Jarrod Drawbaugh, Reflections of a Former Full Preterist: Part 1 – The Book of Revelation (2018)

By this point it was apparent that A.D. 70 was a far more significant event and played a far more significant role in scripture than I had realized. Previously obscure passages were coming to light, and with it the Bible was coming alive in a whole new and exciting way.

Reflections of a Former Full Preterist:

The Journey Towards Full Preterism, Part 1 – The Book of Revelation

By Jarrod Drawbaugh
June 20, 2018

The Journey Towards Full Preterism, Part 1 – The Book of Revelation

It started with a game of Risk. I suppose it’s only appropriate that my rethinking of matters related to the victorious dominion of the King started with the game of global domination.

Fall, 2003. A group of guys from church were gathered together on a Friday evening for an intensely brutal Risk tournament. The stakes were high. A crude homemade three dollar trophy. Only one would emerge victorious and leave with the prize.

Don’t think ill of me for this, but despite knowing my Bible, I didn’t start in Jerusalem and spread out to Judea, Samaria, and then to the uttermost parts of the earth. I started in South America. (Only because another guy was dead set on Australia.)

In our school age Bible classes, we followed a curriculum where we teach the Bible through from beginning to end over a period of three years. We were at the end of year two, and the deacon who scheduled the teachers had just finished the assignments for year three which was coming up. “You’re going to teach the high school class on Revelation” he told me as we rolled the dice. My mouth dropped. I was daunted, but excited. Like most Christians, I had avoided that crazy book at the end of our Bible. I had once sat through a short class on it (taught by the preacher where I was attending at the time, Bob Archer, in which he leveraged material from Homer Hailey and Robert Harkrider) but had never really studied it for myself. Thus my excitement – nothing forces you to study something like being assigned to teach it.

Being a fourth generation member of the Church of Christ, the first thing I did was secure a copy of Homer Hailey’s commentary. I noticed he spent a considerable amount of time defending the “late date” of the book (~AD95, during the reign of Domitian), but also noted that many respectable scholarly Christians hold to the early date (~AD65, during the reign of Nero) and see the book as describing events surrounding and including the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

In the aforementioned class, Bob Archer had mentioned in passing that some believed the book was about the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. I remember thinking how ludicrous that sounded. How could this book describing such great cataclysmic events on a cosmic scale be about the destruction of a single city?

Nevertheless, I thought I might as well at least acquaint myself with the view. So, being a fourth generation member of the Church of Christ, I picked up the commentary by Foy Wallace who taught the early date and the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem view. I also came across another guy I had never heard of but who had written some things on the A.D. 70 view that sounded most compelling and demanded a closer look: Arthur Ogden. Particularly influential was a piece he wrote called “Dating the Apocalypse”, which I found online at a site called The Preterist Archive; a site I would frequent in the months and years to come. (Hey Todd.)

I printed out “Dating the Apocalypse” and gave it a careful thorough reading two or three times over. Little by little, the evidence for the early date was piling up, and the evidence for the late date was looking less and less convincing. The strongest argument for the late date seemed to be a single quote from second century church leader Irenaeus of Lyons, which upon closer examination was quite obscure. Meanwhile, I was becoming more and more convinced that (to quote Robert Young of “Young’s Analytical Concordance” and “Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible”) “the internal evidence is wholly in favor of the early date.” The last straw was the identity of Babylon in chapters 17 and 18. Arthur Ogden systematically showed in painstaking detail how there were too many things said of Babylon to prevent it from being Rome, but how every detail fit Jerusalem.

I remember slapping my hand on the table and proclaiming “that’s it!” I was sold on the date and theme of Revelation.

To summarize a few of the arguments which convinced me of the early date:

