The Book of Revelation as a Psychic and Practical Crisis In the Minds and Lives of Christians

Third Edition

Book of Revelation Crisis

The Idea That the Bible Can Mean Anything

We  Want Finds Its Greatest Expression in

How Christians Insist On Handling the Book of Revelation

by Mark Mountjoy

Introductory Remarks

Four different views of Bible eschatology among Christians is interesting, problematic, and concerning for a number of important and telling reasons: It says a lot about how the people of God view the matter of the Gospels and the Cross as a single conceptual unity but regard the return in triumph of our Savior in a highly idiosyncratic and whimsical way, subject to change according to highly transient and impermanent criteria set on vague foundations and protected by authoritarianism and traditionalism.

The Four Views first assume a late date for the writing of the Book of Revelation, arguably 25 years after one of the most important civil incidents that happened in the first century: The Destruction of the Second Temple and Jerusalem.  These are not two lonely facts but are representative of a lot of consequential actions, gains, losses, aims, reversals, circumstances and difficult or happy outcomes.  The omission of these in our consideration of the meaning of the Book of Revelation is detrimental in so many ways it cannot be highlighted, underlined, or overstated enough.

First, if the events of Revelation chapter 6 and afterward are separate and apart from anything that actually happened or was relevant in the contextual backdrop presented in its first three chapters, it cannot be related to reality in any meaningful way–that is to say, it is a superficial idealized understanding that leaves too much to be desired.  It is not a random mistake that God isolated the seven churches of Asia Minor as the scene of troubles and trials in the last book of the New Testament.  Nor is it a mere coincidence that Asia Minor is the source of the final troubles and woes that beset the ancient Church after the thousand years reign. (Rev. 20:8 cf. Ez. 38:1-6)1 The figure below shows the relationship between Magog, the leader-nation of the final war with the people’s who descended from Noah’s third son, Japheth.

Table of Nations Descendant from Noah’s Son, Japheth

Table of Japheth DescendantsA map of the region below is equally instructive because it takes us back to a time in the first and second century when Asia Minor was a major hub of the Diaspora Jews, Israelites, proselytes, and Godfearers who all were zealous defenders of the cause of the continuation of the Law and the traditions of the elders but great opposers of the Gospel, the Cross, and persecutors of the Christians who existed in their expansive region. (see Acts 16:6; 2 Cor. 1:8-9) Enemy Cities in Asia Minor

One might say that the radical’s understanding of Judaism and its aspirations were highly Hellenized, thin-skinned, brittle, and militant and they were prepared not only to use violence but also the “depths of Satan” to ensure their success in any endeavor to defeat the Romans or anyone else who stood in their way. 

Nevertheless, the overarching message of the Book of Revelation is that these synagogue allied forces would fail anyway. (Rev. 2:9, 2:24-27 and 3:7, 9)  The startling wakeup call for them would be the Destruction of their cherished Jerusalem and their sacred Second Temple and, seven decades later, their execution on the mountains, in the valleys and on the plains of the Land of Israel.  These events do not happen at the end of time, but just before the God of Israel “sets his glory among the heathen” according to Ezekiel 39:21.  God has already done this when he defeated Simon Bar Kokhba and his hordes.

Second, if all four traditionalist eschatological views fail in their ability to connect to the historical circumstances described in the prologue of the Book of Revelation a natural result of this breach will be either abnegation, or predictable disappointment–as a rule and never ever the exception.  Now, abnegation can be heard in the reasonings of those who advocate that the book of Revelation, far from being God-breathed and inspired by the Holy Spirit, is almost certainly a spurious work. However, if the Book of Revelation is viewed as spurious it cannot help but suffer at the hands of interpreters as a kind of ‘third wheel’–a proverbial ‘academic nuisance’–if you like.

Some in Eastern Orthodox circles are brazenly calling for its removal from the New Testament canon because they do not understand how it is the Christian story of the Church’s exodus from apostate Judaism.   It is, therefore, sanctified by God as a vital and necessarily grand epilogue to the story of Jesus and his triumph over the world.3 

Predictable Bible prophecy pronouncements followed by non-event disappointments is another way disregard for the Book of Revelation manifests itself where passages and verses are being utilized as a springboard or stepping-stone to support superficial and farcical claims about past or current events that completely undermine, destroy, or call into question Revelation’s own archaeological, social, and historical integrity as a valid book in its own right.4 

A claim is made (out of basically whole cloth) and then the prophecy (like clock work) predictably fails to happen.  People are embarrassed; hopes are dashed, (yet again) and then the whole process cools down only to heat up to be repeated again and again and again (sometimes by the same author, but sometimes by a new claimant).

