Those of us raised in the Churches of Christ are generally very poorly equipped to read this sort of language, largely because we’re a denomination that has chosen to deal with the Revelation by ignoring nearly all of it and to deal with the OT prophets by ignoring them, too.
Now, as bad as that is — and it’s bad — it’s not nearly as bad as some of the extreme interpretations of the Revelation that are popular, such as the Left Behind point of view and Preterism. By “Preterism” I mean the view that the entirety of the Revelation was fulfilled when Jerusalem was defeated and the Temple destroyed by the Roman armies under their general Titus.
On the other hand, it’s a fact that some passages in the NT look ahead to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Jesus prophesied this event and it’s obviously hugely important even though not recorded in the NT. I mean, when God had the Babylonians destroy the Temple centuries earlier, that destruction was clear evidence of God’s unhappiness with the Jews — and they understood it that way. And when God allowed the Romans to destroy the Temple yet again, the Jews saw a similar judgment — but most continued to reject Jesus as Messiah.
So it’s important to avoid either of two extremes — that everything prophesied in the NT happens thousands of years in the future (at the Second Coming) or that everything prophesied in the NT happened in the First Century (with the destruction of Jerusalem being a “coming” of Jesus in judgment). In fact, I believe the scriptures speak both to the destruction of Jerusalem (as a “coming” of Jesus in judgment, even) and of the Second Coming. Continue reading