Love of History, Hatred of History

A Love of History, Truth, Knowledge, and Logic: A Demonstration

A quotation from The Days of Vengeance, by David Chilton, with some of my commentary in square brackets, [like so].

Footnotes included!

There are several Biblical indications that St. John was a priest, and even came from the high priest’s family.[1] His name was probably common in that family (cf. Acts 4:6; contrast Luke 1:61). St. John himself tells us of his close relationship to the high priest: On account of this he was able, on an extremely sensitive occasion, to gain access into the high priest’s Court, using his influence with the guard to achieve entry for St. Peter as well (John 18:15-16). Moreover, numerous references in both the Gospel and Revelation reveal their author’s unusual familiarity with the details of Temple services. As Alfred Edersheim observed, “the other New Testament writers refer to them in their narratives, or else explain their types, in such language as any well-informed worshipper at Jerusalem might have employed. But John writes not like an ordinary Israelite. He has eyes and ears for details which others would have left unnoticed….

[Well, they never taught me this in Bible school: as a boy, or as a man! John being a priest changes quite a bit about how I view him.]

“Indeed, the Apocalypse, as a whole, may be likened to the Temple services in its mingling of prophetic services with worship and praise. But it is specially remarkable, that the Temple-references with which the Book of Revelation abounds are generally to minutiae, which a writer who had not been as familiar with such details, as only personal contact and engagement with them could have rendered him, would scarcely have even noticed, certainly not employed as part of his imagery. They come in naturally, spontaneously, and so unexpectedly, that the reader is occasionally in danger of overlooking them altogether; and in language such as a professional man would employ, which would come to him from the previous exercise of his calling. Indeed, some of the most striking of these references could not have been understood at all without the professional treatises of the Rabbis on the Temple and its services. Only the studied minuteness of Rabbinical descriptions, derived from the tradition of eye-witnesses, does not leave the same impression as the unstudied illustrations of St. John.”[2]

[Details matter, to John, and to God.

Not so much to all those “The Rapture is coming” fakers, who have no idea what they are talking about. Where John is coming from is much less important than tying the latest End of the World book to the latest news headlines, and getting those fat sales figures/web-clicks….

All those failed prophecies, all those defeated, confused, discouraged, and dispirited Christians, and no immediate consequences on the heads of most of these false prophets.

Fakers who have inflicted far more damage to the Christian Faith than the atheists and the secularist have done, by the way.]

“It seems highly improbable that a book so full of liturgical allusions as the Book of Revelation – and these, many of them, not to great or important points, but to minutiae – could have been written by any other than a priest, and one who had at one time been in actual service in the Temple itself, and thus become so intimately conversant with its details, that they came to him naturally, as part of the imagery he employed.”[3]

[As always, you write about what you know.]

In this connection Edersheim brings up a point that is more important for our interpretation than the issue of Revelation’s human authorship (for ultimately [see 1:1] it is Jesus Christ’s Revelation). St. John’s intimate acquaintance with the minute details of Temple worship suggests that “the Book of Revelation and the Fourth Gospel must have been written before the Temple services had actually ceased.”[4] Although some scholars have uncritically accepted the statement of St. Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202) that the prophecy appeared “toward the end of Domitian’s reign” (i.e., around A.D. 96),[5] there is considerable room for doubt about his precise meaning (he may have meant that the Apostle John himself “was seen” by others). [6] The language of St. Irenaeus is somewhat ambiguous; and, regardless of what he was talking about, he could have been mistaken.[7] (St. Irenaeus, incidentally, is the only source for this late dating of Revelation; all other “sources” are simply quoting from him. It is thus rather disingenuous for commentators to claim, as Swete does,that “Early Christian tradition is almost unanimous in assigning the Apocalypse to the last years of Domitian.”)[8] Certainly, there are other early writers whose statements indicate that St. John wrote the Revelation much earlier, under Nero’s persecution.[9]

[You see, that’s how real scholars work. You actually chase down all those “sources”, right back to the original source… exactly ONE original source, in this case.]

A good deal of the modern presumption in favor of a Domitianic date is based on the belief that a great, sustained period of persecution and slaughter of Christians was carried on under his rule. This belief, as cherished as it is, does not seem to be based on any hard evidence at all. While there is no doubt that Domitian was a cruel and wicked tyrant (I come to bury a myth about Caesar, not to praise him), until the fifth century there is no mention in any historian of a supposedly widespread persecution of Christians by his government. It is true that he did temporarily banish some Christians; but these were eventually recalled. Robinson remarks: “When this limited and selective purge, in which no Christian was for certain put to death, is compared with the massacre of Christians under Nero in what two early and entirely independent witnesses speak of as ‘immense multitudes,’[10] it is astonishing that commentators should have been led by Irenaeus, who himself does not even mention a persecution, to prefer a Domitianic context for the book of Revelation.”[11]

[Rome was no friend to Christians.

But if Rome didn’t persecute you at a particular time, then they didn’t do the crime. At least not during the rule of Domitian: a repulsive Emperor, but NOT a hardened enemy of Christians per se.

A criminal who steals and kidnaps and defrauds may be punished for his theft and fraud, and even executed for his man-stealing… but may not be executed for murder. You may not punish (or slander!) even an evil man for a crime he did not commit.]

Our safest course, therefore, must be to study the Revelation itself to see what internal evidence it presents regarding its date. As we will see throughout the commentary, the Book of Revelation is primarily a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. This fact alone places St. John’s authorship somewhere before September of A.D. 70. Further, as we shall see, St. John speaks of Nero Caesar as still on the throne – and Nero died in June 68.

[This is the core of the Book of Revelation: the destruction of Jerusalem, the Temple, and the end of the Old Covenant.

Not whoever is the leader of China or Russia or America, or any world power.

