The Historical Appearance of Christ at the Death of the Beast Fulfills 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:19-20

The Parousia during the Jewish War and the Death of the Beast: The Bible is full of Types and Multiple Fulfillments.  The “Second Coming” is No Exception.  The Various Appearances of Christ during the Jewish War and at the Death of the Beast exemplify seemingly all the Various Ways in which God Appeared to People in the Old and New Testaments.  The Miraculous Appearance of Christ in A.D. 79 at the Death of the Beast, Vespasian, Mirrors the Descent of God on Mt. Sinai. 

After Jesus’ parousia during the Jewish War, He presumably returned to heaven with the saints at the resurrection in A.D. 70. Then as implied in Revelation 19:20-20:3 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Jesus came down from heaven again (Revelation 20:1) to cast Satan into the Abyss around the time of the death of the Lawless One Caesar Vespasian (A.D. 79) and Caesar Titus (A.D. 81). This later appearance of Christ at the death of the lawless one fulfills 2 Thessalonians 2:8. The fact that Jesus would make another appearance after the Jewish War should not be surprising in light of the many appearances He made throughout the Old and New Testaments–especially considering the multiple appearances He made between His ascension into heaven in Acts 1 and the start of His Parousia in A.D. 66 (Acts 7:55-56; 9:1-18; Revelation 1:9-20). John Noe lists thirty to forty separate comings or appearances of Christ throughout the Old and New Testaments. In other words, why should we assume that Jesus was only to come once at the end of the age if the pattern throughout the Bible is just the opposite—many comings?[1]

Whenever God used a foreign nation to punish Israel or another kingdom, God often later punished the punishing nation as was the case concerning the fall of Babylon in the sixth century B.C. according to Isaiah 47:1-6. This later coming of Christ came immediately prior to a famous catastrophe that hit Rome in A.D. 79. Was this cataclysm God’s punishment to the person and nation that God used to enact judgment on wayward Israel during the Jewish War? At this time Christ seems to have appeared in a surprisingly glorious manner in a supernatural event surrounding the death of Vespasian, the beast whose wound had been healed of Revelation 13:3, and the destruction of three famous cities in Italy.   As explained in Revelation 13: A Preterist Commentary the total numerical values of the letters in Caesar Vespasian’s name add up to 666. Though Christ appears to have been visible at the start of this event like the appearance of the Lord in Ezekiel 1:4-26 and Daniel 12:5-7, this coming of Christ then transitioned to mirror Exodus 3:8, Exodus 13:21, Exodus 19:16-19, Deuteronomy 4:11-14, 1 Kings 19:11-13 and Psalm 50:3 during which the Lord came in the midst of cloud and fire. According to Psalm 18:6-16 and 2 Samuel 22:8-15 whenever God came on the clouds in judgment on a nation, he did so in the midst of the Glory Cloud, a dark cloud with fire and earthquake. Therefore, when Jesus predicted that he would come on the clouds of heaven, it is expected that he would also come in the midst of the Glory Cloud. The Glory Cloud was also present around the death of the Beast. This appearance of Christ at the death of the beast bears an uncanny resemblance to the descent of the Lord on Mt. Sinai in the Glory Cloud according to Exodus 19:16-19. Since the Law was given by God at Sinai, could this appearance of Christ be a final sign of the fulfillment of the Law and the establishment of a new covenant?

The Bible is a book full of types and multiple fulfillments.  The “second coming”or parousia appears to be no exception.  The second coming or parousia as it had been fulfilled through the various miraculous appearances of Christ during the Jewish War and the death of the beast are a first century climactic repetition, exemplification and fulfillment of all the various ways in which God manifested himself throughout the Old and New Testaments. One of the most compelling of these appearances was at the death of the beast discussed below.  

The following may seem unbelievable.  However, all information below is taken from unbiased historical records and is easily verifiable.  Sources are also listed at the bottom of the page.

The Historical Appearance of Christ at the Death of the Beast Fulfills 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:19-20

Gustave Dore The Giving of the Law Upon Mt. Sinai

The appearance of Christ at the death of the beast bears an uncanny resemblance to the descent of the Lord on Mt. Sinai according to Exodus 19:16-19.

Vespasian is the Lawless One: Vespasian is called the Man of Lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 because He Ended the Practice of the Law by Destroying the Temple in A.D. 70. The Romans Worshiped a 3-D Ensign of Vespasian called the Imago (Image) in the Temple before It was Destroyed Fulfilling 2 Thessalonians 2:4.  Vespasian is also recorded to have healed a Blind Man and a Man with a Withered Hand in Fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 2:9.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 reads, “Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.”[2]  2 Thessalonians 2:8 says that the lawless one will be SLAIN at the APPEARANCE of the coming of Christ. The title the man of lawlessness implies that this is a man of sin.  But there is more to this epithet.  This man is not given this title because of sin alone; he is called the man of lawlessness because he permanently put an end to the practice of the Law by destroying the Jewish Temple in A.D. 70 thereby making it impossible to fully follow the customs of the Law of Moses. For a detailed explanation of how Vespasian LITERALLY fulfills all the prophecies concerning the lawless one including the fact that he was recorded to have performed miraculous signs and an image of him was worshipped in the Temple see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9: A Preterist Commentary–The Man of Lawlessness Revealed!.

The “Second Coming” at the Death of Vespasian: Revelation 19:19-20 Also Places the Return of Christ at the Death of the Beast.

Revelation 19:19-20 also depicts the death of the beast at the coming of Christ:

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him [Jesus Christ] who sat on the horse and against His army.  And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone.[10]

Echoing 2 Thessalonians 2:8, Revelation 19:19-20 also states that the beast, Caesar Vespasian, was to be killed at the coming of Christ.  Before revealing the miraculous event recorded around the time of the death of Vespasian, let us take a quick look at the Bible verses that may indicate that the final appearance of Christ and subsequent mass resurrection was to come after the turmoil at the time of the end—in other words, after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.

The Parousia of A.D. 79: When was the Resurrection?

The fact that there was a possible resurrection at the appearance of Christ at the death of the beast is not surprising in light of the fact that Matthew 24:29-31, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1 indicate that a resurrection was to occur at the appearance of Christ during the parousia.  As explained in the introduction above, Jesus made a few appearances in the sky during and shortly after the Jewish War.  The first and last appearance occurred around the time in which spiritual bodies were reportedly witnessed coming out of the earth.  Furthermore, though no spiritual bodies were witnessed coming out of the earth in A.D. 70, to the best of my knowledge, the coming of Christ on the Glory Cloud at this time was around three and a half years after the resurrection reported shortly after the appearance of Christ in A.D. 66.  This three and a half year interval would appear to fulfill Revelation 12:6 and 14.  Was there also a resurrection at the final appearance of Christ in A.D. 79 at the death of Vespasian?  Before answering this question let us continue to look at the Bible verses that appear to point to a resurrection after the fall of Jerusalem.

As explained in the commentaries on 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Revelation 15, a good case can be made that the resurrection and parousia began three and a half years before the saints were finally allowed to enter heaven at the sounding of the seventh trumpet at the start of the siege of Jerusalem.  However, the Bible is not always clear on exactly when the parousia and resurrection were expected to occur.  In other words, the Bible is ambiguous and one can make a fairly strong case that the second coming and resulting resurrection were to occur after the fall of Jerusalem.  Interestingly, as is the case for the resurrection in A.D. 70 there is also good historical evidence to believe that the resurrection occurred after the fall of Jerusalem. Because there is compelling Biblical and historical evidence to suggest that the resurrection occurred in both A.D. 70 and A.D. 79, it is impossible to rule with utter confidence in favor of one date or another.

It is my belief as is implied in Revelation 14:13 and Revelation 21:24-26 and explicitly stated in Revelation 20:5-6 that there is more than one resurrection.  Revelation 20:5-6 clearly and explicitly mentions two mass resurrections and Revelation 14:13 and Revelation 21:24-26 strongly imply more than one resurrection.   Revelation 14:13 reads, “’Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’  ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’”  Revelation 21:24-26 presents a similar message.  According to these verses, the gates of the New Jerusalem are always open in order to forever allow the nations and kings of the earth to “bring their splendor into it.”   Revelation 14:13 and 21:24-26 imply that people who die after the first mass resurrection are to be raised to life more or less immediately after death.  Thus even if the resurrection concurrent with the binding of Satan and the death of the beast in A.D. 79 is not the second resurrection mentioned in Revelation 20, then it is at least not surprising that spirits were raised at this time.  The fact that a resurrection appears to have occurred in A.D. 79 may not be that surprising in light of Revelation 14:13 and 21:24-26 in addition to the fact that Christ appears to have come down from heaven at this time as will be explained shortly.

Roberts, David. The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70 . 1850. Yeshiva University Museum, New York.

Roberts, David. The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans Under the Command of Titus, A.D. 70 . 1850. Yeshiva University Museum, New York.

Bible Verses that State that the Second Coming will Also occur After the Fall of Jerusalem: Matthew 24:29-31 states that Christ will come “after the Tribulation of Those Days.”  If this Tribulation is the Jewish War Itself, Then the Final Aspect of the “Second Coming” was to occur after the Jewish War.

Matthew 24:29-31 appears to place the resurrection and second coming after the distress at the time of the end:

“But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory.  And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other [emphasis mine].

Matthew 24:29-31 states that Christ will come and usher the resurrected saints to heaven “after the tribulation of those days.”  If “the tribulation of those days” in Matthew 24:29-31, is the Jewish War itself, then the final aspect of the “second coming” or parousia was to occur after the Jewish War.

