Things You (Might) Mistakenly Believe About The Book of Revelation

Things You (Might) Mistakenly Believe About The Book of Revelation March 2, 2017

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If you grew up in Evangelicalism/Fundamentalism, you probably grew up with a doom-and-gloom view of the future and “end times.”

Me? I grew up with the whole deal: raptures, tribulations, the Antichrist, and even warnings that those things we first called “barcodes” might actually be the mark of the beast.

End times belief is so much more than an area of theology. It is a complex world-view that shapes every single aspect of our faith and the way we see the world, whether we’re able to recognize it or not.

The book of Revelation– the last book in the Bible– is perhaps the most complex book in Scripture. It is also in this obscure and highly symbolic book that much of the doom-and-gloom end times world-view is planted and watered.

There’s just one problem with building an entire world-view off the book of Revelation: it is a book that is notoriously difficult to understand or interpret. While it would be impossible for anyone to truly understand the book without sitting down for an interview with the author, John, there are some things we do know about it. In light of the few things we know for certain, here are a few corrections to things we were mistakenly taught to believe about the book of Revelation:

The Book of Revelation is not about the “end times.”

John’s Revelation was not something intended to be put in a time capsule and opened 2000 years later. Instead, it was a letter written to very specific churches and was addressing imminent events that directly impacted the people it was written to. John repeatedly uses terms like “soon”, “quickly” and “shortly” in reference to his prophesy– he goes out of his way to make it clear that he is writing about soon-to-happen-events, not ones distant in the future.

Simplified version: It was a letter written by one man to a handful of churches about imminent matters that were relevant to them. For us, this means that Revelation is mostly a book about past events.

Revelation is not a fear-based book of doom-and-gloom.

The book of Revelation isn’t a doom-and-gloom book at all, but rather is a very specific genre of Jewish literature where the main goal is to encourage the readers. Any interpretation that falls outside of encouraging the specific recipients of the letter, is an interpretation that is inconsistent with this literary genre.

It is a letter from one person to a handful of churches, addressing imminent events, and the entire purpose is to encourage them in the midst of these events.

The book of Revelation does not teach a secret “rapture” of the Church.

If I could count the times someone has told me to go back to Revelation to read about the rapture, the number would be considerable. The reality is however, that Revelation doesn’t teach in a rapture at all. It’s simply not in the book. (It’s not even in the Bible.)

Those who believe in the rapture will argue that it’s “implied”, since the Church is only discussed in the first part of the book, but that’s silly. We can’t just make stuff up, but when we say that Revelation teaches the rapture we actually *are* just making stuff up. Rapture theology wasn’t developed for another 1500 years after John wrote this letter.

(Same is true for the Anti-christ, which is a figure from the earlier letters from John and is not in Revelation.)

No one knows exactly what all if it means, and if they claim to, they’re lying.

Since Revelation is apocalyptic literature, it is by nature massively symbolic. Throughout the book we find symbols, numbers, and all sorts of other interesting stuff. While some of it can have an obvious meaning because of themes in the rest of Scripture (such as a symbolic lamb, which is obviously Jesus), much of what is found in this book has been endlessly debated with no clear way to determine a “correct” interpretation.

The reality is that without the ability to travel back in time and talk to the author who wrote it, and the recipients of this letter, we’ll never know the full and correct meaning of everything. While this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, it does mean you should be ultra skeptical of end-times preachers who claim to have it down to a science.

 

The book of Revelation is certainly interesting and filled with wonderful lessons to be gleaned, but it is notoriously misunderstood. It is not a book about the “end times.” It does not hold more news than your local newspaper, and it has very little to do with the future.

Instead, it’s a letter John wrote to several churches when he was exiled on Patmos. It was a letter he wrote in the Jewish apocalyptic genre, which was intended to foretell events to immediately occur, and which was designed to encourage those churches as they experienced the turbulent times of the mid first century.

The book of Revelation is a lot of things– but it’s not what your childhood pastor told you it was.


unafraid 300Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com. 

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  • Ben, Ben, Ben. Of course Revelation was written about the distant future. The problem is that you’re making Revelation out to be a lot of crazy symbols, when the best way to read it is plainly and literally. Then you’d see that those seven churches are actually seven distinct time periods of chronological history and we’re living in the last one. Or maybe the second to last one. Anyway – reading it plainly and literally makes all this ambiguity go away. Except about whether we’re raptured before or during the Tribulation. And what those seven heads of the beast are.

    But otherwise, totally plain and straightforward.

  • Timothy Weston

    I grew up on the notion of Revelation being of the future and of the concept of the Rapture. A look for an escape (referencing another article you wrote) explains what sets American Evangelicalism apart from the rest of the world. I have run into people that tend to claim that God is the solution to everything. When I question that, they try to redirect the discussion. It is like trying to improve things on Earth is anti-God.

  • Al Cruise

    And it’s easy to figure out who 666 is , everybody knows it was Nero, or was it Napoleon? , wait a minute it was Hitler,… oh right it was Gorbachev , what!! your saying it was Saddam? Pope Benedict ??? .. well knock me down and call me Susan , I’d never guessed it was Obama. Well I’m going to bed , I will check the fundievangelical blogs tomorrow, I am sure who it really is will on there somewhere.

  • Herm

    Obviously you didn’t get to the end of the letter. If you had you would have read the dire warning about adding anything to those words of prophesy. I sure hope you can focus through all those plagues enough to write about them. I’ve been anxiously waiting for someone to chronicle what they’re like first hand.

    Assuming you haven’t been struck yet, thank you Ben, once again, for imparting truth rather than alternative truths.

  • The funny thing about that is it gives a clear indication that Christian forgery goes back to the late first century CE, which is exactly when most conservative Christians want to deny the presence of it!

    http://thebookofamos.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/measuring-forgery-in-early-christianity-part-1/

  • Good night Susan!

  • 1PeterW

    As one scholar said about prophecy (not an example of this apocalyptic genre), it’s about predicting the obvious–the inevitable consequences of the way things are going if they don’t change dramatically. The Revelation to John is about reassuring those Christians John of Patmos was writing to that, although they be persecuted for their faith, in the end, God will have the last word. That is why the powerful imagery of a resurrection to a New Heaven and a New Earth is one for Christians through the ages. And most scholars would agree that 666 stands for Nero Caesar, who, dead by the time Revelation is written under the persecution of Emperor Domitian, is symbolic of Rome (Babylon) which will go up in flames to the cheers of the martyrs. Cf. also Vernard Eller’s unique, inclusive take in “The Most Puzzling Book of the Bible.”

  • Tim

    Except Rome is not Babylon. The imagery doesn’t fit that interpretation.

  • Tim

    Which is ironic, since it’s quite plain in scripture that this is the goal if you look at what it actually says, vs. what we were raised being told it says.

  • Matthew

    “End times belief is so much more than an area of theology. It is a
    complex world-view that shapes every single aspect of our faith and the
    way we see the world, whether we’re able to recognize it or not.”

    SO TRUE!

    I look forward to future blog posts on the book of Revelation.

    (Edited)

  • Bones

    It most certainly does.

    The city on seven hills.

  • Ficino

    Or, one of your mistaken beliefs might be that the title of the book is “Revelations.”

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    We learned nothing about it when I was a child. When I got saved, it was at the height of The Late, Great Planet Earth craze. Everyone was counting the years since the founding of the state of Israel and scanning the newspapers for events that had been predicted by Ezekiel, Daniel or John. So we heard a lot about Revelation then.

  • Ficino

    My father at one point had a tract printed in the 1920s. It proved that Mussolini was the Beast of Revelation.

  • *If* it even says 666. Other manuscripts state 616, and 665.

  • Ben. The more I read your blogs the more I wonder what happened to you in your biblical quest? The book of Revelation is all about the “end times.” It is the book that completes the bible as canonized and allows us to understand the “Plan of God for Mankind” – something hidden even from the angels.

    The fact that many teachers disagree about the meaning of specific passages is no different than that of other books of the bible. When you say, ” We can’t just make stuff up” I believe this blog is just that: made up stuff.

  • It’s all in a plain, literal reading. Of course Obama’s one-world government is a multi-headed dragon.

  • You could argue that the last chapter or so of Revelation is about the “end times.” There’s no reason to think any of the rest of it is. In fact, there is plenty of evidence in the actual text to determine that it is not, not the least of which the items Ben pointed out such as the letters to actual churches that existed at the time where Jesus reminded them of an imminent return that would affect their specific destinies.

  • It seems to fit pretty well as far as I can see. Did you have some specific reasons why Babylon would not be a good explanatory image for Rome as John saw it?

  • Jeanne Fox

    Some years ago, a follower of Herbert Armstrong told me that there are seven Antichrists. Six of them came already. Benito Mussolini was the sixth one.

  • Tim

    It is actually Jerusalem that is the referent for Babylon. I’ll have to see if I can dig out some of my sources on this, but it has been awhile. I remember it made perfect sense at the time though!

  • Tim

    Jerusalem. You certainly wouldn’t be the first or only to think of Rome, but I think the stronger case is for Jerusalem.

  • Nixon is Lord

    ” Dr. Benjamin”-you can prescribe medicine?

  • Realist1234

    Actually, Revelation is not a letter, but it partly includes letters John was told to write by God to some churches. It is, as he says at the beginning, a ‘prophecy’. It is primarily a ‘revealing’ by God of what was and is to come. I dont think it is true to say it simply applies to events that were about to happen at the end of the 1st century or beginning of the 2nd. Some of it yes, but clearly not all.

    ‘The book of Revelation is a lot of things’ – it is, and a lot more than what you think it is.

  • Tim

    Ok; so this wasn’t one of my original sources, but I think it does a fair job with it: https://bible.org/seriespage/chapter-4-evidence-jerusalem-harlot

    Here is another source, which I think may have been one of the original ones I saw: http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/j/jerusalem_as-babylon.html

  • Tim
  • Josephus chronicled a number of those plagues as a person/historian living during that time period. Here’s a study comparing some of his writings to the book of Revelation:

    https://adammaarschalk.com/2016/11/02/josephus-and-the-book-of-revelation-nine-case-studies/

  • Melinda Arlette Pace-Padfield

    What is often forgotten is that we’re not supposed to focus on “end times” anyway. We’re supposed to focus on today and not worry about the things to come.

  • Salvador Torres

    Apostate Jerusalem is Babylon… “The Great City”!!

  • Salvador Torres

    Totally agree, Jerusalem is Babylon. That’s why God has to bring down a New Jerusalem!!

  • Salvador Torres

    Revelation is NOT the last written book in the Bible. I would say the last book is the Gospel of John. Hebrews is also newer than Revelation.

  • Alan Christensen

    The way I see it Revelation has lessons that apply to our time, although we must first understand its original context and how John’s audience would have taken it. I think what it says about empire–that empires become beasts and eventually fall–applies for all time. But I don’t think it’s about a future antichrist or a seven-year tribulation (despite all the sevens in the book there’s no mention of “seven years”).

  • Alan Christensen

    Of course the symbols in Revelation are so cryptic that one can read a lot into them.

  • Alan Christensen

    I read that Mussolini became aware of this theory and invited a couple fundy missionaries who were in Rome to meet with him and explain it. Apparently he was fascinated.

  • Realist1234

    I think youre assuming that John’s ‘Revelation’ was written only for his immediate audience in the 1st century, as if everything he said was only concerning that age (even if we can learn from it). I very much doubt that, given he himself views the whole account as a ‘prophecy’. People no doubt argued the same about Daniel’s prophecies, which were in fact both more immediate (eg Nebuchadnezzar) and for the distant future (eg over 400 years later regarding the coming of the Messiah).

    I do not find it strange at all that God would give further prophecies regarding the Messiah, particularly His return. In parts it is also quite specific. Ben mocks the idea of ‘barcodes’ but Ive always found it interesting that modern technology is moving the way Revelation indicates – the ending of using physical money for transactions. I happened to watch a tech tv programme last week which showed trials of paying for goods just using our fingertips! I appreciate the ‘mark of the beast’ can be understood purely in ‘spiritual’ terms, but I am not convinced. But in the end, I do not know – it could be either or both.

    So, although some of Revelation pertained to the early church times, the rest is still to come.

  • Realist1234

    You mock, Phil, but Daniel for example used similar imagery and he was still talking about specific empires etc. Though perhaps you reject that too.

  • Oh, quite the contrary. I completely agree Revelation is about specific empires – just specific empires that had relevance to John’s audience.

  • Quite. There’s a sense in which one could say that about a lot of the Bible, but since Revelation is one of the most extended forms of Jewish apocalyptic literature, it lends itself really well to us reading our own significance into it.

  • I can definitely see the argument for Jerusalem. That’d be my backup. The imagery of the harlot would fit John’s purposes, especially in contrast to the “bride” of faithful Israel.

  • But it’s a prophecy from a first century standpoint. Anything that happened in the late first century or early second century would still qualify as “the future” from the standpoint of Revelation (with some quibbles about when exactly Revelation was written).

  • Revelation does not indicate the end of the use of physical money for transactions. It just says that nobody was able to buy or sell without the beast’s mark. The idea that this means something you use in the place of money is a modern projection people read back into the text.

    The idea that Daniel is predicting the Messiah is also a later theological projection. Daniel certainly doesn’t say it is predicting Jesus, and no New Testament authors refer back to Daniel’s prophecies as predictions of the Messiah, and the “prophecies” fit so well with the succession of empires and the political events that happened to Israel during the intertestamental period that many feel that Daniel had to be compiled after at least some of these events.

    The closest we come is Daniel 7 which refers to “one like the Son of Man” who Daniel explicitly defines as faithful Israel. Jesus will take this title on himself to explain that he is faithful Israel and will receive the kingdom from the Ancient of Days as Daniel depicts.

    There is virtually nothing in Revelation that cannot be adequately satisfied by references to a historical horizon familiar to John’s audience, and I would argue that should be our bias instead of assuming that the contents have to be about events that would be completely irrelevant to John’s audience and to most future audiences as well. Since none of the events described are happening in our current time, we can probably add ourselves to the growing list of “Bible readers to whom the content is completely irrelevant,” and who knows how many thousands of years of believers will continue to fall into that category?

  • Matthew

    I have to say Phil … if what Jesus talked about in the Gospels (I´m thinking Olivet Discourse as an example) and what Revelation really means all points toward a first century, 70 AD (or so) fulfillment — that´s really a game changer, especially as one understands typical evangelical ideas re: final judgement.

    Thoughts?

  • Darrell

    There are many, many Biblical scholars and theologians who would tell you that Revelation is hardly “all” or only about the end times. And the entire canon is what allows us to understand God’s plan, not just the book of Revelation. And, the idea of a “rapture” is indeed made up and a view imposed upon, read into, Scripture and only in very recent times as it is found nowhere in the early church’s interpretations. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean they are making stuff up. Ben, thank you for a great post.

  • I think, for Jesus as the Gospels present him, anyway, his eschatological horizon is dominated by the upcoming conflict with Rome. I certainly can’t say with 100% certainty that everything Jesus said about the subject has that as the final referent, but I’d need to see a specific example that obviously went that direction.

    For Paul, whose mission enacts the whole “inclusion of the Gentiles” piece, his ideas of the future seem to cast further out into the destiny of the Empire as a whole and the experiences of these early faith communities during those changes.

    Revelation takes in Israel’s history, describes both the conflict with Rome and the ultimate outcome for Rome, herself, and an exaltation of faithful Israel who had formerly been oppressed, but also at the end reaches into a renewal of creation and a general resurrection. Personally, those last few slices I can see as John’s vision being cast to the destiny of creation as a whole. Others have argued that even those slices are describing the “new world” of the people of God after their persecution has ended in the early church. Although that is not my position, it is a very thoughtful position that respects the historical context of the writings, and I respect it.

  • Matthew

    When you say Israel … what do you mean?

  • The people in the world who inherit the promises of Abraham and are in a special covenant with YHWH. For millennia, this means the actual people of Israel, although Paul indicates that it has always only been -faithful- Israel who are truly Israel. Then, Gentiles who have faith in Israel’s God also become inheritors of the promises as one people with faithful Israel as evidenced (to everyone’s shock) by Gentiles receiving the same Holy Spirit from YHWH that faithful Israel does.

  • Matthew

    I notice you don´t use the word church …

  • I’d personally plug for it being 2 Peter, failing that another of the pseudonymous letters. The authorship of John is debated, but I agree it’s most likely to be nearly the very end of the first century to like 120 CE, but Revelation was probably during Domitian (81-96 CE).

  • Yes, mostly to avoid the way the Israel/Church distinction has been used theologically.

    It all comes down to the promise made to Abraham. Faithful Gentiles who turn to YHWH get grafted into those promises. Nobody replaces anybody else, nor is there some two-state solution where Israel gets treated one way and the Church gets treated another.

    I -personally- don’t have a problem referring to the Church as the Church, but when we’re talking about eschatology, it’s basically been used in very unattractive ways, so I generally try to talk about the whole thing as a cohesive story of the survivability of God’s people. That story just so happens to involve Gentiles after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

  • Salvador Torres

    I think there’s plenty of internal evidence that Revelation was written pre-AD 70. Just a few, a standing Temple, churches being persecuted by the Jews, not a single mention of the destruction of the Temple… and many others. Blessings!

  • What you or other liberal Christians believe or invest with meaning is one thing, but the authorial intent is another interesting thing to discuss. the author is very clearly anti-Roman and comes from a time in the relative aftermath of the ruthless siege on Jerusalem which destroyed the Temple in 70 CE. He was probably of the opinion that the world was ending soon, in line with many early Christians, e.g. Paul, and Jesus himself. After all, Chapter 22 indicates that Jesus is coming soon (more than once), which would imply the preceding events are coming even sooner. I don’t think it is unreasonable to entirely limit one’s historical-critical reading to the late 1st century CE. Obviously what the Book of Revelation means to individual Christians, who am I to judge, especially as a former Christian? There’s a good lecture on Revelation from liberal Christian Dale Martin at Yate available on YouTube.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8aBrXam36JE

  • I confess there are plenty of good arguments for a dating in Nero’s reign. I personally go with the majority view of Domitian for a variety of reasons (e.g. the ‘New Jerusalem’, the ruthlessness and self-deification of Domitian) but it’s not exactly straightforward, that’s for sure. Either way, you make my point and the point of my friend above even more clearly if you regard it as pre-Destruction: John came after Revelation. Blessings returned to you from a well-meaning agnostic atheist humanist person from the UK, H :-)

  • Herm

    Harry, I’ve taken some time to consider a response to your observation. I “know” that this letter was not a forgery when taken in the context presented in Dr.Corey’s article. The only clever misrepresentation of this letter happened in the fourth century when it was decided by scholars, who should have known better, to place it at the end of the new testimony relative to the covenant of God with Man transferring from Abraham to Moses to Jesus.

    The book (letter) of Revelation’s sole purpose was to present a message that could only be from God to the seven cities of practicing Christians because each city’s traits were described in strengths and weaknesses, true to that specific moment in time, that John could not have known from the island of Patmos.

    There are many disciples of Christ today who have had such undeniable messages delivered often by a messenger who could not have known in precision the moment they were in need, or just before they would be in need of counsel and advice. This is what sustains individual relations in spirit from otherwise carnal awareness.

    The plaques mentioned were a warning that no messenger, as this letter was passed from church to church, was to change a thing or the entire worth to God and Their children might be destroyed.

    Please, understand that no religion pursuing spirit beyond carnal stands on what is written by Man. All of mankind gets it wrong most often with no intention of malice. All pursuits of spirit influence are supported by occurrences unique to the receptive individual(s), all too often giving credence to the messenger rather than the source. The letter to the seven churches had to maintain the stamp of God’s authority beyond the credibility of the messenger and, in this case, of the author John (who did not deliver this letter to any of the churches).

    Is there forgery and fraud throughout the scriptures? Most likely, especially when it is written under Moses’ authority an eye for an eye and under Jesus’ love your enemy. Is Genesis or Revelation a precise statement of fact that we can take to the bank to gain interest in heaven? Absolutely not!

    No Holy Book/Letter attributed to the author’s direct inspiration by God/Allah/… is without dangerous error when studied by the reader it was not directed to. All non-forgery inspirations of God are spirit (mankind’s image of God) that is understood as pictures of essence to be developed in the heart and mind of the receptive recipient by the Spirit of truth. This is true of all writers whose attempts to convey those pictures to words we read in the Bible, Koran, Vedas, Tripitaka, and not to forget the many cave pictorials of Man’s relationship in spirit throughout the world.

    Revelation is not a fraud. We can learn from it as those metaphoric pictures were relative to people we can empathize with that would affect their lives not ours. We can do the same with the original love letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett, even though they are not addressed to either of us or our time in history.

