But if none of these prophecies were designed to be completed till long after their death, those persons were not immediately concerned with them, and the author would surely not have said that they were blessed in reading prophecies of which the time was at hand, if those prophecies were not to be fulfilled till after the lapse of many ages”
Dating of the Apocalypse
12/14/12: Preterism Review – Did Fitzmeyer and Bruce endorse the early date for Revelation?
J.D. Michaelis – The Apocalypse (1801 English Edition PDF) “the Apocalypse contains prophecies with which the very persons to whom it was sent were immediately concerned. But if none of these prophecies were designed to be completed till long after their death, those persons were not immediately concerned with them, and the author would surely not have said that they were blessed in reading prophecies of which the time was at hand, if those prophecies were not to be fulfilled till after the lapse of many ages”
Bernard Henderson – The Life and Principate of Emperor Nero (1903 PDF) “The verses (of Revelation) 17. 10, can be differently explained. Almost certainly Caesar is not the first, but Augustus, so we have “five fallen,” “one is,” “one is not yet come and is to continue a short space,” and ” the beast that was and is not, even he is the eighth and is of the seven ” (certainly = Nero, cf. 13. 3 ; 17. 8). The list then is, on the two rival theories, (a) Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero = the five. Galba = he who is; Galba’s successor (naturally unknown ex hyp.) = the one to come, but he can only last a short time because the end is fast approaching, and besides the pseudo-Nero is already active. Nero again = the eighth. (b) Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero = the five. Vespasian = he who is. His successor is undefined because ” the writer did not like to say the reigning Emperor would be overthrown.” Nero again = the eighth. For the Domitian theory I fail to see any possibility of a satisfactory list at all.”
“I realize the Covenant Theology Preterist group will select before A.D. 70, but the Book of Revelation was written by John on the isle of Patmos in A.D. 95. I have read the preterist view point and find the scholarship very lacking. The Dispensational, futurist view of Bible prophecy is correct. There is plenty of scholarship to prove it.” (Armageddonbooks Prophecy Poll)
Domitian Vilified to Support Late Date Theory?
Ever since the groundbreaking work of L. L. Thompson on theThe Book of Revelation (1990) no one can simply assert that Domitian instigated a widespread persecution against Christians. He offers one of the most profound new perspectives on Domitian from the primary sources (pp. 95-115). His work has received a vast amount of acceptance from subsequent Revelation scholars. However, Thompson may have exaggerated his positive portrayal of Domitian. The best refutation of the extremities of Thompson’s work, that I have come across, comes from G. K. Beale’s magisterial commentary on Revelation. Beale offers very solid and well documented examples demonstrating that the traditional view of Domitian as a tyrannical despot who increasingly desired divine recognition deserves merit evidenced in the writings of both detractors and supporters of Domitian (pp. 6-12). Hopefully we may arrive at a more balanced and accurate conception of Domitian and his reign. Posted by Alan S. Bandy
“The chief obstacle to the acceptance of the true date of the Apocalypse, arises from the authority of heaven.” Frederic W. Farrar
The Book of Revelation and the First Years of Nero’s Reign – Catholic Gonzalo Rojas Flores “According to ecclesiastical tradition, the Book of Revelation was written by the apostle John, the son of Zebedee, about the year 95, during his exile in Patmos, shortly before writing the fourth gospel in Ephesus. Most scholars support this late dating (last days of Domitian’s reign), but the early dating (between the years 64 and 70) has the support of many important authors1. In this article I will try to demonstrate that (a) the external evidence is not conclusive in favor of a late dating, because there is an important patristic tradition in favor of Nero’s reign; and (b) the internal evidence provides important arguments affirming that the definitive version of Revelation was redacted after Nero’s ascension to power in the year 54 and before the earthquake of Laodicea in the year 60.”
Analysis of the Revelation “..through the prevalence of what may be called the “Nero-theory” of the book, the pendulum swung strongly in favor of its composition shortly after the death of Nero, and before the destruction of Jerusalem (held to be shown to be still standing by Revelation 11), i.e. about 68-69 AD. This date was even held to be demonstrated beyond all question.”
Dating the book of Revelation – “Arethas makes similar comments, and states concerning Rev. 7:4 “When the evangelist received these oracles, the destruction in which the Jews were involved was not yet inflicted by the Romans.”
Dating the book of Revelation – ‘Arethas,’ says Sir Isaac, ‘ in the beginning of his commentary quotes the opinion of Irenaeus from Eusebius, but does not follow it. For he afterwards affirms, that the Apocalypse was written before the destruction of Jerusalem and that former commentators had expounded the sixth seal of that destruction.’
Learning Activity: Revelation Date
The Debate over the Book of Revelation “This view has precedent in the early church, but it did not become widespread until the nineteenth century. With the advent of the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation, it became the dominant interpretation among New Testament scholars, though it has been less popular among evangelical scholars.”
DATING THE BOOKS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT – OR –
THE EMPEROR’S NEW CLOTHES
by Jim Seghers
The majority of modern scripture scholars attribute late dates to the composition of the New Testament books in the form that we now have them. This is particularly true of the four Gospels. It is usually claimed that Mark was the first gospel written around A.D. 70. Matthew’s composition is dated in the 80’s, followed by Luke in the late 80’s. The Gospel of John is given a composition date in the 90’s.
One may be inclined to think, “So what! After all, regardless of the dates attributed to their composition, each book remains the written word of God because the Holy Spirit is the principal author. What does it matter?” Actually, it matters a great deal.
One naturally assumes that the proponents of late composition dates, men with academic degrees, base their conclusions on sound scholarship that is rooted in recent discoveries in History, Archeology, Patristics, Papyrology and other related fields. This is especially true because these scholars pride themselves on their “scientific” approach to biblical interpretation. Certainly, it would seem that their arguments must be buttressed by the data coming from objective research. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those supporting late authorship base their statements solely on the wobbly foundation of their own fanciful imaginations. Why is this so?