Poussin, Nicolas. The Destruction and Sack of the Temple of Jerusalem. 1626.  Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Poussin, Nicolas. The Destruction and Sack of the Temple of Jerusalem. 1626. Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Bible Verses that State that the Second Coming will Also occur After the Fall of Jerusalem: Revelation 15:8 says that the “Second Coming” will occur After “the Seven Plagues . . . were Finished.”   This Might Place the “Second Coming” After the Fall of Jerusalem.

Hebrews 8:5 says, “They [the Levites] serve at a sanctuary [temple] that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.”[11] Hebrews 8:5 indicates that the temple in Jerusalem is a shadow of heaven.  This message is emphasized in Revelation 21 and 22 where heaven is described in such a way as to mirror the temple.  See Revelation 21: A Preterist Commentary and Revelation 22: A Preterist Commentary.  The “temple” mentioned in Revelation 15:8 must, therefore, be heaven itself because the seven plagues were not finished until the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the earthly temple in A.D. 70.  See Revelation 16: A Preterist Commentary, Revelation 17: A Preterist Commentary and Revelation 18: A Preterist Commentary.  Therefore, does Revelation 15:8 place the resurrection and therefore the final aspect of the second coming after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70?

The fact that the resurrection, and therefore the final aspect of the “second coming” or parousia was to occur after the fall of Jerusalem is possibly suggested in Revelation 15:8.  According to Matthew 24:29-31, 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1, the final aspect of the second coming was to occur during the resurrection, when the departed saints were finally allowed to enter heaven.  Revelation 15:8 states that the saints were not allowed to enter heaven until the seven plagues were finished: “And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.”

Does this mean that the saints could not enter heaven at the resurrection until the seventh plague was completed at the fall of Jerusalem?  This may be the case; however, it is hard to say for sure.  In Revelation 16:17 the seventh angel pours out his bowl on Israel and the consequences of the seventh plague begin to unfold.  After the angel poured out his bowl at the start of the seventh plague, the voice of God from heaven declares, “It is done.”  Does this mean that the plague is considered fulfilled once it began to unfold or is it only truly completed until it has entirely unfolded?[11a]  If Revelation 15:8 truly means that the resurrection was to occur after the seventh plague had been fulfilled, then this fact is consistent with the resurrection and second coming occurring at the death of the beast in A.D. 79.

Model of the Temple.

Model of the temple in Jerusalem that was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.

Bible Verses that State that the Second Coming will Also occur After the Fall of Jerusalem: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 says that the Resurrection and Concurrent “Second Coming” were to Occur after the Man of Lawlessness “sets Himself up in God’s Temple, proclaiming Himself to be God.”[12]  This Happened on the 9th of Av, a Month Before the Fall of Jerusalem.

Though mentioned partially above, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 also strongly points to the final aspect of the second coming occurring after the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70.  In these verses, the author of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 says that the resurrection of the saints was to occur after the man of lawlessness is revealed who was to set “himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God”:

Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.[13]

As explained above, this man was Vespasian whose image or Imago was worshiped in the temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70 while the temple burned.  Thus, the resurrection and concurrent second coming were to occur after the 9th of Av of A.D. 70 when the temple was destroyed and the man of lawlessness was worshiped in the temple.

The Romans burned Jerusalem and its temple in A.D. 70.

The Imago or Image of Vespasian was worshiped in the temple in Jerusalem in A.D. 70 fulfilling 2 Thessalonians 2:4: “He sets Himself up in God’s Temple proclaiming Himself to be God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 says that the resurrection and concurrent final aspect of the parousia were to occur after this event.

Bible Verses that State that the Second Coming will Also occur After the Fall of Jerusalem: 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:19-20 Place the Final Aspect of the “Second Coming” at the Death of the Beast.  Vespasian, the Beast Whose Wound Had Been Healed, Died in A.D. 79.

Having highlighted several verses that place the final aspect of the second coming after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, one might then ask, “Exactly when was this event expected to occur?”  As stated above, 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:19-20 pinpoint the final aspect of the second coming at the death of the beast, Caesar Vespasian.  This places the final aspect of the second coming and concurrent resurrection in A.D. 79.  Not surprisingly, a supernatural spectral event that looks suspiciously like the parousia was recorded around the death of Vespasian.  Revelation 19:19-20:3 reads:

Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to wage war against the rider on the horse and his army [this is the second coming.  Jesus Christ is the rider on the white horse (Revelation 19:11-16)].  But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur.  The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.  And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.  He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.  He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

The second coming according to Revelation 19.

The second coming according to Revelation 19.

An artistic depiction of the army in the clouds in A.D. 66. Notice the similarities between this event and the second coming according to Revelation 19.

An artistic depiction of the army in the clouds in A.D. 66. Notice the similarities between this event and the second coming according to Revelation 19. See Historical Evidence that Jesus, the Son of Man, was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century.

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: According to 1 Enoch, the Abyss is a Dark, Fiery Realm of the Dead located under the Earth.  Descriptions of the Abyss Strikingly resemble the Magma of the Earth’s Core.

The Abyss is the realm of the dead.  The Book of Jubilees and the Book of Enoch reveal that the Abyss is a dark, fiery realm located under the earth. In 1 Enoch 10:4-7, the angel Rafael is ordered to bind the fallen angel Azazel in the Abyss: “’Bind Azazel hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dudael, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness.”  1 Enoch 18:10-16 reveals that the Abyss is a realm of fire:

And I saw a deep abyss, with columns of heavenly fire, and among them I saw columns of fire fall, which were beyond measure alike towards the height and towards the depth. And beyond that abyss I saw a place which had no firmament of the heaven above, and no firmly founded earth beneath it: there was no water upon it, and no birds, but it was a waste and horrible place. I saw there seven stars like great burning mountains, and to me, when I inquired regarding them, [t]he angel said: ‘This place is the end of heaven and earth: this has become a prison for the stars and the host of heaven. And the stars which roll over the fire are they which have transgressed the commandment of the Lord in the beginning of their rising, because they did not come forth at their appointed times. And He was wroth with them, and bound them till the time when their guilt should be consummated (even) for ten thousand years.’

According to 1 Enoch, the Abyss is an underground pit of molten fire and burning sulfur much like the magma of the earth’s core.  In Revelation 9:2 an angel opens up a shaft releasing the smoke of a furnace, a fact which sounds very much like a volcanic eruption.  During a volcanic eruption, thousands of pounds of smoke are ejected.  This smoke can darken the sky for miles like the smoke described in Revelation 9:2.  Recall that according to 1 Enoch, the Abyss is located under the earth so the smoke released from Vesuvius mentioned in Revelation 9:2 is quite literally smoke from Abyss: “When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace.”

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: Jesus is the Star or Angel that Comes Down from Heaven with the Key to the Abyss in Revelation 9:1-3 and Revelation 20:1-3.  This is the Final Aspect of the “Second Coming.”

Notice that the second coming or parousia results in the death of the beast and the binding of Satan into the Abyss.  The same or similar event may also be mentioned in Revelation 9:1-3:

The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth.  The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss.  When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace.  The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.  And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth.

Notice that in both Revelation 20:1 and Revelation 9:1 a star or angel falls from the sky with the key to the Abyss.  These verses appear to be describing the same event.  History confirms this idea.  Revelation 9 was fulfilled metaphorically in A.D. 69 with the resurrection of the beast in the form of the rise of the Flavian Dynasty and consequent return of the Roman army to finish the war in Israel.  The resurrection of the beast, fulfilled in the rise of the Flavian Dynasty, is metaphorically depicted in Revelation 9:1-3 and 9:11 as a beast who rises out of the Abyss, the spiritual realm of the dead.  As explained in Revelation 9: A Preterist Commentary–Who is Apollyon?, Revelation 9 was seemingly also fulfilled LITERALLY in A.D. 79 at the death of Vespasian and the subsequent eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.  In other words the fulfillment of Revelation 9 in A.D. 69 in the metaphorical resurrection of the beast was a type of the ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy in A.D. 79.

How could the eruption of Vesuvius be linked to the death of Vespasian, the beast?  The star with the key to the Abyss in Revelation 9:1 is obviously not a literal star.  Revelation 1:20 says that the “seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.”  This star is an angel.  And because he possesses the key to the Abyss, this angel must be the same one mentioned in Revelation 20:1.  This angel is Jesus Christ.  In Revelation 1:18 Jesus declares, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”  It is not surprising that John calls Jesus an angel in his vision.  It has long been recognized in conservative Biblical scholarship that Jesus Christ is the angel of the Lord mentioned many times throughout Old Testament history.  The star or angel that falls from heaven in Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 20:1 is Jesus Christ who descended from heaven during the final aspect of the parousia or second coming.

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: This Aspect of the Parousia in which Jesus comes down from Heaven in a Visible Manner as described in Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 20:1 appears to Fulfill Acts 1:9-11.  

This aspect of the parousia in which Jesus comes down from heaven in a visible manner as described in Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 20:1 appears to also fulfill Acts 1:9-11.  In these verses the disciples see Jesus rise up into the sky before being obscured by a cloud.  Meanwhile two angels appeared beside them and asked, “[W]hy do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.” The visible descent of Jesus from heaven seems to be recorded in the writings of the Roman historian Cassius Dio who mentions a falling star that marked the death of the beast, Vespasian.  Recall that when Jesus descended from heaven in Revelation 9:1-3, he was called the star with the key to the bottomless pit in Revelation 9:1-3.  Did Jesus’ descent from heaven as the star with the key to the Abyss in Revelation 9:1 also fulfill Acts 1:9-11?

comet

A star with the key to the Abyss, representing Jesus, precedes what appears to be the eruption of a volcano in Revelation 9:1-3. Was this the falling star that marked the death of Vespasian and the eruption of Vesuvius?