This can be heard and observed in the treatment the Book of Revelation receives in the popular Christian media output around the modern Israeli State, seismic activity, pandemics, and wars.  But, contrary to Dispensational Premillennial, and Ultra-Jewish Orthodox hopes, the rank and file of the modern Israeli State are not in any hurry to build or implement a Third Temple. Nor are they keen to reignite the region’s significance around priestly and animal sacrificial routines.   These have been out of existence for close to nineteen centuries and every attempt to reinstitute them through the years has been met with eerie disaster.5

Alternatively, Historicist tropes about the evils of the Papacy and Catholicism’s systemic doctrinal irregularities or Amillennialism’s notion of a supposed looming detonation of the planet Earth at the end of time–all of which completely miss the point of desperate and savage Hebrew messianic wars fought vainly before and during the Roman Captivity and ending, with brutal finality, with the Expeditio Judaica.6  7  8 

First and second century prophecy misfortunes were the final death nails in the coffin of the world that connived and orchestrated the death of our Lord, but these officials stood in brazen denial of his resurrection, paying the frightened soldiers to spread what was a blatant lie.  This deliberate misrepresentation led to our Lord’s avowed enemies taking unwise actions that they otherwise would have rejected, but being convinced that Jesus was not the Christ their hopes were bound up in fighting for Second Temple Jerusalem and throwing their lot into an unwinnable war against powers far above and beyond their control.

And the Book of Revelation is primarily about that war and the significance of Christians seeing it for what it was; getting through it or around it without compromising their faith.

Now, to be sure, the Book of Revelation can be seen as a tome full of malleable threats, confusing symbols, and the repository and culmination of all the combined signs, types, and shadows of the Hebrew Bible, but those who reach this premature conclusion fail to see there are stable claims the New Testament authors use to describe the subjugation of the Second Jewish Commonwealth consistently, logically, and unilaterally.9  

Making Sense of the Kaleidoscope

of the Book of Revelation

We can find more than a dozen recognizable themes used throughout the Gospels, Acts, and epistles that circumscribe this important subject and make it very easy for Christians to wrap their brains around what has, over the course of two millennia, been made a daunting and nearly unapproachable “hands off” subject or one imbued with needless fear and terror.  We will list eight Scriptural points which will be sufficient to pinpoint and ascertain the scope and character of the events in the Book of Revelation, which was not global in nature but restricted to what was a troublesome Hebrew sub-civilization in the much larger, younger, and stabler Roman Empire.

1 This generation in the New Testament, specifically applied to the people who were the contemporaries of our Lord’s earthly ministry.10

2 The bloodguilt and harlotry of Jerusalem, where our Lord was crucified.11

3 The Last Days of an era that begin with the heroic Maccabees and then subjugation to the Romans under the direct hand of the Herodians, whose peoples played a direct role in the killings of untold thousands in the run-up to the Destruction of Jerusalem.12  13

4 The Second Temple and the abomination of desolation.14Faded Glory of the Glorious Second Temple of the Second Jewish Commonwealth RSZD

5 The end was near and time was running out.15

6 The fourth kingdom of Daniel matches the Sea Beast of the children of disobedience in the New Testament e.g. Romans 10:1-2; Ephesians 2:1-2, and Revelation 13:1-5.16 It makes no sense for Nero to be the “mystery of iniquity” when he wasn’t obliged to any covenant with God nor was kingdom power or control of the world to come any concern of his.  If nothing else, 666 points to Jewish wealth, Second Temple worship and kingdom militias, and messianic ambitions (see 1 Kings 10:14 cf. 2 Chron. 9:13).