Late authorship fits conveniently into their first principles, which rejects the possibility of any reality that is beyond the scope of their personal experience. They make the limits of their finite intellects and narrow experiences the measure of God’s activity in the world he created out of nothing. Thus accounts of miracles, the resurrection, claims that Jesus is God, the definition of his mission, the founding of the Church with its hierarchical authority, and statements attributed to Jesus cannot be part of what is the actual inspired word of God. Rather these “beliefs” are explained away as a late editing which merely reflects the tenets of Christians far removed from eyewitnesses and the actual words of Jesus. These claims, of course, have no documented foundation in any historical sense of the word. In order to support this evolutionary flight of fancy it is necessary to claim that the gospels had late compositions.
Starting from this faithless, secular viewpoint it is easy to understand why Mark was selected as the first gospel written and the source of Matthew and Luke. This is expedient because Mark lacks many of the “embellishments” found in Matthew and Luke, for example, the institution of the Church on Peter, and the miracles surrounding Jesus birth. Support is drawn from another fashionable invention the Q document, so called from the German word quelle, “source.” “Q” is a hypothetical source from which it is claimed the Synoptic Gospels drew common material. There is no historical evidence that Q ever existed except, of course, in the fertile imaginations of revisionist scholars. The result of this foolishness is a whole system of biblical interpretation based on the myths fabricated by their creators who, themselves, have become the embodiment of the fable, The Emperor’s New Clothes. In the fable of The Emperor’s New Clothes, it required the uninhibited innocence of a child to proclaim, “The king is Nude!”
The resulting interpretations of many modern biblical scholars are so methodologically flawed that they should be the subjects of derision not serious study. Unfortunately, just as in the fable there were many that gawkishly admired the Emperor’s invisible attire, so today there are many who fawn over these illusionary conclusions based on invisible data. At the college and university levels these speculations are taught with indiscriminate dogmatism. Woe to the inquiring student who dares to challenge these pronouncements! One is left to wonder if St. Paul foresaw these times when he prophesied: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own liking, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths” (2 Tim 4:4). Fortunately, amid this academic madness there are voices that are erxposing the nudity of much in modern biblical studies.
As it relates to the dating of New Testament books, the pioneering labor of John A. T. Robinson in his scholarly work Redating the NewTestament is of great importance. He argues persuasively that all the books of the New Testament were written before 70 A.D. Modernists have refused to seriously investigate his scholarship, choosing instead to ignore it. However, Robinson’s thesis provides a reasonable assumption of composition dates based on sound scholarship not ideological illusion.
Recently the scholarly work of the papyrologist, Carsten Peter Thiede, has received widespread notice. He persuasively argues that Matthew’s Gospel is the account of an eyewitness to the events of Jesus’ life. His pathfinding book written with Matthew D’Ancona,Eyewitness to Jesus, published in 1996, argues that the Magdalen Papyrus of St. Matthew’s Gospel was written around A.D. 60.
Between Robinson and Thiede other persuasive voices have also challenged the late dating nonsense. Gunther Zuntz, the internationally recognized authority on Hellenistic Greek, assigned the date 40 A.D. as the most likely date of Mark’s composition. Orchard and Riley in their book, The Order of the Synoptics, argue that Matthew was written in A.D. 43. Reicke’s “Synoptic Prophecies on the Destruction of Jerusalem,” in Studies in New Testament and Early Christian Literature: Essays in Honor of Allen P. Wikgren, 1972, give the years 50-64 A.D. for the composition of Matthew. Eta Linnemann’s two works: Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? and Is There a Synoptic Problem? Rethinking the Literary Dependence of the First Three Gospels provide a piercing debunking of the myths of modern biblical scholarship. What makes her arguments so penetrating is the fact that she studied under Rudolf Bultmann and Ernst Fuchs.
Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr. in his doctoral dissertation, Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating the Book of Revelation, argues persuasively that John wrote the Book of Revelation before 70 A.D. David Chilton in his excellent commentary on the Book of Revelation, The Days of Vengeance, comes to the same conclusion. Dating of the Book of Revelation is important since even most revisionist scholars affirm that it was the last New Testament book written.
The impressive work of Claude Tresmontant, a distinguished scholar at the Sorbonne, confirms Robinson’s thesis. He bases his arguments on language and archaeology. He points out, for example, that in John 5:2 that “there is [estin in Greek, not “was”] at Jerusalem, at the sheep gate, a pool named in Hebrew Bethzatha. It has five porticos.” This makes no sense if Jerusalem was reduced to a heap of stones 25 or 30 years earlier. (See: Claude Tresmontant, The Hebrew Christ and The Gospel of Matthew.) Father Jean Carmignac of Paris also assigns early composition to the four Gospels. Carmignac, a philologist with exceptional skills in biblical Hebrew, was a noted scholar of the Dead Sea scrolls and the world’s most renowned expert on the Our Father. His The Birth of the Synoptic Gospels is a lucid summary of his thesis.
As a result of the persuasive erudition of these and other scholars a shift is occurring away from the blind acceptance of late New Testament authorship. An example of this shift is reflected in Fr. George H. Duggan’s fine article in the May 1997 issue of Homiletic & Pastoral Review titled: “The Dates of the Gospels.” By the grace of God may this trend continue!
February 7, 1998
Dr. George W. Knight III
”What does it matter when the book of Revelation was written? Much more than one might imagine! In fact, this seemingly obscure historical detail has become the central focus on the debate over Bible prophecy. The ramifications of the debate reach far beyond the theoretical.”
“When Revelation was revealed to John and written down for the Church to read and understand, it had an immediate impact. Christians were about to witness one of the most devastating judgments in history- the destruction of Jerusalem.”
