On July 27th, 2017, the 10th Monthly Fulfilled Prophecy Conference Call took place, hosted by Jordan Hardgrave and featuring Gary DeMar as the main speaker. Gary is an author, lecturer, and the former president of American Vision. Gary and his wife live in Marietta, Georgia.
His message was titled, “Are We Living in the Last Days?” His presentation addressed this question, but also featured many questions and answers. Here’s the audio of Gary’s presentation. Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the Comment section below:
On November 1st, 2016 the sixth Monthly Fulfilled Prophecy Conference Call took place, hosted by Jordan Hardgrave and featuring Adam Maarschalk as the main speaker. Adam lives in Newport, Kentucky (just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati) with his wife, Jasmine. Adam’s site, “Pursuing Truth,” can be seen here (www.adammaarschalk.com) and features studies onthe book of Revelation(fulfilled),the Olivet Discourse(fulfilled),Christian Zionism(critiqued), and more.
Adam’s message was titled, “Josephus and the Book of Revelation (9 Case Studies).” Here’s the audio of his message (3:40 Introduction; 50:35 Presentation; 21:45 Q & A), followed by his notes. Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the Comment section below:
InJohn Wesley’s commentary on Matthew 24(1755), he said, “Josephus’s History of the Jewish War is the best commentary on this chapter…” I believe this is also true for the book of Revelation.
The preterist movement is known for believing that the book of Revelation was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This belief is backed by both external and internal evidence, that is, testimonies in early church history as well as (more importantly) evidence within the text.
“The Wars of the Jews” by Josephus is another major source of evidence that Revelation was written before 70 AD. This work by Josephus was published in 75 AD, less than 15 years after Revelation was written. It contains seven books, most of which cover the Jewish-Roman War of 66-73 AD.
In this message I want to present nine case studies showing parallels between the book of Revelation and “The Wars of the Jews.” As we look at these parallels, consider what they mean for the popular idea that John wrote Revelation around 95 AD. Some of the parallels are so striking that a person would basically have to conclude that John borrowed from the earlier writings of Josephus, and then used the language of Josephus to prophesy of a much later war. We know, however, that John wrote his prophecies first, and Josephus wrote his works a decade or so later. John wrote before the Jewish-Roman War and Josephus wrote after the war.
In this presentation I’ve included the month and year of each event that Josephus referred to. This is based on dates that Josephus himself cited, as well as a helpful table in Ed Stevens’ book, “The Final Decade before the End” (p. 242) showing the modern equivalents of the months cited by Josephus. In the chart below, I’ve color-coded the case studies that feature the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments:
Please feel free to share whether or not you believe these parallels are legitimate. The more parallels we can nail down between the book of Revelation and the writings of Josephus, the better we can understand the structure of Revelation. For example, were the seals, trumpets, and bowls fulfilled chronologically? When Josephus made reference to them, did he do so in the same order John listed them? How much recapitulation (restating of events) actually exists in Revelation?
Case Study #1 (Revelation 6:4)
“And another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.”
Revelation 6:4 describes the opening of the second seal. Here we see that peace would be taken from “the earth.” This phrase can also be translated as “land” (as it is in Young’s Literal Translation), a reference to “the promised land,” i.e. the land of Israel. A good example of this is Luke 21:23, where Jesus clearly spoke of Judea, yet some translations say “on the earth” and others say “in the land.”
Here’s a description given by Josephus about the civil war among the Jews, which began outside of Jerusalem but spread to Jerusalem by the time the war began in August 66 AD(Wars 4.3.2):
“But then it must be observed, that the multitude that came out of the country were at discord before the Jerusalem sedition began… There were besides disorders and civil wars in every city; and all those that were at quiet from the Romans turned their hands one against another. There was also a bitter contest between those that were fond of war, and those that were desirous for peace. At the first this quarrelsome temper caught hold of private families, who…began already to stand in opposition one to another; so that seditions arose everywhere… the barbarity and iniquity those of the same nation did no way differ from the Romans; nay, it seemed to be a much lighter thing to be ruined by the Romans than by themselves.”
Josephus was describing the events of November 67 AD when he gave this summary. Josephus used phrases like “one against another”, “in opposition one to another”, “civil wars in every city,” and “barbarity.” This lines up well with John’s vision of people “killing one another” in the land. This domestic fighting was so significant that the approach of the Romans was seen as “a much lighter thing.”
In John’s vision, he also saw “a great sword.” Numerous times Josephus spoke of the Zealots killing others with swords and cutting their throats (e.g.Wars 2.18.3, Wars 4.4.3, Wars 4.5.3, and Wars 5.8.1). Were these beheadings? These four instances of throat cutting took place in Galilee and Jerusalem in August 66 AD, February/March 68 AD, and May 70 AD.
Case Study #2 (Revelation 6:15-16)
“And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, and said to the mountains and rocks, ‘Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?’” (Revelation 6:15-17).
This passage describes the sixth seal. Notice how Josephus described the attempts of the Zealots to save themselves when they were driven out of the lower city of Jerusalem in August 70 AD (Wars 6.7.3):
“So now the last hope which supported the tyrants, and that crew of robbers who were with them, was in the caves and caverns underground; whither, if they could once fly, they did not expect to be searched for; but endeavored, that after the whole city should be destroyed, and the Romans gone away, they might come out again, and escape from them. This was no better than a dream of theirs; for they were not able to lie hid either from God or from the Romans.”
So John saw a vision of commanders and other men  hiding in the caves and rocks and  attempting to hide from God. Josephus likewise described the Zealots  heading to the caves and caverns as their last hope and  being unable to hide from God and the Romans.
These accounts are also parallel to an earlier prophecy given by Jesus on His way to Golgotha:
And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him.But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” (Luke 23:27-30)
Jesus told those ladies that they and their children would personally see the day when people in Jerusalem would call upon the mountains to fall on them and hide them. About 40 years later it happened just as He said, just as John foretold, and as Josephus recorded it. See also Hosea 10:8.
