Revelation 14:6–12 and the Case for Preterism

A parallel passage that precedes ch 14 is ch 7 regarding the 144k, plus the great crowd from all nations, tongues and peoples.

My sense is that the multitude of angels on both sides – a third have joined and were thrown out with the “dragon” - meant that believers saw the resolution of the conflict, as well as the assurance of its consummation above this world, meaning cosmic. Thus, preterist, futurist, historicist, idealist make no sense to them.

You’re forgetting that all the descriptions of “Jesus and his Dad” are man-made, and reflect the writers much better than “who” they’re writing about. We need to make our own definitions based on our own experiences.


Maybe so…You may be right. Last-day deceptions will likely be beyond our worst imaginings.

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I didn’t forget.

I said pretty much the same thing only different.

When one decides which parts of the Bible to believe and those to disregard he not only makes his own creator, he reveals a lot about himself and his own personality.

Again, this gets back to the idea that everything in the world-including the Bible-is a mirror and shows each of us his own reflection.


Preterism as it relates to apocalyptic literature carries baggage that is destructive to a belief in inspiration/magical revelation; that is, the necessary recognition that the predictions of imminent divine rescue failed. The behind-the-scenes insight into the activities in a cosmic court, while encouraging to the original readers, is revealed as pious fantasy.

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SDAs have an overly narrow and literal concept of the law centering on Sabbath. Christ’s concept of the LAW is that illustrated in the story of the Good Samaritan and the Prodigal Son–and the Golden Rule. That is the “representation of God’s character.” This concept of law is eternally “valid.” Therefore, the entire dispute disappears so that various religious groups get caught up in sterile discussions. Revelation contrasts the God of (the law) of love versus the Dragon of hate, lies, and destruction. Rev 6:10 “How long, O Lord” until you avenge our blood is the pivotal question the persecuted saints have. God does not give them a date. He just assures them that in the war between God and the Dragon, the Dragon will be defeated/has been defeated and cast out. And the critical hour has come (Rev 14:7). This reassurance is what the original readers (preterism) would understand. The 3 angels’ messages was never a prediction of 1837, 1843, and 1844+ as in the historicist Millerites imagined. SDAs inherited this now discredited tradition but as 1755, 1780, 1833, 1840 and 1844 recede into the mists of history, it is time to recognize a different “present truth.”


the NT church seems to have understood that the OT prophets understood that they were writing for the NT church’s time, rather than their own time, 1Pet 1:10-12…who’s to say that the NT prophets weren’t writing from the same expectation that a future Church and time was their real audience…it seems a particular instalment of the Church, and audience, gradually acquires the sense that their time is or isn’t the target of prophecy, if through no other mechanism than the belief that prophecy must always be true and accurate…

it’s hard to see 2nd christianity insisting that every aspect of Revelation was meant for them when so little in it was materializing…if they held the belief that prophecy must always be true and accurate, it seems the only logical conclusion they could form would be that they weren’t the target time or audience…

i think this is going on now with egw’s sunday law prophecies…there are really only two possible response choices: the prophecies are false, or we aren’t the target time and audience…

The logical argument stands or falls on the first premise. In this case it falls. It is not clear nor correct to say that the NT church understood that the OT prophets were writing for them. The OT prophets were writing for their time - emphasis on the old covenant. The NT church was living the new covenant.

Some assume that Revelation is for a future (present) time. What if it is not? What if it is not actually prophetic but is actually metaphorical? What if it is “science fiction”? We do not know the context or purpose of the text, apart from what is written in the text, and it is devoid of a temporal stake in the ground.


Congratulations on the segway…dragging EGW into the conversation. Now we can really discuss false prophets.


EGW gave herself an out when some of her early “prophecies” weren’t fulfilled within her predicted time frame.

She simply said that she wasn’t a prophet.

I find this to be a much easier explanation for her “gifts”, i.e., there’s no reason to call her a false prophet since she insisted she wasn’t a prophet at all.

For propagating the “misunderstanding” that she was a prophet, there are others to blame. And yes, I’m looking at her estate…oh yeah, and the cult of EGW sycophants whose formation she actively encouraged and did absolutely nothing to prevent.

Isn’t there a word for people who say one thing but do another?!?!


i’m assuming 1Pet 1:10-12 is representative of general NT understanding…you can’t prove that it isn’t…if it is, there’s no need to consider a preterist possibility for Revelation, or any other prophecy…

my use of egw illustrates the point i was making…i’m not concerned if you disagree, or want to use that point as a segue way to discredit her inspiration :slightly_smiling_face:

Except the history of historicism is also one failed scenario of prophetic fulfillment after another, complete with contemporary plug and play players who have been read into the text. It’s been that way for centuries.