7 The marriage of Christ to his Church is not an event that would make sense as an affair postponed again and again and again over a twenty-century span of time and be taken seriously by anyone who was invited to attend it.  Rather, the Parable of the King’s Son’s Wedding and the Parable of the Ten Virgins, and the actual wedding of the Lord to the Church in Revelation chapter 19:7-11 makes it crystal clear that this august event is situated directly next to/adjacent to the reduction of first century Jerusalem to smoldering ashes and ruins.17

8 The thousand years reign, counterintuitively, has to bend itself and fit into the time period between the first and secondComments on Revelation 20 Bible Study Chart REVISED RSZD Jewish revolts against the Romans due to the impact, constraints, and authority of our Lord’s words in Matthew 12:43-45

Now, Satan’s return to finish what he started in the first century sets the stage for the most unusual and pitifully timed outbreak of violence.  The promised “messiah” appeared in Judæa itself in the guise of Simon Bar Kokhba, a self-appointed nominee to the role of “Jewish messiah-king.” If the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecies mean anything Bar Kokhba actually came from Asia Minor and he, through supernatural feats of strength and irreverent disregard for God, the Law of Moses, or the weal of the two-hundred thousand soldiers, whom he mercilessly maimed, succeeded in reifying a nation of Israel that had not been a reality since 722 B.C.! 

Jewish Christians, according to what we have been told by the early Church father, Eusebius, were the main ones to be arrested and rounded up by Bar Kokhba and compelled to deny and blaspheme our Lord Jesus and accept the bandit-imposter as the promised Deliverer of the Hebrew people.  They were also required to join the Israelite army and when they refused to do either they were taken before a Sanhedrin Star Chamber, interrogated with Bible trick questions and word games, cruelly tortured, and put to death.

By A.D. 133, the second year of Bar Kokhba’s war, which was literally 100 years after Christ was crucified, Christians were again dying in the state of Israel on his behalf!  And this was a surprising reversal back to pre-A.D.66 and A.D.66—70 Rabbinic/ Judaic nationalist hostilities and genocidal measures against Jewish and Israelite Christians!  Indeed, it was as if nothing was accomplished in the Destruction of Jerusalem in the first century!  And along with the reality of a brand Barkokhba silver tetradrachmnew state, Bar Kokhba’s government had also proudly minted its own coins and these unlikely accomplishments seduced and mesmerized hopes in Hebrew and Godfearing minds and imaginations to really suppose that time had finally arrived to see the realization of their fondest religiopolitical hopes: The Messianic era and world renown under the banner of covenant nationalism, not unlike the Davidic model of the United Kingdom of yore.18

The Shock and Impact of Facts of

Jewish Salvation History

The psychic and practical crisis of the Book of Revelation for today’s Christians comes in the process of realization that Revelation, which may at first seem to enigmatically suggest itself as being friendly to numerous conflicting meanings, really has only ONE distinct meaning that reinforces itself as a fairly straightforward EXODUS OUT OF JUDAISM STORY, the more one realizes its basic Semitic backdrop.  This is not a process that is true of any other notion of what the book is supposedly all about.  

It is frightening to realize that the hotbed of action (before the tribulation and after the thousand years reign) is Asia Minor and not Italy; Pergamum, and not Rome.  It is also paradigmatically seismic and hard to stomach that the resurrection of the dead and the reward of God to the saints and prophets happens next to/adjacent to the successful Zealot invasion and illegal occupation of the Second Temple (Rev. 11:1-2 and 18).

It is mindboggling to realize that the coming of the Lord “as a thief in the night” is represented as poised to happen on the eve of the bombardment of Jerusalem by Roman catapults beginning in the month of Nisan of A.D.70!19  

The sudden movement of fixed future conceptual possibilities (like the Second Coming of Christ and the end of the world) from something to come to a thing that has already been accomplished is disorienting and unnerving!  

It is also jaw-dropping that the Man of Sin is NOT the sixth king (nor Roman) but an eighth leader and likely a Jewish revolutionary figure, based on a careful reading of Revelation 17:11 instead of the hasty and wholly unwarranted conclusion that it was almost certainly Nero (who did not even live to see Jerusalem stoned but died basically a year and ten months before that fatal step was taken).  The natural feeling is that ancient Jerusalem was innocent, “good” and victimized, and the Romans were responsible, wrong, and “bad” for destroying it.  Not only that but fellow Christians will likely be spooked and terrified and will not easily want to be persuaded that first century Jerusalem was Public Enemy Number One.20

And so, one can be immediately isolated and alone with these stunning discoveries, realizations, and thoughts and there may not be anyone around that you can get a reality check without being immediately put under suspicion, judged, and reported on.  Once these things become self-evident to a Christian it will suddenly become clear that those who resist contextuality deny the Book of Revelation something afforded to every other book in the Bible and something that is true of all serious literature: A reason, a purpose, and a point.  There is really no way to justify four completely different eschatologies with a Bible in hand and reports about what happened in ancient Jewish history readily available.  It is as if some folks somehow ‘want’ the very last book in God’s Word to be pointless, disappointing, elusive, and frustrating–which isCrocodile RSZD evidence of the sin of variance

Recently I was watching a Youtube video where the host was interviewing a Christian crypto-zoologist.  A crypto-zoologist is a person who believes dinosaurs are in the Bible.  Of course, that is a fascinating idea but I almost fell out of my chair when he got to Job 40:15-24, where God describes Behemoth, and this fellow said it probably wasn’t a dinosaur but the description of a crocodile or a hippopotamus!  