    If you wished to search for fraud it is easy to find among all of Man especially in this season of tumultuous political change. Revelation was written in a way, with a clear warning not to tamper with it, that preserved the truth in picture that each different addressed church would understand and that the Jewish and Roman oppressors could not.

    There is only one way to grow in the truth, as is known by God and that all of Man cannot see to comprehend, and that is through the Advocate, the Teacher of truth. This is the “Good News” (Gospel) that is our only possible salvation from the influence of forgery or misinformation from any era.

    There is no room for fundamentalism in mankind who is incapable of comprehending the entirety of infinity and eternity. It is impossible to learn the fullness of spirit from a finite perspective.

    The funny thing is that self-empowering members of mankind insist on going back to the good old days when everything was right rather than progressing ahead to what they have no awareness of from their present vantage point. They were impressed as children how their adult mentors always seemed to have confidence in what was around the next bend as though they knew for sure it was safe. As conservative adult mentors today they struggle to go back to that certainty of secure motion, that their parents displayed, without accepting that around the next bend is just as much an adventure into the unknown as it was for their guardians. It helps to be literate enough to use guides or maps (some all or partial forgeries) to navigate our way but it is still our responsibility to drive with our hands on the wheel, our eyes forward, and with our foot ready to brake or accelerate to maintain a safe and controllable speed. I choose to be a progressive anxiously looking forward, rather than a conservative constantly looking back, with all the potential of an eternal learning adventure into the unknown with a Guide who can see to know the safest way.

    Harry, thanks for volunteering your observation and the Book of Amos reference!

  • Matthew

    Why do you say “faithful” rather than “believing”?

  • I suppose I could, if by “believing” you mean something like Abraham believing God, and therefore he packs everything up and leaves his homeland. Something like, “We believe God and trust His promises, and therefore we are committed to being a certain sort of people in the world.” Because the covenant God enters into with His people defines a life of faithfulness, not a set of propositions to believe.

    Obviously, faithfulness includes believing God (otherwise, why would you pursue faithfulness?) which probably also entails other beliefs, but when we look at God’s historical relationship with His people – the ups and downs – they are based on the faithfulness of the people, not the content of their belief system.

    Paul will refer to Abraham’s faith justifying him when he (Paul) is trying to establish that conformity to the Torah doesn’t justify, but James will use the exact same example when trying to establish that you can’t claim to have “belief” (the demons also believe) and then act in the same ways everyone else does and expect such a faith will justify you.

  • Alan Christensen

    I don’t discount the notion of future prophecy. I just meant that in interpreting a text like Revelation, its meaning to the immediate audience and their historical context are a proper starting point. The 3 1/2 year tribulation in Rev., the references to the Temple, etc. are clearly tied to the 3 1/2 year Roman war against the Jews, whatever other implications there are.

  • Realist1234

    Jesus talked about both the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple AND His future return. It is not either/or. The view you are talking about is ‘full preterism’ which is false.

  • Darrell, my words “all about” did not mean “only about.”
    I also said that this last Book is what completes the bible and is necessary to understand other prophetic passages in the other books like Ezekiel.
    I did not address the “rapture.”
    Ben does not disagree with me but rather a large swath of Christianity.
    Read through the other comments even the first one.
    Finally, it is a lousy post in that it is totally inaccurate.

  • Darrell

    No one is arguing anything about it not being an important part of the canon and it completes the Bible no more or less than Genesis or one of the Gospels. You raise issues Ben said nothing about. And if you realize the book isn’t “only” or “all” about the “end times” then what is the problem? If we take into consideration the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Reformed, and mainstream Protestant traditions then he really is only disagreeing with you and the smaller evangelical and fundamentalist streams. This was a great post and completely accurate if we are in agreement with the great majority of the Christian Church traditions and their best scholars and theologians.

  • Realist1234

    Unsurprisingly I disagree.

    ‘Revelation does not indicate the end of the use of physical money for transactions.’

    – it is a fair point to make that it does not automatically mean this, but it COULD. So you cannot rule it out, as you have.

    ‘The idea that Daniel is predicting the Messiah is also a later theological projection. Daniel certainly doesn’t say it is predicting Jesus,’

    – clearly Daniel doesnt name Jesus as the Messiah, but he is clearly referencing the Jewish Messiah (anointed one). It is also no coincidence that Jesus calls Himself the ‘Son of Man’ clearly referring back to Daniel and his prophecies. His prophecies perfectly align with the coming of Jesus the Messiah during the Roman era.

    ‘the “prophecies” fit so well with the succession of empires and the political events that happened to Israel during the intertestamental period that many feel that Daniel had to be compiled after at least some of these events.’

    – you mean liberal commentators who reject supernatural prophecies. In reality, all of the evidence continues to point to Daniel being written in the 6th century BC, NOT the 2nd century. The same reasoning is also used by those who insist the synoptic Gospels were written after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70, because they cant accept that Jesus could have possibly prophesied it. Nonsense.

  • Bones

    Revelation 17:9

    9 “This calls for a mind that has wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; also, they are seven kings, 10 of whom five have fallen, one is living, and the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain only a little while. 11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are united in yielding their power and authority to the beast; 14 they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them… (Rev. 17.9-14).
    Accordingly, the woman sits on the seven-headed beast as a symbol of her “seven hills” — the seven hills of Rome. The woman is the city of Roman, here depicted as the persecutor of Christians. Then it says that the seven heads are also seven kings. And we can read from its cryptic terminology the references to the Emperors of Rome. The “five fallen” refer to the five emperors who have died: Augustus (29 BCE – 14 CE), Tiberius (14-37 CE), Gaius (37-41), Claudius (41-54) and Nero (54-68). “One has a wound” refers to the emperor Nero, who died in 68, but whom conftemporary legend had it would return from the dead to continue persecuting the Christians. Thus, the beast has a head that has recovered from a mortal wound. The head “who is” refers to Vespasian (69-79) and the one that is “not yet” refers to Titus(79-81). The head that “was but is not” refers to an eighth emperor, Domitian. From this we can also see that the work looks at this history as if it were being written while Vespasian was still alive, and thus “forecasting” what terrible things would occur under Domitian only a few years later. This technique is common in apocalyptic literature, and Revelation was probably written sometime during the early 90’s, when Domitian was emperor, or perhaps even after the death of Domitian in 96 CE. By portraying the Emperor and his provincial authorities as “beasts” and henchmen of the dragon, Satan, the author was calling on Christians to refuse to take part in the imperial cult, even at the risk of martyrdom.

    Almost all New Testament scholars now take the view that Revelation was written during the reign of Domitian, sometime around 95-96 CE. He is the “beast from the sea” beyond doubt.

    Revelation 18

    The Great Prostitute rides the Beast. Though she is identified with Babylon, we learn that Revelation — like some other ancient Jewish and Christian texts — identifies Rome with Babylon. Indeed, Revelation links the Beast’s seven heads to Roman’s famous seven hills (17:9). What really distinguishes the Prostitute is her opulence. Decked out in luxurious clothing and holding a golden cup, she consorts with kings and merchants to generate enormous wealth by exploiting ordinary people (18:12-13). In short, the Great Prostitute has something to do with the exploitative nature of Roman imperial diplomacy and commerce, which extracted fabulous riches off the backs of farmers, laborers and slaves.

    Babylon In The New Testament

    http://www.biblestudytools.com/encyclopedias/isbe/babylon-in-the-new-testament.html

    2. Symbolic Sense:

    All the references to Babylon in Re are evidently symbolic. Some of the most important passages are Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2,10,21. In Revelation 17:5 Babylon is designated as musterion. This undoubtedly in dicates that the name is to be under stood figuratively. A few interpreters have believed that Jerusalem was the city that was designated as Babylon, but most scholars hold that Rome was the city that was meant. That interpretation goes back at least to the time of Tertullian (Adv. Marc., iii. 13). This interpretation was adopted by Jerome and Augustine and has been commonly accepted by the church. There are some striking facts which point to Rome as the city that is designated as Babylon.

    (1) The characteristics ascribed to this Babylon apply to Rome rather than to any other city of that age:

    (a) as ruling over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:18);

    (b) as sitting on seven mountains (Revelation 17:9);

    (c) as the center of the world’s merchandise (Revelation 18:3,11-13);

    (d) as the corrupter of the nations (Revelation 17:2; 18:3; 19:2);

    (e) as the persecutor of the saints (Revelation 17:6).

    (2) Rome is designated as Babylon in the Sibylline Oracles (5 143), and this is perhaps an early Jewish portion of the book. The comparison of Rome to Babylon is common in Jewish apocalyptic literature (see 2 Esdras and the Apocrypha Baruch).

    (3) Rome was regarded by both Jews and Christians as being antagonistic to the kingdom of God, and its downfall was confidently expected, This conception is in accord with the predicted downfall of Babylon (Revelation 14:8; 18:2,10-21). As Babylon had been the oppressor of Israel, it was natural that this new power, which was oppressing the people of God, should be designated as Babylon.

    3. In 1 Peter:

    In 1 Peter 5:13 Babylon is designated as the place from which 1Pe was written. Down to the time of the Reformation this was generally under stood to mean Rome, and two cursives added “en Roma.” Since the Reformation, many scholars have followed Erasmus and Calvin and have urged that the Mesopotamian Babylon is meant. Three theories should be noted:

    (1) That the Egyptian Babylon, or Old Cairo; is meant. Strabo (XVII, 807) who wrote as late as 18 AD, says the Egyptian Babylon was a strong fortress founded by certain refugees from the Mesop Babylon. But during the 1st century this was not much more than a military station, and it is quite improbable that Peter would have gone there. There is no tradition that connects Peter’ in any way with Egypt.

    (2) That the statement is to be taken literally and that the Mesop Babylon is meant. Many good scholars hold to this view, and among these are Weiss and Thayer, but there is no evidence that Peter was ever in Babylon, or that there was even a church there during the 1st century. Mark and Silvanus are associated with Peter in the letter and there is no tradition that connects either of them with Babylon. According to Josephus (Antiquities, XVIII, ix, 5-9), the Jews at this time had largely been driven out of Babylon and were confined to neighboring towns, and it seems improbable that Peter would have made that his missionary field.

    (3) That Rome was the city that was designated as Babylon. The Apocalypse would indicate that the churches would understand the symbolic reference, and it seems to have been so understood until the time of the Reformation. The denial of this position was in line with the effort to refute Peter’s supposed connection with the Roman church. Ancient tradition, however, makes it seem quite probable that Peter did make a visit to Rome (see Lightfoot, Clement, II, 493).

  • Bones

    From the Sybilline Oracles Book V

    These are a collection of Jewish oracles collected from 2nd C BC to the time of Christ.

    It’s a fascinating document showing just how symbolic writing was in that era.

    The language is very familiar to Revelation

    And he shall come to monarchs of the Medes
    200 And Persians, first whom he loved and to whom
    He brought renown, while with those wicked men
    He lurked against a nation not desired
    And on the temple made by God he seized
    And citizens and people going in,
    205 Of whom I justly sang the praise, he burned;
    For when this man appeared the whole creation
    Was shaken and kings perished–and yet power
    Remained among them, and they quite destroyed
    The mighty city and the righteous people.
    210 But when the fourth year a great star shall shine,
    Which alone shall the whole earth overpower
    Because of honor, which was first assigned
    To lord Poseidon; then a great star shall come
    From heaven into the dreadful sea and burn
    215 The vasty deep, and Babylon itself,
    And the land of Italy, because, of which
    There perished many holy faithful men
    Among the Hebrews and a people true.
    Thou shalt be among evil mortals made

    [210. Fourth year.–Perhaps in allusion to the time, times, and dividing of time (three and a half years) in Dan. vii, 25, a symbolic number for a period of woe.

    213. To lord Poseidon.–Reading doubtful. Some MSS. read, Poseidon who is in the sea. Mendelssohn proposes the Homeric phrase, {Greek E?nuali’wj a?ndreïfo’nth} the man-slaying, warlike one.

    213, 214. Star . . . into the . . . sea.–Comp. Rev. viii, 8; xvi, 3. This passage is an apocalyptic prophecy of judgment to come on Rome, and is so interpreted by Lactantius, Div. Inst., vii, 15 [L., 6, 790].

    215. Babylon.–Here used as a symbolic name for Rome.

    219. Thou.–Direct address to Rome.]

    And numerology

    And one whose mark is fifty shall be lord,
    40 A dreadful serpent breathing grievous war,
    Who sometime stretching forth his hands shall make
    An end of his own race and stir all things,
    Acting the athlete, driving chariots,
    Putting to death and daring countless things;
    45 And he shall cleave the mountain of two seas
    And sprinkle it with gore; but out of sight
    Shall also vanish the destructive man;
    Then, making himself equal unto God,
    Shall he return; but God will prove him naught.
    50 And after him shall three kings be destroyed
    By one another. Then a great destroyer
    Of pious men shall come, whom seven times ten
    Shall point out clearly. But from him a son,
    Whom the first letter of three hundred proves,
    55 Shall take the power. And after him shall be
    A ruler, of the initial sign of four,
    A life-destroyer. Then a reverend man
    Of the number fifty. Next, succeeding him
    Who has the first mark of the initial sign
    60 Three hundred, shall a Celtic mountaineer,
    Into the strife of battle pressing on,

    [39. Fifty.–The letter N, here denoting Nero, and Nerva in line 58.

    45. Mountain of two seas.–Isthmus of Corinth, which Nero attempted to open to the two adjoining bodies of water.

    50. Three kings.–Galba, Otho, and Vitellius.

    52. Seven times ten.–This number is denoted by the Greek {Greek O}, initial of the Greek form of the name of Vespasian ({Greek Ou?espasiano’s}).

    54. Three hundred.–Here denoting Titus.

    56. Four.–The letter A, initial of Domitian.

    60. Three hundred.–Here denoting Trajan, who was of Spanish origin, and so reckoned by the Sibyl as a “Celtic mountaineer,” not accurately, but in a loose, general way as a Western.]

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sib/sib07.htm

  • Bones

    Nope….

    Absolutely not.

    (1) The characteristics ascribed to this Babylon apply to Rome rather than to any other city of that age:
    (a) as ruling over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:18);
    (b) as sitting on seven mountains (Revelation 17:9);
    (c) as the center of the world’s merchandise (Revelation 18:3,11-13);
    (d) as the corrupter of the nations (Revelation 17:2; 18:3; 19:2);
    (e) as the persecutor of the saints (Revelation 17:6).
    (2) Rome is designated as Babylon in the Sibylline Oracles (5 143), and this is perhaps an early Jewish portion of the book. The comparison of Rome to Babylon is common in Jewish apocalyptic literature (see 2 Esdras and the Apocrypha Baruch).
    (3) Rome was regarded by both Jews and Christians as being antagonistic to the kingdom of God, and its downfall was confidently expected, This conception is in accord with the predicted downfall of Babylon (Revelation 14:8; 18:2,10-21). As Babylon had been the oppressor of Israel, it was natural that this new power, which was oppressing the people of God, should be designated as Babylon.

  • Chet Evors

    For me this is true with the whole bible as we can’t understand for we were not there when these thing happened. But as God said it is easier for those who have seen me, than for those who haven’t to believe. Something like that. Like any book everyone gets out of it what they want. But with the Dead Sea Scrolls being discovered thousands of years of later it does prove the bible is correct and should lead us to to salvation. God bless us all and pray we find him for he is in us all always.

  • Ben said, “The book of Revelation is certainly interesting and filled with wonderful lessons to be gleaned, but it is notoriously misunderstood. It is not a book about the “end times.” It does not hold more news than your local newspaper, and it has very little to do with the future.”

    Ben also said, “No one knows exactly what all if it means, and if they claim to, they’re lying.”

    Ben also said, “It is a letter from one person to a handful of churches, addressing imminent events, and the entire purpose is to encourage them in the midst of these events.”

    Ben is even disagreeing with himself let alone the bible.

  • Darrell

    I see no disagreement there in what Ben wrote or anything that contradicts and I think, as do most traditions, that those statements are indeed accurate. Pick up any commentary outside of fundamentalism/evangelicalism and you will read the same sort of statements.

  • Kathy Ruth

    Lol! I LOVE it when that is brought up. MANY ancient manuscripts had the same type of warning. It was a warning to those COPYING the manuscript to not change anything!

  • ‘it is a fair point to make that it does not automatically mean this, but it COULD. So you cannot rule it out, as you have.’

    You are the second person this week to make this argument to me, although the last guy was making it about Jesus’ parable about the camel and the eye of the needle being a gate in Jerusalem that was just difficult for camels to get through. Upon having it pointed out that there is zero evidence for this, he said just what you said. “Well, there’s no evidence that there WASN’T such a gate, so there could have been.”

    I thought it was self evident that we do not hold to biblical interpretations based on what could possibly be the case in the absence of direct disproof. We use the texts. In this case, the text does not say that the mark is a replacement for money. Sure, it COULD mean that, and it could also mean that the Beast paralyzes everyone unless they take the mark. That would also prohibit them from buying and selling. You might object, however, that even though such a theory could explain the phenomenon, there’s no evidence that Revelation depicts the Beast doing this. Exactly.

    And this is a huge problem when people read the Bible in general and Revelation in specific. You already have an idea in your head of what it has to mean, then you look at the text, and lo and behold, the story in your head is right there.

    cf. The Rapture

    – “clearly Daniel doesnt name Jesus as the Messiah, but he is clearly referencing the Jewish Messiah (anointed one)”

    Cyrus is specifically referred to as God’s mesiach in Isaiah 44. Why isn’t Daniel talking about him? Saul, David, Solomon, and Zekediah are all referred to as mesiach in the Old Testament, along with Israel in Habbakuk 3, priests in several portions of Leviticus, and prophets in Psalm 105.

    So why is Daniel “clearly” referencing the Jewish Messiah? Why can he not be referencing a future king of Israel, or a future priest of Israel, or Israel herself? Is this another case of, “Well, I already know it has to be Jesus, so when I read Daniel’s mention of an anointed one, I know it has to be Jesus.”

    Why couldn’t it be, for example, Onias the high priest, who was removed from office by Antiochus Epiphanes – the chief villain in Daniel – and assassinated by the priest he was replaced with? This would be a much better fit with Daniel’s chronology and requires no rearranging of mathematical gaps. Oh, no, but it has to be a reference to Jesus, obviously. You just have to do the math right and also move the rule of the Greeks around by an empire, but whatever.

    And yes, Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man all the time. I was the one who brought that up, remember? However, you also have to reckon with the fact that the book of Daniel EXPLICITLY defines the Son of Man as Israel – the “holy people of the Most High” – three different times in chapter 7.

    “you mean liberal commentators who reject supernatural prophecies. In reality, all of the evidence continues to point to Daniel being written in the 6th century BC, NOT the 2nd century.”

    Well, my point wasn’t whether or not prophecies are real. My point was that people recognize the close fit between Daniel and the events that follow in Israel’s history into the intertestamental period. That’s why they suspect it was written later. They do not suspect this because it fits so well with the Gospels. They suspect this because of the whole affair with the Selucids.

    And you could not be more wrong about “all of the evidence continues to point to Daniel being written in the 6th century.” I’m not saying it was or it wasn’t, but you are seriously out of touch with both biblical studies and archaeology if you genuinely believe that all available evidence, or even MOST available evidence, points to a 6th century authorship. Seriously, you need to read a book that wasn’t written by John MacArthur, sometime.

  • Artistree

    Salvador,
    I believe you are absolutely correct. I have read a number of scholars who place the writing of the book at a couple/few years before 70 AD. The scholars have been so detailed in their extensive evidence that I have been persuaded.

  • Good, solid evidence, there.

  • Artistree

    I agree Realist.
    I think the bulk of Revelation had its literal historical fulfillment in 70 AD. But I also believe the prophecy of Jesus has a future fulfillment. What happened to Jerusalem in 70 AD will happen again for the whole world at the end of time.
    What happened when the Old Covenant World came to an end will happen on a wider scale to our present world, and then we will see Christ’s return, the resurrection of the dead and the life of the New Heavens and New Earth to come.

  • Artistree

    Yes, Salvador. You nailed it; and once you see it , it’s obvious. John even names it….”And the Great City where our Lord was crucified”….” The [Harlot] woman which you saw is the Great City”….plus in many other passages when comparing Jesus’ woes against Jerusalem and Johns description of “Babylon”. When the Earthly Jerusalem is destroyed, Heavenly Jerusalem descends and replaces her. The faithful spotless virgin bride replaces the unfaithful bride.

  • Bones

    Actually it’s both and neither.

