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The Timing of Judgment on the Nations following Judgment upon Israel


I recently posted this response on a personal blog with some others but no one has responded to it yet so I’m going to repost it here in hopes I can get some interaction with some of you here on DID.  My premise is in response to questions concerning the Judgment upon the Nations and the timing of it in relation to AD70 and judgment upon Israel. IMO it appears from all indications that Judgment must first occur concerning Israel and then Judgment occurs upon the Nations.  As many of you know the idea is out there with some in Preterism that the Judgment upon the Nations can possibly be assigned to long periods of time and even stretching forth until the present and is ongoing. My position is that the judgment upon the Nations is a decidedly Covenant one and not a physical one. I’m going to present a view and some verses and would encourage the readers to interact with my premise and let’s consider the pros and cons.


I think what we often may overlook is that judgment upon the Nations is inextricably tied to judgment upon Israel. Mat 24:30, 25:31-46 appears to parallel Rev  13,14,19 & 20. First the judgment upon the apostate Jews and then the Nations appears the pattern.  The fiery judgment is upon the Nations and the Lake of fire along with the apostate Jews is their eternal lot. Notice though in Rev 19 that they are destroyed by the "sword that comes from the mouth". I might also mention that not all Jews were destroyed physically in AD70 and so we need to be careful in  wanting to carry the physical too far; we realize that there was enough left of them to effectively rise up against Rome a second time in AD135. I don't think we believe it required complete physical annihilation to fulfill the prophecy that renders them eternally cast out of covenant [the lake of fire]. The same with the Gentiles as the word of God is in actuality what renders them powerless.


Rev 19:15 ESV  From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron.


I have discussed on another blog [here & here] concerning the prophetic fulfillment of Zec 14 concerning the Nations coming annually to the City [Jerusalem] at the feast of Booths; so it seems that we need to first identify the nature of that City.  Christ fulfilled the feast of Booths and IMO we are living in the 8th Day of that festival and Christ provides the spiritual rain. So in retrospect we must identify the "sword from the mouth" that strikes down.  If Rev 21 identifies the new city and Eze 47 prophesizes it along with the land where Jew and Gentile live together then we as Preterist must correctly determine how a Heavenly City that comes down can be surrounded by the Nations. [Rev 20:9] Fire came down and consumed the armies of the Nations?  Are we thus still trying to tie the faithful into a Physical City in Rev 20:9 and Zec 14: or does it all make sense when we understand that the surrounded City is the New Jerusalem identified in Rev 21 and Eze 48?  [Rev 20:3, 7 appears to be post 1000 year period]


Have we yet learned how to effectively move seamlessly back and forth between Old Covenant Kingdom language and New Covenant Kingdom language?  Once the signs of prophetic fulfillment have been completed against Israel then essentially the Game is over as the Nations are tied into Judgment upon Israel. Physical Israel becoming Spiritual Israel condemns the Nations to ineptitude and irrelevance in the new spiritual realm does it not?  The destruction of the fleshly nature of Israel is accompanied by the destruction of the flesh of the Nations as illustrated in Rev 19:17-18. This picture seems gruesome but it is simply the destruction of the "mode of existence" by all men.  When Adam's fleshly nature is destroyed, then subsequently the fleshly nature of the Nations were destroyed with it, being replaced with eating the flesh of Christ. See 1 Cor 15:39,42-49 & Jn 6:50-54.


Rev 19:17-18 ESV  Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, "Come, gather for the great supper of God,  (18)  to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great."


Joh 6:54 ESV  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.


Ezk 38 & 39’s Gog and Magog also must be read with spiritual eyes and not physical and understand it's implication for the Day when Israel lives securely in the spiritual Land

Eze 39:18 ESV You shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth--of rams, of lambs, and of he-goats, of bulls, all of them fat beasts of Bashan.

 Eze 39:26 ESV They shall forget their shame and all the treachery they have practiced against me, when they dwell securely in their land with none to make them afraid,


Luk 3:6 ASV  And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.


