A Critique Of The Preterist View Of Revelation 13 And Nero -- By: Mark L. Hitchcock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 164:655 (Jul 2007)
Article: A Critique Of The Preterist View Of Revelation 13 And Nero
Author: Mark L. Hitchcock


A Critique Of The Preterist View Of Revelation 13 And Nero

Mark L. Hitchcock

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

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

Preterism is the view that the Book of Revelation does not predict yet-future eschatological events but events that were fulfilled before and in the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans in A.D. 70. Preterists argue that the book was written in A.D. 65–66. This runs counter to the more commonly held view that Revelation was written in the nineties.

Preterists maintain that Nero was depicted by the first beast of Revelation 13 and that the chapter therefore does not have a future fulfillment. By suggesting that Revelation 13 prophesies events in Nero’s life in the sixties, the book had to have been written before those events occurred. Early-date supporters rely on four arguments to support their view that Nero was the beast.1

First Argument: Nero And The Number 666

One of the most popular and well-known sections of Revelation is 13:16–18, which describes the number 666 or the mark of the

beast. “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six.”

A common interpretation of 666 is that six is mankind’s number, which is one number short of God’s perfect number of seven. Walvoord explains this view.

Though there may be more light cast on it at the time this prophecy is fulfilled, the passage itself declares that this number is man’s number. In the Book of Revelation, the number “7” is one of the most significant numbers indicating perfection. Accordingly, there are seven seals, seven trumpets, seven bowls of the wrath of God, seven thunders, etc. This beast claims to be God, and if that were the case, he should be 777. This passage, in effect, says, No, you are only 666. You are short of deity even though you were originally created in the image and likeness of God. Most of the speculat...

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