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: 2 Thessalonians 2:8 says that the beast was to be killed at the Coming of Christ.  A Falling Star like the One Mentioned in Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 20:1 Immediately Preceded the Death of Vespasian.  Was this falling star, Jesus Christ, the star with the key to the Abyss mentioned in Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 20:1? 

Concerning the death of Vespasian, Cassius Dio writes, “Portents had occurred indicating his [Vespasian’s] approaching end, such as the comet which was visible for a long time [emphasis mine]. . .”[14]  Very sick at the time, Vespasian did not recover from his fever and died soon after seeing the falling star.[15]  Was this falling star, Jesus Christ, the star with the key to the Abyss mentioned in Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 20:1?  If this falling star marked the death of Vespasian, does that suggest that this star held the key to death and Hades?  Recall that in Revelation 19:20 and 2 Thessalonians 2:8, the beast was to be killed at the coming of Christ.  Is this a coincidence?

The smoke of the erupting Vesuvius darkened the sun according to Cassius Dio.

The smoke of the erupting Vesuvius darkened the sun according to Cassius Dio.

 The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: Two Months after the Falling Star that Preceded the Death of the Beast, Mt. Vesuvius Erupted Darkening the Sun over the Mediterranean.  This Event appears to Fulfil Revelation 9:2 in which Jesus Christ, the Star with the Key to the Abyss, opens a Pit releasing Smoke that Darkened the Sun.    

After the star with the key to the Abyss falls from the sky, it then opens a shaft releasing the smoke of a furnace, a fact which sounds very much like a volcanic eruption.  During a volcanic eruption, thousands of pounds of smoke can darken the sky for miles like the smoke described in Revelation 9:2: “When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.”

Describing the spectral events surrounding the death of Vespasian and the volcanic eruption of Vesuvius two months later, Cassius Dio describes what appears to be a vision of supernatural beings that appeared over Mt. Vesuvius before and during its eruption. Cassius Dio writes:

Numbers of huge men quite surpassing any human stature—such creatures, in fact, as the Giants [Titans] are pictured to have been—appeared, now on the mountain [Vesuvius], now in the surrounding country, and again in the cities, wandering over the earth day and night and also flitting through the air. . . .  Then suddenly a portentous crash was heard, as if the mountains were tumbling in ruins; and first huge stones were hurled aloft, rising as high as the very summits, then came a great quantity of fire and endless smoke, so that the whole atmosphere was obscured and the sun was entirely hidden, as if eclipsed.  Thus day was turned into night and light into darkness.  Some thought that the Giants were rising again in revolt (for at this time also many of their forms could be discerned in the smoke and, moreover, a sound as of trumpets was heard). . . .  Indeed, the amount of dust, taken all together, was so great that some of it reached Africa and Syria and Egypt, and it also reached Rome, filling the air overhead and darkening the sun. . . .These ashes, now, did the Romans no great harm at the time, though later they brought a terrible pestilence upon them [emphasis mine].[16]

Two months after the death of Vespasian, Revelation 9:2 was literally fulfilled.  Describing the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius two months after Vespasian’s death, Cassius Dio says, “[A] great quantity of fire and endless smoke [erupted from the volcano], so that the whole atmosphere was obscured and the sun was entirely hidden, as if eclipsed.  Thus day was turned into night and light into darkness. . . .  Indeed, the amount of dust, taken all together, was so great that some of it reached Africa and Syria and Egypt, and it also reached Rome, filling the air overhead and darkening the sun. . . .”[17]  Here one can appreciate the literal fulfillment of Revelation 9:2 where smoke out of the fiery Abyss of the earth’s core darkens the sun and sky: “When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss.”

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: Where the Giants seen over Vesuvius Jesus in the Presence of the Heavenly Host?   

Pseudo-Hegesippus records a similar giant specter around the time in which an army of angels were seen in the sky over Israel in A.D. 66:

After many days a certain figure appeared of tremendous size, which many saw, just as the books of the Jews have disclosed, and before the setting of the sun there were suddenly seen in the clouds chariots and armed battle arrays, by which the cities of all Judaea and its territories were invaded.[17a]

Was this figure “of tremendous size” Jesus?  It should also be noted that according to the non-canonical Gospel of Peter, the Roman soldiers guarding Jesus’ tomb saw a vision of Jesus and two accompanying angels emerging from the tomb during Christ’s resurrection in a giant form similar in size to the way in which Jesus is depicted in Revelation 10:1-2.[17b]  The Book of the Secrets of Enoch a pseudepigraphic book believed to be composed sometime around A.D. 1-50 describes angels as beings of light of immense size: “And there appeared to me [Enoch] two men very tall, such as I have never seen on earth. And their faces shone like the sun, and their eyes were like burning lamps; and fire came forth from their lips [emphasis mine].”[17c] In Matthew 28:2-3 and 2 Corinthians 11:14 angels are described as fiery beings of light when appearing in their heavenly glory. Could these giant supernatural beings seen on the mountain and flitting through the air over Vesuvius be Jesus in the presence of the angels of heaven? And if these giants over Vesuvius were Jesus and his angels, did Cassius Dio record Jesus Christ and his angels binding Satan in the Abyss as predicted in Revelation 20:1-3?

The Archangel Michael defeating Satan, Acts 1:6-7, 9-11: A Preterist Commentary

Reni, Guido. The Archangel Michael defeating Satan. 1635.

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: Did Cassius Dio Record Jesus Christ and His Angels Binding Satan in the Underground Realm of the Abyss before the Eruption of Vesuvius as Predicted in Revelation 20:1-3?   

Revelation 20:1-3 reads, “And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain.  He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.  He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him.”  I believe that the giant specters seen over Vesuvius before its eruption were Jesus in the presence of the angelic host binding Satan in the molten Abyss under the earth as Raphael had done to Azazel in 1 Enoch 10:4-7.  Recall that in 1 Enoch 10:4-7, the angel Rafael is ordered to bind the fallen angel Azazel in the Abyss.  Raphael does this by making an opening in the ground and casting the fallen angel into a dark pit under the earth: “’Bind Azazel hand and foot, and cast him into the darkness: and make an opening in the desert, which is in Dudael, and cast him therein. And place upon him rough and jagged rocks, and cover him with darkness.”  Compare this with the binding of Satan in Revelation 20:1-3. When the angel of the Lord made an opening in the earth to cast Satan into the Abyss as Raphael had done to Azazel, did this act cause the volcano to erupt?  Could the giant beings seen over Vesuvius be Jesus and the heavenly host binding Satan in the dark, fiery underground realm of the Abyss?  Notice that the casting of Satan into the Abyss described in Revelation 20:1-3 immediately follows the death of the beast mentioned in Revelation 19:20.  Could the similarities between the death of Vespasian, the subsequent eruption of Vesuvius and the events predicted in Revelation 9:1-3 and 20:1-3 be a coincidence?

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: According to 1 Corinthians 15:25-26, the binding of Satan in Hell mentioned in Revelation 20:1-3 must precede the Resurrection of the Dead.  Did Cassius Dio also record the Resurrection after the binding of Satan?  

According to 1 Corinthians 15:25-26, the binding of Satan in hell mentioned in Revelation 20:1-3 must precede the resurrection of the dead: “For He must reign till He has put all enemies [including Satan] under His feet.  The last enemy that will be defeated is death . . .”   Death was to be defeated at the resurrection.  If there any historical evidence that the resurrection of the dead immediately followed the binding of Satan?  Yes. Immediately after Cassius Dio says that giants were seen over Vesuvius before and during the eruption, he says that spirits were seen rising out of the earth at the sound of a trumpet in the smoke of the erupting volcano.

Each trumpet plague of Revelation signified important events in and around the Jewish War with Rome.  Every plague was marked by an audible trumpet sound.

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says that Christ will come down at the Sound of a Trumpet and the Dead will be Raised. Was the Miraculous Trumpet Sound Heard at the Eruption of Vesuvius the Last Trumpet of 1 Corinthians 15:51-53?  Cassius Dio Records Human-Like Beings Rising out of the Earth at the Eruption of Vesuvius, Was this the Resurrection?

What about the fact that Cassius Dio says that “a sound as of trumpets was heard” at the start of the eruption?  Was this the trumpet of Revelation 9:1: “The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth.”  As already stated above, the fifth trumpet of Revelation 9 was fulfilled metaphorically in A.D. 69 and then literally in A.D. 79 with the events surrounding the eruption of Vesuvius.  Assuming that the fifth trumpet was sounded twice–once in A.D. 69 and then again in A.D. 79, nine years after the sounding of the seventh trumpet at the fall of Jerusalem–does this then mean that this trumpet, not the seventh trumpet, is actually the last trumpet mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:51-53: “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed”?  1 Thessalonians 4:16 adds that at the last trumpet, Christ will come down from heaven and the dead will be raised to life: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.”  When Christ came “down from heaven” mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, did he come as the star that had come from heaven in Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 20:1 that was also witnessed at the death of Vespasian, the beast whose wound had been healed?  Recall that according to 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:11-20, the final coming of Christ was to mark the death of the beast.  Could the star that marked the death of Vespasian be the coming of Christ mentioned in Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 20:1?  If this star was Jesus, then that means that the spirits of the departed were to be resurrected from the dead and finally allowed to enter heaven at this appearance of Christ.  Is there any evidence of a resurrection at the eruption of Vesuvius?

