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The Case For Nero Caesar Being The Beast Of Revelation

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Abstract: The beast mentioned in the book of Revelation has garnered much attention from Christians. Speculation abounds regarding the identity of this evil creature who makes war against God and His saints. Most Christians just assume that whoever The Beast is, he’s some future person or entity that will reign on Earth for 7 years prior to the return of Christ, and he will put the number 666 on their foreheads and hands and will prevent anyone who doesn’t have that 666 from buying or selling. It is also assumed that “The Anti-Christ” and The Beast are two titles for the same entity. Throughout church history, a number of candidates have been proposed for who might be The Beast/The Anti-Christ from Adolf Hitler1, The Pope2, Ronald Reagan3, and even Barack Obama4!

But what if the presupposition behind all of this speculation is false? What if The Beast isn’t a future yet-to-come figure at all? What if he was a first-century beast who already came and went? In this paper, I will propose that The Beast described in the book of Revelation was the first-century emperor Nero Caesar. I will first show what The Bible says about The Beast, then I will explain three interpretive keys that lead me to think that Revelation is describing a first-century figure in the first place, then I will give the evidence that points to Nero Ceasar specifically as fitting the description of The Beast.

What The Bible Says

“The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, ‘Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?’ The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. ……. It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.” – Revelation 13:1-8, 16-18

“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.’  Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. The name written on her forehead was a mystery: BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. Then the angel said to me: ‘Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come. ‘This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. ‘The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers. ” – Revelation 17:1-14

Interpretive Key #1: “Things That Will SOON Take Place”

The first piece of evidence pointing to a first-century figure as being The Beast of Revelation is found in the very first verse of the book of Revelation. The book opens with these words; “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,” (Revelation 1:1, emphasis mine). John said that Jesus revealed to him things that must SOON take place. The New Living Translation renders it as “This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John,” (emphasis mine). The English Standard Version likewise renders it “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,” Other translations say things like Jesus revealed to John things that must “shortly come to pass” (KJV), “quickly take place” (HSCB), “must happen very soon” (CEV).

As Keith Mathison of Ligonier Ministries wrote “…the book itself indicates when at least most of its prophecies are to be fulfilled. In both the first and last chapters, John tells his first century readers that the things revealed in the book “must soon take place” (1:1; 22:6) and that “the time is near” (1:3; 22:10). These statements are generalizations, so they do not require that every event prophesied in the book must be fulfilled in the first century, but the generalizations do provide us with a “general” idea of how we should understand the book.xviii The bulk of John’s prophecy concerns something that was impending in his own day.”5

It is beyond implausible to think that John imagined that the vast majority of his book prophesied events that wouldn’t occur for thousands of years, yet he tells his readers that they are to take place “soon”, “quickly”, “shortly”. In what sense could anyone imagine that 2000+ years is, in any sense, “soon”? A plain reading of the text suggests that John expected the things he prophesied to take place within a small amount of time. In verse 3, John goes on to repeat the nearness of the events by saying “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” (emphasis mine)

This is even more probable when you look at a statement the apostle made in one of his epistles; “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18, emphasis mine) John said that he and his readers were living in “the last hour”. That his readers had heard that “the antichrist is coming” and he says that even now many anti-Christs have come and that’s how they know that it is the last hour. The language “the last hour” indicates that John thought the end was near, not thousands of years into the future.6 Additionally, if one believes “The Anti-Christ” and The Beast Of Revelation are the same, then this language of nearness connected to John’s statement of the coming of The Anti-Christ would lend further credence to a first-century figure of Revelation’s Beast.

When John said “we are in the last hour”, “Jesus revealed things to me that must soon take place”, and “the time is near” that his prophesies would go unfulfilled for thousands of years? I find this highly implausible.

Interpretive Key #2: “Calculate The Number”. 

Additionally, we have the fact that John tells his readers to calculate the number of the beast. He says “calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666.” (Revelation 13:18). As Hank Hanegraaff put it in his book The Apocalypse Code; “Obviously no amount of wisdom and insight would have enabled a first-century audience to calculate the number of a twenty-first-century beast. It would have been cruel and dangerously misleading for John to suggest to first-century Christians that they could identify the beast if, in fact, the beast was a twenty-first-century individual or institution.”Moreover, what does John even mean by “calculate the number of the beast”? What does calculating the number even look like?

