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Revelation 12. The preterist view

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  • Revelation 12. The preterist view

    This is a split from the thread "Why distinguish the woman and her children"...

    Originally posted by tabibito View Post
    Originally posted by apostoli
    Originally posted by Obsidian
    An alternative view, taught mainly by preterists...
    I assume I rank as some shade of preterest. For instance: i hold that Luke 21:7-28 as predictions fulfilled (including the parousia of Christ, which I take as representing the end of the temple cult and the ascension of Christian). But that said I acknowledge the forcasts of Revelation which I understand to have been written by A.John towards the end of his life (late 1st century), so as with A.John and the early Christians I hope for the glorious appearance...and the coming of a new heaven and new earth...
    Originally posted by Obsidian
    An alternative view, taught mainly by preterists is that the woman refers to Jewish Christians and the children refer to gentile Christians.
    Amoungst theologians there is acceptance of multiple fulfiments of prophecy, and thus multiple interpretations of particulars. Daniel is a case in point. But that said: at a personal level I reject the idea you attribute to "mainly preterists". I hold that since the Temple cult arose (from the time of Solomon (if not David) all bets were off concerning Israel and Judah (cp. 1 Kings 9:1-9), so I attribute nothing to the Jews apart from being of the seed of Abraham (I use the term Jew in the same way as A.John = those who ministered to the Temple., or those bound to the Temple). John 4 also inclines me to reject the view you related. I find Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman most enlightening! Though Jesus told her "salvation is of the Jews" (vs24) he also predicted the termination of all centers of worship, including Jerusalem and the Temple (vs20-24). But of more importance to me is the Samaritan woman's expectation and profession of the coming Messiah. Jesus directly told her "I that speak to you am he" (vs25-26). What fascinates me about this event is Jesus never made such a direct admission to any Jew, including the disciples! (when Peter made his admission, Jesus attributed it to revelation and had the disciples pledge they would tell no man that he (Jesus) was the Christ (Mt 16:13-20 contrast Mt 26:63). The other thing that fascinates me is that John 4 tells us of Jesus' first mass conversion of a people. They were not gentiles, nor were they Jews aligned to the Temple, but Samaritans! (vs29,30,35-42).
    Luke 21:7
    So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”

    Luke 21:7 (Mark 13:4 likewise) doesn't state the question in full, which is why the detail is so difficult to ascertain. However, Matthew does record the full question:

    Matthew 24:3
    Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”


    The question addresses three issues, each of which is addressed by the answer - When will these things be? (seemingly, the issue immediately at hand - destruction of the temple) ... What will be the sign of your coming? ... What will be the sign of the end of the age?
    The advantage for us of course is hindsight. On review I should have started with Luke 21:5 "...as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down...". As can be observed even today, the Temple was obliterated. All that remains is part of an annex known as Herod's wall (the wailing wall). Two things of interest: 1. though Herod's wall was within the Temple compound, it wasn't part of the Temple itself. 2. Though Herod rebuilt the Temple as one of his architectural endevours, he himself was prohibited from entering the Temple area itself. He was restricted to the court of the Gentiles.

    Imo, the verse that directly answers the disciples question and pre-warns them of a coming tribulation is Luke 21:20 "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." Jesus goes into some detail in the next few verses, and it is an historical fact that these came to pass not long after the death of Matthew, Mark & Luke...
    Last edited by apostoli; 09-17-2015, 05:07 PM.

  • #2
    Every reasonable person interprets at least part of Matthew 24 as being fulfilled in the first century. However, just having a preterist view of Matthew 24 (or part thereof) does not equate with a "preterist view" of Revelation 12.

    The typical preterist view of Revelation 12 is that the woman represents Jewish Christians, and that the dragon represents the Roman Empire, and that Satan tries to wipe out the Jewish Christians with water which equates with Roman armies, and the woman flees Jerusalem to a new location and thereby escapes the destruction.

