Formal Wrtten Debate on the Dating of Revelation: Was Revelation Written Prior to the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70– affirmed by Don K. Preston?
Preston’s 3rd, final, Affirmative
(Caps for emphasis only). .
In my 2nd Affirmative I adduced arguments from Deuteronomy 32, Isaiah 2-4, Matthew 23, Luke 23:28f, 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 / 2 Thessalonians 1, Revelation 6 and Revelation 19, showing the perfect thematic and temporal correspondence that definitively demands a pre-AD 70 dating of Revelation. Dr. Bale totally ignored my entire 2nd affirmative! When confronted with this on FB he said he “addressed” my arguments. FALSE. He offered NOT ONE WORD OF EXEGETICAL ANALYSIS. That is unscholarly and arrogant, an overt violation of the rules.
My final affirmative will appeal to Daniel 9:24f with other passages.
Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, ….To seal up vision and prophecy…. “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.
For brevity, I will focus on just two of the key elements.
Seal Vision and Prophecy– This is a prediction of the final fulfillment of All Prophecy. This is the consensus of scholarly opinion:
1.) “Prophecies and prophets are sealed, when by the full realization of all prophecies prophecy ceases, no more prophets any more appear.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1975), 344).
2.) “The impression of translators being that all visions and prophecies were to receive completed fulfillment in the course of these seventy weeks. It appears…, to be more agreeable to the context to suppose that the prophet is speaking of the absolute cessation of all prophecy. I Cor. 13:8.” (Charles John Ellicott, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Cassell and Co., London; 1884), 387.).
3.) “The vision and prophet will be sealed, that is accredited, because their final accomplishment has been reached in those events of blessing for God’s earthly people.” (A. C. Gaebelein, The Prophet Daniel, (Kregel, 1968), 133).
4.) “The reference is not to the accrediting of the prophecy, but to sealing it up so that it will no longer appear. Its functions are finished and it is not henceforth needed.” (Edward J. Young, The Prophecy of Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Eerdmans, 1953), 200).
5.) “The words taken together refer to the final fulfillment of revelation and prophecy, i.e., when their functions are shown to be finished.” (James Leon Wood, A Commentary on Daniel, (Grand Rapids; Zondervan, 1973), 250).
6.) “To set seal to them, to ratify and confirm the prophet’s prediction.” “The close of the seventy weeks will bring with it the confirmation of the prophetic utterances.” “A.V. and R.V. ‘seal up,’ means to close up, preclude from activity, the sense of the expression upon this view, being supposed to be that, prophecies being fulfilled, prophet and vision will be needed no more.” (S. R. Driver, The Book of Daniel, (Cambridge University Press Warehouse, 1905), 136.).
7.) “To fulfill the anticipations of all prophetic books.” (J. R. Dummelow, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, (New York; McMillan Co., 1923), 540).
In my book, “Seal Up Vision and Prophecy” (Now --in fourth edition), I cite over 20 scholars- and could have cited many more – all of whom verify this definition.
Fact: The vision of Daniel 9 does not extend beyond the destruction of the “city and the sanctuary” at the time of the Abomination of Desolation.
Fact: Jesus emphatically posited this for HIS generation (Matthew 24:15-34).
NOTE: THE CITY AND THE TEMPLE WERE NOT DESTROYED BY ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES, THUS ELIMINATING THAT APPLICATION OF DANIEL 9.
Fact: Jesus said that in the destruction of Jerusalem, “all things written must be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22).
Fact: Revelation 10:7 says that in the sounding of the 7th (the last) trumpet, the mystery of God foretold by the prophets would be fulfilled.
Fact: At the sounding of the 7th trumpet, the city, “Where the Lord was crucified” was to be (future, yet imminent to John) destroyed (Revelation 11:8-15f).
Seventy Weeks were determined on Jerusalem to fulfill ALL vision and prophecy. (Daniel 9 is not about a singular specific prophecy, but vision and prophecy comprehensively considered, as scholarship confirms).
The Seventy Weeks would end no later than the destruction of Jerusalem. (In AD 70- per Jesus).
All things written would be fulfilled at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 21:22) the city where the Lord was crucified– i.e. Babylon (Revelation 10:7 / 11:8f).
Therefore, Babylon of Revelation, the city where the Lord was crucified, was Jerusalem.
I suspect we will get more “this is just Preston’s subjective opinion,” or, “this says nothing about when Revelation was written,” or some other obfuscatory verbiage, but no actual response. Mr. Bale has no probative answer.
Now, back to Daniel 9:24:
Seventy Weeks Are Determined to Finish the Transgression
“To finish the transgression” meant to fill up the measure of sin.
Just for fun– Eusebius said: “Instead of, “For sin to be ended, and to seal up transgressions,” Aquila translated, “For ending disobedience, and for completing transgression.” I think that our Saviour’s words to the Jews, “Ye have filled up the measure of your fathers,” are parallel to this.” (Demonstratio Evangelica (Proof of the Gospel) ; BOOK VIII). He- and other patristics- also said the seventy weeks ended in AD 70.