In Hanegraaff’s The Apocalypse Code, he went on to say “Furthermore, unlike today, transforming names into numbers (gematria) was common in antiquity. For example, in the Lives of the Twelve Caesars Roman historian Suetonius identifies Nero by a numerical designation equal to a nefarious deed. This numerical equality (isopsephism) is encapsulated in the phrase: “Count the numerical values of the letters in Nero’s name, and in ‘murdered his own mother’ and you will find their sum is the same.” In Greek, the numerical value of the letters in Nero’s name (Greek: Nevrwn, English transliteration: Neron) totaled 1,005, as did the numbers in the phrase murdered his own mother. This ancient numerical cryptogram reflected the widespread knowledge that Nero had killed his own mother.8

It is far more plausible to suggest that the apostle was admonishing his readers to apply Gematria to the Beast’s number in order to come up with his name. Since Gematria is rarely practiced in the world today, it would seem unlikely that John had a 21st or 22nd-century audience. Of course, the citation above seems to raise an objection against Nero being the Beast since, as Hanegraaff said, his name comes out to 1,005. I’ll come to back to this later.

Interpretive Key #3: “Don’t Seal Up The Words Of This Prophecy!”

In Daniel 12, after receiving prophecies, an angel said to him “But you, Daniel, roll up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge.” (verse 4). By contrast in Revelation 22:10, the angel told John “Then he told me, ‘Do not seal up the words of prophecy in this book, because the time is near.'” 

So we have a contrast here. In the former, the angel said to seal up the words of the scroll. In the latter, the angel said not to seal up the words of the scroll. Why? In his book End Times Bible Prophesy: It’s Not What They Told You, Brian Godawa said “….when a prophecy was not to occur for thousands of years, the angel said to ‘seal up the book’ (Dan 12:4); but when a prophecy was about to occur near the lifetime of the prophet, he said, ‘Do not seal up the book’ (Rev 22:10). If John’s Revelation was to occur thousands of years later in our modern time period, the angel would have said to seal up the book; but he did not.”9

The Evidence Pointing Specifically To Nero
Now that we’ve determined that The Beast Of Revelation was something or someone in the first century, I will now show how the historical evidence points to Nero Caesar specifically as being this first-century beast.

*The Seven Heads of the Beast
Most of the theologians I have read regarding the Revelation Beast, regardless of their eschatological position, agree that The Beast represents more than one thing. On some occasions, it represents a dude, other times it represents a kingdom.

At some places the one Beast has seven heads, which are seven kings collectively considered. In Revelation 13:1 John notes that he “saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads”. Revelation 17:10 specifically notes that the seven heads represent “seven kings.” Thus, the Beast is generically portrayed as a kingdom.

But in the very same contexts, the Beast is spoken of as an individual, as one of the heads, as a particular part of the entire monster. John urges his readers to “calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man” (Revelation. 13:18). In Revelation 17:11 the angel tells John “the beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is one of the seven.” This feature is recognized by most commentators of various schools of interpretation, including even dispensationalists.

Revelation 17 gives the vision of the seven–headed Beast. Verses 9 and 10 tell us this about this beast: “Here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.” (KJV)

What’s important to note about these 2 verses is the reference to the 7 mountains. Most New Testament scholars agree that the reference to seven mountains is a reference to Rome. Why? Well, because in antiquity, Rome was famous for being “The city on seven hills”.10 Sort of similar to how we refer today to New York as “the city that never sleeps”. Dr. Kenneth L Gentry wrote “The original recipients of Revelation lived under the rule of Rome, which was universally distinguished by its seven hills. How could the recipients, living in the seven historical churches of Asia Minor and under Roman imperial rule, understand John’s vision as anything other than this geographical feature?”11

*The Sixth King 
“This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while.” – Revelation 17:9–10

Here, John says the seven heads not only represent seven mountains on which the woman sits (i.e Rome), but the seven heads of The Beast also represent seven kings. John says that five have fallen (i.e died), one is still around, and there’s still another one coming. And John says that this king who hasn’t come yet isn’t going to reign for a very long time. Now, who are these kings?