“It is, of course, possible that Irenaeus made a mistake.” (Cited in Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, p. 957)
ADVOCATES FOR THE EARLY DATE OF REVELATION
(PRIOR TO THE 20TH CENTURY)
Greg Bahnsen (1984)
“A partial list of scholars who have supported the early date for Revelation, gleaned unsystematically from my reading, would include the following 18th and 19th writers not already mentioned just above: John Lightfoot, Harenbert, Hartwig, Michaelis, Tholuck, Clarke, Bishop Newton, James MacDonald, Gieseler, Tilloch, Bause, Zullig, Swegler, De Wette, Lucke, Bohmer, Hilgenfeld, Mommsen, Ewald, Neander, Volkmar, Renan, Credner, Kernkel, B. Weiss, Reuss, Thiersch, Bunsen, Stier, Auberlen, Maurice, Niermeyer, Desprez, Aube, Keim, De Pressence, Cowles, Scholten, Beck, Dusterdiek, Simcox, S. Davidson, Beyschlag, Salmon, Hausrath. Continuing on into the 20th century we could list Plummer, Selwyn, J.V. Bartlet, C.A. Scott, Erbes, Edmundson, Henderson, and others. If one’s reading has been limited pretty much to the present and immediately preceding generations of writers on Revelation, then the foregoing names may be somewhat unfamiliar to him, but they were not unrecognized in previous eras. When we combine these names with the yet outstanding stature of Schaff, Terry, Lightfoot, Westcott, and Hort, we can feel the severity of Beckwith’s understatement when in 1919 he described the Neronian dating for Revelation as “a view held by many down to recent times.” (Historical Setting for the Dating of Revelation)
- Firmin Abauzit, Essai sur l’Apocalypse (Geneva: 1725) ; An Historical Discourse on the Apocalypse (1730)
- Luis de Alcasar, Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi (Antwerp: 1614).
- Karl August Auberlen. Prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation of St. John in Their Mutual Relation (1856 PDF)
- B. Aubé
- James Vernon Bartlet, The Apostolic Age: Its Life, Doctrine, Worship, and Polity (Edinburgh: 1899), pp. 388ff. (AD75)
- Ferdinand Christian Baur, Church History of the First Three Centuries (Tubingen: 1863).
- Leonhard Bertholdt, Htitorisch-kritische Einleitung in die sammtlichen kanonishen u. apocryphischen Schriften des A. und N. Testaments, vol. 4 (1812 -1819).
- Willibald Beyschlag, New Testament Theology, trans. Neil Buchanan (Edinburgh: 1895).
- Friedrich Bleek, Vorlesungen und die Apocalypse (Berlin: 1859); and An Introduction to th New Testament, 2nd cd., trans. William Urwick (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1870); and Lectures on the Apocalypse, ed. Hossbach (1862).
- Alexander Brown (1878)
- Heinrich Bohmer, Die Offenbarung Johannis (Breslau: 1866).
- Wilhelm Bousset, Revelation of John (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck, 1896).
- Brown, Ordo Saeclorum, p. 679. 50
- Christian Karl Josias Bunsen.
- Cambridge Concise Bible Dictionay, editor, The Holy Bible (Cambridge), p. 127.
- Camp, Franklin.
- Newcombe Cappe
- W. Boyd Carpenter, The Revelation of St. John, in vol. 8 of Charles Ellicott, cd., Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, rep. n.d.).
- S. Cheetham, A History of the Christian Church (London: 1894) , pp. 24ff.
- Adam Clarke, Clarke’s Commentay on the Whole Bible.
- Henry Cowles, The Revelation of St. John (New York: 1871).
- Karl August Credner, Einleitung in da Neuen Testaments (1836).
- Alpheus Crosby
- R.W. Dale (1878)
- Samuel Davidson, The Doctrine af the Last Things (1882); “The Book of Revelation” in John Kitto, Cyclopedia of Biblical Literature (New York: 1855); An Introduction to th Study of the New Testament ( 1851 ); Sacred Hermeneutics (Edinburgh: 1843).
- Gary DeMar, “Last Days Madness”
- Edmund De Pressense, The Early Years of Christianity, trans. Annie Harwood (New York: 1879), p. 441.
- P. S. Desprez, The Apocalypse Fulfilled, 2nd ed. (London: 1855).
- W. M. L. De Wette
- Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, Kure Erklamng hr Offmbarung (Leipzig: 1848).
- Dollinger, Dr.
- Friedrich Dusterdieck, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Revelation of John, 3rd ed., trans. Henry E. Jacobs (New York: 1886)
- K. A. Eckhardt, Der Id da Johannes (Berlin: 1961 ).
- Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services, pp. 141ff.
- Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, Commentaries in Apocalypse (Gottingen: 1791).
- Erbes, Die Oflenbawzg 0s Johannis (1891).
- G. H. A. Ewald, Commentaries in Apocalypse (Gottingen: 1828).
- Frederic W. Farrar, The Early Days of Christianity (New York: 1884).
- Grenville O. Field, Opened Seals – Open Gates (1895).
- Hermann Gebhardt, The Doctrine of the Apocalypse, trans. John Jefferson (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1878).
- Gentry, Kenneth L., Jr.
- J.C.L. Giesler (1820)
- James Glasgow, The Apocalypse: Translated and Expounded (Edinburgh: 1872).
- James Comper Gray, in Gray and Adams’ Bible Commentary, vol. V
- Hugo Grotius, Annotations in Apocalypse (Paris: 1644).
- Heinrich Ernst Ferdinand Guenke, Introduction to the New Testament (1843); and Manual of Church History, trans. W. G. T. Shedd (Boston: 1874), p. 68.
- Henry Melville Gwatkin, Early Church History to A.D. 313, vol. 1, p. 81.
- Hamilton, James.
- Henry Hammond, Paraphrase and Annotation upon the N. T (London: 1653).
- Ernest Hampden Cook
- Harbuig (1780).
- Hardouin (1741)
- Johann Christoph Harenberg, Erkiarung ( 1759).
- Friedrich Gotthold Hartwig, Apologie Der Apocalypse Wider Falschen Tadel Und Falscha (Frieberg: 1783).
- Karl August von Hase, A History of the Christian Church, 7th cd., trans. Charles E. Blumenthal and Conway P. Wing (New York: 1878), p. 33. 54
- Adolph Hausrath.
- Hawk, Ray.
- B. W. Henderson, Life and Principate of Nero, 439 f.