  1. Time texts. The book starts out saying that it is pertaining to thinks shortly to come to pass (Revelation 1:1-3), and similar statements of imminence are found throughout. Towards the end of the book, John is told not to seal up the words of the prophecy for the time is near (Revelation 22:10), in contrast to Daniel who was told to seal up the words of his prophecy for the time was afar off (Daniel 12:4). How could this be said of events 2,000 years off and many posit, or even hundreds of years off as Homer Hailey taught?
  2. Chapter 11 mentions “the holy city” which will be trampled by the gentiles 42 months (Revelation 11:1-3). There are only two cities in scripture identified as “the holy city” – Jerusalem and New Jerusalem. It didn’t make sense to identify “the holy city” here as New Jerusalem for several reasons. For one, John says of New Jerusalem that nothing unclean would ever enter it, much less trample all over it. For another, the statement here seemed to be restating exactly what Christ prophesied in Luke 21:24, which is firmly planted within the context of Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70.
  3. Chapter 11 also mentions the city “where the Lord was crucified” (verse 8). Again, Jerusalem seems to be in view.
  4. Upon the destruction of the city which symbolically is referred to as “Babylon the Great”, the holy apostles and prophets are told to rejoice for God has avenged their blood on her (Revelation 18:20). Did Jesus not say that their blood would be avenged at Jerusalem’s demise within that generation? (Matthew 23:29-36) Babylon was to be destroyed because in her was found the blood of prophets (Revelation 18:24). Did not Christ say “it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem”? (Luke 13:33) And furthermore, hadn’t prophecy ceased after the apostolic age? How could Rome kill what didn’t exist?
  5. While the identity of the harlot Babylon is a matter of contention, most expositors agree that the beast upon which the harlot sits depicts Rome (whether actual Rome of John’s day, Rome as symbolic of all worldly political and religious systems, the Roman Catholic Church, or a revived Roman empire in the last days). The beast has seven heads which are said to represent seven kings. Five are fallen, one is (Revelation 17:9-10) which would place the timing within the reign of the sixth, which places it within the life of Roman emperor Nero.
  6. Earlier in the book, it is said that the beasts number is 666 (Revelation 13:18) which just happens to be what Nero’s name in Hebrew calculates to.
  7. There actually is a fair amount of external evidence for the early date as well. This includes a quote from second century church father Clement of Alexandria (a quote which late date advocates appeal to as well, but which in context seemed to better support the early date, IMO). Then there’s the Syriac version of the New Testament, a fourth century document which gives the full title of the book as “The Revelation which was made by God to John the Evangelist in the Island of Patmos to which he was banished by Nero the Emperor.”
  8. The key arguments for the late date (the quote from Irenaeus, presence of emperor worship, worldwide persecution, condition of the churches, etc.) were all rather easily refuted upon closer examination.

Obviously, there’s a lot more to these arguments, as well as counter-arguments which I’m quickly passing over but will be happy to address in more detail should anyone be interested.

These were my main arguments at the time. Now, 15 or so years later, I am still an advocate of the early date as I believe the evidence leans slightly in that direction, but several of these arguments I now find less convincing. Perhaps a future installment on that when we get to the point of debunking full preterism in this series. (I know many are anxiously waiting for that part. Patience.)

Fall, 2004. Having been consumed with studying Revelation for the better part of a year, it was now time for me to teach the class. When I looked at the agenda, however, it actually wasn’t supposed to be a full course on Revelation. It was supposed to cover the latter part of Hebrews through Revelation, meaning the Apocalypse would only get a brief mention.


I guess I had misunderstood. Instead of “hey Jarrod, you’re going to have to teach a full class on Revelation” it was meant as “hey Jarrod, the material you’ll be teaching will briefly include Revelation”. It’s funny to consider what an impact that little misunderstanding has had!

Thankfully, my labor was not in vain. Having spent so much time in preparation, I asked the elders if I could do the full class on Revelation, and they obliged. In the class I presented a diplomatic case for both positions and focused the class mainly on the principles and lessons we can all take from the book. At least I tried to be diplomatic. They saw right through me.

By this point it was apparent that A.D. 70 was a far more significant event and played a far more significant role in scripture than I had realized. Previously obscure passages were coming to light, and with it the Bible was coming alive in a whole new and exciting way.

Anyone spending significant time in the book of Revelation will find themselves frequenting the Olivet Discourse as well (Matthew 24-25Mark 13Luke 21). My granddad, Jesse Jenkins, knew I was studying these things and handed me an article Homer Hailey had written on Matthew 24. “That’s the best thing you’ll ever read on Matthew 24” he said.

We’ll pick up there next time.
And by the way, since you’re surely dying to know, yes, I won the risk tournament that night!

What do you think? When do you believe Revelation was written? What do you believe it is mainly speaking about? What aspects of it have been fulfilled? What aspects of it are awaiting fulfillment? How do you discern between the two? (This the second installment of an ongoing series which can be viewed here: If you would like to be notified of future installments, message me or comment below.)

2 Replies to “Jarrod Drawbaugh, Reflections of a Former Full Preterist: Part 1 – The Book of Revelation (2018)”

  1. I, as a Full Preterist, do indeed affirm the early date of the Book of Revelation’s composition in its original manuscript form. I believe it was disseminated to the various churches identified in its introduction and then, of course, to the rest immediately prior to the events of 70 AD. Yes, I believe the Apocalypse in its entirety refers to the events of those days but it DOES include references to our current “age” beyond those events. I look forward to reading and examining your evidences against FP Jarrod! I, for one, still adamantly adhere to FP and my own Scriptural basis for it is much more extensive than those texts you have listed above ( but it does include them, obviously).

  2. John McPherson, yes, my case for it was much more extensive as well. This is just skimming the surface.

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