A Critique Of The Preterist View Of Revelation 17:9–11 And Nero -- By: Mark L. Hitchcock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 164:656 (Oct 2007)
Article: A Critique Of The Preterist View Of Revelation 17:9–11 And Nero
Author: Mark L. Hitchcock


A Critique Of The Preterist View Of Revelation 17:9–11 And Nero

Mark L. Hitchcock

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

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

The previous four articles in this series have answered a number of arguments given by preterists in support of their view that the events predicted in Revelation 6–19 were fulfilled in the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and related events. To defend this view preterists argue that the Book of Revelation was written in A.D. 65–66, that is, before the fall of Jerusalem, and in this way they seek to show that the prophecies have been fulfilled. Almost all premillennialists, on the other hand, maintain that the book was written about A.D. 95 and that its prophecies are yet to be fulfilled in the eschaton.

This final article critiques yet another argument preterists use, namely, the idea that the sixth king in Revelation 17 was Nero. For some preterists this is the strongest argument for their position.1 In fact Gentry refers to this text as “the leading objective evidence for Revelation’s date of composition.”2 Revelation 17:9–11 says, “Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. And the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.”

The words “Here is the mind which has wisdom” allude to Daniel 2, 9, 11, and 12, thus indicating that those with spiritual understanding and wisdom can cognitively and spiritually discern the angel’s explanation of the vision of the beast and the woman in Revelation 17:9b–18.3 This allusion to Daniel is a clue that Daniel’s prophecy looms large over Revelation 17:9–11. The key issue in these verses is the identity of the seven kings. There are several approaches to their meaning.

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