- Hentenius. [secondary source]
- Johann Gottfrieded von Herder, Das Buch von der Zukunft des Herrn, des Neuen Testaments Siegal (Rigs: 1779).
- J. S. Herrenschneider, Tentamen Apocalypseos illustrandae (Strassburg: 1786).
- Adolphus Hilgenfeld, Einleitung in das Neun Testaments (1875).
- Heinrich Julius Holtzmann, Die Offenbarrung des Johannis, in Bunsen’s Bibekoerk (Freiburg: 1891).
- F. J. A. Hort, The Apocalypse of St. John: 1-111, (London: Macmillan, 1908); and Judaistic Christianity (London: Macmillan, 1894).
John Leonhard Hug, Introduction to the New Testament, trans. David Fosdick, Jr. (Andover: Gould and Newman, 1836).
- William Hurte, A Catechetical Commentay on the New Testament (St. Louis: John Burns, 1889), pp. 502ff.55
- A. Immer, Hermeneutics of the New Testament, trans. A. H. Newman (Andover: Draper, 1890).
- Theodor Keim, Rom und das Christenthum.
- Theodor Koppe, History of Jesus of Nazareth, 2nd cd., trans. Arthur Ransom (London: William and Norgate, 1883).
- Max Krenkel, Der Apostel Johannes (Leipzig: 1871).
- Johann Heinrich Kurtz, Church History, 9th cd., trans. John McPherson (3 vols. in 1) (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1888), pp. 41ff.
- Victor Lechler, The Apostolic and Post-Apostolic Times: Their Diversity and Union Life and Doctrine, 3rd cd., vol. 2, trans. A. J. K. Davidson, (Edinburgh: 1886), pp. 166ff.
- John Lightfoot (1658)
- Joseph B. Lightfoot, Biblical Essays (London: 1893).
- Gottfried Christian Friedrich Lücke, Versuch einer vollstandigen Einleitung in die Offenbarung Johannis, (Bonn: 1852).
- Christoph Ernst Luthardt, Die Offenbarung Johannis (Leipzig: 1861).
- James M. Macdonald, The Life and Writings of St. John (London: 1877).
- Frederick Denisen Maurice, Lectures on the Apocalypse, 2nd ed. (London: 1885).
- John David Michaelis, Introduction to the New Testament, vol. 4; and Sacred Books the New Testament.
- Charles Pettit M’Ilvaine, The Evidences of Christianity (Philadelphia: 1861).
- Theodor Mommsen, Roman History, vol. 5.
- John Augustus Wilhelm Neander, The History of the Planting and Training of the Christian Church by the Apostles, trans. J. E. Ryland (Philadelphia: James M. Campbell, 1844), pp. 223ff.
- Sir Isaac Newton, Observation Upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John (London: 1732).
- Bishop Thomas Newton, Dissertation on the Prophecies (London: 1832).
- A. Niermeyer, Over de echteid der Johanneisch Schriften (Haag: 1852).
- Professor Nehemiah A. Nisbett
- Alfred Plummer (1891).
- Dean Plumptere (1877)
- Edward Hayes Plumtree, A Popular Exposition of the Epistles to the Seven Churches of Asia, 2nd ed. (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1879).
- Ernest Renan, L’Antechrist (Paris: 1871).
- Eduard Wilhelm Eugen Reuss, History of the Sacred Scriptures of the New Testament (Edinburgh: T. &T. Clark, 1884).
- Jean Reville, Reu. d. d. Mondes (Oct., 1863 and Dec., 1873).
- Edward Robinson, Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 3 (1843), pp. 532ff.
- J. Stuart Russell, The Parousia (1878).
- Salmon, G. Introduction to the New Testament.
- Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, 3rd cd., vol. 1: Apostolic Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans,  1950), p. 834.
- Johann Friedrich Schleusner.
- J. H. Scholten, de Apostel Johannis in Klein Azie (Leiden: 1871).
- Albert Schwegler, Da Nachapostol Zeitalter (1846).
- Henry C. Sheldon, The Early Church, vol. 1 of History of the Christian Church (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1894), pp. 112ff.
- William Henry Simcox, The Revelation of St. John Divine. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1893).
- Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, Sermons and Essays on the Apostolic Age (3rd ed: Oxford and London: 1874), pp. 234ff.
- J.A. Stephenson (1838)
- Rudolf Ewald Stier (1869).
- Augustus H. Strong, Systematic Theology (Old Tappan: 1907, p. 1010).
- Moses Stuart, Commentary on the Apocalypse, 2 vols. (Andover: 1845).
- Milton S. Terry, Biblical Hermeneutics, p. 467.
- Thiersch, Die Kirche im apostolischm Zeitalter.
- Friedrich August Gottreu Tholuck, Commentary on the Gospel of John (1827).
- Tillich, Introduction to the New Testament.
- Gustav Volkmar, Conmentur zur 0fienbarung (Zurich: 1862).
- Foy E. Wallace, Jr., The Book of Revelation (Nashville: by the author, 1966) .
- Israel P Warren (1878)
- Bernhard Weiss, Die Johannes-Apokalypse. Textkritische Untersuchungen und Textherstellung (Leipsig, 1891).
- Brooke Foss Westcott, The Gospel According to St. John (Grand Rapids: 1882).
- J. J. Wetstein, New Testament Graecum, vol. 2 (Amsterdam: 1752).
- Karl Wieseler, Zur Auslegung und Kritik der Apok. Literatur (Gottingen: 1839).
- Charles Wordsworth, The New Testament, vol. 2 (London: 1864).
- Robert Young, Commentary on the Book of Revelation (1885)
- C. F. J. Zullig, Die Ofienbamng Johannis erklarten (Stuttgart: 1852).
