Created March 14, 2004

The 2 Last Days


What's Your Approach?
The First "Last Days"
Another "Last Days"
The Very Last Day
Revelation's Birthday

Eusebius' Church History
Dionysius'The Apocalypse of John
We Find The Defendant . . .
The Opposite Problem
Wrap Up

Related Articles

What's Your Approach?

There exist a number of schools or approaches to understanding the Bible. Many believe these approaches should always be used when interpreting the Bible.

Some say we should take everything literally. Fundamentalists usually favor this approach. Some believe that nearly everything is of some symbolic, figurative, allegorical meaning and that nothing is literal or very little is.

Some believe that most things in the Bible have yet to happen and some favor that everything has already been fulfilled with the first coming of Jesus and the destruction of Jerusalem.

Indeed, I would say that they are all right at times. There are literal things in the Bible and there are symbolic things. There are prophecies that have been fulfilled and there are those that have yet to be fulfilled. Why do we have to squeeze everything into one approach or have just one way of looking at things? This is where they all go wrong. There is no one way to interpret. Each case needs to be addressed separately. Clues will be given in the Bible to let us know which way is the most likely way to understand something.

Among the various schools of thought exist those who say that There is no last days upon which Jesus will return and destroy God's enemies, the wicked, rebellious nations, or anything else like that.

This is a most peculiar heresy that exists among the ancient Celtic church, I suspect, as well as among members of the independent Church Of Christ and what I will call independent Christian churches and leadership who believe that we should not look for or await salvation since it is not to come and that the only salvation shall be when we die and go to heaven. These last types, who are called Preterists, sometimes even advocate some sort of political resistance against the government, which the Bible does not advocate at all, even if they were right about the last days having already happened.

Now I admit that there is a "last days" that has been fulfilled. These are the ones that refer to the last days of the 1st appearance of Jesus, as well as his death, the pouring out of the spirit at Pentecost, the welcoming of the Gentile nations as Christians and of the coming liars and traitors, false prophets and deceivers who spread lies about the faith and corrupt it in those days during and immediately after the Apostles, and of the destruction of Jerusalem.

But these are not the only last days. There are other last days that are to take place long after the days of events in the 1st century of/after Christ. Many have missed this not so subtle point.

And this brings up another odd paradox, for some will also take these prophecies that applied to days in the 1st century (AD) of Christ and apply them to our day, recognizing that there is clearly a set of last days applying to our time. They do the opposite of the Preterists types and apply all prophecies to the last days that foretell a day of judgment, reckoning, and, for some, destruction. They do this for a reason I will later address. But these ones are just as wrong as those who say it was all fulfilled in the 1st century. The 2 sets of last days are very distinct and separate as I intend to demonstrate.

I will tell you up front, how you can tell the difference between each set of last days. Each set of last days describes events that happen during the times they refer to. The events are very different in one group than they are in the other. For instance, Christ had 2 comings that were prophesied. One in which he was born as a man by means of the Holy Spirit and was to die as a sacrifice and the 2nd coming where he returns in spirit as a glorious heavenly conquering king who subdues the world for the heavenly Father and eliminates wickedness and establishes Godly rule forever.

One can see the confusion this caused when Jesus came the 1st time. The Jews were expecting that conquering king who would restore a literal earthly kingdom in Jerusalem and get rid of Roman rule. Instead they go the sacrificial lamb who died among thieves in disgrace. Many Preterists understand this dilemma yet miss the one concerning the two "last days." How odd! They also know that the temple being rebuilt at Jerusalem (if it should happen) is not from God since Jesus eliminated the need for temples and sacrifices. Yet still they do not see the 2 last days.

And by the way, many mistake the repatriation of Jerusalem and Judah or the returning of God's people to Him as always applying to the literal return of Jews from Babylon after Jerusalem had been left in desolations and abandonment for years. There is a spiritual fulfillment that applies to Christians. But here again, there are two fulfillments and Preterists understand this, too. Amazing, no??? Yet still they can not accept 2 last days.

So for the benefit of all and to resolve this matter, we will look at the 2 last days and see how events differ in each last days set. First we will deal with the 1st last days events.

The First "Last Days"
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In this first scripture, Peter makes the interpretation for us so we do not need to doubt or do any interpreting ourselves. Peter quotes a prophecy from Joel. The Holy Spirit has just been poured out on the 120 disciples meeting that say and they began to speak in the tongues of peoples of various nations that had been in attendance at that time of the Jewish festival just passed. Peter says that Joel had been fulfilled that day, which Joel has called the last days.

Acts 2:
14 But standing up with the Eleven, Peter lifted up his voice and spoke out to them, Men, Jews,
     and all those living in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to my words:
15 For these are not drunk, as you imagine, for it is the third hour of the day.
16 But this is that which has been spoken by the prophet Joel,

Acts 2:
17 "And it shall be" in the last days, God says, "I will pour from My Spirit on all flesh, and your sons
      and your daughters shall prophesy;" "and your young men shall see visions," "and your old men shall dream dreams;"
18 "and also I will pour out My Spirit on My slaves and slave women in those days," and they shall prophesy.
19 "And I will give wonders in the heaven above," and miracles "on the earth below, blood and fire and vapor of smoke.
20 The sun will be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the" "coming of the great and glorious" "day of the Lord."
21 "And it shall be that everyone who shall call on the name of the Lord will be saved."