Case Study #3 (Revelation 8:7-9)
“The first angel sounded: And hail and fire followed, mingled with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. Then the second angel sounded: And something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood; and a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.”
This passage describes the first and second trumpet judgments. Notice that both judgments feature a mixture of fire and blood. Compare this with what Josephus said happened in Galilee in March/April 67 AD after he tried to fortify the city of Sepphoris, the capital and largest city of Galilee (seeWars 3.2.4):
“By this means he [Josephus] provoked the Romans to treat the country according to the law of war; nor did the Romans, out of the anger they bore at this attempt, leave off, either by night or by day, burning the places in the plain, and stealing away the cattle that were in the country, and killing whatsoever appeared capable of fighting perpetually, and leading the weaker people as slaves into captivity; so that Galilee was all over filled with fire and blood; nor was it exempted from any kind of misery or calamity…” (Wars 3.4.1).
Sepphoris was located halfway between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sea of Galilee, and only three miles away from Nazareth. InWars 3.9.3Josephus described what happened on the Sea of Galilee in June 67 AD to thousands of Jews who tried to escape from Joppa:
“Now as those people of Joppa were floating about in this sea, in the morning there fell a violent wind upon them; it is called by those that sail there “the black north wind,” and there dashed their ships one against another, and dashed some of them against the rocks, and carried many of them by force, while they strove against the opposite waves, into the main sea; for the shore was so rocky, and had so many of the enemy upon it, that they were afraid to come to land… And much lamentation there was when the ships were dashed against one another, and a terrible noise when they were broken to pieces; and some of the multitude that were in them were covered with waves, and so perished, and a great many were embarrassed with shipwrecks. But some of them thought that to die by their own swords was lighter than by the sea, and so they killed themselves before they were drowned; although the greatest part of them were carried by the waves, and dashed to pieces against the abrupt parts of the rocks, insomuch that the sea was bloody a long way, and the maritime parts were full of dead bodies; for the Romans came upon those that were carried to the shore, and destroyed them; and the number of the bodies that were thus thrown out of the sea was four thousand and two hundred.”
InWars 3.10.9Josephus also described what happened on the Sea of Galilee in August 67 AD to people from Tiberias and Taricheae:
“Sometimes the Romans leaped into their ships, with swords in their hands, and slew them; but when some of them met the vessels, the Romans caught them by the middle, and destroyed at once their ships and themselves who were taken in them. And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they lifted their heads up above the water, they were either killed by darts, or caught by the vessels; but if, in the desperate case they were in, they attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off either their heads or their hands; …one might then see the lake all bloody, and full of dead bodies, for not one of them escaped. And a terrible stink, and a very sad sight there was on the following days over that country; for as for the shores, they were full of shipwrecks, and of dead bodies all swelled; and as the dead bodies were inflamed by the sun, and putrefied, they corrupted the air…”
So John saw fire and blood, land being burned, and ships being destroyed. Josephus described those very things taking place throughout Galilee from March – August 67 AD.
Case Study #4 (Revelation 9:13-16)
“Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, ‘Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.’ So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million, and I heard the number of them” (Revelation 9:13-16).
This is a partial description of the sixth trumpet. Momentarily we’ll take a look at a quote from Josephus about four commanders who led a murderous army, but first here’s some background.
During the winter of 67-68 AD, Ananus II, the former high priest in Jerusalem, urged the people of Jerusalem to oppose the lawless Jewish Zealots who had taken over the temple as “blood-shedding villains.” John Levi of Gischala had recently come to Jerusalem, and he pretended to be on the side of Ananus and was invited to be an ambassador to the Zealots (Wars 4.3.13). However, John quickly betrayed Ananus and falsely claimed that he had invited the Roman general Vespasian to conquer Jerusalem (Wars 4.3.14).
In response, the Zealot leaders Eleazar ben Simon and Zacharias ben Phalek requested help from the Idumeans (Idumea was south of Judea). They told the Idumeans that “unless they would come immediately to their assistance… the city would be in the power of the Romans.” The Idumeans quickly prepared an army of 20,000 directed by four commanders (Wars 4.4.2):
“Now these [Idumean] rulers were greatly surprised at the contents of the letter, and at what those that came with it further told them; whereupon they ran about the nation like madmen, and made proclamation that the people should come to war; so a multitude was suddenly got together, sooner indeed than the time appointed in the proclamation, and everybody caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis; and twenty thousand of them were put into battle-array, and came to Jerusalem, under four commanders, John, and Jacob the son of Sosas; and besides these were Simon, the son of Cathlas, and Phineas, the son of Clusothus.”
What about the discrepancy between the numbers “200 million” and “20,000”? Earlier I quoted from the New King James Version.Like most versions, it gives some variation of the number “200 million.” Young’s Literal Translation says “two myriads of myriads.”The Interlineartranslates this phrase as “twice ten thousand ten thousands.” The word “myriad” in Greek meant “10,000,” so two myriads was “20,000,” the same number that Josephus assigned to the Idumean army.
A similar expression is used in Psalm 68:17 (“The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of thousands; The Lord is among them as in Sinai, in the Holy Place” –NKJV). This verse isfar more often translatedto say “20,000” than Revelation 9:16 is.The Interlinear for Psalm 68:17translates this verse to say “even thousands, twenty thousand of God are the chariots.” When it comes to Revelation 9:16, it seems that most translations have unnecessarily squared the number “10,000” before doubling it, coming up with 200 million instead of 20,000.
In any case, John and Josephus both described an army of 20,000 led by four commanders. The Idumeans came to Jerusalem in February 68 AD. We’ll hear more about them in the next section.
Case Study #5 (Revelation 11:7-13)
“Now when they [the two witnesses] finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three and a half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth… In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand men were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.”
This vision is also part of the sixth trumpet, or at least it appears before the seventh trumpet sounds. This is the first passage in Revelation where “the beast” is mentioned, and it’s also where “the great city” is first mentioned and defined – as being the city where Jesus was crucified, i.e. Jerusalem.