Joh 17:2 ASV  even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life.


Act 2:17 ASV  And it shall be in the last days, saith God, I will pour forth of My Spirit upon all flesh:


Another deeper study is to recognize that the Nations were bound up from the beginning with Israel through Adam in the Garden. Ezekiel lays out that the Nations were in the Garden yet failed along with Adam and he describes them as Trees that were toppled. Eze 28:13, 31:8,9

Yet the land is again going to become like the Garden of Eden. Eze 36:35, however this is not a literal projection but is again pointing to the spiritual Land.  The Jews in their literature [Jubilees] that brings commentary to the Garden go so far as to implicate that when Adam was cast out of the Garden so too were the animals.  Adam who typifies Israel was instructed to offer sacrifices for himself but also for the animals. This is a clear allusion to the feast of booths where Israel is instructed to offer up sacrifices during their feast week also for the Nations.

Jub 3:29 And He sent out of the Garden of Eden all flesh that was in the Garden of Eden, and all flesh was scattered according to its kinds, and according to its types unto the places which had been created for them.  And to Adam alone did He give (the wherewithal) to cover his shame, of all the beasts and cattle.

Of course Cornelius in Acts 10 is the first of the Gentiles representing all flesh through the vision of the animal flesh to come in.

In conclusion I will restate that we have to train ourselves to be cognizant of the subtle change in expectations from physical manifestations to Kingdom language which cannot be observed. I have a feeling that when it comes to Judgment upon the Nations that looking for a physical sign may be a misplaced idea considering the Covenant fulfillment that has just taken place with Israel.

Luk 17:20-21 ESV  Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed,  (21)  nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."


The question: Just what physically if anything must occur after Israel’s judgment for the fulfillment of prophecy to have been completed concerning the Nations?


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Comment by Doug Wilkinson on April 15, 2011 at 5:58am

One of the things that I noticed recently while reading through Revelation 20 again is the actual wording of the end of the Gog/Magog invasion:


Revelation 20:7-9 (NKJV)
7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison
8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.
9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.

Who is "them" in verse 9?  I propose that it is both the invaders and the "saints".  It's easy to understand that it is the invaders.  I don't know anyone who excludes them from this judgement.  But, why include the "saints"? 


First, "saints" is the Greek hagios which happens to be the same word (in the form hagiazo) that preterists assume refers to the apostate Jews in Daniel 12.  These events seem to be at the same point on the timelines of numerous systems.  If it were simply a lexical issue, the argument would be done right there.


But, the FP position is that this event describes where God judges both nations as Norm is describing.  Though it seems scriptural to me to judge both at the same time, one of the pillars of Partial Preterism is that the gentile judgment will happen at some time in the future.  This verse would seem to explicitly refute their claim.  I think this is a strong indication that Norm is right.


A question for non-preterists:  If the shattering of the "holy people" in Daniel 12 is the destruction of Israel (and I think the only other option would be the destruction of Christians, though per premillenial dispensationalism they are either not on the earth due to the rapture or are in glorified bodies running the place after the millennium), and the same term is used for what may be a parallel passage in Revelation 20, then


1.  Why is the millennium before Daniel 12?

2.  Why would God destroy both the invaders and the invaded?



Comment by Doug on April 15, 2011 at 2:09pm



"The question: Just what physically if anything must occur after Israel’s judgment for the fulfillment of prophecy to have been completed concerning the Nations?"


IF one believes that all prophecy revolves around Christ's completed work on earth, and IF one believes that Christ actually completed that work, then your question is moot.

The only way there COULD be anything "more" to happen to or with the Gentile nations would be if God had a parallel "plan" in which He was working with non-Hebraic people. But I see nothing in scripture that points that way. In fact, I see just the opposite. I see that in Jn. 12:32, ALL is inclusive of all people, not just the Jews.