ADVOCATES FOR THE EARLY DATE OF REVELATION
(20TH-21ST CENTURIES) / UNDER CONSTRUCTION
Greg Bahnsen (1984)
“When we combine the names (of the pre-20th century advocates of the early dating of the Apocalypse of John) with the yet outstanding stature of Schaff, Terry, Lightfoot, Westcott, and Hort, we can feel the severity of Beckwith’s understatement when in 1919 he described the Neronian dating for Revelation as “a view held by many down to recent times.” By many indeed! It has been described, as we saw above, as “the ruling view” of critics,” by “the majority of modern critics,” by “most modern scholars,” and by “the whole force of modern criticism.” The weight of scholarship placed behind the Neronian option for the dating of Revelation has been staggering. In our won day it has gained the support of such worthies as C.C. Torrey, J.A.T. Robinson, and F.F. Bruce and has been popularized by Jay Adams. In 1956 Torrey could write about the number 666, “It is now the accepted conclusion that the beast is the emperor Nero.” (Historical Setting for the Dating of Revelation)
- Jay E. Adams, The Time Is at Hand (Philipsburg: 1966).
- D.E. Aune, Revelation 1—5 (WBC, 52A; Nashville: 1997) ; Revelation 6—16 (WBC, 52B; Nashville: 1998a) ; Revelation 17—22 (WBC, 52C; Nashville: 1998b).
- Greg L. Bahnsen, Victory in Jesus: The Bright Hope of Postmillennialism (1999).
- Joseph R. Balyeat, Babylon – The Great City of Revelation (1991).
- Arthur Stapylton Barnes, Christianity at Rome in the Apostolic Age (Westport: 1938), pp. 159ff.
- R. Bauckham, The Climax of Prophecy: Studies on the Book of Revelation (Edinburgh: 1993).
- W. Bauer, W.F. Arndt and F.W. Gingrich, A Greek—English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (1979).
- Ulrich R. Beeson, The Revelation (1956 PDF).
- Albert A. Bell, Jr., “The Date of John’s Apocalypse. The Evidence of Some Roman Historians Reconsidered,” New Testament Studies 25 (1979): 93-102
- Charles Bigg, The Origins of Christianity, ed. by T. B. Strong (Oxford: 1909), pp. 30,48.
- F.F. Bruce, New Testament History (Garden City: 1969), p.411.
- Rudolf Bultmann (1976).
- R. Carré, `Othon et Vitellius, deux nouveaux Néron?’, in J.-M. Croisille, R. Martin and Y. Perrin (eds.), Neronia V. Néron: histoire et légende (Collection Latomus, 247; Brussels: 1999): 152-81.
- David Chilton, Paradise Restored (Tyler, TX: 1985); and The Days of Vengeance (Ft. Worth, TX: 1987).
- William Newton Clarke, An Outline of Christian Theology (New York: 1903).
- Adela Yarbro Collins, The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation (Harvard Theological Review; Harvard Dissertations in Religion, 9; (Missoula: 1976) ; Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse (Philadelphia: 1984).
- W. Gary Crampton, Biblical Hermeneutics (1986), p. 42.
- Berry Stewart Crebs, The Seventh Angel (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1938).
- Gary DeMar, End Times Fiction ; Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church
- George Edmundson, The Church in Rome in the First Century (London: 1913 PDF).
- George P. Fisher, The Beginnings of Christianity, with a View to the State of the Roman World at the Birth of Christ (New York: 1916), pp. 534ff.
- J. Massyngberde Ford, Revelation. Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: 1975).
- S.J. Friesen, Twice Neokoros: Ephesus, Asia and the Cult of the Flavian Imperial Family (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World, 116; Leiden: 1993) ; Imperial Cults and the Apocalypse of John: Reading Revelation in the Ruins (New York: 2001) ; `Satan’s Throne, Imperial Cults and the Social Settings of Revelation’, JSNT 27 (2005): 351-73.
- A.J.P. Garrow, Revelation (New Testament Readings; London: 1997).
- Kenneth L. Gentry, Before Jerusalem Fell, An Exegetical and Historical Argument for a Pre-A.D. 70 Composition, (1989)
- Robert McQueen Grant, A Historical Introduction to the New Testament (New York: Harper & Row, 1963), p. 237.
- Samuel G. Green, A Handbook of Church History from the Apostolic Era to the Dawn of the Reformation (London: 1904), p. 64.
- I. Head, `Mark as a Roman Document from the Year 69: Testing Martin Hengel’s Thesis’, JRH 28 (2004): 240-59.
- Bernard W. Henderson, The Life and Principate of the Emperor Nero (London: Methuen, 1903).
- M. Hengel, Studies in the Gospel of Mark ( Philadelphia: 1985).
- David Hill, New Testament Prophecy (Atlanta: John Knox, 1979), pp. 218-219.
- B. Kowalski, Die Rezeption des Propheten Ezechiel in der O fenbarung des Johannes (Stuttgarter Biblische Beiträge, 52; Stuttgart: Verlag Katholisches Bibelwerk, 2004).
- P. Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries (transl. and ed. M. Steinhauser and M.D. Johnson; London: 2003).
- Francis Nigel Lee, Revelation and Jerusalem (Brisbane: 1985)
- Peter J. Leithart, The Promise of His Appearing (2004 PDF)
- J.W. Marshall, Parables of War: Reading John’s Jewish Apocalypse (Studies in Christianity and Judaism, 10; Waterloo, Ont.: 2001) ; `Who’s on the Throne? Revelation in the Long Year’, in R.S. Boustan and A.Y. Reed (eds.), Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions (Cambridge: 2004): 123-41.
- A. D. Momigliano, Cambridge Ancient History (1934).
- Charles Herbert Morgan, et. al., Studies in the Apostolic Church (New York: 1902), pp. 210ff.
- C. F. D. Moule, The Birth of the New Testament, 3rd ed. (New York: 1982), p. 174.56
- Robert L. Pierce, The Rapture Cult (Signal Mtn., TN: 1986)
- T. Randell, “Revelation” in H. D. M. Spence &Joseph S. Exell, eds., The Pulpit Cornmentary, vol. 22 (Grand Rapids: 1950).
- James J. L. Ratton, The Apocalypse of St. John (London: 1912).
- J. W. Roberts, The Revelation to John (Austin, TX: Sweet, 1974).
- John A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: 1976).
- G. Rojas-Flores, `The Book of Revelation and the First Years of Nero’s Reign ‘, Bib 85 (2004): 375-92.