Remember that the Abyss is the realm of the dead and that according to the Book of Jubilees and the Book of Enoch, this realm is located under the earth.  Did Cassius Dio unwittingly describe the resurrection of the dead during the eruption of Vesuvius?  Cassius Dio says that when the smoke was ejected from the volcano a multitude of human forms were seen in the smoke: “for at this time also many of their forms could be discerned in the smoke and, moreover, a sound as of trumpets was heard.”  Were these human forms seen in the smoke from the Abyss, a vision of the resurrection of the dead predicted so often in the Bible?  Remember that according to 1 Corinthians 15:52, the dead were to be raised at the last trumpet: “For the [last] trumpet will sound, [and] the dead will be raised imperishable.”  Here is historical testimony of a miraculous trumpet sound nine years after the seventh trumpet was blown at the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 which marked a vision of what appears to be the dead rising out of the Abyss during the resurrection.

The Parousia at the Death of the Beast: The Sky is a Symbol or Shadow of Heaven, Not Heaven Itself, just like the Deep Recesses of the Earth are a Symbol of Hell, Not Hell Itself.

I believe it is important to pause here and clarify an important point.  The fact that Satan was bound under the earth does not mean that the magma of the earth’s core is literally hell in the same way that when Jesus rose up to the sky when he ascended into heaven in Acts 1:9-11 does not mean that the sky is literally heaven.  Hebrews 8:5 says that the sanctuary of the temple is a shadow or symbol of heaven: “They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.”  In Matthew 5:22, Matthew 18:9 and James 3:6 hell is called Gehenna, a burning trash heap outside of Jerusalem.  The fiery trash heap of Gehenna is an earthly shadow or symbol of hell, not hell itself, just like the sanctuary of the temple is an earthly shadow of heaven, not heaven itself.  Similar symbolism is applied to the sky and depths of the earth in the Bible.

From the vantage point of the earth’s surface heaven is said to be up (2 Kings 2:1, Psalm 14:2, Lamentations 3:41, Matthew 28:2, Luke 24:51 and Acts 1:9-11) and hell down (Numbers 16:31, Ezekiel 26:20, Luke 16:23 and 2 Peter 2:4).  Whether or not this cosmology is literally true is impossible to know.  Perhaps heaven is above the earth but it exists in another dimension and hell is below the earth in another dimension?  Regardless of whether or not this is true, in many languages the word dirt or earth is the same as hell and the word heaven is the same as sky.  Thus in this way the sky is a symbol or earthly shadow of heaven and the deep recesses of the earth are a symbol or shadow of hell.  This symbolism seems appropriate since hell is described as a lake of fire like the molten magma of the earth’s core (Matthew 25:41, Mark 9:43-48, Revelation 19:20; 20:10; 20:14-15; 21:8).  But, of course, this does not mean that the magma of the earth’s core is hell.  It is an earthly shadow or symbol of hell, not hell itself, in the same way that the sky is a shadow or symbol of heaven and not heaven itself.

The Parousia at the Death of the Beast: The Casting of Satan into Hell in Revelation 20:1-3 is a Mirror Opposite of Christ’s Ascension into Heaven in Acts 1:9-11.

Above we explained how the sky is a symbol of heaven and the deep recesses of the earth are a symbol of hell.  If this is true, and if the supernatural beings seen over Vesuvius were Jesus and his angels binding Satan in the Abyss in fulfillment of Revelation 20:1-3, then the casting of Satan into the Abyss in Revelation 20:1-3 is a mirror opposite of the ascension of Jesus to heaven in Acts 1:9-11.  In Acts 1:9-11 Jesus is shown rising up into the sky as a physical sign of the fact that he was about to enter heaven.  The opposite occurs at the casting of Satan down into the Abyss.  Here Satan is depicted being hurled into a pit in the earth as was Azazel in 1 Enoch as a sign of the fact that Satan was about to enter hell.  If Satan was bound in hell at the eruption of Vesuvius then it appears that the casting of Satan to hell is a mirror opposite of Christ’s ascension into heaven.   Could the fact that these two events are polar opposites lend an added degree of credibility to the idea that Satan was cast down into hell at the eruption of Vesuvius?

It should also be said that I believe that the supernatural specter seen over Mt. Vesuvius mentioned above was similar to Elisha’s servant’s vision of the army of angels that surrounded Elisha in 2 Kings 6:17.  In 2 Kings 6:17 Elisha prays that his servant would be able to see all the angelic soldiers protecting them, and the servant is temporarily given the ability to see this.  I believe that those who witnessed these angelic beings over Mt. Vesuvius were also temporarily given the ability to see this otherwise invisible, otherworldly event in the same way that Elisha’s servant was temporarily given the ability to see the otherwise invisible angelic beings around him and his companion in 2 Kings 6:17.

Vesuvius from Portici.

Wright, Joseph. Vesuvius from Portici. 1734-1797.

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: Matthew 24:29 says that “the Sun will be Darkened, and the Moon will not give its Light; the Stars will fall from the Sky” at the Coming of Christ.  Was This Verse Fulfilled in the Darkening of the Sun and Moon During the Eruption of Vesuvius and the Falling Star that Preceded It?

The evidence does not end there.  Matthew 24:29 states, “Immediately after the distress of those days “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’”  The “distress of those days” mentioned in Matthew 24:29 could be the Jewish War of A.D. 66-74.   Verse 29 predicts that “the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light.”  This was also fulfilled in the eruption of Vesuvius–literally.  Recall that Cassius Dio says that the smoke from Vesuvius darkened the sun with ash spreading as far as “Africa and Syria and Egypt, and it also reached Rome, filling the air overhead and darkening the sun.”  If this ash was dark enough to blot out the sun it would stand to reason that it would have also darkened the moon.  The fact that the stars are also said to fall from the sky in Matthew 24:29 also points to events surrounding the eruption of Vesuvius.  Remember that the eruption of Vesuvius was immediately preceded by a falling star.

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: Did Cassius Dio Record the Miraculous Fulfillment of Matthew 24:30-31?

Looking at the following verses, Matthew 24:30-31, we read:

Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.  And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

As stated above, I believe that the literal fulfillment of the resurrection mentioned in Matthew 24:31 is recorded by Cassius Dio when he says that human-like beings were seen rising out of the Abyss in the smoke of Vesuvius.  But what about “the sign of the Son of Man in heaven”?  Was this the falling star seen just prior to the eruption?  Recall that in Revelation 9:1, Jesus is depicted descending from heaven as a falling star.  Was Jesus the falling star recorded by Cassius Dio coming down from heaven to usher the dead into heaven as predicted in 1 Thessalonians 4:16: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first”?

angels flyingBut what does it mean when Jesus is seen coming on the clouds of heaven in v. 30?  Was this verse fulfilled when Cassius Dio says that many of these angelic beings were seen flying through the air before the eruption?  Were any of these heavenly beings Jesus?  I believe so.  Matthew 16:27, Mark 8:38, 2 Thessalonians 1:6, and Jude 14-15 picture Jesus coming in the presence of many angels during the second coming.  This appearance of Christ at his return mirrors the coming of the Lord in Old Testament history:  “The Lord came from Sinai and dawned over them from Seir; he shone forth from Mount Paran.  He came with myriads of holy ones from the south, from his mountain slopes (Deuteronomy 33:2).”  Were the beings seen on the mountain Jesus Christ in the presence of many angels as predicted in Matthew 16:27, Mark 8:38, 2 Thessalonians 1:6 and Jude 14-15?

I believe that Jesus’ form may also have been seen amidst the volcanic ash in which Cassius Dio says many of these supernatural beings were discerned during the eruption.  Though Jesus may have been LITERALLY seen prior to and during the eruption as stated in v. 30, even if Jesus was invisible during the eruption, Matthew 24:30 would still be fulfilled in the events surrounding the eruption of Vesuvius.  The expression “coming on the clouds of heaven” often implies that, at least at some point, dark clouds were to mask the appearance of God rendering him invisible.   This point is clearly stated in 2 Samuel 22:12 and Psalm 18:9-11:

He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind. He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky (Psalm 18:9-11).

Whenever God came on the clouds in judgment in Old Testament history this often meant that dark clouds masked the appearance of God so that he was not seen when coming in judgment on a city.  In the case of the eruption of Vesuvius, the dark cloud of smoke from the surging volcano may have masked the appearance of Christ as he rode the surge cloud in judgment on the city of Pompeii and the surrounding cities.

Exodus sinai

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: The “Second Coming” as it was fulfilled in the Various Appearances of Christ in A.D 66, A.D. 68, A.D. 70 and A.D. 79 illustrate the Different Ways God appeared to People in the Old Testament.  The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79 bears an Uncanny Resemblance to the Descent and Presence of God on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19:16-19.  

The second coming or parousia as it had been fulfilled through the various appearances of Christ in A.D 66, A.D. 68, A.D. 70 and A.D. 79 exemplify the various ways in which God appeared to people throughout Old Testament history.  See Historical Evidence that Jesus, the Son of Man, was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century and The Second Coming of A.D. 70–like You’ve Never Heard it Before!  If Jesus was invisible when he came in judgment in Matthew 24:30, then this presence of Christ during the eruption of Vesuvius bears a striking resemblance to the appearance of God on Mt. Sinai.  Deuteronomy 4:11-12 reads, “You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain [Sinai], and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens: darkness, cloud and thick gloom. Then the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no form—only a voice.”  Notice that when God descended on Mt. Sinai, he was seemingly invisible to his people.  Also notice that Deuteronomy 4:11-12 says that Mt. Sinai burned with fire to the heavens with darkness and cloud.  Here the author of Deuteronomy implies that Mt. Sinai, like Mt. Vesuvius, was a volcano that erupted at the presence of God releasing fire into the sky and dark clouds of ash as Vesuvius did at the presence of Christ in A.D. 79.   Exodus 19:16-19 describes the appearance of God on Mt. Sinai in greater detail:

So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet sound, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled.  And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain.  Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.  When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder.

