull off unnatural signs that put the faith of the people in them through undeniable signs that even the elect would be tested by.

God used a demonic army to destroy Jerusalem, just like he used Satan to enter Judas to sell Jesus to the Jewish authorities. Then he used Pilate to authorize his death. The point is that God used evil men to accomplish his will. In fact, Rev 17:17 states that "God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to give the beast their power to rule, until God's words are fulfilled." Perhaps this is how they can do lying signs in the first place; Vespasian was shocked that his "miracles" worked, after all. After these signs, he felt that the universe belonged to him and that nothing was out of his reach (according to Suetonius and others). The demons are given authority for a short time and its purpose is to deceive the sinners to their own destruction, not to have the demons confirming the gospel with their signs unlike the apostles.

The believers know better than to trust in Vespasian's miracles, however, because Jesus told them ahead of time:

Matt 24:24 "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time."

So yes, the demons are doing God's will by attributing their "miracles" to impostors, but the overall purpose of the deception is to destroy ALL those destined to perdition. After that, the demons are destroyed in the lake of fire, the splendor of Jesus' coming in glory and the breath from his mouth. God used evil to put his Son to death on a cross to obtain forgiveness of his peoples' sins and just as smoothly used evil to destroy the Temple and the genealogical records of the "obsolete" and "prostitute" Priesthood.

chrisliv's picture

Well,

It seemed to the Romans and Flavius Josephus, the Jewish general, eye witness and historian, that it was "God" who was the Romans in their destruction of Jerusalem and that generation of Jews who Christ said was condemned to seeing their way of life pass away.

So, we disagree on this point somewhat.

But, I suppose all States or nations are "demonically" inspired and unordained by God, to some degree.

"For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter." Isa. 34:2

"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

Peace be with you all,
C. Livingstone

kingdomsaint7's picture

True, brother, but keep in mind that Josephus was a Jew living in Rome. He knew that Jerusalem could only be conquered if God were against it, that was their entire history. So he knew that whomever conquered the city, God must have allowed it. This is why Titus thought their God was with him, but he also did not respect God in any way. They desolated it, and he was even hailed as emperor there. Josephus says the Romans worshiped their ensigns on the Eastern wing of the Temple during all of this. So Josephus believed that God had abandoned Jerusalem and gone out to the Gentiles... and he was right (Acts 28:28). But he also wouldn't admit (because I'm sure he wasn't even aware) that the force that God used to conquer them was demonic and from hell. Then he would lose favor with the Flavians and Rome itself, just as he had lost favor with the Jews already.

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