A natural reading of Job 40 would suggest something akin to a Diplodocus, or a Brontosaurus, or some such similar Sauropod.  Indeed, it wouldThe Greatest Creatures God Ever Made be difficult to imagine that God intends to boast to Job that a crocodile or a hippo are examples of his greatest creation when we know that Sauropods (whether some still exist or not) have the best claim to that title.  No crocodile or hippopotamus has a tail resembling anything like a Cedar tree but Sauropods do—and they were truly magnificent creatures!

I’ve witnessed a similar fecklessness where theologians have every reason to believe the Olivet Discourse makes a case-in-point to the existence of the Synoptics as pre-Destruction predictions vociferously arguing that they are vāticinium ex ēventū–prophecies written after the fact (as if that makes any logical sense at all!). 

By reasoning thus, they completely take the wind out of the sails of the New Testament and make the warnings seem like a less than extraordinary affair, clumsy and disingenuous efforts at “inspiration” to prop up a revolutionary figure born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, and rejected by the Establishment, flogged, crowned with thorns, and crucified and died on a Roman cross, buried in Joseph of Arimathea’s new tomb, rumored to have arisen on the third day, ascended into heaven and since then gone completely missing for twenty plus centuries!

When Christians (like Historicists) automatically start trying to figure out what the Book of Revelation is all about by starting in A.D.96, positing that the imbroglio is about Romans and Emperor Domitian and Mithraism, they are already off to a horrible and late start that promises not to end well.  But even trying to reset the conversation back to A.D.63 and bringing things to their conclusion in A.D.136 is full of challenges because people naturally retreat and run from things that seem strange and unfamiliar to what they have heard over and over again.  

The easiest thing to do is pass the buck and let the next person deal with how to bring this to the attention of the Christian world on a very public and official level—or be a clandestine believer or sweep it under a rug, however, this is a sad tragedy that permits to be taught and enforced an unnecessary conclusion that ERASES everything the Book of Revelation says about how the first and second-century Jewish salvation history story really ended and how horrifically catastrophic it was by the outstretched hands and wrath of the Son of God. 

Instead, the rejection of a sensible approach to Revelation means that a widespread academic policy persists that can only be described as unintentionally misleading or deliberately deceitful.  A Christian who sets his or her sights to go against these well-established norms is in for a surprise and an uphill fight.  It will be discovered that many people absolutely do not want to the Book of Revelation to be true outside of a box of a narrative comfort zone to be reset to be relearned within a recognizable ancient framework. 

They insist on WANTING it to speak of Rome and the Roman Empire which is like trying to fit on two left shoes that are also way too large!  The last days of the Mosaic system of things is completely different from the processes, events, and circumstances that came about to bring on the end of the Roman Empire.  When the Roman Empire actually ended on 29 May 1453 the Romans (who all were Christians) solemnly went to the Church of Holy Wisdom to PRAY and then went out to face the Turkish armies and die.  It wasn’t even a rebellion because they resigned themselves to their fate and committed their souls to God.  And after they died their metropolis was conquered and its name was gradually changed from Constantinople to Istanbul. 

Going Too Far in the Eyes of All Prevailing Viewpoints

There is also that level of dissonance when a breaking point can possibly be reached where all communication stops!  And this is when a Christian reaches that level of conviction that the Great White Throne Judgment is an Act of God in history where the Bar Kokhba State of Israel (which almost no modern Christian ever heard of let alone contemplated existed) was condemned by God, judged, and destroyed in the A.D.132-136 episode that witnessed Rabbi Akiba’s daring and initially successful enterprise disappear in a terrific universal destruction, foretold by none other than the Prophet Ezekiel 706 years before. 