A couple things must be noted concerning the similarities between the events following the descent of Christ on Mt. Vesuvius and the events following the descent of the LORD on Mt. Sinai.  First, Exodus 19:16-19 indicates that after the Lord descended on Mt. Sinai, the sound of a trumpet was heard.  After Christ descended on Mt. Vesuvius a trumpet sound was also heard according to Cassius Dio: “for at this time also many of their forms could be discerned in the smoke and, moreover, a sound as of trumpets was heard.”[20]  Exodus 19:16-19 also indicates that before and during the eruption of Mt. Sinai there was “thunder” and “the whole mountain quaked violently.”  Cassius Dio describes the eruption of Vesuvius in the same way.  After the supernatural beings had descended on Mt. Vesuvius, Cassius Dio says that there were “sudden and violent earthquakes. . . . [and] frequent rumblings, some of them subterranean, that resembled thunder, and some on the surface, that sounded like bellowings; the sea also joined in the roar and the sky re-echoed it.”[21]  Here the eruptions of Sinai and Vesuvius are each accompanied by thunder and earthquakes at the presence of the Lord on the mountain.

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: Revelation 10:1-2 explains why the Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius Resembles the Descent of the Lord on Mt. Sinai.

Why would this aspect of the second coming mirror the descent of the Lord of Mt. Sinai?  The answer may be found in Revelation 10:1-2.  Here Jesus, the angel of Revelation 10, places one foot on the land and the other on the sea.  Remember that throughout the Book of Revelation earth represents Israel and sea, Gentile Rome.  Each leg is a pillar of fire.  The fact that the angel’s legs are described as pillars of fire appears to be an allusion to the Spirit of God that guided the Israelites on their way to Egypt in the form of a pillar of smoke by day and pillar of fire by night as stated in Exodus 13:21: “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire . . .”  The foot that is planted on the land seems to point to the descent of the Lord on Mt. Sinai in a pillar of smoke and fire.  Though the true location of Mt. Sinai is unknown, it likely existed somewhere within or just outside of the bounds of historical Israel representing the earth.  Having explained above how the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius bears an uncanny resemblance to the descent of the Lord on Mt. Sinai as it is described in Exodus 19:16-19, it is interesting to note that Cassius Dio employs a nearly identical phrase when describing the eruptions of Vesuvius: “the crater [of Vesuvius] is given over to the fire and sends up smoke by day and fire by night.”[21a]  Notice that a pillar of smoke and fire appeared on both Mt. Sinai which is near Israel, the earth, and Mt. Vesuvius which is near Rome, the sea.  Here one can see the fulfillment of Revelation 10:1-2 in which the angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ, places one fiery pillar of a foot on the land signifying Mt. Sinai and one fiery pillar of a foot on the sea signifying Mt. Vesuvius.  Therefore, the fact that the final aspect of the second coming bears an uncanny resemblance to the descent of the Lord on Mt. Sinai is not surprising as it appears to fulfill Revelation 10:1-2 in a surprisingly literal manner.

Could this pillar of fire on the sea, representing the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, like the pillar of fire on the land, signifying the eruption of Mt. Sinai, mentioned in Revelation 10:1-2 also represent the establishment of a new covenant?  When the Spirit of God descended in a pillar of smoke and fire on Mt. Sinai, he established his covenant of the Law with the future inhabitants of Israel.  During the final aspect of the second coming, Christ also appeared to descend on a mountain outside of Rome in a pillar of smoke and fire.  Did this event signify the fulfillment of the Law and the establishment of a new covenant order in which the Gentile nations, the sea, were also to be gathered into the fold of the kingdom of God?  The fact that an event similar to the descent of the Lord on Mt. Sinai occurred in the sea, Gentile Rome, seems to suggest this fact.  See Revelation 10: A Preterist Commentary.

volcano

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: According to Psalm 18:6-16 and 2 Samuel 22:8-15 whenever God came on the Clouds in Judgment on a Nation, He did so in the Presence of the Glory Cloud.  Therefore, when Jesus predicted that He would come on the Clouds of Heaven during his Second Coming, it is expected that He would also come in the Midst of the Glory Cloud.  The Glory Cloud was Present Amidst the Eruption of Vesuvius.

According to Psalm 18:6-16 and 2 Samuel 22:8-15 whenever God came on the clouds in judgment on a nation, he did so in the Glory Cloud.  Therefore, when Jesus predicted that he would come on the clouds of heaven during his second coming, it is expected that he would also come in the midst of the Glory Cloud.  What is the Glory Cloud?  The clouds of smoke, fire, thunder and earthquakes mentioned above during the eruption of Vesuvius are all Biblical signs of the presence of God in the Glory Cloud.  According to 2 Samuel 22:8-15, Isaiah 66:15-16, Psalm 18:6-16, Psalm 50:3, Psalm 97:1-5, Psalm 144:5, Exodus 40:34-38 and Leviticus 16:2, the presence of God is often marked by fire and smoke or cloud.  This cloud with fire marking the presence of God is called the Glory Cloud.  Exodus 40:34-38 mentions the Glory Cloud which signifies the presence of God:

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.   Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out—until the day it lifted.  So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels.”

Notice that according to Exodus 40:38, the presence of God in the Glory cloud looks like a cloud [of smoke] by day and fire by night.  The phrase smoke by day and fire by night is used often in the Book of Exodus to describe the presence of God in the Glory Cloud as he guided the Hebrew slaves to the Promised Land.  As stated above, Cassius Dio employs this same phrase when describing the eruptions of Vesuvius: “the crater [of Vesuvius] is given over to the fire and sends up smoke by day and fire by night.”[22]  If the smoke by day and fire by night produced by the eruption of Vesuvius was the Glory Cloud, then this is yet another reason to believe that the final aspect of the second coming occurred in A.D. 79.  Recall that as stated above, this coming of Christ also seemed to mark the binding of Satan and the death of the beast in literal fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:20-20:3.

The Most Holy Place of the Temple

The Most Holy Place of the Temple

Leviticus 16:2 also mentions the Glory Cloud: “The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die.  For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.”   It was within the Most Holy Place of the Temple that the Spirit of God was expected to reside.  Inside the Most Holy Place was a golden altar of incense according to Hebrews 9:3-4.  The cloud over the atonement cover marking the presence of God in the Holy of Holies was presumably a cloud of smoke caused by the burning of incense from the golden altar of incense within the Most Holy Place of the Temple.  This cloud of smoke and fire forms the Glory Cloud which marks the presence of God in the inner sanctuary of the Temple.   Similarly, the cloud of smoke and fire during the eruption of Mt. Saini and Mt. Vesuvius also formed the Glory Cloud marking the presence of God.  Interestingly, Cassius Dio says the following concerning the eruption of Vesuvius: “the crater [of Vesuvius] is given over to the fire and sends up smoke by day and fire by night; in fact, it gives the impression that quantities of incense of all kinds are being burned in it.”[22a]

The miracle in which the angel of the Lord makes fire come forth from a rock and then disappears--presumably returning to heaven—in Judges 6:21 is a resurrection motif fulfilled in the resurrection during the eruption of Vesuvius.

The miracle in which the angel of the Lord makes fire come forth from a rock and then disappears–presumably returning to heaven—in Judges 6:21 is a resurrection motif fulfilled in the resurrection during the eruption of Vesuvius.

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: The Second Coming and Resurrection of A.D. 79 Literally Fulfills Judges 6:21. 

In Judges 6, the angel of the Lord who is presumably the preincarnate Christ appears to Gideon.  The angel of the Lord tells Gideon to put some meat and bread on a rock.  After Gideon did this, the preinacrnate Christ touched the rock with his staff in v.21 and “[f]ire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the Lord disappeared.”  The fact that Christ made fire flare up from a rock looks a lot like a volcanic eruption like that which occurred on Mt. Sinai and Mt. Vesuvius.  After making fire come out of the rock, the angel of the Lord then disappeared presumably in the rising smoke of the burning rock.  This disappearance of the angel of the Lord presumably in the smoke of the flaming rock which forms the Glory Cloud is highly suggestive of the resurrection as it is described by Cassius Dio.  As stated above, Cassius Dio says that amidst the smoke of Vesuvius many human-like forms were seen rising up to the heavens in the smoke of the erupting volcano.[22b]

The cloud of smoke by day and fire by night that guided the Israelites to the Promised Land is a resurrection motif according to Hebrews 3-4.  A cloud of smoke by day and fire by night literally marked the resurrection in the first century.

The cloud of smoke by day and fire by night that guided the Israelites to the Promised Land is a resurrection motif according to Hebrews 3-4. A cloud of smoke by day and fire by night literally marked the resurrection in the first century.

The “Second Coming” of A.D. 79: The Second Coming and Resurrection of A.D. 79 Literally Fulfills Hebrew 3-4. 