Josephus described a morning in February 68 AD when the city of Jerusalem woke up to find that 8,500 people had died during the night due to an earthquake and a slaughter carried out by the Idumeans. Here’s how he described the earthquake in the midst of a great storm (Wars 4.4.5):
“[F]or there broke out a prodigious storm in the night, with the utmost violence, and very strong winds, with the largest showers of rain, with continued lightnings, terrible thunderings, and amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an earthquake… anyone would guess that these wonders foreshowed some grand calamities that were coming.”
And here’s how he described the slaughter carried out by the Idumeans that same night, after they managed to saw through the gates and break into the city (Wars 4.5.1):
“The zealots also joined in the shouts raised by the Idumeans; and the storm itself rendered the cry more terrible; nor did the Idumeans spare anybody; for as they are naturally a most barbarous and bloody nation, and had been distressed by the tempest, they made use of their weapons against those that had shut the gates against them… Now there was at present neither any place for flight, nor any hope of preservation; but as they were driven one upon another in heaps, so were they slain… And now the outer temple was all of it overflowed with blood; and that day, as it came on, they saw eight thousand five hundred dead bodies there.”
Recall that John said “in the earthquake seven thousand men were killed.” Josephus didn’t distinguish between how many died in the earthquake and how many were killed by the sword, so it’s possible that the earthquake killed 7000 and the Idumeans killed 1,500.
The next day the Idumeans, working on behalf of the Zealots, hunted down and killed a couple of former high priests, Ananus and Jesus, who had long tormented the Zealots by opposing their war and working for peace. Here’s how Josephus described their deaths inWars 4.5.2:
“[The Idumeans] sought for the high priests, and…went with the greatest zeal against them; and as soon as they caught them they slew them, and then standing upon their dead bodies, in way of jest, upbraided Ananus with his kindness to the people, and Jesus with his speech made to them from the wall. Nay, they proceeded to that degree of impiety, as to cast away their dead bodies without burial… I should not mistake if I said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city… He…preferred peace above all things; …he was a shrewd man in speaking and persuading the people, and had already gotten the mastery of those that opposed his designs, or were for the war… And this at last was the end of Ananus and Jesus.”
So John and Josephus both described two individuals in Jerusalem who were hated, killed, and not allowed to be buried. If we go back to Rev. 11:5-6, they also both describe a couple of men who could not be taken down by their enemies until this particular time. And they describe this happening at the same time as an earthquake that coincided with the deaths of at least 7000 people.
I realize this case study is probably the most controversial, and it deserves a deeper study. I plan to do that in a series I’m currently working onabout the beast of Revelation, which should be ready in a few weeks. Until recently I believed that the beast was Rome (generally) and Nero (specifically). I now believe the beast was Zealot-led Israel and I’ll present a lot of evidence for that in my upcoming series.
One thing we should note here in Revelation 11 is the fact that the beast oversees the deaths of the two witnesses in Jerusalem. If this indeed happened in 68 AD, the beast could not have been Roman. From August 66 AD until April 70 AD the Romans were not in Jerusalem, except for a few days in November 66 AD when Cestius Gallus led a failed attack on the city. If the events of Revelation 11 took place anytime between late 66 AD and the spring of 70 AD, the beast that overcame the two witnesses was Jewish, not Roman. And based on the four case studies we’ve already looked at, and the next four that we’re about to look at, it’s very fitting that the events of Revelation would have taken place in early 68 AD.
Case Study #6 (Revelation 16:3-6)
“Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man, and every living creature in the sea died.Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters saying: ‘You are righteous, O Lord, the One who is and who was and who is to be, because You have judged these things. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due.’”
This is a description of the second and third bowl judgments. Josephus described how, in the spring of 68 AD, Vespasian prepared for the eventual siege on Jerusalem by marching “against Gadara, the metropolis of Perea” (Wars 4.7.3) and the rest of Perea as well (Wars 4.7.6). Perea was the region east of the Jordan River, just next to Judea and Jerusalem.
Some of the Jews who fled from Gadara joined with others and “got in great numbers together and fled to Jericho” (Wars 4.7.5) with Placidus, Vespasian’s assistant, chasing them. Placidus drove the whole multitude to the riverside, along the Jordan River. Then things really took a tragic turn (Wars 4.7.5-6):
“They then extended themselves a very great way along the banks of the river, and sustained the darts that were thrown at them, as well as the attacks of the horsemen, who beat many of them, and pushed them into the current. At which fight, hand to hand, fifteen thousand…were slain, while the number of those that were unwillingly forced to leap into Jordan was prodigious… and Jordan could not be passed over, by reason of the dead bodies that were in it, but because the lake Asphaltiris was also full of dead bodies, that were carried down into it by the river. And now Placidus… put his soldiers on board the ships, and slew such as had fled to the lake…”
Lake Asphaltiris was the Greek name for the Dead Sea. So John saw a sea that “became blood as of a dead man” (Rev. 16:3) and he saw that “every living creature in the sea died.” Josephus said that the Dead Sea was “full of dead bodies” and that Placidus killed everyone else who fled to the Dead Sea.
John saw rivers and springs of water turn to blood, and that those who shed the blood of saints and prophets were given “blood to drink.” Josephus said that a multitude of Jews was pushed into, and “unwillingly forced to leap into,” the current of the Jordan River. That river was so full of dead bodies that no one could pass over it. Some of them drank the bloody water as they drowned.
“Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.”
This is from John’s description of the seventh bowl. “The great city,” as we already saw, was Jerusalem.
The Cities of the Nations Fell
The downfall of the nation of Galilee in 67 AD can be seen mostly inThe War of the Jews, Book 3. In the previous section we saw that Vespasian subdued the entire nation of Perea in the spring of 68 AD. Then in the summer of 68 AD Vespasian was at Caesarea, ready “to march directly to Jerusalem” when he learned that Nero had died (in June 68 AD). So Vespasian waited there for almost a year (Wars 4.9.2).