An excellent exegesis of the verse is at


Anyway, after judgment came salvatino for all. There is no more judgment upon people because of what Christ did for all.

Comment by Norm on April 15, 2011 at 3:30pm


The question revolves around Rev 20 1-10 and the timing of verses 7-10 after which the first 1000 years have ended.


Rev 20:7-8And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison (8) and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.


Most full Preterist believe that the 1000 years represent the time from Pentecost to Parousia.  So if there is a time after this that the Nations are judged then folks like Duncan McKenzie believe it is ongoing. My premise I'm presenting is that the judgment is legalistic and immediate stemming from judgment upon the Jews and not physical as the language would lead us to literally expect. I think most full Preterist really skirt this issue and don't attempt to think it through hermeneutically and so I'm trying to wrestle with it some. Doesn't mean I've got it down pat but we full Preterist need to flesh out Rev 20 better than we have in the past IMO or we leave the gate open.  Again the question is Rev 20:9's city that is surrounded by the Nations the Old Jewish physical City or is it the New Jerusalem and then God destroys the Nations juridically through His word.  Remember the first 1000 years has passed.



Comment by Patrick on April 15, 2011 at 6:07pm

I believe:


1)  It is the New Jerusalem that is surrounded by Gog and Magog.

2)  Magog is apostate Jerusalem/Jews and Gog their leaders.

3)  The "nations" destroyed are Magog, Babylon, Sodom, Egypt (all symbolic of Jerusalem).

4)  The first 1000 years is not from Pentecost to Parousia, but to the beginning of the war.  If satan was still bound, he could not gather nations or empower the beast during this period.

5)  If one is FP-IBD, then the judgment is physical and in the afterlife (or that's how I see it) for the Gentile nations.  Occurs at the second resurrection.  Not sure about CBV.


That's about it...Patrick

Comment by Doug Wilkinson on April 15, 2011 at 7:01pm

As a result of the 3/29 "Two Guys and a Bible":


podcast and Vern Poythress' book "Return of the King", I'm reconsidering my thoughts on this chronology.  The book was a key element.  If you take Revelation to be a sequential story, then there is no doubt in my mind that the Russell/McKenzie paradigm is very powerful.  But, this is the first book I've read which does a good job of explaining an option other than a sequential reading.


Poythress' book is based on a seven part system of recapitulation.  In his explanation, Rev. 20 begins the last lap of recapitulations.  If this is true, he provides a credible way of explaining why Rev. 20 is essentially parallel to the Seals/Trumpets/Bowls and why the final battle is the same one as the Armageddon battle (which FP takes as the 70AD invasion).  Though I don't agree with all of his particular interpretations, the structure he describes is very pregnant with preterist ideas.


One of the most important of these ideas is that we've made way too much of the book of Revelation.  I have noticed in studying preterism that it is unique in that it take the rest of scripture very seriously.  For instance, if you read a 500 page book outlining the structure of prophecy from the preterist point of view you'd find  a large amount of Psalms, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Joel, Dueteronomy, the synoptic Gospels, Acts, etc.  I have never seen this in futurist circles.  They rely very heavily on Revelation.  Everything else is a footnote.  I think preterism has a more balanced presentation.  Poythresses book plays into this very well.  He does focus on Revelation directly in his book, but the emphasis is on the reality of the truths about God and his plan, and not on the interpretation of the puzzle pieces.  Regarding prophecy, it demotes Revelation to just one of the other books of the Bible in stead of the most important book.  I think this is probably the right approach.


So, with the structure that Poythress provides as an option (in my opinion, FP should embrace this tightly) and the articulation provided by Don about the reality of the New Creation, I'm having to do some recalculation.  I'll take some time to break out a couple of preliminary conclusions later tonight.


Comment by John on April 15, 2011 at 7:41pm


Is this the book your referring to by Poythress? If so it can read for free at the following link.

