Who is This Babylon

Formal Written Debate on the Dating of Revelation: Sergius Bale’s Second Negative

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Be sure to read my first affirmative, Bale’s First Negative and my Second Affirmative

This is Sergius Bale’s Second Negative

SB- This will be my second negative in response to Mr. Preston’s second affirmative. Quotes of Preston shall be in bold and quotations As I noted in Preston’s first affirmative, he gave not one documentation of historical evidence nor a single piece of evidence beyond his interpretation of what he believes to be “Scripture” and “inspired” to assist him in definitively proving the date of Revelation is before 70 CE. I would remind readers and Mr. Preston that the debate is not over whether the text itself is “inspired by God”. The debate is over when the Revelation was written: before or after 70 CE. Mr. Preston claims he will prove definitively that the Revelation is written before 70 CE. That is his affirmative.


Preston falsely claims I “ignored the Biblical data that I [Preston] presented…” He gives Deuteronomy 32; Isaiah 1, 2-4; Ezekiel 23; Joel 2, Matthew 13, 21, and 23; Luke 11 and 23, Acts 2 and 17; Romans 10; 1 Cor. 4 and 15; 1 Thess. 2; 2 Thess. 1; 1 Peter 1, Hebrews 1, and Revelation 6, 11, and 19 as his proof. Not one chapter or verse he gave from any of these texts tells us about the Revelation of St. John and not a single one of these gives us any details about when the date of the Revelation was given. Nothing provided gives us any definitive way to make a claim about the dating of Revelation nor does it give us any way to historically document the Revelation being written before or for that matter after 70 CE. I have obviously not ignored the internal data. It is just that none of the evidence Preston has given can lead us to conclude definitively that Revelation was written before 70 CE. Preston at best gives us nothing beyond telling us his interpretation of Revelation. I could give my interpretation as well of the text but it would not prove the dating of Revelation one bit in any impactful way that makes it a fact, definitive, and conclusive.


Preston notes my mention that Revelation may have been written as a post eventu production (meaning after the event and thus after 70 CE). He writes that I “wrote over 250 words suggesting that Revelation may have been written pseudonymously AFTER AD 70”. Nowhere do I claim in my first negative that this has to be true that it is a post eventu production. I do in fact give it as an example, as there are many myriads of reasons that Revelation could be written after 70 CE instead of before 70 CE and this is, in fact, one of those. To reiterate, this debate is not over the text of Revelation being inspired or not and it is not a debate over who has the superior interpretation of “Scripture”. It would be beneficial for Preston in this debate to quit arguing over what is and is not inspired as it is irrelevant to the debate and irrelevant to dating the Revelation.


Don gives a comment I made on Facebook to a Vic Valentino. This comment thread is irrelevant to the debate and I believe does break the rules of debate as we are supposed to be debating what is in the written debate, not what is outside of the debate like a comment thread on Facebook. This violates the rules of the debate we agreed upon where “no arguments or material shall be altered by additions, deletions, or any other alterations in any way”. This is not in the first affirmative nor is Vic Valentino and my conversation on Facebook in my first negative in response to Preston’s first affirmative. This is adding and trying to alter the arguments or material given by adding him into what is already written. I do not see Preston mention him in his first affirmative. This seems to be nothing more than some kind of diversionary tactic, an attempt to obfuscate from the written debate itself. It is definitely a red herring. It is also irrelevant to the debate and I would ask Preston to remain professional and stick to the written debate, its affirmatives and negatives, and not Facebook comments.


“Think about that! HE DOES NOT BELIEVE WHAT HE OFFERED!” This debate again, and I must reiterate this for the reader, is not about what I believe personally about the text from a religious perspective. The debate is over whether Revelation is written before or after 70 CE. Preston gives yet again a red herring, a straw man, and an ad hominem here. It also again violates the rules of the debate. Preston of note also breaks Rule 6 of Hedge’s Rule of Conduct.


“He was just throwing up a cloud of ‘could be, but who knows’ stuff hoping to distract from my Biblical arguments! If he does not believe that Revelation is a post facto, pseudonymous production, why waste 250+ words suggesting it??” This statement is ad hominem, a straw man, editing on the offense, and a red herring. This is a debate and in this portion, I am to argue in the negative. It is again not a debate over my interpretation or beliefs about the text itself from a religious perspective. It is a debate over dating a text. I gave this as an example of why Preston is not necessarily correct. I do not argue it as a fact as to whether Revelation is a post facto production or not. Here Preston of note breaks Rule 4 and 6 of Hedge’s Rule of Conduct.