    It refers to first century events and isn’t prophecy at all…but a wish for revenge and vindication.

  • Bones

    Nope nothing was fulfilled in 70CE nor in 3070CE.

    It isn’t clairvoyance but a need for revenge.

  • Bones

    Nope…..

    It’s john’s thirst for revenge to kill the unbelievers.

  • Bones

    So Matt, you think there is a future time when Jesus is going to kill unbelievers.

    This Jesus is NOT the same as the Jesus of the gospels.

  • Bones

    I’d go further and say that the Jesus of Revelation is not the Jesus of the Gospels.

  • Artistree
  • Bones

    I am….

    Just because your Jesus wants to kill non-believers, doesn’t make it so.

  • John

    Just to be clear: the whole pre-trib rapture is actually a fairly new phenomena in Christianity and is not held by the majority of evangelical denominations.

    Did you attend a Calvary Chapel? They are the ones who really pushed the idea.

  • There is no doubt Jerusalem/Judaism is Babylon. Not rocket science when John says MYSTERY; meaning it will not be obvious and few will have the understanding

    People even assumed Nero would be resurrected, (several made claims to be him – one executed) but to no avail. Cant be MYSTERY if Rome was assumed to be Babylon from virtually year dot

  • Artistree

    I agree Jewish Watchman. And John says Jerusalem is “allegorically” called Sodom and Egypt ( Rev 11:18). It does not take rocket science to figure that it follows, Jerusalem is also allegorically Jericho ( the city that falls after 7 trumpets) and Babylon in the text that follows and the coming judgment ( I believe 70 AD).

  • Brilliant. Have studied this topic for a number of decades quietly as there is very little support, nor understanding.

    Diligently observe the current geopolitical climate and can see the ‘machinery’ being installed as we speak.

    Tis an amazing period to be living in….prophetic Scriptures unfolding.

  • “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister JUDEA feared not, but went and played the HARLOT also.” (Jeremiah 3:8)

    One can see the thread when studying the Scriptures – if one can determine ‘House of Judah’ and ‘House of Israel’ and ‘the Whole House of Israel’

  • Absolutely correct Tim.
    The imagery of Babylon does not come anywhere close to Rome other than with secular support. The Holy Scriptures say otherwise….”let him who hath understanding….”

    Dont be fooled by those who completely alter the text from mountains to hills. Mountains are symbolic for kingly states – not small mounds of earth. Utter hearsay – satanic deception

    “here is the mind that hath wisdom”

    The first century Jews were very aware of the reference to Rome of seven hills which was written as “bounos” (of Roman/Greek origins) as in Luke 23:30 which means ‘foreign hills.’

    but the hand writing the Holy Scriptures in Revelation used ‘hora’ or ‘oros’ of Hebrew/Greek origins which instantly confirms that Rome is not the ‘great city, but is a reference to ‘mountains’ very close to home

    Any Scriptural researcher worth his salt is aware of this small detail

    Do not be deceived

  • https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3e4553ff4f7abd7e136292f2a1ec7dac9cc2a880a13077a0c9bcef67040b53d9.jpg

    This image of the Coin of Vespasian depicts the goddess Roma as a woman seated on seven hills as minted in 71AD (resting elbow on two hills)

  • Only Book of God’s Word that actually blesses the reader. Quite remarkable.

    “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3)

    Unfortunately Amerikan evangelists and those who ‘import’ Israeli preachers to their congregations have done severe damage to understanding Revelation.

  • Bones

    Yes it does.

  • Bones

    No surprise you agreeing with a liar.

    Babylon is Rome, from where Peter visited.

  • Bones

    Nope.

    It’s Imperial Rome.

  • Bones

    The Great City is Rome.

    The destroyer of the Temple and Jerusalem.

  • Bones

    Thanks for proving the case….

    Rome is the city on seven hills….

  • Bones

    Lol…that’s a load of bollocks.

    Up to your usual tricks I see.

    Revelation 17:9

    9 “This calls for a mind that has wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; also, they are seven kings, 10 of whom five have fallen, one is living, and the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain only a little while. 11 As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12 And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13 These are united in yielding their power and authority to the beast; 14 they will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them… (Rev. 17.9-14).
    Accordingly, the woman sits on the seven-headed beast as a symbol of her “seven hills” — the seven hills of Rome. The woman is the city of Roman, here depicted as the persecutor of Christians. Then it says that the seven heads are also seven kings. And we can read from its cryptic terminology the references to the Emperors of Rome. The “five fallen” refer to the five emperors who have died: Augustus (29 BCE – 14 CE), Tiberius (14-37 CE), Gaius (37-41), Claudius (41-54) and Nero (54-68). “One has a wound” refers to the emperor Nero, who died in 68, but whom conftemporary legend had it would return from the dead to continue persecuting the Christians. Thus, the beast has a head that has recovered from a mortal wound. The head “who is” refers to Vespasian (69-79) and the one that is “not yet” refers to Titus(79-81). The head that “was but is not” refers to an eighth emperor, Domitian. From this we can also see that the work looks at this history as if it were being written while Vespasian was still alive, and thus “forecasting” what terrible things would occur under Domitian only a few years later. This technique is common in apocalyptic literature, and Revelation was probably written sometime during the early 90’s, when Domitian was emperor, or perhaps even after the death of Domitian in 96 CE. By portraying the Emperor and his provincial authorities as “beasts” and henchmen of the dragon, Satan, the author was calling on Christians to refuse to take part in the imperial cult, even at the risk of martyrdom.

    Almost all New Testament scholars now take the view that Revelation was written during the reign of Domitian, sometime around 95-96 CE. He is the “beast from the sea” beyond doubt.

    Revelation 18

    The Great Prostitute rides the Beast. Though she is identified with Babylon, we learn that Revelation — like some other ancient Jewish and Christian texts — identifies Rome with Babylon. Indeed, Revelation links the Beast’s seven heads to Roman’s famous seven hills (17:9). What really distinguishes the Prostitute is her opulence. Decked out in luxurious clothing and holding a golden cup, she consorts with kings and merchants to generate enormous wealth by exploiting ordinary people (18:12-13). In short, the Great Prostitute has something to do with the exploitative nature of Roman imperial diplomacy and commerce, which extracted fabulous riches off the backs of farmers, laborers and slaves.

    Babylon In The New Testament

    http://www.biblestudytools….

    2. Symbolic Sense:

    All the references to Babylon in Re are evidently symbolic. Some of the most important passages are Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2,10,21. In Revelation 17:5 Babylon is designated as musterion. This undoubtedly in dicates that the name is to be under stood figuratively. A few interpreters have believed that Jerusalem was the city that was designated as Babylon, but most scholars hold that Rome was the city that was meant. That interpretation goes back at least to the time of Tertullian (Adv. Marc., iii. 13). This interpretation was adopted by Jerome and Augustine and has been commonly accepted by the church. There are some striking facts which point to Rome as the city that is designated as Babylon.

    (1) The characteristics ascribed to this Babylon apply to Rome rather than to any other city of that age:

    (a) as ruling over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:18);

    (b) as sitting on seven mountains (Revelation 17:9);

    (c) as the center of the world’s merchandise (Revelation 18:3,11-13);

    (d) as the corrupter of the nations (Revelation 17:2; 18:3; 19:2);

    (e) as the persecutor of the saints (Revelation 17:6).

    (2) Rome is designated as Babylon in the Sibylline Oracles (5 143), and this is perhaps an early Jewish portion of the book. The comparison of Rome to Babylon is common in Jewish apocalyptic literature (see 2 Esdras and the Apocrypha Baruch).

    (3) Rome was regarded by both Jews and Christians as being antagonistic to the kingdom of God, and its downfall was confidently expected, This conception is in accord with the predicted downfall of Babylon (Revelation 14:8; 18:2,10-21). As Babylon had been the oppressor of Israel, it was natural that this new power, which was oppressing the people of God, should be designated as Babylon.

    3. In 1 Peter:

    In 1 Peter 5:13 Babylon is designated as the place from which 1Pe was written. Down to the time of the Reformation this was generally under stood to mean Rome, and two cursives added “en Roma.” Since the Reformation, many scholars have followed Erasmus and Calvin and have urged that the Mesopotamian Babylon is meant. Three theories should be noted:

    (1) That the Egyptian Babylon, or Old Cairo; is meant. Strabo (XVII, 807) who wrote as late as 18 AD, says the Egyptian Babylon was a strong fortress founded by certain refugees from the Mesop Babylon. But during the 1st century this was not much more than a military station, and it is quite improbable that Peter would have gone there. There is no tradition that connects Peter’ in any way with Egypt.

    (2) That the statement is to be taken literally and that the Mesop Babylon is meant. Many good scholars hold to this view, and among these are Weiss and Thayer, but there is no evidence that Peter was ever in Babylon, or that there was even a church there during the 1st century. Mark and Silvanus are associated with Peter in the letter and there is no tradition that connects either of them with Babylon. According to Josephus (Antiquities, XVIII, ix, 5-9), the Jews at this time had largely been driven out of Babylon and were confined to neighboring towns, and it seems improbable that Peter would have made that his missionary field.

    (3) That Rome was the city that was designated as Babylon. The Apocalypse would indicate that the churches would understand the symbolic reference, and it seems to have been so understood until the time of the Reformation. The denial of this position was in line with the effort to refute Peter’s supposed connection with the Roman church. Ancient tradition, however, makes it seem quite probable that Peter did make a visit to Rome (see Lightfoot, Clement, II, 493).

  • Bones

    Lol

    That’s pretty funny form a liar who’s trying to hide behind the bible.

    Physician, heal thyself!

  • Bones

    Bob hates Ben.

  • Bones

    Lol…..that’s funny….

    A charlatan who has been studying the Bible for decades and can’t even tell the truth.

    A hater of gays, Palestinians and anyone who crosses his own ideology like Desmond Tutu.

  • Bones

    The last one was Pete Seeger.

  • Bones

    What’s prophetic about it, Phil?

  • Bones

    You nailed it, Harry.

    John’s writing is one’s hope of revenge and vindication.

    It is not a book of fortune telling.

  • Bones

    Another one who thinks Jesus is going to come to kill unbelievers.

    Your Jesus sounds like Mohammad.

  • Bones

    Nope…the writer clearly has Domitian living while the other Emperors have died.

    All this pre-70CE dating is apologetic nonsense.

    It isn’t the Jews persecuting churches in Revelation but the Roman cities.

  • Bones

    Jeremiah has nothing to do with Revelation.

  • Matthew

    Thanks Phil. Yet again … a balancing act.

  • Matthew

    So no judgement?

  • Nena Allen

    Finally…someone who believes!!!

  • Matthew

    What about judgement?

  • Bones

    So you think Jesus is going to slaughter non-believers….

  • Bones

    You got it correct.

    Rome is Babylon.

  • “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

    That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

  • Matthew

    In this context no. I´m merely stating here that in my limited perspective I believe a balance between faith and works needs to be maintained in the life of a believer in and follower of Jesus Christ.

    I don´t think the reformers were completely off track, but what they discovered certainly did lead to theological and other kinds of abuses.

  • Equally, though, as one who loves history, it’s worth empathising with the guy. The siege of Jerusalem was brutal and harrowing. If the guy (or his loved ones) went through that, then it’s hardly surprising and very understandable that he’d write something like this. It also does have comforting overtones as well as disconcerting ones, much like all apocalyptic literature. :)

  • A hilarious corrective footnote in the margins of Codex Vaticanus [one of the key texts for reconstructing the New Testament] from one scribal proofreader goes: “Fool and knave, can’t you leave the old reading and not alter it!” While this is more than likely a slip of the pen type mistake being corrected (harshly) here, rather than deliberate alteration, there’s clear evidence internally and externally to the NT that people were changing the manuscripts and also forging documents. The reason I love these historical times is just for how fun, weird and very human they are. :)

    https://thebookofamos.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/measuring-forgery-in-early-christianity-part-1/

  • There are good arguments, which are non-apologetic in nature, that place the Apocalypse of John prior to the Siege of Jerusalem, but the majority position (inc. early church tradition!) remains to place it in the reign of Domitian (81-96 CE), and that’s based on what I believe to be far more important considerations. Nevertheless, I’d suggest it best not to stereotype where I’d happily do so elsewhere, e.g. trying to save 2 Peter from the charge of forgery, trying to argue for the Woman in Adultery being part of the original versions of John, etc. Just from a persuasive point of view, it’ll be easier to talk people into seeing your side of things. :)

    Ah, “the Jews” – it’s just like whether or not “all the Jews” cried out in one voice that ‘his blood be upon us and on our children’ pantomime-style. :P

  • I’d say it’s prophetic in exactly the way that Phil says above – it is clearly predicting an imminent apocalyptic set of events (“I am coming soon”), culminating in the second appearance of Christ who will subdue the evil nations and the New Jerusalem. (N.B. *New* Jerusalem.)

    In that way, it’s prophetic if we take “prophetic” to mean “future-telling” in some form, which is a narrower definition than most scholars would use.

  • Darrell,
    It is clear that you have not read Revelations for yourself. Every chapter from 6 to 22 is “clearly’ about the end times. If I am wrong and you have read Revelation then you do not understand the book any better than Ben. In this case you should consider finding a teacher who knows more than you do. In order to grow and learn you need a competent teacher.

  • Bones

    Well prophetic indicates it’s going to happen.

    I say the book isn’t prophetic at all but wishful thinking of vengeance and vindication.

    I would have liked to have heard Phil’s answer eg many Christians like the prophecy of New Jerusalem but what then about the Jesus who slaughters non-believers?

  • Bones

    Oh sure….especially when you realise the author was a Christian Jew.

    That’s why he hated the Imperial Roman Cult.

    I don’t think he had much time for gentile Christianity either.

  • Ignatz

    You forgot that the Pope is the Antichrist. That claim is all over the Scofield Reference Bible (which popularized the idea of the rapture, although he got it from Darby). Also from Halley’s Bible Handbook, and many other publications modern American evangelicals consider the “right” view of the Bible.

    The whole idea that there are two second comings, one to rapture the church, and another 7 years later, is absolutely nowhere in the Bible. It’s tea leaves. It’s the same sort of thinking that led Harold Camping to claim that the Bible said the second coming would be a few years ago.

  • Everyone sticks to his preconceived notion in the matter and hammers away at everybody else’s opinion. What else is new? Ever thought of what Revelation, along with the rest of the Bible, actually says about the Last Days, without obsessing about Scofield and all the other dogmatists? I mean, if you just read what it says, and try to understand what it would mean in our days, for example. Here’s such a reading: my free e-book Walkabout. http://www.gregorygreene.50megs.com

  • Artistree

    Here are a few notes from one of my study Bibles showing Jerusalem to be Babylon. For lack of space here I’ll just list a few,
    “The interpretation of Babylon as Jerusalem draws its support mainly from the internal evidence of the text, though some external evidence gives support to it as well.”

    (1) “The Book of Revelation tells us that the ‘great city’ is the city where Jesus was crucified (11:8). Since this is the first use of the expression in the book, there is reason to think that Jerusalem is the identification throughout. At least, John gives no indication that more than one ‘great city’ is in view as the book unfolds”.

    (2) “The streets of the harlot city run red, not only with the blood of Christian martyrs and saints, but also with the blood of the ‘prophets’ (18:24). This, too, sounds like a reference to Jerusalem, a city that spilled the blood of the earliest martyrs (11:7-8; Acts 7:58; 12:2; 26:10 ) and had a long history of murdering God’s prophets ( Mt 23:37; Lk 13:33 ) including the messiah ( Mt 27:25-26).

    (6) “The destruction of the harlot city (chaps 17-18) is followed by visions of a heavenly city (chaps 21-22). Clearly these cities are portrayed as the spiritual antithesis of one another. The most natural interpretation views new Jerusalem, which comes down from heaven, as the successor to the old Jerusalem, which was built on earth, as elsewhere in the NT (Gal 4:24-27). Of course, it is not impossible that the new Jerusalem could be taken as the counter image of Rome, as many scholars hold, but the fit is less perfect. For this involves a split antithesis that defines the heavenly city over against two earthly cities, i.e., the celestial Jerusalem is ‘new’ in relation to the old Jerusalem, but the ‘heavenly’ in relation in relation to the earthly city of Rome. Strictly speaking, then, either interpretation is possible. But the new Jerusalem in heaven is more readily envisioned as the counterpart and successor to the old Jerusalem”.

  • Darrell

    I have read Revelation more than once and I’ve read many commentaries on Revelation. I’ve also had plenty of good teachers, some who believe like you do, but most who take the majority view. What you might consider is that you have been taught to read or interpret Scripture in just one way (literally) and through a dispensational, or pre/mid trib, rapture, understanding. Hopefully you know that very few serious scholars or theologians hold to those views. So, you might in fact be wrong here. It may be you who needs to find some different teachers, ones who use a different interpretive lens. Just a thought. Cheers.

  • I don’t think you know what I believe other than my posts on this blog. I don’t believe in the Rapture as I have said before. I do believe the book of Revelations is all about the end times as I have stated before.

    You may want to think about the meaning of a “serious scholar” or “theologian.” Unlike the physical sciences where “facts” are either proven or they are theories, bible scholars all disagree with each other on many points all the time. There is no proof that is accepted.

    Example, the Trinity – a foundational belief of the Catholic Church. It cannot be proved from the bible. It is a Catholic belief, now shared by many other religions. It was not taught by the Apostles or Jesus rather the Catholic Church. Yet if you reject this belief you are called a heretic by that Church but a saint by others.

    My point is that I am comfortable in my beliefs but willing to change if shown wrong. In this case only a fool cannot see that chapters 6-22 of Revelations are about the end times. You don’t even have to believe in the bible to outline this fact in that book – a high school student could do it.

    If you want to talk about other subjects such as the nature of the Spirit of God or Grace, then you may have room for a wide discussion. Not so in the clear meaning of this book. Sorry you must read those chapters again and look for better commentaries.

  • Realist1234

    What about it?

  • I’d say primarily the condemnation of the Roman Empire as well as the Judean power structure that had become a shill for them, and the exhortation for the faithful not to join up with them because God would bring about their downfall. That seems pretty OT prophetish to me, along with the expectation of a better world beyond the immediate struggles.

  • No, he isn’t, although the Jesus of John’s gospel is not the Jesus of the synoptics, either, and along similar lines. It’s almost like:

    Synoptics: apocalyptic prophet and itinerant rabbi urging Israel to repentance and faith in light of a coming calamity
    John: that, and also Superman
    Revelation: agent of the coming calamity

  • Oh sure – I don’t like the Jesus slaughtering people imagery in Revelation. I’m not that offended, though. I don’t think it’s going to happen after all! :P

    Feel free to answer Phil! :)

  • Completely agree. Nothing more to say. :)

  • Matthew

    Same Jesus … different sides …

  • Well, oros is also the word in Matthew 5:14 when Jesus talks about “a city on a hill cannot be hidden,” and “bouno” is often translated as “mountain” in Greek literature (as far as I know, a derivative of the word only appears in the NT twice, both in Luke) especially if the mountain is particularly large.

    So, I’m not trying to argue one translation is better than another, but “satanic deception” might be a little strong.

  • Matthew

    Will it happen?

  • It’s definitely not a book of fortune telling.

    There is certainly hope of vindication, and possibly revenge. Revelation is picking up basically the engine that has driven a lot of Israel’s history and identity up to that point. You have an oppressor, God removes that oppressor.

    We might not agree with that narrative, but I think we do have to acknowledge that’s the trajectory of Revelation, and it is a fairly consistent trajectory through similar Jewish literature for quite some time.

  • Different portrayals and interpretations of him. I think that’s what Bones was getting at. I don’t think he meant to suggest John is literally talking about a totally different person than the person in the Gospels.

  • Appreciate your input and will delve further.
    Not sure it changes anything other than supports my comment. ‘oros’ is Hebrew/Greek which fits the context and ‘Bouno’ – is translated or considered as ‘foreign mountain’ – yes….which is exactly as I described.

    mmmm possibly not strong enough.

    Imperial Rome of old – does not exist but has been exchanged for the Vatican – which does not sit on seven hills.
    But in regard to Rome – the ‘hills’ are barely earthern mounds which is in start contrast to being described as mountains. A giant shoe horn seems to have been applied.
    ‘Hill billies’ may wish to consider (as translated) the seven actual mountains of Jerusalem standing at 2400ft above sea-level…Mt Zion, Mt Ophel, Mt Moriah, Mt Bezetha, Mt Acra, Mt Gareb and Mt Goath.

    Regardless – the ‘mountains’ are symbolic as the text clearly states “they are seven kings”

  • But the book of Revelation wasn’t written in our days. Why is a modern interpretation of the events described in it the best one?

