The purpose of prophecy is ethical

The fact that many who study the prophetic writings today are more interested in finding possible references to space travel and nuclear weapons than in discovering God's commandments for living, is a sickening tribute to modern apostasy. "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (Rev. 19:10); to ignore Jesus in favor of atomic blasts is a perversion of Scripture, a preposterous twisting of God's holy Word. From beginning to end, John is intensely interested in the ethical conduct of those who read the Book of Revelation:

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things which are written in it (1:3).

Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his garments (16:15).

Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book

Blessed are those who do His commandments (22:14).

I must emphasize that in arguing for the eschatology of dominion I am not simply handing out an alternate program guide for the future. Biblical eschatology is not just a schedule of special events. The fundamental meaning of the Hope is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The goal of eschatology is to lead men to worship and serve their Creator. Prophecy is never merely an academic exercise. All the prophets pointed to Jesus Christ, and they all demanded an ethical response. God's Word demands total transformation of our lives, at every point. If that is not the goal, and result, of our study of Scripture, it will profit us nothing.

When did prophet and vision cease from Israel? Was it not when Christ came, the Holy one of holies? It is, in fact, a sign and notable proof of the coming of the Word that Jerusalem no longer stands, neither is prophet raised up nor vision revealed among them. And it is natural that it should be so, for when He that was signified had come, what need was there any longer of any to signify Him? And when the truth had come, what further need was there of the shadow? on His account only they prophesied continually, until such time as Essential Righteousness had come, Who was made the ransom for the sins of all. For the same reason Jerusalem stood until the same time, in order that there men might premeditate the types before the Truth was known. So, of course, once the Holy one of holies had come, both vision and prophecy were sealed. And the kingdom of Jerusalem ceased at the same time, because kings were to be anointed among them only until the Holy of holies had been anointed. Moses also prophesies that the kingdom of the Jews shall stand until His time, saying, "A ruler shall not fail from Judah nor a prince from his loins, until the things laid up for him shall come and the Expectation of the nations Himself" [Gen. 49:10], And that is why the Saviour Himself was always proclaiming "The law and the prophets prophesied until John" [Matt.

So if there is still king or prophet or vision among the Jews, they do well to deny that Christ is come; but if there is neither king nor vision, and since that time all prophecy has been sealed and city and temple taken, how can they be so irreligious, how can they so flaunt the facts, as to deny Christ Who has brought it all about?

St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation [40]

THE TIME IS AT HAND

The question of the date of the Book of Revelation is significant for its proper interpretation. Scholars often have accepted the statement of Irenaeus (a.d. 120-202) that the prophecy appeared "toward the end of Domitian's reign" (i. e., around a.d. 96). There is, however, considerable doubt about what Irenaeus meant by this (he may have meant that the Apostle John himself "was seen" by others). The language of Irenaeus is ambiguous; and, regardless of what he was talking about, he could have been wrong. (Irenaeus, incidentally, is the only source for this late dating of Revelation; all other "sources" are based on Irenaeus). Certainly, there are other early writers whose statements indicate that John wrote the Revelation much earlier, under Nero's persecution. Our safest course, therefore, is to study the Revelation itself to see what internal evidence it presents regarding its date - evidence which indicates that it was written sometime before or around a.d. 68. Briefly, this proof hangs on two points: (1) Jerusalem is spoken of as still standing, and much of the book prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70; (2) the Emperor Nero is mentioned as still being alive - and Nero died in June 68. (These points and others will be demonstrated in the following chapters.)

Much more than this, however, we have a priori teaching from Scripture itself that all special revelation ended by a.d. 70. The angel Gabriel told Daniel that the "seventy weeks" were to end with the destruction of Jerusalem (Dan. 9:24-27); and that period would also serve to "seal up the vision and prophecy" (Dan. 9:24). In other words, special revelation would stop -be "sealed up" — by the time Jerusalem was destroyed. The Canon of Holy Scripture was entirely completed before Jerusalem fell.

The death, resurrection and ascension of Christ marked the end of the Old Covenant and the beginning of the New; the apostles were commissioned to deliver Christ's message in the form of the New Testament; and when they were finished, God sent the Edomites and the Roman armies to destroy utterly the last remaining symbols of the Old Covenant: the Temple and the Holy City. This fact alone is sufficient to establish the writing of the Revelation as taking place before A.D. 70. The book itself— as we shall see - gives abundant testimony regarding its date; but, even more, the nature of the New Testament as God's Final Word tells us this. Christ's death at the hands of apostate Israel sealed their fate: the Kingdom would be taken from them (Matt. 21:33-43). While wrath built up "to the utmost" (1 Thess. 2:16), God stayed His hand of judgment until the writing of the New Covenant document was accomplished. With that done, He dramatically terminated the kingdom of Israel, wiping out the persecuting generation (Matt. 23:34-36; 24:34; Luke 11:49-51). Jerusalem's destruction (Rev. 11) was the last blast of the trumpet, signaling that the "mystery of God" was finished (Rev.

There would be no further special revelation once Israel was gone. To return to the point: the Book of Revelation definitely was written before a.d. 70, and probably before a.d. 68.

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