And it is no wonder that this happens when something conceived to be posited at the far end of history, time, and existence is transferred to finitude and time 1,886 years ago.  Because of this, coping mechanisms understandably falter and collapse because there is such a wide disparity in interpretive outlook to represent what is felt to be going completely beyond tolerable bounds of what we are even looking at or dealing with, so that, while on one side, one is firmly convinced that Christianity has triumphed as a matter of amazing ancient Jewish salvation history, on the other side, the obliteration of the entire physical universe is the proof others expect to come in a future so unlikely and distant that the hope of it is completely unfalsifiable on any rational level.21

And what do we Christians do but stand looking askance at one another or finally, if grudgingly and sadly, parting ways?  The case we are in is a hard one, a difficult conundrum and it, in some ways, has no easy answers.  The best that can be said is we can try to open channels of dialogue and meet in the middle and use huge doses of interpersonal love, dignity, and mutual respect, seeking to understand the other before being understood.  We should not neglect to say in God’s ears prayers, not of hubris, but of humility on each other’s behalf. In the end, it is God who can see Christians through to what may seem at first like a very unlikely truce.22

And so, right now conventional Christian churches have so much in common with the earliest Christians, but on the point of the eschaton, there is an undeniable sharp disagreement and tacit departure and disagreement where the problem is easily recognized but the solution is difficult to admit or implement.  Because Christians (including Full Preterists!) disagree to the full extent to where the evidence leads, there is now NO PERMISSION structure in any local church where Christians could believe freely and speak about a definitive Book of Revelation eschaton ending with the termination of the State of Israel in A.D.135/6.  NONE! 

This Atavist Bible Church website represents only a hypothetical manifestation of what such a Christian church might look and sound like and what real concerns would be at the forefront in our beliefs about God, the Church, salvation, outreach and evangelism, prayer, worship, regular teachings, discipleship, outlook, way of life, and expectation of a brilliant and indescribable life after life.  It is my hope that this content is not only challenging but also edifying and encouraging to you to confess Jesus to be God and serve him as a faithful Christian every day of your life. 

This effort represents my beliefs and what I see when I look at the Holy Scriptures and the teachings and the salvation hopes it offers.  Reflecting on these things gives me spiritual strength each and every day and I look forward to meeting my Lord Jesus and Christians from antiquity whenever I finally leave this earthly realm.



1 Note that Gomer, Magog, Tubal, Mesech, Togarmah, and Tarshish are almost half of the fourteen nation families that came out of Noah’s third son’s loins, and these Caucasian peoples settled in the area which is now Macedonia, Greece, and Turkey—a region directly north of the Holy Land adjacent to the regions of the Mountains of Ararat.  Other nations, Persia, Ethiopia, Put’s participation in this war stems from their all being either proselytes or uncircumcised Godfearing enthusiasts for the Jewish messianic cause, and their help, at that time, according to the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy, would lead to a Divine overthrow and instantaneous death, not victory.

2 Five hundred years before Martin Luther Amillennial officials of the Church (who at that time conceived of the millennium as being a thousand literal years, more or less, from the birth of our Lord) received a resounding blow when the year one thousand A.D. came and went without so much as a peep and then it was as if the matter was permanently placed on a proverbial back burner.   In the 16th century, Martin Luther voiced his irritation and frustration with the Book of Revelation in the following tirade: 

About this book of the Revelation of John…I miss more than one thing in this book, and it makes me consider it to be neither apostolic nor prophetic…I can in no way detect that the Holy Spirit produced it. Moreover, he seems to me to be going much too far when he commends his own book so highly indeed, more than any of the other sacred books do, though they are much more important and threatens that if anyone takes away anything from it, God will take away from him, etc.

Again, they are supposed to be blessed who keep what is written in this book; and yet no one knows what that is, to say nothing of keeping it. This is just the same as if we did not have the book at all. And there are many far better books available for us to keep…My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book. For me, this is reason enough not to think highly of it: Christ is neither taught nor known in it. (Luther, M. Preface to the Revelation of St. John, 1522)

A myocardial fit like this makes one wonder if an interpreter or any religious authority should even be trusted who held such a bad and blasphemous view of a section of the Bible!?  

3  By being a nuisance it is difficult for officials to turn and face the issues or to treat the Book of Revelation like they treat every other book in the Bible, which they positively do not Now, note the Greek Orthodox attitude toward the Book of Revelation can be gauged somewhat in the following quote,

The liturgical use of Revelation in the Church.  While seen as canonical and inspired by God, Revelation is the only New Testament book not publicly read in the services of the Orthodox Church.  This is partly because the book was only gradually accepted as canonical in many parts of Christendom.  In addition, in the second and third centuries, Revelation was widely twisted and sensationally misinterpreted, and the resulting erroneous teachings brought troublesome confusion to Christians.  These issues, coupled with the presence of admittedly obscure and difficult passages, caused the Church to adopt a cautious approach to the interpretation of Revelation.