  • Matthew

    Bones?

  • The Aussie gentleman/firebrand/good guy I was responding to.

  • Well, like I said, I’m not arguing that the translation should be hills instead of mountains, but you had referred to the word choice as “satanic deception,” and I just wanted to point out there’s translation precedent for making other choices that do not involve necessarily aligning with Satan.

  • Not saying it’s better, just offering a different approach. Someone much wiser than I has said, “If the literal meaning makes sense, seek no other meaning.” My version of that is, “Even when the symbolism is there, you ignore the literal meaning at your peril.” My book treats sentences in the Bible as if they were news reporting: what it says will happen, happens in Walkabout. See what you think of it. http://www.gregorygreene.50megs.com

  • Much appreciated as I shall apply your consideration in regard to satan, as it is possibly an advanced Spiritural thought process.
    But you have to agree – if ever wanting to make a bold attempt to wipe out an entire race – why not entice them back to the Middle East, while pointing the bone at red herring ‘rome/vatican.’

    Accurate translation/interpretation of God’s Word is critical otherwise join the fiction section of the local library, or better yet…surf the internet to cut and paste

  • I would say treating it as news reporting is the one way of treating it we know for sure is completely wrong.

  • Bones

    And that means what for us and how is it prophetic?

  • Bones

    So by prophetic you would mean interpreting current and past events and giving a theological perspective?

  • Darrell

    Well, the clearly you think a lot of people who know much more about the book of Revelation than you are fools. I will leave it to others to determine who the fool here might be. I think the commentaries, books, and teachers I have had are fine, thank you. This was an accurate post and one noting the consensus view–the view held by reputable Biblical scholars and theologians. You are welcome to your opinion however. Cheers.

  • Oh yes, to answer your original question–we’re better equipped than our predecessors to understand the prophesies, because we now have every one of the technologies required to make everything happen like the prophets saw it happen. Like how to make an interactive, living, speaking image that can force 7 billion people to worship the same Beast. Before our days, Clarke’s third law applied to all those prophesies, and trying to say how it would work out in real life would have had to be pure guesswork.

    Maybe you should read the book before pronouncing it completely wrong?

  • If someone says, “I wrote a book on how the Israelites fought their battles with machine guns,” I wouldn’t have to read the book to know it was wrong, because such a contention is ahistorical.

    Not only is there nothing in the Bible or any ancient writings in the Levant that functions as a genre the way modern news reports do, the genre of apocalypse was a well known genre in the first century, and none of them function as news reports. Every single one of them is an allegory.

    Besides, isn’t your book fiction? Why are you concerned about it being “wrong?” It’s just a story you made up, right? It can’t be wrong any more than a Star Trek episode can be wrong, unless you’re trying to use your book as a potential portrayal of what Revelation “really” is describing. In which case, yes, I already know it’s wrong – for the same reason I know Star Trek would be wrong if it were billed as a portrayal of what goes on at NASA.

  • Yes, with a call to action to avoid a bad outcome and achieve a good one. That’s what the OT prophets primarily did, near as I can tell.

  • I don’t know if it means much for us (it was for John’s audience), other than that it is another affirmation of God bringing His people through crises. At the end, John reaches forward into a renewal of creation free of evil, violence, and even death as well as presents a general resurrection, so there is hope for us in that, too.

    I would point out, too, that the couple of passages that depict Jesus killing people, he does so with a sword that comes out of his mouth. Assuming Jesus does not found a very weird martial art, this may be John’s forecast that the spread of the gospel will result in the destruction of the Roman Empire by way of conversion.

    That’s the thing about apocalypse – their main point is that something big is happening and the world will never be the same, and the imagery is always of cosmic-level cataclysm. But when we look at the historical phenomena those apocalypses describe, they’re usually much, much tamer than that. The images reflect the impact of the changes more than their nature.

  • Realist1234

    Yes, Im afraid. It is inevitable. Justice is inevitable.

  • Realist1234

    I dont disagree. But I do disagree with your view that Revelation is primarily about the near future, ie the end of the 1st century or early 2nd century.

  • Realist1234

    – I dont think your analogy with the camel and needle is fair. The fact is Revelation says without the mark of the beast, you will not be able to ‘buy or sell’. I find that a very specific statement. I appreciate it may have a more ‘spiritual’ meaning, as I already said, but it could also mean the ending of the use of money throughout the world. That is a perfectly viable understanding. But I fully accept it is one understanding. The fact that you do not accept Revelation is talking about the times near the end of this current history (as opposed primarily to the 1st century) colours your acceptance of views.

    – Re son of man, I think this response from another commentator sums it up:

    ‘I’m not sure the only way of reading the ‘son of man’ prophecy is by reading forwards. Jesus takes for himself the name and identity of Daniel’s son of man figure and its fulfilment in some clear references in the gospels. Since much in the Daniel prophecy is left unexplained as well as unfulfilled, (as becomes evident from the variety of interpretations to which your post alludes), we are also justified in interpreting the prophecy by reading backwards from Jesus, in the light of a more complete understanding which he provided in its fulfilment.

    An obvious initial observation to make is that significant parts of the prophecy were not fulfilled in the 2nd century BC, or at any time up to the coming of Jesus. There was continuing interest in the prophecy after the 2nd century events to which it mostly refers, and the hope continued that the as yet unfulfilled parts of the prophecy would be fulfilled.

    The next observation is that when Jesus adopted for himself the ‘son of man’ name and its yet to be fulfilled prophetic significance, he was doing so as an individual, and highlighting the individual character and meaning of the ‘son of man’ figure in Daniel.

    A third observation is that whatever the extent of the beneficiaries of Jesus’s ministry, all agree it was for a corporate people beyond himself. So while in Daniel 7:13-14 it is the individual character of the son of man which seems to be prominent (for reasons which I will also argue in a fourth observation), in Daniel 7:27a the beneficiaries of the granting of authority, glory, power and dominion in 7:14 are the saints, who will exercise that power.

    A fourth observation is that just as Jesus is believed by most, if not all, to be a unique person combining humanity and divinity, so too the son of man figure in Daniel 7 can be understood to reflect divine qualities, and those not simply by virtue of delegation. Not only does the son of man come ‘with the clouds of heaven’ (which may equally as well imply divinity as not), but he is given the right to rule and be served or worshipped in an everlasting kingdom, which in Daniel 7:27b is also described as the kingdom and worship or service of the Most High.

    The fifth observation is that In Daniel 7:14 and Daniel 7:27, the unique word p̱lḥ, to serve or to worship, is used of both God the Most High (7:27), and the ‘son of man’ figure (7:14). It might be (and has been) argued that this simply reflects the service of YHWH delegated to the son of man, but throughout Daniel, p̱lḥ is used uniquely of God (on the eight occasions that it appears), and appears nowhere else in the OT, as far as I am aware. In other words, the weight of its usage encourages us to think of the son of man being more than simply a human figure.

    With Jesus as the interpretive key, it is not difficult to see the significance of the prophecy, and its fulfilment. Jesus himself was uniquely given the right to rule at the Father’s right hand (Acts 2:24, 33), and as part of the godhead, if the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is taken as evidence. The prediction of power given to ‘the saints, the people of the Most High’ in the Daniel prophecy finds its fulfilment in the church, whichever way you view the fulfilment. It also awaits complete fulfilment. The ‘son of man’ language in Daniel reflects and sits well with the language of Psalm 110:1 in Acts 2:33-35, extending to the corporate body of people on whose behalf Jesus was acting, such as in Ephesians 1:20-23.

    In summary: the son of man prophecy in Daniel is obscure, yet sufficiently clear to provide hope for a future reversal in the fortunes of Israel in a startling if unexplained way. With the coming of Jesus, the fulfilment of the prophecy in himself was not at first obvious either to Israel or his followers. It became obvious in the events which followed his resurrection, in the outworking of Acts and the commentary of the epistles.’

    – Re ‘Messiah’ in Daniel 9, pl show the timeline of Cyrus corresponds to Daniel’s – both Jews and Christians agree the ‘weeks’ terminology refers to years. This timeline aligns perfectly with the coming of the Messiah Jesus.

    – re John MacArthur, I can honestly say Ive never read a single book of his. Having looked him up, I would, for example, strongly disagree with him that the gifts of the Spirit such as prophecy, healing etc have ceased (he clearly ignores the evidence from Vineyard churches etc, not to mention the experience of the church down through the centuries). Sometimes, sadly, evangelicals like everything to be ‘intellectual’, rather than letting God be God.

    But you should try reading some of Gleason Archer. It might open your eyes.

  • Matthew

    So you think the judgement verses in the Gospel accounts are not pointing toward a 70 AD fulfilment?

  • Why? Why is it more likely that John is writing about our future than his own?

  • 1. Yes, without the mark of the Beast, you will not be able to buy or sell. It says NOTHING about doing away with money. It just says you won’t be able to buy or sell. I’m not countering your point with a “spiritual” meaning; I’m countering your point by saying that what you have in your head isn’t anywhere in the actual text.

    2. Well, talk about unfair – copying and pasting a wall of text. So, now I’m in a very difficult spot. It took you ten seconds to copy and paste that text. So, I can spend the next couple of hours responding to it point by point, or I can decide it’s not worth it to do so and let it stand. So, congratulations?

    I will just say that whomever you copied and pasted that text from is wrong on literally every single point. And I don’t just mean we have different opinions; I mean it states “facts” that are completely untrue.

    3. Yes, it fits the timeline perfectly if Jesus is born in 115 BC or we pick an arbitrary event over a century after the deportation to Babylon that the text doesn’t actually mention to be the starting gun.

    That’s the thing about prophecy – you can make any scheme work if you really, really want it to. You can find Jesus under every rock in the Old Testament if you’re bound and determined to do that.

    4. Gleason Archer, assuming you mean the Jr., is the guy who famously declared that if there are any errors in the Bible in history or science, then our doctrines are also erroneous. Anybody who spends the amount of effort he has done in “harmonizing” apparent Bible contradictions has wasted both his time and whatever scholarly gifts God gave him. I already grew up fundamentalist, and I really don’t think my understanding of God will be enhanced by another fruitbat explaining to me how the world is only 6000 years old and “if two angels are at the tomb, then one angel is at the tomb, so it’s not a contradiction” and all the other doofishness that comes from that tribe.

  • Matthew

    This could get us into a whole other discussion about biblical inspiration …

  • P.S. I thought that wall of text looked familiar. Peter Wilkinson is not a “commentator;” he’s a dude who posts comments over on Andrew’s blog.

  • Well, not necessarily. I mean, I agree that God could supernaturally enable someone to write about the distant future.

    But why is that the most likely option? Why is God supernaturally enabling someone to write about events that will only be relevant thousands of years (and counting) into the distant future long after all the original readers and author are dead -more likely- than God giving someone information that will be useful to him and the original readers in their current situation and the years to come?

  • Party-pooper you… taking all the fun out of an exciting set of prophesies. :( You’re clearly not in the market for my book. Never mind, thousands of others have read it and some liked it well enough to award it 4 stars at obooko.com. But before we part ways, do me a favor and tell me what the allegory is in 2 Peter 3:10 (But the day of the Lord will come as a thief; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall be dissolved with fervent heat, and the earth and the works that are therein shall be burned up.) To me it sounds like the earth will be enveloped by a Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun, where the temperature will be high enough to turn everything into plasma. I’m dying to know what it means in your view of eschatology!

  • No problem in showing Rome is the city on seven hills. Tis a pleasure

    God’s Word says ‘seven mountains’ so what are you getting your rocks off on???

    Can you not READ?
    What type of fool are you? Obviously a LYING one
    Do you just act dumb for attention or its a permanent disablity?

    Then it says “they are kings.” Read what it actually says – not the fable between your ears.

    ‘A mind with wisdom,’ young man – not foolishness and make believe. Wise up please

  • Yes, you have successfully used this thread as an advertisement for your book several times. I think we can taper that off, if you’re ok with that.

    Isaiah 34 describes the destruction of Edom (v.5). In this passage, it says things like:

    “The mountains shall flow with their blood.” – v. 3

    “All the host of heaven shall rot away and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall wither like a leaf withering on a vine or fruit withering on a fig tree.” – v. 4

    “When my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens, it shall descend upon Edom” – v. 5

    “And the streams of Edom shall be turned to pitch, and her soil into sulfur; her land shall become burning pitch. Night and day it shall not be quenched; its smoke shall go up forever.” – v. 10

    When Edom was destroyed, the blood did not cover the mountains, nor did God cleave all the stars out of the sky with a sword, nor did the sky roll up, nor were the streams turned into pitch, nor was the soil turned into sulfur, nor did the land become burning pitch. If you to go where Edom once stood, today, you will discover that it is not still on fire and, in fact, its smoke did not go up forever.

    It is extremely common in early Jewish literature both inside and outside the Old Testament to use the language of cosmological trauma or even destruction in apocalyptic language to describe massive changes in the world. They use this powerful imagery to indicate that their world will never be the same once this great thing happens.

    Perhaps one of the clearest New Testament uses of such language is in Acts 2:14ff. Here, Peter says that Pentecost is the fulfillment of the prophet Joel, and he quotes the relevant passage, ending with:

    “And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and smoky mist. The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon turned to blood, before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. Then everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

    Granted, the narrative of Pentecost in Acts is pretty spectacular, but you’ll note there is no sun turning to darkness, moon turning to blood, blood mingled with the fire, or smoky mist. The absence of these details does not bother Peter at all, probably because he knows that apocalyptic language is meant to illustrate the impact of an event through powerful imagery, not give you a newsreel of what is precisely going to happen.

    2 Peter 3:10 is just continuing the tradition – using apocalyptic language to describe how everything will be disrupted and changed in the day of the Lord.

    What the author of 2 Peter 3 probably does NOT mean is that there will be a Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun. He probably also does not mean nuclear warheads will detonate, or that the Earth’s molten core will eventually eat its way through a dessicated mantle, or that atomic bonds will lose their attraction resulting in matter being reduced to component particles. He probably means what Jewish apocalyptic writers have always meant.

  • Tim

    I’ve posted a couple of links rebutting the idea that Rome is the referent for Babylon here, but they appear to keep disappearing from the thread. A much stronger case can be made for it being Jerusalem.

  • Realist1234

    Sorry I thought you meant judgement in general. But yes, some of the judgement verses in the Gospels refer to AD 70 (eg flee to the mountains etc) but not all. As I said, Jesus talks both about the forthcoming destruction of Jerusalem and the temple within that generation, and also the future nearer the time He returns. But I accept sometimes it is not straightforward to distinguish between the two.

  • Realist1234

    Im not saying he is ONLY writing about the distant future from his pov, but both. In the same way Jesus talked about both what was going to happen within that generation (40 years) and the actual end times (I know we’re already in those times but you know what I mean).

  • Realist1234

    Except that of course billions of people and numerous generations later are also reading it! Perhaps God knew that?!

  • Bones

    What Does The Book Of Revelation Really Mean?

    We’ve survived Harold Camping. We survived Y2K, albeit with less distress than our ancestors survived Y1K. The world has survived end-time predictors as diverse as Billy Graham, William Miller and Jonathan Edwards. Now we face the purported final year of the Mayan Calendar.

    Nevertheless, most Christian bookstores devote entire sections to the sort of “Bible Prophecy” literature that uses the Book of Revelation, among other biblical literature, to tell us that we are currently living in the last days.

    Here’s the truth: no academic interpreter of Revelation understands the book as a roadmap for the future, much less as telling contemporary Christians that these are the last days. Instead, scholars understand that Revelation originally spoke to the conditions of its own time and place. It offered a specific group of first century Christians not only hope for the future but also an interpretation — a “revelation” — of the world they inhabited. In other words, the best way to understand Revelation does not require an official Dick Tracy Apocalyptic Decoder Ring. We best understand Revelation when we read it like any other ancient text, in its own historical and cultural context.

    What makes biblical scholars so certain that Revelation does not provide a roadmap for the future? Two basic considerations lead us to this conclusion.

    First, the book itself insists that it’s addressed to a specific group of churches to speak to their own circumstances. Let’s begin with Revelation’s introductory words (my translation, with notes):

    A revelation (Greek: apokalypsis) of [or from] Jesus Christ, which God gave by means of him to show his [God’s? Christ’s?] slaves the things that must happen soon, and he [God? Christ?] made it known by sending his angel to his slave John, who testified to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, everything he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who hear the words of the prophecy and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is near. John, to the seven churches that are in Asia…
    Working back, we observe several things. First, Revelation is addressed to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia. We’d locate them in western Turkey today. Identified in chapters two and three, these churches inhabited some of the major cities in the Roman Empire, including Ephesus, a top five city of the day. Second, Revelation’s author John describes the vision as speaking to things that must happen “soon” for “the time is near.” This is no minor point, nor is it to be spiritualized to mean something other than what it says. At several points Revelation reminds those ancient Christians to expect their redemption to come “soon” (1:1, 3, 19; 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20). Revelation was written not to tell us what to expect in our future but to give ancient Christians hope for dealing with their own. While modern interpreters disagree on many points, almost all agree on the basic historical circumstances addressed by Revelation.

    (We’ll address Revelation’s message to those ancient believers in our next post.)

    Second, we know a lot about the kind of literature Revelation represents. Revelation is an apocalypse, a form of literature with which biblical scholars have grown quite familiar. Indeed, Revelation constitutes the first book that calls itself an apocalypse. (The Greek word apokalypsis stands as the book’s very first word.)

    Between the third century B.C.E. and the second century C.E., Judaism and Christianity produced several great literary apocalypses, along with a host of related literature. See my book “Ultimate Things” for an introduction to this literature or my entry, “Apocalypses,” in the new “Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible.”) All of these books share some distinctive features. They all relate a vision experienced by a single visionary. The visionary receives instruction and guidance from a heavenly being, usually an angel. And the vision reveals either otherworldly affairs or the resolution of history. Readers encounter what’s going on in heaven, the arrival of the messiah, and the final judgment, among other topics. Striking images that require imaginative interpretation are common to all these works. Revelation provides a classic example of an apocalypse, as it includes every one of these features.

    The Protestant Bible includes only two apocalypses, Daniel and Revelation. However, the Ethiopian Orthodox canon includes 1 Enoch, perhaps the greatest of the literary apocalypses. The New Testament epistle of Jude alludes to 1 Enoch on two occasions, and at least 11 copies or fragments of 1 Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Several important Jewish apocalypses date from about the time of Revelation’s composition, including 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch, 3 Baruch and the Apocalypse of Abraham. Within decades of Revelation’s composition several other Christian appeared, including the Shepherd of Hermas, the Ascension of Isaiah and the Apocalypse of Peter.

    Sharing many common traits, these literary apocalypses show us that the apocalypses represent a developing literary tradition, a form of ancient theology expressed in poetic symbols and sequences. If someone were to stand up in church and read a passage from 4 Ezra or Hermas, nearly everyone would assume the text was from Revelation.

    On the second night I had a dream: I saw rising from the sea an eagle that had twelve feathered wings and three heads (2 Esdras 11:1, New Revised Standard Version).

    The sun began to shine a bit and suddenly I saw an enormous wild beast, something like a sea monster, with fiery locusts spewing from its mouth (Hermas 23:6, trans. Bart Ehrman).

    The apocalypses teach us that Revelation describes a moment of acute crisis for its own religious community, those seven churches in Asia. Like the other apocalypses, it critiques current events, even major political and cultural developments, from a divine perspective. And like the other apocalypses, it calls its ancient audience to rigorous, even dangerous, levels of faithfulness under challenging circumstances.

    Revelation does not predict events in 2012 or some other future date; it spoke to our ancient ancestors in the faith, who had enough challenges of their own.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-carey/revelation-2012_b_1168906.html

    Greg Carey is the Professor of New Testament @ Lancaster Theological Seminary.

  • Bones

    Revelation in Context: Letters and Symbols

    This might come as a surprise to many, but Revelation’s interpreters have arrived at a general consensus regarding why John wrote the Apocalypse, particularly the circumstances surrounding Revelation’s composition. Two aspects of Revelation provide the primary evidence for our assessment: the letters to the seven churches in chapters 2 and 3, and the most prominent symbols scattered throughout the rest of the book.

    In Revelation 2-3, the risen Jesus dictates “letters” to seven individual churches clustered in the Roman province of Asia (western Turkey today). These letters provide only sketchy hints regarding those churches, but a few insights do emerge. First, the churches were diverse in social composition, lived experience, and — according to the letters — faithfulness to the Gospel. The letters identify some churches as comfortable, others as impoverished; some as persecuted, others as complacent. Revelation was written before “Judaism” and “Christianity” constituted two distinct world religions, and two letters mention tension between churches and their neighboring synagogues.

