Responding to the Critics: More on Luke 21:22 – #7
Revelation and Luke 21:22
I have demonstrated in this series that the attempts of futurists to escape the force of Luke 21:22 amount to full blown desperation and self-defeating argumentation. The argument by Kenneth Gentry, that what Jesus meant by his words was that all OT prophecy would be fulfilled by AD 70 totally destroys any futurist eschatology, since the OT foretold the eschatological consummation at the coming of the Lord, the judgment, the resurrection, the New Creation, as we have proven.
Likewise, when Jason Bradfield argued that what Jesus meant was that all prophecies of the AD 70 destruction of Jerusalem, with all attendant “particulars” were fulfilled, this is equally fatal to any futurist eschatology. In the previous articles I have given definitive, irrefutable proof that the OT, as well as the New, posit the eschatological consummation– with all of the particulars– at the time of the destruction of the Old Covenant world. It is simply sloppy scholarship and a failure to honor scripture that refuses to honor these realities. Be sure to read those articles, beginning here.
In this final installment, I will drive that point home even further, by an examination- even if only briefly – of the book of Revelation. Now, the reader needs to know that Kenneth Gentry agrees that the Apocalypse predicted the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the Old Covenant age of Israel. He identifies Babylon of Revelation as Jerusalem. See his book,for his in-depth discussion and vindication of that view. That excellent book is available from this website.
Now, to be honest, I do not know if Bradfield still holds to the early date of Revelation and the application to the events of AD 70. He did at one time. However, like his mentor, Sam Frost, he has now radically changed many of his views and I have not read any recent comments by him on what he now believes about Revelation. Frost is literally all over the map when it comes to Revelation, often making some of the most illogical, non-textual, eisegetic comments imaginable. When confronted and challenged to defend and prove his claims, he literally goes silent. Little wonder.
My point here is that the book of Revelation posits the eschatological consummation at the destruction of Babylon. Look at just some of the terminology – terminology of soteriology and eschatology – that are directly tied to the judgment of Babylon. The connection between these themes, motifs and concepts, and the judgment of Babylon means that no matter your view of the identity of Babylon, that claim is accepted as true. The eschatological climax occurs in direct connection with the judgment of Babylon. So, take a look at just some of the language– some of the “particulars” to use Bradfield’s term– of the judgment of Babylon.
☛ Vindication of the Martyrs – Revelation 6:9-11 / 11:15f / 16:6f / 17:6f / 18:20-24 / 20:10f. It is not too much to say that the theme of the vindication of the martyrs is the key to understanding Revelation.
☛ The Coming of the Son of Man on the clouds of heaven – Revelation 14:11f– at which time and consequent of it, those who die in the Lord receive eternal rest.
☛ Entrance into the Most Holy Place (Revelation 15:8f). In Revelation, entrance into the Most Holy Place would only be open and available when the wrath of God, found in the seven vials / bowls of God, were poured out, on the city Babylon (Revelation 16:17f). According to Hebrews 9:6-10, entrance into the MHP was only to be at the end of the Torah, the Law of Moses.
☛ The time of Kingdom (11:15f)– See the next point.
☛ The judgment of the living and the dead (15:15-19). The rewarding of the prophets and martyrs (See Daniel 12:13):
Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying: “We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth.” Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.
☛ The time of salvation:
After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, 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.” Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!”
☛ The time of the Wedding of Christ:
And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! 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.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
☛ The New Jerusalem and the New Heaven and Earth– Revelation 21:1-3:
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. 2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
☛ The Tabernacle of God fully established among men (Revelation 21:3:
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
As the reader can see, each and everyone of these constituent elements is tied directly to the judgment of Babylon. They happen either at the time of the judgment on her, or as a direct and immediate consequence. These are the “particulars” associated with, tied to, inseparable from, the judgment of Babylon. So, the only question that remains is “Who Is This Babylon?”
I will not provide here the documentation for the various views of the identity of Babylon. See my book, Who Is This Babylon? for more on that. I was personally raised believing Babylon was the Roman Catholic church and the Beast was the Pope himself. Thrown into that mix was the view that somehow Babylon was Rome, the “political” side of Babylon. We are told by the Dispensationalists that Babylon is literal Babylon in Iraq. Remember the stories of how Saddam Hussein was rebuilding Babylon, supposedly proving (again) that the end is near? Others are not specific, simply claiming that Babylon is an apostate world religion.
The reality is that the identity of Babylon is easy to determine.
Babylon was the city that killed the prophets (Revelation 16:6). Only Old Covenant Jerusalem was ever accused of killing the prophets. See Jesus’ words in Luke 11:49f:
“Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them. So you testify that you approve of what your ancestors did; they killed the prophets, and you build their tombs. Because of this, God in his wisdom said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and others they will persecute.’ Therefore this generation will be held responsible for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be held responsible for it all.