- C. Rowland, The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity (New York: 1982).
- W. Sanday (1908). Introduction to the New Testament.
- J. J. Scott, The Apocalypse, or Revelation of S. John the Divine (London: 1909).
- Edward Gordon Selwyn, The Christian Prophets and the Apocalypse (Cambridge: 1900); and The Authorship of the Apocalypse (1900).
- T.B. Slater, `Dating the Apocalypse to John’, Bib 84 (2003): 252-58.
- D. Moody Smith, “A Review of John A. T. Robinson’s Redating the New Testament,” Duke Diviniep School Review 42 (1977): 193-205.
- A.G. Soeting, Auditieve aspecten van het boek Openbaring van Johannes (PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam; 2001).
- Charles Cutler Torrey, Documents of the Primitive Church, (ch. 5); and The Apocalypse of John (New Haven: Yale, 1958).
- Cornelis Vanderwaal, Hal Lindsey and Biblical Prophecy (Ontario: 1978); and Search the Scriptures, vol. 10 (1979).
- J.W. Van Henten, `Nero Redivivus Demolished: The Coherence of the Nero Traditions in the Sibylline Oracles’, JSP 21 (2000): 3-17.
- G.H. Van Kooten, ‘The Year of the Four Emperors and the Revelation of John‘ (PDF): The `pro-Neronian’ Emperors Otho and Vitellius, and the Images and Colossus of Nero in Rome’ (Journal for the Study of the New Testament, Vol. 30, No. 2, 205-248 (2007) ; 2005 `”Wrath Will Drip in the Plains of Macedonia”: Expectations of Nero’s Return in the Egyptian Sibylline Oracles (Book 5), 2 Thessalonians, and Ancient Historical Writings’, in A. Hilhorst and G.H. van Kooten (eds.), The Wisdom of Egypt: Jewish, Early Christian, and Gnostic Essays in Honour of Gerard P. Luttikhuizen (Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity, 59; Leiden: E.J. Brill): 177-215.
- Arthur Weigall, Nero: Emperor of Rome (London: Thornton Butter-worth, 1930).
- Bernhard Weiss, A Commentary on the New Testament, trans. G. H. Schodde (NY: 1906), vol. 4.
- A.N. Wilson, Paul: The Mind of the Apostle (1977), p. 11
- J. Christian Wilson, `The Problem of the Domitianic Date of Revelation ‘, NTS 39 (1993): 587-605.
- M. Wilson, `The Early Christians in Ephesus and the Date of Revelation, Again’, Neot 39 ( 2005): 163-93.
- Herbert B. Workman, Persecution in the Early Church (London: 1906).
A view that the Apocalypse was written before A.D. 70 against errant Judaism virtually nullifies its impact on this issue. The primary purpose of this booklet is to show that an early date and Jewish application is wholly against the facts.
Otto Nordgreen: The Problems of a Pre-AD70 Date of the Apocalypse – “The date of the Book of Revelation (Rev) has been as disputed as its authorship. The dates proposed for the composition oscillate between, on the one hand, the time before or during the so-called Jewish War (66-77 CE) and, on the other hand, the time of Emperor Trajan, viz. late 1st century (Aune 1997:lvii). Traditionally, the prevailing view has been that Rev was written sometime during the reign of Emperor Domitian (81-96 CE); more specifically (and in harmony with the ancient testimony of Irenaeus ) towards the end of his reign, viz. ca. 94/95 CE. “
- The Apocalypse: Christadelphian “A view that the Apocalypse was written before A.D. 70 against errant Judaism virtually nullifies its impact on this issue. The primary purpose of this booklet is to show that an early date and Jewish application is wholly against the facts.” (1932)
Irenaeus‘ Quote (Used as Grounds for Late Date Theory)
“We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the Revelation. For (‘he’ [John?] or ‘it’ [Revelation?]) was seen not long ago, but almost in our own generation, at the end of the reign of Domitian.” (Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5:30:3)
“It is said that in this persecution [Domitian’s] the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, was condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos in consequence of his testimony to the divine word. Irenaeus, in the fifth book of his work Against Heresies, where he discusses the number of the name of Antichrist which is given in the so-called Apocalypse of John, speaks as follows concerning him: ‘If it were necessary for his name to be proclaimed openly at the present time, it would have been declared by him who saw the Revelation. For it was seen not long ago, but almost in our own generation, at the end of the reign of Domitian.’ To such a degree, indeed, did the teaching of our faith flourish at that time that even those writers who were far from our religion did not hesitate to mention in their histories the persecution and the martyrdoms which took place during it. And they, indeed, accurately indicated the time. For they recorded that in the fifteenth year of Domitian Flavia Domitilla, daughter of a sister of Flavius Clement, who at that time was one of the consuls of Rome, was exiled with many others to the island of Pontia in consequence of testimony borne to Christ (Church History, Bk. III, ch. 18).
“Tertullian also has mentioned Domitian in the following words: ‘Domitian also, who possessed a share of Nero’s cruelty, attempted once to do the same thing that the latter did. But because he had, I suppose, some intelligence, he very soon ceased, and even recalled those whom he had banished.’ But after Domitian had reigned fifteen years, and Nerva had succeeded to the empire, the Roman Senate, according to the writers that record the history of those days, voted that Domitian’s horrors should be cancelled, and that those who had been unjustly banished should return to their homes and have their property restored to them. It was at this time that the apostle John returned from his banishment in the island and took up his abode at Ephesus, according to an ancient Christian tradition (Church History, Bk. III, ch. 20)
“And He says unto me, Thou must again prophesy to the peoples, and to the tongues, and to the nations, and to many kings.” He says this, because when John said these things he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the labour of the mines by Caesar Domitian. There, therefore, he saw the Apocalypse; and when grown old, he thought that he should at length receive his quittance by suffering, Domitian being killed, all his judgments were discharged. And John being dismissed from the mines, thus subsequently delivered the same Apocalypse which he had received from God. This, therefore, is what He says: Thou must again prophesy to all nations, because thou seest the crowds of Antichrist rise up; and against them other crowds shall stand, and they shall fall by the sword on the one side and on the other. (Commentary on the Apocalypse, 11)
The time must be understood in which the written Apocalypse was published, since then reigned Caesar Domitian; but before him had been Titus his brother, and Vespasian, Otho, Vitellius, and Galba” (Commentary on the Apocalypse, XVII).