Lets look at that prophecy as it appears in the Hebrew Old Testament in Joel. Note that it appears to address Israel and the Jews.

Joel 2:
27 And you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am Jehovah your God, and there is no other.
     And My people shall not be ashamed forever.
28 And it shall be afterward, I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh. And your sons and your daughters
     shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
29 And also I will pour out My Spirit on the slaves and on the slave girls in those days.
30 And I will give signs in the heavens and in the earth: blood, and fire, and columns of smoke.
31 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of Jehovah.
32 For it shall be, all who shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be saved. For salvation shall be in Mount Zion,
     and in Jerusalem, as Jehovah has said, and among the saved whom Jehovah shall call.

Though seeming to refer to Israel, it applies to figurative or spiritual Israel and I have written a whole article on that subject alone. There is more than one Israel (specifically, 2), Jerusalem, etc. The literal earthly one and one more figurative and symbolic one, sometimes called spiritual or heavenly Jerusalem/Israel, etc. And this prophecy was about the figurative Israel of God, His people in the last or later days, foretelling the new covenant people who would have His spirit poured out on them in those so called last days.

Paul also speaks of similar last days as being the days in which Jesus first appeared and concluded a new covenant. So there is definitely a last days that took place in the 1st century as the Preterists correctly point out.

Hebrews 1:2 in these last days He spoke to us in the Son, whom He appointed heir of all; through whom He indeed made the ages;

Hebrews 8:
10 Because this is the covenant which I will covenant with the house of Israel after those days,
     says the Lord, giving My laws into their mind, and I will write them on their hearts,
     and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."

16 "This is the covenant which I will covenant to them after those days, says the Lord:
     Giving My laws on their hearts, and I will write them on their minds;"

All that Paul, Peter, Jesus, and others of their day did was point out what the prophets had foretold long ago. Peter points this out in the next scripture.

Acts 3:
22 For Moses indeed said to the fathers, "The Lord your God will raise up to you a Prophet from among your brothers,
     One like me; you shall hear Him according to all things," whatever He may speak to you. [See Deuteronomy 18:15-16, 19]
23 And it shall be that of every soul, whoever should not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.

24 And also all the prophets, from Samuel and those following after, as many as spoke, also before announced these days.
25 You are sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God appointed to our fathers, saying to Abraham,
     "Even in your Seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed." [Gen. 22:18].

"These days" were sometimes called the last days for they were a last days of sorts. They were the end of the law and the prophets according to Matthew 11:13 and a similar account in Luke 16:16. They were the lasts days for the Jews who would reject Jesus since it was said by Moses that any not listening to this prophet, Jesus, must die. And Satan would see to it that the Apostles would soon die themselves and that false shepherds and deceivers would come in and lead believers away. But they were not the very last days when Jesus would return again to fulfill far greater things.

Another "Last Days"
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All the prophets foresaw that first coming and those last days concerned with that time. But they also foresaw another set of events and last days as well. This starts to become apparent in the next scripture. As it starts, we can see it is talking about the temple being destroyed as the disciples ask about it. This account appears in Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13. We'll start with Luke.

Luke 21:
5 And as some were speaking about the temple, that it had been adorned with beautiful stones and gifts, He said,
6 As to these things that you see, days will come in which a stone will not be left on a stone, which will not be thrown down.
7 And they asked Him, saying, Teacher, then when will these things be? And what will be the sign when these things are about to happen?

Matthew 24:3 And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when will these things be? And, What is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?

Mark 13:
3 And as He was sitting in the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew questioned Him privately:
4 Tell us when these things shall be? And what is the sign when all these things are about to be done?

It is easy to understand how some could conclude after reading only Luke, that what Jesus spoke of only concerned the temple being destroyed, if we listened to no other words of Jesus, that is.

But if we look at Matthew and Mark, they mention what some translations call the end of the age or end of the world or when all things are about to be done. Maybe that subject had also come up and they wanted it further addressed although Jesus had addressed it at other times in his ministry. Some say age does not mean the end of the world. That is at least possible. So reading what Jesus answered is the only way we can tell if it was or wasn't also talking about the end of the world as some have called it, although it is not really the end of the planet or people being on it, either.

Luke's account draws attention to the time when stakes would surround Jerusalem, which did happen in 68 AD when Rome had come to destroy Jerusalem but had to leave upon being called back to Rome upon Nero's assassination. Speaking to those who were Christians that would be living in Jerusalem at that time:

Luke 21:
21 Then let those in Judea flee into the mountains; and those in its midst, let them go out.
     And those in the open spaces, let them not go into her.
22 For these are days of vengeance when all things that have been written are to be fulfilled.