In the meantime, though, another nation fell. That was the nation of Idumea, but it was at the hands of Simon Bar Giora, a Jewish Zealot leader. He first “laid waste the whole country” of Idumea, attacking Hebron, ravaging cities and villages, and making Idumea like a desert (Wars 4.9.7). Then he “compelled a great number of [the Idumeans] to retire to Jerusalem; he followed them himself also to the city.” Josephus said he “was a greater terror to the people than the Romans themselves,” but the Zealots in Jerusalem were even “more heavy upon” the people than Simon and the Romans (Wars 4.9.10).
So, amazingly, Simon was invited into Jerusalem. The people “made joyful acclamation to him, as their savior and their preserver,” thinking he would save them from the madness of the Zealots. However, Simon Bar Giora looked upon them all as his enemies (Wars 4.9.11). In April 69 AD Simon “got possession of Jerusalem” (Wars 4.9.12). Soon the stage would be set for Jerusalem to be divided into three factions, but first we’ll take note of more cities that fell.
In May-June 69 AD Vespasian “marched against those places of Judea which were not yet overthrown,” sparing only Herodium, Masada, Macherus, and Jerusalem which were controlled by the Zealots (Wars 4.9.9). He paused his campaign again, however, when he learned that Vitellus had become emperor of Rome (Wars 4.10.2). In December 69 AD he was named emperor of Rome (Wars 4.11.4-5) and his son, Titus, was dispatched to besiege Jerusalem (Wars 4.11.5 andWars 5.1.1).
Here’s a simple table of nations that fell from 67 AD to mid-69 AD. This is not exhaustive:
“[T]he sedition at Jerusalem was revived, and parted into three factions, and that one faction fought against the other… one should not mistake if he called it a sedition begotten by another sedition, and to be like a wild beast grown mad, which for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.”
“And now there were three treacherous factions in the city, the one parted from the other. Eleazar [ben Simon] and his party, that kept the sacred first-fruits, came against John [Levi of Gischala] in their cups. Those that were with John plundered the populace and went out with zeal against Simon [Bar Giora].”
So this is a very clear fulfillment of John’s words that the great city, Jerusalem, “was divided into three parts” (Revelation 16:19). It’s also a flashback to Jerusalem’s earlier destruction in 586 BC. In Ezekiel 5:1-12 we see that Ezekiel was required to shave his head and divide it into three parts, and God told him, “This is Jerusalem” (verse 5). One third of his hair was burned, one third was chopped up by the sword, and the last third was scattered into the wind.
Case Study #8 (Revelation 16:21)
“And great hail from heaven fell upon men, every hailstone about the weight of a talent. And men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, since that plague was exceedingly great.”
This is also from John’s description of the seventh bowl. Compare this to the following description of large stones catapulted over the wall in Jerusalem by the tenth Roman legion in May 70 AD (Wars 5.6.3):
“The engines, that all the legions had ready prepared for them, were admirably contrived; but still more extraordinary ones belonged to the tenth legion… Now the stones that were cast were of the weight of a talent, and were carried two furlongs and further. The blow they gave was no way to be sustained, not only by those that stood first in the way, but by those that were beyond them for a great space. As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone, for it was of a white color, and could therefore not only be perceived by the great noise it made, but could be seen also before it came by its brightness; accordingly the watchmen that sat upon the towers gave them notice when the engine was let go, and the stone came from it, and cried out aloud, in their own country language, ‘THE STONE COMETH,’ so those that were in its way stood off, and threw themselves down upon the ground; by which means, and by their thus guarding themselves, the stone fell down and did them no harm. But the Romans contrived how to prevent that by blacking the stone, who then could aim at them with success, when the stone was not discerned beforehand, as it had been till then; and so they destroyed many of them at one blow.”
So John saw hailstones weighing a talent falling from the sky over Jerusalem, and Josephus describes white stones weighing a talent being catapulted into the city.A talent was 75 – 100 pounds.
According to William Whiston’s famous translation of the works of Josephus, the watchmen shouted, “THE SON COMETH,” rather than “THE STONE COMETH.” J. Stuart Russell, in his 1878 book The Parousia (p. 482), pointed out that it was only eight years before this, in 62 AD, that as James was being martyred he cried out that “the Son of Man was about to come in the clouds of heaven.” So Russell speculated that the watchmen gave this cry “in mockery of the Christian hope of the Parousia.”
These large stones were actually discovered in an archaeological dig during the last year. Seehereandherefor articles on this find, including photos of the stones.
Case Study #9 (Revelation 17:12-16)
“And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as of yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them… And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.”
As I mentioned earlier, until a few months ago I believed that the beast in Revelation was Rome and Nero. I assumed that the 10 horns must have been the 10 Senatorial Provinces of Rome working with Nero to persecute Christians and to capture and burn Jerusalem in 70 AD.
When I started to rethink this subject, one thing I discovered is that when Titus overthrew Jerusalem in 70 AD he did not have leaders or representatives of those 10 provinces with him. He didn’t even have 10 legions with him. Instead he had four legions – the 5th, 10th, 12th, and 15th legions (Wars 5.1.6).
Then I was surprised to discover that Josephus listed exactly 10 high priests and religious leaders in Israel who were given authority as generals in December 66 AD. Three of them were even killed by the Zealots in early 68 AD, fulfilling Daniel 7:8, 20, 24. Here’s a quick summary of what led up to the selection of those 10 generals. (More details can be seenin this article.)
Josephus says that the Jewish/Roman War officially began in August 66 AD when Eleazar, the son of Ananias the high priest, “who was at that time governor of the Temple, persuaded those that officiated in the divine service to receive no gift or sacrifice for any foreigner.” They used this new law to reject “the sacrifice of Caesar” (Wars 2.17.2). They also massacred a Roman garrison stationed at the Antonia Fortress on the east side of Jerusalem (Wars 2.17.7).