It simply is most natural to read Revelation for what the opening of the letter (that’s what it was) is saying…it’s addressed to the seven churches in the Roman province of Asia along its main postal road. It was meant to be read aloud as a circular letter to each church in each city. It was written in a genre that while alien to us, wasn’t to them. They would have largely understood its contents as addressing them and their own circumstances and world.

The fact that Revelation points to the appearing of the Messiah and the establishment of the rule of God on earth with that event but that it hasn’t occurred seems to put it in line with the gospels and the rest of the NT. They point towards the same climax seemingly within their lifetimes. A climax that hasn’t yet happened.

The resurrection of Jesus, the fall of Jerusalem, and the destruction of the temple as judgement indicated to them that the end of the age was upon them. So much of Revelation and Jesus’s own prophetic discourses in the gospels point to the temple’s destruction as God’s judgement and the son of man’s coming in the capacity of judge…see Daniel 7. That is often how his coming on the clouds of heaven is understood from a NT perspective, the son of man ascending on clouds in judgement as per Daniel 7, not his descending again to earth. This would point to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70.

However, that the NT was largely conflating Jesus’s second coming and placing it in close proximity with the destruction of Jerusalem seems clear. That it hasn’t happened in that way is also clear. I think that historicism has shown itself over centuries to be a failed way of resolving this dilemma, the last iteration being that of William Miller’s failed predictions and Adventism’s doubling down on such error for 180 years, still saying that Jesus is coming soon.

That means that our job isn’t to continually try to parse apocalyptic books through constructing timelines and conspiracy theories as signs of Jesus’s return, something that Adventism has majored in throughout its history. That isn’t the main point of the prophetic writings, apocalyptic or not. It is to counsel, comfort, and warn the people of God in their present circumstances, something that Revelation was designed to do for its original audiences and whose principles rightly understood can still do for believers universally in any time or place. Not just Adventists who have created the tightrope of an IJ, coming time of trouble, and worldwide Sabbath/Sunday conspiracy…something that is totally alien to the intention of the book itself and to its original hearers, and doesn’t reflect the reality of what it means to live authentic faith in our diverse world today.



I never really understood the “coming on the clouds” motif until I learned, somewhat recently, that Yahweh was a sky/storm god who rode his sky chariot across the clouds and brought thunder and lightning and rain:

Here is Yahweh sitting on his flying chariot-throne, with his mighty arm outstretched, holding a bird which signified Yahweh’s protective wings.


Ah, the old “you can’t prove there isn’t an invisible dragon in my garage” fallacy.

IOW, there’s still no way to prove a negative.


FYI, Here’s a picture of his latest personalized chariot:



Don, I can so agree with your perspective on this! Too many 21st century Adventists have fallen into the same misunderstanding about the Sabbath as many 1st century adventists* did. Rather than seeing the incredible promises and commitments of God that are embodied in the Sabbath, many try to “build fences” around the commandment in external sorts of ways (e.g. the proverbial “you can go in the water, but not past your knees”). Unfortunately, it’s what a lot of us grew up with and, consequently, vehemently and vociferously reject today. (*Some of God’s people in the 1st century believed that if they could just keep two Sabbaths in a row, then the Messiah would come.)

But just as Jesus sought to bring out the deeper meaning of the commandments (i.e. Matt 5) and show a more effective and internally transformative way of “building a fence around the law”, we have the opportunity to do the same–perhaps most especially for the Sabbath “commandment”–internally transformative so that we can actually live according to the Great Law of Love.

I wish I had room here to share all the positive things my Torah Club people have to say about what “doing the Sabbath” has meant to them! These are people who have come out of Evangelical Christianity and joined Torah Club because they intuitively knew there’s a better way to know God. They don’t just keep Sabbath, they experience God’s goodness during those hours. Wow!

But these “blessings” aren’t just for the Sabbath “commandment.” Somewhere along the way I suspect we may have forgotten that all of God’s “commandments” are, in reality, promises. Well… this doesn’t have to remain lost forever. It might just need a few more folks to give voice to it, though. :slight_smile:

The other thing that I wanted to share that people might be interested in is from Steve Moyise’s critically acclaimed (for good reason) book, “The OT in the Book of Revelation” (1995). In his introductory chapter where he lays out his game plan, he alerts us to a different hermeneutical use of the OT by NT writers that “contrasts sharply with the historical consciousness of our own age… (quoting L. Grollenberg)‘…[T]he first Christians were not concerned with what the authors of the ancient text had wanted to say. That is something that we moderns ask about. They inferred the meaning of the ancient text from the events brought about by God in which they themselves were involved.’ On the other hand, it must surely be maintained that these beliefs did not arise in a vacuum but in minds that had already been significantly moulded by the Scriptures.” (p. 12)