In point four of the Orthodox Study Bible’s preface they admit,

The historic backdrop of Revelation.  The early Church was convinced that the Second Coming was near (1 Cor. 7:29; 1 John 2:18).  This expectation was no doubt heightened during the time of Emperor Domitian, as Christians were persecuted because of their refusal to worship this Emperor, who had declared himself a “god.” 

In fact, the Book of Revelation never makes the deification of a Roman Emperor an issue but cites fealty to a cause epitomized by belief in delusions of sorcery, a wound on the right hand, the occupation of the Second Temple, hope in the victory of Jerusalem against Roman reprisals and the survival and continuation of the First Covenant epoch.  This is what the rebels wanted and thought they would achieve but this has nothing to do with the 90s and Rome, Emperors, and emperor worship, but Jewish nationalism, A.D.66-70 and 132-136, and the violent and bloody termination of theocratic Jerusalem. 

Another Orthodox disclaimer cites all the reasons why the Book of Revelation should not be considered Scripture, but each of them can be applied to the controversies, confusion, and chaos that surrounded the articulation of the Trinity and the nature of Christ, so why did not the Church suppress the Scriptures that caused disturbances in that case?  It is this author’s conviction that the main reason it is thought Revelation can be jettisoned or ignored is that Roman history was mistakingly mismatched with Second Jewish Commonwealth history and making heads or tails out of Revelation using the Roman assumption led absolutely to nowhere but to confusion and doubt. 

However, attaching the book to its proper context has the exact opposite effect, nevertheless, I am a witness that such a realization can be traumatizing to those dyed in the wool of Futurism and cognitively accustomed to dissonant biases about what the book is supposedly about.

4 Takeaways from Revelation’s prologue situate the opening crisis in Asia Minor, the former Seleucid Imperial territory and capital of Satan’s seat in Pergamum.  Repeated assurances are given to six of the seven churches that the Lord’s return will happen but this promise is notably absent in regard to the Church of Laodicea which, in its own way, could prove that the seven churches are real congregations and not “consecutive church ages.”  Entering into the body of the text, chapters 4-5 depict a heavenly pageant-assize where preparations for judgment of the civilization that crucified our Lord yield the verdict that only Jesus, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, was worthy to open the Seals to initiate God’s wrath against that world.  The response of the world to the initial Seals reveals that they are living close enough to the time of Christ’s earthly ministry to be able to fulfill statements he said they would make (compare Rev. 6:12-17 with Lk. 23:27-31). 

From that prophecy, it is only logical to conclude that at the time of our Lord’s crucifixion, Judæa was a green tree but only three decades later it was a dry tree. 

Next, what happens in Revelation chapter 7 only makes sense if we are looking at a looming Jerusalem/Jewish/ Israelite demographic disaster (see, e.g., Ezek. 9:4ff).  This does not and cannot make sense in view of some unrelated event 25 years after the fact in Rome or Italy, under Emperor Domitian, who carried out no major persecution directed at the Hebrew race in any case. 

To be precise, there are only three instances that the Hebrew race’s demographic numbers suffered steep declines because of genocide and those would be during the A.D.66-70 episode, the A.D. 115-117 Kitos wars where Lucias Quietus handily managed to subdue a litany of messianic wars, riots, and outbreaks in North Africa, Cyprus, and Mesopotamia.  Some bad men fled from North Africa to Judæa itself, but Marcius Turbo put an end to them there, too.  We need to concede that the events in Revelation chapters 8, and 9, and 10 are not very recognizable, but there are hints of what happened in Revelation chapter 8 in Wars 7.5.5:145. 

The next historically recognizable events in the Book of Revelation start happening in Revelation 11:1 and we can navigate the terrain of the Book all the way to Revelation 19:21 and surmise that the Masada suicide debacle is the event where a miraculous southerly flame burnt down the Zealot’s last defense against the Romans and became the time when these warriors became convinced that they need to die by their own swords, fulfilling what Jesus said in Matthew 26:52

Included in the 10-chapter body [of Revelation chapters 11 to 19] is the abomination of desolation of the Second Temple, sorcery, the mark of the beast, terrific quantities of blood pressed out in the Holy Land, the Seven Bowls and bloody waters, abandonment of havens of safety, the coming of our Lord as a thief, and the deluge of boulders against the walls of Jerusalem and other Jewish cities (Rev. 16:1-21). 