FREE online "The Returning King: A Guide to the Book of Revelation"by Vern Sheridan Poythress


Comment by Doug Wilkinson on April 15, 2011 at 8:17pm

It is indeed.  My point is that I think the FP world should embrace the "spiritual" view of Revelation (per the terminology that Gregg uses) in order to keep it in perspective and provide a reasonable chronology of the events in the book.  It's a fairly short book.  I would encourage everyone to read it.  It's not a matter of agreeing with every single interpretation.  In fact, I think a superior book could easily be written by the people who hang out here using his structure but a preterist bias. 


Back to playing Legos with my six year old.

Comment by davo on April 15, 2011 at 9:49pm

Norm: My position is that the judgment upon the Nations is a decidedly Covenant one and not a physical one.


As I understand it... that which was covenantal was correspondingly physically evidenced. I would understand John as demonstrating this in his conjoined descriptive of the Old covenant economy’s fiery end in terms of ‘the lake of fire’ [physical reality] being the ‘the second death’ [covenantal reality] – they are one and the same; one portrays the other.


However, that said... I think the answer to your conundrum lies in the fact [as I see it] that your basic original premise [Mt 24:30; 25:31-46] wrongly identifies “the nations” as people other than ‘the tribes of the land’ i.e., Israel. Again I would posit this whole argument is rather moot because “the nations” of Mt 24 & 25, your starting point, were none other than the tribes of Israel. Once you consider this then the rest falls away. Not only that, but this understanding then answers to your “covenant” motif i.e., THEY Israel being the covenant people were those who came under the covenant sanctions of the AD70 Judgment. THEY were “the wicked” and “the unrighteous” and “the disobedient” of Israel that Jesus addresses in the gospels – for the most part, all of them, save the remnant [pardon the pun].


That at least it “the con” as I see it you were inviting interaction on Norm. :)


Now none of that detracts from ‘a judgement’ being affected beyond “the covenant people”... I just don’t think the rationale you are putting forward here is saying what the key texts of Matthew you appeal to are saying. IOW, I’d look elsewhere for this – try Rom 2:16 for starters.

Comment by Doug Wilkinson on April 15, 2011 at 10:28pm
One of my problems with God's judging of the secrets of men according to Paul's Gospel (Romans 2) being limited to Israel is that it is included in the message that Paul was teaching to the various Roman rulers per Acts.  It seems to me to drift dangerously close to the point of ROE's hyperpreterism message of salvation only provided to Israel as opposed to anyone outside of that physical bloodline.
Comment by Norm on April 15, 2011 at 11:12pm


Yes I understand that is the predominate thinking, that Covenant
judgment requires physical judgment.

My question to you is, do you think the camp of the saints and the beloved city in Rev 20:9 is physical Jerusalem or spiritual Jerusalem? Since it is after the first 1000 years is it after the Parousia?

Rev 20:7  And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8  and
will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea.  (9)  And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them,  (10)  and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Now in my mind Satan represents the same entity that deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden and is represented in the NT by the apostate legalistic inclined Jewish rulers. And yes the Nations were fully intertwined with the scattered tribes of Israel and one can make the case that Satan/devil’s
deception of Israel also had ramifications for the Nations and the regathering of the Gentiles. They tend to go hand in hand and so I’ll not quibble over that detail at the moment. But again my
immediate question is about the “timing” and “nature”
of the language above whether it’s a physical city and is it after the Parousia? If not then when did the first 1000 years end?

Rev 20:3  and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not
deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.

How long is a little while and what physically happened to the Gentile Nations under judgment
when they surrounded the camp of the Saints and the beloved City. Is the beloved City old Physical Jerusalem or the Heavenly City? If its physical do we have history to substantiate the physical judgment upon the Nations.  Kurt Simmons attempts to make the case that indeed the Roman world suffered mightily at this time, but fire coming down and consuming them is fairly open ended language it seems.






Olivet Discourse Movie

How the Olivet Discourse was fulfilled in the first century.
Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21
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