Along these same lines, Paul refers to the resurrection, the time in which the saints enter heaven, as receiving God’s promised rest.  In Hebrews 3-4 Paul likens the rest at the resurrection to the rest received by the Israelites when they entered the Promised Land.  According to the Book of Exodus the Israelites were guided to the Promised Land by the Glory Cloud—a cloud of smoke by day and fire by night.  This cloud of smoke by day and fire by night which guided the Israelites to the Promised Land, the earthly reflection of heaven, also literally marked the moment when many of the saints of old resurrected to heaven.  During the resurrection of the first century, the saints rose up to heaven in a cloud of smoke by day and fire by night during the eruption of Vesuvius.  Cassius Dio says that during the eruption of Vesuvius many human-like forms were seen rising out of the earth in the smoke of the erupting volcano “and, moreover, a sound as of trumpets was heard.”[22c]  Remember that according to 1 Corinthians 15:52, the dead were to be raised at the sound of a trumpet: “For the trumpet will sound, [and] the dead will be raised imperishable.”  It is interesting that a similar signal of smoke by day and fire by night which guided the Israelites to the Promised Land to receive God’s promised rest also literally marked the resurrection of the dead when the departed saints of old were finally raised to heaven, the true Promised Land of which earthly Israel is but a shadow.  In the eruption of Vesuvius and the concurrent resurrection one can truly appreciate the link between the promised rest of Exodus and the resurrection illuminated by Hebrew 3-4.   The promised rest that the Israelites received while entering the Promised Land was but a shadow of the true rest received by the saints upon entering heaven at the resurrection.

Martin, John. Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum (restored-version) Tate Britain. 1821.

Martin, John. Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum (restored-version) Tate Britain. 1821.

People Literally Saw the Resurrection and Parousia of A.D. 79: Those Who were Resurrected in A.D. 79 would have also LITERALLY SEEN Christ with the Eyes of Their Resurrection Bodies Fulfilling Matthew 16:27-28, Matthew 24:27, Matthew 24:30, Mark 14:62, Revelation 1:7 and Acts 1:9-11.   

As stated above, the fact that spiritual beings were seen rising out of the Abyss in the Glory Cloud of the erupting Vesuvius appears to be a vision of the resurrection.  This interpretation is reinforced by the fact that this event was accompanied by a miraculous trumpet sound and what appears to be the coming of Christ in the presence of mighty angels.  If the spirits of the departed were, in fact, finally resurrected at this time, then many prophecies concerning the second coming would have presumably been literally fulfilled in the spiritual realm during the resurrection.  For example, Jesus often says that during his return, many will see him coming into his kingdom and coming on the clouds.  This phraseology harkens back to Daniel 7:13-14:

In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven.  He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.  He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshipped him.

In these vs., Jesus is seen coming on the clouds of heaven where he approaches the Father who grants Jesus authority over “all peoples, nations and men of every language.”  Acts 7:48-49 states, “[T]he Most High does not live in houses made by men. As the prophet says: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.’”   According to Acts 7:48-49, God’s throne is in heaven.  Because God’s throne is in heaven, when Jesus was seen coming on the clouds to receive his kingdom, this coronation, therefore, must have taken place in heaven.  Not only did Jesus’ coronation take place in heaven, Acts 7:56 also implies that heaven is the location of Jesus’ throne.  In Acts 7:56 Stephen looks up to heaven and sees Jesus at the right hand of the Father. The fact that Jesus rules at the right hand of the Father again places the throne of the Messianic kingdom in heaven. The Messiah rules the earth from a heavenly, not an earthly throne.  This idea is reinforced by John 18:36.  Here Jesus says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” In this simple statement, Jesus clarifies why he advocates paying taxes to Caesar in Matthew 22:21. Jesus never intended to be the earthly king over a sovereign Israel. When Jesus declares that his kingdom is not of this world, he is saying that his kingdom is in heaven.

Remember that according to 1 Thessalonians 4:16, Jesus was to return during the resurrection.  The fact that the resurrection was to occur at the time in which Jesus was to return and come on the clouds of heaven means that those people who resurrected in A.D. 79 would have followed Jesus into heaven and literally SEEN Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven to receive all power and authority with the eyes of their new spiritual bodies as indicated in 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Daniel 7:13-14.

Many of Jesus’ Contemporaries did “not Taste Death” before the Parousia of A.D. 79: Though Many of Jesus’ Contemporaries Lived to see the Parousia and, therefore, did “not taste death” as predicted in Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 before seeing Christ coming on the clouds, These people also did not Taste Spiritual Death.

In Matthew 24, Matthew 16:28, Matthew 10:23, Mark 8:38-9:1, Mark 14:61-62, John 21:22, Jesus says that some of his contemporaries including the Apostle John  and the High Priest Caiaphas would not die before seeing Jesus come on the clouds and receive the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus did, in fact, return within the lifetime of many of his contemporaries and therefore it would seem that many of these people probably did physically see Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven in A.D. 66 and possibly A.D. 70 while they were still alive.  See Historical Evidence that Jesus, the Son of Man, was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century.  Interestingly, if these people also lived beyond A.D. 79 then they would also see Christ come on the clouds during the resurrection.

coming out of the void

In 1 Corinthians 15:50-54, Jesus conquered death.  As a result, Revelation 21:4 says that in the New Jerusalem “death shall be no more.” Whereas Isaiah 65:20 explicitly indicates that in the New Jerusalem people still physically die.  This is because the death that Jesus conquered was spiritual death which is consignment to the dark spiritual realm of Sheol often called death in the Bible. Before Jesus died for the remission of sins, the Old Covenant saints had no sacrifice for sin to purge them from the curse of spiritual death which is separation from God in heaven. Thus these saints were confined to Sheol, the dark underworld of death, after biological death. Sheol is spiritual death because it is a realm of darkness and separation from God in heaven.  For the broader implications of this idea as it relates to the age of the earth see Why Isaiah 65:20 and Related Verses Imply that Physical Death Preceded the Fall of Man.

1 Corinthians 15:51 says, “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.”  1 Corinthians 15:51 appears to be describing the resurrection of spirits out of Sheol at the last trumpet.  Those who are asleep in v. 51 are spirits in Sheol that are raised to new life in heaven.  This verse suggests that during and after the resurrection at the last trumpet, many people will no longer be imprisoned in the sleepy realm of Sheol before resurrecting from the dead.  Spirits that died before the second coming were consigned to Sheol, the dark underworld of the dead, before being resurrected, but those that died during or after the second coming are immediately raised to life.  These people are “changed” meaning that they are given their resurrection bodies immediately after death presumably without being trapped in Sheol first.  Sheol is a term synonymous with death in the Bible as is illustrated by the fact that Sheol is often simply translated death in the Bible.  For a more detailed discussion of the resurrection and how Jesus conquered death see 1 Corinthians 15:50-54: A Preterist Commentary.

Bosch, Hieronymus. Ascent of the Blessed.1490-1516. Galleria dell' Accademia Venezia, Venice.

Bosch, Hieronymus. Ascent of the Blessed.1490-1516. Galleria dell’ Accademia Venezia, Venice.

Though many of Jesus’ contemporaries did “not taste death” as predicted in Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1 before seeing Christ coming on the clouds because many people lived to physically see Jesus coming on the clouds in A.D. 66 and possibly A.D. 70, many of Jesus’ contemporaries who lived to or beyond the resurrection of A.D. 79 also did not taste spiritual death.  In this way, there is a dual fulfillment to Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:28 and Mark 9:1.  These people also did not taste spiritual death before seeing Christ because Jesus conquered spiritual death, that is Sheol, at his resurrection.  Therefore, those who lived to A.D. 79 and beyond would pass from this life to heaven immediately without “tasting death” in the form of consignment to Sheol first.  Having not tasted death in the form of spiritual imprisonment in Sheol before being raised to heaven at the resurrection, many of Jesus’ contemporaries, therefore, would have also not tasted death in a spiritual sense before seeing Jesus come on the clouds of heaven to receive his kingdom as predicted in Daniel 7:13-14.

The Eruption of Vesuvius

Martin, John. The Eruption of Vesuvius.1789 – 1854.

“The Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven in Blazing Fire with His Powerful Angels”: Did Cassius Dio record the Literal Fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 1:7 in the Eruption of Vesuvius?

2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 was also fulfilled in the final aspect of the second coming of A.D. 79:

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.  He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.

The justice promised in these verses was fulfilled in both the eruption of Vesuvius and in the heavenly throne of judgment following the resurrection. The dark, fiery judgment in the eruption of Vesuvius is an earthly shadow of the dark, infernal punishment of hell.  Notice that in v. 7, the Lord Jesus “is revealed from heaven” during his second coming.  Is this an allusion to the falling star seen before the death of Vespasian and the eruption of Vesuvius?  Recall that Jesus comes down from heaven as a star before what appears to be an erupting volcano in Revelation 9:1-3.  2 Thessalonians 1:7 also indicates that Christ will come “with his powerful angels.”  When Cassius Dio mentioned the giants seen atop Vesuvius, did he unknowingly record the presence of Jesus “with his powerful angels” seen atop Vesuvius before its eruption?  And is the fiery eruption of Vesuvius the fulfillment of the “blazing fire” mentioned in v. 7 at the coming of Christ?  See also 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10: A Preterist Commentary.

 

fire in the sky

2 Thessalonians 1:7 says that Christ will be “revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.” Was this fulfilled in the supernatural beings seen atop Vesuvius before and during the fiery eruption?

The Destruction of Heaven and Earth in A.D. 79: Did Cassius Dio record the Fulfillment of 2 Peter 3:10-12 in the Eruption of Vesuvius?

2 Peter 3:10-12 describes the “blazing fire” at the coming of the Lord in greater detail:

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.  Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

The Destruction of Heaven and Earth in A.D. 79: 2 Peter 3:10-12 is Apocalyptic Literature which is a Poetic Style of Writing.