    Perhaps most importantly, the letters reflect conflict within the churches. Using code-names like Balaam, the Nicolaitans and Jezebel, the letters accuse competing Christian prophets of promoting sexual sin (porneia) and eating idol-food. Scholars doubt that John’s opponents promoted literal promiscuity, though that it possible. Instead, biblical authors often employed sexual imagery in their condemnations against idolatry. Perhaps porneia and eating idol-food amounted to about the same thing.

    Here’s one likely scenario: The relationship between religion and culture was vastly different in the ancient world than in our postmodern societies. A walk through the ruins of ancient Ephesus would reveal the thorough implication of religion in public life, with shrines and temples lining the streets. Every institution, from the empire and local governments to trade guilds, burial societies and households honored patron deities. Several of the Asian cities were noted for their high levels of religiosity. Daily household rites, regular social gatherings, and major festivals all included religious observances. Yet Revelation calls believers to “come out” from that cultural environment (18:4), to witness to Jesus (12:11) while keeping their garments clean from corruption (3:4). Most scholars believe that the Nicolaitans, Balaam and Jezebel had convinced many believers that it was OK to participate in social gatherings and public events, including meals, despite their religious dimensions. John strongly disagreed, regarding every trace of pagan religion as idolatrous.

    If the letters to the churches condemn participation in common cultural activities, some of Revelation’s distinctive symbols may provide a context for John’s concerns. To be clear, no one understands all of Revelation’s numbers and symbols. Nor should we assume that every symbol points to one and only one meaning. Still, almost all interpreters have come to a common assessment of several key symbols in the Apocalypse: the Lamb, the Beast, the Great Prostitute, the Other Beast and the New Jerusalem.

    Revelation describes a conflict between a Lamb and a Beast. The Lamb clearly represents Jesus; it receives worship before God’s throne, having already suffered death and redeemed people from every nation (5:6-10). According to Revelation 13, most people worship the Beast. The saints do not; therefore, the Beast makes war against the saints. “Who is like the Beast, and who can make war against it?” cry the masses (13:4).

    Revelation poses the Lamb and the Beast as opposites. The Lamb stands before God’s throne; the Beast receives its power from Satan (12:9; 13:2). Both receive worship, though the Beast’s worship is blasphemous (13:1, 5; 17:3). The Lamb has many eyes; the Beast has many heads. The Lamb has passed through death to glory; one of the Beast’s heads has survived a mortal wound. The Lamb’s followers receive identifying marks on their foreheads; the Beast’s are marked on the hand and the forehead. The Lamb conquers the Beast by its word; the Beast slaughters the Lamb’s followers (13:7-8).

    We learn more about the Beast from its association with two other symbols, the Great Prostitute (16:17-19:3) and the Other Beast (especially 13:11-17).

    The Great Prostitute rides the Beast. Though she is identified with Babylon, we learn that Revelation — like some other ancient Jewish and Christian texts — identifies Rome with Babylon. Indeed, Revelation links the Beast’s seven heads to Roman’s famous seven hills (17:9). What really distinguishes the Prostitute is her opulence. Decked out in luxurious clothing and holding a golden cup, she consorts with kings and merchants to generate enormous wealth by exploiting ordinary people (18:12-13). In short, the Great Prostitute has something to do with the exploitative nature of Roman imperial diplomacy and commerce, which extracted fabulous riches off the backs of farmers, laborers and slaves.

    Now that we’ve identified the Beast with Roman imperialism, the image of the Other Beast comes more clearly into focus. Revelation’s first Beast emerges from the sea — common imagery for western imperial powers in Jewish apocalyptic literature. But the Other Beast emerges from the earth and promotes worship of the first Beast. The Other Beast likely points to indigenous elites of Asia, who promoted worship of the Beast, Caesar. The cities of Roman Asia stood out for their devotion to Rome and its emperor. Much like modern cities compete for the Olympic Games and other events, the Asian cities petitioned the Roman Senate for permission to dedicate shrines and festivals to Rome and to Caesar. The local elites supported these endeavors, even equipping the choirs and other participants in the festivities.

    Now we see the source of Revelation’s conflict. Modern readers may struggle to imagine it, but ancient people really did worship their rulers. Roman emperors were acclaimed as “son of God,” “Lord” and “Savior” — the same titles Jesus’ followers applied to him. From John’s point of view, worship of the emperor amounted to idolatry. Just as important, Caesar governed a vast system of violence and exploitation, including the threat of persecution among the churches. In the Beast system, failure to honor Caesar amounted to treason. Indeed, Revelation alludes to believers who have died on account of their witness to Jesus (2:13; 6:9-11).

    While other prophets in the Asian churches called for moderation and accommodation, John demanded outright resistance. All tokens of idolatry must be shunned, especially worship of Caesar. We can only imagine how painful these debates must have been for the Asian Christians, who were forced to discern the line between faithful witness to Jesus and securing their families and their lives. We can know one thing: Revelation is the first work to employ the Greek word martys to mean “martyr.”

    Revelation does not promise believers that they will enter heaven after they die. It promises no rapture, nor escape from any great tribulation. Instead, those who “conquer” the Beast will enter a New Jerusalem, a gleaming city that comes down from heaven to earth. There they will find healing, comfort and joy in the presence of the Lamb.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-carey/revelation-in-context-let_b_1183979.html

    Greg Carey is the Professor of New Testament @ Lancaster Theological Seminary.

  • Bones

    What Does The Book Of Revelation Really Mean?

    We’ve survived Harold Camping. We survived Y2K, albeit with less distress than our ancestors survived Y1K. The world has survived end-time predictors as diverse as Billy Graham, William Miller and Jonathan Edwards. Now we face the purported final year of the Mayan Calendar.

    Nevertheless, most Christian bookstores devote entire sections to the sort of “Bible Prophecy” literature that uses the Book of Revelation, among other biblical literature, to tell us that we are currently living in the last days.

    Here’s the truth: no academic interpreter of Revelation understands the book as a roadmap for the future, much less as telling contemporary Christians that these are the last days. Instead, scholars understand that Revelation originally spoke to the conditions of its own time and place. It offered a specific group of first century Christians not only hope for the future but also an interpretation — a “revelation” — of the world they inhabited. In other words, the best way to understand Revelation does not require an official Dick Tracy Apocalyptic Decoder Ring. We best understand Revelation when we read it like any other ancient text, in its own historical and cultural context.

    What makes biblical scholars so certain that Revelation does not provide a roadmap for the future? Two basic considerations lead us to this conclusion.

    First, the book itself insists that it’s addressed to a specific group of churches to speak to their own circumstances. Let’s begin with Revelation’s introductory words (my translation, with notes):

    A revelation (Greek: apokalypsis) of [or from] Jesus Christ, which God gave by means of him to show his [God’s? Christ’s?] slaves the things that must happen soon, and he [God? Christ?] made it known by sending his angel to his slave John, who testified to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, everything he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who hear the words of the prophecy and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is near. John, to the seven churches that are in Asia…
    Working back, we observe several things. First, Revelation is addressed to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia. We’d locate them in western Turkey today. Identified in chapters two and three, these churches inhabited some of the major cities in the Roman Empire, including Ephesus, a top five city of the day. Second, Revelation’s author John describes the vision as speaking to things that must happen “soon” for “the time is near.” This is no minor point, nor is it to be spiritualized to mean something other than what it says. At several points Revelation reminds those ancient Christians to expect their redemption to come “soon” (1:1, 3, 19; 3:11; 22:7, 12, 20). Revelation was written not to tell us what to expect in our future but to give ancient Christians hope for dealing with their own. While modern interpreters disagree on many points, almost all agree on the basic historical circumstances addressed by Revelation.

    (We’ll address Revelation’s message to those ancient believers in our next post.)

    Second, we know a lot about the kind of literature Revelation represents. Revelation is an apocalypse, a form of literature with which biblical scholars have grown quite familiar. Indeed, Revelation constitutes the first book that calls itself an apocalypse. (The Greek word apokalypsis stands as the book’s very first word.)

    Between the third century B.C.E. and the second century C.E., Judaism and Christianity produced several great literary apocalypses, along with a host of related literature. See my book “Ultimate Things” for an introduction to this literature or my entry, “Apocalypses,” in the new “Oxford Encyclopedia of the Books of the Bible.”) All of these books share some distinctive features. They all relate a vision experienced by a single visionary. The visionary receives instruction and guidance from a heavenly being, usually an angel. And the vision reveals either otherworldly affairs or the resolution of history. Readers encounter what’s going on in heaven, the arrival of the messiah, and the final judgment, among other topics. Striking images that require imaginative interpretation are common to all these works. Revelation provides a classic example of an apocalypse, as it includes every one of these features.

    The Protestant Bible includes only two apocalypses, Daniel and Revelation. However, the Ethiopian Orthodox canon includes 1 Enoch, perhaps the greatest of the literary apocalypses. The New Testament epistle of Jude alludes to 1 Enoch on two occasions, and at least 11 copies or fragments of 1 Enoch were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Several important Jewish apocalypses date from about the time of Revelation’s composition, including 4 Ezra, 2 Baruch, 3 Baruch and the Apocalypse of Abraham. Within decades of Revelation’s composition several other Christian appeared, including the Shepherd of Hermas, the Ascension of Isaiah and the Apocalypse of Peter.

    Sharing many common traits, these literary apocalypses show us that the apocalypses represent a developing literary tradition, a form of ancient theology expressed in poetic symbols and sequences. If someone were to stand up in church and read a passage from 4 Ezra or Hermas, nearly everyone would assume the text was from Revelation.

    On the second night I had a dream: I saw rising from the sea an eagle that had twelve feathered wings and three heads (2 Esdras 11:1, New Revised Standard Version).

    The sun began to shine a bit and suddenly I saw an enormous wild beast, something like a sea monster, with fiery locusts spewing from its mouth (Hermas 23:6, trans. Bart Ehrman).

    The apocalypses teach us that Revelation describes a moment of acute crisis for its own religious community, those seven churches in Asia. Like the other apocalypses, it critiques current events, even major political and cultural developments, from a divine perspective. And like the other apocalypses, it calls its ancient audience to rigorous, even dangerous, levels of faithfulness under challenging circumstances.

    Revelation does not predict events in 2012 or some other future date; it spoke to our ancient ancestors in the faith, who had enough challenges of their own.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.c

    Greg Carey is the Professor of New Testament @ Lancaster Theological Seminary.

  • Bones

    Definitely not.

    All roads point to Rome.

  • Bones

    Because people couldn’t be wrong…….

    All we’re seeing is people regurgitating the same errors taught generation after generation…..

  • Bones

    What’s inspiring about Jesus slaughtering non-believers?

    Think of people you know who don’t believe.

    It quite frankly is not the same Jesus of the Gospels.

    The only people who could relate at all to Revelation are those Christians suffering REAL persecution.

    And no baking a cake isn’t it.

  • Bones

    Jesus didn’t talk about end times….Revelation isn’t about endtimes….Neither is Daniel…..

    Prophecy isn’t clairvoyance or fortune telling.

  • Bones

    Lol, you are the lovechild of Harold Campling and Hal Lindsey

  • Realist1234

    I dont believe Archer thinks the earth is 6000 years old, youre just making assumptions.

    Not sure where you get the 115 BC date. Around AD 30 aligns with Daniel’s prophecy. BTW you’ve assumed the dating is about the Messiah’s birth. It more likely is about His appearance, ie AD 30 ish. And you still havent shown how Cyrus’ timeline fits with Daniel’s prophecy.

    Yes Im sorry if I cut and pasted. He just made some salient points, though it seems you disagree with him. I dont see Jesus ‘under every rock’ but as the Son He was around! As for ‘arbitrary event’ – its hardly ‘arbitrary’ when it refers to a specific decree.

  • Wow. St. Peter could have fooled me. Why don’t you read Immanuel Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision for what actually happened at Edom and all the other places threatened with doom? Thanks and good-bye!

  • Ron McPherson

    I think Phil makes a very compelling case, though, regarding the use of apocalyptic language in early Jewish literature to describe catastrophic (though not necessarily literal) events. Surely we can all agree that Edom’s smoke is not still rising. So certainly ‘forever’ here does not mean literally forever. So if we acknowledge OT Isaiah employs considerable imagery as a way to describe events of that day, why should we assume the author Revelation does not do the same? Not being argumentative, just curious where you think Phil is off track.

  • Tim

    Er; did you see or read the links to the articles? Here they are again:

    https://bible.org/seriespage/chapter-4-evidence-jerusalem-harlot
    http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/j/jerusalem_as-babylon.html
    http://www.brantpitre.com/documents/Who-is-the-Whore-of-Babylon.pdf

    Rome is the Beast, Jerusalem is (the whore of) Babylon. The author of Revelation basically tells us this directly, as pointed out in the final link here.

  • Velikovsky has been soundly proven to not even conform to basic laws of physics.

  • But why is that likely?

    This is like when the YECers go, “You don’t think God could have made the world in six literal days?”

    Well, of course He could. He could have made the world yesterday and populated our memories and historical artifacts with the appearance of a much older world. He could have turned Aristotle’s house into cheese. But there’s just no reason to assume any of that is the case.

    If everything in the book of Revelation can be explained by a referent intelligible to John’s audience, it seems to me that we should favor that. There is absolutely no, nada, zero reason to assume that the best way to read Revelation is that it is talking about events in a (still) distant future.

  • Jesus did not do that, either. There’s no reason to think that he did.

  • Here we go.

    “Well, it’s not when the Messiah was born, it was when he ‘appeared’ in the Gospels, which was around 30 AD. I know he ‘appeared’ to lots of people before that, but anyway. The point is, he appeared around 30ish AD. Somewhere in there. 490 years before that would have been around 460 BC, which would have been when, uh… well, the exile began in 600, so not that. Um, well, the first deportation was… ok, 597. Well, the last one was… 581. Well, that won’t work. Let’s see… Cyrus’ decree was… 539, ok, we’re getting warmer. Construction of the temple started around 516. There we’ve got it.

    “If you use the date of construction of the second Temple as the start, and the age of the Messiah as the Gospels record his adult ministry, you end up with 490 years, give or take 50. See? Prophecy to the DATE!”

  • Bones

    The mark of the beast is the image of Caesars on their coins.

  • Realist1234

    I disagree (surprise). You have a very limited view of Jesus’ mission and His words. Strange given that the Gospel is for the whole world and all generations. The idea that all of Jesus’ words found their historical fulfilment in the 1st century is untenable.

  • Realist1234

    Not really analogous to a young earth scenerio, as the text indicates it was not 6 literal 24 hour periods.

    Im not assuming anything. I simply want to understand the text.

    Are you saying that everything Jesus said, and everything in Revelation (not to mention some references in the letters in the NT), has already come to pass in the 1st century, and none of it relates to any time after that?

  • Well, first of all, you can’t say, “This thing Jesus said is universally applicable, therefore everything he said was universally applicable.”

    With any ancient text, we are always having to make contextual decisions like that. This is why we aren’t all flying to Troas to bring Paul back his cloak, even though he includes an instruction to do so to Timothy.

    Second, how do you know the Gospel is for the whole world and all generations?

    Third, says you, I suppose, but people have found consistently that Jesus’ apocalyptic predictions can easily have historical referents that are in our rear view mirror just like all the other prophets who came before him, and I think that if we’re going to have a bias, a bias for Jesus’ audience and historical concerns should take precedent over our conceit that everything Jesus said was actually about us, not them.

  • The Genesis 1 text indicates no such thing. Any YECer will be happy to explain this to you. We argue that the text does not -require- a 24 hour understanding, not that the text disqualifies it. We pursue what we think is a more likely referent for the text given what we know both about ANE imagery and interpretation as well as what science has shown us is true about the world. Why you’ll allowed this for Genesis 1 but not Revelation, I’m not sure.

    I think virtually everything Jesus spoke apocalyptically about was aimed at the coming conflict with Rome, especially since his mission was very Israel-centric. We have to take seriously the fact that Jesus talks about a calamity that is about to happen within that generation. However, we also know that he intended the mission to move past Judea and, historically, pagan persecution of believers did not end until the fourth century, and Rome itself did not fall until much later.

    I think those horizons are probably found more in the apostles as they begin to look past Judea into the scattered church in the Roman world and begin to account for the destiny of the whole.

    Finally, we also have to account for the Jewish belief in a general resurrection as well as a renewed creation. Those things I would expect are relegated to the end of things as we know them, but others have argued capably that even those things have historical referents, and while I disagree with going that far with it (I don’t think all creation collapses into Israel’s story), I respect it, because at least such a view is trying to understand the text in light of its actual origins and use and not some modern fever dream about tanks and Russia and whatever else would have been totally off the radar of the biblical authors and the hearers.

  • Tim

    Ok, my links in reply to those who have disagreed with me on the identity of Babylon keep disappearing, so I’m going to post this separately to see if it sticks. This was specifically a reply to Bones below, however.

    Articles identifying Jerusalem rather than Rome as Babylon and why:

    https://bible.org/seriespage/chapter-4-evidence-jerusalem-harlot
    http://www.preteristarchive.com/StudyArchive/j/jerusalem_as-babylon.html
    http://www.brantpitre.com/documents/Who-is-the-Whore-of-Babylon.pdf

    Rome is the Beast that slays the Whore. Jerusalem is Babylon. In the third article, Dr. Pitre points out that the author of Revelation actually identifies it as Jerusalem!

  • Matthew

    Why does all this revelation seem so cryptic?

  • I know you were being tongue in cheek, but honestly, it’s cryptic because two thousand years and countless rises and fall of cultures separate us from the world these writings were generated in.

  • Realist1234

    1 – I didnt say that. I said that He was talking about BOTH His immediate audience and later generations. I do not believe, for example, that He was telling us to run for the mountains. You are the one insisting He ONLY was talking about His immediate audience in the 1st century, with no thought to anyone beyond that.

    Why you use the example of Paul’s cloak I do not know. I am clearly not saying EVERYTHING written in the New Testament is for us now. Where did I say that?

    2 – Are you seriously saying the Gospel of Jesus was only for 1st century Jews, and noone else? If so I give up.

    3 – Again I am NOT saying that EVERYTHING Jesus said was about us rather than HIS 1st century audience.

    Either you didnt properly read what I said or you are purposefully twisting my words.

  • I am saying that, if we can find a point of reference for Jesus’ words that fit his historical scenario, there is no reason to favor (or include, in your case) a set of meanings that are defined by our scenario. If the Olivet Discourse is about the coming destruction of Jerusalem, then there is no reason to think it “also” is talking about the end of the world or includes something about the end of the world.

    As for point #2, I didn’t say that; I’m trying to get you to critically understand the criteria you use to decide if something is historically bound or trans-historical. I want to know what your reasons are for extending something past its historical horizon.

    The reason (heh) I’m harping on that is that this is normally the way we communicate and understand communication. If someone came to you and said, “Phil said that Apple stock is going to tank, shortly,” you would not wonder if I meant that Apple stock would tank 50 years from now. Or, if Apple’s stock did tank that week, you wouldn’t wonder if I also meant a future tanking of Apple stock. Or if I meant all stocks would tank. Or if I meant Apple’s stock would never go up again.

    We would just never import those concerns into the words of even very wise and knowledgeable people. There has to be a reason why you think Revelation talks about the end of the world. What are those reasons? What has made you decide that Revelation depicting the distant future is at least as likely as Revelation talking about the near term future of entities John and his audience would have been familiar with?

    I get that you’re saying that it’s both, but why is it both? Why would you even bother to look for a distant future component? Because, it seems to me, that if the text can be perfectly well explained by John’s own point of reference, we are performing some seriously weird interpretative maneuvers to -also- make it about the distant future. That’s just not the way communication works.

    If John writes something that explicitly or even implicitly pushes his subject into the distant future, then great! Let’s see that thing. What’s your reason?

  • Bones

    Rome is Babylon…..

    “The Great Prostitute rides the Beast. Though she is identified with Babylon, we learn that Revelation — like some other ancient Jewish and Christian texts — identifies Rome with Babylon. Indeed, Revelation links the Beast’s seven heads to Roman’s famous seven hills (17:9). What really distinguishes the Prostitute is her opulence. Decked out in luxurious clothing and holding a golden cup, she consorts with kings and merchants to generate enormous wealth by exploiting ordinary people (18:12-13). In short, the Great Prostitute has something to do with the exploitative nature of Roman imperial diplomacy and commerce, which extracted fabulous riches off the backs of farmers, laborers and slaves.”