Immediately some futurists object to these being Roman Emperors because an emperor and a king aren’t the same thing, just as a president and a prime minister aren’t the same thing. The problem with this objection is that it fails to understand the ancient Jewish mindset. Yes, in the most technical sense, an emperor is not a king. Nevertheless, that’s what the Jewish people called their emperors. Remember in John’s gospel where Pilate has Jesus before the crowd and has them choose whether to have Jesus released to them or Barabbas (John 19)? Pilate asks essentially “Don’t you want me to release your king to you?” and what does the crowd say in response? “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15). They considered the Caesar reigning at the time to be their king. In fact, “king” was just a generic term they used of anyone who ruled over them. Ergo, it isn’t farfetched to suppose that John would use this term of Roman Emperors.

Suetonius has written that Nero was the sixth king of Rome. The previous five were Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Gaius, and Claudius. And in yet another clear fulfillment of John’s words in his own day, the Caesar after Nero was Galba, who reigned a mere seven months. In other words, “only a little while,” just as John said he would.12

Kenneth Gentry wrote “It is surely no accident that Nero was the sixth emperor of Rome. Flavius Josephus, the Jewish contemporary of John, clearly points out that Julius Caesar was the first emperor of Rome and that he was followed in succession by Augustus, Tiberius, Caius, Claudius, and, sixthly, Nero (Antiquities, books 18 and 19). The matter is confirmed just a little later in the writings of Roman historians: Suetonius, Lives of the Twelve Caesars and Dio Cassius, Roman History.”13 

*666: The Number Of His Name
Remember earlier in this paper that I said that gematria was a common practice in antiquity. People assigned a numerical value to letters of the alphabet. One of the objections to Nero being the emperor is that when you apply gematria to his name, it comes out to 1,005, not 666. So if Nero’s name is calculated to be 1005, how could he be the beast Revelation talks about?

The answer is that while John was writing in Greek, he was thinking in Hebrew. Yes, Nero’s name comes out to 1005 in Greek! But not if you calculate the Hebrew transliteration of his name, which is Nrwn Qsr. If you apply gematria to the Hebrew transliteration of his name, it comes out to exactly 666! Coincidence? You tell me.

But what about the mark? Surely Nero didn’t have a legion of Roman soldiers going around with Sharpies putting 666’s on peoples hands and foreheads, right? No ancient historian records Nero doing this. Ah, but you’re taking the mark of the beast too literally. I believe the mark of the beast is metaphorical. I say this not without precedence. The Anti-Christ has a mark, but what is often overlooked is that Jesus Christ has a mark of his own that he places on his people. Revelation 14:1 says “Then I looked, and here was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were one hundred and forty-four thousand, who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.” (emphasis mine). Now, no one that I know of thinks that when we all go to Heaven we will literally have Jesus standing at the pearly gates writing his name and the name of The Father in gematria on our hands and foreheads. God’s not going to give everyone a tattoo or a computer chip upon entry into His kingdom. So then, why think that the mark of the beast is any more literal than the mark of the Lamb?

As Brian Godawa pointed out in his book End Times Bible Prophesy: It’s Not What They Told You, the concept of sealing is a spiritual metaphor of ownership. For example, Paul talks about those sealed by the Holy Spirit in Ephesians 1:13. Revelation is comparing and contrasting those owned by the Beast with those owned by God.14

I believe what John is referring to here is the imperial cult of Rome whereby the citizens of Rome were required to worship Caesar and offer sacrifices to him. As N.T Wright explains “The evidence now available, including that from epigraphy and archaeology, appears to show that the cult of Caesar, so far from being one new religion among many in the Roman world, had already by the time of Paul’s missionary activity become not only the dominant cult in a large part of the empire, certainly in the parts where Paul was active, but was actually the means (as opposed to overt large-scale military presence) whereby the Romans managed to control and govern such huge areas as came under their sway. The emperor’s far-off presence was made ubiquitous by the standard means of statues and coins (the latter being the principal mass medium of the ancient world), reflecting his image throughout his domains; he was the great benefactor, through whom the great blessings of justice and peace, and a host of lesser ones besides, were showered outwards upon the grateful populace — who in turn worshipped him, honored him, and paid him taxes.” 15

There was a bit of leniency for the Jewish people. Nero didn’t require them to offer sacrifices to him so long as they offered sacrifices on behalf of him.16 It was a compromise that accommodated the fact that scripture forbade Jews to participate in such activities (Exodus 20:2-3). Christians however, would not even accept the compromise. As a result, they were socially and economically deprived. In other words, they could not buy or sell anything.17

Nero had an imperial cult in which he required people to worship him. He required people to sacrifice to him or at least on behalf of him. Christians wouldn’t do this so they were not allowed to buy or sell anything, depriving them socially and economically. The mark of the beast isn’t a tattoo or computer chip, it’s making allegience with the beast. Those who worshipped the beast belong to the beast (i.e had his mark, Revelation 16:2). Those who worshipped The One True God had the mark of the lamb (Revelation 14:1).