Clement of Alexandria
“And that you may be still more confident, that repenting thus truly there remains for you a sure hope of salvation, listen to a tale, which is not a tale but a narrative, handed down and committed to the custody of memory, about the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant’s death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit.” (The Rich Man, XLII)
“After an interval of some years from the death of Nero, there arose another tyrant no less wicked (Domitian), who, although his government was exceedingly odious, for a very long time oppressed his subjects, and reigned in security, until at length he stretched forth his impious hands against the Lord. Having been instigated by evil demons to persecute the righteous people, he was then delivered into the power of his enemies, and suffered due punishment.” (Address to Donatus, Ch 3).
“Why, my son, dost thou flee from me, thy father, unarmed, old? Son, pity me. Fear not; thou hast still hope of life. I will give account to Christ for thee. If need be, I will willingly endure thy death, as the Lord did death for us. For thee I will surrender my life. Stand, believe; Christ hath sent me….And he, when he heard, first stood, looking down; then threw down his arms, then trembled and wept bitterly. And on the old man approaching, he embraced him, speaking for himself with lamentations as he could, and baptized a second time with tears, concealing only his right hand. The other pledging, and assuring him on oath that he would find forgiveness for himself from the Savior, beseeching and failing on his knees, and kissing his right hand itself, as now purified by repentance, led him back to the church.” (The Rich Man, XLII)
“In the fourteenth year then after Nero, Domitian having raised a second persecution he was banished to the island of Patmos, and wrote the Apocalypse, on which Justin Martyr and Irenaeus afterwards wrote commentaries. But Domitian having been put to death and his acts, on account of his excessive cruelty, having been annulled by the senate, he returned to Ephesus under Pertinax and continuing there until the tithe of the emperor Trajan, founded and built churches throughout all Asia, and, worn out by old age, died in the sixty-eighth year after our Lord’s passion and was buried near the same city.” (Lives of Illustrious Men, Ch IX).
“We maybe sure that John was then a boy because ecclesiastical history most clearly proves that he lived to the reign of Trajan, that is, he fell asleep in the sixty-eighth year after our Lord’s passion, as I have briefly noted in my treatise on Illustrious Men. Peter is an Apostle, and John is an Apostle – the one a married man, the other a virgin; but Peter is an Apostle only, John is both an Apostle and an Evangelist, and a prophet. An Apostle, because he wrote to the Churches as a master; an Evangelist, because he composed a Gospel, a thing which no other of the Apostles, excepting Matthew, did; a prophet, for he saw in the island of Patmos, to which he had been banished by the Emperor Domitian
As a martyr for the Lord, an Apocalypse containing the boundless mysteries of the future Tertullian, moreover, relates that he was sent to Rome, and that having been plunged into a jar of boiling oil he came out fresher and more active than when he went in (Against Jovinianus, Book 1, 26).
“Then, after an interval, Domitian, the son of Vespasian, persecuted the Christians. At this date, he banished John the Apostle and Evangelist to the island of Patmos. There he, secret mysteries having been revealed to him, wrote and published his book of the holy Revelation, which indeed is either foolishly or impiously not accepted by many” (The Sacred History, Ch 31).
“John, again, in Asia, was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which also he wrote his Gospel and saw the apocalyptic vision; and in Trajan’s time he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found (The Twelve Apostles, XLIX).
Acts of the Holy Apostle John
“And the fame of the teaching of John was spread abroad in Rome; and it came to the ears of Domitian that there was a certain Hebrew in Ephesus, John by name, who spread a report about the seat of empire of the Romans, saying that it would quickly be rooted out, and that the kingdom of the Romans would be given over to another. And Domitian, troubled by what was said, sent a centurion with soldiers to seize John, and bring him. And having gone to Ephesus, they asked where John lived.
And when all were glorifying God, and wondering at the faith of John, Domitian said to him: I have put forth a decree of the senate, that all such persons should be summarily dealt with, without trial; but since I find from thee that they are innocent, and that their religion is rather beneficial, I banish thee to an island, that I may not seem myself to do away with my own decrees. He asked then that the condemned criminal should be let go; and when he was let go, John said: Depart, give thanks to God, who has this day delivered thee from prison and from death.
And having prayed, he raised her up. And Domitian, astonished at all the wonders, sent him away to an island, appointing for him a set time. And straightway John sailed to Patmos, where also he was deemed worthy to see the revelation of the end. And when Domitian was dead, Nerva succeeded to the kingdom, and recalled all who had been banished; and having kept the kingdom for a year, he made Trajan his successor in the kingdom. And when he was king over the Romans, John went to Ephesus, and regulated all the teaching of the church, holding many conferences, anti reminding them of what the Lord had said to them, and what duty he had assigned to each. And when he was old and changed, he ordered Polycarp to be bishop over the church. (Acts of the Holy Apostle John, Exile and Departure).
“But after Domitian had reigned fifteen years, and Nerva had succeeded to the empire, the Roman Senate, according to the writers that record the history of those days, voted that Domitian’s honors should be cancelled, and that those who had been unjustly banished should return to their homes and have their property restored to them. 11. It was at this time that the apostle John returned from his banishment in the island and took up his abode at Ephesus, according to an ancient Christian tradition. (Church History, Book 3, Ch 20).
“And all the elders that associated with John the disciple of the Lord in Asia bear witness that John delivered it to them. For he remained among them until the time of Trajan.”
“But the church in Ephesus also, which was founded by Paul, and where John remained until the time of Trajan, is a faithful witness of the apostolic tradition.”
Clement of Alexandria
“Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in memory. For when, after the tyrant’s death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches, elsewhere to choose to the ministry some one of those that were pointed out by the Spirit. (Church History, Book 3, Ch 23).