“While condemning me for giving my ‘interpretation’ he cites ‘many NT critics and scholars’ who say Revelation was NOT A GENUINE PROPHECY. This impugns the inspiration of Revelation, so he tells us he does not believe what he offered!!!” I did not “condemn” Mr. Preston. This is the fallacy of editing on the offense. I did point out he has offered not a single source of historical data beyond ambiguous texts and his interpretation of the texts. If you read them, nowhere do they claim or offer us any evidence inside of them that the Revelation is written before or after 70 CE. This again is not a debate over whether the Revelation is an “inspired text of God” or not. Preston next accuses me of obfuscation and that I seek to “negate what Jesus said about Jerusalem being the source of martyrdom. He lists a number of martyrs that died outside of Jerusalem but, WHO WERE KILLED BY JEWS nonetheless!” It seems Preston leaves out I also mention martyrs who were killed by Gentiles. Nonetheless, Preston gives nothing but his interpretation here that he believes Jerusalem should be identified as the “Babylon” mentioned in Revelation. His argument would be better served by trying to use some historical documentation if he can find any, but instead, all we get is again an interpretation of a text that amounts to nothing more than “it is true because I believe it and declare it so” (an argument of authority).


“Think about this: The ONLY way Bale can counter what I have presented is to prove that Jesus’ words do not mean what they say! Dr. Bale vainly imagines that if he can find just ONE EXAMPLE of a Christian martyr outside Jerusalem he has answered the argument. Wrong. All it proves is his desperation to avoid the explicit words of Christ.” Mr. Preston uses a false dichotomy, the statement is loaded in the same manner as a loaded question, he begs the question, tries for an illegal proof reversal here, and delivers a lot of ad hominem fallacies consistently here presenting false claims and suggesting I don’t believe the words of Jesus… which again, is irrelevant to the debate. Again he employs an argument about my personal interpretations and beliefs that are irrelevant to this debate over the Revelation’s dating. Red herring is used again here as well.


Of note, Preston because he uses ad hominem here breaks Rules 2 and 4 of Hedge’s Rules of Conduct.


Preston tries for a red herring about 1 Corinthians 15 and tries to declare that his converse error is a valid argument. Then he claims that Revelation’s usage of the term “Babylon” is Jerusalem and presents it as a fact when it is nothing more than his interpretation. Again absolutely irrelevant to prove definitively whether the text is written before or after 70 CE. Many fallacies were made here on Preston’s part. Nowhere does he show us Revelation was written before 70 CE.

Preston in his fifth point again returns to Facebook comments instead of sticking to the written debate itself. Comments on Facebook are irrelevant to this debate. In a debate, Preston and I should be sticking to what is written inside the debate itself. I am to argue in this debate for a later date but I will not in the debate argue for it as being conclusive. Preston is attempting some form of misrepresentation. You can read what my affirmative is to be in the propositions of the debate we agreed to. He continues with nothing more than his interpretation of some texts that give us nothing about the date of Revelation and I am not in this debate arguing over superiority or inferiority over someone’s interpretation of a Bible book. He erroneously claims that the texts he gives are “not disputable facts unless you want to pervert the text”. Claiming your interpretation as fact does not mean it is a fact. A divine fallacy is employed here and false dichotomies abound since people all interpret the texts he references differently. The debate is not over this. It is a red herring because Preston keeps bringing irrelevant things up like what is inspired or non-inspired when he should be debating about the date of Revelation.


Of note, Preston breaks the rules of the debate we agreed upon as noted up top when I discussed his first attempt to bring a Facebook post into this. He also because he attempts a misrepresentation breaks Hedge’s Rule of Conduct 2 and 4.


“Bale tried to deflect the force of this by citing highly debatable, uninspired ‘church tradition’ written long after the fact that records the death of the apostles. Evidently, Bale trusts uninspired, dubious ‘tradition’ (written LONG after the facts) more than Scripture itself”. This is filled with fallacies. The debate is not over inspiration nor non-inspiration. He tries what seems to come close to an ergo decedo fallacy here. I am not arguing over church tradition being inspired or non-inspired. I simply gave some historical works that aid in potentially documenting the dates of the deaths of the apostles which does contradict Preston’s argument. These documents share what happened to the apostles and it should be noted, could obviously be debated about, which leaves the matter of the times of their deaths inconclusive. A lot of this is non-sequitur, loaded statements, and I suppose it is also an attempt at a divine fallacy again since he brings up inspiration and non-inspiration again which is irrelevant to the debate. Preston brings up Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians where not a single piece of the information therein these texts shows us that Revelation was written before 70 CE. Preston breaks Hedge’s Rule 2, 4, 6, and 7 here.

In conclusion, Preston adds nothing of substance to this debate to prove definitively that Revelation was written before 70 CE. He certainly writes a lot and gives his interpretation of what he believes about the texts he quotes from, but he gives absolutely nothing that definitively dates the Revelation to be before 70 CE. So far, Preston has not given anything other than his subjective interpretation of what he believes the Bible and Revelation are about. He covers nothing about the book itself except interpretations of what he believes Revelation is about and while we should look at internal data, nothing he has given to us proves definitively the Revelation was written before 70 CE. None of the “Scripture” he gives us says anything about the book of Revelation nor when it was written, and when he quotes Revelation itself, there is nothing internally found to give any indication it was written definitively before 70 CE. Multiple times Preston breaks the rules he agreed to in this written debate and one can only hope that for the sake of a decent debate that Mr. Preston can be professional and do a better job in his 3rd and final affirmative.