*War With The Saints
The Bible says that The Beast Of Revelation was given the power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them (Revelation 13:7).

It’s no secret that in the year 64, Nero unleashed a horrific persecution against The Church. Tactitus writes “Therefore, to stop the rumor [that he had set Rome on fire], he [Emperor Nero] falsely charged with guilt, and punished with the most fearful tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were [generally] hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius, but the pernicious superstition – repressed for a time, broke out yet again, not only through Judea, – where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and disgraceful flow from all quarters, as to a common receptacle, and where they are encouraged. Accordingly first those were arrested who confessed they were Christians; next on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city, as of “hating the human race.” (Annals, book 15)

Tacitus went on to say “In their very deaths they were made the subjects of sport: for they were covered with the hides of wild beasts, and worried to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when the day waned, burned to serve for the evening lights. Nero offered his own garden players for the spectacle, and exhibited a Circensian game, indiscriminately mingling with the common people in the dress of a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot. For this cause a feeling of compassion arose towards the sufferers, though guilty and deserving of exemplary capital punishment, because they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but were victims of the ferocity of one man.”

Church historian J. L. von Mosheim wrote of Nero’s persecution: “Foremost in the rank of those emperors, on whom the church looks back with horror as her persecutors, stands Nero, a prince whose conduct towards the Christians admits of no palliation, but was to the last degree unprincipled and inhuman. The dreadful persecution which took place by order of this tyrant, commenced at Rome about the middle of November, in the year of our Lord 64…. This dreadful persecution ceased but with the death of Nero. The empire, it is well known, was not delivered from the tyranny of this monster until the year 68, when he put an end to his own life.”18

*Non-Christian Historians Noted The Extreme Depravity Of Nero
The Roman historian Tacitus (A.D. 56–117) spoke of Nero’s “cruel nature” that “put to death so many innocent men.” Pliny the Elder (A.D. 23–79) described Nero as “the destroyer of the human race” and “the poison of the world.” Roman satirist Juvenal (A.D. 60–140) speaks of “Nero’s cruel and bloody tyranny.“ Elsewhere he calls Nero a “cruel tyrant.”

Apollinius of Tyana wrote “In my travels, which have been wider than ever man yet accomplished, I have seen many, many wild beasts of Arabia and India; but this beast, that is commonly called a Tyrant, I know not how many heads it has, nor if it be crooked of claw, and armed with horrible fangs…. And of wild beasts you cannot say that they were ever known to eat their own mother, but Nero has gorged himself on this diet.”

*The Beast Arising From The Dead
So far, Nero looks like a pretty good candidate for being the Beast identified in the book of Revelation. When I got into studying eschatology though, one thing always bothered me about the idea of Nero being The Beast Of Revelation. Doesn’t The Bible say that The Beast will receive a fatal wound and then return from the dead (Revelation 13:3)? There isn’t any account of Nero dying and coming back to life. What do we make of this description of The Beast receiving a fatal wound and then recovering from it?

Nero was the head of the Beast (Roman Empire) who had the fatal wound. People of that time thought that since Nero had perished, the Roman Empire was doomed. The Beast (The Roman Empire) was revived after civil wars which occurred after Nero’s death. The Roman Empire lived on after Nero’s death.19

Bonus: Who Is The Woman Who Rode The Beast? 

Although this paper is primarily about the identity of The Beast, the two passages I cited near the beginning of this paper make mention of a harlot who rides on the back of the beast and who gets drunk with the blood of the saints. “There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. The name written on her forehead was a mystery: BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.” 

Who or what is this woman? I submit to you that the harlot who rode The Beast is apostate Israel. Think about it. This woman is “drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.” The book of Acts clearly records persecution of the early Christians by Jews who did not believe in Jesus (e.g Acts 6-8). Moreover, I think the reference to the woman being “dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls” is a reference to the breastplate that those in the priesthood wore. Additionally, the nation of Israel was historically known to “prostitute” herself to pagan gods (see, e.g., Jeremiah 2:20–24; 3:2–3; Ezekiel 23:9–20). The book of Hosea is all about how Israel kept committing spiritual adultery against Yahweh. Moreover, in The Apocalypse Code, Hank Hanegraaf notes that there is a large amount of shared imagery in Ezekiel 16 and Revelation 17. In both of these biblical books, “the prostitute commits adultery with the kings of the earth; is dressed in splendor; glitters with gold and precious jewels; and is intoxicated with the blood of the righteous.” 