In 2 Peter 3:4, Peter quotes the mocking words of unbelievers concerning the second coming: “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?”  2 Peter 3:10-12 then describes the destruction of the heaven and earth by fire at the coming of Christ—“the day of the Lord.”  The prophecies concerning the destruction of heaven and earth are written in an apocalyptic style.  Apocalyptic literature is poetry.  It is not a strictly literal description of events as one might find in a newspaper.  As full preterists who believe in the fulfillment of all end time prophecy we know that the entire planet and sky were not literally destroyed during the second coming in the same way that heaven and earth were not destroyed at the fall of Israel and Egypt in the sixth century B.C. and the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C.  See The Destruction of Heaven and Earth and the New Heaven and Earth Explained.

dark storm clouds

The darkening of the heavenly lights by thick cloud cover in conjunction with the destruction of a city implies that God had come on the clouds in judgment to destroy heaven and earth.

The Destruction of Heaven and Earth in A.D. 79: The Predictions Concerning the Destruction of Heaven and Earth in Old Testament History were Fulfilled in a Surprisingly Literal way during the Eruption of Vesuvius.

It is interesting to note that apocalyptic descriptions of the destruction of heaven at the fall of Babylon, Israel and Egypt in the sixth century B.C. described in Isaiah 13:9-13, Jeremiah 4:23-26 and Ezekiel 32:7-9 were not just apocalyptic rhetoric during the coming of the Lord at the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius—they were surprisingly literal.  Ezekiel 32:7-8 says that the sun, moon and stars will be darkened with a cloud at the destruction of Egypt and the death of its people: “When I snuff you out, I will cover the heavens and darken their stars; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon will not give its light.  All the shining lights in the heavens I will darken over you; I will bring darkness over your land.”  In these verses, the darkening of the sun, moon and stars is accomplished by thick cloud cover.  As stated in The Destruction of Heaven and Earth and the New Heaven and Earth Explained, the darkening of the heavenly lights signifies the destruction of heaven according to Isaiah 13:10-13.  Recording the apocalyptic destruction of heaven at the eruption of Vesuvius, Cassius Dio mentions a similar darkening of the heavenly lights with a cloud, the surge cloud of the erupting Vesuvius: “[A] great quantity of fire and endless smoke [erupted from the volcano], so that the whole atmosphere was obscured and the sun was entirely hidden, as if eclipsed.  Thus day was turned into night and light into darkness. . . .  Indeed, the amount of dust, taken all together, was so great that some of it reached Africa and Syria and Egypt, and it also reached Rome, filling the air overhead and darkening the sun. . . .”[23]

volcanic eruption

During the eruption of Vesuvius, the sun, moon and stars were darkened by thick clouds of smoke. The darkening of the heavenly lights is a sign of the destruction of heaven in the Old Testament.

The eruption of Vesuvius did not just bring about the apocalyptic destruction of heaven; it also caused the apocalyptic destruction of the earth or land.  In the Bible, the destruction of heaven is generally accompanied by the destruction of the earth or land.  The apocalyptic destruction of the earth is not complete unless it results in a great massacre of the people of the earth or land as was the case in Isaiah 13:9, Jeremiah 4:23-26 and Ezekiel 32:7-9.  A similar catastrophic death toll transpired in Pompeii and Herculeum at the eruption of Vesuvius. The destruction of the earth or land after the eruption of Vesuvius was so complete that few living things survived.  This state of desolation and lifelessness mirrors the desolate and lifeless state of Israel after the war with Babylon according to Jeremiah 4:25 and the desolate and lifeless state of the earth before its creation according to Genesis 1.  In Isaiah 13:9 and Jeremiah 4:23, the earth is left “desolate” and “formless and empty” at the destruction of Babylon and Israel in the sixth century B.C.  The destruction of the earth is described in these terms in order to mirror the state of the earth in Genesis 1:2–formless and void.  In the aftermath of the eruption of Vesuvius, the gulf of Naples was similarly left desolate, formless and void as thousands of pounds of volcanic ash buried and leveled the surrounding cities and countryside in dozens of feet of ash killing nearly everything around.

 “That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.” (2 Peter 3:12)

“That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.” (2 Peter 3:12)

The Destruction of Heaven and Earth in A.D. 79: The Predictions Concerning the Destruction of Heaven and Earth in 2 Peter 3:10-12 were Fulfilled Both Apocalyptically and Surprisingly Literally during the Eruption of Vesuvius.

Not only did the eruption of Vesuvius fulfill previous Biblical predictions concerning the destruction of heaven and earth in Old Testament history in a surprisingly literal way, it also fulfills 2 Peter 3:10-12 in a similar fashion.  2 Peter 3:10 describes the destruction of heaven mentioned again in 2 Peter 3:12 by saying that “the heavens will disappear.”  As stated above and echoed here, the darkening of the sun, moon and stars symbolizes the destruction of heaven.  The expression “the heavens will disappear” is another way of saying that the sun, moon and stars will be darkened—as was, of course, literally the case during the eruption of Vesuvius according to Cassius Dio.  It must also be noted that according to 2 Peter 3:10, the heavens “disappear with a roar.”  This “roar” points to the resounding thunder and “portentous crash” heard at the start of the eruption.  According to Cassius Dio, the eruption of Vesuvius was described in identical terms with “frequent rumblings, some of them subterranean, that resembled thunder, and some on the surface, that sounded like bellowings; the sea also joined in the roar and the sky re-echoed it.”[24]   Notice that both Cassius Dio and Peter describe what appears to be the destruction of heaven with the sound of a “roar.”  2 Peter 3:10 then goes on to say that “the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.”  2 Peter 3:12 elaborates on v. 10 by saying, “That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.”  Could the destruction of the sky and earth and by fire predicted in 2 Peter 3:10 and 12 have been literally fulfilled in the fiery eruption of Vesuvius which hurled fiery lava and burning ash miles into the sky and miles over the surface of the earth?  Whether or not the earth and sky were truly destroyed at the eruption of Vesuvius, Cassius Dio says that those that witnessed the event believed that all of heaven and earth were being destroyed at that time: “[T]hose close at hand, believed that the whole world was being turned upside down, that the sun was disappearing into the earth and that the earth was being lifted to the sky.”[25]

Ivan Aivazovsky Destruction of Pompeii 1889 Rostov Art Museum

Could the destruction of the sky and earth by fire predicted in 2 Peter 3:10 and 12 have been literally fulfilled in the fiery eruption of Vesuvius which hurled fiery lava and burning ash miles into the sky and miles over the surface of the earth?

Though the destruction of heaven and earth by fire predicted in 2 Peter 3:10-12 appears to have been fulfilled in a largely literal fashion with the burning ash and lava that darkened the sky above and scorched the earth below, the entire universe was not, of course, completely destroyed.  As full preterists who believe in the fulfillment of all end time prophecy we know that the entire planet and sky were not literally and entirely destroyed after the Jewish War and subsequent eruption of Vesuvius in the same way that heaven and earth were not literally and entirely destroyed at the fall of Israel and Egypt in the sixth century B.C. and the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C.  The prophecies concerning the fall of Egypt, Israel and Babylon in Isaiah and Ezekiel, like the predictions in 2 Peter 3:10-12, are written in an apocalyptic style.  Apocalyptic literature is poetry.  It is not a strictly literal description of events as one might find in a newspaper.   In light of this fact, it is not surprising that the sky and earth did not literally pass away after the Jewish War and later eruption of Vesuvius in the same way that the stars in the sky were not literally “dissolved and the heavens rolled up” at the fall of Egypt, Israel and Babylon around the sixth century B.C.

Dore, Gustave. Him The Almighty Power Hurled Headlong Flaming from the Eternal Sky.

Dore, Gustave. Him The Almighty Power Hurled Headlong Flaming from the Eternal Sky.

The Parousia of A.D. 79: The Miraculous Appearance of Christ at the Death of Vespasian Fulfills All Bible Verses concerning the Second Coming.

Does the parousia of A.D. 79 fulfill ALL Bible verses on the second coming?

1)      In fulfillment of Matthew 24, Matthew 16:28, Matthew 10:23, Mark 8:38-9:1, Mark 14:61-62, John 21:22 and Revelation 1:7 this event occurred within Jesus’ generation and within the lifetime of the Apostle John, who according to church tradition died sometime in the last decade of the first century.

2)      In fulfillment of Matthew 24:30, Revelation 1:7 and Mark 14:62, this event was witnessed on the clouds, specifically the ash cloud of the erupting volcano.  Recall that many of the angelic beings seen on Vesuvius before the eruption were reportedly seen in the ash cloud of the erupting volcano as well.  If Jesus was one of those angelic giants seen on the mountain and subsequent surge cloud, then Jesus had quite literally come on the clouds in A.D. 79.

3)      Assuming that the giants seen atop Vesuvius before its eruption were Jesus in the presence of the angels of heaven, then Jesus had also returned in A.D. 79 in the presence of a multitude of angels fulfilling Matthew 16:27, Mark 8:38, 2 Thessalonians 1:6, and Jude 14-15. Interestingly, the second coming at the time of the fiery eruption of Vesuvius quite literally fulfills 2 Thessalonians 1:7: “This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.”

4)      Again assuming that the giants seen atop Vesuvius before its eruption were Jesus in the presence of the angels of heaven, then Jesus was also seen in A.D. 79 in fulfillment of Matthew 16:27-28, Matthew 24:27, Matthew 24:30, Mark 14:62, Revelation 1:7 and Acts 1:9-11.  Jesus was also seen with the spiritual eyes of the resurrected dead because the eruption of Vesuvius also marked the resurrection of the dead as explained above.

5)      Jesus was seen descending from heaven in fulfillment of Acts 1:11, Revelation 9:1 and Revelation 20:1.  After which he appears to have opened the bottomless pit and cast Satan in it in fulfillment of Revelation 9:2 and Revelation 20:2-3.

