How the Diocletian Persecution Upsets Assumptions About the Timing and
the intent of the Book of Revelation, the Roman Empire, and Bible Prophecy
by Mark Mountjoy
Late, not early; far beyond the lifetime of even the Apostle John, the Emperor Diocletian’s persecution of Christians, in a number of very important ways, upsets and destroys carefully laid theories about the timing and intent of the Book of Revelation. And so much that is assumed by late date advocates about the role of the Romans comes undone precisely because it fails (rather dramatically) to parallel Revelation’s course of the judgment, loss, and downfall of an unnamed, but strongly insinuated antagonistic civilization in any way, shape or form.
Traditional interpretations emphasize the Bible’s supposed focus on the hostility of the empire against Christians in a small stretch of time from 18 July A.D.64 (under Nero), to the death of Domitian on 18 September A.D.96, but they are unwilling to also say that the Christians came out from under these hardships into a post-Apocalyptic world—as was eagerly expected (2 Peter 3:11-14). According to non-Premillennial exegetes, within these 32 years (and mainly toward the latter end) the Book of Revelation makes the best sense. Does it?