The Beast Of Revelation was Nero Caesar.



2: “5 World Leaders Who Were Accused Of Being The Anti-Christ” –

3: “Anti-Christ Myths – Ronald Reagan.”–ronald-reagan; “5 World Leaders Who Were Accused Of Being The Anti-Christ” –; “Ronald Reagan: Antichrist” by Gregory Stuart GOrDon, Light Of The World.

4: “5 World Leaders Who Were Accused Of Being The Anti-Christ” –

5: “The Preterist Approach to Revelation — The Unfolding of Biblical Eschatology”
FROM Keith Mathison Jun 25, 2012,

6: John certainly thought “the end” was coming. The debate between preterists and futurists regarding this and other eschatological passages is “the end of what?” Futurists such as dispensationalists would say that John had the end of “the world” in mind. Preterists like myself would argue that John had “the end” of The Jewish Age or The Old Covenant Era in mind. I believe this is also what Jesus was prophesying about in Matthew 24-25.

7: See Hank Hanegraaff, “The Apocalypse Code” (Nashville, W Publishing Group, 2007), page

8: ibid.
9: Godawa, Brian. End Times Bible Prophecy: It’s Not What They Told You (p. 112). Embedded Pictures Publishing. Kindle Edition.

10: See “Seven Hills Of Rome Italy”,;

11: Kenneth L Gentry, from the online article “The Beast Of Revelation Identified”, published September 2008,

12: “We find this order of emperors also in Josephus (Ant. 19:1:11 §75; cp. 18:2:2 §32–33; 18:6:10 §224); …On this reckoning, the five that have “fallen” would be Julius through Claudius. That they are “fallen [epesen]” alludes “to the eminent rank of those whose death is declared” as in 2Sa 3:38. TDNT (6:161) notes that this word is commonly used of dying, particularly in the LXX (cf. Prignet 493). The sixth one who “is” (Gk.: estin, 17:10b) would be Nero. Regarding the seventh who will come and “must remain a little while [oligon auton dei meinai]” we should note that following Nero’s thirteen year rule Galba takes the reins of government. But he rules for only seven months (June, AD 68 —January, AD 69), the shortest reigning emperor to that time.” Ken Gentry, “Revelation 17:9-10” The Divorce of Israel: A Redemptive-Historical Interpretation of Revelation, unpublished draft (Liberty Alliance, 2015).

13: Kenneth L Gentry, from the online article “The Beast Of Revelation Identified”, published September 2008,

14: Godawa, Brian. End Times Bible Prophecy: It’s Not What They Told You (p. 116). Embedded Pictures Publishing. Kindle Edition.

15: N.T. Wright, “Paul’s Gospel and Caesar’s Empire,” in Ed. Richard A. Horsley, Paul and Politics: Ekklesia, Israel, Imperium (Penn., Trinity Press, 2000), 161.

16: Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, 2.409-410 (2.17.2).

17: The Imperial Cult punishments on Christians is seen in the seven churches of Revelation, but it continued on into the next century as Tertullian writes about it as well: “’You do not worship the gods,’ you say; ‘and you do not offer sacrifices for the emperors.’ Well, we do not offer sacrifice for others, for the same reason that we do not for ourselves,—namely, that your gods are not at all the objects of our worship. So we are accused of sacrilege and treason. This is the chief ground of charge against us.” Tertullian, “The Apology,” in Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. S. Thelwall, vol. 3, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 26.

18: (L. von Mosheim, Historical Commentaries, I:138,139).


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This Post Has 18 Comments


    Hi there, You have done an incredible job. I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my
    friends. I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this website.

    1. James

      PETERISTS are just like Calvinists, Catholics, KJ only, Secret Rapture, Second Baptism tongues, etc..Please do not become one. They are ridiculous (and I’m not one of those Rapture ready fanatics).
      Like those Pets, it’s unable to fit all of the facts on the Blackboard. They make connections on some things and forget everything that completely contradicts your view.