Furthermore, all of the major Jewish commentaries, including Rashi, Saadia Gaon (10th century, Egypt) and Levi ben Gershon, (14th century, France) agree with Rashi’s analysis. (Information from private email from my friend Reuvan Brauner, a world class Hebrew scholar from Israel).
Daniel said 70 weeks were determined to fill up the measure of Israel’s sin resulting in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Jesus said Israel had killed the prophets and would fill up the measure of sin in his generation, by killing his apostles and prophets. She would be destroyed (Matthew 23:29f– totally ignored by Bale).
Revelation says “Babylon” had killed the prophets and had now filled up the measure of her sin by killing the apostles and prophets of Jesus, her judgment was coming soon, shortly and quickly– NOT 450 years away!
Therefore, Babylon was Jerusalem and Revelation was written prior to AD 70.
To repeat from my first two affirmatives NO OTHER CITY HAD DONE OR COULD DO WHAT BABYLON OF REVELATION HAD DONE. ONLY JERUSALEM DID THAT! That is historical fact, not opinion. Bale has not touched this- and can’t.
Consider two corroborative NT passages.
The parable of the Vineyard and Wicked Husbandmen is an echo of Daniel 9- “to finish the transgression.”
Israel was the Vineyard of the Lord (Isaiah 5). This is not a subjective interpretation.
We have the time of the harvest of the vineyard.
We have the persecution of the saints and the Son- filling up the measure of sin.
We have the destruction of the persecutors AT THE COMING OF THE LORD.
Like Daniel all of it relates to Israel as the persecutor and the prediction (s) of the coming destruction of Jerusalem. Nothing about Domitian or Rome here!
Dr. Bale, does Matthew 21:33f predict the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem for persecuting the saints?
Notice now Revelation 14:
V. 6-8 – The announcement that the Judgment of Babylon (the city where the Lord was crucified) had come; her judgment was at hand.
This is the Father, who knew the Day and the Hour of the end, declaring that the hour had come. The destruction of Rome 450 years violates the language of “at hand” and, “has come.”
V. 18f- Another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried…, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.”
Unless Bale can prove- definitively – that John is using the imagery of the Vine / vineyard in a way divorced from its OT source, this effectively proves that Revelation 14 is parallel with Matthew 21 in predicting the coming, imminent destruction of Jerusalem. That proves that Revelation was written before AD 70.
The NT is clear that the time of the harvest had come. It was announced by John the Baptizer (Matthew 3:7-12), and by Jesus (John 4:35). It was to occur at the end of the age, in fulfillment of Daniel 12:3-7, which is explicitly posited for the time when the power of the holy people would be completely shattered (Daniel 12:3–>Matthew 13:43). Paul said that the end of the ages had come (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Questions for Dr. Bale:
Is the vineyard in Matthew 21 different from Revelation 14? If so, PROVE IT.
Is the time of the harvest in Matthew 21 different from the harvest in Revelation 14? If so, PROVE IT.
Is the coming of the Lord to destroy the persecutors in Matthew 21 a different coming of the Lord to judge the persecutors from that in Revelation 14? If so, PROVE IT.
There is more:
Matthew 22 and the Wedding
Matthew 22– A king made a Wedding Feast for his Son.
Mr. Bale– to whom was the promise of the Wedding given? The Tanakh is definitive: It was Israel, Hosea 2:19f– ‘I will betroth you to me again…” Isaiah 62: “You shall no longer be forsaken…. you shall be called Beulah” (married).
Note: The wedding of Isaiah 62 would be at the coming of the Lord in judgment (v. 10-12). This is quoted directly by Jesus in Matthew 16:27, and emphatically said to take place in the first century generation – v. 28.
Furthermore, in Revelation 22:12, Jesus reiterated Matthew 16:27, (and Isaiah 62) saying, “Behold I come quickly.” Thus, the Wedding– of Revelation– was to occur in the lifetime of the first century generation.
Matthew 22- and Revelation – is about God fulfilling His promise to “re-marry” Israel. It has nothing to do with Rome, who was NEVER married to YHVH- and never divorced!
The servants sent to invite the guests were persecuted and slain.
This is the message found in Matthew 23:34– “I send you prophets, 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.”
v. 7: “But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.”
In Revelation, the Harlot, persecuting city, is burned with fire (Revelation 17:10f).
At the destruction of the persecuting city, the Wedding took place (19:6-8).
Mr. Bale, in Matthew 21 what city persecuted the saints, and as a result, the “King” sent out His armies and burned that city? If this was not Jerusalem, what city was it? Will you answer?
This is Matthew 23:35-36: “That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
If the persecuting city of Matthew 22 is not the persecuting city of Revelation, PROVE IT.
In Revelation we find that- just as in Matthew 22– the Wedding takes place at the destruction of a city, i.e. Babylon:
19:5f – I heard a loud voice … in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! …. because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” And I heard, … a great multitude… saying,…Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”
This Babylon was the city that killed the prophets (16:6). She is “where the Lord was crucified” (11:8). She killed the apostles and prophets of Jesus (18:20-24).
Her destruction is the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32:43 the prophecy of Israel’s last days. It is not about Rome. – as proven in my 2nd Affirmative, BUT IGNORED BY BALE.