Jesus was definitely speaking of the vengeance upon Jerusalem and the Jews for rejecting their Christ sent by God in fulfillment of the prophets. This was part of the last days of those times. Paul, Peter, and some others were already dead by this time. John and some of the others would remain for some years yet. But look what is said next.

Luke 21:
23 But woe to the pregnant women, and the ones suckling in those days; for great distress will be on the earth and wrath on this people.
24 And they will fall by the mouth of the sword and will be led captive to all the nations.
     And Jerusalem will be trodden down by nations, until the times of the nations are fulfilled.

In further fulfillment, Jews would be led captive to all the nations, which did happen and Jerusalem would be trodden down, subdued, and dominated until the times of the nations had been fulfilled. Those were mentioned in Daniel in several chapters of his. So we are looking at a much greater time period than just to the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome. Jerusalem had been trampled upon at least up to 1948 or 1949 and even then, she does not have someone sitting on the throne in God's behalf so she is still trampled on by the nations.

So Jesus was also talking about the fulfillment of the times of the nations, far into the future, as spoken of by Daniel the prophet. Luke continues:

Luke 21:
25 And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars. And on the earth will be anxiety of nations
     with bewilderment, roaring of sea and of surf,
26 men fainting from fear, and expectation of the things coming on the earth. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and much glory. [Dan. 7:13]
28 But when these things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.

Here we see dreadful things coming upon the whole earth, not just Jerusalem. We see Jesus returning with great power and glory that he did not have the first time. And Christians are to rejoice for their deliverance is near. Christians were not delivered when Jerusalem was destroyed. They were told to flee but it was not their deliverance for they delivered themselves be being obedient to the command in response to the sign of the stakes. Mark makes it clear it was deliverance of Christians that was being referred to.

Mark 13:27 And then He will send His angels and will gather His elect from the four winds, from the end of earth to the end of heaven.

Of course, those delivered would be those living at the time that Jesus would return. It was meant for those who would come much later than those he was speaking to. No doubt, the spirit made this clear as these writers recorded what they did. But there was much more here than just the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome.

Notice how Paul describes another last days:

2Timothy 3:1 But know this, that in the last days grievous times will be upon us.

Paul says that the last days will be upon us. Us as in Christians but not Paul or those in his day. He spoke as if the last days had not come yet. But they had already come according to him and Peter earlier. But here he is speaking of another last days, the very last days.

2 Peter 3:
3 first, knowing this, that during the last days scoffers will come walking according to their own lusts,
4 and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue this way from the beginning of creation.
5 For this is hidden from them by their willing it so, that heavens were of old, and earth by water, and through water, being held together by the word of God,
6 through which the world which then was, being flooded by water, perished.
7 But the heavens and the earth now, having been stored up by the same word, are being kept for fire to a day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

During the last days, scoffers will come. We can't be talking about the same last days that Peter mentioned in acts because those had already arrived and he says the scoffers have yet to come. Note the day of the Lord that Peter next mentions. What day is he talking about?

2 Peter 3:
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with rushing sound,
     and having burned the elements will be dissolved, and earth and the works in it will be burned up.
11 Then all these being about to be dissolved, what sort ought you to be in holy behavior and godliness,
12 looking for and hastening the coming of the Day of God, through which the heavens having been set afire
     will be dissolved; and burning, the elements will melt?
13 But according to His promise, we look for "new heavens and a new earth," in which righteousness dwells. [Isaiah 65:17].
14 Because of this, beloved, looking for these things, be diligent, spotless, and without blemish, to be found in peace by Him.

A heavens and earth of old had been destroyed. Another heavens and earth were going to be destroyed. And a new heavens and earth were going to replace them. Not a literal heavens and earth, since the first that was destroyed was not literal as in the planet earth or outer space.

Did you also notice the phrase, "coming day of God?" It had yet to come. It was a future time that would bring something very new and special. Of course, Peter was quoting Isaiah 65:17. That prophecy was also foretelling something that had nothing to do with the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome. It was speaking of things very similar to Revelation 21:3-4.

Mark 13:20 And if the Lord had not shortened the days, not any flesh would be saved; but because of the elect whom He chose, He has shortened the days.

Because of Christians, God was going to cut short the horrible events of the days, the last days, so as to preserve His people. His people were told to flee Jerusalem before its destruction so they would preserve themselves through obedience. But in these very last days, God would preserve and deliver His people through His son.

Matthew 28:20 teaching them to observe all things, whatever I commanded you. And, behold, I am with you all the days until the completion of the age. Amen.

Mark 13:20 And if the Lord had not shortened the days, not any flesh would be saved; but because of the elect whom He chose, He has shortened the days.

Was Jesus with us only until Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome?. Of course not!!! He is still with us. The age spoken of is the age of and times of the nations until Christ should destroy them all and reign in their place forever as Daniel 2 said would happen.

The Very Last Day
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Preterists miss this all important last day that appears 6 times in the gospel of John as follows: John 6:39, 40, 44, 54 11:24 12:48. This last day could not possibly be Jerusalem being destroyed as you shall see. For among other things, the resurrection so long ago promised by the law and the prophets as well as Jesus and the Apostles will finally take place.