    And finally, the main point which generally distinguishes pure preterists from other groups like historicists is that preterists also interpret the 3.5 years as being literal years during the Jewish War. That's the part that I have the biggest problem with. Equating 3.5 years in a book full of symbols with a literal period of time seems a bit stupid. But as I discussed in the other thread, I also think the woman as "Israel" probably seems to represent the whole church as an entity, rather than just the Jewish church. So that is a second flaw.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
      Every reasonable person interprets at least part of Matthew 24 as being fulfilled in the first century. However, just having a preterist view of Matthew 24 (or part thereof) does not equate with a "preterist view" of Revelation 12.
      I must plead ignorance regarding most things dubbed preterist. I guess my RCC teachers were remiss in my education

      For the reasons already given, I reject the possible preterist viewpont that the woman is Jewish Christianity. I find the term itself absurd. The usual division is the Jamesian church in Jerusalem and the worldwide Pauline/Petrine churches. The later had those of the seed of Abraham and gentiles. Reading the NT, the Pauline branch was Gentile centric (and anti-Temple, Moses and basically all things Jewish). Also, reading the NT, the Jamesian church in Jerusalem was a bit of a waste of space - the Gentile churches depicted as propping it up. Such facts would to mind be sufficient to dispel the notion you suggested some preterists hold.

      Possibly the people who hold the view you related also await the re-establishment of the Temple, even though Revelation 21:22 clearly states there will be no Temple (or necessity for a Temple) in the New Jerusalem cp. John 4:20-23.

      As I suggested in the other thread, I reject any thought of the woman being associated with Israel or Judea in anyway. Given the symbolism of the sun, moon & stars I think the best we can say is the woman is of the "spiritual" seed of Jacob/Abraham ie: Christians may not be temporally of their flesh but we are offspring of their faith...

      Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
      The typical preterist view of Revelation 12 is that the woman represents Jewish Christians, and that the dragon represents the Roman Empire, and that Satan tries to wipe out the Jewish Christians with water which equates with Roman armies, and the woman flees Jerusalem to a new location and thereby escapes the destruction.
      By the first century Rome didn't have an army per se. They relied heavily on foreign mercenaries, and internationally were quite weak. Rome was at constant war with the Parthian empire and the Armenian empire and these battles in the east and north east greatly weakened Rome financially and militarily. So, given Rome was a spent force by the 1st century, I can't see its relevance to Revelation in the ultimate war! I'll qualify that: tradition has it that John lived in or near Ephesus. He was at some stage imprisoned on the island of Patmos which isn't that far away from Ephesus. Those who hold an "early date" for Revelation theorise he must have been imprisoned twice (?) and demand he wrote the Revelation during his first imprisonment around 63CE (I must investigate this ascertion). In contrast, to my knowledge, tradition (our only source of info) speaks of only one imprisonment during the Domitian persecutions, which puts the Revelation post 81CE (cp. Eusebius.C). Back to the Roman thingy: I doubt the dragon could be Rome. Given the details of Revelation, Rome is more likely to be the beast (cp. Rev 13:6-7).

      Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
      And finally, the main point which generally distinguishes pure preterists from other groups like historicists is that preterists also interpret the 3.5 years as being literal years during the Jewish War. That's the part that I have the biggest problem with. Equating 3.5 years in a book full of symbols with a literal period of time seems a bit stupid. But as I discussed in the other thread, I also think the woman as "Israel" probably seems to represent the whole church as an entity, rather than just the Jewish church. So that is a second flaw.
      The battles between "symbolic literalists" and "interpreters" always amuses me. Take for instance Luke 16:19-17:1. Here we have a wonderful parody of Caiaphas down to his clothing, father and five brothers but people focus on dogmatics instead of what is being said. I think the same is true of Revelation... The Dragon could just as readily represent the Jewish repression of Christianity. Rev 12:4 for me brings to mind John 1:11 and also the crucifixion.
      __________________

      An after thought: What is the preterist view of the dragon being cast unto the earth? Rev 12:13: "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child". Also, what do preterists make of Rev 12:16: "And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth". Who/what is the earth?
      Last edited by apostoli; 09-19-2015, 12:32 PM.

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      • #4
        An after thought: What is the preterist view of the dragon being cast unto the earth? Rev 12:13: "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child". Also, what do preterists make of Rev 12:16: "And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth". Who/what is the earth?
        I think they usually say that the earth is the Jews, the sea is the gentiles, and the water from the dragon's mouth is a gentile army, and that the Jews ultimately got hit by the army. Satan sent the gentile army against Jerusalem to try to wipe out the home base of Christianity, but the Christians fled Jerusalem and escaped. I think they usually say that the dragon being cast down is either a literal judgment on the literal devil, or else just a representation of the spread of Christianity.

        I do think that the dragon's being cast down basically refers to the spread of Christianity in some way. The rest of the preterist interpretation I tend to doubt. But I don't have a real strong view of Revelation, which is why I was making the thread to brainstorm ideas.

