A Critique Of The Preterist View Of The Temple In Revelation 11:1–2 -- By: Mark L. Hitchcock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 164:654 (Apr 2007)
Article: A Critique Of The Preterist View Of The Temple In Revelation 11:1–2
Author: Mark L. Hitchcock

A Critique Of The Preterist View Of The Temple In Revelation 11:1–2

Mark L. Hitchcock

Mark L. Hitchcock is Pastor, Faith Bible Church, Edmond, Oklahoma.

This is the third article in a five-part series “Preterism and the Date of the Book of Revelation.”

An argument preterists use to supprt the Neronic date for Revelation is the mention of the temple in Revelation 11:1–2. For many early-date advocates this is the decisive piece of internal evidence for their position. Torrey says that this is “a most important passage, truly decisive in view of all the other evidence”1 in establishing the date of the Apocalypse. Briggs says, “Nonetheless, the apparent existence of the Jerusalem temple in Rev. 11:1–2 is a paramount feature in support of the argument that the book was actually written during Nero’s earlier reign.”2 The preterists’ point is that since John wrote Revelation in Nero’s reign (A.D. 54–68), he referred in Revelation 11:1–2 to the temple that was destroyed in A.D. 70 and was not predicting a yet-future, end-time temple.

The apostle John was told to measure the temple and the altar and to count the people worshiping there. “Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, ‘Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.”

There are four views on the identity of this temple.

Symbolic Of The Church

The majority view is that the temple in Revelation 11 is symbolic. While there are slight variations within this view, the basic idea is that the temple represents the church and the “court” represents the world and all who have compromised with it.3 Some view the temple as the Christian community while the court outside refers to the outer life of the church in its vulnerability to suffering and death.4 It is true that the church is often referred to in the New Testament as a temple (1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Cor. 6:16; You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
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