John 6:39 And this is the will of the Father sending Me, that of all that He has given Me, I shall not lose any of it, but shall raise it up in the last day.

John 6:40 And this is the will of the One sending Me, that everyone seeing the Son and believing into Him should have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:44 No one is able to come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.

John 6:54 The one partaking of My flesh and drinking of My blood has everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11:24 Martha said to Him, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection in the last day.

John 12:48 The one who rejects Me and does not receive My words has that judging him: the Word which I spoke, that will judge him in the last Day.

There were no resurrections when Rome destroyed Jerusalem. In fact, there were barely any Apostles left. The big day of judgment, the destruction of the wicked promised throughout the prophets, and ruling of righteousness, and so many other wonderful promises made by the prophets and written about elsewhere on this site, not one of them was fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed. How ridiculous to even suggest it.

And what about that final trumpet blow mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and:

Revelation 10:7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, whenever he is about to trumpet, was even ended the mystery of God, as He preached to His slaves, the prophets.

Surely the last trumpet did not sound in 70 AD at the fall of Jerusalem. So much more was required. Or consider what the Church of Christ says when it claims that Babylon is symbolic of Jerusalem in the book of Revelation. First, Jerusalem is also mentioned by name so why it should also be symbolic might deserve some consideration. But beyond that, notice what is said about Babylon in Revelation, chapters 17 & 18, 18 in particular.

Revelation 18:
21 And one strong angel lifted a stone like a great millstone, and threw it into the sea, saying, This way, on a violent impulse, Babylon the great city will be thrown down, and it will never more still be found.

22 And the sound of harpers, and of musicians, and flutists, and of trumpeters will never more be heard in you. And every craftsman of every craft will never more be found in you. And the sound of a mill will never more be heard in you.

23 And the light of a lamp will never more shine in you. And the voice of the bridegroom and bride will never more be heard in you. For your merchants were the great ones of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were misled.

Assuming that Babylon is Jerusalem, can we honestly say that ever since her destruction in 70 AD, that there has never been the sound of musicians heard in her anymore, or any craftsmen or mills to be found. Are there no more lamps shining in Jerusalem? No more people getting married? All these things happen today in Jerusalem so it could not possibly be her.

I would certainly agree the Babylon is symbolic but not that Jerusalem is what is symbolized. All the nations of the earth have committed fornication with her so she seems to be related to God somehow and has been very unfaithful and being called Babylon the Great from Daniel 4 indicates that she is haughty and arrogant. But given the procession of kings which puts Rome before all this is to happen and places it all long after Rome, we can not conclude that the literal Jerusalem of 70 AD has anything to do with it.

What Babylon represents is discussed in another article I will list at the end. They come under serious judgment from God who puts it into the heart of the kings to do his will against Babylon as He did the first time. The biggest and final blow to the idea that Revelation applies to Jerusalem's destruction is the time at which Revelation was given to and written by John as we shall next consider.

Revelation's Birthday
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Yes, Revelation had a birthday, a time when it came into being by way of the Apostle John from Jesus. It is a well known time attested to in the 2nd century and not ever in any serious dispute with the small exception of a Dionysius. In fact, quite a bit is told about John by later writers given that he lived to at least 100 AD in Ephesus and so left more behind to be remembered and recorded, by those who never got to know the earlier Apostles who were killed much earlier in history.

So I am going to present those writing here so you can see what is known about John and his life circumstance so that we can accurately and reasonably known when Revelation came into being. Keep in mind that at the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses a matter may be firmly established, especially when there is no opposing contradictory testimony offered.

Irenaeus Against Heresies, Book 5, Chap. 33

3. The predicted blessing, therefore, belongs unquestionably to the times of the kingdom, when the righteous shall bear rule upon their rising from the dead; when also the creation, having been renovated and set free, shall fructify with an abundance of all kinds of food, from the dew of heaven, and from the fertility of the earth: as the elders who saw John, the disciple of the Lord, related that they had heard from him how the Lord used to teach in regard to these times, and say: The days will come, in which vines shall grow, each having ten thousand branches, and in each branch ten thousand twigs, and in each true twig ten thousand shoots, and in each one of the shoots ten thousand dusters, and on every one of the clusters ten thousand grapes, and every grape when pressed will give five and twenty metretes of wine. And when any one of the saints shall lay hold of a cluster, another shall cry out, "I am a better cluster, take me; bless the Lord through me."

In like manner [the Lord declared] that a grain of wheat would produce ten thousand ears, and that every ear should have ten thousand grains, and every grain would yield ten pounds (quinque bilibres) of clear, pure, fine flour; and that all other fruit-bearing trees, and seeds and grass, would produce in similar proportions (secundum congruentiam iis consequentem); and that all animals feeding [only] on the productions of the earth, should [in those days] become peaceful and harmonious among each other, and be in perfect subjection to man.

