An archive of works against hyper preterism aka full preterism from a confessionally Reformed perspective.

The ‘Book-Ends of Revelation’ Argument Refuted

Hyper Preterist Bill Evans had asked the following question on FB and it’s a common one from Hyper Preterists, so I thought i would take a moment and answer the question. Here was his question:

“After reading Unraveling the End by Dr. John Noe, given the time stamp book ends in Revelation found in chapters 1 and 22, I must ask, where is the exegetical warrant to divide the book anywhere? It was written to the early Christians about persecution, Kingdom victory, Christ’s destruction of Jerusalem, and with it the last remnants of the OT system. It has already been fulfilled, but has powerful ongoing present day and future relevance.”

Bill Evans

The “time stamp book ends” he is referring to are:

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”

Re 1:1–3

And,

“Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place. 7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”…10 And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand….12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work…20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”

Rev 22.6

As you can see then, the Book of Revelation contains these “time stamps” in both the opening and closing chapters. Hence, they are called “book ends.” And from there, it is then argued that everything between these two book ends are “stamped” with those “time texts.” In other words, every prophecy in that book is attached to the words “the time is near” and “things which must shortly take place.”

This leads hyper-preterists to conclude that everything in the book was expected to happen “soon,” within the lifetimes of those who originally received the Revelation. They argue that there is no justification for detaching any part of the book from these time texts and thus pushing that part out for some indefinite time in the future. Or, to use Bill’s words, there is no “exegetical warrant to divide the book anywhere.”

This is a favorite argument of the hyper-preterists and was an argument I used quite a bit. On the surface it appears to be a very strong argument. But it’s not…in fact, the answer is so easy that it shocks hyper-preterists and to this day, I have yet to see a hyper-preterist deal with it.

Now, some may be tempted to get into an argument over the dating of the book in order to answer this argument. But there is no need to do all of that. Like I said…it’s simple.

In Revelation 20, we read about a period that lasts for “a thousand years.” We are told about things that will mark the beginning of the thousand years (satan is bound, first resurrection), the time during the thousand years (those of the first resurrection will live and reign, the nations will not be deceived), the end of the thousand years (rest of dead will resurrect), and the time after the thousand years (satan will be released and deceive the nations). There has been much debate among Christians as to whether to interpret these thousands years as literal or figurative. For the hyper-preterist however, there can be no debate – the thousand years must be figurative and terminate in AD70.

But here’s the question you need to ask the hyper-preterist: to which of the 4 parts of the thousand years are the “time texts” stamped?

According to their “book end” argument, they would have to answer “to all parts.” YET, in my seven years as a hyper-preterist and my ten years of monitoring it after renouncing it, I have yet to see a single hyper-preterist argue that the thousand years had not yet begun at the time when John wrote the book, which they typically date in the mid 60s. In fact, Rev. 1.6 is often quoted to prove that John was already “reigning” (during the thousand years) at the time of writing. Verse 6 states “and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

The most common understanding among hyper-preterists is that the thousand years represent the 40 years between the death/burial/resurrection of Christ and the destruction of the Temple. Satan was bound, they argue, during the earthly ministry of Christ.

But if that is the case, then how can the beginning of the thousand years, marked by the binding of satan, be said to “shortly take place”? According to them, it had already taken place!

They don’t even take their own hermeneutical principle seriously! If they did, then they would have to argue that the thousand years did not begin until the early or mid 60s (depending on their date of writing) and only lasted a few years. And you thought 40 years was bad. How about shortening the thousand years to a mere 5! hahaha.

But none of them do that. They attach the time texts to the end of the thousand years but not to the beginning. But if they are allowed to do that and disregard their own rule, why am I wrong or ‘inconsistent’ for detaching the end part from the time texts?

So in short, to answer Bill: You and the rest of the hyper-preterists made up a rule that you don’t even follow, and if you did, it would actually refute much of your other teachings.

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