      I’m actually done trying to convince people with Pet Doctrines but you’re forgetting Christ’s Return was coming soon too, that Daniel also prefigured a repeat performance, a multiple fulfillment of the abomination desolation.
      By your logic Daniel meant Antiochus Epiphanes should have been the end of it. In your quest to solve this, you’re taking the path of least resistance, forgetting the obvious dual & triple fulfillments of countless occurrences & prophecies in scripture.

      1. Dr Faith

        You are the ridiculous person and this is why I am saying so:

        Revelation 1:The Revelation of Jesus Christ

        1 This is the [a]revelation of Jesus Christ [His unveiling of the divine mysteries], which God [the Father] gave to Him to show to His bond-servants (believers) the things which MUST SOON TAKE PLACE [IN THEIR ENTIRETY]; and He sent and communicated it by His angel (divine messenger) to His bond-servant John, .

        This alone settles it for me.

  2. Daniel Lopez

    In my study Bibles Holman Rainbow Study Bible (NIV), Orthodox Study Bible, and many other sources say that Revalation was not written until AT LEAST 81 AD and not completed before 96 AD. So how do you explain that? How the can the beast be Nero?
    Also, let’s add President Donald J. Trump to this list of people who also might be the Beast or the AntiChrist. He is popular, but he is no Beast. Otherwise, he would of been advocating persecuting Christians.

    1. Evan Minton

      There are those who advocate for a post 70 A.D date, yes. But I think the case for the late date for Revelation is inconclusive at best. Kenneth Gentry JR. Makes a great case for a pre-70 date in his book “Before Jerusalem Fell: Dating The Book Of Revelation”. R.C Sproul touches upon it briefly in his book “The Last Days According To Jesus”.

      1. Beau

        Agreed. Gentry’s book is an excellent resource. The dating of Revelation hinges on hearsay. I find it so fascinating that even the people in the 1-century disagreed and based their facts on opinions and tradition, which in turn has trickled down to us today. The people who say they know the definite decade Revelation was written in are not being truthful, as no one knows. But what we can do is look at the internal and external evidence and make an educated guess.

  3. Ewan

    After Nero’s death many people doubted he had really died. Three separate imposters, the ‘Pseudo-Neros’ arose to make trouble, threatening rebellion or courting the help of the Parthians. Some people apparently believed he had died but would come back from death (a legend or popular belief that last a long time, you can look it up as’ Nero Redivivus’). I think Nero is your man, certainly.

  4. vance

    what about romans 16:20

    1. Evan Minton

      What about it?

      1. Emily

        Presumably, Romans 16:20 also uses the word “soon” to describe something that hasn’t happened (in this case, Christ’s final defeat of Satan). This was my same thought while reading the article… all through the new testament there is reference to Jesus coming back “soon,” the time being near, this being the end of days/last days, et cetera. Given that the new heaven obviously has not yet been realized on earth and Jesus hasn’t come back the second time, it seems that “soon” and “near” are not in the same sense that humans typically mean them. We’re very near to the end because a thousand years is a drop in a bucket compared to eternity, perhaps. But to definitively argue that Revelation has time constraints that date it to the first century seems to be a reach, considering, of course, that the most important parts of it (Christ’s return and the new heaven and earth) are most definitely still in our future.
        I still think it’s worth pondering and considering that some of it is in the past, for the record. I just don’t think you can base that on “John saying ‘it will happen soon’ necessarily means it happened in the first century.”

        1. Evan Minton

          Well, actually, I think many of those “Christ returning soon” passages have already been fulfilled. See the other eschatological paper I wrote titled “The Case For The Preterist Reading Of Matthew 24” –>
          This isn’t to deny that Christ will return in the future, visibly, embodied, to reign over the entire planet. But I don’t think verses like Romans 16:20, or the “coming of the son of Man” in Matthew 24, or a few others are about that. Places I DO think are about that are 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11, and Acts 1:11. Rather, I think most of what people take to be Jesus-coming-back passages are actually statements of Jesus coming in judgment upon Israel for rejecting Him as their messiah. The 70 A.D event wasn’t like you see in a lot of second coming paintings; with Jesus cloud surfing on a horse with an army for all to see if they’d just look up. Rather, boots-on-the-ground, you would just a Roman legion laying siege to the holy city. And lest this seem idosyncratic, in the paper I linked to above, I point out several instances in the Old Testament in which God is described as judging nations, and this description of God’s judging nations describes him as coming on clouds. But most likely you wouldn’t have seen any humanoid figure coming down from the sky. Now, Acts 1:11 cannot be referring to the 70 A.D event because the angel to the apostles that they would see Jesus return the same way they saw him go away (i.e physical, embodied, from the sky). 1 Thes 4 is also referring to an event different than what happened in 70 A.D because the dead were obviously not resurrected en masse in the first century.