Babylon was THE GREAT HARLOT. In the Tanakh- the source of Revelation- the word “harlot” is used to speak of A WIFE THAT HAS VIOLATED THE MARRIAGE COVENANT:
“In the OT, almost all of the occurrences of the prostitution metaphor (86 / 91) apply to the people of the Covenant (Israel, Judah or Jerusalem).” (Sebastian R Smolarz, Covenant and the Metaphor of Divine Marriage in Biblical Thought, (Eugene, Ore., Wipf and Stock,2011), 8f).
Jesus called Jerusalem an “adulterous generation” three times (Matthew 12:39; 16:4; Mark 8:38). What other city than Jerusalem was an adulterous wife, Mr. Bale?
YHVH was NEVER MARRIED TO ROME. Rome therefore could not be an adulterous, (harlot) wife. Only Old Covenant Jerusalem was EVER married to the Lord, divorced and given the promise of being married again.
Mr. Bale, If Babylon is Rome, when was YHVH EVER married to her? Did the Lord marry a pagan city and call her “the new Jerusalem”? (See Don K. Preston, We Shall Meet Him In the Air, the Wedding of the King of kings, for a full discussion).
Mr. Bale, is the Wedding of Matthew 22 different from the Wedding in Revelation? If so, PROVE IT!
Is the persecuting city in Matthew 22 different from the persecuting city– the city that killed the prophets, Jesus and Jesus’ apostles and prophets- in Revelation? If so, PROVE IT!
The persecuting city of Matthew 22, (that was to be destroyed for persecuting the servants of the Lord), was first century, Old Covenant Jerusalem.
The persecuting city of Revelation, Babylon, was about to be destroyed for persecuting the OT prophets, Jesus, and Jesus’ apostles and prophets.
Therefore, Babylon of Revelation was first century, Old Covenant Jerusalem– unless Bale can definitively prove otherwise. (He has admitted that he cannot prove this wrong!)
I offered the following in my affirmatives and on FB repeatedly. I have challenged Bale to answer it. He has not typed one word of response. He has no answer.
All the blood of all the righteous, including the prophets, of Jesus and Jesus’ apostles and prophets, would be avenged in the destruction of Jerusalem– Jesus. This is not a subjective opinion. It is fact.
All the blood of all the righteous, including the prophets, Jesus and Jesus’ apostles and prophets, would be avenged in the destruction of Babylon– Revelation. This is not a subjective opinion. It is fact.
Therefore, Babylon was Jerusalem.
Fact: Babylon in Revelation was the Great City where the Lord was crucified – Revelation 11:8.
Fact: Jerusalem is where Jesus was crucified.
Therefore, Babylon in Revelation was Jerusalem.
Since Revelation was written before the destruction of Babylon, that means Revelation was written before the destruction of Jerusalem. This is not a subjective opinion. It is fact.
A Faulty Hermeneutic
In FB discussion 10-28-2021, Bale claimed: “interpretations do not make something definitive unless the text itself explicitly states so.” So, per Bale, unless Revelation explicitly says, “Babylon is Jerusalem,” that identification cannot be proven. This is specious.
I responded by asking Bale if he is a Trinitarian (knowing that he is). He refused to answer saying I was “being ridiculous” and that he did not have to answer the question. The reason he refused is clear: There is no hermeneutic that says unless there is an explicit statement a doctrine cannot be true. I challenged him to produce a quote from any standard work on hermeneutic that teaches this– he ignored that.
Bale knows there is no “explicit statement” in Scripture saying “there is a trinity.” Thus, by his own hermeneutic, his Trinitarian doctrine cannot be true. Entrapped, he refused to continue that discussion. He won’t like me posting this, and will claim it is a violation of the rules– it isn’t. The reason he won’t like it is because it exposes the foundational error of his approach to this debate.
The rules of this debate state that the negative is to follow and answer, to the best of ability, the affirmative arguments. Everyone that has read Mr. Bale’s “negatives” knows he has failed, completely, to follow my arguments and to answer them.
The contrast between Bale and myself is glaring and revealing. He refused to offer a word of exegesis in response to my exegesis of numerous Biblical texts, saying he did not do so because of “word count” restrictions. Yet, he wasted over 250 words telling us that some scholars claim Revelation was a post eventu production from someone falsely claiming to be John. When cornered on that, he said he did not believe what he shared.
He has complained that I have not given any “historical arguments.” Well, I consider the inspired Word of God to be of more value and more authoritative than any uninspired, highly debatable writings, some written hundreds of years after the fact. Mr. Bale is free to cite them all he wants.
For those who value the Word of God as I do, the fact that Mr. Bale has totally ignored every Biblical argument, every syllogism I have offered is more than revealing. Scoffing at my arguments is not refutation. Calling them my “subjective opinions” does not prove them wrong. Insulting me has no polemic value, and simply reveals his desperation.
What I have offered is but a fraction of the evidence that DEFINITIVELY proves that the book of Revelation was written prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 and was predictive of that event. (I offer a wealth of additional evidence in my book, Who Is This Babylon?).