    “Now that we’ve identified the Beast with Roman imperialism, the image of the Other Beast comes more clearly into focus. Revelation’s first Beast emerges from the sea — common imagery for western imperial powers in Jewish apocalyptic literature. But the Other Beast emerges from the earth and promotes worship of the first Beast. The Other Beast likely points to indigenous elites of Asia, who promoted worship of the Beast, Caesar. The cities of Roman Asia stood out for their devotion to Rome and its emperor. Much like modern cities compete for the Olympic Games and other events, the Asian cities petitioned the Roman Senate for permission to dedicate shrines and festivals to Rome and to Caesar. The local elites supported these endeavors, even equipping the choirs and other participants in the festivities.

    Now we see the source of Revelation’s conflict. Modern readers may struggle to imagine it, but ancient people really did worship their rulers. Roman emperors were acclaimed as “son of God,” “Lord” and “Savior” — the same titles Jesus’ followers applied to him. From John’s point of view, worship of the emperor amounted to idolatry. Just as important, Caesar governed a vast system of violence and exploitation, including the threat of persecution among the churches. In the Beast system, failure to honor Caesar amounted to treason. Indeed, Revelation alludes to believers who have died on account of their witness to Jesus (2:13; 6:9-11).”

    Rome is given the code name Babylon and is threatened with punishments from God for having subjected God’s people to eating food sacrificed to idols and other persecutions. As in Revelation, there is an expectation that God will soon intervene decisively on the side of God’s people. thus 6 Ezra is a link in the tradition of Christian apocalypticism adapting the conventions and concepts of Jewish apocalypticism.” (Invitation to the Apocrypha, pp. 205-206)

    20 reasons for thinking that “Babylon the great” is Rome not Jerusalem

    1. There is a consistent pattern in the Old Testament of judgment on Israel followed by judgment on the over-bearing nation by which Israel was judged. Habakkuk is a good example. How will God judge injustice in Israel? He will send the Chaldeans—he has “ordained them as a judgment” (Hab. 1:12). But the Chaldeans are worse than Israel! How is that fair? God’s answer is that the Babylonians in turn will be judged: “Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them” (Hab. 2:8). There we have the argument of Revelation in a nutshell.

    2. It is an integral part of Daniel’s “son of man” vision that the powerful kingdom that oppressed Israel would be judged and destroyed (Dan. 7:11), with dominion being given instead to the people of the saints of the Most High.

    3. The conviction is repeatedly expressed in Jewish apocalyptic literature that YHWH would soon judge unrighteous Israel, deliver the righteous, and destroy the foreign aggressor—first Greece and later Rome. In the late first century text 4 Ezra Rome, depicted as an eagle, a fourth beast, is accused of having terrorised the world: “you have judged the earth, but not with truth”. This insolent behaviour has “come up before the Most High”, and judgment is pronounced:

    Therefore you will surely disappear, you eagle, and your terrifying wings, and your most evil little wings, and your malicious heads, and your most evil talons, and your whole worthless body, so that the whole earth, freed from your violence, may be refreshed and relieved, and may hope for the judgment and mercy of him who made it. (4 Ezra 11:45-46)

    4. The Qumran sectarians fervently believed that the Kittim, Rome, would be destroyed and that they themselves would have dominion in a radically changed post-Roman world.

    5. Jesus said that when the Son of Man came, he would sit on his glorious throne and judge the nations according to how they had treated his disciples (Matt. 25:31-32). The function of the passage may be more rhetorical than strictly revelatory, but it at least shows that the nations were in the field of vision. Even for Jesus it was not all about Israel.

    6. Paul believed that YHWH was no longer willing to overlook the idolatry of the Greeks. He told the men of Athens that God had fixed a day on which he would judge this pagan civilisation in righteousness “by a man whom he has appointed” (Acts 17:30-31).

    7. Paul wrote in Romans that the coming wrath or judgment of God against the Jews would be followed by wrath against the Greeks (Rom. 2:6-11). This is not a final judgment of humanity—a particular culture is in view.

    8. The Thessalonians abandoned their idols to serve the living and true God, and to “wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10). This is the wrath that was to come on the idolatrous pagan oikoumenē that Paul spoke about in Athens.

    9. The pagan enemies of the persecuted Thessalonian believers will be judged “when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus” (2 Thess. 1:7–8). More to the point, the Caesar-like “man of lawlessness”, who “opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God”, will be brought to nothing by the appearance of Jesus’ coming (2 Thess. 2:3-8). As in Daniel the appearance of the son of man is closely linked to the destruction of the blasphemous pagan opponent of God’s people.

    10. The three angels of Revelation 14:6-11 proclaim the “good news” of a coming judgment against “Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality”. It is accompanied by a call to all peoples to worship the Creator in much the same terms as Paul’s preaching to the Athenians (Rev. 14:7; cf. Acts 17:24-25). In other words, this judgment is against the background of a classic Jewish polemic against pagan idolatry. It is a judgment of pagan Rome.

    11. Both 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, writing after AD 70, reflect on the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans by implicitly comparing Rome with Babylon. For example: “But the king of Babylon will arise who has now destroyed Zion, And he will boast over the people, And he will speak great things in his heart in the presence of the Most High” (2 Bar. 67:7). Ezra depicts the impending destruction of Babylon, and condemns Asia for having shared “in the glamour of Babylon and the glory of her person; Asia has “imitated that hateful harlot in all her deeds and devices” (4 Ezra 15:43-48). The parallel with Revelation 18:9-10 is clear:

    And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, “Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.”

    12. According to Sibylline Oracles book 5 (early second century) a “great star will come from heaven to the wondrous sea and will burn the deep sea and Babylon itself and the land of Italy, because of which many holy faithful Hebrews and a true people perished” (Sib. Or. 5:158-61). This is clearly a reference to Rome (cf. 5:149) and almost exactly the argument that we find in Revelation. A mighty angel throws a great millstone into the sea, saying “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more” (Rev. 18:21); and “in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth” (Rev. 18:24).

    13. Peter most likely refers to Rome as “Babylon” (1 Pet. 5:13). Eusebius claimed that Peter “composed it in Rome itself, which… he himself indicates, referring to the city metaphorically as Babylon” (HE 2.15.2).

    14. Conversely, there is no good precedent for identifying Jerusalem with Babylon in Jewish literature. If it is claimed that the Jews would not have applied the name “Babylon” to themselves, we only need to note the sectarian, anti-establishment character of much Jewish apocalyptic literature. The Qumran community, for example, had every reason to denounce Jerusalem as a modern Babylon.

    15. It could be argued that in the Old Testament the metaphor of harlotry generally entails unfaithfulness to God or breach of the covenant. For example: “But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his” (Ezek. 16:15). But in the Old Testament the unfaithfulness to YHWH is always apparent. Babylon the great is not depicted as an unfaithful wife who plays the whore. She is simply a prostitute. Nahum’s denunciation of Nineveh (“all for the countless whorings of the prostitute, graceful and of deadly charms, who betrays nations with her whorings, and peoples with her charms”: Nah. 3:4) offers a close and obviously relevant parallel.

    16. The woman is seated on seven heads, which are “seven mountains” (Rev. 17:9). There is no reason to think that John would have been unfamiliar with the traditional view that Rome was a city built on seven hills. The argument is sometimes made from 1 Enoch 24-25 that Jerusalem was also thought of as a city on seven mountains, but it’s not at all clear that these seven mountains, which surround another mountain identified as the place of the throne of God, represent Jerusalem. In fact, Enoch then goes from that place to the centre of the earth (remember the earth is flat!), where he sees a “holy mountain”. This is Jerusalem. Zion is always a singular mountain in biblical and Jewish thought.

    17. It makes no sense to say that Jerusalem had “dominion over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 17:18) when the city had been under Roman occupation for the last hundred years and was about to be destroyed by Rome. The Jews certainly aspired to dominion over the nations, but that would come about only at the moment of eschatological crisis, not before.

    18. Earlier in Revelation Jerusalem is called “the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8). This great city is not to be confused with the second great city in Revelation, which is symbolically called “Babylon”. The seven bowls of Revelation 16 are poured out on Rome from the God who is “King of the nations” (Rev. 15:3). The sixth bowl prepares the way for the Parthian kings to invade Rome. The seventh bowl results in the “great city… Babylon the great” being split into three parts.

    19. The description of the fall of “Babylon the great” is pervaded with allusions to Old Testament oracles concerning Babylon and other Gentile cities. No obvious attempt is made to connect the narrative with Old Testament accounts of divine judgment against Jerusalem. “She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast” (Rev. 18:2) corresponds to the oracle against Babylon in Isaiah 13:21: “But wild animals will lie down there, and their houses will be full of howling creatures; there ostriches will dwell, and there wild goats will dance” (Is. 13:21). “For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her” (Rev. 18:3) echoes Jeremiah’s denunciation of Babylon: “Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’s hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad” (Jer. 51:7).

    20. Ah, but why do the tens horns and beast “hate the prostitute” if the prostitute is Rome? Why will they “make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire” (Rev. 17:16)? Here’s what Aune says: “The ten horns (the nations allied with Rome) and the beast (a Roman emperor, presumably Nero) will turn on the city of Rome and destroy it. This prediction may reflect the rumor that Nero would return from the east with Parthian allies to conquer Rome.”1 It will have to do.

    Btw the author of Revelation was most likely an Ebionite.

  • Bones

    14. Conversely, there is no good precedent for identifying Jerusalem with Babylon in Jewish literature. If it is claimed that the Jews would not have applied the name “Babylon” to themselves, we only need to note the sectarian, anti-establishment character of much Jewish apocalyptic literature. The Qumran community, for example, had every reason to denounce Jerusalem as a modern Babylon.

    15. It could be argued that in the Old Testament the metaphor of harlotry generally entails unfaithfulness to God or breach of the covenant. For example: “But you trusted in your beauty and played the whore because of your renown and lavished your whorings on any passerby; your beauty became his” (Ezek. 16:15). But in the Old Testament the unfaithfulness to YHWH is always apparent. Babylon the great is not depicted as an unfaithful wife who plays the whore. She is simply a prostitute. Nahum’s denunciation of Nineveh (“all for the countless whorings of the prostitute, graceful and of deadly charms, who betrays nations with her whorings, and peoples with her charms”: Nah. 3:4) offers a close and obviously relevant parallel.

    16. The woman is seated on seven heads, which are “seven mountains” (Rev. 17:9). There is no reason to think that John would have been unfamiliar with the traditional view that Rome was a city built on seven hills. The argument is sometimes made from 1 Enoch 24-25 that Jerusalem was also thought of as a city on seven mountains, but it’s not at all clear that these seven mountains, which surround another mountain identified as the place of the throne of God, represent Jerusalem. In fact, Enoch then goes from that place to the centre of the earth (remember the earth is flat!), where he sees a “holy mountain”. This is Jerusalem. Zion is always a singular mountain in biblical and Jewish thought.

    17. It makes no sense to say that Jerusalem had “dominion over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 17:18) when the city had been under Roman occupation for the last hundred years and was about to be destroyed by Rome. The Jews certainly aspired to dominion over the nations, but that would come about only at the moment of eschatological crisis, not before.

    18. Earlier in Revelation Jerusalem is called “the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified” (Rev. 11:8). This great city is not to be confused with the second great city in Revelation, which is symbolically called “Babylon”. The seven bowls of Revelation 16 are poured out on Rome from the God who is “King of the nations” (Rev. 15:3). The sixth bowl prepares the way for the Parthian kings to invade Rome. The seventh bowl results in the “great city… Babylon the great” being split into three parts.

    19. The description of the fall of “Babylon the great” is pervaded with allusions to Old Testament oracles concerning Babylon and other Gentile cities. No obvious attempt is made to connect the narrative with Old Testament accounts of divine judgment against Jerusalem. “She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast” (Rev. 18:2) corresponds to the oracle against Babylon in Isaiah 13:21: “But wild animals will lie down there, and their houses will be full of howling creatures; there ostriches will dwell, and there wild goats will dance” (Is. 13:21). “For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her” (Rev. 18:3) echoes Jeremiah’s denunciation of Babylon: “Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’s hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad” (Jer. 51:7).

    20. Ah, but why do the tens horns and beast “hate the prostitute” if the prostitute is Rome? Why will they “make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire” (Rev. 17:16)? Here’s what Aune says: “The ten horns (the nations allied with Rome) and the beast (a Roman emperor, presumably Nero) will turn on the city of Rome and destroy it. This prediction may reflect the rumor that Nero would return from the east with Parthian allies to conquer Rome.”1 It will have to do.

    http://www.postost.net/lexicon/20-reasons-thinking-babylon-great-rome-not-jerusalem

    Btw the writer of Revelation was most likely an Ebionite.

  • Tim

    From the third article:
    2. The 7 Heads of the Beast and the 7 Caesars (Barber, Coming Soon, 6)
    “The seven hills are seven heads who are seven kings, ‘five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come,
    and when he comes he must remain only a little while’.” (Rev 17:19-10)
    1. Julius Caesar 49-44 B. C.
    2. Augustus 31 B.C. – A.D. 14
    3. Tiberius 14-37 A.D.
    4. Caligula (Gaius) 37-41 A.D.
    5. Claudius 41-54 A.D.
    6. Nero 54-68 A.D.
    7. Galba 68-69 A.D.
    Nero is the sixth king, reigning at the time Revelation is written. The one after Nero, Galba, reigned only “a little
    while” – six months in fact.

    Revelation directly identifies the “7 hills” as seven heads who are seven kings. Not seven literal hills. These are identified with the beast, not with Babylon.

  • Tim

    14) and 15) are red herrings or straw men.
    16) The seven hills represent seven rulers, not actual hills; we are told directly in the verses there that these “hills” are representative of rulers/ kings. Again, these have to do with the Beast/ Rome, not Babylon.
    18) Revelation also makes it clear that Sodom/ Egypt and Babylon are all synonymous/ the same place, hence Jerusalem.
    20) is a total reach, and doesn’t make sense at all.

  • Tim

    All of the first paragraphs here suggest that Rome is the Beast, not Babylon.
    There is nothing in this list that points explicitly to Rome as Babylon. If anything, just the opposite.

  • Tim

    And, the majority of biblical scholars find the evidence to be in favour of Jerusalem as Babylon.

  • gimpi1

    You know that Dr Corey just defended his dissertation and earned his doctorate, right?

  • gimpi1

    Um, Veliskovsky’s hypothesis has been soundly disproved from a historical and scientific standard. Just for a start, the thermodynamics don’t work.

  • Nixon is Lord

    yes, and you’ve censored the reasons why I don’t think that a PhD in “Divinity” is anywhere near the intellectual or social equivalent of an MD degree.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    You should probably have identified this as a repost at the top or at least noted that it was someone else’s commentary so the reader doesn’t have to infer that it might be and wonder and click the link and figure it out on one’s own.

  • Bones

    Yeah you had to read the post to the end to find that out.

    Honestly you’re just being a whiny little bitch.

  • Bones

    Rubbish…the consensus of modern scholarship is that Babylon is Ancient Imperial Rome.

  • Bones

    You obviously need to read it again….

    Aside from the fact that Rome is explicitly mentioned as Babylon in ancient writings and Jerusalem is NEVER referred to Babylon in any ancient writing ever.

    How does Jerusalem have dominion over the kings of the Earth at the time of Revelation’s writing?

    Revelation was written after Jerusalem had been wiped out…..

  • Bones

    So you have nothing to say about the other 15.

    There is no evidence that Jerusalem was described as Babylon, ever.

    At the time of writing, Jerusalem had been wiped out.

    It was hardly a city which had dominion over kings.

  • Bones

    Except the woman sitting atop the 7 Caesars or mountains (wtf) is Babylon….either way that is Rome….it sure as hell isn’t Jerusalem which had been wiped out.

    Babylon is intrinsically related to the Beast.

    Revelation was written during the reign of Domitian…..not Nero.

    Oh and another early reference to Babylon as Rome….

    “When one from Italy shall smite the neck
    Of the isthmus, mighty king of mighty Rome,
    A man made equal to God, whom, they say,
    Zeus himself and the august Hera bore
    He, courting by his voice all-musical
    Applause for his sweet Songs, shall put to death
    With his own wretched mother many men.
    From Babylon shall flee the fearful lord
    And shameless whom all mortals and best men
    Abhor; for he slew many and laid hands
    Upon the womb; against his wives he sinned
    And of men stained with blood had he been formed.
    And he shall come to monarchs of the Medes
    And Persians, first whom he loved and to whom
    He brought renown, while with those wicked men
    He lurked against a nation not desired
    And on the temple made by God he seized
    And citizens and people going in,
    Of whom I justly sang the praise, he burned
    (Sibylline Oracles, Book 5.187-205, Milton S. Terry revised translation)”

    Also in 71CE coins were printed showing the goddess Roma (the prostitute in Revelation) sitting on the city’s seven hills.

    See here….

    http://www.icollector.com/Roman-Empire-Vespasian-69-79-Sestertius-71-28-39g_i9258028

    These coins had already been identified with the Mark of the Beast. (Rev 13:17)

    To first century Christians holding those coins in their purses, they would know exactly what it meant.

  • Tim

    The woman atop the 7 hills is identified as the Whore of Babylon, so is distinct from the Beast.

  • Tim

    Actually, I gave a reply on the other 15, most of which are simply a ridiculous interpretation of the data.
    I see you are one of the people that think Revelation was written after the destruction of Jerusalem. The evidence is actually weighted slightly in favour of pre 70 AD writing of Revelation.

  • Tim

    You have to remember that everything in Revelation is symbolic. We are told what some of the symbols refer to, but not all. So, nothing literally represents what is said there. Everything is a symbol representing something else. Revelation was most likely written before Jerusalem was sacked in 70 AD, but it doesn’t really matter with regard to this discussion. The point is that these events are what is being referred to. It is quite clear that the Beast is Rome and Babylon is Jerusalem in Revelation 17.

  • Tim

    Sorry, that’s incorrect. I read an article yesterday on the Pro Rome view from a Jewish site, and even he admitted that modern scholarly consensus was majority Jerusalem as Babylon view.

  • Tim

    “17 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. 2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”

    3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 The name written on her forehead was a mystery:

    babylon the great
    the mother of prostitutes
    and of the abominations of the earth.”

    Here, the woman sitting on the beast is identified as Babylon. So, the prostitute, the whore is distinct from the beast identified elsewhere as Rome.

    6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God’s holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus.

    When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 7 Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.”

    Again, the woman is distinct from the beast.

    “9 “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. 10 They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.”

    The seven hills are clearly not literal hills, but are described as kings (of Rome) The woman sits on them. Again, clearly distinct from the beast, clearly associated here with Rome.

    “15 Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages. 16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled. 18 The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.””

    Here again, the beast hates the prostitute (and is distinct from it), and eats her flesh and burns her with fire. This describes the destruction of the woman (prostitute, whore of Babylon) by the Beast, which is Rome. “They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire”. A great, if somewhat poetic description of the destruction of Rome in 70 AD.

    It’s pretty bloody clear to me. I don’t understand why you can’t see it.

  • Tim

    On further checking, it would appear that this is the case. Evidently the Jewish source that said the opposite was mistaken. There are however several heavy hitters in the biblical scholarship arena that are in favour of the Jerusalem view, apparently including N.T. Wright, who is certainly no slouch when it comes to these things.

  • Tim

    In this article, the author talks about the various options that have been presented in identifying Babylon, but makes a solid case as to why it is mostl likely Jerusalem. It’s a bit of a longer read, but presents evidence worth considering. https://bible.org/book/export/html/6270

  • Realist1234

    And I thought I could be sarcastic!

  • I’ll admit it’s not one of my more attractive features.

  • Tim

    https://bible.org/book/export/html/6270

    There is quite a strong case for pre 70 CE dating of Revelation.

  • Tim

    It would seem that there are some good reasons to think at least part of it was written pre-destruction.

  • Tim

    Although there are quite a few heavy hitters that disagree.

  • gimpi1

    How have I censored anything? I just pointed out that Dr. Corey has a doctorate.

    Anyone who has obtained a doctorate is entitled to use the title Dr. No one is claiming to be an M.D. You are the one who brought that up.

    Now, you can be as testy as you want about Dr. Corey using the title he’s earned. Knock yourself out. Personally, I think it’s a bit silly, but whatever floats your boat.

    I’m curious, though, about why it bothers you so much.

  • Nixon is Lord

    Because it’s usually people in “Divinity” (and education ) who are most eager to proclaim their “equality” with actual doctors; real doctors never demand this.

  • Bones

    Such as……..

  • Bones

    The case is compelling for a later date….