          1. Beau

            Yep. Although I don’t believe a bodily return of Jesus can be substatiated in scripture. Jesus’ return was him coming the power and glory of his father, which equates to his judgement, the destruction of Jerusalem. Which in turn ushered in the New Jerusalem, the Kingdom. With the destruction of the old, physical economy of Judaisim the new, spiritual economy of the Kingdom of God was established.

            In reference to Acts 1:11, with Jesus being taken up in a cloud and the angels remarking that he will return in like manner is a direct reference to him coming in Judgement. Look at Matthew 24:30. Jesus went up in a cloud, and in like manner he came down in a cloud, just as he and the angels had said. Acts 1:11 does not necessitate a physical return.

            In reference to 1 Thessalonians 4: With the destruction of the old and ushing in the new covenant (which is what the book of Hebrews is all about), Jesus effectively brought the New Jerusalem with him, spiritually (check out Luke 17:20, it is not a physical place). The old testament saints and those Christians who had died before AD70 were resting in Abraham’s Bosom, or Paradise. When The Kingdom was inagurated (AD70) the dead in Christ were spiritually raised into the air (the unseen realm) and entered the New Jerusalem, and they, who were still alive and remained, were spiritually transferred into the Kingdom, to be with God from that moment on to be translated spiritually after death.

            I do not believe that Paul was talking of a rapture into what we think of as heaven here. The use of his word ‘air’ denotes a lower atmosphere, unseen realm, not heaven. He follows up with, “And so we will be with the Lord forever”. The Kingdom of God/Heaven was consummated when the old covenant was destroyed. God now dwells with his people, we, the church are now his temple. Revelation 21 talks all about that.

          2. Evan Minton

            The problem with the full preterist spin on those passages are as follows.
            1: Philippians 3:20-21 says that our resurrection body will be like Jesus’ resurrection body. “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
            Now I suppose the way you could avoid this problem is to deny that Jesus’ resurrection body was physical like the Jehovah’s Witnesses do. The problem though is that The Bible presents us with an undeniably physical Jesus on the first Easter. He ate fish in front of his disciples in Luke and John’s account, and His tomb was empty, for examples. And a case can be made for the physical resurrection even without assuming biblical inerrancy or appealing to the gospel resurrection accounts. I go into a lot of detail in video #10 in my YouTube series “The Case For The Resurrection Of Jesus” which can be found right here on the website. Just click here —>
            2: As far Paul speaking in the first person plural regarding the resurrection, this is a terribly weak argument. For one thing, Paul had no idea when the resurrection would occur. He may have thought it would happen in his own lifetime or at he might have least been open to that. Ergo, he included himself and his hearers rather than explicitly speaking of a future generation. I mean, for goodness sake, I talk about the bodily resurrection in the first person plural all the time and so have many Christian preachers and theologians throughout church history, but that doesn’t mean we believed (or were right) in saying it happened or would happen in our own lifetime. It only implies that it could, since we don’t know when Jesus will return.
            Secondly, since the resurrection will be of ALL people, are we really surprised to hear Paul talk in the first person plural. If Jesus comes back and the dead are raised tomorrow, Paul and the 1 century Thessalonian church will partake in that resurrection. So it is not at all surprising to hear Paul say things like “WE will not all sleep” (he’s open to it happening in his lifetime), but “WE will all be raised”. Of course they’ll be raised, whether it happens in Paul’s lifetime or not.
            Thirdly, if we’re to press first person language THAT much, are we to believe that most of the sermon on the mount isn’t applicable to us? After all, Jesus said “Love YOUR enemies and pray for those who persecute YOU.” Obviously, he wasn’t speaking to us directly. He was addressing his first century audience. Does that mean Jesus didn’t expect his followers thousands of years after he gave that sermon to love their enemies? No, of course not. When Jesus said “OUR Father who are in heaven”, did he only mean that God is the Father of him and his disciples? We’ve got first person plural language after all. By your logic, large chunks of scripture become just utterly inapplicable to us. Now, as I point out in “The Case For The Preterist Reading Of Matthew 24”, there are places where this line of argumentation works. But it’s only when Jesus is making a specific prophesy about what his direct hearers will see with their own eyes.
            I would agree that the rapture isn’t into Heaven. I think it will be in the sky, in this physical realm. It’s literally just “the air”. Like the place birds and planes fly. So no disagreement there. I take the view R.C Sproul does in “The Last Days According to Jesus”. We’re going to meet Jesus as he returns similar to how citizens would go out to greet a triumphant king returning from battle. The rapture is not going to take us to a spiritual world, it’s just to welcome Jesus back into our space-time realm.
            Full Preterism is biblically untenable and the arguments in its favor are weak. Moreover, I would agree with my fellow Partial Preterist Chris Date that not only is Full Preterism false, it’s heretical.