Not outer space.
(“There. I said it!”)

Not some future clash of tanks in Syria, or some big-A Antichrist World Leader that will rise up any moment now.
(“Any minute now… any minute….”) ]

More important than any of 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.[12] St. Athanasius interpreted Gabriel’s words in the same way: “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 premediate 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….

“The plain fact is, as I say, that there is no longer any king or prophet nor Jerusalem nor sacrifice nor vision among them; yet the whole earth is filled with the knowledge of God,[13] and the Gentiles, forsaking atheism, are now taking refuge with the God of Abraham through the Word, our Lord Jesus Christ.”[14]

[This is the future trend that matters: the expansion of the Gospel and the Kingdom of Christ, in converts AND in national submission to His Law-Word.

Justice – as defined by God, not powerful men – brings prosperity and robust health, individually and collectively.

But injustice – again, as defined by God – brings poverty and misery, individually and collectively.]

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 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 the apostate children of 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 11:49-50. Jerusalem’s destruction was the last blast of the trumpet, signalling that the “mystery of God” was finished (Rev. 10:7). There would be no further canonical writings once Israel was gone.

[1] This is, to some extent, substantiated in the tradition recorded in Eusebius that as Bishop of Ephesus St. John “was a priest, and wore the sacerdotal plate” – i.e., the petalon, insignia of the high priest worn on the forehead (Ecclesiastical History, v.xxiv). It is likely, of course, that St. John and the other “ministers of the New Covenant” wore a distinctive “uniform” corresponding to their official status, and it is possible that their garments and “badge of office” were similar to those worn by the Israelite priesthood.

[2] Alfred Edersheim, The Temple: Its Ministry and Services as They Were at the Time of Christ (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980), pp. 14lf.

[3] Ibid., p. 142.

[4] Ibid., p. 141.

[5] St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies,; Quoted by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History, iiLxviiL2-3; v.viii.6.

[6] See Arthur Stapylton Barnes, Christianity at Rome in the Apostolic Age (London: Methuen Publishers, 1938), pp. 167ff.

[7] See the discussion in John A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1976), pp. 221ff.

[8] H. B. Swete, Commentary on Revelation (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, [1911)1977), p. xcix.

[9] See the detailed discussion in Moses Stuart, Commentary on the Apocalypse (Andover: Allen, Morrill and Wardwell, 1845), Vol. I, pp. 263-84; see also James M. MacDonald, The Life and Writings of St. John (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1877), pp. 151-77.

[10] Robinson has in mind the statements of the Christian pastor St. Clement (I Clement 6) and the heathen historian Tacitus (Annals xv.44).

[11] Robinson, p. 233; cr. pp. 236ff.

[12] While he does not base his case on theological considerations, this is J. A. T. Robinson’s thesis in Redating the New Testament. He arrives at this conclusion through a careful study of both the internal and external evidence regarding each New Testament book. Support from archeological findings for an early New Testament is presented in David Estrada and William White Jr., The First New Testament (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1978). See also Ernest L. Martin, The Original Bible Restored (Pasadena: Foundation for Biblical Research, 1984), for his interesting thesis that the New Testament was canonized by St. Peter and St. John.

[13] St. Athanasius, the “patron saint of postmillennialism,” thus applies the “millennial” promise of Isaiah 11:9 to the triumphs of the New Covenant era.

[14] St. Athanasius, On the Incarnation, Sister Penelope Lawson, Trans. (New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1946), pp. 61ff. Rousas John Rushdoony makes the same point in his exposition of Dan. 9:24: “‘Vision and prophet’ will be sealed up or ended, the New Testament revelation of Christ summing up and concluding the Scriptures.” Thy Kingdom Come: Studies in Daniel and Revelation (Tyler, TX: Thoburn Press, 119701 1978), p. 66.

A Hatred of History, Truth, Knowledge, and Logic: A Demonstration

In contrast, let’s examine the Enlightened viewpoint of Our Masters:

The educrats who run this country’s schools are systematic in their hatred of history. They do not want students educated in history, and especially not in the history of Western civilization. They want to cut off the present generation of students from any understanding of the heritage of liberty that came in the West, and only in the West.

We are seeing the results of this outlook in the riots. This outlook is not new. It was dominant among the public school establishment 100 years ago. But it has taken a century for them to persuade teachers and the general public that students can do without an understanding of Western history.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I took a world history course. I did well in it. I had a knack for history. It has taken half a century for the educational establishment to get world history, and especially Western history, out of the curriculum.

I am convinced that we are seeing in the streets of this country the effects of the war against Western civilization. These rioters are nihilists. They are doing their best to overturn the tradition of Western liberty. They have no understanding of the past. They have no understanding of the legacy of liberty that has been delivered to them. They have never studied the history of the West. They have no respect for this legacy. They have been taught that it is an evil legacy. They have taken to the streets in the name of destroying this legacy.

This cannot be dealt with by means of a reform of tax-funded education. The use of coercion in establishing the public schools was, from the beginning, illegitimate. The fruits of that illegitimate use of power are now becoming visible. But the average American doesn’t understand this. He is the product of that school system. The parents are as ignorant of Western civilization as the rioting children are. The battle was lost in the 1830’s in Massachusetts. That is to say, the defenders of Western civilization have been on the defensive ever since then.

Until parents pull their children out of these indoctrination centers, we are going to be subjected to waves of violence against the West. These waves are intermittent. They don’t last for long, but they keep coming back. They are going to keep coming back until there is an alternative educational system that studies the principles of Western liberty and the application of these principles for 3500 years.

Public School History Curriculum: No Moses, Jesus, or Muhammed, by Gary North

North not only points out the problem: he also has a solution.
(See the article for details.)

“By their fruits ye shall know them.”

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