See also Luke 13:33: “Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.”
In light of Jesus’ clear and undeniable assertions here, how is it possible to identify any other city than Jerusalem as Babylon? Where is the proof that any city besides Jerusalem, every killed an OT prophet? There is no such proof.
Babylon, that “great city,” also called “the holy city,” is also “where the Lord was crucified” (Revelation 11:1-8)- any question about who that was? What city, other than Jerusalem, was ever called “the holy city”? None, not Biblically. What city other than Jerusalem, is ever, anywhere in the Bible, ever called Sodom and Egypt? None! And of course, what city, other than Jerusalem is where the Lord was crucified?
Babylon in Revelation was also guilty of shedding the blood of Jesus’ own apostles and prophets, and “all the blood shed on the earth” (Revelation 18:20-24).
Jesus himself, as with the theme of the killing of the prophets, clearly identified Old Covenant Jerusalem as the city that would kill his apostles and prophets:
Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, 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, 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. (Matthew 23:31-36).
So, notice that in addition to identifying Jerusalem as the city – the only city- guilty of killing the OT prophets, Jesus is likewise equally clear that it was Jerusalem that was to be guilty of killing his apostles and prophets.
There is something else here. Notice that in Matthew 23 and Luke 11 / 13, Jesus said that by killing his apostles and prophets that Jerusalem would fill the measure of her sin and judgment would fall on her in “this generation” i.e. his first century generation. (Now, I will not comment on the utterly ridiculous new position of Sam Frost who now rejects the very clear, very explicit, undeniable meaning of “this generation” and now turns it into some vague, nebulous, elastic and plastic comment by Jesus that literally has no meaning or application! Just unbelievable desperation!).
So, in Matthew and Luke, Jesus said that Jerusalem would fill the measure of her sin and be judged in his generation.
Notice now that in 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Paul said this:
For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans, who killed both the Lord Jesus and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they do not please God and are [a]contrary to all men, forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved, so as always to fill up the measure of their sins; but wrath has come upon them to the uttermost.
Paul does everything except quote the words of Jesus! Is there any doubt about who he was talking about, about who killed the prophets, about who killed Jesus and the apostles and prophets of Jesus? Only the most desperate would deny any of this.
So, what we have in Jesus and Paul and Revelation is this:
Jesus: Jerusalem killed the prophets, would kill him (Matthew 21), and would kill his apostles and prophets, filling the measure of her sin. Judgment would fall in that generation – it happened in AD 70.
Paul: Jerusalem killed the prophets, Jesus and was killing Jesus’ apostles and prophets, filling the measure of her sin. Judgment would fall very soon- it happened in AD 70.
Revelation: Babylon had killed the prophets, Jesus, and Jesus’ apostles and prophets, filling the measure of her sin. Judgment was coming very soon: “Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me!”
In light of these perfect parallels, how do we determine that Babylon is not Jerusalem? What is the magic, interpretive key that tells us that Babylon was not Jerusalem? On any objective analysis, Babylon of Revelation was Old Covenant Jerusalem. Only Jerusalem did what Revelation says she had done. In fact, no other city could have done what Babylon had done, i.e. kill the OT prophets! (See my Babylon book for a complete linguistic analysis on this issue).
Here is what this means:
The consummation of the kingdom, the resurrection, the judgment, the Wedding of Christ, entrance into the MHP, the New Creation, would all come at the time of, or as a direct and immediate consequence of the Judgment of Babylon in Revelation.
But, Babylon in Revelation was Old Covenant Jerusalem.
Therefore, the consummation of the kingdom, the resurrection, the judgment, the Wedding of Christ, entrance into the MHP, the New Creation, would all come at the time of, or as a direct and immediate consequence of the Judgment of Old Covenant Jerusalem.
Now, each of these elements are purely eschatological elements. Biblically, they were to be to be realized / fulfilled at the end of the age parousia of Christ- and virtually everyone agrees with this. As seen, each and every one of the eschatological particulars was fulfilled in the judgment of Babylon / Jerusalem. This means, it demands, that when Jesus said of the fall of Jerusalem, “these be the days of vengeance when all things that are written must be fulfilled” that all of these elements – every eschatological element– was fulfilled in AD 70. All prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70.
So, in Revelation, virtually every eschatological and soteriological tenet is inextricably tied to the judgment of Babylon. Thus, when the opponents of the Truth admit that every OT prophecy was fulfilled in AD 70 (Gentry) or, when they admit that all prophecies of the fall of Jerusalem, with all attendant “particulars” were fulfilled in AD 70 (Bradfield), they have essentially surrendered their futurism. This series of articles on Responding to the Critics has effectively proven that it is impossible, logically, to admit to what these men have admitted and still maintain a futurist eschatology. Just does not work!