Revelation 17, 18, and 19:1-4 speaks for itself if viewed through the lens of what our Lord said in Matthew 23:29-39, and following that the marriage of Christ to his Church is certainly represented in the Gospel of Matthew as happening on the heels of the Destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 22:2-8). 

What happens in Revelation 20 is admittedly counterintuitive, but what Jesus said about the constraints of Satan’s departure and return is nonetheless authoritative: He is expelled only to return “with seven worse spirits” to raise up an immense army for yet another Pyrrhic incident—a war motivated by a Lie (1 Jno. 2:22).  

Now, this strange apparition of the Israelite nation-state was not to persist any longer than that perilous three and a half years and, as if by Providence, God himself plunged the populace into a horrific abyss of inescapable punishment, attrition, and despair incomparable to any debacle before or since.

To reiterate: Revelation 20:9-15 would represent a condemnation and judgment of second-century invading forces and these surprising reversals of fortunes (despite the Israelites having over 400,000 soldiers and the Romans having only 80,000 to 120,000 soldiers) are a crisis in the land of second-century Israel incomparable to anything that ever happened to the Romans or their empire over the next fifteen centuries.

However, the Hebrew people disappeared off the stage of history for eighteen entire centuries only to reemerge in the 20th century as the modern Israeli State, apparently the wiser for it.

Finally, in the epilogue of Revelation, which is chapters 21 and 22, is where the Holy Spirit describes what the new Jerusalem looks like.  What each of us Christians can count on is something totally incomparable and incomprehensible to anything the Builder’s could ever have built or offered (and the shadow ministries and services are the precise things some zealous but misguided Christians today wish to resurrect as if sacrificing animals in a Jewish Temple, and not the Lord’s Supper, will be an eternal memorial to Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf!!).

5 See, Did God Prevent the Rebuilding of the Jewish Temple?

6 Premillennial Dispensationalism’s obsession with the modern Israeli State displaces and occludes what really happened to the brand new theocratic State of Israel in A.D.132.  The 1948 establishment is a Parliamentary Democracy and has no relationship with the fulfillment of any Bible prophecies in Ezekiel, Matthew 24, or anywhere else.  See two studies, The Fig Tree of the Olivet Discourse, and, Second Century Israel: Should Christians Agree on Prophetic History? (Fifth Revised Edition)

7 Historicist tangents about Domitian, Rome, and the Roman Catholic Church first leap 26 years past the Destruction of Jerusalem, then 84 years to A.D.180, then 13 years to the murder of Emperor Commodus/ then another jump to yet another piece of palace intrigue in A.D.249 (still stretching further and further away from the first century).   What is the point?  Revelation 11:2 and verse 3 extend a timeline three years and six months back and three years and six months forward to a war engulfing first-century Jerusalem.  But by Historicist theologians starting their arithmetic twenty-six years after the Fall of Jerusalem, NO END IS IN SIGHT EVEN AS WE SPEAK!  Explore this link to become more familiar to Historicist eschatology.

8 Amillennialism, too, traces its beginning to A.D.95/6, and from there, a similar effort to interpret world history is set in motion.  And yet Amillennialism is very different from the three other views because it tries to make Revelation 20 the sole deciding factor of what the first 19 chapters mean or do not mean.  This is almost like making Revelation chapter 20 CHAPTER ONE and eliminating everything else besides chapters 21 and 22!  The gravest omissions occur, however, when we recognize that Jesus, the Apostles Paul, and Peter and John parallel the destruction of the Second Temple with the resurrection and entrance of the prophets and saints into the Most Holy Place, a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1-4 cf. Hebrews 9:8).  This has nothing to do with Rome, the Romans, the Papacy, or even the existence of the planet earth or the atomic universe or any similar such tangents.

As the New Testament stands, Revelation chapter 20 is an interregnum between the First Great Revolt and the Second Great Revolt, both of which punctuate the end of Jewish efforts to make their Utopian Old Testament interpretations come to pass against a backdrop of trying to defeat a so-called Roman Fourth Kingdom.  This erroneous notion turned out to be an utter disaster foreseen by the prophets and Apostles of the Bible in the first place.

9 The stable claims of the New Testament that assist and guide in a correct interpretation of the Book of Revelation begin in Matthew and, indeed, by prayer, study, and meditation in just that one Gospel alone, an essentially accurate interpretation of the Book of Revelation can be obtained.