4. And these things are borne witness to in writing by Papias, the hearer of John, and a companion of Polycarp, in his fourth book; for there were five books compiled (<greek>suntetagmena</greek>) by him. And he says in addition, "Now these things are credible to believers." And he says that, "when the traitor Judas did not give credit to them, and put the question, 'How then can things about to bring forth so abundantly be wrought by the Lord?' the Lord declared, 'They who shall come to these [times] shall see.'"

Eusebius of Caesarea
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Church History: Book III
Chapter 18: The Apostle John and the Apocalypse

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: a "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."

To such a degree, indeed, did the teaching of our faith flourish at that time that even those writers who were far from our religion did not hesitate to mention in their histories the persecution and the martyrdoms which took place during it. And they, indeed, accurately indicated the time. For they recorded that in the fifteenth year of Domitian Flavia Domitilla, daughter of a sister of Flavius Clement, who at that time was one of the consuls of Rome, was exiled with many others to the island of Pontia in consequence of testimony borne to Christ.

Book 3 chap 20:

Tertullian also has 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 of Caesarea
Church History: Book III
Chapter 23: Narrative concerning John the Apostle

At that time the apostle and evangelist John, the one whom Jesus loved, was still living in Asia, and governing the churches of that region, having returned after the death of Domitian from his exile on the island. And that he was still alive at that time may be established by the testimony of two witnesses. They should be trustworthy who have maintained the orthodoxy of the Church; and such indeed were Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria. The former in the second book of his work Against Heresies, writes as follows: "And all the elders that associated with John the disciple of the Lord in Asia bear witness that John delivered it to them. For he remained among them until the time of Trajan." And in the third book of the same work he attests the same thing in the following words: "But the church in Ephesus also, which was founded by Paul, and where John remained until the time of Trajan, is a faithful witness of the apostolic tradition."

Clement likewise in his book entitled What Rich Man Can be Saved? indicates the time, and subjoins a narrative which is most attractive to those that enjoy hearing what is beautiful and profitable. Take and read the account which rims as follows:

"Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in memory. For when, after the tyrant's death, he returned from the isle of Patmos to Ephesus, he went away upon their invitation to the neighboring territories of the Gentiles, to appoint bishops in some places, in other places to set in order whole churches, elsewhere to choose to the ministry some one of those that were pointed out by the Spirit. When he had come to one of the cities not far away (the name of which is given by some), and had consoled the brethren in other matters, he finally turned to the bishop that had been appointed, and seeing a youth of powerful physique, of pleasing appearance, and of ardent temperament, he said, 'This one I commit to thee in all earnestness in the presence of the Church and with Christ as witness.'

And when the bishop had accepted the Charge and had promised all, he repeated the same injunction with an appeal to the same witnesses, and then departed for Ephesus. But the presbyter, taking home the youth committed to him, reared, kept, cherished, and finally baptized him. After this he relaxed his stricter care and watchfulness, with the idea that in putting upon him the seal of the Lord he had given him a perfect protection. But some youths of his own age, idle and dissolute, and accustomed to evil practices, corrupted him when he was thus prematurely freed from restraint. At first they enticed him by costly entertainments; then, when they went forth at night for robbery, they took him with them, and finally they demanded that he should unite with them in some greater crime.

He gradually became accustomed to such practices, and on account of the positiveness of his character, leaving the right path, and taking the bit in his teeth like a hard-mouthed and powerful horse, he rushed the more violently down into the depths. And finally despairing of salvation in God, he no longer meditated what was insignificant, but having committed some great crime, since he was now lost once for all, he expected to suffer a like fate with the rest. Taking them, therefore, and forming a band of robbers, he became a bold bandit-chief, the most violent, most bloody, most cruel of them all. Time passed, and some necessity having arisen, they sent for John. But he, when he had set in order the other matters on account of which he had come, said, 'Come, O bishop, restore us the deposit which both I and Christ committed to thee, the church, over which you preside, being witness. But the bishop was at first confounded, thinking that he was falsely charged in regard to money which he had not received, and he could neither believe the accusation respecting what he had not, nor could he disbelieve John.

But when he said, 'I demand the young man and the soul of the brother,' the old man, groaning deeply and at the same time bursting into tears, said, 'He is dead.' 'How and what kind of death?' 'He is dead to God,' he said; 'for he turned wicked and abandoned, and at last a robber. And now, instead of the church, he haunts the mountain with a band like himself.' But the Apostle rent his clothes, and beating his head with great lamentation, he said, 'A fine guard I left for a brother's soul! But let a horse be brought me, and let some one show me the way.' He rode away from the church just as he was, and coming to the place, he was taken prisoner by the robbers' outpost. He, however, neither fled nor made entreaty, but cried out, 'For this did I come; lead me to your captain.' The latter, meanwhile, was waiting, armed as he was. But when he recognized John approaching, he turned in shame to flee.

