Consider also the designe of the Apocalyps. Was it not given for the use of the Church to guide & direct her in the right way, And is not this the end of all prophetick Scripture? If there was no need of it, or if it cannot be understood, then why did God give it? Does he trifle? But if it was necessary for the Church then why doest thou neglect it, or how knowest thou that thou art in the right way, and yet doest not understand it?
Sir Isaac Newton, Untitled Treatise on Revelation, Section 1
I found something interesting today. This is a Seventh-Day Adventist definition of preterism:
“Preterists and non-preterists have generally agreed that the Jesuit Luis de Alcasar (1554–1613) wrote the first systematic preterist exposition of prophecy – Vestigatio arcani sensus in Apocalypsi (published in 1614) – during the Counter-Reformation.
“The vast majority of modern commentators and critical scholars take the position that God does not interfere in human affairs. This preterist view states that the book of Daniel was written against the background of contemporary events in the second century B.C., during the oppression of Antiochus Epiphanes, by someone other than Daniel. They repudiate the miracle of prediction and prefer the “more reasonable” and “elegant” vaticinium ex eventu. The book of Daniel is thus a work of fiction written during the Maccabean period to encourage resistance against tyranny. The “fulfillment” of all of Daniel’s prophecies end during the second century B.C. They don’t expect the book of Daniel to be historically accurate or true to the sixth century B.C. setting it describes. The preterist methodology starts with chapter 11 and works backwards through the prophetic chapters. Chapter 11 thus becomes the yardstick by which to approach the other prophecies. They take the position that most of chapter 11 deals with Antiochus Epiphanes who ruled the Seleucid kingdom from Antioch to Syria from approximately 175 to 164 B.C.. They then read him back into the other prophecies of chapters 8, 7, and 2. Antiochus Epiphanes thus becomes the all-encompassing figure of Daniel’s prophecies.”
I knew preterism’s main tenet was that John had to have seen the vision before 70 AD, the destruction of the Temple. I did not realize that they also assigned a late date for Daniel. The reason this has to be so is that Daniel sets the precedent that Revelation follows. If Daniel lived during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, then his prophetic visions were of the HISTORY to take place in the world before the first advent of Messiah, all events that were still future to him. That the vision of Dan 11 clearly foretells Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees even the preterists do not dispute. Their explanation for the amazing detail and accuracy is that it was written after the events, in the 2nd century BC, by a pretender. They discount Daniel as a fiction. But if Daniel lived during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and what is written in the book of Daniel is not a fiction but the truth, then Daniel saw the HISTORY of the world until the first coming of Messiah, setting the precedent that John would follow, in seeing the HISTORY of the world until the second coming of Messiah. That Daniel is true MUST NECESSARILY predict a HISTORICAL interpretation for Revelation. Because of this they discount Daniel as a fable.
Here I just have to comment that although I found this article written by Adventists, and one (out of dozens and dozens) of the excellent references I used for Revelation Revealed was also by an Adventist, Adventists were and are not alone in holding to the historical interpretation of Revelation. It was the undisputed interpretation for hundreds of years in the church, across all Protestant denominations.
As for Revelation Revealed, what you will read in that book has similarities to Adventist historicism, but also departures, because Torah contains keys to unlock the vision. These keys have only been available very recently as God has been unveiling Torah for New Testament believers, and thus, coincidentally, also Revelation.
But how interesting that the Sabbath keepers were the ones throughout the twentieth century who clung to historicism when all of Protestantism left it and went after futurism?
“Preterism holds that the contents of Revelation constitute a prophecy of events that were fulfilled in the 1st century. Preterists believe the dating of the book of Revelation is vitally important and that it was before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Preterism was first expounded by the Jesuit Luis de Alcasar during the Counter Reformation. The Preterist view served to bolster the Catholic Church’s position against attacks by Protestants, who identified the Pope with the Anti-Christ.”
“It is said that in this persecution the apostle and evangelist John, who was still alive, was condemned to dwell on the island of Patmos in consequence of his testimony to the divine word. Irenaeus, in the fifth book of his work Against Heresies, where he discusses the number of the name of Antichrist which is given in the so-called Apocalypse of John, speaks as follows concerning him: ‘If it were necessary for his name to be proclaimed openly at the present time, it would have been declared by him who saw the revelation. For it was seen not long ago, but almost in our own generation, at the end of the reign of Domitian.’”
Eusebius, _The History of the Church_, Bk. 3, Ch. 18, “The Apostle John and the Apocalypse,” p. 148.
“Tertullian has also mentioned Domitian in the following words: ‘Domitian also, who possessed a share of Nero’s cruelty, attempted once to do the same thing that the latter did. But because he had, I suppose, some intelligence, he very soon ceased, and even recalled those whom he had banished.’ But after Domitian had reigned fifteen years, and Nerva had succeeded to the empire, the Roman Senate, according to the writers that record the history of those days, voted that Domitian’s honors should be cancelled, and that those who had been unjustly banished should return to their homes and have their property restored to them. It was at this time that the apostle John returned from his banishment in the island and took up his abode at Ephesus, according to an ancient Christian tradition.”
Eusebius, _The History of the Church_, Bk. 3. Ch. 20, “The Relatives of our Saviour,” pp. 151-152.
“The traditional date of composition at the end of Domitian’s reign (95 or 96) rests on the clear and weighty testimony of Irenaeus, is confirmed by Eusebius and Jerome, and has still its learned defenders …”
Philip Schaff, _History of the Christian Church_, Vol. 1, p. 834.
“A conspiracy among his own freedmen—set on foot, it is said, by his wife Domitia Longina, who knew her own life to be threatened—cut short his career. He was stabbed in his bedroom by a freedman of Clemens named Stephanus on the 18th of September 96.”
“Domitian,” The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. 12, p. 405. They fix the dates of his reign from AD 81-96.
(_Revelation Revealed_ does not uphold the Preterist view of Revelation.)
Philip Schaff is himself a Preterist, as is Bill Cooper, an author and researcher I highly respect. If John did indeed see the vision before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70, then it seems that the Preterist view would have been the prevailing view among the Church fathers, since it would have been seen to have been fulfilled right in front of their eyes by them. However, Dr. Francis Nigel Lee lists the Apostolic and Church Fathers who interpreted biblical predictions historically, as found in his work _Biblical Predictions Not Preterist but Historicist_, Table of Contents, and examined in detail throughout his book. _Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown’s Commentary_ in its “Introduction to Revelation,” says, “The first theory [speaking of the Preterist] was not held by any of the earliest Fathers, and is only held now by Rationalists, who limit John’s vision to things within his own horizon, pagan Rome’s persecutions of Christians, and its consequently anticipated destruction.” Furthermore, the traditional Preterist commentators have displayed the most aggressive Replacement Theology I have ever come across in print. See for example, Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.