    Kummel provides the following information on dating the Apocalypse of John (Introduction to the New Testament, pp. 466-8):

    According to the oldest tradition [in Iren., Adv. Haer. 5.30.3] Rev was written toward the end of the reign of Domitian (81-96). The book’s own testimony indicates that it originated in the province of Asia in a time of severe oppression of Christians, which is most readily conceivable under Domitian. In the letters included in Rev, persecutions by the officials are expected (2:10), the blood of the martyrs has already flowed (2:13; 6:9), the whole of Christianity is threatened with a fearful danger (3:10): the immediate prospect is for the outbreak of a general persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire. In 17:6 John sees the harlot who is Babylon-Rome drunk on the blood of the saints and the blood of the witnesses of Jesus (cf. 6:10; 16:6; 18:24; 19:2). In 20:4 participation in the thousand-year reign is promised to the martyrs who have been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and for the word of God, and who have not worshiped the beast and his image and have not accepted his sign on their forehead and in their hand, i.e., those who have refused divine honors to the emperor (13:4, 12 ff; 14:9, 11; 16:2; 19:20). Christianity has collided with the state and with the state religion, the Christ cult with the imperial cult. In the interest of faith, Rev raises passionate objections to Rome and the imperial cult. That corresponds to the situation under Domitian.

    Prior to Domitian, the state religion did not direct itself against the Christians. Nero’s mad acts in Rome against the Christians had nothing to do with the imperial cult. Under Domitian, who according to the Eastern pattern laid claim to divine honors for himself as emperor during his own lifetime, there arose for the first time the persecution of Christians by the state on religious grounds. In 96 in Rome members of the imperial household were called to account for the charge of αθεοτησ; i.e., violation of the state religion. And in the Christian tradition Domitian is unanimously regarded as the first persecutor of Christians after Nero. In the province of Asia imperial cult was promoted with special zeal. Under Domitian, Ephesus received a new imperial temple. Thus it was precisely in the province of Asia, the classical land of the imperial cult, that at the time of Domitian all the prerequisites were present for a severe conflict between Christianity and the state cult, which is what Rev has in view (cf. also I Pet). The seer nowhere points directly to Domitian as the then reigning emperor, and the Antichrist, the “beast” (13:1 ff, etc.), does not bear the features of any specific ruler but rather those of the demonic form of Nero redivivus, which was still a popular expectation in that time. But the temporal scene which Rev sketches fits no epoch of primitive Christianity so well as the time of the persecution under Domitian.

    “Kummel goes on to propose an interpretation of 17:9 wherein the counting of the emperors begins with Caligula so that Domitian would be the sixth in succession. He concludes (op. cit., p. 469):

    Also favoring the end of the first century as the time of origin of Rev is the fact that according to 2:8-11, the church of Smyrna has been persevering for a long time, while according to Polycarp (Phil 11:3), at the time of Paul it did not even exist; and 3:17 describes the community of Laodicea as rich, while this city had been almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in A.D. 60/61.

    In all likelihood, therefore, Rev was in fact written toward the end of the reign of Domitian, i.e., ca. 90-95, in Asia Minor, in order to encourage Christian communities threatened by a destructive persecution to endure and to make them confident of the imminent victory of Christ over the powers of the Antichrist.”

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/revelation.html

    It simply wasn’t fortune telling.

  • Bones

    N.T. Wright’s interpretation of Revelation borders on nonsense.

  • Bones

    It’s not clear at all.

    It is clear and would be clear to ANY first century Christian that the woman is Roma -the goddess of Rome.

    Btw Rome is surrounded by water….Jerusalem isn’t anywhere near it.

    And there was only one great city which ruled over the Earth in the 1st century CE and the preceding centuries.

    It sure as bloody hell wasn’t Jerusalem.

  • Bones

    Wrong!!!

  • Tim

    I remember reading about the debate between the two viewpoints years ago (like around 2007), and from what I remember, the evidence was split about 50/50 with perhaps a slight favouring of the earlier date. Either way though, the timing has no real bearing on the identity of Babylon. It does make a difference as to whether Revelation was written as prescient prophecy or the more mundane variety in hindsight. I don’t really have a vested interest in either viewpoint, except that a later dating gives perhaps slightly more credibility to dispensational futurism, which I am against.

  • Tim

    N.T. Wright, for one. There’s a short list in the last article I linked.

  • Bones

    There is not a skerrick of evidence anywhere that Jews or Christians referred to Jerusalem as Babylon…..there is abundant evidence from the first century and before that Rome is described as Babylon.

  • Bones

    The evidence is decidedly against a pre-70 date…….

  • Bones

    No, it sits atop the Beast and Rome’s idolatry will destroy itself.

    It is surrounded by water.

    It sits on 7 hills.

    It was the great city which ruled the world.

    It was Rome.

  • Tim

    How does that really ultimately have any bearing on whether “John” referred to it as Babylon in Revelation? The last article I posted from the bible.org site goes into an explanation of why this is not the problem for the Jerusalem view many imagine it is. (Along with addressing all of the other supposed problems)

  • Tim

    You asked for an example. He’s only one on the list.

  • Tim

    A quote from the article I cited:
    “Although many students of the Book of Revelation are perhaps not even aware of this position,49 I am persuaded thus far that the many lines of evidence that illuminate our understanding of this mysterious metaphor are best synthesized in the view that the harlot Babylon is intended first and foremost to represent the city of Jerusalem in the first century, being judged by God in her desolation by Rome. Others who share this view include Ford, Russell, Terry, Chilton, Gentry, and apparently, N. T. Wright.”

    This is not an exhaustive list.

    Also, upon what are you basing your assertion that Wright’s interpretation of Revelation borders on nonsense? (That’s a genetic fallacy in logic anyway, btw.)

  • Tim

    If you’d actually bother to read the article, you would see why those ‘issues’ are not as problematic as you think.

  • Tim

    I think I mentioned this in another reply, but on further checking, I noted that the author of that article was incorrect. I did think it was interesting though that he would say this even though his was a pro-Rome view.

  • Tim

    It says right in the text of Revelation that the woman sits atop the Beast/ 7 hills which are explained in chapter 18 to be 7 heads/ kings representing Rome/ the Beast. So the woman is clearly distinct from the Beast/ Rome. Again, the 7 hills are not literal. It says this right in Revelation. Read the article I posted for its discussion on the “great city that ruled the world” bit.

  • Tim

    That depends greatly on who you ask. This has not been unanimously determined, and continues to be debated. Not that this really matters in terms of our main discussion.

  • Tim

    “Before I share my reasons for claiming the earlier date, let’s examine why some believe it was written after the reign of Nero. First, because there is conflicting testimony concerning when John was exiled to the island of Patmos (where he wrote the epistle). Some have said that he was exiled there by Domitian (who came after Nero) and was on the island between 81 AD and 96 AD. However, there are also many historical documents that contradict that claim and say that John was exiled during the reign of Nero (before AD 70).

    The strongest evidence for a later date comes from Irenaeus (120-202 AD) who claimed that John wrote his Revelation under the reign of Domitian. However, Irenaeus had a pretty lousy track record for historical accuracy. For example, he also wrote that Jesus’ ministry lasted twenty years and that he was crucified at age 50. No one takes those claims seriously, so perhaps we shouldn’t take his word for the date of John’s Revelation either.”

    From an article here: http://subversive1.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/ten-reasons-to-believe-revelation-was.html

  • Bones

    Say it isn’t so isn’t an argument.

    John did not write in a culture devoid of symbolism.

    Rome was known as Babylon to first century Jews and Christians and is specifically mentioned in apocryphal texts whcih the writer would have known..

    The arguments for Jerusalem are as weak as the Catholic Church, Islam, the US or Russia.

  • Bones

    An evangelical….surprise….surprise….

  • Bones

    Are those names actually academics or your Hal Lindsay variety evangelical?

    Wright’s interpretation that the New Jerusalem represents some future eschatologcial event is pure nonsense.

  • Tim
  • Bones

    Most scholars who claim a later date are not dispensationalists. They are academics – not shonky end timers or Zionists.

    Dispensationalism is dangerous nonsense..

    In fact neither is Revelation future prophecy.

  • Tim

    They are actually academics. I despise Lindsay and his ilk as much as the next guy.
    Fair enough I guess? Maybe he’s wrong on that point and maybe he isn’t, but disagreement with Wright on that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s wrong about other stuff. The guy is a highly educated bible scholar. He teaches at St. Andrews for God’s sake.

  • Tim

    Who is an evangelical?

  • Bones

    No doubt among Evangelicals and end timers it is.

    As well as those who want to cast aspersions on Jews.

  • Tim

    I’m aware that Rome was referred to as Babylon in that context. Not much else you’re saying here is making much sense.

  • Bones

    Not only is it problematic but to claim it is Jerusalem is to butcher the meaning of the text as well as the author’s intent….

  • Tim

    Wright is not an evangelical. He is an Anglican. The former Bishop of Durham.

  • Tim

    Well, how do you know what the author’s intent was? You do realise that the destruction of Jerusalem was supposed to be a judgement from God, and so it makes sense that John would have referred to Jerusalem in a negative light. The internal evidence especially in Revelation itself is not problematic at all, but you have to go deeper than a surface reading to recognise that. That’s why that article is so good; it digs into all that stuff, and it actually makes perfect sense.

  • Tim

    Ironically, I’ve actually found the Rome view much more common among evangelicals, as it fits into their tendency toward dispensationalist futurism (or ‘end-timers’, as you call them).

    The Jerusalem interpretation has nothing at all to do with casting aspersions on Jews.
    Your thinking here is actually back to front in light of my experiences with Evangelicalism.

  • Tim

    Most Evangelicals are dispensationalists, and claim a later date for Revelation in my experience. I agree that dispensationalism is ridiculous.

    Interesting that you hold the view that Revelation is not future prophecy, because Preterists hold that view as well from a modern perspective at least (most preterists hold the view that at least most of Revelation was fulfilled/ or happened in and around AD70), but preterists are also pro-Jerusalem as Babylon interpretationally. I’m beginning to suspect that you have an ulterior motive for upholding the Rome view, but are actually trying to support it with internally conflicting viewpoints.

  • Matthew

    If everything was fulfilled in and around 70 AD, then what are we to think of Jesus´ second coming, final judgement, and heavenly/earthly renewal?

  • gimpi1

    OK, you’re still confusing “Dr. with M.D. My husband has a doctorate in geology (well, subduction zone geologic processes, to be specific). He uses “Dr.” on papers he publishes, but can’t treat disease. He’s a “real Doctor,” but not a medical doctor. Are you as pissed off as him?

  • Philip Bourdon

    The “bible is correct” about what?

  • Don’t even get him started on Doctor Who, Doctor J, the Spin Doctors, or Doctor Pepper.

  • gimpi1

    Good point. How dare that soft drink use Doctor in its name when it can’t perform surgery!

  • Bones

    Not a preterist either….

    Preterists claim the prophecy was fulfilled in the first century.

    My claim is that the book isn’t prophetic AT ALL.

    It’s simply a description of the environment which ‘John’ found himself at the end of the first century and his wish for revenge and vindication.

    That is the academic historical critical view.

  • Bones

    No… it’s much more common that Babylon means Catholics, Islam, Russia or whatever….

    They rely on the same denial of historical context and made up interpretation of symbolism as those who espouse Jerusalem.

  • Bones

    Do you really believe the destruction of the Temple and the holocaust associated with it was judgement by God against Jerusalem?

    That’s an incredible indictment against the Jewish people…..

    The author of Revelation was a Christian Jew who still followed the Torah who saw the desecration of the Temple by the pagan armies of empire under the goddess Roma.

  • Bones

    So we have multiple accounts of Rome being described by Jews and Christians and none as Jerusalem…..

  • Bones

    The Book of Revelation – Professor Elaine Pagels

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWjtXasqPFM

  • Tim

    Except in Revelation.

  • Tim

    I’m saying that this is what Revelation (as well as parts of the gospels of the NT) is implying. Jesus is recorded as having said repeatedly that the temple would be destroyed, Jerusalem would be destroyed, as the Old Covenant/ Temple system had to go. It just fits the overall NT narrative. I see that you take offence to the notion that this is what the NT is saying, but it is; regardless of whether Babylon is Rome or Jerusalem. I don’t have anything against the Jewish people personally. The word harlot/ prostitute in the context of Revelation must refer to an unfaithful bride. Who else could that be other than Jerusalem? God did not have a covenant relationship with Rome that they could break.

  • Tim

    Sorry; did you grow up in evangelicalism? Because I did, and this is not what I experienced at all. I’ve certainly heard some of those other interpretations as well, but Rome is a much more common interpretation among this group.

  • Tim

    Prophecy just means truth telling. It doesn’t necessarily connote fortune telling/ predicting the future. This is why I’m saying that it doesn’t really matter on pre or post dating of 70 CE as to the identity of Babylon, since it is all symbolic anyway.

  • Matthew

    Ron … if Revelation is apocalyptic literature which was written for then and not now (eg speaking to events around 70AD), what are we to think about the images that suggest a second coming of Jesus, resurrection, final judgement, and earthly/heavenly renewal?

  • Tim

    Meh. This is one interpreter’s opinion. There are many different angles to interpretation of Revelation.

  • Bones

    Nothing.

  • Bones

    Many more good reasons to suggest it is post-destruction eg the description of the eruption of Pompeii.

  • Bones

    A prophet is someone who speaks for God.

    The date of composition is the key to understanding the text.

  • Tim

    It certainly helps, but certain elements aren’t affected as much as others.

  • Bones

    And this is your problem. You’re trying to read the gospels into Revelation instead of reading it as a separate text.

    Which it was.

    It simply wasn’t written by a Christian.

    It was written by a messianic Jew who saw the desecration of the Temple as the ultimate insult.

    You are reading your own bias into the text.

    Btw a harlot/prostitute is not the same as an unfaithful bride nor has anything to do with it…..A harlot/prostitute is someone you screw for money….

    You’re making up your own definitions now.

    Unbelievable that has to be said.

    And no, the destruction of the Temple was not God’s judgement on Jews.

    As the author of Revelation knew.

    God was going to get vengeance on the Romans for destroying the Temple and build a New Jerusalem.

  • Tim

    I’d be interested to know where this interpretation comes from, and which bit of Revelation refers to that.

  • Bones

    I did….I even remember Y2K was going to be the end of the world.

    And of course the Synagogue of Satan was the Jews..

  • Bones

    Yes they are.

  • Bones

    Meh, Pagels is representative of the current academic historical critical understanding of Revelation.

    There is no other interpretation needed.

  • Tim

    The Greek word for prophecy is propheteia, which is the amalgamation of two other words, pro, meaning forth and phemi, meaning to speak. So it literally just means, to speak forth.
    Definition: (prophecy, prophesying); The gift of communicating and enforcing revealed truth. (Interestingly apocalypse, the genre that Revelation is written in, simply means “revealing” or “unveiling”
    There is a connotation in its usage that is about speaking for God, but it isn’t inherent to the meaning.
    Prophecy doesn’t have to be about foretelling the future, and in fact often isn’t.

  • Tim

    If you’re referring to Revelation 18, then that makes Pompeii Babylon, not Rome. That fits the overall biblical narrative even less.

  • Ron McPherson

    Like the old hymn, “we will understand it better by and by”

  • Bones

    Revelation 8

    “8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, 9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.”

    Once again fairly common amongst modern critical scholars. Not by those who seek a futuristic interpretation though.

    Interestingly engraved on House 26 in Pompeii “Sodom and Gomorrah”

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/38aab69da5cd1d6f9af0ef4717db5ad3514b8c67416b1e3e46f340655480b7bf.jpg

  • Bones

    Lol…John made up his own definition of Babylon……

    No…..

  • Tim

    That passage could be describing nearly anything. Something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea. The key word there is “like”. Again, hyperliteralism will get one nowhere with Revelation.

  • Tim

    Well, clearly that is the conclusion you have come to anyway.

  • Tim

    What sort of argument is this?

  • Tim

    Not in my neck of the woods. All of the churches I grew up in were very pro Jewish and pro-Israel.

  • Tim

    This is just puzzling. You claim that this can’t possibly be a judgement on Jerusalem, but have no problem saying it was a judgement on Rome or Pompeii, or anything but Jerusalem. Many of the word pictures used in Revelation are not unique to Revelation, but have their sources in the Old Testament. It even tells us in the beginning of Revelation that it is symbolic; full of symbols. Most of the early christians it would have been written to would recognise these symbols because they came from their own traditions. The harlot/ woman imagery clearly refers to an unfaithful bride, which can only point to Jerusalem. Rome was never considered a covenant bride like Jerusalem was. There is no way that Rome could fit the description of an unfaithful bride. You are thinking of the way ‘prostitute’ (more properly, harlot) is used in modern language.

  • Tim

    He didn’t make up his own definition. Babylon was also associated with a place “figuratively called sodom and egypt”.
    From Revelation Chapter 11: 11 I was given a reed like a measuring rod and was told, “Go and measure the temple of God and the altar, with its worshipers. 2 But exclude the outer court; do not measure it, because it has been given to the Gentiles. They will trample on the holy city for 42 months. 3 And I will appoint my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth.” 4 They are “the two olive trees” and the two lampstands, and “they stand before the Lord of the earth.”[a] 5 If anyone tries to harm them, fire comes from their mouths and devours their enemies. This is how anyone who wants to harm them must die. 6 They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

    7 Now when they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up from the Abyss will attack them, and overpower and kill them. 8 Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city—which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt—where also their Lord was crucified.

    Tell me then: 1) how was he supposed to measure the temple if it had already been destroyed? 2) v. 8 above: “Their bodies will lie in the public square of THE GREAT CITY (hmm, where have we heard this term?) which is FIGURATIVELY CALLED SODOM and EGYPT (sorry, can’t bold it) WHERE ALSO THEIR LORD WAS CRUCIFIED.” Hmm. Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem, not in Rome. Here we have the Great City (referred to later in chapters 17/ 18) directly identified as Jerusalem. It cannot be Rome.

  • Matthew

    Can you explain why?

  • Matthew

    There’s gotta’ be an answer …

  • Ron McPherson

    Read something once where a guy said something to the effect that it’s not the stuff that he doesn’t understand that bothers him, but instead what bothers him is the stuff he DOES understand. The older I get and the longer I’ve been indwelt by the Spirit, the more I keep being drawn to Matthew 22:35-40. That one I DO understand. And living just in that one alone could probably occupy a lifetime here and throughout eternity.

  • Matthew

    Thanks Ron.

  • Matthew

    Have you heard of “progressive parallelism”?

  • Herm
  • Ron McPherson

    Yes, but not entirely familiar with it. Seems to try and apply Rev in both historical and future concepts I think

  • Bones

    Yes.

  • Bones

    Yes according to you, he ignored his cultural context and writings of the time to create his own individual understanding of the meaning of Babylon.

    This is to make it fit in with your ideology.

    You can now do that with any term you want.

    That is not how historical study is done.

  • Bones

    John saw it that way.

    Of course it wasn’t a real judgement because God doesn’t go around destroying nations.

    Mystery Babylon is the harlot who will screw you for money.

    It is not described as an unfaithful bride.

  • Bones

    Yes and all saw the destruction of jerusalem as God’s judgement against Jerusalem.

  • Bones

    Yes…based on facts, historical context and the text.

  • Bones

    If it is written late first century it simply isn’t prophetic at all.

    Nothing has been or will be fulfilled.

    It is merely an interpretation of past events.

  • Bones

    Pompeii was part of the roman empire.

    Goodness, Rome was not just a city.

  • Bones

    I’m well aware of all that.

  • Matthew

    I only read something briefly on the internet about it Ron. I think what you say is true though.

  • Tim

    No, but in this discussion, we’re referring to a specific city. You’re starting to throw in a lot of red herrings here.

  • Tim

    And others who are more highly trained in theology than both of us have come to the alternate conclusion based on those same data. It comes down to which position one finds more convincing as a best fit of those data. I think you are letting certain assumptions sway your view.

  • Tim

    Yes, although most were still of the opinion that Rome was Babylon, wierdly.

  • Tim

    No, sorry, that second part just doesn’t fit. Also note that it is Mystery Babylon, not Babylon. That is another huge clue that John is not talking about the regular Babylon. Perhaps it is better to say that it wasn’t God that destroyed the nation, but rather just that the downfall of the temple and Jewish sacrificial system of religion were to be destroyed, and that was spoken of prophetically (not foretellin the future, per se but more like a symbolic “news report”) around the time it happened.

  • Tim

    He “ignored” his cultural context only in the sense that he was saying something new to a new group of people, but he also was not ignoring it at the same time. Note that John refers to this Babylon as ‘Mystery Babylon’ to give his readers a clue that he is differentiating between the new referent and “regular” Babylon, because he knew they would otherwise think of Rome. The other pieces of data surrounding this give us major clues he is talking about Jerusalem.
    I’m not doing this to fit it in with my ideology, I’m merely looking for a best fit for the data we have. I’m convinced that the data best point to Mystery Babylon being Jerusalem for both historical and theological context reasons.

