Matthew 24 @ Historicism.com

Interpreting the prophecies of Jesus in His "Olivet Discourse" in Matthew 24 and the synoptic (parallel) Gospels

Also visit our special section on the Seals of Revelation!


The Problem with Preterism

It is Built on the Sand of the Neronic Date

Ask a preterist about preterism and he will talk about Nero, the fall of Jerusalem and Matthew 24.

But ask an historicist about preterism and he will argue that the book of Revelation was written in A.D. 96 during the reign of Emperor Domitian.


The Early Fathers Agreed

John was Banished by Domitian

"Early Christian tradition is almost unanimous in assigning the Apocalypse to the last years of Domitian." Henry Barclay Swete

·  1 - Irenaeus

·  5 - Eusebius

·  2 - Clement

·  6 - Jerome

·  3 - Turtullian

·  A Discordant Note

·  4 -Victorinius

·  Summary

Two Persecutions

Comparison Provides Key Insights

The persecutions under Nero and Domitian differed in scope. Nero's persecutions were limited to Rome whereas Domintian persecuted Christians throughout the empire.

Further, there is no historical record that Nero banished anyone. We read of imprisonment, confiscation, hunting to death with dogs, crucifixion, beheading, drenching with oil and then setting on fire but, banishment is never mentioned.

·  Two Persecutions

The First Seal of Revelation

The Golden Age of the Roman Empire

And I saw a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. Rev 6:2

The Roman Empire had been in a steady decline until John completed writing the book of Revelation. Then Domitian was assassinated. Suddenly its fortunes changed under the leadership of "the five good emperors."

The first seal's symbols signify victory and prosperity which no one could have foreseen before Nerva became emperor. Click on the link below to see how dramatically John's prophecy was fulfilled.

·  The 7 Seals of Revelation

The Cambridge "Greats" Behind the Neronic Date

Henry Barclay Swete vs. the Big Three

"Notwithstanding the external and internal evidence which supports the Domitianic date, the great Cambridge theologians of the last century were unanimous in regarding the Apocalypse as a work of the reign of Nero." Henry Barclay Swete.

Henry Barclay Swete (1835-1917) was Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. He was considered an authority on the dating of the Apocalypse.

The great Cambridge theologians Swete refers to above are the familiar trio Lightfoot, Hort and Westcott. These men were very influential in the generation before him at Cambridge and he knew them well.

In 1911 he published a special edition of his classic Commentary on the Apocalypse to refute Dr. Hort on the date of the Apocalypse. Swete acknowledges the weight of the "threefold cord of scholarly opinion" of these men but makes three interesting observations:

  1. They had not done any serious work on the subject.

  2. They did not challenge the testimony of the early fathers.

  3. Their arguments on "internal evidence" were not substantiative.

Known for his modesty, Swete nevertheless took a bold stand for the Domitian dating while downplaying the "authority" of his Cambridge predecessors.

Swete, Henry Barclay, Commentary on the Apocalypse, Macmillan, London, 1911, 3rd ed., pp 99-110.

·  Henry Barclay Swete

·  Westcott and Hort

·  Grattan Guinness


email: midnightoilministries@hotmail.com

Get into the history of the Roman Empire from Nero to Commodus and you will see the fulfillment of this prophecy!

Reproduced with permission from Historicist.com / Midnightoilministries@hotmail.com 06/2009

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Historicism.com is owned and operated by me, Joe Haynes, of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I serve as a pastor in a church plant in Victoria since 2013. My wife, Heather, and I have five kids. In 2011, I completed a Master of Arts in Christian Studies from Northwest Baptist Seminary at the Associated Canadian Theological Seminaries of Trinity Western University. Feel free to visit my blog at Keruxai.com.
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