In November 66 AD Cestius Gallus brought the 12th Legion to put down the Jewish rebellion. Surprisingly, his army suffered about 5,700 deaths, his weapons and supplies were stolen during an ambush, they retreated on November 22nd, and the Jewish rebels chased and killed many of them over the next five days. The Jewish temple leaders knew that a full-scale Roman revenge was inevitable. So they “got together in great numbers in the temple, and appointed a great many generals for the war.” Here’s a list of the territories they were to oversee in preparation for war with Rome (Wars 2.20.3-4):
Joseph, the son of Gorion (Governor of Jerusalem)
Ananus, the high priest (Governor of Jerusalem)
Jesus, the son of Sapphias, one of the high priests (Idumaea)
Eleazar, the son of Ananias, the high priest (Idumaea)
Niger, the then governor of Idumea (Idumaea)
Joseph, the son of Simon (Jericho)
John, the Esscue (toparchy of Thamna; “Lydda was also added to his portion, and Joppa, and Emmaus”)
John, the son of Matthias (toparchies of Gophnitica and Acrabattene)
Josephus, the son of Matthias (both the Galilees; “Gamala also, which was the strongest city in those parts, was put under his command”)
The three generals who were killed by the Zealots in fulfillment of Daniel 7:8, 20, 24 were  Ananus ben Ananus  Niger of Perea, and  Joseph ben Gorion. Their deaths are recorded inWars 4.5.2andWars 4.6.1.
How did these horns make war with the Lamb? In a nutshell, Jesus made war against the harlot/great city, Jerusalem, and He used the Roman army as His instrument (see Matthew 22:7). The Zealots and those who were aligned with them fought desperately to maintain power over Jerusalem and to gain independence for Israel. This question is addressed furtherhere.
How did they turn on the harlot, make her desolate, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire? They were assigned to Idumea, Jericho, Perea, Galilee, Jerusalem, etc. During the Jewish-Roman War, Jerusalem became more and more isolated as Rome captured Galilee, Perea, and other places. Many people made their way to Jerusalem, and presumably these generals did the same. Josephus, of course, was captured.
We already saw the quote fromWars 5.1.1where Josephus described “the sedition” in Jerusalem, and the civil war between the Zealot factions, as “a wild beast grown mad, which, for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.” Josephus also repeatedly blamed the Jews, especially the Zealots, for the fire that burned Jerusalem and the temple. InWars 6.4.5he said, “[T]hese flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them.” InWars 6.6.2he records a speech given by Titus in which he said to the Zealots, “You…have set fire to your holy house with your own hands.” Josephus made similar statements inWars 5.4.4, Wars 6.2.9, and other places.
Based on these case studies, I would like to tentatively suggest that the seals, trumpets, and bowls were structured in this way:
Seals – From 66 AD (or earlier) to 70 AD Trumpets – From early 67 AD to early 68 AD
Bowls – From spring 68 AD to 70 AD
To use an arm as an analogy, the seals would stretch from the shoulder to the fingers; the trumpets would stretch from the shoulder to the elbow; (the elbow would represent the Zealot siege of early 68 AD); and the bowls would stretch from the elbow to the fingers.
This presentation represents an ongoing study, as there are more parallels between the Book of Revelation and Josephus that are not included here. Those who listen to or read this presentation are welcome to evaluate these case studies and this tentative conclusion.
On August 30, 2016, the fourth Monthly Preterist Conference Call took place, hosted by Jordan Hardgrave and featuring Johnny Ova as the main speaker. Johnny lives in Long Island, New York with his wife, Rachel, and their children. Johnny is the founder and pastor of Sound of Heaven Church.
Johnny’s message was titled, “The Nature of the Kingdom.” Here’s the audio of his message (25 minutes), followed by his notes. Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the Comment section below:
So let me get this straight…
The Bible emphatically and powerfully places the return of the Lord at the end of the Old Covenant age when the temple was destroyed in AD 70. It was at that time that He raised the dead out of Hades, and separated the sheep from the goats. He also simultaneously changed the living remnant to immortal at that time, joining them with the righteous dead who had finally entered into heaven. It was at that time that He established His eternal Kingdom that will never end and He will dwell within men for all time.
However, He will return again!!
To come a 3rd time? To raise the dead from Hades again? To separate the sheep from the goats again? To change the living to immortal again? To establish His Kingdom again? To start dwelling within men again?
Kingdom is defined as “a domain over which a king reigns.”
“Nature” means “the basic or inherent features of something, especially when seen as characteristic of it.”
In Deuteronomy 31 & 32, where we find “The Song of Moses,” Moses is prophesying about Israel’s falling away and “end.”
31:29- “For I know that after my death you will act corruptly and turn from the way which I have commanded you; and evil will befall you in the latter days, for you will do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger with the work of your hands.”
32:15- “But Jeshurun grew fat and kicked— You are grown fat, thick, and sleek— Then he forsook God who made him, And scorned the Rock of his salvation.”
It talks about Israel growing fat and thick and rebelling against God.
Moses was prophesying about Israel’s rebellion and he tied it into the theme of vengeance. When Israel violated covenant, God would send prophets who were covenant messengers of Jehovah to call them back to covenant and warn them that if they did not come back to covenant God’s judgment would be upon them. Not only did Israel reject the messengers, but they persecuted them and killed them. God looked upon this and said He would avenge this in the “last days.”
32:29-“Would that they were wise, that they understood this, That they would discern their future!
32:41-43- “If I sharpen My flashing sword, And My hand takes hold on justice, I will render vengeance on My adversaries, And I will repay those who hate Me. ‘I will make My arrows drunk with blood, And My sword will devour flesh, With the blood of the slain and the captives, From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.’ “Rejoice, O nations, with His people; For He will avenge the blood of His servants, And will render vengeance on His adversaries, And will atone for His land and His people.”
Now let’s fast forward to the time of Jesus.
Matthew 23:33-36- “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.”
