I will state the teaching. I will state who teaches it and why. I will state why I feel it’s false and merely “agenda eschatology “.
1. Nero was the Beast/Antichrist. This proves that there is no future antichrist. This is what the early church taught.
Preterists teach that the Emperor Nero was the Beast of the Book of Revelation because they need all end-times events to have been fulfilled in 70 AD.
Nero died in 68 AD. There is no historical record of Nero having even visited Jerusalem. This should be enough to disprove their beliefs but lets look further.
First, a preterist will usually teach about how awful and evil Nero was. They make it sound like this is proof that he was the antichrist. That is a smokescreen and is of no value. Because there is no Biblical evidence for their teaching, they have to appeal to emotions.
Second, in Revelation 16:13,14 the Beast/Antichrist releases unclean spirits that go forth unto all the kings of the earth and of the whole world to gather them to battle. Nero, who is dead and never visited Jerusalem anyway, only commanded the armies of Rome.
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”
These multiple kings of the earth and the whole world are gathered at Armageddon which takes us to……
“And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.”
So the Beast/Antichrist is cast alive into the lake of fire by our Lord, who has returned to battle the Beast and the armies of many kings and of the whole world that the antichrist has gathered.
Ummm. Nero died in 68 AD and wasn’t even around when Jerusalem was destroyed and He also comitted suicide. Also, the single (Roman) army that destroyed Jerusalem wasn’t destroyed by our Lord and fed to the birds. They were victorious and destroyed Jerusalem. In case you didn’t know this….Preterists (full, partial, and whatever) say that Jesus Christ returned in the clouds in 70 AD. They really do. They prove it by using their own reasonings and obscure historical stories but they don’t prove it by the Bible or church history…..because they can’t.
Third, the Beast/Antichrist sits in the Temple of God showing himself that he is god and sets up the abomination of desolation of Daniel 9.
2 Thessalonians 2:4
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”
“He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.”
Again, Nero died in 68 AD and didn’t visit the Temple in Jerusalem.
To sum up, without going into any more examples, here are seven things the Bible says about the Beast/Antichrist. By the way, they are seven things that can not (in any way) be said of Nero.
1. The antichrist sits in the temple of God
2. The antichrist is destroyed by Jesus at His return
3. The antichrist gathers many kings and armies from many nations
4. Those kings and armies gather at the specific location called Armageddon
5. The antichrist and the kings and armies with him gather to make war against Christ and are defeated
6. The antichrist lives to be thrown into the lake of fire
7. The antichrist’s armies are slain by Jesus Christ when He returns
I will stop here and leave you with some historical quotes about the early church’s expectation of a coming, future antichrist. Don’t you think they would have written about Nero being the antichrist if he really was ? He was definitely a forerunner or a pattern for the future antichrist. So was Antiochus Epiphanes. So was Hitler. But if Nero had truly been the antichrist and the early church had believed that….don’t you think they would have written about him and his false prophet and the glorious defeat brought about by the return of the Risen One ?
The Ascension of Isaiah (late 1st. to 2nd. century)
After it is consummated, Belial the great ruler, the king of this world, will descend, who hath ruled it since it came into being; yea, he will descend from his firmament in the likeness of a man, a lawless king, the slayer of his mother: who himself (even) this king. This ruler in the form of that king will come and there will come with him all the powers of this world, and they will hearken unto him in all that he desires. And at his word the sun will rise at night and he will make the moon to appear at the sixth hour. And all that he hath desired he will do in the world: he will do and speak like the Beloved and he will say: “I am God and before me there has been none.” And all the people in the world will believe in him. And they will sacrifice to him and they will serve him saying: “This is God and beside him there is no other.” And there will be the power of his miracles in every city and region. And he will set up his image before him in every city.
Cyprian (early to mid 3rd. century)
For you ought to know and to believe, and hold it for certain, that the day of affliction has begun to hang over our heads, and the end of the world and the time of Antichrist to draw near, so that we must all stand prepared for the battle; nor consider anything but the glory of life eternal, and the crown of the confession of the Lord; and not regard those things which are coming as being such as were those which have passed away. A severer and a fiercer fight is now threatening, for which the soldiers of Christ ought to prepare themselves with uncorrupted faith and robust courage, considering that they drink the cup of Christ’s blood daily, for the reason that they themselves also may be able to shed their blood for Christ.
Nor let any one of you, beloved brethren, be so terrified by the fear of future persecution, or the coming of the threatening Antichrist, as not to be found armed for all things by the evangelical exhortations and precepts, and by the heavenly warnings. Antichrist is coming, but above him comes Christ also. The enemy goeth about and rageth, but immediately the Lord follows to avenge our sufferings and our wounds. The adversary is enraged and threatens, but there is One who can deliver us from his hands.