  • Bones

    Lol…in other words he ignored his historical context…..and created a new symbol…..

    This happens with no other word study in the Bible or Ancient History…

    It’s basically a case of I’ll make it fit whatever I want.

    No, it was well known to first century Jews and Christians who Babylon was, who the city on 7 hills was, who the great city which ruled the world was…..

    And it wasn’t Jerusalem.

    The data is very clear – it was Rome.

  • Bones

    At no stage at all is Mystery Babylon described as an ‘unfaithful bride’. Anywhere. She is a harlot who prostitutes herself among the nations (so money and commerce are involved).

    ‘John’ is writing a declaration of war on the Roman Empire. You cannot follow Jesus and submit to it.

  • Bones

    And Daniel’s imagery all related to events prior to the first century BCE.

    Daniel wasn’t even written until the mid second century BCE.

  • Bones

    It’s not a red herring because you say it is.

    It was part of the Roman Empire and a key event in the late first century CE.

    You must think people in the first century were stupid.

  • Bones

    Oh no it doesn’t fit with my interpretation so it must be wrong.

    No.

    It fits exactly with Revelation 8 and was a well known event.

    The whole point of the symbolism is that people knew what the symbol was referring to….not some future anonymous catastrophe….

    It was real….to them.

  • Bones

    I don’t have a problem saying that the Jesus of Revelation is in NO way the Jesus of the gospels….(‘John’ had no vision or words from Jesus)

    I am aware that is heretical….or something….

    So bite me….

  • Bones

    Try reading Elaine Pagels….Greg Carey…..Craig Koestar has written some new stuff.as well…

    Or watch them on youtube for a summary.

  • Bones

    You have to ignore the text and the first century context to think Babylon is Jerusalem….whoops

  • Matthew

    Love Bites – Def Leppard – 1988

  • Robert

    Marcion knew what the beast was. But…the church fathers got rid of him, but fast!
    The number of the beast… c’mon…are you guys really that dull…?
    The six-pointed star, kids…
    Passed a temple the other day… and the insignia was a symbol of three interwoven six-pointed stars. Any of you brilliant people actually remember the most dangerous enemy of the early church..? Huh..?
    It wasn’t Rome…!
    I love the Jewish people…but…
    their religion and their scripture is quite devilish…like the Koran…
    C’mon!! Animal sacrifice..? Stonings..? Polygamy…? The arrogant consciousness of being The Chosen…?
    Jesus mortally wounded it… but…Christianity welcomed those scriptures into it’s canon…big mistake.
    That’s why we have the machination of Roman Catholicism and all of it’s spawns.
    It’s merely the illegitimate daughter of it’s beastly mother, Judaism.
    Just sayin…,,
    Oh well…bon apétit….!

  • Tim

    No, it’s a red herring because we are talking about Rome, not Pompeii.

  • Tim

    No, it just doesn’t fit with the facts. Revelation 8 is clearly not describing Pompeii.

    I think I’m done with this conversation. It’s clear neither of us is going to change the other’s mind, so we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this point.

  • Tim

    Alan James Beagley, David Chilton, J. Massyngberde Ford, Peter Gaskell, Kenneth Gentry, Edmondo Lupieri, Bruce Malina, Iain Provan, J. Stuart Russell, Milton S. Terry[23] and theologians[who?] point out that although Rome was the prevailing pagan power in the 1st century when the Book of Revelation was written, the symbolism of the whore of Babylon refers not to an invading infidel of foreign power, but to an apostate false queen, a former “bride” who has been unfaithful and who, even though she has been divorced and cast out because of unfaithfulness, continues to falsely claim to be the “queen” of the spiritual realm.[24][25][26] This symbolism did not fit the case of Rome at the time.
    Several Old Testament prophets referred to Jerusalem as being a spiritual harlot and a mother of such harlotry (Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:1–11; Ezekiel 16:1–43; Ezekiel 23, Galatians 4:25). Some of these Old Testament prophecies as well as the warnings in the New Testament concerning Jerusalem are in fact very close to the text concerning Babylon in Revelation, suggesting that John may well have actually been citing those prophecies in his description of Babylon.[28]

    For example, in Matthew 23:34–37 and Luke 11:47–51, Jesus himself assigned all of the bloodguilt for the killing of the prophets and of the saints (of all time) to the Pharisees of Jerusalem, and, in Revelation 17:6 and 18:20,24, almost identical phrasing is used in charging that very same bloodguilt to Babylon. This is also bolstered by Jesus’ statement that “it’s not possible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.” (Luke 13:33).[29]

  • Tim

    Not true.
    Alan James Beagley, David Chilton, J. Massyngberde Ford, Peter Gaskell, Kenneth Gentry, Edmondo Lupieri, Bruce Malina, Iain Provan, J. Stuart Russell, Milton S. Terry[23] and theologians[who?] point out that although Rome was the prevailing pagan power in the 1st century when the Book of Revelation was written, the symbolism of the whore of Babylon refers not to an invading infidel of foreign power, but to an apostate false queen, a former “bride” who has been unfaithful and who, even though she has been divorced and cast out because of unfaithfulness, continues to falsely claim to be the “queen” of the spiritual realm.[24][25][26] This symbolism did not fit the case of Rome at the time.
    Several Old Testament prophets referred to Jerusalem as being a spiritual harlot and a mother of such harlotry (Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:1–11; Ezekiel 16:1–43; Ezekiel 23, Galatians 4:25). Some of these Old Testament prophecies as well as the warnings in the New Testament concerning Jerusalem are in fact very close to the text concerning Babylon in Revelation, suggesting that John may well have actually been citing those prophecies in his description of Babylon.[28]

    For example, in Matthew 23:34–37 and Luke 11:47–51, Jesus himself assigned all of the bloodguilt for the killing of the prophets and of the saints (of all time) to the Pharisees of Jerusalem, and, in Revelation 17:6 and 18:20,24, almost identical phrasing is used in charging that very same bloodguilt to Babylon. This is also bolstered by Jesus’ statement that “it’s not possible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.” (Luke 13:33).[29]

  • Tim

    Furthermore: “One of the simplest, yet strongest clues that Jerusalem is to be understood as the harlot of Babylon is that John seems to give the answer away directly to the observant reader in a couple of key places in Revelation. At the end of chapter 17, the interpreting angel tells John the identity of the adulterous woman explicitly: “The woman whom you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth” (hJ gunh h}n eide” e[stin hJ povli” hJ megavlh hJ e[cousa basileivan ejpi tw’n basilevwn th'” gh'”). This phrase “the great city” seems to be set forth with the assumption that the reader knows what city that would be, and the phrase is tossed around several more times in this passage.47 Moreover, the phrase appears to be used quite exclusively in the book of Revelation. Outside of this passage, in which it occurs many times, all of which clearly refer to Babylon, the phrase only appears twice in the rest of this twenty-two-chapter book. The first, and most important occurrence of the designation “the great city” is in 11:8, which reads, “And [the two witnesses’] bodies will lie in the street of the great city which is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified” (to ptw’ma aujtw’n ejpi th'” plateiva” th'” povlew” th'” megavlh” h{ti” kalei’tai pneumatikw'” Sovdoma kai Ai[gupto” o{pou kai oJ kuvrio” aujtw’n ejstaurwvqh).48 This verse is extremely significant. In it, we have two major pieces of information relevant to our study.

    First, it is all but indisputable that “the great city” as identified here is Jerusalem, “where also their Lord was crucified.”49 This alone sets a powerful precedent for the term before we come to chapters 17 and 18. This term is not used carelessly for many cities in the book, but rather only twice without explicit reference to Babylon. It is hard to imagine this reference not ringing in the ears of the original audience when they would arrive at 17:18. It would easily be the most natural step, if a somewhat shocking one.

    Secondly, the writer also sets a precedent for using metaphorical names for Jerusalem, specifically names of Israel’s ancient enemies. This tells us two things: we should not be surprised if he does it again, and Jerusalem is being painted in a very negative light in Revelation.

    A similar occurrence of the phrase “the great city” is found in 16:19, where again we have a vital clue to the identity of the harlot who appears later. The verse reads, “And the great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell” (kai ejgevneto hJ povli” hJ megavlh eij” triva mevrh kai aiJ povlei” tw’n ejqnw’n e[pesan). The key point to be made here is that “the great city” is apparently contrasted with “the cities of the nations.” It could be that the great city is merely one of the cities of the nations, but it seems more likely that the two are to be distinguished; we are not told that the other cities of the nations fell, just that the cities of the nations fell, as distinct from the great city. As Ford comments, “The juxtaposition of this phrase with the ‘cities of the nations’ suggests that it is not a Gentile location, such as Rome.”50 This also becomes more probable in light of the lexical ambiguity of the Greek. For neutrality’s sake, the translation given above has simply rendered tw’n ejqnw’n “of the nations.” In Greek, of course, the term may be translated either in this manner or more specifically as “of the Gentiles.” The NET Bible notes this as an alternative translation, and if we take this option, the text is even more telling. In this case “the great city” would be juxtaposed against “the cities of the Gentiles.” In light of the last use of “the great city,” in which it was identified as the place “where also their Lord was crucified,” this does not seem unlikely. What makes this especially significant for our present study is that this verse may bridge the gap between 11:8 and 17:18 in that the remaining portion of 16:19 fills out the image of this “great city” by identifying it explicitly as Babylon.

    In addition, this interpretation can be further validated by the Old Testament background of the city’s fate in this passage. As several commentators have recognized, the splitting of the city into three parts seems to echo Ezek 5:1–5 in which God has the prophet divide his hair into three parts as a depiction of coming judgment upon a city, specifically, the desolation of Jerusalem, which will occur in thirds.51 Taking together the precedent of Rev 11:8, the contrast with the cities of the nations/Gentiles, and the background of Ezek 5, we have very compelling reasons to think 16:9, like 11:8, may be referring to Jerusalem as “the great city.” Not only that, “the great city” is here also clearly connected to the name “Babylon.” Again, these are the only two references to “the great city” in the book before we get to chapter 17. There is no other “great city” to be found in the Apocalypse, no other precedent to follow. If Jerusalem is not the harlot, it is worth asking at this point why John, who uses the phrase “the great city” so colorfully in chapters 17 and 18 has been so uncareful as to let it slip at two other places in the book, both of which would likely lead one to see Jerusalem as God’s enemy, if not Babylon itself.52

    One other similar phenomenon occurs in chapter 14, in which “the winepress was trodden outside the city” (ejpathvqh hJ lhno” e[xwqen th'” povlew” [14:20]). Almost all interpreters identify this city as Jerusalem53 (due to the grapes/vine imagery that is so commonly associated with Israel in the Old Testament54), yet the only “city” mentioned thus far in the chapter is “Babylon the great” (Babulwn hJ megavlh) in verse 8. The identification seems to be taken for granted. If this is the case, then all three passages in the book that anticipate the revealing of “the great city” in chapters 17 and 18 can be said to be evocative of, if not indicative of Jerusalem, and this necessarily sets a powerfully consistent motif in the mind of the reader by the time these later chapters are encountered.”

  • I think it is likely that the Jerusalem interpretation is probably more of a Greco-Roman early church father thing, but I can see where it comes from.

  • Bones

    Context tells us that the great city in the first century which had dominion over kings was Rome.

    That was clear to first century Christians and Jews.

    Jerusalem didn’t even exist anymore.

    Of course you have to do some scriptural gymnastics to make Jerusalem=Babylon, which has never been used, ever.

    The Apocalypse, Archaeology, and the Dead Sea Scrolls – Schaff Lecture 2013 – Part 2

    The Rev. Dr. Craig R. Koester addressed “The Beast and Babylon: The Political and Economic World of Revelation 13-18” during the Schaff Lectures.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLI3YsEaGcs

    Craig R. Koester is Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of Symbolism in the Fourth Gospel, The Dwelling of God, and Revelation and the End of All Things, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and professional journals.

  • Bones

    In other words, Babylon is not described as an ‘unfaithful bride’.

    Nowhere….

    Ever…..

    That has to be read into the text with required textual gymnastics.

    Babylon is a harlot who commits adultery with the nations…..

    It was the great city which had dominion over kings.

    It was the city on 7 hills which was the centre of economic commerce which had provinces jockeying to worship the Emperor….

    It was surrounded by water and is closely associated with the 7 emperors.

    This wasn’t the dead and destroyed city of Jerusalem.

    Those who say this doesn’t fit Rome at the time and fits Jerusalem instead don’t know their arse from their elbow.

    What a stupid thing to say.

  • Tim

    Babylon was a term used in the first century as well as before that for Rome, yes. Which is why I have repeatedly pointed out that John refers to Jerusalem as Mystery Babylon, in conjunction with other references tied to Jerusalem, to tell us this is what he is talking about. Mystery Babylon does not equal Babylon.
    Can’t say it any more plainly than that.

  • Tim

    “In other words, Babylon is not described as an ‘unfaithful bride’.”
    No; but Mystery Babylon is, clearly so, in Revelation. There is a difference between Babylon and Mystery Babylon.

  • Bones

    And Professors Pagels, Koestar and Carey, along with the text itself and the historical context of the time say it’s Rome.

    Craig R. Koester, “Revelation: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary” (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) 2015

    “Revelation is not about the destruction of the earth. Instead, the writer speaks of destroying the destroyers of the earth (chapter 11 verse 18). Note the difference. The writer assumes that the world is God’s creation, but the forces of evil have invaded it and now threaten the world’s wellbeing. Evil is like a cancer, which spreads through the body and destroys life. This is what defines the central conflict. The agents of destruction must be destroyed in order that life may be made new.

    Word pictures play a major role in Revelation. The writer takes us into a narrative world in which the antagonist is a seven-headed beast, and the protagonist is a Lamb, who was slaughtered but is now living. Angelic armies do battle with Satan, who is pictured as a great red dragon. Readers often imagine that the writer uses such images as a secret code, in order to conceal his meaning from all but a few insiders, who have the key to deciphering his message. But that is not the case.

    The writer uses word pictures to reveal meaning, not to conceal it. The vivid images are designed to shape the readers’ perspectives on the world in which they live. One might compare them to the cartoons we find in the editorial sections of the newspaper. The artist uses satirical images to make serious points about politics, the economy, social trends, and religious life. Revelation does the same.

    The writer is sharply critical of his own society, which is the Roman world of the late first century. The seven-headed beast personifies a political system that is both impressive and violent. The beast holds the world in awe with the illusion of military invincibility. Its base of operation is a city that is dubbed Babylon, which connotes splendor and brutality. The city subjugates people through force and then placates them with promises of prosperity. The writer pictures the city spinning a web of commerce that allows a few to attain great wealth, while many others pay the price. Human life is degraded, and the insatiable appetite for luxury goods drains the earth of its resources.

    In one astonishing scenario, the pattern of violence and greed come full circle when the beast turns against Babylon. The city built with violence falls victim to its own violent tendencies. The patterns that now seem to support the current order become its own undoing. That is followed by a scene in which Christ meets the beast in the battle of Armageddon. In the popular imagination, this is the moment of cosmic annihilation. But in Revelation, the only weapon used in the battle is truth. There is no sword made of iron, only the sword or word from Christ’s mouth. The battle marks the triumph of truth over falsehood. This is not the destruction of the earth. It contributes to the destruction of the destroyers of the earth, and the goal is that life might thrive.”

    See also

    Richard Bauckham, “Economic Critique of Rome in Revelation 18,” in Alexander Loveday, ed., Images of Empire (Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), 47-90.

    Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Revelation: Vision of a Just World, Proclamation Commentaries (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 1991), 89.

    Elizabeth Schüssler-Fiorenza, Babylon the Great: A Rhetorical-Political
    Reading of Revelation 17-18, in: David L. Barr, The Reality of the Apocalypse, 243-270, 262,

    Barbara Rossing, The Choice Between Two Cities: Whore, Bride, and Empire in the Apocalypse (Harrisburg, PA: Trinity Press International, 1999), 17-59.

    Pablo Richard, Apocalypse: A People’s Commentary (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1995), 135; Fiorenza, Vision, 100.

    Harry O. Maier, Staging the Gaze: Early Christian Apocalypses and Narrative Self-Representation, in: Harvard Theological Review
    90/1997, 131-154, here 149-150

  • Bones

    Revelation 8 does an excellent job of describing Pompeii right down to the destruction of Pliny the Younger’s uncle’s rescue ships in the harbour.

  • Bones

    Rome is an Empire – not just a city…….

    Goodness me……that’s a basic historical fact.

  • Bones

    And Babylon was never used ever to describe Jerusalem……..not once…..

    For you, John had to make up a new interpretation which would have been foreign to his readers, in order to fit your ‘theory’.

  • Bones

    Mystery Babylon and Babylon are one and the same………Jerusalem was no more and was a subjugated minor city in the Roman Empire.

    At no stage does it match the description of the great city in Revelation.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much Bones. Very helpful …

  • Tim

    He is clearly saying in here that the Beast is identified with/ as Rome, which is what I have been saying all along. He’s basically making a point against using modern/ futuristic intepretations of Revelation’s symbolism in favour of a historical interpretation, which I would agree with.

  • Tim

    So when it fits your narrative Rome is a city, and when it doesn’t it’s an empire. Revelation is specifically talking about a city, not an empire. Switching back and forth using Rome as a city and then as an empire is equivocation. Pompeii was of course a city in the Roman Empire, but it is not the city of Rome, which is specifically what we’re talking about.

  • Tim

    That is a massive stretch of interpretation, to say the least.

  • Tim

    I know that Revelation is not about the destruction of the earth; where did I say it was? I have also said that Revelation is full of word pictures that represent other things, we just disagree on what two of them are; the identity of the Beast and Mystery Babylon. I don’t see how this quote makes your point. Nothing in this quote suggests that Rome is Mystery Babylon.

  • Tim

    This assertion assumes a late dating of Revelation, but there is no decisive evidence for that (regardless, it is not convincing evidence for the identity of mystery babylon). But you have not demonstrated that Mystery Babylon and Babylon are the same. I have provided evidence from quoted reasearch as to why they are different.

  • Tim

    As I’ve already said; Mystery Babylon was a term (‘new’, if you like) used specifically to describe something DIFFERENT to Babylon which his readers before or after AD70 would have identified as Rome. That’s why he gave additional data about Mystery Babylon that they would also recognise in connection with Jerusalem. He also gave ample clues that it was Rome to which he was referring as the Beast.

  • Bones

    The ample clues refer to Rome….especially in the context of the first century. And it’s noted that you have to have John make up a ‘new’ meaning which no Jew or Christian would have known.

    You don’t understand symbology.

  • Bones

    Yes there is decisive evidence for a later date and a later date would further demolish the idea that Jerusalem was Babylon.

    Jerusalem laid in ruins……..

    Mystery Babylon is just the same term as Babylon.

    Honestly you’re scraping the barrel now.

    Your quoted research is really just scripture twisting without a shred of historical evidence.

    I’ve presented evidence from historical and scriptural sources.

  • Bones

    Goodness me, your comprehension is poor.

    Read the last two paragraphs slowly,,,,,

    Do you really think the quote is ambiguous about Babylon being Rome?

    Now you’re just being ridiculous.

    Time for you to concede.

  • Bones

    Yeah, no one would have known about the eruption of Vesuvius……..

    Nah…..the seer even got the destruction of the navy right.

  • Bones

    What?

    Rome is a city and an Empire and the two are intertwined.

    That’s basic elementary school history.

  • Matthew

    Thanks so much for this Bones.

  • Actually there’s not really very much mystery as to the identity of the beast; the beast was Nero.

    First you have to know that each letter in Hebrew has a numerical value.

    The number of the beast 666 is numerical sum of the Greek name of Nero written in Hebrew(Neron Kaiser, which in Hebrew is Nron QRS or נרון קסר).

    Worth noting also is that in some manuscripts the number of the beast is 616, which is the numerical sum of the Latin name of Nero written in Hebrew (Nero Kaiser, Nro QRS or נרו קסר). The dropped letter (Nun or נ),has a numerical value of 50.

    It’s also important to know that that the word in the text used for
    “Mark” also means engraved, imprinted, or branded; stamped money or
    documents.

    Nero’s face was on the money. Thus requiring the mark of the beast to carry on trade was a reference to the face of Nero which was engraved on the money. And the people of God not accepting those with the mark of the beast was a reference to when the Jews revolted in 66 and coined their own money (which didn’t have Nero’s face on it).