|Saint Iranaeus of Lyons|
70AD Preterism view of the book of Revelation was NOT the view of the church fathers.
The Preterists view on the book of Revelation is that its primary focus is on events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem. Preterists insist on an early date for the book of Revelation to tie it into the 70 A.D. destruction of Jerusalem.
This is not supported by the church fathers who lived at that time.
Revelation was written by John. Smyrna was one of the seven churches this book was written for AND THIS CHURCH DID NOT EXIST TILL AFTER THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM! Since Smyrna was one of the recipients of this book then it had to be written many years AFTER 70AD.
Polycarp was a disciple of the apostle John, and the bishop of the church of Smyrna in Asia. According to Polycarp the Book of Revelation was written AFTER the destruction of Jerusalem. In his letter called "To the Philippians" he writes that his church, did not exist before the destruction of Jerusalem.
Preterism insists that the "great tribulation" was the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD but one early Church Fathers, The Shepherd of Hermas, written in the early 2nd Century placed the great tribulation as future of his day - years after 70AD.
The Didache was used as a church manual and written about 100 A.D.. It quote some of the events of Matthew 24-25 and Revelation and placed them future of 100 AD:
"Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ye ready, for ye know not the hour in which our Lord cometh. …. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increaseth, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. … And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first, the sign of an out-spreading in heaven; then the sign of the sound of the trumpet; and the third, the resurrection of the dead; yet not of all, but as it is said: The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him. Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.” [Didache, XVI]
Irenaeus (A.D. 180), a student of Polycarp (who was a disciple of the apostle John), wrote that the apocalyptic vision “was seen not very long ago, almost in our own generation, at the close of the reign of Domitian” (Against Heresies 30). He places the book near the end of Domitian’s reign, and that ruler died in A.D. 96. Irenaeus seems to be unaware of any other view for the date of the book of Revelation.
Irenaeus (100 years after 70AD) had this to say about future events:
“It is therefore more certain, and less hazardous, to await the fulfillment of the prophecy, than to be making surmises, and casting about for any names that may present themselves, inasmuch as many names can be found possessing the number mentioned; and the same question will, after all, remain unsolved. ... But he indicates the number of the name now, that when this man comes we may avoid him, being aware who he is: ... But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, that many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob”[Irenaeus: Against Heresies, Book V, XXX].
These events did not take place at 70AD but were still future of 180AD for Irenaeus!
Clement of Alexandria
Clement of Alexandria (A.D. 155-215) says that John returned from the isle of Patmos “after the tyrant Domitian was dead” (Who Is the Rich Man? 42).
Victorinus (late third century), author of the earliest commentary on the book of Revelation, wrote:
"When John said these things, he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the mines by Caesar Domitian. There he saw the Apocalypse; and when at length grown old, he thought that he should receive his release by suffering; but Domitian being killed, he was liberated" (Commentary on Revelation 10:11).
Jerome (A.D. 340-420) said,
"In the fourteenth then after Nero, Domitian having raised up a second persecution, he [John] was banished to the island of Patmos, and wrote the Apocalypse" (Lives of Illustrious Men 9).
To all of this may be added the comment of Eusebius, who contends that the historical tradition of his time (A.D. 324) placed the writing of the Apocalypse at the close of Domitian’s reign (III.18).
Drs McClintock and Strong, who reject the 70AD declare that “there is no mention in any writer of the first three centuries of any other time or place” (1969, 1064).