But John, forgetting his age, pursued him with all his might, crying out, 'Why, my son, do you flee from me, your own father, unarmed, aged? Pity me, my son; fear not; you have still hope of life. I will give account to Christ for you. If need be, I will willingly endure your death as the Lord suffered death for us. For you will I give up my life. Stand, believe; Christ has sent me.' And he, when he heard, first stopped and looked down; then he threw away his arms, and then trembled and wept bitterly. And when the old man approached, he embraced him, making confession with lamentations as he was able, baptizing himself a second time with tears, and concealing only his right hand, But John, pledging himself, and assuring him on oath that he would find forgiveness with the Savior, besought him, fell upon his knees, kissed his right hand itself as if now purified by repentance, and led him back to the church. And making intercession for him with copious prayers, and struggling together with him in continual fastings, and subduing his mind by various utterances, he did not depart, as they say, until he had restored him to the church, furnishing a great example of true repentance and a great proof of regeneration, a trophy of a visible resurrection."

Eusebius of Caesarea
Church History: Book III
Chapter 28: Cerinthus the Heresiarch

These are the words of Dionysius. But Irenaeus, in the first book of his work Against Heresies, gives some more abominable false doctrines of the same man, and in the third book relates a story which deserves to be recorded. He says, on the authority of Polycarp, that the apostle John once entered a bath to bathe; but, learning that Cerinthus was within, he sprang from the place and rushed out of the door, for he could not bear to remain under the same roof with him. And he advised those that were with him to do the same, saying, "Let us flee, lest the bath fall for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within."

Eusebius of Caesarea
Church History: Book III
Chapter 29: Nicolaus and the Sect named after him

At this time the so-called sect of the Nicolaitans made its appearance and lasted for a very short time. Mention is made of it in the Apocalypse of John. They boasted that the author of their sect was Nicolaus, one of the deacons who, with Stephen, were appointed by the apostles for the purpose of ministering to the poor. Clement of Alexandria, in the third book of his Stromata, relates the following things concerning him.

Eusebius of Caesarea
Church History: Book III
Chapter 31: The Death of John and Philip

The time and the manner of the death of Paul and Peter as well as their burial places, have been already shown by us. The time of John's death has also been given in a general way, but his burial place is indicated by an epistle of Polycrates (who was bishop of the parish of Ephesus), addressed to Victor, bishop of Rome.

In this epistle he mentions him together with the apostle Philip and his daughters in the following words: "For in Asia also great lights have fallen asleep, which shall rise again on the last day, at the coming of the Lord, when he shall come with glory from heaven and shall seek out all the saints. Among these are Philip, one of the twelve apostles, who sleeps in Hierapolis, and his two aged virgin daughters, and another daughter who lived in the Holy Spirit and now rests at Ephesus; and moreover John, who was both a witness and a teacher, who reclined upon the bosom of the Lord, and being a priest wore the sacerdotal plate. He also sleeps at Ephesus."

So much concerning their death.

Eusebius of Caesarea
Church History: Book III
Chapter 36: Ignatius and his Epistles

At that time Polycarp, a disciple of the apostles, was a man of eminence in Asia, having been entrusted with the episcopate of the church of Smyrna by those who had seen and heard the Lord. And at the same time Papias, bishop of the parish of Hierapolis, became well known, as did also Ignatius, who was chosen bishop of Antioch, second in succession to Peter, and whose fame is still celebrated by a great many.

Report says that he was sent from Syria to Rome, and became food for wild beasts on account of his testimony to Christ. And as he made the journey through Asia under the strictest military surveillance, he fortified the parishes in the various cities where he stopped by oral homilies and exhortations, and warned them above all to be especially on their guard against the heresies that were then beginning to prevail, and exhorted them to hold fast to the tradition of the apostles.

Moreover, he thought it necessary to attest that tradition in writing, and to give it a fixed form for the sake of greater security. So when he came to Smyrna, where Polycarp was, he wrote an epistle to the church of Ephesus, in which he mentions Onesimus, its pastor; and another to the church of Magnesia, situated upon the Maeander, in which he makes mention again of a bishop Damas; and finally one to the church of Tralles, whose bishop, he states, was at that time Polybius. In addition to these he wrote also to the church of Rome, entreating them not to secure his release from martyrdom, and thus rob him of his earnest hope.

Eusebius of Caesarea
Church History: Book III
Chapter 39: The Writings of Papias

There are extant five books of Papias, which bear the title Expositions of Oracles of the Lord. Irenaeus makes mention of these as the only works written by him, in the following words: "These things are attested by Papias, an ancient man who was a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp, in his fourth book. For five books have been written by him." These are the words of Irenaeus. But Papias himself in the preface to his discourses by no means declares that he was himself a hearer and eye-witness of the holy apostles, but he shows by the words which he uses that he received the doctrines of the faith from those who were their friends. He says: "But I shall not hesitate also to put down for you along with my interpreta episcopate, was succeeded by Telesphorus, the seventh in succession from the apostles. In the meantime, after the lapse of a year and some months, Eumenes, the sixth in order, succeeded to the leadership of the Alexandrian church, his predecessor having held office eleven years.