        As I suggested in the other thread, I reject any thought of the woman being associated with Israel or Judea in anyway. Given the symbolism of the sun, moon & stars I think the best we can say is the woman is of the "spiritual" seed of Jacob/Abraham ie: Christians may not be temporally of their flesh but we are offspring of their faith...
        The spiritual seed of Israel is Israel. And yes, the verses that I quoted in the beginning show definitively that the woman refers to spiritual Israel in some way.

        Mark 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
        (an odd thing to say until you realize that Jesus is the end of a line of kings coming from a divinely-instituted nation, and that he is referring to his spiritual forebearers)

        The thing that confuses me, though, is how in practical terms we can distinguish the "mother" Israel from the "children" Israel. I'm not aware of any time in history when Christians as a whole (the children) were being persecuted but a single subgroup (the mother) was spared.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
          I think they usually say that the earth is the Jews, the sea is the gentiles, and the water from the dragon's mouth is a gentile army, and that the Jews ultimately got hit by the army. Satan sent the gentile army against Jerusalem to try to wipe out the home base of Christianity, but the Christians fled Jerusalem and escaped. I think they usually say that the dragon being cast down is either a literal judgment on the literal devil, or else just a representation of the spread of Christianity.
          Thanks for that. Hopefully a preterist will join our discussion and explain their reasoning/position.

          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
          I do think that the dragon's being cast down basically refers to the spread of Christianity in some way.
          I'm tainted by ancient myth, and thus I am of the opinion that the conflict tale in Revelation follows the same lines = the Dragon/Leviathan being the protagonist from Canaanite mythology eg: Athtar's (Satan's) attempt to assume Ba'al's throne, but when he failed he/she was cast down to earth. Still, given Job, it gives pause for thought (In Job, Satan still has access to heaven and is on "friendly" terms with God). It would seem natural to assume that given Satan's plan A failed, he'd goto a plan B and seek revenge on those loyal to Ba'al/El/Elohim/YHWH down on earth. Which, on reflection, would indicate that the Woman of Rev 12, is representative of God's appointee, which I would understand to be the Church administration (as opposed to the Church as a whole). Though, note that Rev 12:1 & 3 call the Woman and the Dragon "a great wonder in heaven".

          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
          The rest of the preterist interpretation I tend to doubt. But I don't have a real strong view of Revelation, which is why I was making the thread to brainstorm ideas.
          I appreciate your brainstorming, at the least it is its making me examine Rev 12 and the possibilities.

          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
          The spiritual seed of Israel is Israel.
          I need clarification on this. Are you referring to the earthly, biologically genetic, seed of Jacob, or the heavenly, spirit enthused, seed?

          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
          And yes, the verses that I quoted in the beginning show definitively that the woman refers to spiritual Israel in some way.
          If you equate Jacob with Israel the person (as opposed to the geographic thingy) I'd agree with you! (cp Gen 32:28)

          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
          Mark 3:35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
          (an odd thing to say until you realize that Jesus is the end of a line of kings coming from a divinely-instituted nation, and that he is referring to his spiritual forebearers)
          It should be noted that YHWH GOD did not appoint a king over Israel! It was the "nation" that demanded they have a king so they'd be like the nations (a reaction to the inherent corruption of the priestly classes and the judges). Have a read of 1 Samuel 8 onwards. Kingship was not instituted by YHWH! YHWH simply acquiescence to the peoples demands knowing full well that investiture of a king over Israel would end in catastrophe for Israel. In short Israel rejected YHWH as their king = they didn't trust him (cp. Gen 3). Also note that the kingship of Israel was in later times directly cursed by YHWH and since then Israel has been without a "legitimate" king.

          Imo, the "my brother, and my sister, and mother" thing, must be aligned with Luke 14:26 "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple".

          Originally posted by Obsidian View Post
          The thing that confuses me, though, is how in practical terms we can distinguish the "mother" Israel from the "children" Israel. I'm not aware of any time in history when Christians as a whole (the children) were being persecuted but a single subgroup (the mother) was spared.
          As a general rule the focus of the provincial persecution were the leaders, the children were left alone. Most of the Roman persecutions of Christians were localised (often to appease the Jewish population). The Diocletian persecutions were a particularly noteworthy exception. To put things in perspective: Diocletian's persecutions were not primarily directed at the Christians of the time, are considered the worst. Diocletian proclaimed an edict that required all Jews be obliterated from the face of the earth. Provided they weren't genetic Jews, Christians could simply sacrifice to the emperor and/or the idols to save their skins, Jews could not...

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