Refuting the Praeterist Counter-Scheme “What the grounds of this strange presumptuousness of tone? What the new and overpowering evidence in favor of the modern Præterists?”
“The same is the recorded judgment of Jerome; the same of Augustine’s friend, Orosius; the same of Sulpitius Severus. Once more, we find an unhesitating statement of similar purport in Primasius; an eminent Augustinian commentator on the Apocalypse, of the sixth century. In his Preface to this Commentary, he speaks of the Apocalyptic visions having been seen by St. John when banished and condemned to the mines in Patmos by the Emperor Domitian” (Horae Apocalypticae, vol. I, p. 36).
“Nor can it be wondered at: seeing that as to any contrary statement on the point in question, there appears to have been none whatsoever until the time of Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, in the latter half of the fourth century: …whose chief work, On Heresies, is decried … as ‘full of blots and errors, through the levity and ignorance of the author:’ …For he speaks of St. John having prophesied when in the isle of Patmos, in the days of the Emperor Claudius: –a time when… it does not appear from history that there was any imperial persecution of the Christian body whatsoever…” (Horae Apocalypticae, vol. I, p. 37).
“ …another testimony to the early date of the Apocalypse. The subscription to a Syriac version of the book, written about the beginning of the sixth century, is thus worded; ‘The Revelation which was made by God to John the Evangelist in the island of Patmos, whither he was banished by the Emperor Nero.’ But of what value is this opinion, then first broached, as it would appear?” (Horae Apocalypticae, vol. I, p. 38-39).
“May not the mistake have arisen from Domitian having sometimes the title of Nero given him; and in fact the original writer of the Syriac subscription have meant Domitian, not Nero?” He includes in this footnote further proofs given in Latin of this title applying to Domitian (Horae Apocalypticae, vol. I pg. 39, footnote 1).
“It has been frequently assumed that the Apocalypse may be dated to the reign of the Emperor Domitian, the last representative of the Flavian house (AD 81-96), as a response to fierce persecution which took place during his reign. But this view has recently been challenged seriously, both because encouragement in the face of persecution may not be regarded as the single motive behind the composition of Revelation, and also on account of the insecurity surrounding the evidence of imperial oppression during the time of Domitian. This leaves the way open to revive the alternative view, common among nineteenth-century scholars, that Revelation was written between AD 64, as a result of the persecution under Nero, and AD 70, the fall of Jerusalem (see the summary of the research representing these two positions in Robinson, Redating [the New Testament, London: SCM Press, 1976], 224-26).
As it happens, I believe that it is perfectly possible to locate the writing of Revelation in the reign of Vespasian (AD 69-79); and I have argued that the book emerged just before the fall of Jerusalem to Titus, Vespasian’s son, in AD 70 . . . I suggest that this conclusion fits the internal and external evidence for the dating of Revelation; it is also supported by the theological thrust of the drama itself. For the members of John’s circle, the earthly Jerusalem and its Temple would have been a central holy place in which to encounter God, and also a spiritual centre of gravity. If Jerusalem were about to be destroyed, the vision in Rev. 21-22 of a stunning and emphatically new holy city, where God’s people will dwell eternally in a close covenant relationship with him, would have provided exactly, and at the right moment, all the spiritual encouragement they needed.”
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (Premillennialist)
“First, then, let us look at the preterist view… It seems to me that the view is clearly impossible in terms of the book of Revelation itself. For the book takes us on to the very end of time and tells us, “that there should be time no longer” (Rev. 10:6). It takes us on to the destruction of the devil and all his powers, and the instruments that he uses – the dragon himself and the various beasts. Revelation deals with that final destruction, so, obviously, it cannot be right to say that it only refers to events confronting the early Christian Church and things which would come to an end when the Roman empire became officially Christian.” (The Church and the Last Things, vol. 3, 152)
Robert Thomas (Premillennial Dispensationalist)
“Preterism uses the “soonness” of Christ’s coming to prove a writing of Revelation in the 60s and fulfillment of much of the book’s prophecies by A.D.70. Placing a time limit on “soon” is, however, unwarranted. Jesus taught against pinpointing the time of his return… He could have returned by 70, but he did not. God has not been pleased to reveal how long it will be. So far “soon” has extended to over 1900 years, but God’s people still must anticipate an any-moment return of Christ. Ninteen hundred years may not seem to be “soon” for humans, but they must accept God’s lesson about expecting Christ’s coming to be near.” (“A Classical Dispensationalist View of Revelation,” in Four Views on the Book of Revelation, gen. ed. C. Marvin Pate, 191.)
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- Date: 08 Nov 2003
- Time: 07:44:40
The blind battling the blind. The date, structure and meaning of the book of Revelation are only revealed by relying on the complete and consistent typology that God gave the church for guidance – i. e., first the natural things of the OT, then the spiritual things of the NT (1 Cor. 15:46).
As long as Bible students continue their stubborn rejection of that God-given guidance and insist on relying instead on an endless variety of personal opinions about NT passages, they’ll never understand what really happened in the first century.
Date: 26 Feb 2011
I believe the comment below is very clear and to the point. The scriptures point to first century fulfillment, as do almost all commentaries on the subject. Unfortunately if we can’t square our literal understanding of things with scripture, then we can’t accept what God’s word actually says. We need to adjust our thinking to God’s ways, not the other way around.
Date: 26 Jul 2012
Hengstenberg gives a detailed consideration of this matter, in his introduction to his commentary on the Apocalypse, confidently concluding that the date of the writing of the Apocalypse was during the latter part of Domitian’s reign.
You can download this(Hengstenberg’s commentary) from the Internet Archive.
Hengstenberg quotes Vitringa also, as being of the same mind, and it would be good to see if there is available an English translation of Vitringa’s work on the subject.
Date: 02 Jul 2012
I never heard anyone mention that D Martyn Lloyd Jones was a Premillennialist before. Can you please tell me the source of your information or evidence for this.
I had understood that Todd Dennis no longer held to full preterism, is that incorrect? The early date of Revelation is foundational, without it preterism cannot be built.