Eusebius of Caesarea
Book 4 chap 18

He [Justin] writes also that even down to his time prophetic gifts shone in the Church. And he mentions the Apocalypse of John, saying distinctly that it was the apostle's.

Eusebius of Caesarea
Church History: Book V
Chapter 8: The Statements of Irenaeus in regard to the Divine Scriptures

Since, in the beginning of this work, we promised to give, when needful, the words of the ancient presbyters and writers of the Church, in which they have declared those traditions which came down to them concerning the canonical books, and since Irenaeus was one of them, we will now give his words and, first, what he says of the sacred Gospels: "Matthew published his Gospel among the Hebrews in their own language, while Peter and Paul were preaching and founding the church in Rome. After their departure Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also transmitted to us in writing those things which Peter had preached; and Luke, the attendant of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel which Paul had declared. Afterwards John, the disciple of the Lord, who also reclined on his bosom, published his Gospel, while staying at Ephesus in Asia." He states these things in the third book of his above-mentioned work. In the fifth book he speaks as follows concerning the Apocalypse of John, and the number of the name of Antichrist:

"As these things are so, and this number is found in all the approved and ancient copies, and those who saw John face to face confirm it, and reason teaches us that the number of the name of the beast, according to the mode of calculation among the Greeks, appears in its letters.... "

And farther on he says concerning the same:

"We are not bold enough to speak confidently of the name of Antichrist. For if it were necessary that his name should be declared clearly at the present time, it would have been announced by him who saw the revelation. For it was seen, not long ago, but almost in our generation, toward the end of the reign of Domitian." He states these things concerning the Apocalypse in the work referred to. He also mentions the first Epistle of John, taking many proofs from it, and likewise the first Epistle of Peter.

Eusebius of Caesarea
Book 5 chap 18:

He speaks, moreover, of a tradition that the Savior commanded his apostles not to depart from Jerusalem for twelve years. He uses testimonies also from the Revelation of John, and he relates that a dead man had, through the Divine power, been raised by John himself in Ephesus. He also adds other things by which he fully and abundantly exposes the error of the heresy of which we have been speaking. These are the matters recorded by Apollonius.

Eusebius of Caesarea
Church History: Book V
Chapter 20: The Writings of Irenaeus against the Schismatics at Rome

These things may be profitably read in his work, and related by us, that we may have those ancient and truly holy men as the best example of painstaking carefulness. In the letter to Florinus, of which we have spoken, Irenaeus mentions again his intimacy with Polycarp, saying:

"These doctrines, O Florinus, to speak mildly, are not of sound judgment. These doctrines disagree with the Church, and drive into the greatest impiety those who accept them. These doctrines, not even the heretics outside of the Church, have ever dared to publish. These doctrines, the presbyters who were before us, and who were companions of the apostles, did not deliver to thee.

"For when I was a boy, I saw thee in lower Asia with Polycarp, moving in splendor in the royal court, and endeavoring to gain his approbation. I remember the events of that time more clearly than those of recent years. For what boys learn, growing with their mind, becomes joined with it; so that I am able to describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat as he discoursed, and his goings out and his comings in, and the manner of his life, and his physical appearance, and his discourses to the people, and the accounts which he gave of his intercourse with John and with the others who had seen the Lord.

And as he remembered their words, and what he heard from them concerning the Lord, and concerning his miracles and his teaching, having received them from eyewitnesses of the 'Word of life,' Polycarp related all things in harmony with the Scriptures. These things being told me by the mercy of God, I listened to them attentively, noting them down, not on paper, but in my heart. And continually, through God's grace, I recall them faithfully.

And I am able to bear witness before God that if that blessed and apostolic presbyter had heard any such thing, he would have cried out, and stopped his ears, and as was his custom, would have exclaimed, O good God, unto what times have you spared me that I should endure these things ? And he would have fled from the place where, sitting or standing, he had heard such words. And this can be shown plainly from the letters which he sent, either to the neighboring churches for their confirmation, or to some of the brethren, admonishing and exhorting them." Thus far Irenaeus.

Dionysius had written an opinion about John being the author of Revelation but not about the circumstances of John's life. Dionysius was in doubt about John being the author. But there are always skeptics who will come along and question what was once accepted without question. But even Dionysius admits its high regard among the brethren. So for yourself.

Dionysius' The Apocalypse of John
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Afterward he speaks in this manner of the Apocalypse of John. "Some before us have set aside and rejected the book altogether, criticising it chapter by chapter, and pronouncing it without sense or argument, and maintaining that the title is fraudulent. For they say that it is not the work of John, nor is it a revelation, because it is covered thickly and densely by a vail of obscurity.

And they affirm that none of the apostles, rend none of the saints, nor any one in the Church is its author, but that Cerinthus, who founded the sect which was called after him the Cerinthian, desiring reputable authority for his fiction, prefixed the name. For the doctrine which he taught was this: that the kingdom of Christ will be an earthly one. And as he was himself devoted to the pleasures of the body and altogether sensual in his nature, he dreamed that that kingdom would consist in those things which he desired, namely, in the delights of the belly and of sexual passion; that is to say, in eating and drinking and marrying, and in festivals and sacrifices and the slaying of victims, under the guise of which he thought he could indulge his appetites with a better grace.