Gods vengeance for the blood of all the prophets would come upon that generation. When you get to the Book of Acts, God had sent His apostles and prophets, who ended up being murdered and stoned in and out of the synagogues (e.g. Stephen, James, Paul). They were killed because of the unbelieving Jewish part of the nation and the cup of iniquity was about full.
John the Baptist was sent to preach repentance for the Kingdom was at hand. He was born and sent to Israel…because a Judgment from God was coming!
What is the kingdom? The kingdom is the place/realm where God/heaven dwells.
Why was the kingdom coming? The invisible kingdom was going to come via judgement and establish rule and reign on earth as the Kingdom of God is above the earthly kingdoms.
How was it coming?
Matthew 10:5-7- These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’
So what is this “kingdom” and how was it coming? It was coming with judgment and justice!
Isaiah 9:7- “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”
Basically what He was saying to the Jews is that for years they had rejected His rule. In the days of Samuel they rejected Him and asked for an earthly king, but never submitted to Him. “You have two choices. My rule is coming through the kingdom. You can accept it and be saved or reject it and be judged.” And this would be established with the coming of His Kingdom!
The problem I have with futurists is that they have delayed the kingdom for 2000 years, as if it was postponed or delayed, but the time statements in the New Testament make it extremely clear when this was to take place. “The time is near, the kingdom is at hand, we are in the last days, we’re in the last hour; repent, for the time is near.” There was urgency, a call to repentance, a call to the Jews to repent (especially all over the book of Acts).
When did it come?
27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. 28 “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”
How to operate in the Kingdom?
God’s kingdom is spiritual. “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-5). You can not and will not be able to “physically” operate in it.
His kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36 “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.'”
His kingdom is not external. Romans 14:17- “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (It starts on the inside and manifests to the outside, like a volcano.)
The kingdom of God contains power to change and transform. As Paul said, “the kingdom of God is not in word but in power” (1 Cor. 4:20).
We have the keys to the Kingdom. “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matt. 16:19; cf. Matt. 18:18-20.
It needs to be our primary focus. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”
“Assuredly, I say to you, there is not one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.” Luke 18:29-30
It is difficult to get in if we are distracted. It is difficult for those who are preoccupied with the cares of this world (Matt. 13:18-23) and/or riches (Matt. 19:23) to enter the kingdom of God.
Luke 11:20- But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; 13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.”And as they were going, they were cleansed. 15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, 16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? 18 Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith [m]has made you well.”
20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”
Adam’s message was titled, “Living Worthy of What the Old Testament Prophets Foretold about this New Covenant Age.” Here’s the audio of his message (25 minutes), followed by his notes. Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the Comment section below:
One thing I’ve heard from people who are skeptical of preterism is that, if everything is fulfilled, there must be nothing left for God’s people today. So I want to talk about some of those things that we do have in this new covenant age, about the present realities, mandates, and destinies that God has for us. Yes, I’m fascinated by all the things that took place in the first century AD during the last days of the old covenant age, and their significance and how they fulfilled prophecy, but I’m also very interested in how the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles said we would be equipped for a glorious, expanding, forward-moving life in God’s kingdom and in His holy city, the new Jerusalem.
This is a very broad subject, so in this message I want to narrow the focus to the vision that the Old Testament prophets had about this age. I will only have time to cover some of it, of course. Before we dig into some great Scripture texts, I want to briefly set this up and talk about one reason why it’s important to study and teach about this vision of the Old Testament prophets, especially at this point in church history. We live during a time when some very strange filters have been laid over the teachings of the Old Testament prophets because premillennial and dispensationalist teachings have dominated in the Church for several generations.
One of the foundation stones of dispensationalism is the idea that this present church age is a surprising parenthesis in God’s long-term plan. Many dispensationalist leaders have taught that this age we live in was never foreseen by the Old Testament prophets. Instead they looked past our time, i.e. the last 2000 years, toward a future 1000-year period known as “the millennium” when Christ would return and finally begin to reign. Here area few short quotes from some of these leaders:
“It has been illustrated how this whole age existed in the mind of God without having been revealed in the Old Testament.” [J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), p. 137]
“Dispensationalists have regarded the present age as a parenthesis unexpected and without specific prediction in the Old Testament.” [J.F. Walvoord, Millennial Kingdom, 1959, p. 227]
“The first prediction relative to the true Church was uttered by Christ, being recorded in Matthew 16:18.” [L.S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, 8 vols. (Dallas: Dallas Seminary Press, 1947), 4:374]
“The Church is a mystery in the sense that it was completely unrevealed in the Old Testament and now revealed in the New Testament.” [Charles Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith (Loizeaux Brothers, 1953), p. 136]
Harry A. Ironside also taught that the Old Testament prophets saw two mountains ahead, which were the first and second comings of Christ. According to Ironside, the church age was in a large valley in between those mountains and the prophets were unable to see into it:
“It has often been pointed out by others, but is well worth repeating, that the Old Testament seer might be likened to a man standing on one of our Western plains looking off toward a great mountain range. Many miles before him is a vast mountain which for the moment fills all his vision. Clouds cover the top of it, so that it seems to pierce the heavens, but suddenly the clouds are lifted and in the blaze of the westering sun he sees another and higher peak beyond, covered with snow, which seems to shine in resplendent glory. What the man gazing upon this scene cannot see, however, is the valley or the lower ranges of mountains that come in between these two peaks. The one may be many miles beyond the other. In between may be lesser hills, valleys, rivers, villages and farms, but all of these are unseen by the man upon the plain.
Let us imagine a cross surmounting the first peak, and call this the vision of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to suffer and to die for our sins. Then imagine that the glory surrounding the second and higher peak takes the form of a crown of light, and think of it as indicating the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus to reign in power and glory over all this lower universe. Peter spoke of the “sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” These two mountains illustrate both. But now, in between them we have all the events of the present age of grace, and these could not be seen by the Old Testament prophets for it was not yet the will of God to make them known. These are the mysteries kept secret from the foundation of the world, which began to be made manifest by our Lord Jesus as He told of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; and then were more fully unfolded in the unique revelation of the mystery of the Church, the body of Christ, given to the Apostle Paul, and the unfolding of the mystery of iniquity and of Babylon the Great through Paul and John. Other mysteries there are linked with these, and nearly all of them have to do with what is going on between the First and Second Comings of our Lord.”