Later, in his chapter on the Revelator’s use of the book of Ezekiel, he remarks, “On the side of the hearers/readers, they are invited to ‘reappropriate biblical metaphors through the lens of Revelation itself’… The reader is confronted with two contexts [i.e. that in Ezekiel and that in Revelation] and each affects the other… The reader is caught in a dilemma. Much of the book [of Revelation] sounds familiar [because the reader is already familiar with Ezekiel], yet he or she is constantly having to wrestle with the ‘literary landmines’ buried in the text… John has not offered an interpretation of Ezekiel as a finished product… Rather, by utilizing much of its structure and language, he has bound the two works together to form a complex set of interactions… The reader is not expected to create a synthesis and then retire from the exegetical task… What is required of the reader is to think out the implications of calling Rome a Beast and to be ready to act upon it. In other words, John’s use of Ezekiel involves the reader in a hermeneutical challenge.” (pp. 82-3)

This is a great book–well worth the read! It’s part of the Library of NT Studies published by Bloomsbury.

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i agree that Rev 1-3 reads naturally as a collective letter to the seven Churches John would have been familiar with, and had no doubt ministered to, assuming the disciple-apostle is the author…in this section, salvation, the reward of the saints, and the 2nd coming of Christ read very much like a common belief and point of salutation, Rev 1:5-7…but even here there are hints at symbolism as an intentional, forthcoming device, eg., Rev 1:20…if we are going to defer to what is natural, i think we can easily imagine John’s original audience seeing these hints as perhaps an indication that the book, as a whole, wasn’t meant to be a discussion of their immediate circumstances…

i think this perception becomes conviction, in terms of time elements, when we read, in Rev 4:1:

“Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.”

if the clear letter portion to the seven churches in Rev 1-3 can be reasonably viewed as a nod to a contemporary audience, i don’t think an explicit reference to a future time, together with regular symbology, some of which is obviously cosmic, requires the entire book to be viewed in the same way…even if we interpret “hereafter” as imminent hereafter, as undoubtedly at least of John’s readers did, at least initially, the fact that Rome wasn’t brandishing a mark on everyone’s forehead or hand in order to buy and sell would have at least invited the thought that perhaps John’s letter was referencing things in a different time and perhaps place…

of course the identification of the letter as a “prophecy”, Rev 22:18-19, returns the point i made earlier, which is that there is evidence that the NT Church viewed prophecy in historicist terms:

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” 1 Pet 1:10-12.

And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Matt 2:4-6.

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” Matt 2:16-18.

And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Matt 2:13-15.

“Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Jn 1:45.

“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; he seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.” Acts 2:29-32.

And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:
Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world." Acts 15:13-18

there is evidence that Christ also viewed prophecy in historicist terms:

“Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.” Lk 24:25-27.

i’m not as convinced as you, and apparently Trenchard, that the prophets and their audience understood their messages, and that that understanding must be paramount…not when Peter says it was revealed to the prophets that they were ministering to a future time, and when Christ himself applied centuries old prophecies to himself that clearly no-one up to that point had understood…

Or we can at least determine that those who wrote the story presented a historicist perspective.

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I’d like to see even an iota of evidence that any of the millions of “Christian” writers who’ve tried to fill the void since Jesus apparently imposed a two thousand year long vow of silence on himself, have anyone’s authorization other than their own to express their putative master’s views on historicism or anything else, for that matter.

(And yeah, I heard what Jesus supposedly said to Peter but I’m pretty sure this was intentional double entendre and that he was speaking “tongue in cheek”, knowing how wishy-washy, un-petra-like and impermanent was that foundation.)



if it’s the case that the bible writers were inspired, we can also say that the HS intended a historicist perspective…

preterism is a largely modern, academic construct…while it is true that instances of what we can possibly call preterism can be found, eg., Noah’s prophecy of the flood, Jeremiah’s prophecy of the Babylonian captivity, Jesus’ prophecy of the fall of Jerusalem, etc., a large segment of biblically attested prophetic fulfillment appears to be historicist…

and it isn’t necessarily the case that the apotelesmatic principle is always out of the question…for instance, Noah’s flood, the Babylonian captivity and the fall of Jerusalem all have end of the world, or apocalyptic, and ultimately historicist, overtones…this only adds to why an insistence that Daniel and Revelation can only be preterist, and largely failed, prophecies is thoroughly myopic…