6)      Cassius Dio says that it thundered during the eruption of Vesuvius.  When there is thunder, there is generally lightning.[26]   Therefore, there is a good chance that this event was also marked by lightning in fulfillment of Matthew 24:27.

7)      In fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, the second coming of A.D. 79 was marked by the miraculous sound of a trumpet.

8)      In fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 4:16, the second coming of A.D. 79 was witnessed at the time in which the dead appear to have been raised.

9)      Because the resurrection occurred at the time of the second coming, it appears that the resurrected body of Caiaphas would have seen Jesus coming on the clouds of heaven and sitting at the right hand of the Father at the subsequent judgment in fulfillment of Mark 14:61-62.

10)      In fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:11-20, the second coming of A.D. 79 transpired at the death of the beast, Caesar Vespasian.

11)      The second coming appears to have been concurrent with the binding of Satan in fulfillment of Revelation 20:1-3.  This binding of Satan immediately preceded the resurrection in fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15:25-26.

12)      In fulfillment of 2 Peter 3:3-12, the second coming of A.D. 79 immediately preceded the destruction of heaven and earth by fire in a surprisingly literal way when the eruption of Vesuvius launched burning lava and ash miles into the heavens, darkening the heavenly lights and scorching the earth’s surface for miles.

Nero died four months after the parousia of A.D. 68, does this fact also fulfill 2 Thessalonians 2:8?

Nero died four months after the parousia of A.D. 68, does this fact also fulfill 2 Thessalonians 2:8?

The Parousia at the death of the Beast: Did Christ also come at the death of Nero?

Although the case for the appearance of Christ at the death of Nero is certainly not as compelling as the case for the appearance of Christ at the death of Vespasian, I think it is worth mentioning.  Having awoken in the middle of the night to find that his guards had abandoned him, Nero fled for his life accompanied by four of his servants.  That night “an earthtremor was felt and lightning flashed in their eyes, which terrified Nero.”[27] Cassius Dio also records this earthquake: “While he [Nero] was on his way a terrible earthquake occurred, so that one might have thought the whole world was bursting asunder and all the spirits of those murdered by him were leaping up to assail him.”[28]  Hours later Nero was dead.  According to Isaiah 29:6, lightning and earthquake are physical signs of the coming of the Lord in judgment: “[T]he Lord Almighty will come with thunder and earthquake and great noise, with windstorm and tempest and flames of a devouring fire.”  The fire mentioned in Isaiah 29:6 is presumably lightning.  Confirming this interpretation, Isaiah 29:6 mentions a tempest or violent storm at the presence of the Lord.  This tempest accounts for the thunder, windstorm and lightning noted in Isaiah 29:6.  Similar signs are recorded at the coming of the Lord in 1 Kings 19:11-13.  It should also be noted that all the signs listed in Isaiah 29:6 were fulfilled in Jerusalem approximately four months before Nero’s death.  See The Second, “Second Coming” of A.D. 68?  Did Jesus also come on the clouds in A.D. 68 around the time of the death of Nero in partial fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 2:8?  Could the lightning and earthquake experienced by Nero before his death be physical signs that the Lord had also come in judgment at Nero’s death?

The Parousia at the death of the Beast: Did Christ also come at the death of Titus?

Although the case for the appearance of Christ at the death of Titus is also speculative, I think it should also be mentioned briefly. Concerning the death of Titus, Suetonius writes the following:

At the close of the Games he [Titus] wept publicly; and then set off for Sabine territory in a gloomy mood because a victim had escaped when he was about to sacrifice it, and because thunder had sounded from a clear sky.  He collapsed with fever at the first posting station, and on his way from the place in a litter, is said to have drawn back the curtains, gazed up at the sky, and complained bitterly that life was being undeservedly taken from him—since only a single sin lay on his conscience.

Hours later Titus was dead.  According to Suetonius, Titus heard thunder coming from a clear sky.  He later “gazed up at the sky, and complained bitterly that life was being undeservedly taken from him—since only a single sin lay on his conscience.”  When Titus looked up at the sky pleading for his life after hearing the thunder, did he do this because he heard the voice of God in the thunder charging him with sin and threatening him with death?  Could the thunder that had sounded from a “clear sky” be the voice of God?

In John 12:28-29, Jesus calls out to God to glorify his name.  A voice then responds from heaven to which some people thought was thunder and others said that an angel had spoken to him: “Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.” Another example in which the voice of God is said to sound like thunder is found in Exodus 19:19: “Moses spoke and God answered him with thunder.”  Job 37:2-5, Job 40:9, Revelation 6:1, Revelation 10:3-4 and Revelation 19:6 are other examples in which the voice of God or his heavenly angels is said to be or sound like thunder.

Also when Titus gazed up at the sky complaining that life was undeservedly being taken from him, did Titus see a vision of God at that time that was not seen by the people around him as was the case with Paul’s companions when Paul saw a vision of Christ on the road to Damascus? “The men who traveled with him [Paul] stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.” (Acts 9:7)

Although it is not known what the one sin was that bothered Titus’ conscience, Gittin 56b of the Babylonian Talmud suggests that it had something to do with the fact that Titus had destroyed the temple in Jerusalem and said and did many blasphemous things to and against the god of Israel during and after the destruction of the Temple.  See Daniel 7: A Preterist Commentary. According to Gittin 56b of the Babylonian Talmud, Titus said the following on his death bed, “Burn me and scatter my ashes over the seven seas so that the God of the Jews should not find me and bring me to trial.”  Was Titus scared of impending judgment from God after death because he heard the voice of God in thunder accusing him of sin and threatening him with judgment immediately prior to his death?  And if Titus did, in fact, hear the voice of God in the thunder from a “clear sky” just before to his death, did this event partially fulfill 2 Thessalonians 2:8?

 

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For an explanation of the other appearances and manifestations of Christ during and shortly after the Jewish War see Historical Evidence that Jesus was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century.  Also for an explanation of how the end of the age and its fulfillment during the Jewish War mirror Genesis 1-3; how the Bible teaches that the resurrection of the dead is a resurrection of heavenly bodies to heaven, not a resurrection of perfected earthly bodies; and how the resurrection is a mirror opposite of the fall see How the Jewish War and Resurrection to Heaven Mirror Genesis and the Fall; and How Preterism fixes the Age of the Earth Problem and unravels the Mysteries in Genesis.

Interested in THE PRETERIST VIEW OF ESCHATOLOGY, or are you a PRETERIST struggling with a prophecy or verse?  It DID happen just like the Bible says!  If you liked this essay, see PRETERIST BIBLE COMMENTARY for a detailed explanation of the FULFILLMENT OF ALL MAJOR END TIME PROPHECIES IN THE BIBLE. The more unbelievable the prophecy, the more amazing and miraculous the fulfillment!


[1] John Noe, Ph.D., The Greater Jesus: His glorious unveiling, (Indianapolis: East2West Press, 2012), 43-44.

[2] New American Standard Bible

[10] New American Standard Bible

[11] New International Version

[11a] I am inclined to believe as implied in Revelation 16:17 that the seventh plague was completed when it began to unfold.  The reason that I believe this is because it was approximately three and a half years from the start of the resurrection recorded by Cassius Dio at the beginning of the construction of the canal in Greece to the sounding of the seventh trumpet by the Romans marking the start of the siege of Jerusalem in A.D. 70.  This is the interval in which the woman is kept safe from Satan according to Revelation 12:6 and 14.

[12] 2 Thessalonians 2:4.

[13] New International Version

[14] Cassius Dio Roman History 66.17.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Cassius Dio Roman History 66.22-23.

[17] Ibid.

[17a] Pseudo-Hegesippus, Chapter 44. (Translated from the latin by Wade Blocker.  This excerpt is taken from the Latin edited by Vincent Ussani) cited in http://fulfilledtheology.ning.com/forum/topics/historical-records-with-some.

[17b] The Gospel of Peter 35-40.

[17c] The Book of the Secrets of Enoch, cited in Milton S. Terry, Biblical Apocalyptics: A Study of the Most Notable Revelations of God and of Christ, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988), 490-491.

[20] Cassius Dio Roman History 66.22.

[21] Ibid.

[21a] Ibid., 66.21

[22] Ibid.

[22a] Ibid.

[22b] Ibid., 66.22.

[22c] Ibid.

[23] Ibid., 66.22-23.

[24] Ibid., 66.22.

[25] Ibid., 66.23.5.

[26] Ibid., 66.22.

[27] Suetonius Lives of the Twelve Caesars 6.48.

[28] Cassius Dio Roman History 63.28.1.

The Historical Appearance of Christ at the Death of the Beast Fulfills 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:19-20: Conclusion

Preterism and the Preterist View of Eschatology are vindicated by the miraculous final aspect of the parousia at the death of Vespasian, the beast. 

The Historical Appearance of Christ at the Death of the Beast Fulfills 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:19-20

2 thoughts on “The Historical Appearance of Christ at the Death of the Beast Fulfills 2 Thessalonians 2:8 and Revelation 19:19-20

  1. Ron

    Sign of the Son of Man. What about the speculation: Josephus wrote about a “star resembling a sword”, remember Jesus saying: “I came not to bring peace, but to bring a sword” (= a single sword, that divides Israel??) The star Josephus wrote about, was the phenomenon of a standing star over Jerusalem, standing there for a long time. The Star of Bethlehem was also a standing star…

    Reply
    1. danielmorais Post author

      I agree. I speculate that this star was the sign of the Son of Man in my commentary on Matt 24.

      Reply

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