This teaching has robbed the body of Christ of a glorious blueprint for our present time, which was laid out in the Old Testament and further developed in the New Testament. This teaching says that God’s best plans, promises, and purposes are not for this present age, but for a future age when the superiority of the Jewish race is once again restored. It’s robbed the body of Christ of wonderful descriptions of our identity and also descriptions of how God invites us to partner with Him in seeing His peace, His government, and His justice expand throughout our world.
So let’s look at some of the passages that reveal the vision that the Old Testament prophets had of this present new covenant age.One major theme that we will see in their vision is the theme of God’s peace.
Daniel 7:14, 18, 21-22, 27
In Daniel 7, Daniel had a vision of Jesus ascending to His Father and receiving everlasting dominion, glory, and a kingdom. Then during the time of the fourth beast, the fourth kingdom that would persecute the saints, God would give the kingdom and dominion into the hands of His people:
“Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed… But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever… 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… Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him” (Daniel 7:14, 18, 21-22, 27).
Revelation 13:5-7 describes this same great persecution as the beast “making war with the saints” and overcoming them for 42 months. This took place under Nero from November 64 AD until June 68 AD.
However, God ruled in favor of the body of Christ. Jesus took the kingdom and dominion that He received at His ascension and placed it into the hands of His people.
That’s a powerful picture of us partnering with Christ in expanding His kingdom, carrying His glory, and walking in His dominion.
All of Jesus’ parables about His kingdom expanding, growing, and impacting the world are true for us right now. Think of the mustard seed growing into a large tree and other images that Jesus presented.
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father,Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Jesus began to reign on the throne of David during the time of the apostles (Acts 2:29-36, Ephesians 1:20-23, Hebrews 1:3-13, Revelation 1:5).
One of His names is “Prince of Peace.” Micah 5:2 also says regarding Jesus, “And this One shall be peace.”
Isaiah prophesied that Christ’s government and peace would only increase, forever.
Isaiah also prophesied that this would happen because of God’s own zeal.
God invites us to partner with Him and to know our role in seeing His government and peace expand in this world.
Isaiah 65:17 – 66:13
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, and her people a joy” (Isaiah 65:17-18).
Isaiah goes on to describe New Jerusalem as a place with no weeping or crying, but where childbirth, physical death, planting, and building would still take place. Yet the labor of God’s people would not be in vain, and there would also be peace and reconciliation (“The wolf and the lamb shall feed together”), and no hurting or destruction in God’s holy mountain.
Names were very important in Scripture. Think about the name, “Jerusalem,” and its meaning. In its name we see “salem” and the closely-related word “shalom.” Jerusalem means “City of Peace.” When Isaiah looked forward to the New Jerusalem, he foresaw a new “city of peace.” We are the city of God, the city of peace.
The other part of Jerusalem’s name comes from the Hebrew word, “yara.” This word means “to shoot like an arrow, to throw, to pour, to flow, to teach, to inform, and to direct.”
Put those two parts together and we have a picture of shooting and pouring out God’s peace upon one another and into the darkest places of the world around us. Although I disagree with Sid Roth’s futurism and Zionism, his 2008 article “The Real Meaning of Jerusalem” has more valuable things to say on this.
We’re destined to live with peace in our hearts. The body of Christ is destined to be known as a community of peace, and we’re destined to see God’s peace touch and impact communities where we live and every part of the world where God’s people are.
As Isaiah continues to describe New Jerusalem, he says, “Rejoice with Jerusalem… that you may feed and be satisfied with the consolation of her bosom, that you may drink deeply and be delighted with the abundance of her glory… Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream… And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (Isaiah 66:10-13).
Recall what David said in Psalm 122:6-7. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: ‘May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces.’” That prayer has been answered, as God has created a new city of peace, the new covenant people of God.
When Jesus was talking with His disciples about going to His Father and leaving the Holy Spirit with them, He said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
In the New Testament, the clearest descriptions of the New Jerusalem, God’s city of peace, can be seen in Galatians 4:21-31, Hebrews 12:18-29, Revelation 3:12, and Revelation 21:1-22:5.
“…Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’ For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall rebuke many people; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”
The mountain of the Lord, New Jerusalem, was destined to attract all nations. It’s the place where the word of the Lord goes forth and people learn God’s ways.
Again we see an image of great peace.
The same vision is seen in Micah 4:1-3.
“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land; and I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
The author of Hebrews quotes from Haggai 2:6 when he writes about the soon-coming shaking and removal of those things related to Mount Sinai, i.e. the old covenant, and how the saints were about to receive a kingdom that couldn’t be shaken.
Notice that he did not include the phrase “it is a little while,” which Haggai used. That’s because it was just around the corner for the readers of Hebrews.
God again says that His new temple would be filled with glory, and that in His new temple He would give peace.
“I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them – My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken. I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hands of those who enslaved them…” (Ezekiel 34:23-27).
“David” is obviously Jesus here.
This vision speaks of fruitfulness, blessing, and again a covenant of peace.
Ezekiel 40-48, the final eight chapters of Ezekiel’s book, describe a new city and a new temple. We need some preterist commentaries on these eight chapters, by the way. In this long vision, Ezekiel seems to be looking at both  the restoration of Israel to the land after the Babylonian captivity of 586 BC and  Israel’s hope fulfilled as Jesus establishes the new covenant. This was the view of Philip Mauro in his 1923 book, “The Hope of Israel” (chapters 11-12). In Ezekiel 47, he describes the same healing waters and trees that John describes in Revelation 22:1-2.
“Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east…And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. 4 Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. 5 Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed… 7 When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. 8 Then he said to me: ‘This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. 9 And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes… Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.’”
In the city of God there is constant fruit-bearing, life, and healing. This healing and life IS for God’s people, but it’s also for the nations. Healing is to take place everywhere the river flows. This is our ongoing mandate and calling, and the Lord has fully equipped us.
Zechariah 14:8-9 says that, in the day that the Lord would be King over all the earth, living waters would flow from Jerusalem toward the east and toward the west, in both summer and winter.
Jesus said that rivers of living water would flow out of the hearts of everyone who believes in Him (John 7:37-38).
“For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed… O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires. I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children…” (Isaiah 54:10-13).
Here again we see there is a covenant of peace and great peace for the followers of the Lord in this age.
Paul quotes from this passage in his allegory of two covenants, two Jerusalems, and two women in Galatians 4:21-31.
This description of precious stones can also be found in John’s description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:19-20.
“Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
These words were spoken to Joshua, the son of the high priest in Zechariah’s day, but it was already made clear earlier in the book that Joshua was a type of a coming Branch, the Messiah.
Ephesians 2 says that Jesus is the chief cornerstone of God’s holy temple, which was made up of the one new man, Jews and Gentiles together, “thus making peace” (verse 15).
We see again that “the counsel of peace” marks the reign of Christ as King and Priest.
Peace is also one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and it’s one of the three attributes of God’s kingdom that Paul chose to highlight in Romans 14:17.
Zechariah 8 goes on to give a great description of the coming New Jerusalem.
If time allowed, we could also dig into Isaiah 49, Isaiah 60-61, Amos 9, Zephaniah 3, and a number of other prophecies. As another note about God’s peace, recall that when Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist prophesied about His nephew, Jesus, he echoed Isaiah 60 when he said, “…the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79).
Do you want to further study this subject of the vision of the Old Testament prophets for this present age? One study strategy is to look up the passages that premillennialists say are about a future millennium period. Those passages have been arbitrarily tied to Revelation 20 and John’s vision of the 1000 years, as though John alluded to them in his vision. He did not actually. Those passages from the Old Testament, though, are rich with details and blueprints for this present, never-ending age.
Let’s be the peacemakers that Jesus called us to be in the Sermon on the Mount, and partner with Him in His reign to see the never-ending increase of His government and peace.
Michael’s message on April 17th was titled, “The Efficacy of the Local Church.” Here’s the audio of his message (23 minutes), followed by his notes. Please feel free to share your thoughts, feedback, and questions in the Comment section:
“And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24).
In the Spring 2013 edition of FULFILLED! MAGAZINE there was an article titled, “The Modern Church – Is it Biblically Based?”
In the “Preterist community,” questions are rampant about why we should or shouldn’t gather or celebrate communion.
I would venture to say that about 80% of the “full preterists” whom you correspond with on Facebook do not attend or gather with a local church. About 99% of the “partial preterists” may attend or gather with a church church. However, neither they nor the church generally focus on the reforming efforts of Preterism. This is troublesome to me.
When I say I believe there is power in Preterism, I am saying that Preterism beings reform into the body that enables us to further have answers for those who ask questions of us, that Preterism stands the test of proving all things and, ultimately, Preterism when studied out allows for the renewing of our minds into the Biblical worldview of worshiping God in Spirit and in Truth.
How and why would we think it is acceptable for the reformation to take place outside of the local setting of Christianity – the local church? If reform is not being done in the Church with God’s people, whom will God send into this world?
“The church is suffering from an identity crisis that is largely self-inflicted.” -Frank Yerby
“The church, as the fulfillment of much Old Testament prophecy, is the culmination of the progressive revelation of God as epitomized by the principle “first the natural, then the Spiritual.” -Frank Yerby
“Ecclesia” – this word means “called out ones”;
In the first century it was Jews and Gentiles.
Isaiah 9:6-7 speaks of His eternal kingdom:
“For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”
Isaiah 48:6 says, “You have heard; see all this. And will you not declare it? I have made you hear new things from this time, even hidden things, and you did not know them.”
God’s wisdom is revealed in the famous sociologist Margaret Mead’s quote, “Never thought that a group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world? Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
Scriptural response: Ezekiel 47 / Revelation 21 in a practical perspective
Now imagine a large body of water that raises the dead to life, yet the large body does not have local ports. I have always loved to look at the local church as a sort of “outpost of the kingdom.” This is not foreign to Scripture at all. Consider that Israel had tribes and God ordered specific things for each tribe. Throughout Scripture we see the use of the Hellenistic understanding of the “body” as an assembly or group of items or people, more specifically groups of slaves in Greek culture.
Upon what confession were saints called into the body in Scripture?
What makes one a Christian?
What constitutes a “local church”? (Christian)
Only when we as a global community recognize our local responsibility will we truly see the reforming effects of Preterism take place in maturity.
Points To Make
EVANGELICALISM AND THE LOCAL BODY (my meeting with local pastors)
“Farewell to those who want an entirely pure and purified church. This is plainly wanting no church at all” – Martin Luther
Yet with a paradox, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The God of our Fathers is a God of revolution. He will not be content with anything less than perfection in His children and in society.”
Honest confusion – paradigms – yet convicted of Jesus Christ
KINGDOM AND THE LOCAL BODY
HEALING AND DISCIPLESHIP THROUGH THE LOCAL BODY (helps with motives, implications, examination, exhortation, academic controversy, etc.)
OUTREACH THROUGH THE LOCAL BODY
“God would save the world through fascination, by setting up an alternative society (the church) on the margins of the empire for the world to come and see what a society of love looks like. It would be this ‘city on a hill’ that God would use to light up the world, drawing the world back to God… In the story of Noah, God exterminates the many to save the few, and in the story of Abraham, God sets apart the few to save the many.” -Shane Claiborne, Jesus For President
We must gather together to continue to urge one another to get rid of selfish individualism and excuses – a manifestation of the carnal nature of man.