  5. Automat Arthur

    Please change

    “yet he tells his readers”


    “since he tells his readers”


    “because he tells his readers”

    “Yet” (or “But”) makes no sense.

  6. Levi

    Great delivery. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the great work.

  7. Scott Gondesen

    This is a fantastic and well-supported paper. I am relatively new to the concept of Preterism (lean towards partial), and came across this paper looking for more info on Nero in regards to possibly being the Beast.

    I recently purchased a book of the combined works of Josephus, and have been reading for myself to determine if the wars with the Jews fit the profile of Revelation. If you look closely into the atrocities of Nero, they are very consistent with the horrific expectations the early Christians had, “ “for then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.‭‭” ~Matthew‬ ‭24‬:‭21

    As Josephus writes in The Wars of the Jews, Book 6, Chapter 8: “(404) But when they went in numbers into the lanes of the city, with their swords drawn, they slew those whom they overtook, without mercy, and set fire to the houses wither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul in them, and laid waste a great many of the rest; (405) and when they were come to the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses, that is of such as died by the famine; they then stood in a horror at this sight, and went out without touching anything. (406) But although they had this commiseration for such as were destroyed in that manner, yet had they not the same for those that were still alive, but they ran every one through whom they met with, and obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men’s blood.”

    It’s pretty hard to envision this type of mass torture could occur in our modern world. Note that many died by fire and the sword but numerous also died by famine. This supports the idea that they couldn’t buy or sell (food) since they had no allegiance to the Beast.

    Further, it seems that much of the ugly details about what occurred in the past has been intentionally downplayed or omitted through mainstream history and the narrative – in favor of keeping us all in fear for what might happen in the distant future and guessing who the coming Antichrist may be. If we were to instead understand that the worst of it already happened, we would live much more confidently in light of the craziness happening in our world today and what future lies ahead for the Saints.

    As a final comment, some postulate that the 2nd coming occurred at Pentecost when Jesus gave the Holy Sprit. This started his millennial kingdom, after which time he and the Saints went to Heaven. So we could be living in Satan’s little season, where he has been let loose for a short time as we wait for the coming final battle of Gog and Magog…. But that’s for another debate 🙂

    Thank you for putting this information out there, including all of the supporting links. I am excited to check these out and continue researching this topic.

  8. Zach

    Overall, these arguments were quite compelling. However, I have a question about the beast and Revelation 17. In that passage, you noted that there is the woman and the beast. You identified the woman toward of the end of your post as Jerusalem and the beast as Rome. Speaking of the beast as Rome in Revelation 17, it is evident based on verse 8 that this beast is synonymous with the one found in chapter 13. This further brings me to my question. Verse 11 reads, “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” This verse seems to suggest that the beast is an 8th king but is also one of the original 7. Some futurists suggest that Nero, one of the original 7 as you said yourself, will come back and be the future Antichrist and reclaim the throne and, hence, would be an 8th king. So my question is how would a partial preterist, such as yourself, respond to this idea?

    1. Evan Minton

      Truthfully, I’m not sure what to make of it. I’ve not heard that claim before. Revelation is a difficult book to interpret even on Preterism. Though I’d argue that Preterism makes getting at the meaning POSSIBLE, which is more than I can say for the Left Behinders, where everything is just a matter of speculation because it’s just the writings of a time traveling Jew trying to describe things that don’t fit any of his categories. But yeah, that’s interesting. I need to do more study.

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