10 “This Generation” in the New Testament is very, very specific to the last century of the civilization of the Second Jewish Commonwealth: e.g., Matthew 11:16-19; 12:43-45; 23:36; and 24:34.

11  See our definitive Large Study, Babylon the Great City—According to the BibleSee in the Tanakh, e.g., Is. 1:21 and Ezek. 16:15-34.  In the New Testament see Matt. 21:33-46; Lk. 9:31 and Gal. 4:21-31.

12 The Last Days were in effect as long ago as the day of Pentecost in the Jewish year 3794 (A.D.33/ 33 C.E.), see Acts 2:1-21.  It should be mentioned that the “last days” of something should not take twenty centuries to come about because this expression means something is terminal and winding down.  In the first century, the Roman Empire was nowhere near running down.  In the first century, the planet Earth was not running down.  In the first century, the universe was not running down.  The only thing that was running down at that time was the civilization of the Second Jewish Commonwealth (Matt. 24:34; Acts 13:40-41; Ro. 13:11-12; 1 Cor. 7:29; 1 Pet. 4:7, Jude 14, and Rev. 1:1-3, 7, 22:6, 7, 10, 12, and 20).  A realization that our God Jesus did exactly what he said he would do can only have one logical positive effect on Christians: Confirm our faith that the Gospel, the New Testament, the Church, the kingdom of God, and the new Jerusalem are REAL, not mere fairy tales.

13 Idumeans, along with the Zealots, killed multiple thousands in the Second Temple and in Jerusalem during an interval of forty-two months (Wars 4.5.1:305-4:334-344).

14 The abomination of desolation was a litany of horrific deeds fulfilled by Zealots and their Idumean co-religionists (Matthew 24:15 cf. Revelation 11:1-2 cf. Wars 4.3.8:155-157 cf.; 4.6.3:380-388).

15 The end, and the Second Coming, and the judgment was really near, not “theoretically or hypothetically possible.” These developments were actually on the point of happening without delay (Heb. 10:37) and our Lord’s return was concomitant to the Destruction of Jerusalem by the force of necessity.  In other words, if Jerusalem and the Second Temple were not destroyed then a real case could be made that Jesus did not return.

16 The Sea Beast exactly embodies the actions of what Josephus and the Rabbis describe as biryonim (בריונים).  See a fuller description of these individuals here.

17 The Marriage of Christ to the Church, Revelation 19:1-9.  It is utterly and absolutely impossible for the Destruction of Jerusalem to be in the past and for the marriage of Christ to be something Christians can legitimately look for in the near or distant future!  If we believe the New Testament is true and inspired we have to accept this reality and teach and preach accordingly.

18 The Jewish eschatologists always had the Davidic model under the United Kingdom and their Aaronic sacerdotal ministries as part of their future vision of what the world to come would be like, but that is not how God envisioned things.  In his plan, his own building would replace the paltry shadows and types and stand forever as the home of just men and women made perfect (Heb. 12:18-29).

19 The bombardment of the city’s walls began in Nisan/April of A.D.70. See, Wars 5.6.3:269-273.

20 Jerusalem was public enemy number one from what we read in Matt. 16:21-21; 22:6-7; 23:29-39; 28:11-15; Lk. 11:45-51; Jno. 16:1-3; Acts 4:1-2; 5:28-40; 7:51-60; 9:1-2; Gal. 4:21-31, and 1 Thess. 2:14-16; 2 Thess. 2:1-12; 2 Pet. 2:1-22; 3:2-14; Rev. 11:8-19.

21 Something the Bible does not even discuss thrown in as an object of its supposed prophecy goals is, in a big way, unfalsifiable.  And something that is supposed to happen at the end of the physical universe, which is beyond everybody’s lifetime is equally out of bounds and a moot point.

22 Love, forbearance, and dialogue can see us through.  We’ll do everything in our power to love our neighbor as ourselves and treat people as people because they are made in the image of God whether we agree religiously or not.  And we respect each other’s sacred spaces and do not try to grandstand in order to make ourselves heard.  Our minds and hearts are eager and ready to share what we believe and why we believe it and we make no fuss or clamor about being the only Christians nor do we insinuate that without our particular world-view convictions other people aren’t redeemed. 

And where we have similar views we want to highlight those tenets and let the Spirit of God, who knows much more than we do, mediate and open opportunities for genuine understanding if not unilateral agreement.


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