Justin Martyr (mid 2nd. century)
O unreasoning men! understanding not what has been proved by all these passages, that two advents of Christ have been announced: the one, in which He is set forth as suffering, inglorious, dishonoured, and crucified; but the other, in which He shall come from heaven with glory, when the man of apostasy, who speaks strange things against the Most High, shall venture to do unlawful deeds on the earth against us the Christians, who, having learned the true worship of God from the law, and the word which went forth from Jerusalem by means of the apostles of Jesus.
Irenaeus of Lyons(mid to late 2nd. century)
In a still clearer light has John, in the Apocalypse, indicated to the Lord’s disciples what shall happen in the last times, and concerning the ten kings who shall then arise, among whom the empire which now rules [the earth] shall be partitioned. He teaches us what the ten horns shall be which were seen by Daniel, telling us that thus it had been said to him: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, who have received no kingdom as yet, but shall receive power as if kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and give their strength and power to the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them, because He is the Lord of lords and the King of kings.” It is manifest, therefore, that of these [potentates], he who is to come shall slay three, and subject the remainder to his power, and that he shall be himself the eighth among them. And they shall lay Babylon waste, and burn her with fire, and shall give their kingdom to the beast, and put the Church to flight. After that they shall be destroyed by the coming of our Lord.
And for this reason the apostle says: “Because they received not the love of God, that they might be saved, therefore God shall also send them the operation of error, that they may believe a lie, that they all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but consented to unrighteousness.” For when he (Antichrist) is come, and of his own accord concentrates in his own person the apostasy, and accomplishes whatever he shall do according to his own will and choice, sitting also in the temple of God, so that his dupes may adore him as the Christ; wherefore also shall he deservedly “be cast into the lake of fire:” [this will happen according to divine appointment], God by His prescience foreseeing all this, and at the proper time sending such a man, “that they may believe a lie, that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but consented to unrighteousness;” whose coming John has thus described in the Apocalypse: “And the beast which I had seen was like unto a leopard, and his feet as of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion; and the dragon conferred his own power upon him, and his throne, and great might. And one of his heads was as it were slain unto death; and his deadly wound was healed, and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon because he gave power to the beast; and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto this beast, and who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things, and blasphemy and power was given to him during forty and two months. And he opened his mouth for blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. And power was given him over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation. And all who dwell upon the earth worshipped him, [every one] whose name was not written in the book of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any one have ears, let him hear. If any one shall lead into captivity, he shall go into captivity. If any shall slay with the sword, he must be slain with the sword. Here is the endurance and the faith of the saints.” After this he likewise describes his armour-bearer, whom he also terms a false prophet: “He spake as a dragon, and exercised all the power of the first beast in his sight, and caused the earth, and those that dwell therein, to adore the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he shall perform great wonders, so that he can even cause fire to descend from heaven upon the earth in the sight of men, and he shall lead the inhabitants of the earth astray.” Let no one imagine that he performs these wonders by divine power, but by the working of magic. And we must not be surprised if, since the demons and apostate spirits are at his service, he through their means performs wonders, by which he leads the inhabitants of the earth astray. John says further: “And he shall order an image of the beast to be made, and he shall give breath to the image, so that the image shall speak; and he shall cause those to be slain who will not adore it.” He says also: “And he will cause a mark [to be put] in the forehead and in the fight hand, that no one may be able to buy or sell, unless he who has the mark of the name of the beast or the number of his name; and the number is six hundred and sixty-six,” that is, six times a hundred, six times ten, and six units. [He gives this] as a summing up of the whole of that apostasy which has taken place during six thousand years.
Moreover, another danger, by no means trifling, shall overtake those who falsely presume that they know the name of Antichrist. For if these men assume one [number], when this [Antichrist] shall come having another, they will be easily led away by him, as supposing him not to be the expected one, who must be guarded against.
These men, therefore, ought to learn [what really is the state of the case], and go back to the true number of the name, that they be not reckoned among false prophets. But, knowing the sure number declared by Scripture, that is, six hundred sixty and six, let them await, in the first place, the division of the kingdom into ten; then, in the next place, when these kings are reigning, and beginning to set their affairs in order, and advance their kingdom, [let them learn] to acknowledge that he who shall come claiming the kingdom for himself, and shall terrify those men of whom we have been speaking, having a name containing the aforesaid number, is truly the abomination of desolation. This, too, the apostle affirms: “When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction shall come upon them.” And Jeremiah does not merely point out his sudden coming, but he even indicates the tribe from which he shall come, where he says, “We shall hear the voice of his swift horses from Dan; the whole earth shall be moved by the voice of the neighing of his galloping horses: he shall also come and devour the earth, and the fulness thereof, the city also, and they that dwell therein.” This, too, is the reason that this tribe is not reckoned in the Apocalypse along with those which are saved.
For all these and other words were unquestionably spoken in reference to the resurrection of the just, which takes place after the coming of Antichrist, and the destruction of all nations under his rule; in [the times of] which [resurrection] the righteous shall reign in the earth, waxing stronger by the sight of the Lord