"But I could not venture to reject the book, as many brethren hold it in high esteem. But I suppose that it is beyond my comprehension, and that there is a certain concealed and more wonderful meaning in every part. For if I do not understand I suspect that a deeper sense lies beneath the words. I do not measure and judge them by my own reason, but leaving the more to faith I regard them as too high for me to grasp. And I do not reject what I cannot comprehend, but rather wonder because I do not understand it."

This ends the comments of Dionysius and of the topic of John and Revelation in early Christian writings. Dionysius made the mistake of listening to enemies of Christ, which were in abundance at that time. None of the well known and accepted Christian writers ever disputed or rejected Revelation as anything other than the work of the Apostle John. May I also point out that nearly everything ever written by any Apostle was eventually disputed by someone. So that there may be critics should not surprise us since Satan was hard at work to discredit all of God's work. But God has His "2 witnesses" and that should be enough for us.

We Find The Defendant . . .
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Guilty! There are too many facts and witnesses concerning John and the circumstances of his life. They clearly accepted him, and Revelation as being form him and the circumstances regarding when and how it came about. It was while exiled on Patmos by Domitian. And afterward he was freed and lived in Ephesus and died while Trajan was emperor of Rome. These match the circumstances mentioned by John himself in Revelation.

Revelation 1:9 I, even your brother John, and co-sharer in the affliction, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, came to be in the island being called Patmos because of the Word of God, and because of the witness of Jesus Christ.

So the Bible agrees with what was accepted among various 2nd century Christian witnesses. It is at once clear that Revelations came about while John was exiled on Patmos by Domitian, approximately 96 AD. History records Domitian as sending a number of people there who were not in his favor.

Since Revelation was written down in 96 AD, as well as John's gospel, give or take a year or two, we can absolutely rule out Babylon being Jerusalem or that Revelation or the last days applying to Jerusalem's destruction. That was 26 years in the past by the time Revelation was written. This is a crushing blow to those who would like to claim that the last days had already been fulfilled in 70 AD. It is one from which their doctrine can not recover.

It simply is not possible to apply it to Jerusalem. Time does not allow us to do that. But all the proof in the world will not convince some. But for those who are reasonable, the evidence is hard to deny.

The Opposite Problem
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There are those who like to twist scriptures applying to the first last days and apply them to our day. Here is the sort of scripture they like to use:

Malichi 4:5 Behold, I am sending you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Jehovah.

OK, which day of Jehovah is this? The first one or the last? They would like you to believe that there is an "Elijah" in our day as well as in Jesus' day. Then they can claim to be that Elijah or in the spirit of Elijah and claim that you need to follow them and listen to what they say. Some even try to say they are the 2nd coming of Christ. Some will try anything. But don't be fooled by any of them. Here is how Jesus interpreted Elijah coming again.

Matthew 11:
7 But as these were going, Jesus began to say to the crowds about John, What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed being shaken with the wind?
8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft clothing? Behold, those wearing soft things are in the houses of kings.
9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one more excellent than a prophet.
10 For this is the one about whom it has been written: "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who shall prepare Your way before You." [Malachi 3:1]

14 And if you are willing to receive, he is Elijah, the one about to come.

Matthew 17:
10 And His disciples asked Him, saying, Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?
11 And answering, Jesus said to them, Elijah indeed comes first and shall restore all things.
12 But I say to you, Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they desired.
     So also the Son of man is about to suffer by them.
13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them about John the Baptist.

That was the only fulfillment that anyone ever gave for the various scriptures of Malachi. For anyone to say there remains another Elijah, they are the liars and deceivers that we were warned about in the Bible.

Wrap Up
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Don't get fooled by Preterists. Their message allows people to fall into a false sense of security and spiritual sleep. People do not see anything coming, do not get ready, and the day of the Lord will come upon them as a thief in the night. They will end up like the foolish virgins In Matthew 25 who are not ready when the bridegroom arrives.

Preterists are busy trying to improve this system when Jesus said his kingdom was not of this world. Preterists pursue materialism instead of storing treasures in heaven because their heart belongs to this world, system, and age. Some Preterists would even have you join political causes. Some might even advocate fighting or other forms of resistance. These would all be wrong courses to take.

Clearly their minds have been veiled so that they can not see the obvious, that is, the last days that we now live in. Yes, even many Christian hypocrites can see the last days of our time and yet this escapes the eye of the Preterist.

Of course, there are not many Preterists out there, anyway. They are only a small minority. But their teaching is a destructive one for any who might fall for such a poor doctrine. But I believe I have given sufficient evidence of there being 2 sets of last days so that none who read this need be fooled by the lie unless they so choose to believe it.

And neither will we be fooled by those who claim to be a 2nd Elijah or Jesus. We will await for the heavenly Jesus to do his work from heaven over the earth. We will know when he arrives, even though he will not be in bodily form. Let us be faithful to him to the end.

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